Thursday, December 29, 2005

Etsinger Christmas 2005

Every year for I'm guessing around 20 years, the Etsinger grandchildren have piled onto a couch for a picture near the Christmas tree. When Carmen was a baby, they all had trouble making her smile, and every year there has been something funny about the assembly, but this year with nearly half of the grandchildren married or engaged, it just didn't happen.

Tradition is good for a time, for a season, but there are reasons to move on. For those of us who gathered there, it was good to see a shift of the attention from the grandchildren to the grandparents.

Ruby just finished her cancer treatments, was fighting bronchitis, but still putting all of us first as she always does, just with less energy and more sacrifice. We all continue to learn a great deal from this tremendous lady.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas memories that will last forever

I'm reading a book about leaving a legacy as a Father and it has encouraged me to keep on recording things and sounding like a drone to my children as I tell them the same things over and over again. Sometimes I wonder if they appreciate it... especially when they make fun of the way that my voice puts them to sleep. (hinting at boredom)

Back to the book "Letters from Dad". I haven't finished the book yet, but the premise so far is this, write things down, record them, present them well, and save them forever. The testimonies in this book about the results of a well presented gift are amazing. I just received a well presented gift in the form of a Christmas card from my youngest daughter, Becca.

I was just thinking about how special it was that she took the time to write out a colorful card with a custom message that encourage me at the same time that it was exercising her God given, inherited gift of writing letters. ( Her Grandma Etsinger puts us all to shame in the "letters per day" measurement )

Later, I discovered that this was a "Form Card". Carmen's guinnea pig "Moe" received a similar card, as did Adam's crab "Gary". I haven't seen the one to our dog but I'm sure she did not leave him out.

It is still my favorite Christmas gift so far.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

On that very first Christmas, a Boy was born

As I reflect on this year and look forward to Christmas, I am reminded of one of the best books that I read this year entitled "Wild at Heart" by John Eldredge. In his book, he describes the male characteristics as those that were placed there by God.

As I watch my son, Adam, grow up... in wisdom, stature and knowledge. Sometimes, I wonder if he will survive and then again, sometimes I hope that my girls (Carmen and Becca) are able to find a young man that is as "Wild at Heart" as he is.

Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a song about another boy that was "Wild at Heart" that always makes my heart leap as I listen to it near Christmas time. This baby was the baby that gave us all the joy of Christmas, and family, and purpose, and the heart to be wild.

This Baby

Well, He cried when He was hungry,
Did all the things that babies do;
He rocked and He napped on His mother’s lap,
And He wiggled and giggled and cooed.
There were the cheers when He took His first step,
And the tears when He got His first teeth;
Almost everything about this little baby
Seemed as natural as it could be.

But this baby made the angels sing,
And this baby made a new star shine in the sky.
This baby had come to change the world.
This baby was God’s own son, this baby was like no other one.
This baby was God with us, this baby was Jesus.

And this baby grew into a young boy,
Who learned to read and write and wrestle with dad;
There was the climbin’ of trees and the scrapin’ of knees,
And all the fun that a boy’s born to have.
He grew taller and some things started changing,
Like His complexion and the sound of His voice;
There was work to be done as a carpenter’s son
And all the neighbors said He’s such a fine boy.

But this boy made the angels sing,
And this boy made a new star shine in the sky.
This boy had come to change the world.
This boy was God’s own son, this boy was like no other one.
This boy was God with us. This boy became a man,

And love made Him laugh and death made Him cry.
With the life that He lived and the death that He died,
He showed us heaven with His hands and His heart,
‘Cause this man was God’s own son.
This man was like no other one,
Holy and human right from the start.

This baby was God with us, this baby, this baby was Jesus; this baby was Jesus, this baby was Jesus.

A matter of perspective....

While you admire the beautiful landscape of this horizon, notice that without perspective you really have no idea how big things really are. I was never able to capture a good photograph of a sunset over this horizon, but it was absolutely gorgeous.

If I place a few people in the foreground of the scene, you start to imagine the size of these islands, but it really doesn't fill in all the blanks.

To really know these islands, you must go there. One day, we climbed aboard a boat and headed out to those islands at what seemed to be a high rate of speed. We traveled for an hour to reach them, enjoying every minute of the sunny, windy, wave tossed trip.

The same thing can be said of many things in life, you must go there to gain the proper perspective.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A new painting every morning...

One of the most significant paintings that I have ever seen is painted by God every morning at the top of Haleakala.

Our family got up at 3:00 AM one morning and drove a few hours to experience just one of those sunrises over the clouds of Haleakala. The beauty of that moment can be described by this photograph, but the crispness of the cold, pure, thin air up there is lost in these two dimensions.

God paints a unique sunrise in this spot 365 days a year, year after year, no matter what we are doing or where we are. Most of us are called to live our lives under the clouds, but pictures like these give us great hope.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Wakarusa Rejected the Eby Tree....

Well, I spoke to mom and dad today and they explained to me the problem that the Wakarusa Fire Department had when they cut off the top 15 feet of the Eby tree.

Apparently the trunk of the top 15 feet was still 15 inches in diameter and would not fit into the tree stand for the town square.

As I reflect back over the life of this tree, I recall a time long before airsoft guns, way before paintball, before laser tag was even a thought. Back in the 70's Todd Crist would stand at the top of the hill behind our house with a BB gun and shoot at Scott Crist who was running as fast as he could to get behind that very pine tree.

Scott had a huge welt on his leg after that incident.

Photo Courtesy of Gene Klein in 2003

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Starting a Christmas Letter

We took a year off from the Christmas letter last year and therefore have many topics to choose from in this year's letter to get you caught up on the lives of the Eby's.
  • Two seasons of Storm Volleyball ( Carmen )
  • Two seasons of Tide Football ( Adam )
  • Jackie's sister's miraculous recovery ( Cheryl, Bill, Jackie, Carmen, many others )
  • Becca accepting Christ as her savior ( Becca )
  • Becca's Baptism ( Becca and Dad )
  • Two years of drum lessons ( Adam )
  • Two years of school ( Carmen, Adam and Becca )
  • Graduation from elementary school ( Adam )
  • Beta Club trip to Chicago ( Carmen )
  • One complete season of Bluegrass Area Volleyball Association ( Carmen )
  • The start of a second season of BAVA
  • NorthWood Class of '84 20 year reunion at Amish Acres ( Kevin, Becca )
  • Jackie turning 40
  • Kevin turning 40
  • Kevin's Dad turning 80 ( not retired yet )
  • Kevin's brother's retirement ( at age 37 )
  • Two vacations in Indiana for the 4H fair
  • Vacation in Maui
Each person in our family has a favorite memory from each item on this list as the events mark milestones along the path of our lives together.
This year has been very difficult for a number of reasons. Change is always difficult and it is especially difficult for those of us that like to maintain traditions. One of the many things I have observed in this year of us parents "turning 40" is that our friends are gaining wisdom and our children are growing up. That might seem as basic and obvious as gravity to some, but for people like Jackie and I that always expect more from each other and those around us, this is an answer to prayer that deserves a moment to celebrate.

While Jackie and Becca are decorating the tree with the sound of Point of Grace Christmas music, this seems like as good of a time as any.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

How tall is this Christmas Tree?

If you make a trip to downtown Wakarusa this season, you can see the top part of the tree on the left.

I've included a handy "Carmen Scale" so that you can figure out how tall this 40 year old tree is as long as you know that Carmen is 5'3" and her picture here is about 5'6" including the grass beneath her feet.

It really is amazing that this tree survived its early years while Keith was learning how to mow the yard with a lawn tractor nearly 30 years ago.

Here's an Elkhart Truth interview of Mom and Dad that I'm sure you will enjoy.
A Christmas tree for free

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A Tight Squeeze

Seeing this today, one might suggest that PhotoShop had been involved in this tight squeeze..

Back in 1983, the only way to do this was to cram people into a real booth.

Thanks to Mike Drudge for finding this photo and sharing it. Many of these high school student visitors to the Museum of Science and Industry get together annually for dinner with our spouses

( Wanda, Kevin, Mike, Lori, Steve and Tammy )

Saturday, December 03, 2005

NorthWood State Champs ( One week later )

It has only been one week since the NorthWood Panthers finished an excellent season and all who have ever been involved with that great program are just coming out of the shock....

Reflecting on the comments from the press, I know that those many years of anticipation created great character within all of us


Sunday, May 22, 2005

BAVA 13 Year Old Team

Carmen's first year of club volleyball was eye opening for us. There was a great diversity in intensity from player to player.

It was quite a step up from Southern Middle School volleyball.