SONY DSCSince I was a little girl, I have always observed the Lenten season. I grew up in a traditional Protestant church, although most of my Protestant friends from other denominations didn’t recognize the church holiday. The ritual of attending an Ash Wednesday service, meditating on the Scripture and prayers, and walking to the front of the sanctuary for the imposition of ashes became something I looked forward to as much as Christmas or Easter. Lent always symbolized a period of discipline. It was a season of growth, of a sacrifice for something greater.

I remember one year I gave up drinking soda, and went the entire forty days without a single drop of Dr. Pepper. I was in high school or middle school, and this was a pretty big deal because I’d gotten into the [VERY BAD] habit of drinking a bottle during my after-lunch math class. For Easter lunch I…

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