"The Victorious Lion of Judah" used by permission. All rights reserved by C. Michael Dudash. To see more of his artwork,go to www.cmdudash.com
With all the uncertainty, disappointments and global concerns this Christmastime, it is a relief to set my mind on what is to come. It often makes me weep at the thought of standing before the throne worshipping Christ, throwing any microscopic crown I might have earned in this life at His feet, feeling totally unworthy of heaven and overwhelmingly grateful for His provision and grace extended to sinful, unrighteous me. And how overwhelming it will be to clearly see His beautiful face for the first time, to know Him as I am now known by Him; the veil will be gone from between this life and the next, the veil between this groaning earthly kingdom and His perfect heaven, the veil that now clouds and dims everything we are and do and see. And though I will certainly feel the need to weep, Scripture tells me He will wipe away my tears... What a precious, loving and tender picture of Christ.
So this Christmas the verses that ring in my ears are these:
Revelation 5:11-14 — And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a great voice,
Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain
to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom,
and might and honor, and glory, and blessing.
And every created thing which is in the heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and on the sea, and all things are in them, heard I saying,
Unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, be the blessing, and the honor, and the glory, and the dominion, for ever and ever.
And the four living creatures said, Amen. And the elders fell down and worshipped
May you fall down and worship Christ our Great King, the victorious lion of Judah, in all His glory this Christmas.
The Beall family had a fun and interesting 2011, here is a brief run down of the news in the family . . .
Bernie ... had another fabulous ministry year. He loved all the opportunities he had to talk to people about America's Christian heritage. He also loved helping others share the gospel, many for one of their first times. These two activities are really the core of our ministry. I wrote a lot about him in our Thanksgiving letter; to summarize, he had the opportunity to serve lots of individuals in family groups, international groups, schools, and conferences. He received lots of positive and grateful feedback from people, which was encouraging! A fun new addition to his life has been taking trumpet lessons. He is really pretty good and seems to have picked it up fairly quickly. He played a duet with Sarah for us on Thanksgiving. Fun!
Sarah accompanies Abbi at her first violin recital.
Linda ... I really think my favorite things this past year had to do with music and my granddaughters. But that seems to have been a theme in the past few years! I enjoyed attending more concerts this year with my family and daughter. Also, I decided to try to learn a simple piano sonata (Scarlatti K209) this fall by working on it a little at a time. Even though I had piano lessons from about age 6 to 12 and did some accompanying in seventh grade for a mixed chorus, I definitely don't have any special talent, and I dropped piano when my teacher, who was the church organist, left our church. I honestly haven't played much since then, except occasional hymns. Also, the same sonata I decided I wanted to try to learn, Sarah had learned in about one week a few years ago, which was a bit intimidating; at that time it kind of made me not even want to try! But for some reason I wanted to give it a shot and see what I could do with it this fall. Honestly it was quite fun for me to see small improvements every day; I didn't know I could still learn things like this at my age!And I almost have it memorized now, something I never had to do at all in 6 years of piano lessons; so at 51 to be memorizing music, even just a short little 4 page sonata will, I hope, help preserve my aging brain too. I actually might try a Bach piano concerto next ... we will see how that goes! A real treat for me right before Thanks giving, that combined my two favorites (music and my granddaughters) was being able to hear Abbi play in her first violin recital! She did absolutely fantastic, performing with such poise and grace. We are so proud of her!
Aaron ... has moved from full-time freelancing as a web graphic designer to a full-time extremely well-paying job. Aaron believes this was the Lord's timing in light of our economy, as well as in light of recent developments with some of the tools he uses to build web sites. For him it also helps separate work from free time; when he was working from home, time kind of all ran together for him, and really it often seemed that he had zero free time at all.
So it is actually a welcome change in a lot of ways, even though in his ideal world he would prefer to always be an independent contractor rather than a salaried employee. But there is a time for everything, and this seemed to him to be a good time to make the change. Work always seems to come to him without much effort, as did this job, I think maybe because he continues to be quietly hard working, and that his exceptional work continues to get noticed. Yes, he is a pretty amazing young man, and we are extremely happy for him and for this change in his life.
Sarah ... continues to teach piano at a local studio. Teaching 30+ students and playing chamber music keeps her fairly busy; when she does have free time she enjoys spending some of it with her nieces, loves to hike and rock climb with friends, and reads, reads, reads. The stack of books she has is always astounding to me; usually a variety of literature, history, math, science, languages, even poetry...you name it! Everything but popular pablum; she prefers classics and other things that are well-written with a depth of storyline. I suppose in addition to being a music geek, she is also just a plain geek-geek. She'll admit it, too. She likes to read her Bible in the original languages and totes around a Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New testament. She also has been exploring opera this past fall, and showed me parts of "The Love for Three Oranges" by Prokofiev, online. Pretty silly opera! She really enjoyed her week this summer at a music institute, and came home again exploring the idea of pursuing a masters degree in music, but it hasn't happened yet. I am happy she will have an opportunity to perform in a piano quartet and with a violinist in a December recital.
Recent origami works: sea urchin, spinosaurus, horse & heron.
Daniel ... has had a renewed interest in origami this past fall; we hope you enjoy the picture of a few of his favorite designs. A serious project for him was an origami cuckoo clock he made with lots of parts. On the health side, he is almost finished with his dental braces. His teeth look straight and fantastic with the underbite being reduced, but since it is still far from being fully corrected, we need to decide if we will take the next step to give him a normal bite. I am not sure if we have reached the limits of his spinal bracing; his kyphotic curve is improved and stable for the most part, but more recently we have had some discouraging doctor visits showing a small amount of reversal in measurements and increase in the curve. Please continue to pray for him with us, for wisdom and fantastic doctors and surgeons if the Lord leads us that direction. It is tough because he has no back pain or discomfort at all at this time, and although surgery could straighten the curve, the spinal fusions involved could leave him with back pain for the first time in his life. But if we let the curve go, it could compress his lungs and make other types of problems for him in the future. Also, the older you get, the harder it is to bounce back after a surgery. We have bought ourselves time with the dental bracing and the flexible back bracing, but in both these areas it might be time for the next step. We need some serious wisdom.
Josh and Kerin and the girls ... have been pretty busy with a full household plus a farmette. Josh continues to work full time as a software engineer with additional free-lance work. I am not sure how he does it all! They lost a few chickens to a hawk, and their dog also eyes those chickens hungrily; but they have had relative success in raising them and many of the hens are now producing eggs. The whole thing is totally foreign to this suburban girl who never even had or wanted a pet! And I must admit it is a bit of a surprise for me that my brainy son would end up in a venture like this. Josh always excelled verbally as well as in math, science and technology and had high SAT scores that gained him acceptance at every university he applied to. He sought a career in technology and considered going on for a law degree. But he was always curious and up for any new thing to explore, new systems to conquer and figure out, and he always did best if he could balance his study with outdoor activity. He did always love any time spent at Bernie's parents farm as a youngster, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, especially since his wife's family have encouraged them to pursue this. I am sure they are living out his mother-in-law's dreams for them; she has always had an interest in gardening and animals, and this farm venture was a whole new world for him to explore with her supplying plenty of her own research and educational videos, etc. Besides, he gets to play with machinery and make fires! And in today's uncertain global economy, it sure could be advantageous to be moving toward self-sufficiency. It is also so much fun for his daughters to have such a nice environment to grow up in with all that room outside to play and explore. On top of Abbi's list of things to tell us when she visits is how many eggs they collected recently. Sweet little baby Hannah probably won't ever remember life before chickens; she was clearly saying 'chicken' before she was a year old! So cute!
That's about all. We wish you a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!
~ Linda for the Bealls
He took Him into his arms, and blessed God. "My eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A light of revelation to the gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel."
~ from Luke 2:28 & 30-32