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Desire for a Different Life - June 2017

I’ve been coming to Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreats for many years now. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed as families walk into the hotel, and I see all the desires that come in the door with them.

 

In the short-term, families want to figure out what to do with their luggage and get settled into their rooms (thankfully, we have a mob of volunteers to help them with that!). The kids may want a delicious DoubleTree cookie, or they may want their brother to stop poking them. They may desire to skip meeting all these new people and run straight to Disney World.

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May 2017 Orlando Legacy Retreat® Recap

Inheritance of Hope hosted 28 families in our largest-ever Orlando Legacy Retreat®. From May 27-30, 73 children and their parents enjoyed amazing customer service at the DoubleTree Suites. They had a fun-filled agenda, with one day each spent at Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld. They shared experiences with other families like theirs and learned about resources and tools to support their journey through terminal illness.

 
Check out these links to see pictures and videos!

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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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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

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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.

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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?

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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?

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With Open Hands: Part 1

Kristen Milligan

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.

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How Hope Helps

My grandma reading

My grandma reading "Consider It Pure Joy" by, Kristen Milligan just before her first biopsy for lung cancer in April

Today it is rainy outside. Here in North Carolina the pollen has finally subsided and the trees are full of green leaves. We are in the midst of spring. I was just sitting at my kitchen table with my young boys watching them eat their breakfast. They are ravenous as soon as they wake! My 3 year old asked me why it was raining. (He is in the "why" everything stage!) Over the past six months I have been reading a book that I cannot seem to put down. Clearly it is teaching me old truths with new perspective that are enticing. So trying to put together some logical answer for why indeed it was raining outside, while still trying to wake up at this early hour, all I could come up with was this: "honey, God lets it rain so that things around us can be more beautiful". You know what followed that... "but why mommy?"  I smiled.

Why does it rain in our lives? Sometimes it just sprinkles. We find out news that could lead to worse news. Sometimes it pours. We feel like the whole world is beginning to fall apart around us. Sometimes it floods. We feel like we may drown in it all.

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Traditions Tell a Story

Easter egg crafting traditions

Easter egg crafting tradition

I've noticed something about myself over the past few years since I've become a mom. I view traditions in my family in many different ways than I used to, especially ones around holidays of special significance for us. It's like I view them through my kid's lens instead of my own now! When we got married we started decorating our house in little ways that signified our new family unit. We did things like decorate our mantle above the fireplace for Christmas. I bought a journal to record "firsts"... first 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc. We started forming our own traditions for what would soon become our growing family! A few weeks after our first son was born Easter arrived. I must admit, Easter is my favorite celebration of the calendar year! We live in North Carolina, so we are blessed with four very distinct seasons for the most part, this year being quite an exception. I love Easter because the leaves are growing back on the trees, the flowers are in full bloom, there is more daylight emerging everyday, birds chirp, bees buzz, & most of all I get to share my Hope with my kids as I share the story of Easter! It's a JOYOUS time for us, even in the midst of the unpredictabilities life brings. I am always reminded of the simple things, small & big, this time of year. I then grow very thankful.

What is your favorite holiday?
What comes to mind for you when you think of that time each year?
What traditions do you have as a family?

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