We find these promises in Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you.”
These promises that God will be with us through the struggles and real life nitty-gritty give us strength to keep going no matter what a particular day might bring. 2014 was a combination of struggles and joys.
Dave continues volunteering as an assistant wrestling coach at Washington High School and the team was in contention for a state title, it was a good year. He gets some additional mat time officiating as well.
He continues on the Camp Board, and cut down a massive tree at Rimrock for insurance reasons while out there attending the state wrestling tournament in Rapid City in February and carved out a 10” x 10” slab 8’ long and brought home to carve a mantel for the new lodge that was being constructed.
He had his garden at home and managed the 17 plots in the church mission garden, taking great joy in giving away bushels of produce.
The summer was defined by weddings. The most anticipated was Nate’s marriage to Amber on June 21. Instead of coming home after the wedding we took a week of vacation with Randy and Terry Richmond at Lake Okoboji, IA.
That was when the trials started. Josh had been running a fever and not feeling well at the wedding and when he got home discovered that he had Strep Throat. Dave picked it up from him and it really hit hard. While still recovering from strep, blood clots hit blocking blood flow through his right leg like they did in 2012. This time he talked the Dr. into going home instead of staying a week in the hospital, working to stay in bed there and give himself Heparin shots.
He recovered enough by the end of July to lead a week of Vacation Bible School at church and then in the first week of August to head down to prepare for and conduct a wedding in Baton Rouge, LA on August 9 for Will and Amberle Richmond. Dave even gave up leading a backpacking trip in Yellowstone back country through the Camp to enjoy this special event.
Even though the previous vacation following a family wedding didn’t work out so well, we decided to try it again and headed for Orange Beach, AL, just a mile from Florida, to spend the next week with Richmonds.
Dave was recovering enough from the blood clots to start walking on the beaches and start training to compete in the SD Senior Games.
As soon as we returned home we had the blessing of entertaining Takuma Suzuki from Tokyo, Japan. He is the son of Akinori, who had lived with us as an exchange student at the same age. Takuma was able to stay from Aug. 18-31 and filled our time together with a variety of activities, including learning to play card games like Pinochle and Wizard when Dave’s folks visited and he enjoyed Wizard so much we bought him a Wizard deck to take back to Japan.
Four days later Dave was off to Rapid City to compete in the SD Senior Games. He has placed in the top 3 in his favorite events as long as he has competed in the Games first in Iowa and now in SD and qualified for nationals each alternating year (held biannually), but they have been too expensive to attend. Next year, however, the National Games will be in St. Paul, so he really wanted to qualify.
He lowered his expectations due to the limited prep time and was pleasantly surprised to qualify in shot-put, hammer throw and race walk, while not doing as well in other events. He was especially appreciative when he visited the doctor and discovered that he was also struggling with pneumonia at the time!
That was the end of his health woes except for having to remain on blood thinners for the rest of his life to protect against the onset of further unexplained blood clots, and he has not yet been able to stop wearing a compression sock on his right leg to prevent edema and swelling in the lower leg, ankle and foot until proper blood flow is restored since the clots.
Judy enjoyed making cards and scrapbooking through the year, is involved with the youth programs at church, as well as singing in the choir and attending two weekly Bible studies. Her greatest joy is being able to take care of our grandkids when possible.
The family gathered here again over Thanksgiving for our combined Christmas celebration. Family is a great blessing, and we are very blessed with the tally of grandkids reaching 6.
Mat has made a change in his Chiropractic practice in Fort Collins, CO moving from the nesting situation he had been in to purchasing a practice from a Dr. Wakita, who retired. This is a big step and we hope it will turn a corner for him to find new success. The whole family appreciates Mat bringing his portable table along every time he visits. The family lines up for adjustments every time word goes out that “the doctor is in.” Noah is now 8 and Levi is 6 and they are always a whirl of activity when they come.
Nate has his construction and snow removal business in Storm Lake, IA. He took advantage of the space on his acreage at the edge of town to construct a very nice building for his growing fleet of equipment. We went down to help with some of the finishing touches as it was a push to get everything completed in time to use the very nice facility for their wedding reception. Amber has continued to balance working toward her Bachelors in Social Work at BV.
Our wood burning furnace has been in storage at the farm at Flandreau since we left George, but Nate installed it in his new shop and also has the PTO splitter and my Monster Mall to split the wood supply that is piled up after removing trees to make room for a duck pond.
Josh and Danielle have settled into their place in Apple Valley, MN, and have really enjoyed their big back yard, developing a garden as well as enjoying their great play area for the kids. Aliyah is four and Lance is two. Josh continues to work at Ecolab and also has been building websites- some for income, and others generously support brother’s businesses.
Danielle started a new job with Blue Cross/Blue Shield this fall.
Ben and Christina are in Tea, just south of Sioux Falls. Ben is working at Glory House in Sioux Falls and Christina is teaching pre-schoolers in Tea. Jace is three and Avalynn celebrated her first birthday last month.
Again this year we have been blessed wonderfully by God through struggles and celebrations. We hope you enjoy these highlights and will share with us some of the things going on in your lives.
We extend the invitation for you to stop and visit or stay over with us any time you are in Sioux Falls at 4920 E Brennan Dr.
May you find as many blessings as we enjoy.
Dave and Judy Ullom
515-341-0132(Dave) or 515-341-2383(Judy)