As I began to prepare my mind and spirit for the January 2016 Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat®, I was also preparing my two boys for a music camp that they would be attending the weekend I was away. Each of my boys is fairly musical, and this camp’s focus was on “musical improv.” Up until this time, the boys’ instruction had been extremely methodical, rote, and memorized. I was eager to see how they would do with this new introduction to flexibility and freedom.
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.
Do you feel blue, kinda down, depressed? We all get that way from time to time. But when that emotion threatens to pull you under, what do you do? Where do you go? Who do you turn to?
Cancer or other life-threatening illnesses are devastating for those diagnosed, and their families. In addition to the enormous expenses for chemotherapy, surgeries, medication, and other aggressive treatments, many patients are not able to work and maintain a steady household income. This can cause them and their families to be placed in a very difficult financial situation.
Fortunately, those who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and their families may be able to receive assistance in the form of financial benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are two forms of benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The Gran Fondo New York is a grueling 98.54-mile bike ride with maximum grades of 18% and elevations reaching up to 1,279 feet. Racers must be extremely fit and endure months of arduous training in preparation for the event. Shannon Fogarty completed the race in May 2015 in support of Inheritance of Hope. He raised over $15,000 – enough to send three families to the NYC Legacy Retreat® in November!
As a native New Yorker, Shannon stopped by last month’s NYC Legacy Retreat® to let us know he has a bigger goal this year. He wants complete the race in 7 hours or less (down from last year’s 8 hours, 25 minutes). He also wants to continue to pay it forward. Shannon would like to assemble a cycling team and has set a goal of raising $20,000 for Inheritance of Hope – enough to send four more families to an Orlando Legacy Retreat® in 2016, the same opportunity he and his family experienced in 2011.
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.
The NYC 2015 New York City Legacy Retreat® was a spectacular success! 18 families came to New York City and made memories together, laughed together, gleaned useful insights to help their families, and were inspired to leave lasting legacies. These things, in and of themselves, are not miracles. But, there were plenty of miracles dispersed among the streets of Manhattan as these families spent 4 days there.
Displaying memorabilia like photos and items that hold significance to you and your loved ones is important because it has the powerful ability to create a special and nostalgic experience. Whether during times of struggle or celebration, catching a glimpse of your favorite memories as you pass by should remind you that although life is full, your hearts are even fuller.
Sheryl Sandberg recently shared movingly about what she has learned about motherhood through grief. But how do we help someone who is grieving?
We don’t know what to say. So, too often, we say nothing. Or worse, avoid.
Anyone who has attended a Legacy Retreat® knows that it’s a logistical puzzle – a puzzle that’s beautifully put together under the leadership of our Family Legacy Director Jill Thompson. Let’s go “behind the scenes” to learn more about Jill.