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Lice and Other Blessings - December 2016

The Christmas season is a great time to make family memories.  However, discovering lice in your home, as a friend recently did – while hosting an extended family Christmas gathering – is not the kind of Christmas memory anyone wants!  It’s hard to think of anything more universally despised than these nasty bugs that take up residence in our hair.  We describe things we dislike as “lousy,” which literally means infested with lice.  Even the mere idea of lice is so potent that some of you may get the sensation of itchiness on your heads just by reading this!


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Divine Visitor - November 2016

This post was originally shared by Inheritance of Hope co-founder Kristen Milligan in November of 2010.  As we prepare for our largest New York City Legacy Retreat® yet (21 families), we look back at her reflections from the first Legacy Retreat® there.

 

"They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.”  -- Daniel 3:27

 

As I write this devotional, Inheritance of Hope is hosting its first Legacy Retreat® in New York City.  My prayer is that the seven families gathered there are being blessed with memories, community, and support, just as my life has been changed by these blessings at previous Legacy Retreats®.  This is the first Legacy Retreat® which I have not attended, and my heart hurts to miss meeting the families God has brought together this weekend.  Instead I am home recovering from a difficult surgery, feeling broken and useless despite wonderful family support and an ever-patient and encouraging husband.  I know those of you who have battled illness and the inevitable treatments know what I am feeling.


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Introducing Betsy Ogren, Events Director

I grew up in Brainerd, MN, at a small family resort where I learned to clean cabins at a very early age and got to play in the lake all summer.  I come from a family of swimmers and was a competitive swimmer form 3rd grade through college at St. Olaf in Northfield, MN.  I got a biology degree from St. Olaf and then changed directions and went to Luther Seminary in St. Paul for my master's degree in youth and family ministry.  I worked in youth ministry for 5 years before spending the last 12 years as a stay-at-home mom to our 3 kids: Anna (12), Andrew (11), and Julia (9).  My husband, Brian, and I recently celebrated our 15th anniversary.  We live in Rochester, MN, where I spend much of my day driving my own little swimmers to the pool for practice. 

 

How did you become involved with IoH?


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Everlasting Father - December 2015

A year ago, I reflected on the wonder of “Unto us a child is born,” which took on fresh richness as Allison and I experienced new parenthood along with Advent. Now we can hardly believe that we have been parents for a year already! Our baby girl has grown and changed so much, and so have we. As Advent scriptures and songs once again circulate, different parts of them grab my attention. In a recent reading of Isaiah 9, the phrase “Everlasting Father” struck me. I love my little girl to death, but that is tragically literal – some day death will interrupt my fatherly love. An “Everlasting Father” is worthy of reflection.


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Founder Spotlight: Deric Milligan Awarded

On May 8, 2015, I traveled to New York City to receive the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. As I prepared for the trip, I thought of all the people I would have loved to join me to share in our accomplishment together. I decided I would write an account of the weekend. When we started Inheritance of Hope eight years ago, I never dreamed of us getting this kind of recognition. I can’t wait to see where we will be eight years from now!


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A Letter to be Read at My Memorial Service

October 26th, 2016, marks the fourth anniversary of Kristen's death. She revised the letter below in February 2012.
 
Dear loved ones,
 
Click to watch nowAs I write this I admit feeling a little sad. Sad because my greatest earthly desire was to grow old with Deric … 17 years of marriage was not nearly long enough. Sad because it is a mother’s job to be there to comfort her child when that child experiences her first broken heart, or when he sits on the bench during a much-anticipated game. Sad because my heart hurts to think I will not be there to share in my children’s joys and inevitable accomplishments, their weddings, or for the births of their own children. Sad to leave my mom and my sister with yet another loss after the premature death of my dad. Despite the sadness this illness has brought, when I consider my life I quickly realize that God has blessed me abundantly … how can I feel anything except overwhelming thankfulness?

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Submission - August 2014

In our world today, submission is almost universally viewed as a negative quality.  However, submission, when understood in the context of Jesus’s life, is a beautiful and freeing concept. 
 
In Mark 8:34-35, Jesus tells his disciples that “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me; for whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it.”  Clearly Jesus was teaching his disciples, and us, that self-denial is the path we are to follow.  It is the path that Jesus followed during his life and his death on the cross.  Submission leads to freedom.  It is the freedom of not always needing to get our own way.  When we learn to live that submissive lifestyle, our happiness is not dependent upon getting what we want.

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Meet the Maier Family

“We knew about Inheritance of Hope (IoH) for a while but never realized how incredible it was until we were a part of it,” said Jay Maier.  Jay, his wife Tara, and their five children lived near IoH Legacy Retreat® Director Jill Thompson in Rochester, Minn. Tara said her family prayed for the families that went on Legacy Retreats® but didn’t expect to attend one themselves.


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Meet the Young Family

Phyllis Young learned about Inheritance of Hope when a local North Carolina television station featured the organization. She immediately knew her family would enjoy going to an IOH Legacy Retreat®.

“I knew we took things for granted and we needed to take some time to step back and enjoy being a family,” she said.


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More Life

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Kristen Milligan passed away  one year ago tomorrow. She was a truly amazing person and my very best friend. One of her favorite verses is found in James 1:2-4 and she referenced it often in her speaking engagements, books, and daily life. This is what it says in the modern day Message translation of the bible:

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."


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Gaining a New Perspective on Life



One day someone asked me if I was interested in sponsoring a candle for the upcoming Relay for Life event in honor or memory of someone with cancer. Afraid to answer, I simply agreed and took the paperwork home. I asked myself, “Do I know anyone with cancer?” Nobody in my family had cancer, none of my friends had cancer, none of my friends’ family members had cancer. I didn’t know anyone with cancer. But they made it seem like I should?


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39 and Holding – March 2013

March 18 of this year would have been Inheritance of Hope co-founder Kristen Milligan’s 40th birthday.  Though something about that number creates discomfort for those reaching it, Kristen was not the sort of person to be bothered by a number.  I know I am not alone in wishing that she had reached that milestone and many more.  Some people joke that they are “39 and holding” rather than


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In Loving Memory of Kristen Milligan

Today we grieve the death of Kristen Milligan, co-founder of Inheritance of Hope.  Kristen died on Friday, October 26, 2012.  Hers was a life well-lived.

After retiring from her first career of training guide dogs for the visually impaired and deaf-blind to become a full-time mom, Kristen was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer in stage 4 on March 18, 2003 -- her 30th birthday.  For the next 10 years, Kristen was dedicated to helping families navigate life-threatening illnesses, beginning with her own children.  She wrote A Train's Rust, A Toy Maker's Love to communicate about illness and death with her then four-year-old daughter Ashlea, two-year-old son Luke, and seven-month-old daughter Rebecca.  She wrote another book for children and one for adults about her experiences.  Kristen also was a poised speaker who shared her story with audiences around the United States and internationally.


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Joy and Peace Through Suffering - March 2012


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My Reasons for Starting Inheritance of Hope

Kristen Milligan, co-founder of Inheritance of Hope, will complete the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. this Sunday - although not the way she planned …


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