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6 Things You Need to Know: Kira Mann

Kira Mann

Kira Mann joined the Inheritance of Hope team as Development Director on July 1.  She brings many personal and professional strengths to the service of young families facing the loss of a parent.  Beyond her impressive resume, here are 6 things you need to know about Kira.

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Not Safe But Good - July 2015

We began our group discussion with the normal “ice-breaker” small talk stuff.  How long was your trip, how did you get connected with Inheritance of Hope, etc.?  It was nice; it was cordial.  One man stated that he wasn’t really into talking about these kinds of things.  He quickly “passed” the conversational ball to his wife, the one with cancer.  

 

Pretty soon, the honesty came forth... it was hard, refreshing, human.  One woman, who had been battling cancer for some time, said, “Our whole life has been changed... they put me on a table, telling me to hold my breast, and moved me around like an animal…”

 

No words of mine could make that kind of experience make sense.

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The Rudeness of Grief

I created this blog – From My Heart to Yours – a couple of years ago as a tool of self-expression and to get the myriad of words out of my head and onto paper – or keyboard as the case may be. I  have never hesitated on the topic or regretted posting any of them. It’s doubtful that I offend anyone since I direct any and all criticism, growth, mishaps, or challenges at myself. Always. I choose truth in transparency, seeking always to bring glory to God in the midst. His strength in my weakness and failures.

 

So I’m not certain what the difference is in this one. Why the hesitation. Maybe because it’s so intensely personal… like you are reading my journal… like I am exposed. Maybe because it isn’t uplifting or has no real ‘take-away’… but it is real and transparent. About grief. I read it to a handful of  ‘safe’ folks who are on their own grief journey… and they encouraged me to share it. So, here you have it.

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Singing Isn't Just for the Birds

6:00 a.m. The deck is shady and cool. The coffee is hot. The neighborhood is quiet except for my cardinal friend singing at the top of his tiny lungs. He is never satisfied to be in the lower part of the tree. No, only the very top of the 40-foot evergreen for him. Every morning. He is proud and beautiful and facing the sunrise as if to say, "Good morning, God. You did it again!"

 

I love listening to the birds, especially their early morning chatter, trying to figure out if there is a pattern to their song. And as I tune in (pun intended) to this friend I shall call Chirp, I am struck by the fact that... not only does he have multiple patterns, but at least three - maybe four - different songs! He never worries if he is on key or as good as those around him. Doesn't ever wonder if he even has a song on a particular day. He just sings.

 

I want that... not the treetop experience as I have a fear of heights, but his confidence... the singing and the 'being' simply because that's what God designed him to do and be.

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A God Thing - June 2015

It’s funny how this life works. Every once in a while, I get thrown an opportunity I’m not sure I deserve. Every once in a while, I receive a ridiculous opportunity to meet people who touch my life forever. I don’t claim to “get” this, but I am ever so thankful. And so was the  Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat® weekend.

 

On May 22nd, I embarked on my first IoH retreat.   To be honest, I was a bit freaked out. I was asked to be a counselor. Yeah, like the kind that, on her best day, may offer WISDOM to people. I was asked to help guide a group of 8 couples, each of whom was facing a life-threatening illness… each of whom had absolutely been through the medical, relationship, and spiritual ringers… each of whom had at least one young child, just a couple rooms down the hall.

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Founder Spotlight: Deric Milligan Awarded

On May 8, 2015, I traveled to New York City to receive the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. As I prepared for the trip, I thought of all the people I would have loved to join me to share in our accomplishment together. I decided I would write an account of the weekend. When we started Inheritance of Hope eight years ago, I never dreamed of us getting this kind of recognition. I can’t wait to see where we will be eight years from now!

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Family Spotlight: Shannon Fogarty

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 is ready, both physically and mentally. On May 17th, he will take on the challenge of the Gran Fondo in support of Inheritance of Hope.

 

He wasn’t always a biker, but in the past few years Shannon has lost 100 pounds and changed his lifestyle to become healthier. A bike that once just sat in the garage now logs up to 90 miles each weekend and a few more during the course of each week. It shares space and road time with a professional Cannondale racing bike. Arguably, Shannon, like the other racers, is in the best shape of his life. He also has an inoperable brain tumor. He is riding not just in spite of it, but because of it.

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Choosing to Get Wet

We all love the sunshine. We hope and pray for clear, blue skies.


 
Unfortunately, sometimes it rains.

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'Tis the Season - May 2015

It's spring...a much anticipated season, especially here in Minnesota where our senses are dulled for so many long months. Sun-starved describes it best. Not enough natural vitamin D. We long to have the windows open, hear the happy exchange of the birds who decided to come back after all, and....for those of us who are lovers of the soil...pull out our long-awaited packets of seedlings. Yes! New life! Reminder of eternal hope!

 

No one feels this more than the farmer. The minute weather permits, he is in the field plowing up the soil, digging down deep and turning it over so it faces the sun. Brown hard dirt is replaced by rich, thick, moist, black soil. He knows that without tilling the soil, it will not (in fact cannot) bear a crop. It must be turned up before it is ready to receive the seeds, the sun, the rain, and…yes, even the lightning that replaces the nitrogen. It must be able to breathe. Without the farmer, the soil is nothing but...soil.

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Family Spotlight: Tayler Chandler

“Inspiring” is the word mentioned over and over by coaches, teammates, reporters, and friends, who all say that Tayler Chandler’s work ethic, perseverance, and cheerful disposition permeate everything she does. The Columbus Indiana East High School senior has been widely recognized as a top volleyball player, but Tayler is a standout both on and off the court.

 

Tayler’s mother, Chena, was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2011. During her illness, Chena and her husband, Chris, modeled strength and faith to their three children: Tayler, McKenna, and Seth. In spite of cancer, Chena remained optimistic and was very present in each moment--going to every sporting event her children participated in that she physically could attend. Chena passed away on July 21, 2014. Her legacy is remembered and honored by her family, as they continue to love each other, be present, and maintain a strong faith.

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