40 days and 40 nights

Since today kicks off Lent, I have been feverishly trying to figure out what I am going to do for it.  I have been a little preoccupied with the house and I completely blanked on Lent this year.  When I was reminded late last night (by a Facebook post) that it started today I freaked out a bit, not being prepared with my Lenten promises is very unlike me.

I have been Catholic all my life, although I'm not all that consistant on going to church.  I went to Catholic high school and I started giving something up for lent starting Freshman year, mostly since everyone else was doing it.  I have continued the tradition past high school mainly because I see it as a great practice in self-discipline.

Finding something to give up is the easy part.  I can always find things that are bad for me that I should give up.  Actually some years I have gone crazy and given up tons of stuff (which I inevitably went back to the day after Easter).  This year, is one of those "go crazy years."  My main focus is to giving up swearing AND substitute swearing.  I shouldn't swear anyhow and I'm hoping this is one thing that doesn't come back after Lent.  Unfortunately it has become part of my vocabulary, so while I am weening myself off of it, I am donating $1 to our church- St. James Cathedral for every time I slip up.  So far, they have earned $2 (It's only the 1st day).  On top of swearing, I am giving up candy AND deep fried foods.  I couldn't decide between the 2 so I went with both.

Now the hard part- what I am going to take on.

The first year of college I was encouraged by Bunnie's mom to not only give something up, but also take something on.  I have tried each year since to take on something that is good for the world around me.  Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to save the world in 40 days, but instead do small things that impact my little corner of the world. 

Last year, I took on paying at least 1 compliment each day.  This doesn't come naturally to me, so I worked very hard on this one, hoping to make someones day with a genuine compliment.  This year, I have been struggling a bit more with what to take on that would make an impact.

My friend Lauren had a great idea that I have decided to take on.  I am writing one thank you note a day.  Each day I will find someone that I am thankful for and I will write them a note letting them know.  How great would it be if you got a note every once and a while from people you know thanking you for something?  I think it would be great!

Today is day 1, I hope I can keep up with all my Lenten plans.  What about you- are you giving anything up or taking anything on?


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