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Families And the Ties That Bind

A number of years ago, I interviewed for a job. When I was hired, the guy who would be my boss told me: "We will treat you just like family." I hesitated. I mean, no matter how a great a family is, there are some bumps in the road. If you're from an Irish family, being treated like family can mean anything from getting terrific gifts for your birthday to getting un-invited from a reunion because you forgot your 2nd cousin's anniversary.

In our family, we've had a couple of small weddings in the past few years. Typically, our family weddings are all-out bashes, sending out invitations to everyone from Mom's great aunt Clodagh to your cousin, his wife and their 10 kids.

Smaller weddings are certainly understandable. It's expensive. A lot of our family members are footing the bill themselves, rather than relying on Mom and Dad. And, honestly, some of our family members don't know each other too well. If you're trying to be frugal, the guest list has…
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Family Dinner (and why there is a kitten on my head)

With our kids now grown (one at home), it became obvious to me this past year that unless we made a specific effort to be together, it wasn't gonna happen. Thus was born Family Dinner.

It's simple: we host dinner the last Sunday of every month. Bring a date, bring a friend but be there. Dear Hubby likes to cook, so it's win-win. And the kids responded. It's became rather sacred to all of us: "Oh, sorry. I can't. That's Family Dinner."

We hosted a Special Edition Family Dinner yesterday, as Curly-Haired Daughter is home for a family wedding next weekend. As Hubby laid-out a roasted pork loin dinner, I was happy to have the table set and extended, a couple of extra chairs rounded up, and kids surrounding us.

Our "entertainment" was the newest edition to the family, a tiger-striped kitten named Galway Girl. She has yet to learn that the table is not a playground. Her preferred sleeping spot is either my shoulder or the top of my head. Who know…

What to do at the end of your rope? Hold on tight and cry.

In some ways, things are looking up. Curly-Haired daughter is home for about 10 days, as she is matron of honor for her cousin. Esther, her cousin, is 90 lbs. of dynamite. She's a bit off-beat, and the wedding is going to be a bit off-beat, but I'm still excited for her.

I've got a job! I'm keeping it a bit low-key as I interviewed for another position Friday. I'm 99% sure they are going to offer me a job, and I don't want them to read about me taking another job on Facebook. More on the job and the process of getting there later.

I'm also going to be doing some freelance writing for extra money. Busy girl.

Yet, with all this, my heart is filled with dread. Our bank account is in the negative numbers - 14 weeks of my being unemployed has added up. Our expenses have not increased (and in some ways, they've decreased) but here is the sad fact: we can't pay our rent this month. We honestly could be evicted. I've hit up a couple of people for a loa…

BE something or DO something?

As my anxious mind was over-working itself in the wee hours of the morning, I was interspersing worry with prayer. "God, what do you want me to DO? Three months of job searching and I still don't know what you want me to DO!"

We like to DO. We want to be busy and to contribute and to look back and feel accomplished. But that often isn't what it needed, necessary or good.

A dear friend is sitting vigil with his mother right now. She is dying of cancer. I've been there. At some point in the care of the loved one, the discussions move from "what do we do" to just being. There isn't anything we can DO in the dying process - God calls us to simply BE with our loved one. And anyone who thinks this is easy or not helpful or not unsettling has never done it.

In Genesis, Jacob/Israel wrestles with "a man" whom Biblical scholars say is God. When the man tells Jacob to let go, Jacob refuses. He won't let go until he gets a blessing. Now, if this …

A change in perspective

I'll admit it: I was getting a bit frantic in my job search. SEND OUT ALL THE RESUMES! SOMEONE HIRE ME!

Kinda like that. It wasn't good.

Providentially, I went away for the weekend to visit a friend. It was only supposed to be an overnight trip, but I was so relaxed and enjoying the company so much...I stayed. (Just as I was discussing this with my friend, Dear Husband sent me a text to say, "Stay another night if you need to." He really is the best.)

My friend and I actually stayed with her aunt and uncle, as my friend was visiting from out of state. I enjoy their company as well. They have a beautiful home and quite a collection of art. I feasted with my eyes.

I should probably mention that my friend's family are news and political junkies. They lean hard left; I don't. Watching MSNBC for HOURS: yikes! I do find this whole thing quite entertaining, though.

And then there was the Gospel this weekend: Who do you say that I AM?

It would seem that God is tryin…

In the midst of craziness

While my life just feels like my life, I am constantly reminded that others don't view it as "normal."

In the past couple of weeks, I've had not one, not two, but three friends who know me well explain the exact same thing to me. I start complaining about not being able to find a job. Each one of them - at different times and settings - said, "Elise, you have had a horrible two years. So much loss! God just wants you to rest."

I'm slow. It took three times. Ok, I promise: I'm trying to rest. Relax. Read. Pray. And not get TOO hung up on the job hunting.

We had a family get-together a few weeks ago for a nephew's 40th birthday. Lotsa fun, food and little kids running around on a perfect summer day. One of my nieces, whom I don't get to see very often, asked where my hubby was. He had a soccer tournament that day. She asked how he was. I told him that he was busy - being an engineer by day and soccer coach at night.

I also told her that he…

I'll just be over here...waiting...

Most people will tell you, I believe, that they are not patient. Certainly none of us likes waiting. Check out the folks in any urgent care center: Why haven't I been called? Hey, that guy came in after us!

Some of us are so impatient we pull out our phones at red lights, hoping to kill a few seconds.

And if one prays for patience (a dangerous prayer!), God will most certainly give one plenty of opportunities to grow in patience. 'Cause he's like that - more like a dad than a genie in a bottle.

We all know that patience is a virtue. We're happy to remind other people of this, but we certainly don't want to hear it when we have to wait.

I am no more patient than anyone else. I'm often more prepared: I'll bring a book or knitting if I know I'm going to be stuck in a waiting room for any length of time. But this doesn't make me more patient, just less bored.

I have now been without a job for just over 16 weeks. 115 days.

Oh, I've had interviews. I…