Tara, if all that soda you drink has caffeine, be sure to replace the caffeine with tea or coffee so you don’t have unbearable withdrawal.
In general, I think it’s important to make the season of Lent really different from the rest of the year by stripping away things that distract from one’s relationship with God. It should be a less festive time, marked by some deprivation and more prayer and more good done for others.
For example, that means (for me) making Friday night less of a TGIF with pizza and beer and more of a simple supper and Stations of the Cross at church.
It means not scoffing at giving up things like sweets and soda and coffee. Last year I gave up sweets, and was a little embarrassed about it. Hey - I’m fifty-some years old and STILL giving up sweets?? Then I realized it was a subtle form of spiritual pride making me say that. Giving up sweets is a real sacrifice of a real and legitimate pleasure, of something that gives a festive air to the day. Unless you are “giving up” something you don’t really enjoy, this is a fine thing to do. It won’t do me much good to give up smoking or sushi, but my sweet goodies really are a sacrifice. Maybe someday I’ll grow up.
Other things I’ve given up - my favorite local talk radio program, meat, white flour, rolling my eyes and the critical spirit that goes with that, and wasting time, money & food. That last one was really tough. It’s so easy to just pick up dinner rather than cook, to spend hours online for no good reason, to buy myself a little something whenever I go to buy something necessary. That year, I had to buy a gift for someone, and found myself in the aisle in Target with the vases and such. I love flowers and vases, and I saw the most wonderful little vase that I wanted. It was only about $7, but I stayed strong and didn’t buy it. That little vase haunted me all of Lent, and the day after Easter, I went and bought it!
I like to have a special book to read for Lent, also. Last year it was *The Sacred Passion *by de la Palma. This year I’m thinking about What Jesus Saw From the Cross. Other good ones are *A Doctor At Calvary *and The Day Christ Died.
And I try to get serious about prayer and daily Mass and such. And more frequent confession. And deeper examination of conscience so important issues get taken care of in confession.
Hope you all have a profitable Lent!