Caitlin Shorey Raises Her Voice for Inheritance of Hope

Only eight years old, Caitlin Shorey has a big voice, and people are listening.  While she often uses it to belt out Broadway show tunes, lately this powerhouse of a third-grader has been speaking up for one of her favorite charities, Inheritance of Hope (IoH).  IoH serves young families facing the loss of a parent due to terminal illness, and Caitlin’s family benefitted from an IoH Orlando Legacy Retreat® in March 2018.  


“It was amazing to be able to express my feelings in a way that I didn’t have to hide anything, and I met new friends from all over,” Caitlin enthusiastically explains.  “For example, sometimes I feel scared, sad, or anxious about what might happen to my mom, but everyone in that group understood what I feel. On an IoH retreat, everyone knows because they have all experienced it.” 


The Shorey Family on their IoH Legacy RetreatⓇ
The Shorey Family on their IoH Legacy RetreatⓇ


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Nine New Volunteers Join The Inheritance of Hope Family

The IoH family welcomed nine new volunteers into our ranks at the first-ever North Carolina Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ:  Beth Batchelder, Suzie Boatright, Hailey Boonstra, Rae McMannis, Fred Morse, Dawn Keel, Marina Randles, Diane Sohl, and Jill Vaughan.


New volunteers ready to serve
New volunteers ready to serve


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Present TENSE

Isaiah chapter 42, verses 8 through 11:


I am the LORD; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols.
Behold, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth
I tell you of them."
Sing to the LORD a new song,
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The Art of Compassion

A few months ago, my husband, Blake, and I were at a friend's house for dinner, and I commented on a few of her original paintings I hadn’t seen before. Our friend is a very talented artist, and she was telling me about a new technique she was experimenting with -- cold wax and oil painting with only scrapers, spatulas, and palette knives; no brushes! I was immediately intrigued and I told her I wanted to give it a try. So, before we left her house that night, we set a date to paint together!


I hadn’t painted in almost 25 years. Looking back, I think that’s because I was never really confident enough declare myself a ‘real’ artist; I never felt ‘good enough.’ But, the next weekend, I bravely showed up at my friend’s house with a blank canvas, on an unusually warm January day, and spent the afternoon painting in her driveway. I was afraid to spread any paint on my pretty white canvas, but finally mixed some soft hues of blues and greens and before I knew it, I had spent 2 hours mixing colors, spreading paint and building layers upon layers of color and texture, creating interesting shapes that hinted at a mountain landscape.


I was fully immersed in the process and I loved it. Part of what made this experience so freeing for me is that I had no expectations going into it, except to enjoy learning something new and allow myself enough grace to make a mistake or mix the wrong shade of paint. I knew my painting wasn’t going to be perfect, and I was okay with that.

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Trusting in the Plan

The camp counselor/elementary school teacher in me thought about having everyone do a trust fall as our intro this morning, but then on the off chance that that activity was not successful…  Betsy might not be thrilled if I break our volunteers before Kids' Day Out! So instead I am just going to talk to y’all about trust and open up with a verse from one of my favorite parts of scripture.

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Meet our newest volunteers

Our family is growing.  Inheritance of Hope now has a roster of 300+ amazing volunteers!  On our Orlando Legacy Retreat in April, we were thrilled to welcome the following into our ranks:


Ethan Baur, Clara Beovich, Caroline Braun, Mara Caples, Ally Dee, Anna Latimer, Emileah Most, Micah Most, Sara Theisen, Ethan Trejo, and Cheryl Yeaton.


Get to know them a little better here!

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Behind the lens with our photographers, Mikki Skinner and Rachel Streelman

Long after all other retreat-goers are tucked in for the night, Mikki Skinner and Rachel Streelman tuck into a bag of gummy bears, a little wine, and reruns of Friends. The professional photographers have cumulatively snapped their way through 13 Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatsⓇ, and still eagerly open their computers each night to see what they’ve captured.  On a typical day, the team might shoot up to 800 images, then back in their hotel room, with the help of late-night provisions and a little background noise from the TV, cull those into a well-edited 300 or so photos.


Rachel (left), and Mikki always have camera-ready smiles themselves!
Rachel (left), and Mikki always have camera-ready smiles themselves!
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Anna Conti volunteers on her twentieth retreat!

On any Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ, Anna Conti’s hands are full.  With little hands. Our chief “hand-holder” and “sticker-sticker” is rarely without a charge of adoring little ones basking in the sunshine of her undivided attention.  Anna knows that debates about princesses and villains are just as important as conversations about pets, career opportunities in the superhero field, and whether to choose the kids’ mac and cheese meal or pizza. Adept at navigating Dr. Seuss Landing or Magic Kingdom, Anna is proud to call herself a “Disney girl.”  She can distract from a sugar-induced meltdown, welcome the most shy preschooler into a group, and ease any parent’s separation anxiety, because she recognizes and loves each child wholeheartedly.

This Disney girl knows how to rock a pair of mouse ears!
This Disney girl knows how to rock a pair of mouse ears!
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Creative Absence

Being at Legacy Retreats is a blessing.  This is the visible and tangible culmination of many months of less visible work: fundraising, event planning, family coordinating, all sorts of communications, technology, office work and supplies, big-picture visioning and strategy.


All of that work takes a lot of people, and many of them cannot be at every retreat.  In fact most of them aren’t on site at any given Legacy Retreat.  Our staff and coordinators alone now are more than 30 people, and there are more than 300 people among our board, volunteers, and group facilitators.  Plus there are thousands of donors.


To get to be at a Legacy Retreat, then, is to be at the highlight, the fun payoff of so much other vital but less visible work.  The flip side is that being away from a retreat is hard!  I can speak from very personal experience; I was not at the California retreat at the end of last summer, and that frankly was not easy for me.  I knew I was missing a great team, I knew I was missing IoH history, I knew I was missing the face-to-face impact of months of work.  Others who also missed that retreat described it like experiencing withdrawal, and that is how it felt.  It’s hard to miss this!

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Lighting a Candle for Hope

“Scents of Hope,” Marti Ogren’s candle business, is aptly named.  The preschool teacher, who also spent 35 years in a first grade classroom, has found her second calling, and her purpose is bigger than filling your home with pleasant fragrances.  Lest you get the wrong idea, Marti is passionate about the process of developing, testing, and making her soy-based candles. She embraces every step, from brainstorming new products to pouring the warm clear liquid and watching it cool to a creamy solid.  But, she is even more passionate about inspiring hope.

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