Ash Wednesday

Giving up something for Lent is always a challenge for me. I suppose I have as many frills in my life as anyone, but I'm not sure what they are. You don't give up foods when you're underweight, you don't give up sleep time when you've got a strong tendency to writing-induced insomnia, and you don't give up the Internet when you're a member of a group blog. At least, you shouldn't.
Coffee? I like it, but I never just buy or pour it for myself. Alcohol? Likewise. Soda? I might have that twice between now and Easter. Novels? I'm a part of two book clubs. Chocolate? I'm not giving up chocolate. Heh.
Lent, anyway, means more than just "giving something up": it's a time of fasting combined with prayer and almsgiving. My husband manages most of the alms around here (thank God--I put bills in stacks and forget about them), so the giving aspect is pretty much a "Hey, do you think we should ..." kind of deal for me. As for prayer and fasting, though, here's what I've managed to come up with:
1. Internet not immediately needed for work is for use only on lunch break and before/after work hours. That means you, Google Reader. (The Hog's Head, my own blog, and research for writing all count as "work" for these purposes--I'm trying to control the internet's influence on my life, not shirk obligations just because I like them.) The goal here is to order my life so that my top priorities get taken care of first.
[Note: I'm a homemaker, in case any of you don't know that--I'm not reading blogs on employer time, I promise! Also, since I blog myself, I would consider it a breach of honor to stop reading other people's. I'm not going forty days without my Google Reader--just limiting myself.]
2. Make a daily effort to care less about hearing the sound of my own voice, to delight less in myself and to listen more closely to others.

3. Pray a Divine Mercy chaplet every day and do the Angelus at noonish when possible.

4. Journal daily, preferably before work to focus my mind--because I haven't done that faithfully in years, and it's a good way both to clear out distractions and to move my mind to spiritual things.

That ought to keep me busy--and hopefully, willingly "denying myself, taking up my cross, and following Christ."

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