There’s something irreplaceable about intentionality, no matter how small the gesture. I, for one, would prefer a thoughtful, handwritten note over a lavish gift of my own choosing. However, it can be very difficult to find the time and energy to go out of your way emotionally. But, because I believe in the value of intentionality, I’ve found a few fun things to do that make it feel like less of an endeavor and more of a creative activity. The list is quite standard, but I have added a personal twist to make it a little more fun. As a huge bonus, the recipient of your gift will recognize the extra effort put into their gift, and feel all the more loved as a result!
Bringing hope to everyday lives!
In December, our family was accepted for an all-expenses paid vacation courtesy of Inheritance of Hope (IoH). IoH provides Legacy Retreats for families with children age 18 and younger in which a parent has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. The four-day trip is full of fun, and intentional activities are planned to help families like ours with all we are facing.
|The Mosier family arrives in Orlando for their Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat.|
In February 2014, Carol Lacert accompanied her daughter Marci Guay and granddaughter Hannah Guay to an Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ in Orlando. At the time, Marci, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, was enjoying good health, but like many of our families, they were uncertain--not just about the retreat, but about the future that lay beyond. In particular, Hannah, then 13, had fears she could not easily express.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, Hannah Black’s smile says it all.
|Hannah with her beautiful art.|
Hannah recently sold her artwork and donated all proceeds to Inheritance of Hope in memory of her mother Laura. Hannah knows all too well the challenges IoH families face, as she lost her own mother to glioblastoma in April 2016.
The O’Gorman family attended our NYC Legacy Retreat® in November 2016. Merritt, who loves dance and was 10 years old at the time, told local news that her favorite part was watching the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, featuring the Rockettes.
|The O'Gorman Family in Times Square|
Hope. It was the one thing I searched for during my journey as a caregiver. My husband, Steve, had a rare, progressive, debilitating neurological disease that would eventually destroy his autonomic system and also required 24-hour care. Every time I came to that point where I thought I couldn’t go on, I still had hope. Each day that I had no energy left, no patience, no desire, and no strength to go on even one more hour I searched for the hope that I could go on. Yes, I said all of those words out loud - no patience, no strength, no energy.
As a caregiver, I had only whispered those words to myself. I would mumble under my breath sometimes about how hard it was to keep doing it. I was too ashamed to admit to anyone how I was really feeling. No one tells you that loving someone can coexist in your heart with not wanting to be their full-time caregiver at the same time.
Chad Falk attended the October 2016 Orlando Legacy Retreat® with his wife and three children. He shared his story at Calvary Evangelical Free Church in Rochester, MN, on November 12. This is a partial transcript of Chad’s remarks.
I was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015, in September, so just over two years ago. I work at Mayo Clinic; that’s been a big blessing in my life. I’ve been there since about 2001, so about fifteen years or so. I’m just proud to be part of that organization and caring for patients. It’s been neat with my cancer, how I’ve been able to reach out to people that I work with. It’s interesting how, when I open up, they typically open up themselves and talk a little bit more about what’s going on in their life. We can kind of encourage each other and hear each other’s stories.
It’s been said that the saddest thing about death is not the actual end of life itself, but leaving your loved ones behind and creating the reality of not being able to spend time with you anymore. Needless to say, death is always hard to accept, even if we’re all aware that it is a natural occurrence. The only thing you could do to ensure that your loved ones' grief and pain would be somehow appeased after you’re gone is to prepare something that would remind them of you fondly – your legacy, so to speak.
In today’s society, technology has become intertwined in people’s lives, so much so that it’s now also considered an instrument for dealing with instances such as death. The manner for leaving your legacy and final wishes is not just through paper these days but also via digital tools.
Carrey, a wife and mom with ALS, originally shared this post here on August 4th.
On this day 15 years ago, Eric and I vowed to unite as one. We joined at the altar in a small, white, Little-House-on-the-Prairie-type chapel. We stood side by side, no bridesmaids or groomsmen, no fancy flowers, no fancy musicians. My dad did all the readings, Eric's dad officiated the ceremony, and we filled the little chapel with our family and closest friends. Having Eric by my side made it a real dream wedding. As we stood at the altar and shared our vows, it would take almost 15 years to fully understand the commitment he made to me.
|Carrey and Eric in 2001|
"I will love you forever, and under all circumstances.
I will stand by your side always.
I will have faith in you and encourage you in everything you do.
I will be here to listen to you, to laugh with you, and to hold you.
I will strive every day to make our relationship stronger.
I will love you, honor you, respect you, encourage you, and cherish you, in health and in sickness, through sorrow and success, for all the days in my life."
What that meant was:
I will enjoy all of our friends and family with you, socializing, meeting new people, tailgating, and going to our favorite restaurant with you.
I will join you as your doubles partner in tennis and snow ski down the mountain with you.
I will support you leaving the work force to raise our children as you support me as my career developed.
I will be the behind-the-scenes guy for all of your party planning adventures.
I will support you with all your volunteer work.
I will give you free reign to decorate our home just the way you want it.
I will travel around the United States for all of your doctors' appointments.
I will remodel our home to make it accessible for you.
I will bathe you, wash your hair, and shave your legs.
I will scratch your head and eyebrows every time they itch.