Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

For Christmas, my parents bought me and my brother in law the book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know by Meg Meeker. They heard about it on a radio program and ordered it based on the positive review. Both Mom and Dad read it before giving it to us and thought it was very good.
So far, I’ve read the intro and I’m looking forward to reading it. As a father of three girls, I probably need to. From the intro:

I want you to see yourself through her eyes. And I don’t want this just for her sake, but for yours, because if you could see yourself as she sees you, even for ten minutes, your life would never be the same. …
Your daughter gets up in the morning because you exist. You were here first and she came into being because of you. The epicenter of her tiny world is you. Friends, family members, teachers, professors, or coaches will influence her to varying degrees, but they won’t knead her character. You will. Because you are her Dad.

pp.4-5

Good stuff, and it gives me a lump in my through as I think about it in relation to my girls. I’m going to try to post some things from the book along the way.

Instructions

My kids got these inexpensive book lights for Christmas from Santa. Push the button and it magically opens and turns the light on. Here are the instructions:

Multifunctional Emergency Book Light
Product Info:

  • Mini book light small and exquisite automatism flex design.
  • LED light, luminosity high.
  • Sales promotion gift best of all select.
  • Three AAA batteries power supple, cost small, can change batteries.
  • Hydraulic pressure turn can pucker. Tote facility.

Product Function:

  • Flashlights
  • Book reading light.
  • Emergency light.

Use’s guide:

  • Press [circle] key, product automatism unbar and lighting.
  • Press [rectangle] key, flashlight working.

Automatism? Pucker? Tote facility?
Huh?

Merry Christmas 2006

Some of you will get this via snail mail with a real photo. For the rest, here’s the news of our family for 2006. A lot of this was covered here on the blog at some point too.
Merry Christmas.
2006 was another busy year for the Schaefer family.

In January Audrey turned 7, having her first ‘friend’ birthday party. It was a princess party and she was thrilled. Doug took his annual trip to Toledo to go to the Detroit car show with his Dad. Audrey went along and spent time with Grandma. We also discovered that our Honda Odyssey needed its 2nd new transmission. The first went out under warranty. Thankfully, Honda stepped up to the plate and paid most of the bill on this one too, even at 120,000 miles. Hopefully this one lasts the 4 more years we intend to keep it.
In February Doug and Maria celebrated 13 years of marriage and Jessica turned 11. We also lost a faithful friend as our old Ford Escort that we’d driven for 10 years and 160,000 miles coughed up a clutch. It was a few months earlier than planned, but we gave it to a mechanic friend and got a new car, a Mazda3 hatchback. The Escort was extraordinarily reliable, but boring. The Mazda is sexy and fun hopefully it will be as reliable too.
In March Maria broke her foot, but because of the unusual way it was broken it wouldn’t be diagnosed properly until the end of June.
In April, the Easter Bunny brought a surprise – early on Friday morning. The entire house was criss-crossed in yarn when the kids awoke. Each had a different colored yarn attached to their door and they had to follow it through the house, and even the garage, to find their baskets. It was fun. We then spent the weekend with Doug’s family in Toledo as we do every year. Jessica had her first band concert in April. She also took a field trip to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in NE Ohio. She and Emily also participated in a Girl Scout basketball workshop with the OSU Women’s basketball team.
May brought Emily’s 9th birthday. On Mother’s day we went to the local Mother’s day kite fly, as is our tradition, and this year Mom and Dad were in town and they and Doug’s sister’s family joined us. Jessica graduated from DARE and had her essay, Role Models, chosen as one of four read at graduation and won a medal of recognition for it. At the end of the month we went to Missouri to visit Maria’s family. We spend a day in the Columbia area letter-boxing (and collecting ticks; we had 23 between us). The boxes we chose were particularly remote and challenging, but it was pretty fun in the end. We also spent a day in Illinois visiting Maria’s Grandma. Audrey, still looking for her niche, started a season of soccer. One season was enough; she returned to dance in the fall.
In June, Jessica passed a milestone, graduating from elementary school. How’d that happen? We are not old enough to have a middle schooler! Jessica also had her 8th dance recital. Emily continues to enjoy gymnastics, with small shows at the end of each 3 month session.
In July, our good friends from Wisconsin, the Gillaspie’s, came to visit for a week. It’s always good to see them. We also traveled to Cincinnati to the church where Maria and Doug met for a reunion of the close knit campus ministry that Doug was a part of in the late 80’s and early 90’s. It was so good to see old friends, some that we hadn’t seen in years.
In August the girls spent a week at Girl Scout camp. Mom went too as a counselor. The girls had fun, Maria – not so much. The girls made stepping stones for our front yard and we went to Slate Run park to see a working, 1800’s era farm. We missed Maria’s family reunion camping trip in Rushville, IL to go to Toledo to see Doug’s cousin get married. At the end of the month, the girls returned to school and we officially had a middle schooler. In our district, 6th grader’s have their own school, which is nice. What’s not nice is that Jessica catches the bus at 6:45 AM, which means someone has to get up that early to see her off. We are not morning people in the Schaefer house, but Jessica has adapted fine. Mom and Dad are still rebelling. Ugh.
September saw us add yet another female to the house, and our 4th cat, Cookey. This is Emily’s cat and she’s excited about it. (And no, I didn’t spell ‘Cookey’ wrong, that’s the way that Emily spelled it.) Maria stopped working from home after 9 years and got a job at a CPA firm during school hours. Our church, which we moved here from Michigan to help start, celebrated its 10th anniversary this month as well. Maria finally had surgery on her foot to remove the broken bone. After a couple of months of recovery she’s mostly back to normal.
October brought Maria’s birthday. Maria and Doug went to a church sponsored Salsa party where we learned the Salsa, the Rumba and the Fox Trot. Actually, we learned that we aren’t good dancers, but it was still kinda fun.
November brought Doug’s birthday at Thanksgiving time. As usual, we spent the holiday at Mom and Dad Schaefer’s in Toledo.
We have had the busiest December in a long time, perhaps ever. We started by going to Disney World (the picture is us at the Magic Kingdom). We’ve been looking forward to taking the girls to Disney for years and we had a ball. Our first family trip by plane, a week off of school, meeting Mickey and the gang and dinner with Cinderella was amazing. Not to mention the amazing shows and rides. Doug’s Mom and Dad shared the time with us, which made it that much more special. It was a week we won’t forget. Unfortunately, we retuned to a week of the stomach flu working its way through the family while Maria had her busiest work week since returning to work outside the home, including a 2 day trip out of state. (All of that is also the reason why this letter and card aren’t likely to reach you before Christmas.)
This will be only the second year since Doug was born that he won’t spend Christmas in Toledo. The first was when Maria was pregnant with Audrey, this year his sister is expecting baby #5, so the Schaefer Christmas will be in Columbus. We’ll celebrate at his sister’s house. Then it’s off on the Schaefer Holiday Tour, 2006 where we’ll spend time with Maria’s family in Missouri, Maria’s Grandma in Illinois, back to Missouri, to meet the Gillaspie’s in Illinois and then home to Columbus.
This year also marked a year long growth trend at our church, the Columbus Church of Christ. We’ve had a rough spell for a couple of years, loosing some members and doing some soul searching as a church. This year marked the reversal of that trend as we had baptisms all year on the way to a total of around 17 for the year. It has been quite refreshing for our small church of around 110 at the start of the year.

We hope your year was a happy one and that we get the chance to see you this year. We wish you the best in 2007.
Doug and Maria; Jessica, Emily and Audrey
And the cats … Pleiades, Cally, Midnight and Cookie

Life Map


OK, the new multi-destination directions at Google maps inspired me to create a new meme. If this ripples through the Blogosphere, you heard it here first. (Like no one else will think of this.)
I went to Google Maps and entered in every place I’ve lived. I’ve lived in 17 locations in 3 states and 5 metro areas. This map is the result. You can see it on Google here.
That’s every address I’ve lived in since I was a few months old. I don’t know the address of that first apartment, besides it was pretty close to the Watson Ave home I lived in for my first 8 1/2 years. Most are approximations because I couldn’t remember the exact address and a couple are deliberately vague as folks I love still live there.
According to Google, the journey that took me 39 years is 2,394 mi and can be traversed in about 1 day and 16 hours. I guess I’m just slow.
What’s your Life Map look like? Go to Google Maps and create yours. Post a link in the comments or put it up on your own blog if you’ve got one. Leave us a comment here (or a trackback) though so we can go see it.

Google Maps Rocks

Not only do they have the nifty aerial photos and the drag-able maps (which everyone has now, but they were first), they’ve added a bunch of nifty features to their maps recently:

  • Zoom with your scroll wheel. Spin your scroll wheel and the map zooms in and out to the point where your mouse is. Pretty cool. It zooms backwards form my CAD package at work, though.
  • Collapse the search list. Finally! If you search the map for a business, you get pushpins and a list to the left. Until recently you couldn’t get rid of the list, now clicking the border between the map and the list and the list goes away, revealing more map. Click the left edge of the larger map and the list is back. Now, if we could only dismiss the push pins …
  • Multi-stop directions. This is awesome. Enter an address for a destination and an address for the start point. Going somewhere else? Click ‘Add Destination …’ at the bottom of the written directions and put in another address. Google will show you directions form the start to destination A and then to destination B with mileage and travel times for each leg. Don’t worry about entering them in order, you can drag and drop rearrange the destinations later and the map and directions update. And if you click on a destination in your list, a small pop up map of the destination appears. And you can link to the results. For example, here’s a map of our typical Christmas tour of the Midwest visiting family and friends. How cool is that?
  • Click to call. Once you’ve searched for and found a business on Google maps, if the search results has a phone number, you can have Google make the call for you. They even pick up the long distance charges! Just click the ‘Call’ link next to the phone number in the search results and enter your phone number. Google calls you first and when you answer, it calls the business. The phone number of the business appears on your caller ID so you can save it, if you’d like.

I love Googe Maps.

The Judgement Mirror

Rong of The Requiest and I seem to be in the same place on our spiritual journey right now. He’s mentioned that here and I think he’s right, especially after reading this post today. What a powerful and humbling image. Go read it.
I can’t speak for him, but I know that the past months – many months – I’ve watched as God has laid open my heart and soul for me to see. It’s been very hard to see who I really am – prideful, weak, lazy, judgemental.
On one hand, I’m honored and amazed that God felt that I could handle the truth about me and I wonder what good it will lead to, how will I change as a result? On the other hand, I wish he thought I was weaker and didn’t trust me so much.
Still, I know that this discipline will produce a harvest if I allow myself to be trained by it.
Anyway, why are you still here? Go read!

Change

Why is it that folks try to change others rather than themselves? We assume that things between us and another person would be better if they would only change to be more like us. Of course, the answers are somewhat obvious. To change ourselves would be more work, criticism of others puffs us up and to make fixing the relationship the other persons problem means we don’t have responsibility and we aren’t wrong.
But, on the other hand, this really doesn’t make any sense. Big surprise there, eh? God’s way makes more sense. What I mean is, we have no control over the other person. There is little we can do to get them to change. We can, however, change ourselves. Well, at least we have a much better chance of changing us than we do of changing them.
This begs the question, do we really want to fix the situation or do we just want to feel better about ourselves? If healing is what we want, then changing ourselves makes much more sense. Instead, we focus on what the other party needs to do or be to make the problem disappear.
Many times we may be absolutely right, they do need to change, it would be the ‘best way’ to fix the situation. But we cannot make that happen, we cannot force them to be different. Telling them how they ought to be likely only raises their defenses and their resistance. In fact, the best way to encourage that may be to change our own tactics. More grace, more understanding, more patience, more forgiveness, more love.
I don’t know exactly my point here, other than I want to take folks as they are and love them like Jesus. I want to stop thinking about how they ought to be and start wondering how I ought to respond. I think that Jesus knew coming down here that we were all sinful wretches. We had no idea the trouble we wrought, or maybe we did but simply didn’t now any other way to be. Those that came to Jesus were doing the best they could, but it was far, far short of what they ought to do. Jesus took them at face value, didn’t excuse their sin, but didn’t wag his finger in disgust either. He didn’t say to them, “If you were only _____” or “If you only did _____, things would be fine.” Instead, he accepted them as they were, he offered grace and forgiveness and only then challenged them to change.
When I’m confronted with someone who’s less than loving, harsh or whatever, like Jesus I want to assume that they are doing the best they know how. They either know not what they do, or they know but just don’t know how to be anything else. I want to respond first with acceptance and grace and only then offer. I certainly hope that folks would do that for me, because there are times that I know that I’m not in a good place, but I don’t know any other way to be, at that moment. I just hope that people would know that I’m doing the best I can, and give me some space and some grace and I’ll try to do the same for them.

Back Home

We’re back from Disney World. Another week of vacation ought to be enough to recover & to get the Disney music out of my head. Actually, we had a great time. It’s just that about 12 hours on your feet every day tends to take something out of you.
Mom and Dad were with us which was great. I told several folks that we were going with my parents and some responded with how they could never do that, their families would drive them nuts. While we have our moments (all of us), we’re blessed that spending a week with them is a joy rather than a drag.
For now, I’m catching up on my blog reading. The Disney resort we stayed in had no free internet. They advertised ‘wireless internet’ but failed to mention that it was only available in the business center, what seemed like 1/4 mile away (This is our resort. Everything inside Coronado Circle.). I had also assumed that it would be free, especially given the $130 or so per night rate. Nope. Ten bucks a day to use the wired network in the room, don’t know if the wireless was more or less, I didn’t walk with my laptop down to the business center. I guess that’s the Disney way, find more ways to separate you from your money.
That was one of several minor disappointments with the resort itself, but mostly Disney did not disappoint. Everything they do is excellent, they know no other way. No trash in the park, but rarely do you see the clean up crew. The sound quality of the outdoor shows was fantastic, even hundreds of yards away. Every person dressed as a character is always in character. I watched one woman playing Ariel from The Little Mermaid talk with other Disney ‘cast members’ with no other guests nearby, completely in character.
We took nearly 1,100 pictures, maybe I’ll put some up in the gallery later.

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