Today, Ash Wednesday, mark the first day of Lent.  In the Episcopal church, we observe Lent by trying to better our lives and the lives around us by either giving up something or taking something on.  For years now, I’ve given up Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook because I’m absolutely addicted and it’s a huge time-suck.  Seriously, I’ve wasted hundreds of valuable hours playing that stupid game.  Every year I give it up, I think, “Maybe this will be the year I give it up for good.”  Never happens.  Every Easter, I’m right back on that game, trying to match as many gems as I can to get the high score.

This year, however, I’d like to do something a little more significant than giving up an online computer game.  One of my goals for over a year now has been to live a less materialistic life and to donate things that I no longer use (books don’t count – I always reread books).  I’ve actually been really good about cleaning out and finding things to give away, but every time I get rid of stuff, I feel like new stuff rolls in to take its place!  I’m not sure if there’s some sort of strange universal equation that states that whatever leaves the house must be replaced, but something is up.  For some reason, even though I donate bags and bags, it never feels less cluttered.  I feel constantly burdened by things I don’t need, so this Lenten season, I’m going to really focus my time on cleaning out and donating.

For the record, my family donates all of our stuff to Operation Kindness, which benefits homeless animals.  We’re big animal lovers.

My second goal is to visit every independent book store in the metroplex.  Although I feel very involved in the online book community, I haven’t been as active in the real life book community, and that needs to change.  I live in the third largest arts district in the nation.  I know there are opportunities out there.  I just need to be brave enough to go out and take them.

My other goals are pretty generic, and ones that I really have all year, like spending more time in nature.  I’m always happiest outside.  Nature is better for my mental and spiritual well-being than anything.  Even more so than reading or writing.  Yes, I said it.  I’m so thankful that spring is just around the corner. Frigid temperatures really take a toll on my time spent outside.

So, there you have it.  My goals for the next forty days.  Of course, I’ll keep writing and revising.  After all, yesterday marked TEN WEEKS until Boy Band is released!  I can see the finish line, but there’s still so much to be done!  As always, it will all be worth it.