On the Christian calendar today is Good Friday -- a somber occasion that commemorates the crucifixion of Christ. In addition, Catholics are asked to fast and abstain from eating meat. Hence, the photos of spines on a cactus -- a stinging, prickly reminder of the Lenten season and those self-imposed practices that we may have undertaken during the past 40 days.
For example, again this year, I decided NOT to buy any clothes and/or accessories...not an easy task for someone who likes to shop. However, I must admit that in denying myself that pleasure I forced myself to truly appreciate the great apparel already in my closet, the neat pieces of jewelry just waiting to be worn and the MANY beautiful scarves stacked in the armoire! Although I always hate the idea of giving up this shopping privilege, doing so helps me shift my focus from wanting more to being grateful for ALL the blessings that I ALREADY have. And so, despite feeling a little prickly at first, this exercise is actually a gift to myself that is disguised as something "to give up" for Lent.