Monday, January 26, 2015

Our 2014 Christmas Letter

I have been super good at posting regularly on Facebook but not on my blog!  I wanted to share my Christmas letter I wrote for 2014.  2014 definitly was NOT my favorite year...But so many blessings were received that can't go untold.  It was a bittersweet time on new year's eve.  In a way, I couldn't wait to be done with it, but I also in a way wanted to hold on to it because it was the last year I would be able to share with my hubby.

As we move into this time of year to celebrate the birth of our Savior, my heart is full and heavy.  There are so many things that are different this year, but one thing that never changes is the reason we celebrate this time of the year; to celebrate the life of our older brother and Savior Jesus Christ.   As we celebrate His life this year, we are also celebrating the life of our husband, dad, and grandpa, Thad, who is celebrating Christmas in Heaven this year.  I can picture him with my dad and his mom singing in praise and celebration of Christ not only this time of the year but every day!  I can picture them being able to talk to Him and hear His council and teachings.  I often think of what “normal” day would be in Heaven.   I can imagine a lot of work being done there and lots of love and prayers being answered daily on our behalf. As I read through our Christmas newsletter last year, I remember being so grateful that Thad’s life had been spared with his accident last November.  At that time I didn’t realize just how much of a gift that event would be to us.  We were given 6 months of TIME with him that we are all so grateful for!  In those 6 months, we enjoyed movies, snowmobile trips, Christmas, birthday, anniversary, and nights of long conversation, spiritual experiences, weekend getaways, snuggling, kisses and most of all the quality time we were granted with him before he was called “home”.  Thad and I often talked about how bad it sucked he had to be in pain a lot of the time, and the discouragement of wondering just when he would feel “normal” again.  But in the same conversation we talked about how wonderful it was to have him home and talked about how wonderful of a year it would be that he would be here for events that he often missed because of his line of work.  He loved spending time with the kids and grandkids.  We all loved having him here to spend time with too…even if it was to snuggle up on the couch nightly to watch an episode or 2 of “Smallville”.  When a car accident took his life in May, I felt like mine had been taken as well.  The first 2 weeks are a blur to me, but as most of you have read in my posts on Facebook, I have had so many tender mercies through this journey in my life.  Even though Thad is no longer on the Earth, I know he continues to be with us on so many occasions and his memory will carry me through this life.  I’m so grateful for the knowledge that Families are forever!  He taught me so much that I really didn’t even realize until I have had time to sit and realize just what an iatrical part he played in our lives!  He is the hardest working man I know.  I’m grateful for his hard work to support and provide for our family.  I’m grateful for the daily acts of service that he gave to so many people.  He was and is a huge example in our lives!  Although this is NOT the outcome I would have ever planned, hoped or wished for, I’m grateful for the many tender mercies or our Heavenly Father and for the knowledge of the plan of Salvation.  Because of Christ’s gift, Thad will live again!  This is just a temporary separation.  The following quote is one of my favorites.  “In God’s plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings.”   This life on earth is just a split second compared to what our eternal lives will be!   Here is to eternity Thad!  We love you!!!!!
Despite the tragedy we have experienced this year, we also celebrate so much good and happiness.  I will try to update you on our wonderful posterity!!!
Tyler and Jen found out they are expecting their 2nd child next April!  Their cute little guy Ethan who is 2 is excited to welcome a baby sister!  We are all thrilled to welcome this little spirit to our family and just love her so much already!  I can imagine Thad loving her and telling her all about us before she gets to make her earthly journey.  I am proud to announce that Tyler was accepted into nursing school!  His hard work and perseverance has paid off!  He is working full time while attending school full time.   They are great parents, and Ethan is an absolute doll!!!! 
Michael and Bunny welcomed their 3rd child into their cute little family in April!  Emmett Thadeus…named after his grandpa Thad.  I’m so glad Thad was able to enjoy him for a month…He was such a proud papa!  Eli (4) started preschool this year and can say the pledge of Allegiance J  Lily (2) gives her mommy a workout getting into mischief daily….but she has a smile that can melt anyone’s heart!  Their cute family moved in with us while their house is being built.  It has been so much fun having them here and having adult conversation and grandma time more often! 
Valerie is still pursuing her bachelor’s degree at Utah Valley University.  She also continues to do beautiful photography work.  Her big news this year is that she got a scholarship!  She is working as the photographer for the school’s newspaper.  I’m so proud of her!  She and I also got to take a long awaited trip to New York City with my aunt Joan and Cousin Carla.  It was an amazing trip, and I had so much fun seeing that amazing city with her!  My aunt and cousin are awesome tour guides!! 
Catherine is dating someone I think she will end up with…at least that is what I observed in the short time I got to see her this year.  I will keep you posted on that!  I feel bad we don’t get to see her as much as we would like, but am grateful for her and pray for her daily.
Holland (10) decided Gymnastics wasn’t for her so joined dance again, but I think she has found her favorite passion and that is basketball!  She just joined and has had so much fun!  She also showed a natural talent in Softball when Thad bought her a bat and ball and would pitch to her in the back yard.  I think she will try that next spring as well.  She takes after her daddy when it comes to being athletic J 
Jackson (7) graduated from Kindergarten this year!  I can’t believe our youngest is in first grade!  He has also started basketball recently.   I’m really loving watching the kids play sports again!  I have missed that so much!!  He loves video games…too much!  J  He is such a tender hearted child.  We have had some really neat experiences with him feeling his dad’s presence.  It really is testament that the veil is very thin.
We adopted a beautiful Golden Retriever Sophie in July.  She is the sweetest dog ever and fit right into our family.  I’m amazed at how therapeutic dogs are! 
My brother David was in a terrible accident in March.  He fell off a 40 foot overpass while jogging.  His story is miraculous.  He was in the hospital until Memorial Day weekend.  I’m happy to say that he is doing wonderfully and is back to work and continues to gain more and more strength every day.  I am grateful that his life was spared and for his example of faith and positivity through pain and suffering.
Yes, 2014 was a year of trial, heartache, and pain, but it was also a year of new life, miracles, tender mercies, and hope.  I have learned that through our trials and pain come faith and an understanding of just how strong our spirits are.  I have observed so much good come from so many people…some I have known my whole life, some I haven’t ever even met.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your love and support!  We all have one thing in common…We are all spirit brothers and sisters who come from a Heavenly Father who loves us and knows each one of us by name.  He wants us all to return to Him.  I love Him and am grateful for Him carrying me when I didn’t think I could go on.  Even though I felt like my life was over when Thad’s earthly life ended, I realize that I need to continue to live and pray that I can do what I was sent here to do. 
You are all an amazing part of our lives.  We are grateful for the outpouring of love and support from each one of you!  Have a blessed Christmas and a wonderful 2015! 
Love, The Thad Cheatham family J

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