Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Every so often I am pleasantly surprised to find my world is a little more connected than it was the day before, and I am reminded that it is truly remarkable people in my life that make it that way. I write now about three of the most incredible women that I have ever known, women who have touched the hearts of countless individuals and have helped me reflect on how blessed I am to have known them - my sisters.
Heidi, Heather, and Stephanie live near Portland, Oregon, all within minutes of each other but hundreds of miles from me. I rarely have the opportunity to see them but lately some unique circumstances have caused them to occupy my thought ceaselessly. This past summer Heather and Heidi went to Africa with the humanitarian organization Mothers Without Borders. While there they met my next door neighbor and a young woman (now married) I taught in Sunday School many years ago. Both of these individuals went on and on about how much they loved and admired my sisters. They couldn't believe how enthusiastic my sisters were, how their smiles and laughs lifted the spirits of so many people surrounded by despair and gave them hope to go on. It's amazing to me that something that took place so many thousands of miles away could find its way home to me.
Stephanie has had the opportunity to perform with a group in the musical production Light of the World. Recently they came to B.Y.U. to finish the show at Education Week. Again my world grew smaller. Again my life was blessed. I nearly burst with pride the night I went to see her performance. Her voice was angelic, her spirit radiant. And around me hundreds listened, as hundreds had before, and were touched by the talent she shared.
My mother passed away over 15 years ago. My children will have to wait for another time to know her the way I often wish they could know her now. But in my sisters her spirit lives and is magnified in so many ways. And even though they live such incredible lives and have so many life altering experiences, I think the thing that pleases Mom the most, at what I hope my children gain from their knowing Aunt Heidi, Aunt Heather, and Aunt Stephanie, is the relationship they have with each other. In a world where family unity is becoming more and more passe, they remain one in heart, one in spirit, and one in purpose. They love each other, they love their less than perfect brothers, they care for their father, and they are their own best friends. I love you all so very much. I am honored and humbled to be your brother and I pray my actions, however insignificant they may be, reflect the deep admiration and respect I have for each of you. Thank you for everything.


Dave Raddatz said...

I have not been blessed with the words to respond and I get see the screen through my tears, anyway. I can assure you, John, through countless expressions from them about you, that they love and respect you every bit as much as you love them. Thank you so much for this blog. Nothing like a real good cry to start the day. Love you.

Stephanie said...

Both Heidi and I finished reading this at the same time...I know because I called her immediatly after I finished to tell her how kind our big brother is. I can't tell you how often your three sisters sit around talking about how much we love our brother John and how we think he has the greatest relationship with his wife and kids, and how he is the nicest guy we know! Thank you for your sweet post and for showing you love so openly! We Raddatz's aren't used to that.....but I LOVE IT! I love you John. You're the best!

Heidi said...

When I saw the title "Tribute" and then saw a picture of myself, Heather, and Steph, I felt like the luckiest sister in the world and the tears began to fall. Not only do I have two sisters who I truly am best friends with, but I have three very cool brothers who I love as well and who love me in return!! Thanks so much John for taking the time to let us know you care and are thinking about us. And Dad is right, we are always talking about what great brothers we have. I just love this family of ours!!!

hedrad said...

Oh my sweet brother John. I read your post in the middle of my class period on the first day of school. Bad idea. Not cool for your high school teacher to tear up on the first day. It's times like these when my only desire is for you to feel what's in my heart and know of how much I love you. Sounds so super cheesy but it's how I feel. You are wonderful. We have truly been blessed with a remarkable family. There is so much goodness in every single one of us. How are we so fortunate? Thank you for your kind words.

CamDawg said...

What a sweet, sweet family! I too, was teary eyed after reading the Tribute and then reading your family comments. It is such a personal expression that you shared with the world. Thank you! I am so glad to have cousins that are good examples to me. I have always looked up to the Raddatz family & strive to be like all of you! Even tho I have a sister close, I am jealous of the friendships of the (3) sisters. There is nothing like family!

JackieSue said...

THanks a lot John! My cheeks are killing me from trying not to cry and I lost the battle anyways. This was fantastic. I loved reading it and thanks for bringing tears to my eyes. It's not oft that I can read true feelings in a blog. Awesome!
Sorry for the multiple comments tonight. ;-)