Blog
  • Register

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.


488 Hits
Continue reading Comments

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.


4225 Hits
Continue reading Comments

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.


1269 Hits
Continue reading Comments

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.


2237 Hits
Continue reading Comments

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.


798 Hits
Continue reading Comments

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).


2614 Hits
Continue reading Comments

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.


2631 Hits
Continue reading Comments

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.


1745 Hits
Continue reading Comments

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.


1775 Hits
Continue reading Comments

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.


1913 Hits
Continue reading Comments

Singing Isn't Just for the Birds

6:00 a.m. The deck is shady and cool. The coffee is hot. The neighborhood is quiet except for my cardinal friend singing at the top of his tiny lungs. He is never satisfied to be in the lower part of the tree. No, only the very top of the 40-foot evergreen for him. Every morning. He is proud and beautiful and facing the sunrise as if to say, "Good morning, God. You did it again!"

 

I love listening to the birds, especially their early morning chatter, trying to figure out if there is a pattern to their song. And as I tune in (pun intended) to this friend I shall call Chirp, I am struck by the fact that... not only does he have multiple patterns, but at least three - maybe four - different songs! He never worries if he is on key or as good as those around him. Doesn't ever wonder if he even has a song on a particular day. He just sings.

 

I want that... not the treetop experience as I have a fear of heights, but his confidence... the singing and the 'being' simply because that's what God designed him to do and be.


1841 Hits
Continue reading Comments

Thankful for Legacies: Jacey Lawler, Volunteer

Our founder, Kristen Milligan, left a profound legacy with her family and the families we serve. As we approach the second anniversary of her death, we showcase members of our Inheritance of Hope family and what legacy means to them.
 
Jacey Lawler has volunteered at 17 Legacy Retreats®She is a favorite of the kids, parents, other volunteers, and staff -- everyone! 
 
In May 2013, I officially became “grandparent-less” with the passing of my last grandparent. They were all gone. This fact really hit me hard, and I knew life would be different. Instead of their physical presence, I was left with their memory. Happily, because of my many experiences volunteering with Inheritance of Hope, I knew the power and importance of legacies. 
 
My grandparents played an important role in my life, and I loved them dearly. Both my PopPop and Nana (my dad’s parents) passed away early in my high school years from cancer. My Grandma and Grandpa (my mom’s parents) passed away from illnesses last year, my senior year of college. All of my grandparents came to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior at varying points in their lives. For this I am beyond thankful, because it truly shaped the aspects of their legacies that I most value.

2593 Hits
Continue reading Comments

Thankful for Legacies: Lanham Family

Our founder, Kristen Milligan, left a profound legacy with her family and the families we serve. As we approach the second anniversary of her death, we showcase members of our Inheritance of Hope family and what legacy means to them.
 
Larry Lanham attended our February 2012 Legacy Retreat® with his wife, Michelle, and their two daughters. Michelle died on June 2, 2013.
 
Legacies -- we all have one, and we will all leave one. I want to tell you about Michelle's legacy.
 
I have to tell you about Michelle's closet. You see, Michelle was a planner and an organizer. Michelle's closet is in the entryway of our house, and it is neatly stacked from floor to ceiling with labeled boxes of clothing. Michelle knew the sizes of dozens of kids; she was constantly on the lookout for good used clothes, and she would store them according to size and season. It was her thing, and she loved sharing with friends and family. As the girls outgrew something, or if she needed to make room, she would find someone to bless with the clothes. But the primary purpose was so that she would always have clothes for Mattie and Maggie. 

2076 Hits
Continue reading Comments

Grieving in Downton: What we can Learn

Sometimes there are television shows that teach us something meaningful about life & offer nuggets of truth that we can tuck away. Downton Abbey is one of those for me. [Spoiler Alert for anyone who has not watched the Season 4 Premier as there will be scenes I talk about specifically.]

One of the primary characters named Mary (pictured left above) is six months widowed. On the day she gave birth to her first born son, her husband Matthew died in a car accident. About a year ago, Branson (pictured right above) lost his wife Sybil, Mary's sister,  during the birth of their daughter. Grief & loss is a common theme in this first 2 hour episode of Downton & the paradox of joy in the midst of suffering


2412 Hits
Continue reading Comments

Parenting Through Sickness: Part 1

my 2 year old son & I after my wisdom teeth removal

This is the beginning of a new series for Hope at Home this fall. There are a few families who have given me permission to share bits & pieces of their story of parenting through sickness, as both the sick parent & the caregiver in upcoming posts on this topic. As I speak with IOH families through the year & during retreats the common theme that emerges is that the parents long to be well enough to care for their kids in simple practical ways as they used to & enjoy daily life together; such as baseball games, dance practices, and making their lunches for school.

Some moms & dads go through various seasons in remission or treatment where this is more possible than other times. It is a rollercoaster of emotions in the ups & downs. In this series we will begin to unpack some of those emotions that arise when sickness prevents one from parenting the way we may desire & provide some tools to cope with these frustrations, for both you, your family members, & your children.


2266 Hits
Continue reading Comments

Define: Home.

 
I long to find rest at home. To be still. To be with those I love. To feel settled.

How do you define HOME? It could simply be a place to eat & sleep when you get home from work, a space to decorate and make your own, a prized possession that must be sparkling clean at all times, a retreat from the outside world, an open door for people to come & go as they please, a chaotic mess of broken relationships and hoarded belongings, or even a place inside your heart that feels like your own to refresh.


2365 Hits
Continue reading Comments

With Open Hands: Part 3

He loved us, before He knew us. 

My hands feel very full right now.

I have a son who just turned 4 years old, a 20 month old son, & a 6 week old daughter. My maternity leave just ended so I'm jumping back into the "real world" a bit this week. My to-do list is growing & growing. My responsibilities seem to have tripled in this new exciting, yet daunting season for our family. in short, I feel out of control in many ways.

My natural tendency when my hands feel full is to also feel overwhelmed & to want control of all aspects of my life. Ironically I want the most control, when I have the least. Do you ever feel that way in your life?


2554 Hits
Continue reading Comments

With Open Hands: Part 2

Entrusting our kids is not easy.

After taking some time to process the tragic shooting at the elementary school in New Town, CT & speaking to some some IOH families over the holidays who recently lost a parent, it makes logical sense to cling to those we love even more. Yet,  I'm still reminded of the idea of having "Open Hands", even in such a time as this. Again I ask the question, how do you savor those around you without holding too tightly?


2202 Hits
Continue reading Comments

With Open Hands: Part 1

Kristen Milligan "With Open Hands" at 2011 NYC IOH Retreat

Kristen Milligan "With Open Hands" at 2011 NYC IOH Retreat

With Open Hands: Part 1

A few years ago I was in a book study with a few people who read the book “With Open Hands” by Henri Nouwen. I was a new mom at the time with my first son about 15 months old. He was at that “separation anxiety” stage where he clung to me every time the threat of me leaving him arose. When I started the book it was a confusing time for me with this baby boy of mine needing me so much on a daily basis, yet I was learning about having “open hands”. This normal developmental stage of course eventually passed, but while we were “in it” life was a day to day trial and error experiment of how much to let go & how much to let him cling to me.

I’m sure some of you relate to this idea of attempting to strike a balance between learning to let go & keeping loved ones close. It’s not an easy task, that I think I will struggle with possibly for my entire life, especially in regards to my little ones.


2277 Hits
Continue reading Comments

Longing for More.

When clouds seem to hover...

When clouds seem to hover...

Have you ever had a season in your life (either long or short lived) when you felt like you just could not make sense of the world around you? Like everything swirling around you was just too big to grasp? Maybe you have heard a bit of bad news & then more follows. Or you get a good report at the doctor only to be followed by something else going awry a few weeks later. It could even be as simple as not understanding why your heart feels the way it does & why it hurts so badly.


2308 Hits
Continue reading Comments

Want to stay up-to-date on how we inspire hope in families facing the loss of a parent?  Our monthly e-newsletter is for you!

Become a Legacy Builder!

S5 Box

Login

Register