Years and years ago, there was an article in the New York Times that answered the question, "Is there really a Santa Claus?" In answer to the little girl's question,she was assured that yes, indeed, there is a Santa.
Thinking back over this year I am mindful of the ways our pleas for assistance have been answered. But instead of Santa, our answers have come from a loving, and kind, Father in Heaven.
In May we were blessed with our eighth grandchild, Kiley. What a sweet, special little baby she is. Nothing melts my heart as fast as when she recognizes me, and gives me big smiles and kisses. We are so thankful for her in our lives, and we know her parents, and big sister, Shelby love her very much.
We are grateful that a good doctor discovered what was making little Kiley sick, and thankful that it is something that can be treated. I feel confident that all will be well with this special baby girl.
We had the privilege of loving and holding our ninth grandchild, and then returning him to live with his Heavenly Father. Tanner was much loved, and much wanted. Perhaps he was so perfect that he didn't need to be here very long. I am grateful for the presence he was in our lives, and look forward to meeting him again one day. When I visit his tiny grave, I am reminded of what a gift life is, and how quickly it can be taken away. We are grateful Tanner's mother was protected and watched over. We are grateful for the way in which Dave handled everything in such a spiritual and thoughtful way.
Today we learned that Xander has PDD, which, with therapy, is treatable. I am so grateful for good doctors and medicine that can help us all be well. Xander is a special little boy. Right now, he is the only Stephenson boy in our family. He is a lovable and sweet tempered little boy. As he receives the therapy he needs, I know he will progress. I'm thankful for people who are trained to work with special needs children. They are angels in my book.
This year, my kidney function improved to the highest it has ever been. When I was so sick, three years ago, they told me my kidneys would never improve. But they have, and I am so grateful to enjoy improved health, and pray that heavenly Father will keep me on this earth for a long time. I want to live to hold great grandchildren, see my grand kids go on missions, and be married in the temple.
Back in May, I would not have believed that I would still have my mother here. Mom had a massive stroke. In the beginning she couldn't even lift an arm. She was unable to talk,feed herself, move her head. It was terrible. It was awful to watch her suffer, but she has hung in there and came through hell. I'm so proud of the way she has tried, and not given up. I am extremely proud of my dad, and the way he has stepped up and taken over mom's care. I know this is hard for both of them. But I am grateful to still have both my parents. Mom's birthday is on Monday, Dec. 27th. I cannot believe she has lived to see this birthday.
Matthew about tore his finger off in an accident this year. But the finger has healed, and Matt has continued to amaze us. He is one of a kind. I don't think you could find any better 10 year old boy. He is so loving and kind. I'm so proud of him and his accomplishments. He is now singing in a choir, and playing basketball.
Talia has taken to reading like a fish takes to water. She is doing so well. Talia is a very deep thinker, and a girl with her emotions on her sleeve. She was so tender and sweet at Tanner's funeral. I will never forget catching her in a moment when she was alone at the grave site with Tanner. She looked so thoughtful and angelic as she sat by the brother she never got to know. I'm proud of Talia in so many ways. On Jan. 1, 2011 Talia will be baptized.
Emily just got baptized last week on Dec. 18, 2010. She stood and sang a song with her mother. The song was in separate parts, and Emily did so great. I can remember when Emme was about 3 years old, and painfully shy. Now she sings, plays the piano, and dances in a dance group. She is amazing also. She is at the top of her class, and is also an outstanding student. Emme and I have a special relationship, and she knows how much I love her.
What can I possibly say about our Cicily? She is a sweetheart. Everyone wants to be Cicily's friend. When you are around her, you can sense the caring feelings she has for those around her. She too, has done well in school. She is a great example and loves the little ones. I'm proud of Cicily. She teaches me by example, and I know she is a great help to her mom and dad.
Nate is my farm boy. He and I love to play farm and cars when he is over. Nate is very meticulous. he lines those cars up perfectly, and is a great pretend farmer. Nate loves the dirt as much as any little boy can love anything. he plays for hours with his trucks in the dirt. When I see him in his overalls, he reminds me of my grandpa who wore overalls much of his life. Nate too is a sweet boy, and doing great in pre-school.
Shelby is definitely one of grandma's top fan club members. Shelby and I have played farm, furniture, zoo, babies, music people, witches, worker men, and many other things, people, and situations. She is so bright. She remembers everything you say or promise. There is no way to fool Shelby. She has a million questions. I get such a kick out of her, and the funny things she says from her perspective of things. Shelby and I are tight:)
I mentioned Xander earlier. He is a sweet boy, and very lovable. He looks so much like Dave did as a little boy. Xander is going wide open all the time. There just doesn't seem to be enough time in the day for him. He too likes playing cars, puzzles, and running, running, running. I swear he has one speed only...FAST! I have a feeling that Xander is going to teach all of us some more about life, and I love him for that.
Kiley, our baby, couldn't be any sweeter. She is a little angel. She loves her mommy and daddy, and Shelby can always get her to giggle and laugh. Kiley is everywhere. She is crawling and pulling herself up to everything. She has started baby food, and loves the little puffy snacks. Kiley has the most kissable neck and face. I just can't get enough loving in:)
In November, my baby, Jonathan was in a one car rollover that could have killed him. I cannot tell anyone the depth of worry and despair I felt when we heard that he had been in this accident. I know that God protected him, and heard our prayers and pleas for his safety and well-being. I wish more than anything, that Jon can be happy and feel the love that he desires. I'm proud of his progress in college. I have seen him buckle down and work for hours on end. I know God has a plan for him.
This year I was able to reconnect with many of my old friends. We also had a class reunion. It was great to see everyone. I have been able to reconnect with my oldest, and dearest, childhood friend. It has blessed my life when I needed a friend.
Speaking of friends. I am blessed with wonderful in-law children, and a daughter who continually amazes me. My boys are all good men, and work hard to provide for their families. I hope they know how pleased we are with them. And lastly, I am blessed with a good man. Larry takes good care of me, and I know he loves me. I hope I can be a better wife and companion.
Thank you to all my special friends from here to Minn. , Washington State, Texas, and beyond. You people are the cream of the crop, and you have blessed my life for years.
So for me, there is a Santa all year long. I see him in the faces of my grandchildren. In the kisses and hugs from my parents. From the concerned phone calls from Mark each day. I see Santa in Facebook, and the friends I have gained there. In the thoughtful ways in which Pam takes care of me, and checks on me. Santa is in the example I see of Rachel...going to school full time, and being a great full time mother. I don't see how she gets so much done in a day!
When I hear compliments about Dave, Tab, Jon, Justin, Mark, Pam, Rachel, and Larry I am so proud of my family. Each and every one of them is unique and important to this family. So yes indeed, there is a Santa. Thank you Lord for watching over me and those I love.
Merry Christmas to all and Happy Holidays