In January last year, Mr. Neff and I began a Lenten experiment. We wanted to see if we could eat adequate amounts of tasty and nutritious food on a food-stamp budget. We also wanted to see what we might learn from the attempt. I recorded the experiment in fifty almost-daily posts on my blog, Lively Dust. Trouble is, it's awkward for anyone to go back and read them, because blogs always put newest posts first.
To make them available in a more accessible format, I set up a new blog, The Lenten Experiment, and arranged the posts in chronological order from "1. Please advise us on our Lenten plans," written several weeks before Ash Wednesday, to "50. The Lenten Experiment: Analysis," written the week after Easter. In between are dozens of posts with recipes, menu plans, money-saving ideas, and cheap wine recommendations.
Ash Wednesday is coming up. Maybe after this year of continuing economic recession, congressional stalemates, a monster earthquake, and paralyzing snowstorms, we don't need a spiritual discipline to remind us that we are dust and ashes. On the other hand, maybe the simple act of trimming our food expenses for 40 days would help those of us in affluent countries to be grateful for what we still have, and mindful of the needs of others.
LaVonne Neff is an amateur theologian and cook; lover of language and travel; wife, mother, grandmother, godmother, dogmother; perpetual student, constant reader, and Christian contrarian. She blogs at Lively Dust.