CatholicMom: Summer Project: Blessed by Less

Summer gives us some flexibility to take on projects that can mirror those of Lent, or those we wish we had done for Lent. For Susan Vogt, author of Blessed by Less, a Lenten challenge became an addiction. Her forty bags for forty days campaign on her blog encouraged others to join her in giving away one bag of unneeded items every day for 40 days. The discipline of giving things away began to lift the burdens of clutter, confusion and indecision about things she didn’t use. Her new freedom set in motion a new radical, simplified, ecologically friendly lifestyle.

Living with less became a spiritual challenge for her and her husband 365 days a year. Soul-searching questions arose such as “How much is enough?” and “How much is too much?” These questions apply to everything in our lives from tithing to eating, from clothes to memorabilia, from relationships to emotional burdens of worry, sadness, guilt and fear of death.

Soon she was scrutinizing everything in her life and weighing its usefulness to the empty-nester stage of her life. Would she be better without it? Could someone else benefit more than her from having it?

She found that living lightly cleans out her home, shares the wealth, is good for the Earth and spiritually fulfilling. Learning to live more generously, humbly and lightly became her way of making a positive difference in the world.

(Read Susan's ten rules of thumb for living lightly on

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About Nancy Ward

Nancy HC Ward is a journalist, author, and speaker who blogs about Catholicism, her conversion, and Christian community at,
 7 websites and 7 magazines. She loves to share her faith story and help others share theirs through her Sharing Your Faith Stories seminars, also available on DVD. She contributed four chapters to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. She facilitates the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers and a critique group for the Catholic Writers Guild, where she serves as a board member.
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