Originally created on March 1, 2009 (Updated Feb. 17, 2010 and again Feb. 18, 2018)

A scarcity mentality can darken our joy and blind us to the abundance that is before us. We need to break through the chains that captivate us in selfishness. Certainly, God is the first one whom we need to seek. In addition, we can do some spiritual and concrete things which will remind us of the joy which God wants us to have. 

In addition, Lent provides us with a particularly focus time to explore ways that we can give God the glory, love others, and care/love ourselves. Instead of focusing on giving up things, there are many things we can do, things that could reawaken our sensibilities to the amazing things God has done in our midst.

Therefore, I would like to offer my list of 101 concrete ways to combat our culture of scarcity in which we now live. All these things, while seemingly small or even trivial, can be very spiritual and concrete actions that can help us from day to day. I am not endorsing any particular companies nor attempting to advertise any businesses, but simply referencing local ideas that may serve to help you discern how you may be able to accomplish some of these ideas. Maybe you can create your own 101 ideas and act on them.

1. Pray. 

2. Pray.

3. Pray some more. 

4. Read the Gospel of Mark 

5. Vacuum the floor 

6. Concentrate on paying off a debt (start with the smallest) 

7. Clean the work bench in the garage 

8. Take someone out for dinner 

9. Get rid of clutter around a specific area 

10. Turn off the evening news on television 

11. Compete your tax return 

12. Smile at someone and wish them a good day 

13. Mop the kitchen floor 

14. Join a menʼs or womenʼs faith sharing group 

15. Clean out that junk drawer 

16. Walk around the block noticing things around you 

17. Give out socks to the homeless 

18. Clean up that mess on your computerʼs desktop 

19. Attend Mass during the week 

20. Donate unused clothes to a local charity 

21. Read the Acts of the Apostles 

22. Read a book about the faith 

23. Wash your clothes 

24. Clean the inside of the car 

25. Serve at a soup kitchen 

26. Make a random donation to your favorite charity 

27. Go to Confession 

28. Watch an uplifting TV program 

29. Eat some chocolate 

30. Wash the car of a family member without letting them know 

31. Serve once at Coffee and Donuts on Sunday 

32. Take up a new hobby such as photography or woodworking 

33. Start playing your favorite sport 

34. Mail $20 to someone anonymously 

35. Open the drapes/blinds in the house 

36. Go on a retreat 

37. Clean up your e-mail on your computer 

38. Visit some children 

39. Attend Evening Prayer at Mount Angel Abbey 

40. Go camping as a retreat… bring a bible and a journal 

41. Adopt a pet from a shelter

42. Exercise 

43. Watch an old favorite movie that you haven’t seen in a long time

44. Write a snail-mail letter/card to someone who may need it  

45. Start a Facebook account and connect with friends

46. Go on a homeless immersion retreat with JOIN  

47. Do something “green” (ie. use a recyclable bag when shopping, unscrew one light bulb in the house, turn off unused lights, avoid using plastic bags)

48. Go to the Zoo, OMSI, or Evergreen Air & Space Museum 

49. Make an effort to tell someone what yo appreciate about them 

50. Take a Sunday drive 

51. Visit St. Rita's Retreat or the Trappist Abbey or other retreat Center

52. Go on a wine-tasting tour with a friend

53. Go to/rent an uplifting or thought provoking movie 

54. East some popcorn with butter 

55. Mow the lawn 

56. Offer your time as a Eucharistic Minister or Lector at Mass 

57. Go to the coast or mountains for a day 

58. Paint something 

59. Go for a bike ride 

60. Drive the scenic route 

61. Share a funny story about yourself with someone and laugh at yourself 

62. Listen to your favorite (uplifting) song 

63. Curl up with your spouse 

64. Look at funny animal pictures on the Internet 

65. Go watch some live music 

66. Go fishing 

67. Go to see some amazing waterfalls (Multnomah, Silver Creek, etc.) 

68. Clean the siding of your house 

69. Do an online retreat: ie. Creighton University or Sacred Space or Loyal Press

70. Work in your garden 

71. Try a new food 

72. Go skiing, sledding, or tubing, thankful for God's gift of recreation

73. Take someone to a play performance 

74. Go to bed early and get up early 

75. Read about the Lives of the Saints 

76. Build a model 

77. Go garage-saling or window shopping instead of regular shopping

78. Enroll in a class that you've always wanted to take 

79. Send flowers anonymously (or not) to someone who may need them 

80. Pray the rosary

81. Clean the garage 

82. Learn to play the guitar (maybe lessons?) 

83. Take a class to use your computer better 

84. Spread good news about someone behind their back 

85. Lounge in a hammock in the backyard, weather permitting 

86. Go on a Marriage Encounter Weekend 

87. Read the Book of Lamentation 3:21-24 

88. Go Geocaching with a friend 

89. Turn off your cell phone for a day

90. Let someone cut in front of you in traffic

91. Instead of watching television, read a book about the Faith

92. Go for a walk picking up garbage as you go 

93. Pay for the car behind you in the drive thru 

94. Go tent camping in your backyard or living room 

95. Spend an hour in silent prayer listening (not talking) to God

96. Help a neighbor with a project 

97. Wear Shorts, flip-flops, and a Hawaiian Shirt all day 

98. Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

99. Walk around your town's center plaza (ie. Waterfront Park and Pioneer Square in Portland)

100. Take a day trip to Mt. Ashland, Mt. Hood, Mt Shasta, Mt. St. Helens, or a nearby mountain

101. Write your own list of 101 Spiritual Acts in a Culture of Scarcity


'cause I just couldn't stop, here's some more... 


102. Rent a canoe or kayak and take it to your favorite lake 

103. Make an inspiring music video or slide show 

104. Crank up an uplifting song in your house and dance 

105. Hug a friend 

106. Go for a helicopter ride 

107. Watch a silly movie with a friend 

108. Call a person on the phone with whom you haven't talked in a long time 

109. Donate money to a charity 

110. Babysit a relative's child so they can go on a date 

111. Drive someone to Mass 

112. Take a day off from work and spend it doing goo deeds for others

113. Thank someone for something they've done, and mean it.

114. Listen to someone and don't talk

115. Thank God for all you've been given

116. Volunteer to tutor someone

117. Create your own "Bucket List". Watch the movie of the same name 

118. Accept others where they are at and not where they should be

119. Make breakfast for dinner

120. Rearrange your furniture

121. Volunteer at your Church

122. Give a lottery ticket to someone

123. Post a positive comment on someone's blog/web page

124. Stay local during Spring Break and enjoy God's creation in your own zip code

125. Give a phone card to a homeless person

126. Write a thank you to someone who has made a difference in your life

127. Visit a animal shelter and pet the dogs and cats

128. Powerwash the driveway

129. Whistle a happy tune while walking around

130. Invite friends over for a car washing party

131. Go skydiving

132. Donate blood

133. Fast one meal and give a sack lunch to a homeless person

134. Tell your parents how grateful you are to them

135. Bring cookies or sweets to share with your coworkers

136. Submit an editorial in the newspaper about how great life is

137. Praise a fellow employee to their boss

138. Take flowers and a get well card to someone in the hospital who has none

139. Leave an anonymous note on the windshield of someone's car wishing them a great day

140. Share your concessions with those around you at a sporting event

141. Buy a gift certificate for a dinner for two and anonymously mail it to someone you know

142. Donate stuff or time to a fundraiser

143. Help someone with their homework

144. Donate food or money to the St. Vincent de Paul

145. Donate blankets, sheets, towels, socks, and toiletries to a homeless shelter

146. Volunteer at a Special Olympics Event

147. Volunteer to do simple work at your church's office

148. Clean out your refrigerator

149. Volunteer to pet-sit for a neighbor or friend

150. Create a web site for a non-profit group

151. Volunteer with your local Habitat for Humanity group

152. Sing along to the radio or a CD playing your favorite Christian song

153. Search the Internet for "stories of hope"

154.  Visit an art, history, or nature museum

155. Get a Twitter account and follow your favorite people

156. Paint your mailbox in a creative way.

157. Get a massage

158. Visit someone in a nursing home

159. Hike the nearest mountain

160. Go for a scooter ride.

161. Give yourself $1 to feed yourself all day

162. E-mail someone whom you haven't communicated with in a while

163. Go on a homeless immersion retreat with JOIN

164. Volunteer at your church

165. Go to a park and photograph wildlife

167. Sleep in your guest room or living room floor instead of your own bedroom

168. Volunteer to help clean someone's home who can't do it themselves

169. Volunteer to go shopping for someone who is homebound

170. Rent an inspirational movie

171. Drive slower and notice the things around you

172. Anonymously mail some money to someone who needs it

173. Take someone to lunch or dinner

174. Go for a walk around the neighborhood. Make sure to say hi to everyone you meet.

175. Write and mail a greeting card to someone who could use some support

176. Go to the library and seek out an inspirational book

177. Invite someone to go with you to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (a.k.a. confession)

178. Pray for someone you dislike

179. Pray Morning Prayer 

180. Drink a glass of water, thankful to have clean water

180. Join a prayer chain

182. Clean your bathroom

183. Choose to fast for a day

184. Go visit the local Pet Shelter/Humane Society

185. Read a book about a Saint

186. Lock up your credit card and pay down your debt

187. Read a Psalm of Praise such as Ps. 104 or 145 or 150... find your favorite

188. Clean out unused or old food in your kitchen

189. Go bird watching

190. Create a list of things for which you are thankful

191. Attend a youth sports game

192. Go to a lily farm

193. Ride the local bus system from one side of the metro area to the other. Notice things around you.

194. Give up music for a period of time

195. Fast from carbon by giving up your electronics

196. Go bowling or play putt-putt-golf with a friend

197. Go to your local Farmer's Market or Flee Market (ie. Saturday Market in Portland)

198. Tell others how thankful you are about the weather (a.k.a. don't complain about the weather)

199. Listen carefully to the person with you before talking about your own stuff

200. Pray that God will do what is best for the politician you dislike the most

201. Find out what a dollar will buy in a 3rd world country.

202. Make someone laugh

203. Call mom and/or dad every day and tell them that you love them

204. Site quietly for 5 minutes and listen to your breathing

205. Buy a couple of bags of groceries and give it to a needy family

206. Donate money to your local Catholic or faith-based School

207. Join a choir

208. Make your bed

209. Take a neighbor's dog for a walk

210. Unplug your TV and put it in the garage for a month or two

211. Do some spiritual reading online

212. Pray the Liturgy of the Hours

213. Use our FORMED subscription to do an online mini-retreat. 


Ideas from Busted Halo.com

214. Make a commitment to read the Sunday scriptures before you go to Mass.

215. Sign up or just go spend an hour of Eucharistic Adoration. 

216. Think about what you usually spend your money on. Do you buy too many clothes? Spend too much on dinner out? Pick one type of expenditure that you’ll “fast” from during Lent, and then give the money you would usually spend to a local charity.

217.  Commit to 40 days of letter writing, 40 acts of kindness, 40 phone calls to the important people in your life.

218. When you first sit down in front of your computer at work, or at the very end of your workday, try a 10-minute guided prayer from Sacred Space based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius.

219. If you don’t have a cross in your house, buy a simple one and put it in your bedroom.

220. Artist: Spend time each day drawing or taking a picture of something that reminds you of God’s love in creation. Maybe post it on your social media account to share with others.

221. Read the entire Gospel of Mark in one sitting.

222. Attend the Stations of the Cross. There are many online versions as well.

223. Get some friends together on Friday’s and have a simple meatless dinner

224. Unplug from your iPhone or turn off your car radio on your commute. The silence may be jarring at first, but you may find that you are able to concentrate better and will be more observant of your surroundings.

225. Buy a book of daily reflections and keep it by your bed.

226. Think about a habit that has kept you from being whom God is calling you to be. Consciously give up that habit for Lent.

227. Spend at least one weekend or evening volunteering during Lent. Cook a meal and give it to someone who is on the streets. Visit the elderly. 

228. Make a commitment to fast from insensitive, cruel comments about others. So, no gossiping or going down the Twitter rabbit hole.

229. Participate in a small faith sharing group.

230. As a part of your Lenten almsgiving, make a point to learn more about a particular social issue (immigration, human trafficking, racism, the environment, public education, child poverty). Give money to an organization related to your chosen issue that supports the dignity of the human person.