Everlasting Father

Originally posted in 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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9 Easy Ways to Support an Ill Loved One During the Holidays

While the rest of the world ho-ho-hos their way through the holiday season, those with chronic illnesses might be quietly struggling to keep everything together. Add to that the stress of decorating, attending parties and shopping for gifts and you’ve got a recipe for a holiday-themed disaster.




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He is My Strength

This piece was originally published in November 2011 by Inheritance of Hope Co-Founder Kristen Milligan. Kristen passed away from a rare liver cancer in 2012, but her legacy remains through her vision of serving other families like her own.


The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.

Psalm 28:7


In January, I began training for the 2011 Marine Corp Marathon.  I had exactly ten months to prepare myself to finish 26.2 miles in less than seven hours.  I worried from day one.  I had spent the previous months recovering from a brutal surgery where doctors removed cancerous tumors from my chest cavity, the lining of my heart, my lungs, my diaphragm, and my esophagus. 


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Sixteen-year-old Ethan Harned continues to inspire hope

As a fourteen-year-old high school freshman, Ethan Harned emptied his savings, not to buy video games or the latest Nike Air Force Ones, but to support a charity he had only just learned about.  It has been two years now since Ethan met Carrey Dewey, a young mother living with ALS whose family was greatly impacted by Inheritance of Hope.  And since then, Ethan has been on a mission to make a difference.  


High-schooler Ethan Harned makes a difference beyond his home in Louisville, Kentucky
High-schooler Ethan Harned makes a difference beyond his home in Louisville, Kentucky
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Proposal at the Finish Line: Team Inheritance of Hope runners are engaged at the Chicago Marathon!

Marriage is one of those things sometimes described as “a marathon, not a sprint.”  In that case, Tonya King and Tim Mahoney are more than ready! The couple recently ran the Bank of America Chicago Marathon as part of Team IoH, and that finish line was just their beginning.  

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Introducing our newest volunteers

Being a big ‘ole family, we just love to welcome new folks in and celebrate all the ways people find Inheritance of Hope!  Here are the stories of how a few recent volunteers became involved. 


Nine new Volunteers
Nine new volunteers reported for duty in Orlando on our August retreat! (L to R: Jaci Ranieri, Taylor Andersen, Leah Stapleton, Kent Hagen, Jenn Valenti, Cael Thompson, Ana Liz Greene, Ashton Guerra, not pictured: Lynsey Brock)
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Volunteer Spotlight: Ten Legacy Retreats® for Rusty Hedges

Which of our veteran volunteers was once pulled over by police while conducting official IoH business?


If you guessed attorney Rusty Hedges, you are correct! He might practice law, but he’s not above it! While serving on an Orlando retreat, Rusty was driving a couple to their special date night out on the town when the blue lights started flashing.  

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Growing Up With a Sick Mom Pt. 2

Ashlea Milligan’s parents Kristen and Deric founded Inheritance of Hope together after Kristen was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.  Ashlea has perspective that resonates with the broader IoH family, and through her writing, hopes to shed light on issues surrounding terminal illness and those who are left behind in its wake.  She wrote her first installment in this series earlier, and continues to share her thoughts.  

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Growing Up with a Sick Mom Pt.1

Coming to college and discussing childhood with my friends has been a fascinating exploration. My roommates and I come from different backgrounds. While we all grew up under similar circumstances, all American, UNC Chapel Hill-bound children, there are variances that I find striking. Listening to them recount their childhoods is always slightly surprising, and brings out the nuances of my childhood that were contrary to those of my friends. I have begun to recognize how different growing up with a sick parent actually makes your life - the before, after, and during. 


Ashlea and her mom, Kristen
Ashlea and her mom, Kristen
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You Never Know What's 'Round the Corner

James Herriot, a British veterinarian of the last century, tells a story about a cow that had ingested some wire, which would have to be removed.  The vet performing the operation was on a big kick about cleanliness and presentation, so he arrives at the farm in new, sharp clothes and then dons a “brilliantly white smock.”  He has his assistants lay out all the polished tools of surgery on brand new metal trays.  The farmer asks if he can watch, and the vet is only too glad to show off for an audience.


He cuts through skin and muscle and arrives at the cow’s first stomach (they have four).  Before he can cut open the stomach, it bulges out through the opening in the skin.  He presses it back in, but it comes out again, bigger!  The vet suspects gas is causing the stomach to expand.  They go back and forth several times, with more stomach coming out each time, until finally it is so large outside the cow that he can barely hold it with both arms wrapped around it, and it’s at his eye level!  It takes two men to wrestle the thing down, at which point the vet quickly makes his cut.

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