Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Defeat, Endurance, Loss: The Stuff of Lent

Seems life has been hard, really hard,  lately.
I've noticed that my family's not alone in this.
Many seem to be coasting along despite the cracks and the
bumps in the road.
While typically minor and temporary,
I don't know, the rolling mounds have become mountains overnight,
 giving way to jostling, bouncing and 
outright crashing against a brick wall.
Lent is hard...heck, being Catholic's hard enough.
And when life moves along swimmingly, 
we approach Lent with lofty goals, don't we?
Goals both physical..... 
the cleaning, decluttering, freshening of the house...
now that'd be amazing....  
spiritual ...the putting on of love, the prayer time carved out......
Really living this liturgical season.
Really spending time with the Lord.
 And at this point, as  the calendar marches toward Easter, 
there's a  battle for Lent, for many of us.
I'm certainly not giving up and  I know many
others waging war.....they're reloading as well.
can say that the  sacrificing of a few treats
during these 40 days? Yeah, that's not even on my radar 
given the loss, the scares, the day to day tough stuff
that life is throwing our way......
A bit of chocolate or  Dr Pepper?
You know what...I'm not avoiding the good stuff as I have
in Lents passed.
We've lived all 7 of them  -  and numerous   times over  too - 
before and during the Lenten season....and while
it probably sounds very unCatholic of me to say so, 
the "bury the dead"  and "visit the sick" edict
is starting to wear a little thin on all of us around here.
Whether or not we want to, whether or not we're able to,
there are just those times when we have to throw off the trappings
of the world and  be transformed by the renewal of our minds 
And really, the only way I'm able to forge ahead is precisely because 
I'm in this battle with fellow soldiers who keep me focused.
My family, my friends.
They remind me through their actions that I can do 
all things through Him who strengthens me.

There are losses this Lenten season and there is difficult news
 but none of it comes without knowing the Lord walks with us as we forge ahead.

Ash Wednesday saw the passing of a favorite Aunt.
And so our season began with tears and memories 
we hadn't thought of in....well, years.
 Aunt Mary, although she was 91 when she died,
means youth, and laughter and silliness and
strong political ideas and resilience.
The best creamed spinach this side of heaven.
The perfect setting of a table for holidays, for any day.
Because whenever family came to The Driscolls' ,
that day was special to Aunt Mary.
There's no one who can create a home, a meal, a table
that is uniquely as welcoming as Aunt Mary.
Before tablescapes were called tablescapes, she had perfected them.
For all occasions and in all themes.
< Aunt Mary and my boys Summer 2009 Florida >

And even if there was really nothing you could do in her kitchen to 'help,"
she'd create a job for you.
She'd have you peeling, beating or wiping, just to be involved,
just to feel part of the preparation.
The young ones as well as the older folks
had this privilege
because there was always room in Aunt Mary's kitchen.

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Aunt Mary had been ill for quite some time.
When we received the
call, we weren't surprised although we were
still saddened, of course.
When someone is young ( ish), is a vital and influential
part of your family's life, knows your history,  shares your history,
when the call comes that is unexpected,
sudden and can be truly hard to pick up the pieces..

<  First Holy Communion April 2010 >

Our pastor and friend, Fr Charlie wasn't just a parish priest.
He perfected the art of listening.
Oh, believe me, we didn't  see eye to eye on many issues.
Or even most issues.
He  taught my boys how to
respectfully addition to
teaching them how to live the Word.
He funeral mass was tough, but beautiful.
And he'll be missed greatly.

<First Holy Communion April 2008 >

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A few years ago, I received an email from a fellow blogger
asking me to participate in a blog tour for her family's adoption journey.
To be honest, I was not familiar with Mandy's work at that time,
but came to become not only a follower of her writing and a friend
of hers as well as an admirer of her deep devotion to our Lord.

I was blessed to know Mandy Kelly, though I never met her
"in person," and honored to have been a small part
of her family's efforts to bring their youngest child home...
ten month old, Judah.
Last Monday evening, only hours after many of us interacted
with Mandy through the blogosphere,
she, her husband Scott and their two youngest, Lizzie and Judah,
perished in a house fire.
It's still so difficult to fathom how and why and to realize that
this world is now without beautiful Mandy.
Please pray for the Kellys'  friends and family as they 
mourn the losses and especially
for the oldest two children, who did survive the fire
as the move on with their lives.
To read the inspiration and love
that guided Mandy please click to her blog~
Worshipful Living

If you feel called to donate to the Kelly family's
tangible necessities, the information on
how to do so is below
 Choose the ‘Kelly fund" from the drop down options
under the GIVE button.

Struggling with Lenten discipline isn’t failure. 
 Every time we struggle, every time we ask for help
 we see the boundless generosity of God. 

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Until next time,



  1. I'm so sorry for all of these devastating losses, my sweet friend. I love your incredibly comforting words: "There are losses this Lenten season and there is difficult news but none of it comes without knowing the Lord walks with us as we forge ahead." Such truth here, Chris, but I know even with Him alongside us, the journey can be so difficult. Much love to you and your precious family as you move forward in healing. Praying for you all!

    1. Aw, thanks for your kind words and for taking the time to come visit!

      I so love when you stop by!
      God bless Candace!

  2. Chris,
    I'm so sorry that this Lent seems you are truly trying to survive in a desert of sorts with so many loved ones passing. Despite the pain, I love your faith and hope! God bless your perseverance and focus on the Lord!

    1. Tracy
      Thank YOU for stopping by and leaving such a kind message, my friend.

  3. I know that life has been tough girl. It's all around us. The evil one trying to scare us and lead us astray. God is with you. You know that.
    And I am praying for you and hugging you from Texas!

    1. It has been, right?? Lots of forces of evil, you are definitely correct!

      Thanks Em for stopping by, being such a great friend and for your kind words..xoxoxo

  4. Chris,

    I am so sorry to hear about all your losses. Death is definitely a difficult passage for those who are left behind. I've prayed for you and your family. And, I had so many friend impacted by Mandy's death. I wish I'd had the opportunity to know her.

    Thank you so much for linking this up with the 40 Days of Seeking Him. You're one of the featured posts this week.

    If you have some new ones to add, I hope you'll have a chance to link up this week at

    1. Laura
      Thanks for the kind words!
      And how awesome to be one of the features Thank you my friend.

      Loving your 40 Days link's wonderful.


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