40 days

Yesterday, my elementary kids came home swinging Mardi Gras beads and wearing silly paper hats. I found it funny/strange that they’d studied Fat Tuesday in school when you’d better believe there won’t be any mention of Holy Week.

Mardi Gras is one those of those funky holidays–much like the funky stories in the Bible. As Mormons, we don’t officially celebrate any of the precursors to Easter– Faschtnacht, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday– thus we get to pick and choose, and an increasing number of us choose Lent.

My sister first introduced me to Lent in high school. She has an Easterish birthday(right on Easter this year!) and was well-versed in it’s customs. We gave up sugar that first time around– it was surprisingly easy because I was a teenager and could turn to sleep instead of hunger(please don’t ask me to do that now).

I love the idea of short-term goals that could/might! evolve into habits. The deep grey of January and February make New Year’s resolutions almost impossible to keep, but the hope of Spring and temporary nature of 40 days makes keeping Lent attainable.

So here are my three:

1. No Easter candy until the actual day. Once again, I can blame my festish for malted eggs, Peeps, Cadbury mini-eggs and delicious, perfect Dove eggs(yes, Dove is available year round but the egg is their one true divinely scrumptious shape) on my sister. Candy has never been my downfall but I can almost hear her whispering eloquent mouth-watering descriptions of each confection as I stand in the grocery aisle. I’m not listening– I’m NOT.

2. No whining. Did you know I’m a pathetic whiner? I am. It’s a terrible habit. I can just see Erik leaning into his monitor at work as he reads this imploring, “Oh please, please, keep this one goal!” Gratitude is the opposite of murmuring and I’d do well to cultivate a little more of that.

3. Submissive, heartfelt prayer. And for more ideas on that I’m reading my friend Brooke’s beautiful post on Segullah today and the dozens of thoughtful comments.

Happy Lent! What do you want to give up?

February 24, 2009
February 26, 2009



  1. Melissa

    February 25, 2009

    Oh, I love the idea of keeping Lent. I’m glad you brought it up, because otherwise I might have missed Ash Wednesday.

    I’m thinking about what to give up. Maybe some computer time?

  2. Alyson (New England Living)

    February 25, 2009

    We are surrounded by catholics here, so I often hear of Lent, but have never thought to do it. Very cool!

  3. Jill

    February 25, 2009

    I married into a (very) Catholic family and after all these years, I’m totally participating! LOL

  4. Tracy

    February 26, 2009

    I am giving up church..oh wait, I already did that. I am NOT going to yell at my kids(did you hear me just yelling at myself to stop yelling at my kids?) There done. On a side-note, Eloise came home from school today very confused about why she received ashes on her forehead..lol. Poor non-Catholic girl in a Catholic school. I told her to go ask her father.;)
    ..oh, and good luck with the chocolate – you are stronger than I. xoxo,t

  5. Kira

    February 26, 2009

    I grew up in San Diego. I had friends who gave stuff up for Lent. I haven’t done it for years. Since I already gave up chocolate and treats for this little baby I am carrying I pick that 🙂 Maybe I will just extend it? 🙂

  6. Brooke

    February 26, 2009

    i am giving up my inner critic. i gave her up before but she found me again.

    (she always does.)

    thanks for the shout out. i love you. truly.

  7. Kelly

    February 26, 2009

    I usually give up all the hard stuff (I’m Catholic) at one time…potato chips, chocolate and soda! I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it and every year I do it faithfully without cheating one bit! Seems easier for me to do it for God.

    This year I’m making an effort to take better care of myself with a walk every day – I need it, my legs and heart will thank me 40 days from today 🙂 I may give up the usual again too…its only 40 days, we can do it!

  8. Michelle

    February 26, 2009

    ooh, Kelly– it’s so good to hear that you manage to keep Lent faithfully!

  9. Chelle

    February 26, 2009

    diet coke.

    Also giving up the shame I just felt for having to admit that I need to give up diet coke.

    Heaven help me.

    : )

  10. martha corinna

    February 26, 2009

    My mother was raised Irish Catholic, and I have found that you can take the girl out of Catholicism but you cannot take Catholicism out of the girl. We practice a bit of it, and for some reason I am drawn to it and covet it all a bit. So…I am giving up complacency, and laziness. For example, my husband is rarely home for dinner or family home evening. I have often been too lazy(or busy)to all sit down around the table instead of the island. Also, many Monday nights I’ve found myself having some sort of treat and calling it good. But not anymore, I’m going to be faithful.

  11. jendoop

    February 27, 2009

    You know from my Segullah post that I’ve given up Medical curiosity for Lent. That makes me sound like a hypocondriac(sp?). But when you’re sick every day it’s so hard to give up the desire to know what is going on! Anyway, I guess if I really mean it I should get rid of the WebMD app on my iphone. Let go and let God.

  12. Mitchell Family

    February 28, 2009

    I’m giving up sugar and fried foods. As you may have noticed it is actually 47 days and not 40. I asked a Catholic friend about this and she said that’s because they don’t count Sundays. I asked if that meant you could take a break from self-denial on Sundays. She said no, but she always did anyway. I’m to blame for your love of Easter candy? I feel honored. Ruth

Comments are closed.