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Content at Christmas - January 2017

“What if this is our last Christmas together?”  If someone in your family has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, this stomach-dropping, breath-stealing question has likely crossed your mind.  I remember the first time it struck me.


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Marriage Vows - September 2016

Carrey, a wife and mom with ALS, originally shared this post here on August 4th.

 

On this day 15 years ago, Eric and I vowed to unite as one. We joined at the altar in a small, white, Little-House-on-the-Prairie-type chapel. We stood side by side, no bridesmaids or groomsmen, no fancy flowers, no fancy musicians. My dad did all the readings, Eric's dad officiated the ceremony, and we filled the little chapel with our family and closest friends. Having Eric by my side made it a real dream wedding. As we stood at the altar and shared our vows, it would take almost 15 years to fully understand the commitment he made to me.

 

Carrey and Eric in 2001
Carrey and Eric in 2001

 

"I will love you forever, and under all circumstances.
I will stand by your side always.
I will have faith in you and encourage you in everything you do.
I will be here to listen to you, to laugh with you, and to hold you.
I will strive every day to make our relationship stronger.
I will love you, honor you, respect you, encourage you, and cherish you, in health and in sickness, through sorrow and success, for all the days in my life."

 

What that meant was:

 

I will enjoy all of our friends and family with you, socializing, meeting new people, tailgating, and going to our favorite restaurant with you.
I will join you as your doubles partner in tennis and snow ski down the mountain with you.
I will support you leaving the work force to raise our children as you support me as my career developed.
I will be the behind-the-scenes guy for all of your party planning adventures.
I will support you with all your volunteer work.
I will give you free reign to decorate our home just the way you want it.
I will travel around the United States for all of your doctors' appointments.
I will remodel our home to make it accessible for you.
I will bathe you, wash your hair, and shave your legs.
I will scratch your head and eyebrows every time they itch.


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Volunteer Spotlight: Nate Most

Repeat volunteer Nate Most first heard of Inheritance of Hope at a small tractor dealership in his hometown of Brady, Nebraska.  A rancher, Nate was simply doing business and was surprised when a stranger who had come in for oil approached him and told about how his own family had been blessed by an IoH Legacy Retreat®.  The story resonated with Nate since his wife of 25 years, Amy, had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.


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Family Spotlight: Crawford and Loner Families

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If they stumble, the first will lift up his friend—but woe to anyone who is alone when he falls and there is no one to help him get up.”  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

 

One of the goals of Inheritance of Hope (IoH) is to connect families. Families who are grieving a life-changing diagnosis, struggling with fears, and facing new realities draw strength from each other as they share experiences and burdens.  Through IoH, new friendships are often formed that offer a depth of understanding many families can’t find elsewhere.

 

The support that is shared is sometimes intangible and immeasurable, yet always tremendous. Sometimes, the support may be tangible yet also tremendously immeasurable, as was the case when Heather Crawford donated a wheelchair van to fellow IoH family Craig and Dana Loner.


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A New Twist on Mother's Day - May 2016

[This post was originally published on May 2.]

 

Mother's Day 2016 is only a few days away. Hallmark will claim record-breaking sales, and florists will hire extra delivery staff to make sure that the roses and daisies make their way to the doorsteps of moms old and young, new and seasoned.

 

I recently sat for hours going through my own Mother's Day cards… or as my youngest used to say, “polishing and tumbling the memory agates,” alternately smiling and weeping. Smiling over the stories and weeping over the ever dear and precious words in cards, notes, and letters over five decades. Joybox after joybox. Words of encouragement, words of gratitude, tender words of love and appreciation for being an example in hard times… for pointing them to Jesus… for loving them unconditionally.


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Life-Threatening Illnesses and Social Security Disability Benefits

Cancer or other life-threatening illnesses are devastating for those diagnosed, and their families. In addition to the enormous expenses for chemotherapy, surgeries, medication, and other aggressive treatments, many patients are not able to work and maintain a steady household income. This can cause them and their families to be placed in a very difficult financial situation.

 

Fortunately, those who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and their families may be able to receive assistance in the form of financial benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are two forms of benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).


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Creative Ways to Display Your Favorite Memories

Displaying memorabilia like photos and items that hold significance to you and your loved ones is important because it has the powerful ability to create a special and nostalgic experience. Whether during times of struggle or celebration, catching a glimpse of your favorite memories as you pass by should remind you that although life is full, your hearts are even fuller.


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8 Back to School Tips for Being Intentional

 

  1. SET ASIDE TIME TO PLAN YOUR WEEK (MEALS, SCHEDULE, ETC.)

 

Back to school season is hectic. In order to prevent your family from unraveling, consider placing a family calendar where everyone can see it and include activities, assignments, and meal plans for the week or month.

 

  1. TURN ON YOUR VOICE RECORDER

 

Use your voice memo phone app to record everyday conversations with your children. Push the record button while they are eating their after-school snack, while driving to sports practice, or during your bedtime routine. (The conversation flows better and is more genuine if they don’t realize you are recording. Be a ninja!) If your phone is regularly backed up those recordings will be safely secured on your computer or hard drive for years to come! Record yourself from time to time too - this is part of your legacy that everyone will appreciate.


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As the Tide Rolls Out

This week, Dad took us on a vacation to Destin, Florida. The sun is shining (maybe a little too much), and the afternoon showers never fail to make an appearance. The sand is soft, and the water is refreshing. But you are missing.


Everyone who has lost someone they love may not feel the same way, but for me, when we go on vacation, I can’t help but notice that our number for dinner reservations is one shorter than it used to be. The whole family can’t be here anymore. On top of that, there has always been something about beach trips that makes me think of losing you, and I’m finally starting to understand why.


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The Rudeness of Grief

I created this blog – From My Heart to Yours – a couple of years ago as a tool of self-expression and to get the myriad of words out of my head and onto paper – or keyboard as the case may be. I  have never hesitated on the topic or regretted posting any of them. It’s doubtful that I offend anyone since I direct any and all criticism, growth, mishaps, or challenges at myself. Always. I choose truth in transparency, seeking always to bring glory to God in the midst. His strength in my weakness and failures.

 

So I’m not certain what the difference is in this one. Why the hesitation. Maybe because it’s so intensely personal… like you are reading my journal… like I am exposed. Maybe because it isn’t uplifting or has no real ‘take-away’… but it is real and transparent. About grief. I read it to a handful of  ‘safe’ folks who are on their own grief journey… and they encouraged me to share it. So, here you have it.


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