TracyTracy Rusch, co-editor of MyFaithDuring one of our dinner/movie nights, my cousin told me she took down the Christmas tree she and her husband enjoyed so much during their first Christmas together because it was losing its needles, but also because she stopped turning on the lights.

To her, not turning on the lights meant she “wasn’t appreciating it anymore.” The idea has stuck with me since.

How much of what I have in my life am I not appreciating, and in what ways have I stopped turning on the lights? I’m not going to be physically hauling anything out to the curb – my tree, which is fake, is less than 2 feet tall, and I still enjoy plugging in the lights and curling up to read a good book with hot chocolate in hand.

If I had a dried out Christmas tree making a carpet of needles all over my floor, I’d haul it to the curb, too. Real Christmas trees and cut flowers are meant to be appreciated while they last.

But for all of the other “Christmas trees” in my life, I hope I’ll always find a reason to turn on the lights.

Lent, which begins Feb. 22, is a great time to appreciate people in your life and belongings you own. Check out our list of ideas for things you can give up or actions you can take during this Lent.

Also in this issue, you’ll find the story of 26-year-old Elizabeth Wessa who’s living off of her personal savings to pursue her dream of acting in New York, mini-profiles of young adults in the archdiocese, a columnist’s tribute to Lisa-Marie Calderone-Stewart, who died of pancreatic cancer last year and more.

Remember to send story ideas, questions for columnists, calendar events or comments to See you in April!