Sunday, May 28, 2006

Church at Home - literally

All of us Eby's and Etsinger's woke up late after cleaning up after the wedding reception, but we woke to a church meeting across the street. Our church back in Lexington likes to think of itself as a home church, but these Mennonites put us to shame meeting in 90 degree heat with all of their children present.

Peter and Stephanie's Wedding

It was a great wedding, and I know this will be a great marriage. Why?

Reason #1:
Understanding of Marriage. Peter and Stephanie helped to prepare the message that was read at the ceremony and based it on John 17. Tying together the fact that we are to be one with the Father as Jesus was one with the Father. Tying in the fact that unity is important in the church and in marriage. They also served communion to the Christian witnesses ( a church full of them )

Reason #2:
Family Heritage. Before the wedding there were many family pictures taken. Big families from each of their grandparents. Each of their grandparents started out just as Peter and Stephanie did yesterday.

Reason #3:
Family modeled before them. Family is about living together and forebearing each other. It is about life. This list of tips from Bethany to Stephanie that was read at the reception indicates that Stephanie's family understands that the little things are important and we are to enjoy each others uniqueness.
1) Get up when the alarm clock rings
2) Check expiration dates on perishable food items
3) Shave your legs occasionally and shower often

Reason #4:
God bound them together forever.

Reason #5:
A sense of humor. They chose a retirement community dance hall as the location for their wedding reception.

Reason #6:
Love. They enjoy being together whether they are the center of attention or whether there is no one else around.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Carmen Graduates from Middle School

We were so proud of Carmen today. She has really grown up quickly. She and her mother went shopping all weekend for an outfit to wear and I never saw it before the ceremony. While Robin, Matt, Jackie and I were waiting for her to come down the stairs, she walked right by without me recognizing her.

We took this picture after the long, warm ceremony that graduated 224 eighth graders.

It seems like only yesterday that she and her friends posed for this picture as they graduated from Elementary School, but it was three full years ago. I am told that the four years of High School will go by even faster. I'm grateful for the friends Carmen has chosen at her schools.

Along with her two elemenary friends from the neighborhood, Carmen has also found new friends on the school volleyball team, club volleball, Beta Club and One Way. The visionary leader of One Way gets lots of appreciation from Carmen. Adam is also establishing friends at the same club.

We know as she heads into High School that the friendships she has made in Elementary School and volleyball will help keep her focused on the straight and narrow road, and she really needs an rigid life. Flexibility is not really one of her strengths.

Her strengths are in competition. You can't always win, but Carmen hates to lose. She desires to do her best and puts a great deal of pressure on herself to succeed. She doesn't like B's and has avoided them since a horrifying B in handwriting during the 4th grade. Several of her friends were also awarded with a plaque for getting straight A's all through middle school. I hope they all stick to their pursuits of scholastic excellence. The world needs more folks that are not afraid to work hard.

Honors for Becca

Today, Jackie worked hard preparing for Becca's honor program at 1:00 PM. May is a difficult time for all of us Eby's with honors programs, graduations, two birthdays, Mother's day. All of it involves or depends on Mom.

But this small blog entry is about Becca!

I caught Becca before the honors program in the parking lot enjoying a break outside on a nice spring day during the last week of school.

She worked hard this year and deserved recognition from her teachers and parents. She enjoyed the 4th grade and is looking forward to her final year in Elementary School.

She received her award from her teacher, Mrs. Roberts and stood smiling until the rest of the honor students from her class joined her for the picture below.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Happy Birthday to Becca

We celebrated Becca's birthday this month. We had the first celebration Friday night where she opened a few of the smaller gifts and cards that she received from grandparents and also some of the clothes that her mother wanted her to wear to school on her birthday.

Tonight, Becca had Emily come over to celebrate her birthday with her. They didn't wait to long to start watching the movie that Emily got for her. Mom, Carmen, Adam and I ate the birthday cake in the kitchen without the birthday girl.

One of her other presents this year was a girly mountain bike so that she can ride with the rest of the family. She saw right through the bribery and told me that receiving this gift was not a guarantee that she was going to go riding every time someone in the family jumps on a bike.

More Pirates baseball

Last Wednesday, the Pirates faced the American League Leading Yankees for a difficult game. The Yankees came out hitting and the Pirates gave up two runs early. Late in the game Stefan came up with a double that knocked in a couple of runs for the lead and an extra run of padding.

Philip also had a key RBI in the second half of the game with a fly to left field. His pitching was also a big key to the comeback in the final inning. Check out Philip's face on this throw!

Like all SouthEastern Baseball games, there is a great atmosphere of both community and competition. This game was special to Adam because Sam plays for the Yankees. Sam and Adam have been together for a long time in our neighborhood. Last year, Sam hit a triple in the Yankees win. This year, Adam got walked and stood with Sam at first base during a pitcher change.

Sam didn't get a triple in this year's game, but I did get a picture of Sam hitting a foul ball that helps to explain some of the physics involved with the game of baseball.

All in all, an excellent evening at the ball park. I'll include one last picture of Adam catching with his eyes closed.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Was Jesus qualified to lead?

I'm enjoying the book "Lead like Jesus" by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges. I wanted to share one of the lists that has made the largest impression on me so far. Throughout my service as a friend, deacon, small group leader and manager, I have come across people that have questioned Jesus' ability to be human.

Usually, the questions are in regard to how His temptation and sinless life is different than our own temptations and ability to stand under them. This list is pretty convincing that His human methods of leadership and tackling difficult problems were the best methods this world has ever experienced. Those that doubt His temptation was the same will probably claim that healing the sick and giving sight to the blind was an unfair advantage, but that doesn't discount His effectiveness as the greatest world leader to ever walk the earth.

Here's the list of leadership challenges that you can evaluate for yourself. Did Jesus rise to these challenges?

  • Working with or living and caring for imperfect people
  • Taking time to train, develop, and delegate
  • Under constant scrutiny and testing of commitment and integrity
  • Required to handle rejection, criticism, and opposition
  • Facing fierce competition and conflicting demands from friends and foes
  • Tempted by instant gratification, recognition, and misuse of power
  • Facing serious personnel issues, including turnover and betrayal
  • Required to communicate in a multicultural environment
  • The need to challenge the status quo and hierarchy to bring about change
  • The need to call attention to poor leadership at great personal risk
  • The need to put career or relationships on the line to serve a higher purpose

Well, What do you think?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

The kids got up early this morning to fix Jackie breakfast. One of the girls had the idea to do this, and Adam is our cook.

Adam had to pack up his drum set late last night after a grocery store run for bacon, flowers, grapefruit, grapes, bananas and those last minute cards. Immediately after serving the breakfast to his mother, he jumped in the shower to get ready for worship practice.

Becca pressed us to keep at the task on Saturday night since we were all considering just going to bed after a long day of volleyball and tearing down forts
Carmen probably made the biggest sacrifice. She got up early to pour the coffee. She also honored her mother by adjusting some of her Sunday morning rituals that are dependent on her mother, by moving the location to our bedroom instead of the Carmen's bedroom. She patiently waited until her Mother was half through her breakfast before she asked for help.

Me, well, I just watched it all happen and helped where I could. I am thankful for such wonderful kids. My wife truly is a great mother judging from the results.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The fort must go...

We got a call from the ombudsman on Friday asking us to give him a call back.

Without a hint of what was wrong we were suspecting someone did not like Buster barking at cats during the night. Since Buster is out all day long and usually alert when walkers stroll along the sidewalk, he becomes a target from time to time, whether he makes any noise or not.

Well... it could have also been that our grass was too long. I've been working a lot and keeping up with the kids activities and the lawn is growing fast. So, after Carmen's volleyball tournament in Louisville today, I headed immediately to the lawn mover despite the light rain.

Or... it could be that the fort is a violation of the neighborhood code.

Jackie called the omsbudsman while I was mowing and he asked if she had a fort in her backyard. Her response, "Well, sortof" eluded to the fact that it was made of material that had been thrown out in the neighborhood over the last four years, then collected by Adam and stapled, glued, nailed, duct taped, tied or wrapped to the fort.

Jackie took this picture of Adam on his way back from destroying the fort with a rubber mallet and Chuck Norris roundhouse kicks on wet grass. It was entertaining for me to watch this while I was mowing the yard in the rain.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sunday afternoon by the fire

It is very rare for us to have a day off, but it happened today. Adam and I got to church around 8:15 to set up sound just like normal but things were different today. Worship practice went smoothly and children's church was a light hearted group discussion instead of a teaching. Instead of rushing to a meeting or a ball game, we just headed home after church.

After grilling burgers in the chilly spring air, we decided to start a fire in the fireplace in order to burn up the wood that we had moved to the deck last fall. The rest of the afternoon was naps and reading until 5:30 youth group.

Jackie took a nap and I got started on the book that I have been wanting to read for a long time. I bought two books last year at the same time and forced myself to read the lessor of the two so that I would read them both. The first one was "360 Degree Leader" by John Maxell which discusses the challenges of leading from the middle of an organization, the second one is Lead Like Jesus which is self explanatory.

Both books will be very useful to me, they both have lists of things I need to improve. Engineers love to know what they need to fix, and we love lists.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Grandpa would be 108 today

My Grandpa, Charles Victor Eby, was born on May 1, 1898. His parents erased part of the 8 on his birth certificate so that he could work on the farm an extra year. I loved spending time with my Grandpa, he was a lot of fun. He had fun working. He and his brother, Ellis, got into trouble from time to time having fun. Stuff like floating wash tubs down the creek and stealing pies from window sills reminds me of my brother Keith and my son, Adam Charles.

Before I could talk I would stand at the picture window of our house and watch the tractors and farm equipment roll by. My first word was "combine" and "tractor" was one of the next words to follow.

In 1915, Grandpa drove horses between his father's farms and waved at a younger girl along the way. On August 25, 1917 he married her and raised a family of three moving from farm to farm around Wakarusa.

I was able to attend their 50th wedding anniversary at Eby's Pines in 1967 and Jackie and Keith were able to attend their 70th wedding anniversary at Miller's Merry Manor in 1987.

My Grandma and Grandpa had a great life together.