Now is the time of year when we consider all that the past year held for us, and ponder what the year ahead will bring. This can stir up a vast array of emotions . . . hope, worry, excitement, fear, gratitude, fatigue, doubt, peace, longing, joy . . . sometimes several at once.
Kathy Midkiff ran the Chicago marathon—her first—this past October in support of Inheritance of Hope (IoH). Her fundraising goal was to raise enough money to send an entire family on a Legacy Retreat®. Kathy’s daughter-in-law, Kerri Midkiff, was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2009, and since then Kathy has seen firsthand the difficulties that IoH families face.
When most people think about a Times Square countdown, they think of a giant ball being lowered from a tall pole in the center of New York City while millions of people count down to a new year.
Confetti. Music. Celebration.
Well, Inheritance of Hope is about to begin a Times Square countdown of our own, and we are going to focus on lifting the burdens and lightening the loads of 21 families from all over the country who have young children facing the loss of a parent.
Hurricane Matthew is quickly approaching Florida’s east coast, and a bunch of hope-inspirers are leaving their comfortable homes and flying, driving, swimming their way to Orlando to serve 19 families facing storms much bigger than this hurricane.
These families have been counting down the days until their Legacy Retreat, and no hurricane is going to spoil this priceless experience for them.
[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.
Fear - it’s a powerful emotion. Have you ever experienced fear so intense that you couldn’t move - that you couldn’t breathe? Maybe had a panic attack? We all experience fear, but God has an antidote for it.
One day, they told us, an enormous snake—much longer than a man—slithered its way right through their front door and into the kitchen of their simple home. Terrified, they ran outside and searched frantically for a local who might know what to do. A machete-wielding neighbor came to the rescue, calmly marching into their house and decapitating the snake with one clean chop.
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.
On October 10th, professional triathlete and Inheritance of Hope supporter Ruth Brennan Morrey, Ph.D., competed in the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. She's 1 of only 9 American women to compete in the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run, and she finished 23rd among professional female athletes worldwide. Due to her years of training, Ruth has a unique perspective on resilience, perseverance, and faith. She also turned 40 years old on race day!
Ruth served as a counselor on the Inheritance of Hope (IoH) NYC Legacy Retreat® in November 2014, and she raised money for IoH as part of her desire to give back through her IRONMAN experience. Her supporters rallied around her passion for families facing the loss of a parent, raising nearly $5,000! Her efforts will fully fund 1 family's NYC Legacy Retreat® next month -- an opportunity to make precious memories while they are still able!
Ruth has a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology with a focus in health psychology, thus she brings a strong skill set to her involvement with IoH. Here, we asked Ruth a few questions prior to her race and heard her thoughts on how her experiences relate to IoH and life at large.
Over the past several months, I have had the privilege of writing about members of the Inheritance of Hope family. Cheryl Broyles, like each person I have presented, defies description. In June 2000, Cheryl was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumor and told she had less than a year to live. How could I adequately describe a woman who in the past 15 years has survived six brain surgeries, climbed mountains both literal and figurative, and raised two toddlers into young men?
I can’t. Cheryl inspires hope in a tremendous way, and there are no words beautiful enough to paint the picture of what that looks like.