An Ash Wednesday Decision…

When I was in school we used to have mass in the gym.  There were no pews or kneelers…only folding chairs.  When it came time to kneel, we’d have to do so on the hard gym floor.  Once, a friend and I kneeled on her jacket for a little cushioning.  One of the nuns spotted us and said “Do you think Jesus had a jacket to kneel on while he was in the desert for 40 days?  Suck it up.”  Then she took the jacket away until after mass was over. 

While I remember that like it happened yesterday, the message has not stuck with me.  Admittedly, I’m a lapsed Catholic, but even before the lapse giving things up for Lent was not high on my list of things I liked to do.  I would always say that I’d give up something…like ice cream or chocolate…and then I would sneak it the first chance I got.  I remember making an argument to my mother once that frozen yogurt was not technically ice cream and I was not, in fact, sinning by eating it. 

So I don’t give anything up.  I also don’t get ashes and I eat meat on Fridays and I don’t go to mass.  Just a few of the very long list of reasons I’m probably going to hell.  The thing is…this year, I’m kind of inspired to do something for Lent. 

I’ve been reading other blogs this morning and seeing what everyone is doing for Lent and now I want to do something too.  But I’m not going to give anything up.  Instead, I’m going to be proactive…I’m going to do some things that will lead to permanent, positive changes.

First…I’m going to exercise.  I recently changed my work schedule and I no longer have to be in the office at 7:30.  I pushed my start time back to 8:30…all with the thought that I was going to use the extra time in the morning to get more done.  Instead, I’ve been using the extra time in the morning to sleep, which is nice, but not very productive.  Starting tomorrow, I’m going to get up and walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes.  I’m going to do that four days a week and on Friday, I’m going to sleep later. 

Second…I’m going to stick to the house cleaning schedule I made six months ago.  J and I did a major cleaning a while back and the house was all sparkly and shiny.  But I didn’t keep up with it and now it’s kind of messy again.  Starting tonight, I’m going to do one or two chores off the list every day and I’m going to keep the house looking nice all the time. 

Third…I’m going to drink water.  I’m actually pretty good at this during the week.  I fill up my water bottle every morning and I suck down 20 ounces of water before lunch.  I get in a bit more during the afternoon.  But on the weekends, I don’t drink any water at all.  My goal is to get up to 64 ounces each day, including weekends, by the end of Lent. 

So that’s my Lent plan.  Let’s see if I can stick to it for all 40 days!

Oh…and I’m still going to eat meat on Fridays…because I think that’s a dumb rule.

What are you all going to do?


  1. I definitely don’t get the no meat thing. How does that make me a better person? Good on you for starting something though! I have a 32oz water bottle I fill up twice a day. I have to be careful about drinking it too late at night or I end up losing a lot of sleep from having to go to the bathroom a bajillion times!

  2. Yeah all the blog posts I’m reading this morning are inspiring me to try to do something for Lent. I usually fail though.

  3. You can’t eat meat on Fridays? WTH? Actually I’ve tried to start sneaking in a meat free meal at least once a week. So far I’ve only perfected veggie pizza… ha!

    Good for you these are great plans and great things that will work toward future goals for you as well.

    I’m not Catholic and I have never participated in Lent but I figured what the hay, this year I’m going to try to give up using sugar in my coffee for 40 days! I will use sweetener if needed, or just not drink the coffee at all but I want to prove to myself that I don’t need SUGAR to drink my coffee.

    Good luck with all this I’m here pulling for you!!! I will say you’ll probably notice after the first week of early wake-ups and using the treadmill for 30 mins that you feel more alive and awake in the AM it’s a great feeling. I want to start waking up earlier and getting my workout on in the AM too so maybe you’ll inspire me. I like having the evenings free!


  4. You just just gave me wicked flashback to the Ash Wednesday gathering in the school gym!
    Jesus never had a jacket to kneel on, indeed.
    Good for you, Shan! Whatever the reason, its always good to make positive changes (but you are way stronger than I am for getting up early to exercise).

  5. I totally agree about the no meat rule. Lame sauce! But I do love your goals and I wish you the best!

  6. Well, I was a good Catholic yesterday and went to mass on base to get my ashes. It was the first time I had attended mass there in over 6 months…although I’ve been attending the Protestant services sporadically over the past 3 months. So, yes, I had to look at the missile to remember the order of service. And when I went up to receive the ashes, the priest literally looked at me like “um…and who are YOU?” Whatever…I’ve been blessed. Of course, when I got to DivaV’s house last night to Wii Zumba, she looked at me and said “what’s all over your forehead”?? And somebody in Neal’s unit said to him yesterday, “What the hell is all over everybody’s foreheads? That can’t be authorized….” Um..God trumps country. Sorry, dude.

    For Lent, I am giving up all alcohol except for red wine…which is fair as I don’t really love red wine like I do champagne or muscat. I do eat the fish on Fridays, just because I like the tradition of it all. AND this year…I’m going to start going to stations of the cross on Friday!! I mean, I can’t remember the Hail Mary to save my life, but I’m going to learn it forwards and backwards after these 40 days. And then I have to figure out a Paleo-friendly way to make fried fish for after.

    I am not always successful through the whole 40 days, but it gives me a goal. And when I think the sacrifice is too great, I am reminded of Jesus praying on the mountain…without a jacket to kneel on and suddenly it all seems doable.

    Also, I’m giving up sex.

  7. Dang. My comment just erased :(

    I don’t know if I could give up anything for 40 days though I’d prob pick something that doesn’t mean much to me (which kind of defeats the purpose of Lent, doesn’t it?). Love the story of the nun and the coat, LOL!!

    Good for you for getting am workouts in! The nice thing about doing that is that you don’t have to worry about it again for the rest of the day and you’ll have a lot more energy (or so I’m told at least). Best of luck to you, Shana!You can do it :) :) :)

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