Monday, October 18, 2010

Is it just Me?

(Not a post for kiddos)
We really like where we live right now.  It is about a five minute walk to the church.  We love walking to church.  The house is nice.  It is a fairly nice neighborhood, but like all neighborhoods it has its problems. 

One is neighbors who do not clean up after their dogs.  It is sooo aggravating to find dog piles in the front yard.  When I take our dogs for a walk, I always carry a bag.  I always clean up the dog product if there is any.  I guess I can feel superior for being a responsible and considerate pet owner.  I resent those who think it is okay to let there dogs go anywhere. 

Another is a next door neighbor that won't give us the time of day.  The one and only time I have spoken to them is when I caught them getting out of their car in the drive way.  While trying to introduce myself and ask them about overhanging tree limbs, they were rushing toward their front door like cornered animals.  When I did get a tree guy to come cut off the limbs from their pecan trees (my daughter is allergic to pecans) they would not answer their door.  So, I left a note on the door and let the tree guy go at it--in their yard.  Not a word came from their side of the fence.  They are not hermits though.  We know that from the half dozen cars parked in front of our house for their occasional Sunday get-togethers.

My not-so-favorite thing though is what happened yesterday.  After our lovely stroll home from church, I spotted something gold on the lawn.  I thought, "Great more litter on the lawn."  As I bent to pick up the gold thing, I saw exactly what it was--an opened condom wrapper.  I don't know if it was carelessly tossed out some one's car window (this happens frequently, as we live on a corner with a stop sign) or if someone threw it in our yard on purpose.  We don't hide the fact that we are Catholic.  We have a very old statue of Our Lady of Mercy in the front garden.  Were we a target?  I don't know.  But finding such a disgusting item in my front yard on a Sunday coming home from Church is almost too disturbing for words.

Is it just me or are people less considerate than they used to be?  I guess I am too used to living on Air Force bases, and the German countryside, for the 23 years before we bought this house.  I am not used to all the trash, or kids walking through my yard, or some jerk stealing a CD player from my van.  Living in the "real" world takes some getting used to.  I don't like it at all.   

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Catholic Voters, Stop Being Stupid!

"Catholics, even though we live in a country and are citizens of that country, have a higher calling and responsibility to God and to our neighbor to promote God's truth even when others hate it, reject it, and hate us for proclaiming it. We are citizens in an earthly realm, but more importantly we are citizens of the new kingdom of heaven with Jesus as the Lord, His laws as our prime way of life, and called to live them and to promote them even to unbelievers."  --Father Richard Perozich

From the article "Priest to Catholic Voters:  Stop Being Stupid" by Matt C. Abbott for  Please go to his web/news blog and read the entire article.  I wish more priests spoke up like Fr. Perozich.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Circle of Grace

This weekend several DREs and catechists met at the Archdiocesan center to learn about a new program called "Circle of Grace."  They were/are very close to the chest so-to-speak about the whole thing.  They did not let us look at any of the material before hand nor did they answer any questions.  I guess that is a way to get people to come to the training. 

"Circle of Grace" was developed by a committee in the Archdiocese of Omaha to meet their child safety education needs.  They developed the program with DREs, catechists, and even consulted child psychologists.  They've implemented it in their Catholic school programs as well as their RE programs.  It has been so well received by the schools, churches, and parents that some protestant churches in the Omaha area have adopted it to their programs.

"Circle of Grace" is a new child safety education program and I am proud to say that I am excited about it.  I tell you what, I was very dubious before the meeting.  I am not now.  Frankly, the Archdiocesan program we have now is pretty dismal.  It's boring, it's not well written, and it has nothing for the kids to get excited about.  This program is everything that program isn't.  It is exciting, fun, and interactive.  The program is all set up for the catechists, and they can integrate it into their existing programs.  They emphasize that this is NOT a sex education program and it is not a 'stranger danger' program.  It integrated our Catholic Faith and keeping one safe and healthy. 

The Program Goal
The goal of the Circle of Grace program is to educate and empower children and young people to actively participate in a safe environment for themselves and others.

Children/young people will understand they are created by God and live in the love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
• God is "present" in everyone's Circle of Grace.

Children/young people will be able to describe the Circle of Grace which God gives each of us.
• God is “present” because He desires a relationship with us.

Children/young people will be able to identify and maintain appropriate physical, emotional, spiritual and sexual boundaries.
• God helps us know what belongs in our Circle of Grace.

Children/young people will be able to identify all types of boundary violations.
• God helps us know what does not belong in our Circle of Grace

Children/young people will demonstrate how to take action if any boundary is threatened or violated.
• God helps us know when to ask for help from someone who we trust.

The program and sample curriculum can be viewed here:

Our Archdiocese has decided to implement the program here, and I am happy for it.  This year it is optional.  A catechist can use the old 'curricula' or implement the 'Circle of Grace' curricula this year.  Next year, it will be taught in all the parishes in the Archdiocese.  As a catechist, I am excited to see a program that implements child safety in a child-friendly, Catholic faith-based manner that is relevant and, honestly, easy to implement.  I, for one, will be implementing the program this year.  I wish I had had it at the beginning of the year.  I could have integrated the first Circle of Grace lesson with another lesson I taught at the beginning of the year. 

I'm excited about the program and I hope that it will excite and prepare the children for life in this world, as well as, preparation for the next.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Growing Pains (On a ligther note)

Black Lab-Not D
Wednesday evening we got a new dog.  Boy is our old dog confused!  He just doesn't understand why he is being replaced.  M, our dog, is a purebred, piebald miniture dacshund.  He is 3 years old and extremely laid back.  He is used to sleeping all day during school hours and plays with the kids once or twice a day for about 10-15 minutes, then sleeps some more.

D, our new dog, is a six-month-old, black labra-dacshund puppy.  She has had no training or discipline.  She is rambuncuous and jumps up on people.  She whines to go out and whines to come in.  She had gotten away with this at her old house.  So far she has weed once in the car and once in the house, chewed on a glue stick and a crayon, ticked off M, and jumped on the furniture.

Piebald dacshund-M. lookalike
 M is trying to keep up with D.  M gets between her and anyone else.  He is very jealous and confused.  She (D) will not stay still long enough for him to get a good sniff.  I don't think he's ever had so much exercise in his life.  We let the two out in the back yard.  D just runs and jumps and loves life.  M tries to chase her and assert his 'manhood' but she doesn't care.  D chases M around to get a good sniff of his behind.  M keeps tripping as he tucks his rear end under to keep it away from D's nose.

By Friday, both dogs were exhausted with the effort to play and to assert their place in the "pack."  They are starting to at least tolerate each other.  M still has his own day bed and D lays anywhere she feels like it.  Wednesday night we put her in fenced off section of the garage with a blanket, a training pad, and some water.  She actually behaved herself very well that night.  I was having "Marley and Me" flashbacks, but all went well.  Whe now has a proper kennel bed.  She hops into the kids laps but then hops back off again.  She can't seem to alight anywhere for more than a minute or two.

M has always been Daddy's boy.  D is definitely Mamma's girl.  She is a help to me, too.  She has motivated me to take her for a daily walk.  Hopefully that will kick start my dreamed of weight loss.