2017 Family Christmas Letter

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. This portion of the Christmas story from Luke 2:8-9 is a bit descriptive of our lives this year. Here are a few highlights.


One of the major blessings was a trip south in February. We stayed with our good friends, Randy and Terri Richmond and then were joined by Josh and Danielle to take in Mardi Gras in New Orleans followed by a cruise in the Caribbean with stops in Cozumel and Progresso.


Back in Zachary we took a day to visit Avery Island and my favorite – the Tabasco factory. This was a fantastic time together

We headed for Arizona after our Louisiana excursions to spend time with David’s parents in Apache Junction, getting to see his sister Linda Thielsen and her family in nearby Chandler, and then staying with friends Roger and Kathy Ellis in Surprise, AZ before heading back north. We stopped in Fort Collins, CO to stay with Mat, Noah and Levi on our journey home.


This trip gave us so many memories and was refreshing in ways we had not experienced before. Another blessing during the trip is that Dave began getting contacts from churches and video interviews that led to 6 different congregations inviting us to come to be their Pastor.


It is always hard to say goodbye to our friends and neighbors, but there were also many special remembrances to go along with it. We also made a trip to Wisconsin when Judy’s brother Roger and his wife Judy came back from Florida to visit the family. Her brother Carl is on the left (above).

 Estherville sanctuary

God led us to Estherville, IA and we began the search for somewhere to live. We would have been happy to live in a manse at the church and return to our house in Sioux Falls when we retired, but since they had just sold their manse, we looked for a house to buy. We finally settled on one that seemed great, but Nate’s inspection revealed a multitude of hidden problems, however he said he had a great place for us. He had built a new place on the lake for a couple who now had an acreage for sale and that is where we ended up “out in a field.”

Dave was able to move most of our stuff over three weeks using Nate’s pickup and enclosed trailer, until Nate and Josh came for one last trip to move the biggest furniture.

The acreage is a blessing that we never thought might be possible, but it worked out and we have a new place at 2180 410th Ave, Estherville, IA 51334.

Our house is bigger, although it has two fewer rooms, but we have three additional outbuildings (a small barn, a small machine shed, and a detached garage that will be the shop) and three acres of space.



There is room for a big garden, lots of fruit trees, grapes, blackberries and raspberries, etc. and a hay field. Dave has been busy planting and planning for the future. The challenge is the deer that wander through from the nearby river and creek. He is building a tall fence to protect his treasures. We also got a Case 930 with cab, Westendorf loader, and a rear mounted snow blower, plus a riding mower in with the deal!


We enjoyed a week of family vacation in August and rented a condo at the foot of the ski slopes above Silverthorne, CO. Ben and Christina were not able to be with us, but the rest of us had a great time enjoying being together and taking in some of the sites and activities in the area. The picture below was after a family hike just up the road from where we stayed.


Four of us were able to add to our count of 14ers (peaks over 14,000’) we have conquered. Mat and Danielle added Grays Peak while Dave and Josh also tackled Torreys Peak.




One of our fun days included a trip to Winter Park Resort that had summer fun activities on the ski slopes including a luge run using sleds with wheels that was a lot of fun.


Dave also used the time at altitude to work hard at training for the South Dakota Senior Games and the training paid off as he earned 9 gold, 2 silver and 7 bronze medals in September.


Dave’s folks came down for a visit and checked out the church.

Terri Richmond was able to come up for a week. One of our requisite activities was to put a puzzle together.

It is taking time to get things settled and boxes unpacked as well as making improvements and getting things the way we want them as we go along.

Judy continues to enjoy the opportunities to go and help out with taking care of grandkids, and we had the first times for grandkids staying with us with Kyler coming here as well as Aliyah coming to visit for a week. She has been organizing her scrapbooking areas.



Dave has connected in the wrestling community and is a volunteer assistant with the high school and has even gotten a few officiating opportunities, as it can take time to make those connections as most contracts are made a year ahead of time. It has been interesting to discover at least five coaches of area teams who he coached in either Algona or George when they were in school.

 (This is the awesome HS wrestling team Dave was part of – one of the 45th year class reunion memories. Dave is behind the front four)

  (The class of ’72 also now has possession of my HS football jersey as I was #72 – our football team my Sr. year only had two touchdowns scored against us all season!)

The boy’s families have all gotten a year older:

Mat has his Chiropractic practice in Fort Collins, CO and we continue to enjoy using his portable adjusting table


every time we get together. Noah is now 11 and Levi is 9. They enjoy the hiking and camping opportunities that begin at the edge of town. Mat also continues to help coach the rugby team at CSU.


Nate has his construction and snow removal business in Storm Lake, IA. One of his struggles is to find quality employees who both know what they are doing and are somewhat able to keep up with his work ethic. Amber is on the road a lot in her position as a foster and adoption caseworker. Kyler was a year old in March and can be a terror on two feet. The move has brought us closer together, and all visits from them are greatly appreciated as there is a laundry list of projects for Nate to help with and one of Amber’s visits resulted in getting the stuff from boxes that swamped the main living room in the basement.


Josh and Danielle are in Apple Valley, MN, and are looking forward to a remodeling project on their house with an addition that will expand their living areas, kitchen and upstairs laundry. They had hoped Nate could get to it this fall, but cold weather intruded while working through the complicated necessary approvals. Aliyah is now 7, Lance 5, and Cooper 2. Josh works at Ecolab and does computer work and hosting websites in his “free time.” Danielle is with Blue Cross/Blue Shield.


Ben and Christina are in Tea, just south of Sioux Falls. Ben works at the Penitentiary and Christina is a substitute pre-school teacher in Sioux Falls. Jace is 6 and Avalynn is 4. Christina grew up in Estherville and her parents live here in town, so we hope that will enable us to see them more in the years ahead.

Again this year we have been blessed wonderfully by God. We hope you enjoy these highlights. It is always fun looking back over the year in pictures, but difficult whittling them down to sharing just a few.

We extend the invitation for you to stop and visit or stay over with us any time you have the inclination. You can find our home a mile east and 4 ¾ miles south of Estherville, or a mile east and ¾ miles north of Wallingford at 2180 410th Ave, Estherville, IA 51334.

We enjoy a good game of Pinochle, which is a family tradition: “I had to learn to play Pinochle before they would let me in the house.” – Bob Ullom when he started dating Lois.

 Sorting a deck of cards to play with.

May you find as many blessings as we enjoy.

Dave and Judy Ullom

515-341-0132(Dave) or 515-341-2383(Judy)

pdullom@gmail.com or jaullom@gmail.com







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