A highlight for me in the new year, is my 'verse of the day' email subscription. Fourteen of the days in the beginning of January, the verse for that day related to God making
all things new, making us a new creation in Christ, doing a new
thing, new heaven and new earth, etc. It has been so life
infusing to me that I decided I wanted to share the verses with you over the coming months! And I hope it helps you remind yourself daily how
the gospel is God's business and He is working it out in us every.
single. day. Every day we can be renewed to walk in the Spirit,
put off the old man and its lusts, and experience the joy of our
salvation! Yay! Such a good and needful reminder for me if I get
discouraged about any current issues or problems in my life. I think that what matters most to God is not our problems, although having lived on earth in a fleshly body, he has much compassion for us when we have sorrows, grief and trials! I think what delights His heart is how by the power of His Spirit, we respond to our problems. He is there with us, loving us, having compassion on us, forgiving us when we ask, but also equipping us to live in our new life, in our new man or woman, enabling us to learn and grow through the difficulties. Every sin, every failure, can actually be a stepping stone to future victory if we don't grow weary and give up! Facing challenges is part of what makes us human, and part of what God uses in our lives to make us what we are today. If you take away all the hardships, we probably wouldn't ever learn to be wise and make good choices and to persevere by His strength!
I just might try to apply some of these "new" verses by writing more often this year,
and see if I can keep to the theme of how God makes all things new when I
January 1 was:
He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then He said, "write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." - Rev. 21:5
January 3 was:
Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy! Ps. 33:3
A big highlight for me towards the end of 2018 that ties together the ideas of 'new thing' and 'new song' in the above two verses, was being a part of our church's incredible choir for their 'Lessons and Carols' services this past December. My daughter-in-law Kerin, captured a clip, and put it on her instagram. I was pretty intimidated to do it, but have been wanting to for the last 5 years and decided this was the year to try something new. It was a beautiful and incredible experience and put the Christmas season in focus in such a beautiful and musical way for me!
A belated family update - Writing about our Beall clan heritage in our Christmas letter took up so much
space that I felt I didn't have room for the usual family updates, so I
hope you enjoy the belated updates on our extended family!
Josh and Kerin and family - In them I see such incredible faithfulness
to God and to their commitments in spite of a very heavy load -
even with six children they make time for each one and for each
other, investing in date nights and one on one time with the
children in a way that makes them all feel important and valued in
spite of the hectic pace of life for them. In addition to a full
time job at HSLDA where Josh was promoted last year to one of
top management positions, Josh continues to grow his real estate
business as well, and had a really good year helping people buy and sell homes in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland! He successfully
prepped and sold the house next door to us which had owners in
California and had been rented since it was built in 2005 so
needed a lot
of TLC. He priced it carefully and well and it sold for a great
price even though fall was not the peak time to sell. Kerin
continues to run a hair salon in their home, sell
natural ROOT beauty products, including being one of their 2018
spokesmodels, tutor in their home school coop, and run a tight ship
at home (which personally I think is a full time job in itself
having had all six of the children here for a few fun days a few weeks ago, while Josh
and Kerin were on a trip!)
A highlight for me this year was hearing Abbi play the first movement
of a Vivaldi concerto in her church's Christmas concert, with Sarah
accompanying. It was definitely her best yet! So proud of her! As she is getting older she is dealing more with performance nerves but pushed through it successfully and conquered this solo!
In the Christmas concert, Hannah had
her very first solo and did very well, and the four oldest all played pieces in various levels of
orchestra. Bethy was first violin in her orchestra and got to shake the
conductor's hand! Rachel got to play in the advanced orchestra which is
an accomplishment at age 10! Evie and Peter will be starting up lessons
Aaron and Christina and family worked incredibly hard from July
through October to prep their house for sale and move to a larger
home that more adequately meets their family's needs. They did an
incredible job with all the details of updating and preparing the old
house to go on the market, then finding the new one, then doing a bit of
renovation in the new home before moving in. All this with three small
children under foot! Although it was stressful, it seemed like Christina
was actually thriving through it all! They now
live closer to us which is a nice blessing. :) It is really a beautiful home with very large back yard and a real fireplace which they have used several times already, and it seems perfect for this stage of their lives.Aaron's company
restructured and downsized last year and kept Aaron on as their
top developer, bidding him up to stay with them when he was
looking at other job possibilities and got a great offer from
another company during the uncertainty during their restructuring.
Except for occasional on site meetings, he works remotely in their home
office which is a nice blessing too. Christina helps lead a
home school co-op and managed to keep homeschooling her oldest even
during the move and he is reading already! They are an
incredible and energetic couple and family! Christina is very
spontaneous too, which means lots of fun outings and road trips! She
gives her children a rich life in terms of stimulating creativity and
learning. With their move, the three families are all half hour apart in a triangle geographically which
makes getting us all together a bit easier, too! 'Mocha' their bunny
has been a fun addition to their family this past year. :) Some in their family have started violin lessons also which delights this grandmomma's heart!
Sarah is doing great and loves living fairly close to her church and many friends. She has so many weekly invitations and activities that occasionally she feels the need to just stay at her home and introvert a bit! She continues to play on our church's evening worship team, and teach in three piano studios. She enjoyed being a key part of the English language premiere of Cesar Franck's little known oratorio "Ruth," playing the orchestral part on the piano, with some solo instruments, a chorus and several wonderful vocal soloists. It was quite an undertaking and she pulled it off brilliantly - it was a beautiful and inspiring project and performance! She also has been working on various composition projects, including this choral piece she composed for a vocal writing workshop. The lyrics are below, a poem entitled:
Earth grown old, yet still so green,
Deep beneath her crust of cold
Nurses fire unfelt, unseen:
Earth grown old.
We who live are quickly told:
Millions more lie hid between
Inner swathings of her fold.
When will fire break up her screen?
When will life burst thro' her mould?
Earth, earth, earth, they cold is keen,
Earth grown old.
~Christina Georgina Rosetti
Sarah is in general such a wonderful person, aunt,
daughter, and I call her my friend as well. She knows me through and
through and seems to often have just the right words of
encouragement for me if I need it - I am so blessed by her affirmation! I remember the first time she said to me, "You have this Mom, you can do it" and the amazing difference it made for me! I have tried to follow suit in expressing confidence in others in the same way.
Danis doing great too, we continue to pray and explore possibilities
for his future. We are considering starting an instagram for his
origami. He is such a hard working and faithful son! We are also
looking for a physician to remove one of his most prominent exostosis
on his femur that gets bumped a lot because of how it is situated -
would appreciate prayers as we search for the right doctor for that
Full year for Bernie too! Bernie's latest favorite place to take
groups on his outings is the Museum of the Bible! His schedule gets
fuller every year but he truly loves every minute of what he does -
combining Christian faith, history, and evangelism in a unique way that
serves those inside as well as outside the body of Christ.
For me, towards the end of 2018 I started feeling closer to normal
than I have since my knee accident which I don't take for granted!
There were many things that I thought I might not be doing any more,
that the Lord has seen fit to allow me to return to! The body, even as
we get older, really does seem to have the capacity to heal if we just
keep moving and just keep engaging. Might be slower than we like, but
we are still fearfully and wonderfully made. :) I think being a part of
our church's lessons and carols Christmas choir that I mentioned above,
was healing and a huge boost for my spirit and emotions, and even
possibly improved my confidence which was most likely significant too. I
am so grateful for our church leadership and members and to be able to
be a small part of the choir ministry! I also have enjoyed having the family over
several times over the holidays which was nice and felt more normal. I
had taken a break from hosting larger family gatherings after my accident, just didn't feel capable or up to it! So it has been good to feel that old spark of joy again.:)
A verse to ponder -
"See, I will create a new heaven and a new earth - The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind" - Isaiah 65:17
I will possibly write some thoughts on this verse next month - but it seems to imply that all that takes place here will not even be remembered in heaven - all we can take with us is our own soul and the kingdom work done as we interface with other souls here on earth! I believe that kingdom work can occur in art, music, literature, blogs, and in our careers and families, as well as in our churches and places of worship - any place there are people interacting with what we produce or say. As we spend our time here on earth - we are all ministers of the gospel by how, through God's grace, we live out our life in Christ in front of our families and friends and the world!