I remember several years of ash crosses on my BFF's head in junior high and high school on the Wednesday of Lent (Ash Wednesday). Lent are the 40 days before Easter. A time of praying and fasting starting tomorrow.
I've never actually looked into what "Lent" really means, (until now) but aways took it to mean something like this: you give something up (fast) and when you really want it you pray. It's supposed to bring you closer to God.
In past years I have given plenty of things up "for lent." Swearing (nearly every year!), drinking, candy, caffeine, you name it ... well, nearly everything. And this year is no exception. I'm giving up un-necessary shopping. If it isn't necessary for every day survival, it ain't necessary. Oh the TORTURE!! I want new socks, and new jeans, and new shoes, and anything that will fit off the clearance rack! But that's the key, WANT. What do I really NEED? Socks? Maybe, but I can make it 40 days. Shoes? Hardly! Jeans? Not so much. So the torture part is staying out of the stores. I won't shop at Fred Meyer, too much temptation. I can't go near the mall - are you kidding me??? All those stores! And I am planning a trip to Issaquah in a few weeks. Does beer count as necessary? They have a Rogue Brewery there and it would be nice to stock up again. Needs vs wants!
But of course, timing is everything. Just as I embark on this journey the garage door breaks (replacement cost: $1000) some medical bills come due (health enhancement cost: $250) and we have a big weekend full of expenses (date night, family night and thank goodness it was pay day: priceless!) So it all works out. Plus, it is teaching me and the kids to THINK ABOUT WHAT I/WE ARE SPENDING MY/OUR MONEY ON. (Well, me mostly, but its nice to think it might influence the kids too!)