Tell me about your plans for Lent!

March 8, 2011 | 91 comments

What are your plans for Lent? (If you’re not familiar with this season, which starts Wednesday, Marcel Lejeune has the answers to all your questions here.) I know that some people don’t like discussing this publicly, since it can sometimes degenerate into a one-upsmanship contest in which the final commenter triumphs with her announcement that she shall retire to a cave and read Scripture 23 hours a day and eat nothing but beetles and wild grass while wearing a hair shirt throughout the entirety of Lent, but I ask only in the spirit of sharing inspiration.

In the past I have found Lent to be an incredibly fruitful time of spiritual growth; the habits I adopt for the season often having long-lasting positive repercussions in my spiritual life. This year I don’t feel led to undertake anything big, and I can’t seem to come up with some simple practice to help me grow in faith this year. So that’s why I need your ideas!

Also, a bonus (related) question: Bearing brings up an interesting question regarding kids and sacrifices and Lent. She summarized it in an email this way:

I’m wondering how parents are supposed to help their kids keep a Lenten devotion. It feels really wrong and naggy to me to say to my ten-year-old, for example, “Hey! You said you were going to give up video games for Lent! What are you doing with that controller in your hand?” It’s a voluntary sacrifice so is it really my role to enforce it? On the other hand, they’re just kids and they may need reminders. I recognize that my bad feelings about reminding them may come from my old attitudes that raising kids in a religion is a form of brainwashing. But I’m still having trouble figuring it out.

If you have any insight for her, head over to her post and let her know your thoughts.


  1. Angie @ Many Little Blessings

    This feels like a cop-out, but I just posted about it today, so here’s my post:

    But the general gist of it is that we’re all giving up TV, video games, and computers one day a week, and then we’re also going to make some serious restrictions on grocery shopping during Lent (I wrote about it in the post). We’ll use money we save to go grocery shopping for our church’s food pantry.

  2. syd

    I plan on doing a Daniel fast for at least 21 days. I have never fasted before, but I feel extremely urged by the Holy Spirit to do it this year. And I was sinfully hoping for a short fast, but these urgings for something more are too strong to ignore (are you sure 21 days, God?? Really?… ok, then… 🙂

    However, I am excited to do this for Him. I’m not sure what will come, but I am really psyched about it. Other than abstaining from meats and sugars, I also plan on limiting my internet time. I know that internet addiction is causing some trouble in my life, and this is a great time to nip it in the bud.

  3. Leila

    Here I am, two days before Lent, and I haven’t decided yet!! Ack!!!

  4. Jackie

    Just decided this morning…giving up running the water in my shower while I’m sudsing/soaping up. My diet is too restricted to give up anything food wise, so I thought this would be something different to try. I have a lenten devotional to read too.

  5. Tracy

    Women for faith and family have some great ideas for Lent especially for kids and family.

    We have tried to stick with the three elements:

    Penance – giving up chocolate (me), alchohol(hubby – I am pregnant anyway) and lollies/treats (kids) as indviduals and takeaway as a family.

    Giving – we will be giving what we save through penance and a little pocket money to our church and a charity (still deciding).

    Prayer/Refelction – we will be doing the family rosary twice a week and trying to get to daily mass at least once a week. I will be reading Jesus of Nazereth (hope I can get through it before Easter). Hubby will be reading Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton and our son will continue his preparations for first reconcilliation/communion at Easter.

    Simple stuff, but I know we will be able to stick to it so it should also be fruitful.

  6. Judy @ Learning To Let Go

    I think I mentioned this somewhere else, but I’ll be giving up my midnight snack of graham crackers and milk, and reading the pope’s book The Spirit of the Liturgy. I’m already working on giving patient service, not too successfully, so I’ll continue with that and try to improve.

  7. Susan

    Hopefully, we will pray a nightly rosary as a family using the pro-life meditations from

    This will be a huge struggle all on its own for our young family of 7 as we aren’t used to it. I’m hoping it will be a habit we’ll keep.

    • Barb

      When our children were young, we started the family rosary in the evenings. We would wait until it was almost the youngest’s bedtime, turn out the lights, light a candle, and pray. The youngest would usually fall asleep and it was calming to the older ones too.
      I would love to be able to go back to those days and do that again…

  8. Erin

    I’ve shared my plans here
    as we are expecting our baby 2 weeks into Lent:) We’re keeping it simple, however perhaps our plans may seem too overwhelming to a mum just starting on this journey. Remember our plans have been 17 yrs in the making.
    Short version for here, and truth is I have older children and some plans will be driven/executed by them and I do the easy version of most things:
    Decorating Our Altar
    Family/Individual Sacrifices & Virtues
    Lenten Books
    Sacrifice Crown
    Lenten Calendar
    Stations of the Cross
    Holy Heroes
    Lenten Lapbooks
    Jesus Tree
    Burying the Alleluia

  9. Missy

    I’m in the middle of my first (doozy of a) pregnancy this Lent, so there won’t be much ordinary fasting for me. Instead, I made a list of people I know — other expectant parents, family members, friends, colleagues, priests and religious, etc. — and will try to quietly offer up the discomforts of pregnancy for one person each day. I know it’s something that will help me practice giving over pain to God and will remind me daily of all the important people in my life (without them having to be embarrassed by me doing something more public for them).

    • Tracy

      That is a great plan Missy – inspiring just as Jennifer wanted this post to be.

  10. Amy

    Hi Jen,
    I’ve been writing about my Lenten plans over at I’m going big this year and addressing an area of my spiritual life that I think has been lacking – prayer. In the spirit of trying anything I’m really pushing my boundaries and hoping that this openness and excitement makes the forty days of getting up at 5am to pray a blessing.

  11. RI

    Well i wasnt really sure then i came across this

    “Many people talk about giving up something for Lent or trying to start something new and good. But another approach to Lent is to take a look at an existing desert in our lives and to enter into that desert rather than try to sidestep it.Lent can be a time to acknowledge the weight of the cross we’ve been asked to bear and to give ourselves completely to the job of carrying that cross. Take on the suffering. But most important, believe that the suffering will lead to new life, to Resurrection – Cathy , At home with our faith”

    So that will be my focus
    ALso i have about 50 blogs in my reader and i spend a lot of time there since life with little ones doesnt lend itself to much time for reading / tv – so am going to be giving up internet for sunday every week through lent

    God bless us everyone

  12. Andie

    Hi Jen, I usually try to ‘step it up’ with my reading (The Way of the Cross, by Caryll Houselander – every year), praying, Mass attendance, ‘giving up’, etc., but….sometimes it’s far better to just walk into the desert and see where He leads you. I guess it comes down to ‘what am I doing for lent?’ or ‘what is He doing for my lent?’ I think we can get so bogged down with our own do’s and don’t’s that we miss His quiet presence, at least that happens for me. And at the end of lent, I can boast – I did this or that, but what did that really do for me? This lent, I’m just going to take one step into the desert and then sit and wait….This year instead of me deciding what to do, I will ask Him, and then sit quietly for these 40 days and listen for His voice.

  13. Happy Geek

    I’m a Protestant who is still new to Lent, but this year I am giving up sweets and introducing an evening office.
    I am also going to start doing the Lord’s prayer with my kids in the morning after breakfast.

  14. Misty

    This year I had the idea to simply look for a moment (or moments) everyday in which I can choose to deny myself something, or doing something and instead do something more spiritual or of service to others. I am calling it 40 Ways in 40 Days. I didn’t like feeling like Lent was another season where I needed to do more crafts, more baking, more activities for my children. Instead I wanted to make Lent about growing closer to Christ through quiet times and contemplation.

  15. Natalie

    Hi Jen. I’m a new convert so I try not to make it too overwhelming (I have always been a Christian, but never really celebrated Lent). I also know I love to plan but I’m not so good at follow up. I have decided to pray the rosary each night (I’ve already given up chocolate, and simply can’t give up tea, so I am giving up some of my precious evening time). I have a Lenten calendar with activities, books to read (both for me and to the children), and some drawers to declutter. I blogged about it in greater detail here:
    I’m really hoping the rosary and the short devotions will become a habit that I will continue after Lent, and that the children (through the activities on our calendar) will learn to give up self a bit more.

  16. sara

    We’re doing a Crown of Thorns where you remove a thorn for every sacrifice and the youngest 2 will probably give up something different each day that they pull from a jar. My older ones do things like giving up their beds or FB for Lent! I’ll be giving up 2nd helpings and snacking, which seems lame and is going to be very hard for me.

  17. Sam

    My wife and I are giving up all drinks except water and juice, and revamping our grocery shopping to focus on organic/natural/local non-processed foods. Also avoiding eating out except on Sundays, and only going to local one-off restaurants on those days. We started early and I really miss hot dogs and McDonald’s :-p

    I’m also adding daily Scripture reading to my morning (following along with the daily Mass readings).

  18. Love2learn Mom

    The central “activity” we do with the kids during Lent is a bean jar. We buy a bag of dry black beans and they get to put one in the jar for every good deed, sacrifice, etc. that they do. They actually get to a put a few in when they go to Mass or confession. At Easter the black beans get mysteriously switched for jelly beans, symbolizing how Jesus takes the little things that we do and transforms them into something greater.

    • Jackie

      I like that idea. Makes the whole Easter candy thing seem relevant.

  19. Theresa in Alberta

    I thought I may try fasting from criticism of others. To “cheerfully” clean out my house of items I have not used, needed, or remembered their existance to join the rest of the unused “treasures” sitting in my garage to be sold at my sale during the long weekend in May! Using the cash from this event for paying down a debt.

  20. Beetnik Mama

    I have decided to give up computer usage at any time my kids are awake. Too, too often, “just checking my email” turns into 20-30 minutes of me reading something or replying to something. I don’t like how that looks to my kids, and I definitely feel guilt over it. It’s a vice I need to do away with, and Lent feels like the perfect time to curtail that bad habit and get back to focusing on what I’m meant to be doing all day.

    • Erin

      Great idea! That’s exactly what I am doing and for the very same reason.

    • Lisa V.

      I too over the last couple of weeks have felt so convicted about being on the computer when my son is awake. I feel like I’ve cut down a lot over the last couple of weeks but seeing someone else struggling with this too convicts me even further. I think I am modeling to my 4 yr old what probably looks to him like isolating myself and not giving him his rightful priority. So thank you. And I decided tonight reading yours and others post that I’m giving up computer at the very least on Sunday for Lent (maybe further) and definitely will not be on the computer in the morning when my son and husband wake.

  21. Christina

    I’m giving up eating and buying desserts/sweets, but I think I will make some cookies for my toddler.

    I’m also considering making a list of things I can do for my husband that he won’t notice and doing one everyday. We’ll see how this works; the point is doing something for someone without expecting anything in return.

    I really need to buckle down in my prayer life as it is; we’ll see whether later in the season I should add something extra or not.

    Also, I need to commit to some Lenten reading, but don’t know what, yet! I’m considering “Introduction to the Devout Life,” or the Pope’s book(s) “Jesus of Nazareth?” Ask me again in 24 hours!

  22. Allie

    No TV during Lent and a weekly hour of Adoration. I’m hoping to give myself more of a schedule for daily Mass too. Right now, I have some weeks where I go multiple days and others I don’t go at all. Instead, I would like to just commit to one, consistent day a week.

  23. elizabethe

    Hi Jen,

    I’ve been praying and reflection about this a lot and I realized that I’m really struggling with keeping the household together with the kids. As RI says above, I have a real desert I have to enter and address a fundamental flaw inside me — I’m sort of willfully disorganized and have very little self-discipline. And now I may be pregnant with a third and its pretty certain that we are going to start homeschooling our oldest (who is 4) at least for the first few years of kindergarten and elementary school. I can just see that I’m going to start sinking.

    So I’m going to take this opportunity to instill the good habits, that, after prayer and reflection and some experimenting I know that I need in order to be the joyful heart of my home instead of just treading water all the time. It sounds like a lot, but it’s really all connected together, if I left one thing out, it would all fall apart.

    So, fasting, I’m giving up coffee and coffee drinks.

    I will use the money saved to make an offering to the poor box after Mass.

    I’m am giving up “outside noise” to really focus on the needs of my family — the internet, talk radio, fiction books, etc (we don’t have a TV). There are two or three blogs I may read just on Sundays and I got a book on the Eucharist you recommended to read for a few minutes at night. And I’m going to seriously limit busyness and outside social obligations.

    For prayer, I’m going to get up early — at 5 — every morning to say a rosary, shower, and then have some quiet time to myself before my kids get up at 6:30. I’ve done this a few times over the last month or two (ever since my 2 year old started reliably sleeping until 6:30) and I can’t even describe the difference in my whole day when I have that time to myself to prepare, to make the kids breakfast before they come down, to just have everything ready. It’s more than worth being a little bit tired in the morning. I won’t really be losing sleep though because I’m going to get up early instead of stay up late, which is what I currently do.

    Finally, I’m going to commit to a routine/schedule for all of Lent. I’m not going to be inflexible about it, but I am going to have one. In the past, I’ve made a routine, had one small thing derail it (like maybe saying “YES” to some unscheduled social event that I really should have said no to) and then given up after 2 or 3 days.

    Sorry to write a book about it, but it’s nice to have a place to write it down.

  24. Diane

    I’ll be stopping in for church visits on my lunch break, fasting 2 days a week, saying a weekly rosary for 40 Days for Life, and reading Fire Within by Fr Thomas Dubay. Every year I fail to do what I plan, so this morning I will offer a prayer for myself and all of us here that our Lent is abundantly fruitful!

  25. suzyq

    I’m giving up all the games on FB. I spend hours on there. It’s sick! lol and I’m going to go to mass during the week.

  26. bearing

    Thank you for linking! I’m really looking forward to reading some responses — dinnertime tonight we will be having our big “Lent discussion” with the kids…

  27. Carl

    Giving up all sweets
    Praying daily to end abortion
    Praying Rosary daily as a family
    Stepping up almsgiving

  28. CM

    My current suggestion is to give up working on Sundays. A lot of us try to get all the things done that day that we need to do, but I think that it would really help us spiritually to take that day of rest.

  29. Becky

    Hi Jen
    Love your blog!
    I just finished my little Lent talk with the kids this morning…for myself I’m giving up morning coffee (the sugary Caribou kind. I’m kind of addicted.) For prayer I would like to do the children’s version of the stations of the cross once a week (with my kids that is, not for myself) and I hope that I can talk everyone into doing a rosary once a week. My husband is a new convert-loves God, but has trouble with the formal prayers-and my children are young so I will have to be patient and try not to be a control freak that i tend to sometimes be.

  30. Clara

    I am doing something for Lent for the first time. My plan is to give up listening to the radio in the car, with the hope/plan that I will pray more during this quiet time. I also bought myself a small Lenten book, it has readings for each day. And that is it. Kinda simple, but I’m a beginner so I figured I should start small.
    (I would also like to pray the rosary more, but that will be icing on the cake. 🙂 )

  31. Maggie Dee

    I’m giving up all non-business related internet usage. I’ve allowed my time online to get way out of hand so I thought this would be the perfect time to get more balance in that area. As a result, my house should be cleaner, my office more organized, the meals I prepare more thought out, there will be more time to go to daily mass, and my prayer life should increase.

  32. Terri

    A good priest told me to really work on my most confessed sin…(It’s all about me, but not my fault). In that light I am giving up complaining, shopping and excessive internet browsing. Daily mass and Eucharistic Adoration should help keep me in line. Pray for me!

  33. molly

    We are giving up TV, Facebook, Caffeine and Sugar. All of my crutches!

    Our kids 6, 5, 3 and exempt baby:) put a favorite toy in a box they have decorated to look like a cave. On Easter they get to open the box and may find some special treats in there as well.

  34. Liesl

    I’m addicted to sugar, so I am giving up juice, which is my primary source of sugar. It will be… interesting, I’m sure.

    I also plan on adding some extra spiritual reading and prayer time to my daily activities, but I don’t have specifics yet…

  35. Erin

    I am giving up entertainment media-TV, Facebook, entertainment blogs, iPod games, Hulu, YouTube. I can’t unplug completeley due to my job, but I would love to! They have become hollow distactions for me, and really detract from devotions and prayer. It is going to be very difficult to adjust my habits, but I know my life is better lived that way. I used to not have a TV at all, but now I spend my weeks in hotels, and that is all that is in the room! I am baptist, not catholic, but get nourishment from many catholic practices. Lent is not unfamiliar but the church calendar has not been celebrated in my home yet. Thanks for your blog, it really is a blessing to me!

  36. Calah

    We’ve decided to make a family sacrifice this year. As a family, we’re giving up grains and sweets. I took a hard look at our eating habits and realized that those are the two areas we are most prone to overindulgence, and it seems that Lent (for us) is the best time to tackle that particular sin.

    As far as the kids go, because they’ll be spending some of Lent with their grandparents, some days on playdates, some at school and birthday parties, etc., I’ve decided not to strictly enforce that rule for them. I’ll simply leave out grains and sweets at our house and remind them why we’re doing this at every meal.

    I also want to make a personal sacrifice, but because the legwork for our family sacrifice will fall on me (the grocery shopper, meal-planner, and cook) I decided to do something very simple and give up sugar in my morning tea. It’s a daily ritual for me, and it will be nice to remind myself every morning of Christ’s sacrifice.

    Thanks, Jennifer! I love your blog! I also really loved your article at the Register yesterday.

  37. Amy in Seattle

    I am converting to Catholicism after growing up in a very conservative Baptist Church. This year, Lent is very meaningful to me, whereas last year, I barely knew it existed. My seven year-old daughter will be coming into the Church with me this July, so she is excited about all things Catholic and spiritual. Together, we decided to give up television/DVDs. (And just found out from our priest that we can relax that rule on Sundays – what a treat!) Also, we started praying every morning and evening, together, and will continue throughout Lent. For a service of mercy, we will visit a local nursing home for an hour a week and pass out cards or pieces of art that we made earlier to the bed-bound elderly people, giving them smiles and blessings of love as well.
    Personally, I am going to do a deep examination of conscience as I prepare for my first Sacrament of Reconciliation in a few weeks. Also, I will change my prayer life, in that I will finally have one. I love Catholic prayers because as a Baptist child I grew weary of always trying to come up with a fancy, original prayer. It’s a comfort to have the Holy Rosary, the Our Father, and the Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity. I feel so blessed to be drawn to the Holy Catholic Church, and I thank you heartily, Jennifer, for so openly sharing your heart and life with the world. Thank you and God Bless!

    • Kris, in New England

      Amy – I am in the same position you are (though I started in a different Christian faith). I am very excited about this Lenten Season and hope to make it as meaningful as possible. I wish you a Holy Lent and a glorious personal resurrection.

  38. magda

    Every time I have a mean, sarcastic, fearful, sad, gossipy, critical or discouraging thought OR I am about to lose my temper or snipe at someone, I say a Hail Mary. This has increased my prayer life SUBSTANTIALLY.

    • Maggie Dee

      Wow. That’s a great idea. I’m going to try that as my attitude in general these past few months as stunk, stunk, stunk.

  39. priest's wife

    so many great ideas- about children and helping them with their lenten promises- set them up for success! Put away the video games, get rid of the chocolate and Do something positive- maybe a change jar that can be filled with money and given to the local crisis pregnancy center after the season is over

  40. Lauren

    “Death and life are in the power of the tongue;” Proverbs 18:21

    I am focusing on using my words for life-giving and healing purposes (encouragement, praise) and not to hurt or destroy O(criticism, anger, gossip, complaining…). To help myself remember, I’m fasting from all sugar and sweets (including things like ketchup!) to remind me that my WORDS should be sweet. I’m writing a Bible study on the topic and publishing it on my blog beginning tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, and every subsequent Friday. Join us!!

    • LP

      LOVE it!

  41. coffeemom

    I like Magda’s idea! Also, gotta give up FB…it’s just idle distraction and chatter for me. I”m totally distracted at the best of times and this just compounds it. Otherwise, NOT food stuff for me (diaebetic blood sugar issues) except for fasting days/abstinence days. Ramped up prayers, daily office, rosary, etc. Bean jar for kiddos to help them understand. (but myself will use Magda’s tip for biting my swift harsh tongue).

    I guess it all comes down to practicing more mindfulness. Sounds easy, and yet I need 40 days to remind myself how difficult it is…and hopefully make a step or two forward.
    thx for this!

  42. Sarah

    Facebook…I’ve felt called to sign off for a few years now, and in my stubbornness I’ve always found reasons why I NEED it (I do full time youth ministry, it’s the main way students communicate with me etc). In reality, I don’t NEED to know what my 800 “friends” are doing every waking moment. I’ve found that it’s become an addiction of sorts, a way of helping me feel connected to people that I’ve put zero effort into, and I don’t think that’s the sort of relationships God is calling us to. So I’m attempting to sign off for Lent, in hopes of reconnecting with real people in real life.

    I’ve posted a few other ideas in my latest blog post as well, things friends of mine have done in the past couple years.

  43. Sarah

    Facebook…I’ve felt called to sign off for a few years now, and in my stubbornness I’ve always found reasons why I NEED it (I do full time youth ministry, it’s the main way students communicate with me etc). In reality, I don’t NEED to know what my 800 “friends” are doing every waking moment. I’ve found that it’s become an addiction of sorts, a way of helping me feel connected to people that I’ve put zero effort into, and I don’t think that’s the sort of relationships God is calling us to. So I’m attempting to sign off for Lent, in hopes of reconnecting with real people in real life.

    I’ve posted a few other ideas in my latest blog post as well, things friends of mine have done in the past couple years.

  44. Ruth

    I’m not giving up anything, but taking on some disciplines, since I’m already on a restrictive diet for health reasons.

    I’ll be going to daily mass and I plan to do something nice for my husband every day. 🙂 I will also be received into the Church this Easter vigil, so I’m really looking forward to this lenten season!

  45. Jen G

    I’ve let my spiritual reading stack up! I’m planning to do that reading each night during Lent for at least 30 minutes. Too often, I put it off – mostly due to the fact that I’m on the internet! Hopefully, I can finish one or two books at least.

  46. Taylor R.

    I’m giving up facebook and the internet. (I’ll check emails in the morning, though, so I don’t leave anyone hanging). I’m also planning on using the freed-up time to pray, specifically, to listen to God and check in with Him (as I would check all the statuses on FB) and to lift the funny stories and daily frustrations with Him first (which might normally become my statuses!) I find that when I update fb, I return to the computer throughout the day to check in…”has my mom seen that picture yet?” “has anyone commented on that cute story or funny comment I made?” and its primarily very self-focused! Instead, I want to turn my thoughts to God, to meditate on His promises and receive the encouragement and affirmation I need from Him!

  47. Sarah Izhilzha

    My fiance and I are giving up physical affection (except for very simple hugs); we’re also trying to choose a book on prayer or theology to read together during Lent.

    I am still asking God for direction on this, as nothing else obvious has shown itself to me. I may be giving up alcohol as well.

    What do you think about writing one’s own prayers? I wrote this a couple of years ago during Lent, and I thought you might enjoy it: a prayer for temperance and fulfillment:

  48. Katie @ Wellness Mama

    What great ideas everyone has! We are doing the bean jar with the kids, and making an effort to do daily all the things we should be doing anyway, but don’t always do (Daily Mass, Rosary, weekly confession, etc). My husband and I are gong to say Morning Prayer together before the kids get up, and read Introduction to the Devout Life together (thanks Jen for the inspiration!).

    I’m also hosting a grain-free sugar free challenge for anyone who has been considering cutting out these foods but hasn’t made the jump yet. It will be a chance to have support in making the change, and there will be some fun giveaways. If anyone is interested in joining, read more here:

  49. Karen

    I will be going to sleep by 11 every night. This is a huge sacrifice for me because I am a night owl. This will also bless my husband, toddler and baby because I will have more time and energy for them, including a family breakfast with my husband before he heads to work instead of my typical sleeping in! I will probably also be abstaining from sweets.

  50. Kellie

    I have a part-time teaching job I’m relatively new at and pretty ambivalent about, so my recurring problem is that I procrastinate on the work I need to do outside of class for it – and it’s a real problem; it leads to my cutting corners in lesson-planning and sometimes in grading, and also leads, worse yet, to my approaching my job as something to minimize in favor of “real” life (the other things I do that I do better and enjoy more), rather than its being an act of service and love towards a set of people whom God has given me. Also, when I don’t get my work done well, I get frustrated with myself but tend to take it out on the people around me – an additional problem with loving my neighbors. So last year I limited my internet use partly in hopes of keeping myself from procrastinating with it – but found that I was every bit as willing to use anything else I could to procrastinate with (though I really did overuse internet and didn’t regret having limited that). This year, then, I’m attacking the problems head-on: a block of time every day when I HAVE to do the things I’ve been avoiding. It almost sounds too elementary and everyday to qualify as a Lenten discipline (since it’s something I should have set up forever ago), but I think it really is what I need to better love and serve the people God’s given me for just that purpose.

  51. Sara

    For Lent, I’m taking you up on your advice you offered at the Behold Conference! I’m giving up “screens” after dark. No tv, no computer, no iPod Touch. I think this will be a difficult thing for me, but I am excited to empty my life of these things for a while so I can be filled up even more at Easter!

    Thanks for the suggestions!

  52. Hafsa

    More spiritual reading and less television. Limiting my computer time to once a day and praying a five decade family rosary. Since I’m pregnant and have no real food crazes I won’t be giving up anything food wise, although my husband and I will have 2 meatless nights a week (Wednesdays and Fridays).

  53. Lisa

    Inspired by an earlier comment, I am giving up criticism of others. I am ashamed to say I pray that I can do this for a day, let alone the entire Lent.

  54. Mary @ Parenthood

    I love the bean idea. My daughter probably won’t get it this year but maybe we’ll try it anyway! We did a Jesse Tree ( at Advent, and were planning a lent version because it worked so well for us.

  55. Eva

    Reading The Everlasting Man, Introduction to the Devout Life and the Pursuit of God
    Giving up all lollies and cakes.
    Daily devotional time.
    Minimizing blogs that I spend too much time reading- but not the non negotiable ones 🙂

  56. Alisha

    I just wrote about Lent and how I’m approaching it this year on my blog,

    But since those reflections, I’ve decided to work on these areas: reverence during prayer (i.e. kneeling instead of being half-asleep), sacrificing my time (watching other people’s kids while they run errands), and fasting between meals.

  57. Aleighanne

    I am giving up facebook (Only on Sunday) and reading two devotional books.

  58. Lisa

    My eldest son offered to give up homework, and my middle child suggested giving up her younger sister, but as a family, we decided to give up complaining.

    We explained it that if someone gave you an amazing gift, you wouldn’t complain about the color being wrong or ask for more. God gives us all these amazing gifts, and we’re just not going to complain because it hurts His feelings. If someone does complain, they’ll be asked to reframe it in a positive way. Focus on the gifts.

    Also, this is an amazing post:

    I guess this may be my last chance to mention my sore throat and the muddy footprints in the entryway…

  59. Jessica

    One of the biggest things I need to work on is patience and not letting myself be so easily frustrated by minor inconveniences. So I’m giving up bad language – which I’ve used to express frustration instead of actually trying to solve the problem. I’m hoping that this will last past Lent since my little one is going to start talking soon and I really don’t want to go through the whole “Grandma, guess what Mommy just said” thing if I don’t have to.

    Also, I’ve been inspired by other posters to try to be less judgmental and gossipy. That’s going to be really tough for me but it’s something I know I’ve needed to work on for a long, long time.

    I also want to take a little time each day to read something spiritually fulfilling – even if it’s just the Little Black Book but hopefully I’ll actually make it through the Gargoyle Code this year.

  60. MemeGRL

    I have given up chocolate since childhood, so I will do that; I also give up soda since adulthood (a vice I picked up after childhood).
    This year, I’m doing the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge…it feels a little self serving in that it could be seen as spring cleaning, but I have trouble with Things and clinging to them. I’m not a hoarder but I could tip that way. So I have a list of about 10 charities, mostly religious but also the SPCA, who can benefit from either the things directly (e.g., a home for mothers near us will be getting many lovely blankets and clothes; the SPCA will be getting the crappy blankets and towels) or the money I make from selling it.
    We have been so blessed. SO blessed. And it’s not my job to grasp those blessings in my hands or house, but to release it to the universe to those who need it next.

    • Magda

      40 bags in forty days – we need bigger bags!

  61. LP

    Implementing a Rule of Life, using Holly Pierlot’s guide from A Mother’s Rule of Life – however, as a part-time working mom, need to adapt it a bit. Additionally, trying generally to “put order where there is no order” in all areas of my life.

    Being pregnant w/#2 and having a hubby in grad school makes the urgency greater in these areas, and also limits me in terms of fasting – however, trying to simply live the Truth of my vocation and various duties in simplicity and faith is perhaps the biggest undertaking I could commit to, and renewing my resolve on this daily is going to be a huge challenge. (Yes, I know this is what I’m supposed to be doing ANYWAY, but, well…that’s what Lent is FOR, right??!) 🙂

    Pray for me!

  62. Laura

    It is so funny that I feel the same way this year, too. Can’t wait to find out what it is that God wants me to do with this Lent!

  63. Courageous Grace

    Since I am due to give birth within 5 weeks or so, I joked to a friend at our Shrove Tuesday supper tonight that I was giving up being pregnant for Lent.

    😀 Can you tell I want this baby to present herself soon?

    In all seriousness, since fasting is not going to happen, I plan on doing two things. Curtailing impulse shopping (if it’s not on a list or discussed with hubby, I can’t get it), and drinking more water. Not cutting out caffeine, last time I tried that my husband told me never again, but drinking more water. Doc thinks my random contractions during the last couple of weeks could be attributed to dehydration.

  64. Kara

    I’m going up my laptop because using the desktop is a pain which means I use the Internet less. I’m also cutting back my Internet time big tim in order to do some more things with my kids. My giving up my laptop actually became literal. I gave it back to the store yesterday. We were paying too much on it and I didn’t think it was a good idea to continue.

    Anyway, I also plan on reading a book or two a week, getting out of the house more, and just really enjoying Lent. I love Lent.

  65. Kara

    I’m giving up my laptop because using the desktop is a pain which means I use the Internet less. I’m also cutting back my Internet time big tim in order to do some more things with my kids. My giving up my laptop actually became literal. I gave it back to the store yesterday. We were paying too much on it and I didn’t think it was a good idea to continue.

    Anyway, I also plan on reading a book or two a week, getting out of the house more, and just really enjoying Lent. I love Lent.

  66. Paula H.

    My husband and I are going to pray the 40 days for life together. I’m really looking forward to this as our prayer life together is almost non-existant.
    I talked a little bit to my four year old daughter today about Lent but I haven’t asked her to give anything up. I may do that tomorrow morning. I feel like I should give up blogs but I need to get my news as well so I’m still not sure what to give up. Guess I’d better hurry.

    I REALLY like the black bean/jelly bean good deed jar idea. I LOVE it so much I’m going to do it.

  67. Erin

    This is the first year that I have decided to participate in Lent. I am in the RCIA program, and as much as I have spent time learning and faithfully learning about Catholicism and discerning God’s leading (coming from a Baptist background), I have also gotten hooked on a number of TV shows, and will frequently watch them on DVD or streamed online which means that I have the ability to watch numerous episodes in one sitting. For Lent I have decided to give up watching TV shows on DVD or streaming them, and I have instead built a stack of books that I will read over Lent – Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris, Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn, another book on the importance of tradition, a Henri Nouwen book on the Eucharist, as well as some novels. But my hope is to replace an activity that has wasted time and given me no value with an activity that will stimulate the mind and feed the soul.

    p.s. I have read a number of your archived posts on your conversion and they have been immensely helpful reading your experience on my own spiritual journey. Thank you for sharing.

  68. Paul


    For some reason, everywhere I look lately I keep getting a hint about “My personal relatonship with Jesus”. I am going to try to determine what that really means to me as a Catholic and hopefully discover that I already have one and that this inquiry will strengthen that friendship. If you or your readers have any good resources, please let me know.

    Another thing we are doing is enhandcing our family time. No TV for lent, only a family movie once a week. Other than that it will be game nights, reading nights, family entertainment and of course the evening Rosary.

    Thank you so much for your blog. I can always count on the Holy Spirit working through you to enlighten my day!

  69. Kris, in New England

    While I was raised a Christian I have never formally observed the Lenten Season. Now that I am going thru RCIA in anticipation of my baptism at the Easter Vigil – I am very excited about my first Lenten Season.

    Penance: giving up my favorite food … chocolate. My husband will be giving up all sweets in general. This will be good for us on so many levels, not the least of which will be the care of our body. It is supposed to be God’s temple and we really aren’t that kind to it.

    Charitable: each time I crave chocolate and have to focus on my penance, I will put $5.00 in a jar to donate to the Organ Fund in our new Church. Trust me, this will not be a small amount of money as I crave chocolate pretty much every day – sevearal times. 🙂

    Devotions: as this is our first formal Lenten Season I really want to jump into the deep end of the pool right away. However I know I need to pace myself so … we are going to try to do some meditations in the evenings; we’ll probably start with the scriptural readings for that day.

    More: Our Church is doing a Friday Night Fish Fry each week followed with a Stations of the Cross observance. We are hoping to get to at least 2-3 of these, at a minimum.

  70. carrien (she laughs at the days)

    I’m giving up my husband. Just kidding, sort of. It just so happens that tomorrow he leaves for a 2 week plus ministry trip to Thailand where we support an orphanage and refugee communities. I shall be sole parent for our 4 children, which will be really challenging when bed time rolls around. It’s really feeling like a sacrifice this time around because the baby is still not mobile but so heavy and squirmy and teething.

    But really, for Lent I feel called to rise early, sleep sooner, and pray more. Also to walk more outdoors.

    These comments were inspiring. I’m now thinking of what I can do each night with my children, candlelight required. 🙂 They loved advent. Anyone have any ideas or resources?

    • carrien (she laughs at the days)

      Actually, after spending an hour this morning talking with the kids about Lent, it’s Old Testament roots, Jesus our high priest, etc. I realized that I may have enough material to create my own meditations for lent for my family. I think I shall even post them, one a day as I eke them out, so feel free to come and join me. We’ll see how this goes. 🙂

  71. Marguerite

    Sorry, but I have to give up reading all tweets/blogs-too addictive and instead spend that time on reading various saints’ biographies and the Bible;
    see you in 40 days.

  72. Sandy C.

    I wrote about my plans for Lent here.

    I hope you don’t mind I mention you in the post! 🙂

    I’m traveling with my husband this week and today (Ash Wednesday) we are in Atlanta. I attended an incredible Ash Wednesday mass at the Cathedral of Christ the King. I think there were more people in the mass than in our small town.

  73. Betsy

    This is the first time in a number of years that I’ve made an effort to make any spiritual progress during the Lenten season. To begin, I’ve purchased The Magnificat for spiritual meditation and I’ve made a commitment to join 40 Days for Life. I live over 2 hours away from any abortion clinic so this will be the first time I’ve ever prayed at a facility. I recently listened to a interview that Focus on the Family did with Abby Johnson, former PP director, and it reaffirmed my commitment to drive there and pray once a week through Lent.

  74. Roxy @ TSKGS

    I’ve been praying a decade of the rosary too! (but at bedtime for me. The prayer of abandonment is my morning prayer of choice. It helps me to put each day in perspective.) I also gave up saying anything out of frustration or anger toward my husband. I know that sounds horrible but I definitely can relate to the saying that we tend to have the shortest patience with those who are closest to us.

    I never thought about “giving up a good thing” that way! I talk about why I chose to move away from my usual sacrifice of chocolate or sweets this year in my post here: but after reading your take on it, I decided to make it an addition to the other two to round out my plan! 🙂

  75. G. Scott

    This is my first Lent. I thought at first to go big like this guy:

    Then I thought maybe I’d just stick with something noticeable and healthy: tobacco (I only weekend cigars, though) and alcohol (another weekend thing). And then today, I have the most stressful day and think to myself, “Guess it’s time to find a new way to unwind.”

    I’m also posting daily at a new blog: Forty things I like/love about Catholicism.

  76. Jason

    I know I’m a bit late to this party, but Lent is still going on for a while. 😉

    I’ve decided to fast on Friday’s during the season. I had been fasting on Mondays for a while as my wife and I prayed and waited for her visa paperwork for her immigration to the US. We stopped once we got them. However, both for spiritual and health reasons I want to start the practice again. Perhaps I will continue even after Lent is over. The Lord and I have some really wonderful quiet times during my fasts.


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