CHRISTMAS 2010 — Every Note Matters!

Bernie & Linda Beall & Family

“Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens. If children hear fine music from the day of their birth and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, discipline and endurance. They get a beautiful heart.”
-Shinichi Suzuki (of the Suzuki Method for teaching violin & piano)

“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”
- Albert Einstein

“It occurred to me by intuition, and music was the driving force behind that intuition. My discovery was the result of musical perception.”
- Albert Einstein (when asked about his Theory of Relativity)

Beall Family Christmas Update, Every Note Matters!

As Sarah is working on technical things with her teacher this fall semester, a catch phrase has surfaced. “Every note matters.” In music that means, every note has a place and a purpose, none are to be sloughed over and played irreverently or sloppily. And her instructor told her, that when every note matters, and if that is the focus, a sense of line and phrase will emerge naturally, almost effortlessly.

For Sarah’s Teacher’s Association meeting, they recently read ‘The Talent Code,’ which cites some patterns that emerged when looking at really successful and talented people. They all had a spark of inspiration, combined with the ability to focus and practice usefully. Many had a ‘master teacher’ who was pivotal both in the inspiration as well as the development of the ability to focus. (This could be a parent, of course.) This focused practice they called ‘Deep Practice.’ This is difficult to do when one is practicing something over and over and getting mentally tired; it is easy to play through without really thinking at all, which doesn’t help you progress musically. When Sarah was sharing this with me, it made me wonder how a person can learn to make every practice a deep and effective practice.

After hearing the ‘Every Note Matters’ idea, I thought, maybe that's it! (Or at least a big part of it.) When you make yourself focus on the quality of the sound of every note, you will have to practice in an engaged way. When you are not thinking, ‘here is the easy part, brain you can go out to lunch while my fingers play this,’ but instead you choose to continue to pay attention to every note, you will naturally end up practicing in a way that moves you forward. And as I think of my favorite musician, I think that might be part of what sets him apart, that he plays as if every note matters.

So as I do our family update this Christmas, it is with that idea in mind. As usual, the ideas above moved in my mind to an analogy related to how God works. Hope you are not tired of my analogies, or think they are too cheesy… but here it is…

As God writes the symphony of history, each life is a note, and every note matters.

Every note plays a part in the big idea of what God is doing, and if any are deemed unimportant or left out, the whole of humanity suffers. But God never composes or plays His symphony mindlessly or thoughtlessly. You count. And God loves you and has a reason and purpose for your life. And remember, your note is not just for you, but for the whole of humankind as well. Don’t jump ship. Be faithful, and watch as He over time, helps you see how much you matter. To Him, as well as to others.

So here is bit about each ‘note’ in our family, all so different, but all essential parts of the enjoyable whole of our family life at this point in time. I have been reading in  the Psalms lately and all the Bible verses quoted below are from Psalm 37.

bernieBernie - Bernie is the ‘note’ that leads us. We are so grateful for his love and leadership in our family. As he reads God's word to us, organizes tours and outreaches, and writes gospel fliers, he keeps our focus in a good place. He has had a full year with many new opportunities and challenges, he is up for every adventure, helps make all our dreams come true. Bernie is an amazing person in his perseverance in ministry, love for the Lord and for people, and faithfulness to us. How one person can stay connected with so many people is beyond me! But he thrives on it. His huge email list and connections with so many friends allow him to make connections for them and help out when there is need, when someone is in the middle of job change, he is connected with folks that might need him; when international visitors come to America, he knows where to find host families, etc, etc!! Here is a little vignette that shows the contrasts of our personalities. After Josh and Kerin were married 5 years ago, with roughly 500 people in  attendance, when the reception came around, I was pretty wiped out in every way, but probably especially emotionally and socially so (don’t tell), I actually found a bed and took a nap for about an hour before re-engaging. On the other hand, Bernie looked around at all the people and excitedly made his rounds to talk to absolutely everyone he could snag before they left! While my thought was, ‘Oh my, look at all these people, I think I need a nap.’  His first thought was, ‘Yeah! Look at all these people, hope I get to talk to all of them!’ I think that is a good picture of Bernie and how he cares about people, and loves to talk and tell a good story. (Not that I don’t care about people, I just connect in a much more limited and maybe deeper way.) But I really think I have the best  husband ever, at least for me! When I look around at the lack of commitment evident in so many marriages that fall by the wayside over the years, I am grateful that the Lord saw fit to bring Bernie and me together, for a lifetime, 29 years and counting. Can’t imagine life without him! Although he has a adventurous spirit, Bernie is a faithful man, and this verse reminded me of him.

Psalm 37:3 “Trust in the Lord and do good;
      Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.”

aaronAaron - Aaron continues to work hard as a free lance  interactive Web designer. The Lord is constantly bringing him work! He never really has to market himself, which he is grateful for, but one of the downsides of working from home, is he often ends up working all the time! Though he is able to save most of what he earns, invest, as well as live debt free, which will put him way ahead when it comes time to buy a home, (and there are many other benefits for him and us in living here); like everything, it can have its challenges. It is not like he can leave his work behind, and go home; he is home! We have to tear him away from his ‘workstation’ periodically. Another downside is trying to work in an environment that is not always quiet. With piano and violin practice, nieces  visiting, cooking, cleaning, guests, meetings and other things going on much of the time, his concentration is tested since his  office is in an open area. His propensity towards a later work/sleep schedule can border on ‘nocturnal’ when an intense project deadline looms. But it is all worth it to him, to be able to be more connected with our family and ministry, (which we appreciate too,) and be able to save for his future. This is really only a possibility because of the internet and the ability to connect and work with people professionally all over the world, without actually being on site. Aaron hopes to  finally take some time off this year and update his flash site and his fireworks site in December with some new work; and, so feel free to check those out. Aaron can be a man of few words, but those words count. He has an amazing ability to evaluate a situation, and then give some clear concise insights. I appreciate that so much, I am grateful that I can go to him for input and thoughts on many things, and he will distill down my many rambling questions with concise insight and answers. These verses from Psalm 37 reminded me of him and what Aaron has done in his life.

Psalm 37:5 “Commit your way to the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Trust in Him and He will do it.”

sarahSarah - Sarah really enjoyed spending July at a classical music festival this summer. She grew musically and spiritually in a hot house type of extremely stimulating environment. Where else could you find her singing the piano lines for "Erlkonig" with three other friends?  Trust me it could only happen when a bunch of 'music geeks' gather, totally fun for her. In addition to a busy social and musical life, one of her favorite things there was attending as many of the weekly concerts as she could, and being blanketed with the sound. Although she was encouraged there to pursue a Masters in Performance/Pedagogy, she has elected to spend this academic year working primarily on some technical things with her piano teacher and continuing to teach almost 40 piano students locally. She also has had more opportunities to work with other musicians, and has enjoyed working on accompanying some violin and viola.  This is especially fun since she much prefers accompanying and chamber work to solo performance. And she always has to make time for things like hiking, biking, volleyball, and tennis with friends, and reading and studying everything she can.  Most of the money she spends (although she saves most of what she is earning right now) goes towards classical music scores and recordings, and books. Recently, I enjoyed hearing her summary of Shakespeare’s A Comedy of Errors on our way home from a concert in upstate New York (crazy, hilarious story, not at all easy to summarize, I couldn’t do it!). Sarah keeps me laughing; she offsets my intensity with a lot of comic relief. I am grateful for that! Interestingly, this humor at times includes her playful mocking of me, and I am not sure why it is so funny to me to hear her imitate me and my personality, but it is. I guess I can be a bit predictable? I often have to tell her to stop so I can stop laughing and breathe. While Sarah is opposite me in so many ways, a paradox as she is more social than me but also much more private at the same time, it has been so nice to have one thing we both really enjoy and share, (in addition to our faith and the nieces), and that is the classical music world. We attended several classical concerts locally this fall, and also have traveled several hours twice to hear a particularly amazing musician. I am extremely grateful to have the privilege of spending this time with my adult daughter. Sarah can get excited about a lot of things, and when I think of my daughter, this quote from St. Augustine's confessions comes to mind. (Book 1.1.1): “For Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.”

Psalm 37:7 “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.”

danDaniel - Dan has enjoyed working on revising some of his stories with me this fall. When he was age 7-10 he decided to record a series of his own adventure stories on cassette tapes. They are a crazy mix of ideas and story lines from games he played and stories he read or watched during those years, all done as ‘Adventures in Odyssey’ style radio dramas. He has spent a fair amount of time over the past few years listening to the audio and transcribing them to written form. Now he is ready for me to work with him on developing them to the next level. We are having a lot of fun laughing our way through them, trying to summarize and make sense of them. He said to me, ‘It all made sense at the time!’ Dan would really like to redeem them in a sense, by developing the characters and moral lessons into something that could potentially be published, so I am trying to help him with his dream. We will keep you posted. Dan is also continuing to practice piano and hammered dulcimer, which is so nice to listen to. He is working on his second memorized scripture CD with 12 more Bible chapters he has committed to memory. His treatment with braces on his teeth is going well, to me it looks like his under-bite has been reduced, we will see how far this treatment will take him towards a normal bite. His flexible back brace keeps his kyphotic spinal curve stable, and his doctor in New York seems pleased, so we are continuing with that for now. But please keep both these medical areas in prayer, as both may eventually require surgery to give a more complete correction. I am so grateful for Dan's pure and sincere heart and for the many blessings he brings to our family. He often amazes me with witty and humorous comments on life in general, including plays on words that he is quick to pick up on. We don’t expect Daniel to have any earthly children, but he will most likely have many nieces and nephews, and his inheritance with the Lord will go on forever.

Psalm 37:11 & 18 “The humble will inherit the land, and will delight themselves in prosperity. The Lord knows the days of the blameless; and their inheritance shall be forever.”

josh and kerin and familyJosh and Kerin - As many of you may have seen in our September letter, they have bought a 7 acre farmette that has needed lots of work, are landlords as they are renting their old home as well as a small apartment in their new one, and had their fourth child. Josh continues to work full time for HSLDA as a software engineer, with additional free lance work on the side, in addition to working on all that remains to be done on their homestead, and being a great husband and father. Kerin manages to open her home to others frequently amidst all that already keeps her busy, work as a hair stylist out of her home, and keep all of her family and ours (that is about 16 people) trimmed, highlighted and permed when needed. (Better than any stylist I ever had at a salon!) They are amazing, and their four girls are absolutely a delight. I feel they are better than me in many ways, and I am extremely proud of them and all they are doing. This verse made me think of them. 

Psalm 37:23 “The steps of a man are established by the Lord; and He delights in his way.”

Josh and Kerin's Girls - Abbi (4) is a thinker, more serious, has to know ‘the plan,’ talks about what is going to happen in the future, as well as reflecting on experiences she has had in past. She seems to be strong in all the learning styles and seems very musical, (auditory and kinesthetic) notices and loves colors, including matching them to pick her own outfits, (visual), and is always needing to touch everything. She is girly and neat.

Rachel (2) lives more ‘in the moment,’ and is excited about everything. We call her our human ‘twitter,’ as she is constantly giving a narrative of everything she is doing ‘right now,’ with much enthusiasm. “Gonna play the ‘biolin’!!” “Gonna read books with Grandad!!” “I swinging!” We think she is a brilliant child, and has been pretty advanced all along in many areas like puzzle solving and speech.

Bethany (1) is a bit more cautious in how she interacts with life, but definitely doesn't want to miss out on anything. If you are leaving, she wants to go with you. If you are eating something she doesn’t have, she wants some! She started her speech patterns with imitating consonant sounds, kind of like when you teach a child phonics, and she already says quite a few words very clearly, like ‘Thanks,’ and ‘Stina’ (Aunty Kristina’s nickname).

Hannah (about 2 months) is a sweet smiler, seems to enjoy her busy family and be pretty content for now, which is a nice blessing to all. As Josh and Kerin have embraced children as a gift not a burden, their dollars may be stretched a bit more, but they are faithful and frugal and it is absolutely amazing what the Lord has blessed them with!

Psalm 37:16 & 19b “Better is a little of the righteous than abundance of many wicked. In the days of famine they will have abundance.”

lindaLinda - And then there is me, I really jabber on in our letters all year long, so I thought it was about time to keep quiet about me. But I hope you enjoy hearing a bit more of the details about the rest of our Beall clan. I am a huge fan of them all. As far as a verse for me from Psalm 37, since I have a huge propensity to worry, I thought this part of a verse suited me. 

Psalm 37:8a “Do not fret…”

I will ask you to pray for some medical things going on with me, in spite of (or maybe because of) my nursing background I really don’t like hospitals or ‘procedures,’ so I put things off that really should probably be checked out. Also because of my background I have a tendency to self diagnose and treat. I would much rather find a natural cure related to diet than use drugs or surgery, if at all possible. So I would love if you would pray that my symptoms just go away.

We wish you the most blessed Christmas and New Year!
Linda for the Beall Family

P.S. In closing I love the words of this hymn and hope it ministers to you and your family this Christmas! And in line with the theme of this letter, this hymn refers to all the things God has made singing musical praise back to Him. We as humans are only a small part of this song to the Lord. You must play your unique note that is part of His grand symphony!

  1. This is my Father's world,
    And to my listening ears
    All nature sings, and round me rings
    The music of the spheres.
    This is my Father's world:
    I rest me in the thought
    Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
    His hand the wonders wrought.
  2. This is my Father's world,
    The birds their carols raise,
    The morning light, the lily white,
    Declare their maker's praise.
    This is my Father's world:
    He shines in all that's fair;
    In the rustling grass I hear him pass;
    He speaks to me everywhere.
  3. This is my Father's world.
    O let me ne'er forget
    That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
    God is the ruler yet.
    This is my Father's world:
    The battle is not done,
    Jesus who died shall be satisfied
    And earth and heaven be one.