Vision from the Frontlines: 40 Bags in 40 Days

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This post is the eleventh installment of a series on children’s faith development called Vision from the Frontlines:  Voices, Experiences & Practices of Faith Development.  For more information about this series, click here.  Today I am excited to welcome my friend through the “interwebs”, Mel Larson who blogs at The Larson Lingo.  I have been reading Mel’s blog for over a year now and have been inspired by her creativity and ideas.  Her humor, love and dedication to her family is evident throughout her posts and if you need party ideas, recipes or inspiration for your home, she is your lady.  In fact next Wednesday, I will be linking up with her current series, “Soup’s On“, sharing a fun and easy soup recipe.  Thank you, Mel, for sharing here today.  I hope her 40 Bags in 40 Days project for Lent will inspire you—as a Middle School math teacher and mom of three, if she can make it happen, we all can!

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Hi Everyone!
My name is Mel and I am so excited to be guest posting today!
A little bit about me…I live in California, born & raised!
I love Jesus, wine, coffee, photography & throwing parties.
Target is my Happy Place.
I have been married for 10 years to Kevin and we have 3 sweet kids.
 Kate is 6, Claire is 4 and our baby boy Luke is 6 months old.
I am a part time 7th grade math teacher and have been teaching for 9 years.Before I was a middle school teacher, I worked in Youth Ministry and was the Middle School Director at our church for 2.5 years.
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A few years ago I heard about the idea of doing 40 Bags in 40 Days during the Lenton Season.
The idea is that during the 40 days of Lent, you rid your house of 40 bags of “stuff”.This “stuff” can be things you don’t use… junk, clothes you don’t need/wear, clutter, old toys, etc.
If you look at my house, it is very clutter free….that is until you look in the closets & drawers.They are SO unorganized & full junk. Seriously, it is scary what my closets & drawers look like.It reminds me of how we all appear sometimes. Good on the outside & messy on the inside.To me, Lent is a time of prayer, self-reflection, sacrifice, self-control and renewal.A good home de-cluttering can go hand in hand with the Lenten
season, just like our lives may look put together on the outside,
on the inside we are a mess and need an intervention &
de-cluttering ourselves.

It is kind of gross how much STUFF we have, that we don’t even need.The amount of clothes I have, but haven’t worn in months/years is embarrassing.They need to be given away to people who need clothes.We have more than we need..it’s time to SIMPLIFY.

Last year, when I did 40 Bags in 40 Days for Lent,I gave AWAY 24 bags of stuff to Goodwill.
I threw AWAY 28 bags of stuff.That is 52 bags of stuff we didn’t use, need or wasted.
That makes me sick to my stomach that I had that much “junk” and extra stuff in our house.
And, what’s really sad is that I am doing 40 Bags in 40 Days again this Lenton Season because even though I got rid of all that stuff last year, there is still SO much more I can and should get rid of.   I not a big shopper, but I am SO guilty of buying the “little” stuff, especially at Target. Can I get an Amen?
So many times I will give in and buy my girls something from the Dollar Bins just to keep them happy & entertained while we are shopping.
But, what is that teaching them? That “things” will make you happy? That if you ask for something you  get it?  That it’s okay to buy something just because it’s inexpensive?  All these “things” aren’t meaningful and create clutter. I have really made an effort in the past few months to not buy this stuff for them.   I want to be a good example for my kids.  They watch our every move.  They see what we buy, they hear what we say, they see what we giveaway.
I always start my 40 Bags in 40 Days project with cleaning out MY closet and my dressers first so that my girls know that I am giving away things also. Then we do their room & closets and I talk to them how there are kids who aren’t as fortunate as they are and who barely have anything. It would make those kids so happy if we were able to give them clothes, toys and books that we don’t need anymore.   My girls are 4 and 6 so these are the perfect ages to start good habits of giving away things to others we don’t need or use.  We also talk about how God has blessed us and that we can those things to bless others.
In this world of consumerism, materialism and “keeping up with the Jonses”, I want my kids to realize that even though we have more than we ever need, that LESS IS MORE.  It is a saying that I also need to remind myself of each day.
You can read more about my 40 Bags in 40 Days on my blog.
I will be posting tips and Before/After pictures as I de-clutter this Lenton season.

2 thoughts on “Vision from the Frontlines: 40 Bags in 40 Days

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