Christmas Family Newsletter

Many of you have received our yearly newsletter in the mail. I have also posted it here. If you have already seen it and want to see other entries, just click on the months on the right.


On August 25, 2007 I was honored to give my daughter Katie to Roberto Diaz to be his wife. Scripture describes marriage as “two becoming one flesh”. WOW, it was a delight in my life to be blessed by my daughter and newest son Roberto! On May 12, I was honored to see Rose receive two university diplomas with honors for her dedication and hard work. Daily, the children fill the house with music as they fine tune their talents to their parents’ delight. Jade reminds us moment by moment of the boundless energy which flows from a two year old. David zips in and out from college leaving car parts and dead dear in his wake. Tony and Rachel are growing in their love for one another and their desire to serve our Lord. Lynn continues with her steadfast love and devotion to me and our children. Her work is truly never finished and she rarely rests from it. On September 11, I began a new career at The Walsh Group. After 22 years with the same firm, and at the age of 51, and with 6 children still at home, why not start a new career? There is never a dull moment at the Wallen house and the mercy and grace of our Lord continues to abound there. I pray that our Lord fills your home with His divine presence and blesses you with a prosperous new year.


Greetings to you! We have had another blessed year. Jade continues to inspire joy and awe among us. She is now 2 ½ and still growing strong and healthy. A few of her favorite expressions are: I’m hungry.; Oh, bother!; I wanna go outside. Her favorite song is the Hallelujah Chorus. “Please play Hallelujah, Mom.” Jade is experiencing a learning streak that I have a hard time keeping up with, but I do have help from the rest of the family. Tom and I traveled to Barcelona, Spain, in April as he attended a healthcare conference. It was quite an experience for me as I had to travel by myself, staying overnight in London and then finding my way to the hotel from the Barcelona airport. I can’t believe I actually did it all by myself. You can read about it on our website, We were very proud of Rose in May when she graduated from college with two degrees, summa cum laude. It is great to have her home again. The summer was spent preparing for Katie and Roberto’s wedding in August. What a tremendously rewarding day as the two became one! Roberto and his family are definitely an enrichment to our family. There is a link to their wedding story on our website. In October, Tom and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary by returning to our honeymoon town of Toronto, Canada. We also visited nearby Niagara Falls for a memorable two days. What a beautiful sight! That story also is on the website, along with some great photos by Tom. We would love to hear from you and hope you are all experiencing the Peace that passes understanding. May God bless your families in the coming year.Soli Deo Gloria!


Howdy everyone! Would someone please tell me why each year seems to pass by me more quickly than the last? I turned 15 in February and studied hard to take the written driver permit test. Mom was worried but I passed it with only one error. In the beginning, I ran off the edge of the road a couple times but now with Dad’s and Mom’s guidance I am becoming a pretty good driver. After a road test in February, I will have my license. (In the process, we found out I needed glasses.) In June, Dad, Mom, and I took Micah to a music camp in Chicago. While there we did some new harp shopping. I played on various harps for four hours and was finally able to pick one, a concert grand with a walnut finish and bronze accents. It looks a little like a gold harp but with bronze instead of gold. I so enjoy practicing on it every day. We are trying to sell my other harp so if you know of anyone that wants a harp, let us know. I attended harp camp again this summer. I learned even more about playing in an ensemble, stage presence, and theory. I still play piano and recently accompanied Micah in a recital. This fall, I auditioned for and was accepted into a high school youth orchestra in Nashville. What a thrill it is to play beautiful music with a group of talented musicians. I was honored to be one of Katie’s bridesmaids in her wedding. I also enjoyed playing my new harp during the ceremony. Jade is doing so well. She fits into our family like a hand in a glove. She has her pouting moments, but most of the time she fills the house with laughter. One of the biggest events this year was that I was given a new horse. This is how it happened. On April 1, 2006, one of my trainer, Tara’s, horses had a filly and was named Butterfly. When I saw that tiny filly I dreamed I had a horse just like her. I watched her grow and my dream horse grew just like she did. On December 19th, Tara told me that Butterfly was mine. I was speechless. I never dreamed she would actually be mine. On January 19th, Tara brought Butterfly to my house and she was home. From then on I started training her to prepare to ride. On November 23rd, I rode Butterfly for the first time. David led her while I sat on her back and gave her the ground signals and the riding signals afterwards so she would learn how to respond to a rider. I will continue her training and hopefully take her to some shows in the spring of 2008. Happy Trails to all, till we meet again!


Ni Hao! I learned that from the Chinese language videos for children that Mom lets me watch. This has been the best year of my whole life. (I am now 2 ½ years old.) Now that I am well acquainted with my new family, I am so grateful that they came to China to get me last year. Every day in my new home is fun. I wake up around 8:30 and go around to each room to see who is home. Usually it is Mom, Bekah and Micah. Sometimes Christian, Dad and Rose are home too. Then I tell Mom I’m hungry and she gives me cereal, milk and fruit. After breakfast, Mom and I play with puzzles and read books. I can find all the A’s, B’s and C’s in the books. While we read, Bekah plays her harp and Micah plays the violin up in his room. I can play violin too, but I use my own violin. I made it from a rubber spatula and use a pencil for a bow. Micah loans me his music stand and book. Mom takes pictures of me. Sometimes I play harp on the stairway using the balusters for strings. After music, I sit at the table and draw or play with play dough while Micah does geometry. Micah wants to help me with the play dough, but Mom tells him to finish his math first. Next, we have lunch and then time for a nap. I sleep from 1:30 to 5:00. When I wake up, I ask Mom, “What’s for dinner?” My favorite dinner is pizza. In the summer, we played outside on my new swing set that Daddy built. I can’t swing by myself yet, but the slide is fun. Sometimes Bekah takes me for rides on the back of her bike. I have to wear a helmet. My favorite part of the day is when Daddy comes home and gives Mom a big hug. I climb up in the middle and we make a sandwich hug. It’s fun! I hope you have lots of sandwich hugs this year. Zaijian! (Goodbye)


Season’s Greetings! I hope your year has been as full of excitement as mine! In March, I and a college teammate participated in a National Business Competition in Las Vegas. The competition involved three months of studying a company, Church & Dwight (Arm & Hammer), and advising on its strengths and weaknesses. The competition was between 30 other schools across the country, 15 in our division. We worked for months on a 15 minute presentation, and 5 minutes of questioning. To my great surprise and excitement, our names were announced as first place winners at the award banquet. About a month later, I graduated with two degrees: Business Management and Interior Design. I relate graduating to the game, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” It is like the stage you reach when no matter what happens, you still walk away with 32,000 dollars. No matter what happens, I have my diplomas. I didn’t bother looking for a job very soon, because two weeks after graduation, Katie and I left for a month-long trip to Europe! It would require a newsletter all to myself to scratch the surface in relating everything we did and saw during that month. During our tour, we posted out pictures and stories online at: We started in Italy with Rome, Florence, Venice and Pisa. Then to Austria with Vienna and Salzburg and Switzerland. In Switzerland we spent a day in Interlaken. After a day in Munich, Germany, France was our last stop. We spent 5 days in Paris, including a day trip to Normandy for a WWII tour. It’s hard to say what day, or place, was my favorite. Paris is probably my favorite city. I had been to Paris once before, so I was able show Katie around the city. ;) We went white-water rafting in the Swiss Alps, definitely a highlight! The water, two hours from its glacial source, was grey with oxygen and minerals from flowing so swiftly! We enjoyed relaxing in Salzburg, Austria. If there is one way to describe Salzburg, it would be: Dogs and Bikes. Everywhere in both Austria and Switzerland the water was beautiful! We took in a breathless view of the Alps from Hitler’s Eagles Nest. I could go on and on about how beautiful it was, and the fun we had traveling by train and on foot…but really, there is not enough space on this newsletter. Upon returning to the US, we began planning for Katie’s wedding. If I were to describe that part of the summer, it would be: Fast and Furious. I began working for the general contractor in Nashville at which I interned last summer. I am a project manager for renovation and small new-construction jobs. I have jobs in East and West Tennessee, which allow me to travel a little. I am gaining priceless experience in small business and construction which will help if I start my own business one day. I took a week off to help my friend Rachael plan and execute her wedding in Texas, which was two weeks before Katie’s wedding. I will let Katie describe her wedding preparations, even though she says it’s a bit of a blur! Merry Christmas!

Tony and Rachel

Christmas is here again! This year has been unique in that Tony and I (Rachel) haven’t undergone many dramatic events. Tony continues to work for Link Engineering in Plymouth, MI, and I still have seven months of college left before finishing my Microbiology undergraduate degree. As Tony gained experience at work, I’ve traveled to academic symposiums in Flint, MI, and the Argonne National Labs in Chicago, IL, to give presentations of the research I’ve been doing over the past year and a half at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Some other highlights of our year include Katie and Roberto’s beautiful wedding, which we’ll let them tell you about, Rose’s graduation, two camping trips to Traverse City, MI, and attending a couple of Scottish Highland Games. We particularly enjoyed walking along Lake Michigan at Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes near Traverse City and watching the caper toss events and bagpipe players at the two Highland Games. We hope your 2007 has been as blessed as ours and pray your 2008 will be full of joy and walking in God’s love. Merry Christmas!

Katie and Roberto

Merry Christmas! This year has been so eventful, that I don’t even know where to start! I guess I’ll write chronologically. The year started getting exciting in February, when Roberto took me on a surprise trip to New York City and proposed marriage! We celebrated with a memorable long weekend in the city. Surprises included delicious meals, 2nd row seats to Les Miserables, and meeting many of Roberto’s good friends. You can read details of the weekend at our website, We scheduled our wedding for August 25th. Most of the spring and summer were consumed with planning for the big event. However, I did manage to take a month-long vacation to Europe with Rose. We had a wonderful time visiting cities in Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and France. Rose and I make perfect travel partners, as we were able to see an incredible number of sights with no arguments! We only split up for one afternoon the entire month. You can read the details at our trip blog: The wedding in August was wonderful. It was great to see so many family and friends. We could not have been happier with the day. We had a much-needed break as we honeymooned in Australia and New Zealand. Those two countries are absolutely breathtaking. We hope to return some time in the future, as two weeks is barely enough time to scratch the surface of this region. We do not have pictures on our website yet, but will hopefully have them up by the end of the year. Roberto and I are so thankful to have found each other. We have enjoyed our first three months of marriage and are very much looking forward to the rest of our lives. Our prayer this Christmas is that you may be blessed as much as we have!


Greetings! This past year has been very eventful for me. The most major event was my back surgery in May. I had a bulging disk in my lower back, which was pinching my sciatic nerve. Basically, whenever I would stand up, my legs would go numb. After eight months of therapy and medication, we decided to have minor surgery. Fortunately, a simple laminotomy took care of the problem and I am just about back to normal. The next biggest event was transferring colleges. I am now a junior at Samford University, in Birmingham, Alabama. I am majoring in Business, with an emphasis in finance. Classes are very challenging, but I am enjoying Samford very much. In the summer, I rebuilt the engine in a ‘91 Mazda MX6. Surprisingly, the engine started right up even after having been scattered about the garage for several weeks. I did not trust it though, so my younger brother is driving it. As far as I know it is still running, but I wouldn’t bet on it! Last year, my parents bought me an accordion for my birthday. We had a difficult time finding a teacher for the all-but-lost skill but I finally found one in Birmingham. With much patience, Mrs. Seay has taught me to play several pieces. Last weekend, I shot a deer in our woods. It is the least I could do to help put meat on the table. I hope you have a splendid Christmas season; may God bless you all!


This has been one very busy year for me. I am now 17 and a senior in high school. I still enjoy playing and competing on bagpipes. At Grade Level 3, this year’s competitions were a little more challenging. The competitions have taken me many places including Alma, Michigan; Charleston, South Carolina; and Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to competing solo, I am still playing and competing with the Nashville Pipes and Drums. This year I was elected Quartermaster and have started teaching new and intermediate students. Perhaps the most exciting thing that happened to me this year was the Research Internship Program. This is a program at Vanderbilt University that takes about 20 students from around the country and places them in research labs across the Vanderbilt campus. For six weeks the students work as interns with graduate students and post-doctoral researchers. I worked in an organic chemistry lab learning how to synthesize organic molecular structures. I know this does not sound too exciting to most of you but for me it was quite enjoyable and a great opportunity. At the end of the six weeks, my PI (boss) asked if I could continue to work in the lab during the school year. I jumped at the chance and am working there part time. I am also taking a couple of college-level classes at a local community college. Although the Vanderbilt program was the most exciting part of my year, something else happened that was pretty exciting. Katie got married!! But I am sure that she and most of my other family members will tell you the whole storyJ. I hope that you will have a very wonderful Christmas and that your New Year will be as exciting as mine.


Hello again! Wow! Many things have happened this year! This summer I attended a three-week violin camp in Chicago! The students were placed in string quartets and given a different set of pieces to learn each week. I also had master classes for some solo pieces. There was a big performance at the end. I began playing golf this year. My first outing was in July; I made two birdies! But I also scored a 13 on one hole. I still have not played a whole course of 18 holes yet, but I hope to do that next year. In June I accompanied Christian, Roberto, and Roberto’s nephew Danny, on a white-water rafting trip on the Ocoee River! Our raft flipped over on a class four rapid, but the worst thing was that the class five rapid was right ahead of it so we ended up swimming through the biggest rapid in Tennessee! We had a lot of fun! This fall I flew up to Michigan to help my brother with some house remodeling. It was my first plane ride and I loved it! Violin lessons are going very well. I have learned several new pieces that I really enjoy playing: Wieniawski’s Scherzo Tarantelle and some Bach Unaccompanied Partitas! School is going well. I am in the 8th grade now and enjoy history, geometry and literature the most. I don’t think anyone else will mention this, but this year I became the tallest member of the family. That is, until Roberto married Katie. Roberto is an inch taller than I. Since I am only 13, I still have a good chance at surpassing even him! All together it has been a great year. Feliz Navidad!


Anonymous said…
hermanos Tom y Lin estamos muy contentos y agradecidos con Dios por darnos unos amigos como ustedes, los queremos y los recrdamos con mucho cariño, tienen una hermosa familia, los felicitamos.
Reciban un saludo y un abrazo cariñoso de quien los quiere.Emilio Carrillo y familia
Anonymous said…
quisiera saber a que direccion les puedo enviar unas fotos porfavor.
Dios los Bendice
Rica de Carrillo
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