The arrival of December brought most of the harvest and field work to a conclusion. Here at Arlington Place we were busy decorating for Christmas. I hope you all had the chance to visit us during the beautiful holiday season!
The weather was still quite nice on the 1st. We drove to Johnny Rays for lunch and then went right back home for a two o'clock musical performance by Muffy Brinkman.
Jeanne Thuesen joined us for lunch on the 3rd after which she set up her elaborate set of hand bells for an afternoon performance of Christmas music.
Evelyn White, Vera Lupkes & Ruth Claassen making Christmas candy.
We celebrated Gertie's birthday on the 5th. They treated us to a delicious angel food birthday cake.
December 8th brought the "storm of the century," at least, that's what the newscasters called it. We cancelled our outing and stayed in where we were safe and warm. That afternoon the Ding-A-Lings" played Christmas music with our hand bells. The next couple of days as the wind was whistling and the snow was blowing you could find us sitting comfortably in our living room watching Christmas movies, or in our dining room playing cards, or dominos.
We now know the low down on the massive building construction at the Grundy County Memorial Hospital. On the 10th Ryan Bingman, the GCMH Director of Operations, showed us the plans and blue prints of the construction and renovations. It is soon to be a beautiful, state of the art facility.
The morning of the 15th we were busy making candy for our Christmas party. We had a generous amount of chocolate in various places like on the tables or on our clothes. Some was even in our stomachs, ha!
That afternoon we had a fierce competition playing beanbag baseball. Ruth had the most runs in the first game, Adeline in the second and Darren in the third.
We enjoyed our monthly visit from our 3rd grade friends on the 17th. After we spent time reading the dice came out for Bunko. The whole dining room was rolling dice!
What a busy day we had on the 18th! Beautiful piano music played by Mary Miller called us to the dining room. Mary continued playing Christmas music throughout our meal. Our tables were dressed in red overlaid with lace and topped with candle light for our Christmas dinner. It was a delicious meal, but there was no time to waste since our Christmas party was set to start at 2:00 p.m. sharp. The kick off of our party was entertainment by the Coach Ed Trio. Then St. Nicholas arrived! He told us the story of who the real Saint Nickolas was and some of the marvelous things he did. We then indulged in the delicious cookies and candies that our ladies had made earlier in the week. It was a fun filled day!
We had a wonderful visit with the 1st Pres. Coffee Clique during the morning of the 22nd. We also celebrated Vail's birthday. Pat, Vail's daughter, treated us to delicious homemade bars and ice cream. Yum! The Ding-A-Lings played Christmas music after lunch. After all of that Denise Cox, Ida's niece, played Christmas music for us on the piano. Ida also had a week long visit from her grand daughter, Danielle. We always enjoy extended visits from family members as this gives us the chance to really get to know them.
Pastor and JoAnne Nibbelink conducted a worshipful Christmas Eve service on the 24th which culminated with the Lord's Supper.
We were blessed with carolers coming from churches and social groups from all around us. We thank each and every one of you who made our Christmas so special!
Throughout the holiday week the weather man continually threatened us with ice, snow and blizzard conditions. Thankfully we dodged the bullet and most of the precipitation came in the form of rain. The temperatures hovered around 31 degrees filling us with the fear of freezing rain which kept many of us off the roads for a quiet Christmas at home. By the time Sunday rolled around most of our family gatherings had come to fruition and we could look back at Christmas 2009 with love and joy.
Our celebrations were far from an end; the 26th was Gerald's birthday. His family provided a beautiful birthday cake and hosted a party that afternoon.
Jean Evans grandchildren, Ames, Aura, Maxwell and Teddy, were here on the 30th to share their extraordinary musical talents with us. They all play the violin beautifully!
We brought 2009 to a close with a candle lit dinner and a New Year's Eve pizza party while watching the Iowa State Cyclones play in the Insight Bowl.
The years end is a time to reflect on all the many blessings that God has bestowed upon us. He has provided for all of our needs and has granted us long life, health, loving families and friends. We praise God for any hardships that might have befallen us "for tribulation makes a strong man stronger" and "through hardship the righteous are clothed in the whole armor of God." As I walk through the hallways of Arlington Place I realize that I am surrounded by people who have weathered the test of time, who are striving to run the good race and who have been infused with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. For this I am truly thankful! We now step eagerly into 2010. Happy New Year!