Christmas Newsletter, 2013

"And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.”  
Hebrews 1:3

Merry Christmas from the Wallen Family

Christian and Rebecca's Wedding, Nov. 30, 2013

Again this year, we are putting our newsletter online for your viewing.  If you would like a paper copy, let me know and I will send you one.  Remember, you can click on each photo to see them larger.


As a family, we have experienced much again this year. We have enjoyed the addition of new life born into the family.  Katherine Dyer Diaz brings joy to our faces and delight to our hearts as she warms us with her smiles. As Christian and Rebecca were joined together as man and wife, the two have become one flesh and a new chapter of life begins. We have been stricken by the sudden and unexpected death of my sister, Becky.  It seems simply much too early for her to be absent from the family.  The events of this year have reminded me how fragile and temporal this life can be and how important it is to be diligent in our work and our fellowship to be sure we accomplish the purposes God has planned for our lives.  The days and nights pass one by one without any delay or pause.  And we again celebrate the birth of Christ as we have year after year and will again in the years ahead. Let us not become complacent but rather embrace the season of Christ’s birth with a new vigor toward accomplishing His will. Remember, He has come that we may have abundant life.  I pray that we all will embrace life and wake each morning in the New Year with the hope and joy of the Christmas season fresh and new. Merry Christmas to you all!

The children gave us car window stickers for our whole family.  You should see the looks I get sometimes!


It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Well, maybe!  I cannot really complain about any part of this year.  We have been blessed yet again with good family times, including a new grandbaby, and a new daughter-in-law.  In August, Katie and Roberto had a new baby girl named Katherine.  On Thanksgiving weekend, Christian married his beautiful sweetheart, Rebecca.  Yes, we seem to be perpetually growing!  I spent some time, though not as much as I would have liked, pursuing my new hobby of weaving.  I finished eight kitchen towels and one floor rug.  I am now working on a rag rug.  It is great fun.  Tom, Jade, and I visited the Dominican Republic in the spring.  We spent some time with Roberto’s family and with our good missionary friends, Joel and Val Zamorano.  Joel and Val are directors of a YWAM base there.  The three of us also visited David at Camp Lejeune, NC.  He is stationed at the Marine base there.  Our whole family, except for David, spent a week at a cabin in the Smoky Mountains.  It was a wonderful family time, and always too short.  Lots of hikes, bear-spottings, mini-golf and good meals. Each of the older children took a night to cook dinner, so the variety of meals was fun.  We pray you have a blessed Christmas and New Year!

Rose and Michael

The wonder of Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I pray you are doing well and feeling as blessed as we are! Where do I begin? God is so good.  Earlier this year Michael and I were asked to be missions leaders at our church. In addition to supporting local ministries like Carenet (a crisis pregnancy center) and sending shoe boxes full of toys to children all over the world (Operation Christmas Child), we were able to send a team from our church to Thailand. It was incredible to see God bring in the total of $21,000.00 for our team to go. It was truly an awesome experience, as it was most of the team members’ first mission trip. Our team went to help support a ministry called Rescue 1, a ministry that works both to prevent human trafficking and rescue from it. They work locally here in the South as well as in Thailand, which is considered the human trafficking funnel of the world. I was not able to go on the trip, but Michael went. The things he and the team witnessed there will have an impact forever. Human trafficking is so rampant, both oversees, and in our own cities. The stories Michael tells of children and wives who are being sold repeatedly, just to pay rent and buy food, give you chills. Most of us cannot imagine such poverty and disparity. We are blessed with so much. Visiting the less fortunate in the world certainly reminds us how much we are given. We are blessed so we can be a blessing to those around us, and those we know of in other parts of the world who need so much. Speaking of blessings, we have just returned home from Christian and Rebecca's wedding. Rosalind (2.5) and Asher (15 months) had fun with their older sisters Aniya (17) and Nakiya (16) for this special week.  It was wonderful for our family to be together in its entirety, along with so many friends, to welcome in another sister. What an awesome start to the Christmas Season, with Thanksgiving and a wedding in the same week! I hope your Christmas is full of family and the blessings that come with the season of Christmas!                           

Michael thinks the brothers-in-law are a little pushy!


Hello.  I am eight years old.  I am in the third grade this year.  I have a new niece named Katherine.  She smiles at me a lot.  In April, I went with Mom and Dad to the Dominican Republic.  It was fun to see Uncle Ricky, Aunt Yomery, Mayte and Ricky (Roberto’s family). And we visited Joel Zamorano and his family too.  They are missionaries.  I rode a bus through the mountains and went to the beach.  We fed the birds in the city square and they landed all over my arms to get the seeds I was holding.  My arm got scratched. I am still taking piano and harp lessons.  It is hard to practice every day, but I enjoy making music.   I am getting used to being without my brothers and sisters, but I love it when they come home to visit.  Mom and I went to Disney World with Katie’s family in the spring.  Mom and I visited Epcot with Gail.  It was fun to walk through all the different countries.  I talked to Mary Poppins in Great Britain, and Mulan in China, and Snow White in front of her cottage.  Mom and I went on lots of fun field trips this year, like the Georgia Aquarium, CNN Center, and Martin Luther King’s birthplace.  It is so fun riding the train downtown.  I hope you had a fun year, too.  Merry Christmas everyone!


I refuse to accept the impending fact that life gets busier every year. This year I finished my third year at the University of Michigan. I was experiencing a lot of pain while practicing my harp and went to a couple specialists to try to resolve the issue, but according to all the blood tests, I am healthy. I spent most of the entire summer in Michigan working and took it a little easy on practicing. I tried a couple different diets and started working out with a personal trainer, but still was unable to practice without severe pain. So, I decided to get a second job working at a stable cleaning the barn, training horses, and giving riding lessons. Soon I hope to bring my horses up from Tennessee and start their training.  By August, I was still not able to practice and could not attend school for my fourth year. I decided to wait a little longer and try again to fix my back with more exercise. I tried to throw myself into my jobs and working out several hours each day. However, that slowed down very quickly. A few years ago I started playing hockey with a co-ed team as a sort of stress reliever.  I’ve gotten pretty good, though not without bumps, scrapes, and bruises along the way. The week after Thanksgiving I went to hockey practice feeling pretty good and excited to be on the ice. 2 hours into the practice I collided with another player.  Normally the pain I feel during practice is from getting the wind knocked out of me. But this time it was primarily in my right hand and I figured it was a sprain. By the end of the day, my wrist started popping and I decided to head to urgent care. Four X-rays later I was told I had a fracture in my fifth metacarpal. My first question was, “Can I still play hockey?” The doctor chuckled for a moment until she realized I was serious. Then she said absolutely not and I would be in a cast for at least 4-6 weeks which means I cannot work at the barn, play hockey, or do any workouts with my arms. It will be a long 4-6 weeks. Happy Trails to you and I hope you stay safe and whole for this Merry Christmas.

 Tony and Rachel

2013 has been an exciting year for us! Tony got his name on a patent for one of his new designs at work, so he has been spending long hours at Link Engineering, making sure everything runs smoothly with his project. My work has kept me busy as well. I (Rachel) traveled to Belgium for a science conference with my lab in June. After that a friend and I took off for nearly a week in Chamonix, France. On our last day there, we took a cable car to around 15,000 feet in elevation saw the peak of Mont Blanc. I absolutely loved being back in the mountains – the hiking was phenomenal! Meanwhile, Tony took advantage of my absence to go on a nearly two-week climbing trip in Wyoming. He climbed challenging routes in Lander and Ten Sleep and, on the last day, got to summit Devil’s Tower. On my way home from France, I learned that I’d be going to another science conference in October – this time in Japan! One of the main highlights of that trip was getting to summit Mount Fuji! I also tried some new foods: a long, skinny pickle on a stick (a popular snack in Kyoto), eel, and green tea ice cream. This time while I was gone, Tony stayed a little closer to home, heading to Rocktoberfest in Kentucky for a rock climbing extravaganza. Hopefully next year we’ll do more of our traveling together, but until then, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Well, I am currently stationed at Camp Lejeune, on the coast of North Carolina, and am very much enjoying living near the ocean. Living five minutes from the ocean gives me plenty of opportunities to fish, surf, swim, and run on the beach. This year has been very eventful for me. I started the year by working with a Marines logistics unit in Atlanta. It was nice being able to work at home for a few months before leaving for NC. Once I arrived in NC, I began the Marine Corps' Logistics Officer Course near Camp Lejeune. After graduating in July, I was assigned to Combat Logistics Regiment 27. I have been extremely busy at work, but am very blessed to be here. The Marine Corps is definitely getting its money’s worth out of me! My job is very exciting and I have a variety of responsibilities that keep work from getting too monotonous. I will be here in North Carolina for most of next year, but am not too sure where I will be next Christmas! I am excited to see where God sends me with the Marine Corps! I hope that you have had a wonderful and prosperous year! I pray that the Lord blesses you with wisdom and guidance in 2014! Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year! – David      2 Cor 12:9-10

Katie and Roberto

Robbie, Celeste, Abigail, and baby Katherine

Merry Christmas, friends! I hope that you have experienced a year as equally blessed as ours.  As I look through photos from this year, I remember just how many wonderful experiences we have had.  We had lots of travels, to Disney World, the Smokey Mountains, Switzerland, Tampa/Clearwater Beach, the Republic of Macedonia (Roberto only), and Michigan. Switzerland was awesome, as Roberto and I were able to take a trip without the kids for the first time in almost 5 years! Our dear friends, Gail and Lisa, and Mom, took care of the kids so we could have the time off.  It was a wonderful week spent climbing mountains, throwing snowballs, discovering Roman ruins, meditating in churches, eating lots of cheese and chocolate, cruising lakes, touring castles, and enjoying each other’s company. Summer was busy with art camp for Celeste, soccer camp for Robbie and Celeste, and swimming lessons for all.  The kids had a blast! They are really growing up too quickly. Celeste is now 5 and a big help to me every day. She is as girly as they come.  She still loves ballet, especially if she is on a stage. Her favorite color is light pink. She loves rainbows, unicorns, and butterflies, and thinks I’m the best Mom in the world. She truly brings us joy every day. Robbie is almost 4 and is all boy. He always looks forward to Roberto coming home from work so they can do boy things, like play with trains and dinosaurs. He is a great protector of his sisters, especially Katherine. Abigail is our 2-year-old firecracker.  She is a total daredevil and will jump off of just about anything. She loves being held, doing puzzles, Mickey Mouse, and eating (a lot!). Katherine Dyer was born August 12th and is a sweet little baby. Her big sisters and brother adore her and are already a big help. We are so blessed with all of our children, and thank God every day for them.

 Christian and Rebecca

Once again, I find myself reflecting on a year full of lessons and blessings.  I am now in my second year of the Chemistry PhD program at Emory University.  After joining a research group at the beginning of the year, I have been working on developing cobalt catalysts for various synthetic applications.  The biggest academic challenge I have faced thus far was my qualifying exam, known as the 2nd Year Report.  This involved 4 consecutive 80+hr work-weeks, a written research report, a research presentation to my committee members, and an oral examination.  Although passing this hurdle was definitely a major event of the year, it pales in comparison to another life event.  Last year, I started a long-distance relationship with Rebecca Thomas.  Rebecca grew up near Macon, GA.  She is the second of four kids, was homeschooled till college, and plays the piano and harp. I met Rebecca when she entered Union University during my sophomore year. We became good friends and were involved in several activities together, including Life Groups, in which we served together as group leaders.  She is sweet, hard-working, intelligent, and stunningly beautiful.  In May, Rebecca graduated summa cum laude from Union University with degrees in Elementary Education and Teaching English as a Second Language.  Rebecca said yes to my proposal on June 14th, and on Nov 30th, in a lovely church near Macon, GA, we entered into the covenant of marriage. Thus far it has been an amazingly wonderful experience, filled with many lessons and blessings. I am very excited to see the plans that God has for our future together.  May God bless you and keep you this Christmas season!


Wow! What a year! It feels like just yesterday that I was writing about the wonderful year of 2012. This past year, my studies at Carnegie Mellon have continued with vigor. I am constantly being challenged both physically and mentally. Violin has been a continuing challenge for me.  Last summer I attended the Masterworks Festival in Indiana for 4 weeks where I throughoughly enjoyed playing all sorts of music in orchestras, chamber groups, and solos. In June, the entire family enjoyed great fellowship times and experiences at a rented a cabin in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. The most exciting moment was probably when Tony and Rachel were unloading groceries in the driveway and looked over the hood of their car to see a black bear standing there staring at them. Rachel hid inside the car while Tony jumped onto the porch. It all made for some quite exciting video which I captured on my phone. I felt privileged to be one of Christian’s groomsmen in his wedding last month.  It has been a pleasure growing up with Christian, and I am looking forward to seeing how his and Rebecca’s life will unfold and what plans God has for their future. Feliz Navidad!

The Four Musketeers!

Thanks for signing on and reading our testimonies to God's faithfulness.  
We pray you have a blessed New Year.
Soli Deo Gloria!!!


Char said…
It was wonderful to read how everyone is doing. You have such a beautiful family!
Gail said…
Dear Family of God! Tom & Lynn and your every generation!

We have shared babies, life, and wonderful God blessed living in 4 States and Mexico! and I never cease in being awed & grateful to God as He continues to bless!, inspire!, encourage! and big time love me through each and ALL of you! God only knows how much I LOVE and APPRECIATE my HIS Wallen Family generations!

SO BIG HUGS and THANKS forever for yet again A Wallen Street Journal that is beautiful, entertaining, and God testifying, giving Him the glory and us the pleasure to read, share, and read and reread! Our LOVE LOVE LOVE in HIS! from me and my SO SPECIAL family too! ~~~ iFELIZ NAVIDAD FAMILIA!

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