40 Things to Give Up or Give Back During Lent

During Lent I am often troubled with what to give up. Nothing ever quite seems “right” or significant enough. I personally do better with giving to others and doing more of something. It stretches my heart, increases my level of empathy, and gives me sincere gratitude for all the things I’ve been given: oppose to, an act of “giving up” say; chocolate, which does not in fact stretch me beyond these walls.

I encourage you to do whichever is going to help you grow spiritually.  If fasting from a given item, thing, food, or habit does then by all means do that – but, if you are like myself and the fuel that feeds your soul is “doing” then get moving and act today; what are you waiting for? It’s not too late!

40 Days of Giving

 “40 Things to Give Up or Give Forward”

 Give up sugar drinks (pop/soda, juice)
Eat no or minimally processed foods 
Give up trying to be perfect; God doesn’t expect perfect. He wants you to take action, build strength, and learn from failure. 
Give up eating out
Give up your fears; pray for strength, wisdom, and growth. May your fears be cast aside and the next 40 days prepare you to let your wings spread wide open. 
Make a point to eat together at every meal (Be sure to register for your FREE Table Talk Starters for some great family discussion) 
Have a whining/complaining jar “do all things without complaining” if one fails they in turn pay a quarter. All monies shall be donated at the end of Lent. 
Give up social media
Implement no electronics after a given time of day (this includes phone use) 
Give up coffee, tea, or alcohol
Ice cream, cakes, and cookies 
Go vegetarian for 40 days or give up all red meat. Who knows you might just like it. 
Give up cheese and other dairy products
Turn the radio off in the car during lent. Use the time to talk with your family, pray, and reflect. 
Give up snacking after dinner 
Give up the need to impress others. Be you and do it well! 
Give up gossip, drama, and making comparisons. We all have a purpose, a drive, a mission to be fulfilled. Encourage others and share your story.
Be the “GIFT” of Lent (Give it forward for 40)

Make care packages for homeless
Bake cookies for a the firehouse
Clean out closets and donate gently used items to those in need
Make blankets for a local women/children shelter 
Purchase new books and stuffed animals for the pediatric cancer unit
Send flowers to an old friend
Take your kids to a nursing home to play games with the residents 
Go on a nature hike in your neighborhood and pick up garbage along the way
Make a meal for a new mom
Donate canned food to a local pantry
Host a can drive and donate all money to the local humane society or animal rescue
Make cards and jam for an elderly neighbor
Invite someone over you would like to get to know better for tea/coffee and donuts. Friendships don’t just happen you must initiate them. 
Babysit for a friend’s kid(s) free of charge 
Sign up for a marathon. Train during lent and start your fundraising campaign.
Give a just because gift to your mail carrier, the librarian, and doctors office to show your appreciation for them. 
Volunteer at a local soup kitchen
Make encouraging book marks and leave them in library books for others to find. 
Use your talents to teach others. Teach someone to sew, cook, or read.
Make a point to be generous to others through a cheerful smile, a simple act (hold the door), or letting someone cut in line. Wear your heart on your sleeve and put your pride in your pocket. 

Giving 40!!

Sunday I sent out an email that included the following;

“Lent is upon us! Did you know? Lent is from the Anglo-Saxon word lengten, which means spring. [From Modern Catholic Dictionary by John Hardon, S.J.]”

“During Lent we often think of “giving things up” i.e candy, chocolate, coffee, etc. When in fact; it is a time to reflect on our lives, and take hold of opportunities to live richer, sin free lives. It is “leaving behind an old way of living and acting in order to embrace new life in Christ.”

“That said, I have decided this year (since my children are so young we are going to commit to a minimum of 40 hours of service over the rest of the year. Although, I would love to complete 40 hours of service during lent alone I do not know that our schedule allows for such a commitment (we shall see!)”.

“So yes, we are doing approximately 5 hours of service a month!! In such a self centered world I think it is important to teach my children that the sun does not rise and set for him/her alone!!”

“So, how does this affect you? Along the way we maybe inviting you to serve along way or present opportunities of “Almsgiving” as a sign of our care for those in need and an expression of our gratitude for all that God has given to us.”

First up;

A family that my children and I know (they are in our MOPS group as well as a few homeschool groups we associate with!) is in need!! Their home caught fire Saturday morning. (SIDE NOTE: We do not know this family personally…simply have exchanged smiles, a few words here and there. A sweet family indeed and most deserving as I myself can not imagine losing everything.) Did I mention this family has 10 kids?

“The kids and I will be putting together “little” care packages for each of the 10 children so I would LOVE your help in doing so :)”

SOOO…that was the plan, right?

Well, my home has since been turned into a full fledge donation center..skip the care packages! I quickly came to realize the amount of donations coming in for this family far exceeds anything that I could put in a few boxes. The need was great and God has certainly provided. The family is doing well, I have since been in contact with Mom several times. Donations are all being held at a kind woman’s home who has given up her garage for the time being to store everything. There is talk of a sort of “rummage” sale to raise money for the family. Since the out pouring love, prayers, and generosity far exceeds what they themselves and surely myself expected.

Remember I was thinking care packages?! Here is roughly what has been collect in just “5” days (keep in mind this is ONLY what I have here…there are several others “housing” things)

Toys (legos, play sets, etc.)
Soap (bar and liquid)
Hair stuff (combs, brushes,  pony holders)
Clothes (all sizes)
pantry items (beans, tomatoes, applesauce)
cereal and snacks
gift cards…

And the list continues…the outpouring love (again) for a family which I barely know has been a true testament as to the number of lives we do not know we touch on a daily basis. I can guarantee this family had no idea how many would come forth to “help” them. It is amazing to see the number of people they (a family of 12) have “touched” over the years. So I leave you with this….

Although, we may only exchange a smile, a quick “hello”, or no “exchange” of communication at all with someone….that “someone” may just be the person/s who will help you along the way when you need it the most.

The saying “think before you act!” There is something to be said about “nice” people. And this local family truly “ranks among some of the nicest” clearly by the shear amount of support seen in a just a few short days!

Yummy! Caramel French Toast


Although, Lent  has passed we still tend to eat a lot of breakfast on Fridays…so I thought I would share a “meatless” family favorite with all of you!!

This is a great lent treat and or Easter morning breakfast!! This can also be made ahead and put in the fridge for the next day…quick and easy!! Original Post Featured at myhappyhomestead.com