††††† OK Ė Iím a procrastinator.† Iíve admitted it, confessed it, and, most importantly, forgot about it.† I joined a local chapter of PA but I keep putting off attending.† The family joined the local support group of PEONS (Procrastinatorís Effects On Neighbors & Spouses) but we canít seem to get there either.† Perhaps this is good material for a New Yearís resolution.
††††† Sometimes there are benefits to taking oneís time at a task - one of which is not the increased postal rate.† Nevertheless, weíve already read all the great letters and seen the pictures from friends and family.† We do appreciate the cards, letters, and pictures and truly enjoy reading about the things happening in your family.
††††† I am continually amazed at how removed my generation is from the previous generation.† That fact expresses itself most often when our family (the untypical baby boomer family) is out somewhere and we get the inevitable stares and expressions of disbelief about the size of our family.† Many of you know exactly what I mean.† Sometimes people need reminding that they once had a lot of aunts and uncles or that they themselves had more than the modern average of 2.3 siblings.† But in spite of their own life experience and memories, they most always conclude that day to day life for us must be something very different from what they could even begin to imagine.
††††† However, day to day life is really not so different from our fellow boomers Ė we just have a little more volume than others may. At least that is the conclusion I have come to based on years of coming home in the evenings to virtually the same family scene.† It kinda reminds me of the movie I didnít get to see but heard a little about Ė Ground Hog Day.
††††† Arriving home is usually somewhat romantic and serene.† Our house is situated on the opposite side of the property from the entrance gate.† The drive across the property is nice and Monicaís collie, Daisy, always meets me at the house with Lassie-like barking and enthusiasm.† Right out of a Lassie movie. No sooner than the car is stopped do equally enthusiastic creatures of the two-legged species greet me: Ďda boys and Allison.
††††† Clarke (7) scans the interior of the car for sacks and packages in hopes of a surprise from dad.† Anything I have must be thoroughly explained as to contents, purpose, and owner.† Clarke has discovered the usefulness of money.† His quest for wealth has stirred some early entrepreneurial visions and accounting skills.† His favorite service for which he charges is polishing my shoes.† He has also found profit from mowing a share of the lawn and helping us paint grandmaís house.† He may not be thrilled about the jobs but he enjoys collecting.† I mean this guy is relentless until paid in full!† Clarke wants to be a policeman when he grows up.
††††† As Iím climbing out of the car, Micah (9) is the first to report all the things that have happened around the house during the day.† Who did what, when, to or with whom, and to what degree of trouble it caused them from mom.† Carrie and I think this to be an incredible talent of his since he is the one of all the kids who can disappear unnoticed for hours on end.† Itís not that he is quiet or anything like that.† Itís just that he gets engrossed in a book or something else thatís caught his attention and heís lost to the world until one of us notice his absence.† Micah is our analytical thinker.† He usually doesnít ask questions out of plain curiosity, but after having mulled it over for sometime beforehand.† For example, it was weeks after Andyís birth and conversations about the cause of Downs Syndrome before Micah was ready to discuss chromosomes Ė what they are, where they come from, and what they do. †Micah wants to be an astronaut when he grows up.†
††††† Between Clarke and Micah, poor Evan (5) can seldom get a word in for himself.† Itís not that he is quiet.† On the contrary, he is quite active and inquisitive.† Ownership is a big deal among the three boys.† It matters not what it is, only who owns it.† Evan has discovered that the best resource of neat things to own is from the various trash cans around the house.† Since it is his chore to empty the trash cans around the house every day or so itís not unusual for Carrie to find something lying around the house that she was sure she threw away several days before!† Be assured that itís not good enough to throw it away again for it will certainly show up again when and where you least expect it.† Evan wants to be as big as Wesley when he grows up.
††††† As we all walk toward the house Allison (4) turns and races off barefoot for the door calling back over her should, ďIíll beat you Ė beat you!Ē† In that regard, she is following closely the footsteps of her mother and oldest sister Ė competitive and strong headed. She loves to hold Andy though Andy is getting old enough to be tiring of the extra mothering.† One of Allisonís favorite activities is story telling.† Honestly, Iím not sure where she gets her ideas but theyíre always intriguing, suspenseful, and usually someone dies.† But her bend toward fictional fantasy doesnít leave her without a presence of reality.† When recently discussing a catechism question with Lindsey about original sin and the effect of that on all mankind, Lindsey asked, ďWhat state is man born in?Ē† Allison, with a quizzical look at Lindsey, answered matter-of-factly, ďIn the United StatesĒ (the correct answer being: In a state of sin and misery). Allison wants to be the big sister when she grows up.
††††† Entering the house, the aroma that greets me betrays that Monica (11.95) is putting the finishing touches on dinner.† She has mostly taken over the duties of cooking.† As with Lindsey, we have had some interesting entrees and horrible disasters.† But for the most part she has done very well.† Monica continues to collect an array of animals.† She bred Daisy this year and had her first litter of puppies.† She sold five of the six puppies to capitalize her upcoming horse business.† She is the main reason we have 35 chickens a cackling, 9 guinea hens a squawking, 6 doves a cooing, 2 dogs a barking, 2 cats a meowing, and a horse on backorder.† Monica wants to be a horse owner before she grows up.
As I walk to the bedroom, I greet Wesley (13) who is parked in front of the computer.† Wesley was blessed with a care package of great computer parts from a gentleman we met in New Mexico who builds computers for a living.† In addition, he took a Visual Basic class this year and really enjoys creating little software adventures that annoy the other household users.†
Wes continues to have his outside duties around the farm including feeding the newly acquired and ever hungry wood-burning stove we installed last month with split wood cut from around the farm.† Heís grateful for the wood splitting set he got for Christmas.
He continues to be interested in ham radio.† He is currently studying for the first leg of his license. He has a great voice for amateur radio Ė one that is loud enough to offset the need for an amplifier and one that is changing. Thatís right, heís at that point where he doesnít know if his voice is coming or going.† I remember a little of those days.† Poor chap Ė Iím afraid I see a lot of me at that age in him.† Pray for him.† Wesley wants to be a programmer when he grows up but may be out of a job before he begins if smitten by the Y2K bug.
Lindsey (14.95) is nearby supervising the production of dinner while standing at the piano pounding out her latest piece.† Lindsey, too, appreciates the conveniences of computers and the Internet.† She was able to accumulate many resources on Downs Syndrome from the Internet as well as other interests she has.† But most of all the Internet has afforded her the means of shopping while preserving herself as a keeper at home. Thatís right, online shopping Ė especially Ebay Ė has become a source of entertainment (or distraction, depending on your point of view) around the house.† At Ebay you donít just shop for things - you bid for things and that is where the real fun is found.
††††† But of course, she doesnít spend all her time in front of a monitor either.† She remains to be very active in the training and schooling of our little ones.† She still enjoys sewing and her skills continue to develop.† She is in the market for one of those really fancy (and expensive) sewing machines.† Her writing skills really blossomed this year after taking a writing class.† She along with Wesley and Monica, continue with piano lessons.† In addition, she and Monica are teaching Micah and Clarke piano basics. With so many piano students and the piano situated in a major traffic area, there is little time that the piano isnít in use.† Of course, Lindsey enjoys reading and is particularly motivated by a good theological debate.† I try to make sure she and I are on the same side of any debate.† Lindsey is looking forward to getting her driverís license soon and wants to be able to see over the steering wheel when she grows up.
††††† Just as Iím approaching my bedroom, Melody (2) runs across the living room and down the hallway carrying the newly acquired white cat (thanks to the Jensens and Parkers).† The cat is just one of any sundry things that Melody has taken a possessive liking toward.† Far be it should any dare intrude on her newly discovered property rights for she will loudly state her protest.† Melody has certainly come out of her introverted shell this past year. She has joined the ranks of the rest who unhesitatingly express their unqualified opinion of whatever might be going on. She and Allison are the first set of consecutive girls in the family.† Itís a hoot to see her and Allison playing dolly together and role playing the different persons of the family.† Melody wants to graduate from the baby crib to the bunk bed with Allison.† Horrors!!
††††† In the bedroom, Carrie (41) is sitting on the couch nursing Andy while studying her dayplanner for the next dayís requirements.† Andy (5 mos) has put on quite a bit of weight as of late after a slow start after his birth.† We are thankful that he has been spared the heart and respiratory problems that are common for Downs Syndrome.† In fact, he has stayed very healthy and well thus far.† His muscle tone is coming along real well; heís quite attentive and always ready to flash a toothless grin at anyone who will stop long enough to pay him a little attention.† Andy is beginning to show some interest in what everyone else is getting to eat that heís not.† Accordingly, I think Andy is looking forward to his first tooth coming in.
††††† By the time you read this, Carrie and I will have celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.† YIKES!!† 20 years certainly sounds like a long time but it sure doesnít feel like a long time.† Carrie is not one to let a lot of grass grow under her path.† Just the past year she added a nice car port to the end of the house that she remodeled the year before, adding a utility/school room, 2 much needed bathrooms, and another bedroom to our living space.† She is currently at the beginning of moving another house onto the front corner of our property, painting the exterior of my momís little house, and painting the interior of our house.
††††† But thatís Carrie.† Sheís the happiest when sheís caring for and developing her domain.† Since we married she has remodeled the interior of two houses, moved and remodeled our current home and birthed 9 babies.† In the middle of those projects she home schools the kids, gardens (with little success), landscaped our home and surroundings, trolleys the kids for a few activities, trains and disciplines the little ones, grocery shops, sews drapes/ curtains/sundry things, and does all this in time for me to come home to a relatively peaceful and orderly home.† Pretty remarkable when one thinks about it.† Carrie is doing exactly what she wouldíve wanted to be doing when she grew up except she never really thought about it.† On the other hand, if she had thought about it, well, she probably would never have done it!
††††† As for me (44.95), much of my physical and emotional energy seems spent on financing all this activity.† But that I do gladly and with time still found to do a little writing (as well as the Home School Digest watch for the Texas Home School Coalitionís quarterly and the August edition of Sproulís Tabletalk), a little speaking here and there (perhaps next stop is Corpus Christi in April), and the privilege to pastor our little church.† That seems enough to keep me out of trouble.† I still havenít figured out what I want to be when I grow up.
So much for the affairs of my familial community.† On a larger scale, our national community begins the New Year embroiled in history making controversy.† Public promiscuity, birthed in the Ď60ís sexual revolution, has found its expression in the highest office of our nation through a representative of the generation that was stripped of all objective moral values when God was expelled from the public school system.† The moral depravity of our society flagrantly evidences itself from TV, radio, and print.† Just today the kids and I listened to a radio ad that began with the idea that you might want to look better naked (Perhaps so, but whoís going to see??!!??).
††††† And thatís just the problem.† Our children are being desensitized at a younger age by increasingly promiscuous and atrocious violence committed by increasingly younger offenders.† Then we have to hear about it over and over in increasingly explicit terms.
††††† Most of the annual letters you and I receive center around the accomplishments and character of the authorís children.† We know that the success of our children tomorrow is built on the successes of our children today and we desire to celebrate those successes with our closest friends.
††††† So lies the success of our nation tomorrow in the rearing of our children today.† The plague of moral and ethical relativism that is a scourge of our nation today can only be cured by a generation who determines that man can never be a lawmaker unto himself but, rather, embraces a source of law and order that transcends man.
††††† If you accept my premise as true, or at least as reasonable, then one must wonder who is going to effect the necessary change in the way our children are being reared and trained to think.† The government school system?† I wouldnít bet on it.† Goals 2000 and school-to-work curriculum only confirm what a lower Texas court declared some years ago: The children belong to the State (a State that is decidedly atheististic).† Perhaps the Church then?† I donít think so.† When was the last time your church recited the 10 Commandments?† Can you even find them on a wall somewhere?
††††† No, we cannot afford to think someone else is going to train our children to think and act righteously if we desire to see our children effect a change in the course of our nation.† The course of our nation is now in their hands.† Our duty is to equip them to effect the correct and just changes in our legal and economic systems and that according to the one and only objective system of law and order Ė Godís Word.
††††† To me, THAT is a worthy New Yearís resolution.† May it be so resolved.
Godís grace to you & your family this coming year & for many more,
Pat & Carrie Hurd & Family
401 Pepper Lane
Weatherford, TX† 76088