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You Never Know What's 'Round the Corner

James Herriot, a British veterinarian of the last century, tells a story about a cow that had ingested some wire, which would have to be removed.  The vet performing the operation was on a big kick about cleanliness and presentation, so he arrives at the farm in new, sharp clothes and then dons a “brilliantly white smock.”  He has his assistants lay out all the polished tools of surgery on brand new metal trays.  The farmer asks if he can watch, and the vet is only too glad to show off for an audience.

 

He cuts through skin and muscle and arrives at the cow’s first stomach (they have four).  Before he can cut open the stomach, it bulges out through the opening in the skin.  He presses it back in, but it comes out again, bigger!  The vet suspects gas is causing the stomach to expand.  They go back and forth several times, with more stomach coming out each time, until finally it is so large outside the cow that he can barely hold it with both arms wrapped around it, and it’s at his eye level!  It takes two men to wrestle the thing down, at which point the vet quickly makes his cut.

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A Letter to be Read at My Memorial Service

October 26th, 2019, marks the seventh anniversary of Kristen's death. She revised the letter below in February 2012.
 
Dear loved ones,
 
Watch Kristen's story in 4 minutesAs I write this I admit feeling a little sad. Sad because my greatest earthly desire was to grow old with Deric … 17 years of marriage was not nearly long enough. Sad because it is a mother’s job to be there to comfort her child when that child experiences her first broken heart, or when he sits on the bench during a much-anticipated game. Sad because my heart hurts to think I will not be there to share in my children’s joys and inevitable accomplishments, their weddings, or for the births of their own children. Sad to leave my mom and my sister with yet another loss after the premature death of my dad. Despite the sadness this illness has brought, when I consider my life I quickly realize that God has blessed me abundantly … how can I feel anything except overwhelming thankfulness?
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Faces of Holley Day: Erica Chase-Salerno on the impact of her family’s Kendra Scott-sponsored Legacy RetreatⓇ

Erica Chase-Salerno was a gifted writer who graciously shared her thoughts and words with the larger Inheritance of Hope family.  Erica attended the January 2018 IoH retreat, and wrote this for us the following October, in celebration of Holley Day. Erica passed away in February 2019, and we are honored to continue sharing her legacy.

 

Life is uncertain, eat dessert first.

And go on an IoH retreat. Or help another family go.

Because this is an organization that walks the talk, excels at creating legacy experiences, and “gets it” about cancer challenges for families.

 

Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ presented by Kendra Scott
Welcome to the IoH Family!
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God Created Me, To Do Hard Things

Recently, my family and I went on a trip up to our favorite place, Hume Lake. It’s a beautiful lake, in Sequoia National Park, and it’s where Brian and I met as campers one summer, so it holds a special place in our hearts. My middlest -- as she likes to call herself -- Charlotte, really wanted a milkshake. Not just a portion, an entire milkshake to herself. Now, these are HUGE milkshakes. And, we don’t really give our kids sugar, so this was a giant ask. So, like any kind parent would do, I gave her a giant goal, thinking that, surely, she wouldn’t actually complete it.

 

The giant goal: run the lake without stopping. A few things to keep in mind: we are at 5,500 feet elevation, running the lake is a 5k, and she’s 7. “No problem, Mom. I got it.” That is what she tells me.

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Faces of Holley Day: Lisa Lyon describes the importance of her family’s Kendra Scott-sponsored Inheritance of Hope Legacy RetreatⓇ

When I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at 28 years old with three very young children, the only thing I ever thought about or wanted was to make meaningful and fun memories with my children and husband that were full of joy. During my year of very hard cancer treatment, I would sit in the infusion chair and think “all I want to do is be with my kids.” It felt impossible to ever think I would be able to go to Orlando with my family. The Legacy RetreatⓇ was a dream come true for me, my husband, and our three kids. We spent that time focused on each other…not scary cancer, not worrying about money or all the other hard things cancer brings on for a young metastatic breast cancer patient. We had the most wonderful and magical time. When I think about our retreat, those who served us, and everyone that made it possible for our family to be there, it makes me cry and feel so much gratitude for angels on earth.

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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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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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The Hope of Heaven

I am so excited that Kendra Scott has partnered with Inheritance of Hope to sponsor Legacy Retreats. She sponsors Legacy Retreats to honor her friend Holley's legacy, and the reason that I am involved with Inheritance of Hope is because I am carrying on my friend Kristen's legacy. I can definitely relate to Kendra's heart in this mission, and it is such a pleasure to team up with her to honor our friends together.

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