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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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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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Team Spotlight: Teresa Meier

As an endurance athlete, Teresa Meier knows a thing or two about perseverance. And as an oncology pharmacist, she is familiar with the effects of cancer.  Those two roles have helped make her a champion of Inheritance of Hope (IoH) and strengthened her conviction that leaving a legacy is one thing cancer cannot take away from anyone.
 
“Raising money for research is very important. But what I love about IoH is that they make an impact on families TODAY. IoH focuses on developing a legacy, living right now and creating memories. Those are things that cancer cannot take away from you.”

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Thankful for Legacies: Troy Steiner, Board of Directors

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.
 
Troy Steiner has served on the Inheritance of Hope Board of Directors since 2010. He is Vice President of Operations at Graphics Service Bureau in New York City. 
 
What has always amazed me is that my mom, who died 41 years ago, is still remembered and spoken of frequently by so many people because of the everlasting imprint she left in their lives. 
 
To speak or write of her is challenging for me because I did not know her. I was 6 months old when she was tragically removed from our lives. While horseback riding with a friend on a neighboring property, which was a hobby of hers, something spooked her horse. The horse threw her, and my mother hit her head on a rock. She was pronounced dead at the hospital a few hours later. It all seemed so quick and pointless to me that a life so precious as hers could be taken away instantly. My father was now a widower, and my siblings and I were now motherless, just like that. 

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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.

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Thankful for Legacies: Larisa Gjivoje, Team Inheritance of Hope

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.
 
Larisa Gjivoje ran the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon with Team Inheritance of Hope. She raised $8,301 -- more than enough to send an entire family to a Legacy Retreat®
 
The Legacy of Love: My parents created a loving home environment. We told each other "I love you" when leaving for the day, ending our phone calls, going to bed, and many other times. My husband and I do the same in our family with two young children. Expressing love for each other is powerful and everlasting.
 
The Legacy of Family Togetherness: My family usually ate dinner together, which was a tough feat. Because both of my parents worked, it was late sometimes. But the trade-off was priceless; it was an important tradition to share each other's day and be connected. My mom even insisted on candlelight during our meals. My husband and I follow this legacy with our children –- and even use candles!

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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. 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Anna Conti

Inheritance of Hope has been blessed by many incredibly passionate and dedicated volunteers.  In fact, Inheritance of Hope’s mission of inspiring hope in young families facing the loss of a parent cannot be realized without them!  Our “Volunteer Spotlight” series is a way to celebrate these most selfless members of our Inheritance of Hope family.

A Legacy’s Life-Changing Impact

I still remember that day. It was just a typical September afternoon with no cares in the world. Then came the news…

My dad came home from a regular eye check-up that turned out to be anything but normal. His optometrist found tumors wrapped around both of my dad’s eyes


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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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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.


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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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Life Legacies

I received the following on a card from my grandmother and I have had it displayed next to my bed since then.  It really spoke to me.

Live Deep

Never stop learning, playing, or finding wonder in the world around you.  Live the length of your life, but live the depth of it as well.

Travel Light

There is no use in carrying around worry and regret.  They only weigh you down.  Always keep yourself open to hope and to love.  They give us wings.

Forgive Imperfections

In yourself and others.  Imperfections keep things interesting.  They're the cracks where the light shines through.

Own Beautiful Things

And not just to keep in the drawer, tucked away for a perfect day.  Surround yourself with things that make you happy, that remind you of the beauty all around us if we only keep our eyes open to it.

Make Mistakes

Follow detours. Sometimes it take an unexpected turn to help us find the life that is waiting for us around the bend.  Trust yourself and the path that is meant for you.

Take Care of Yourself

And sometimes that means you need the ice cream.  Be good to your body, but also your mind and spirit.  You're the only one who can.


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Tides and Waves

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I just spent a few days at the beach with my family for Spring Break. It was wonderful! My parents recently moved into a condo that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and I really enjoyed standing out on their balcony and listening to the waves come in and out constantly.

Sometimes they were gentle and other times they were quite rough, but one thing was certain, they were never still.  The waves kept coming and the tide rose and fell.


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Hop in the Saddle

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My oldest, 9-year-old Elizabeth, has always loved horses.  She even chose to have a horse-themed birthday party when she turned 6 years old.

Despite her love for horses, she has never actually ridden a full-size horse.  Well, this summer Adam and I decided she was old enough to handle the responsibility and danger associated with this sport so we signed her up for a week long horse camp at our local equestrian center.  Her Granny and Aunt Erica hooked her up with some sweet cowgirl boots and trendy new bedazzled t-shirt.

As we drove to camp on the first morning I asked if she was nervous.


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Hard Rock Cafe

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Times Square was hopping tonight!  After our meeting time together we headed down to Times Square Hard Rock Cafe and it was the place to be!!! There were people everywhere.  Many of us got to see ourself on the HUGE electronic billboard as we walked through the crowded square.  Some of us even watched a man propose to a woman right there in the middle of Times Square with a camera projecting them onto the big screen.  (She said, "Yes")


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June 27: Leaving a Legacy

"Every Family Deserves a Legacy"®
Three days ago, we were all relative strangers, and now we are a family -- a family that has laughed together, cried together, played together, and learned together. We have all been challenged to look at our lives and consider the legacy we want to leave behind. Certainly that legacy involves a lot of fun and great memories, but it also involves some intentional planning and action.

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