Saturday, July 4, 2015

Regarding Freedom


I love this song. For so many reasons, it has become deeply personal to me and my family. I am grateful for our founding fathers...the builders of this great nation...who had the vision, the tenacity, the faith, and the willingness to die for a cause they so fervently believed in. It isn't just soldiers who defend freedom who have died for it. many of our founding fathers did too. They knew that signing the Declaration of Independence would put their lives and families at risk...and many of them did sacrifice all they had to do it.
I am grateful for the soldiers through all the ages who have given their all to defend freedom. May we never tarnish their sacrifice. I am also grateful for the unsung heroes and countless others who never made the spotlight, but also gave their all to shape my life, and the lives of my children, into what they are today.


8 years ago today, we celebrated freedom in a very different and personal way...and we did it with fireworks! 8 years ago today we celebrated my son gaining freedom and liberty. Unfortunately, as often happens in stories of adoption, there were some who died...maybe perhaps needed to under some great eternal plan...that who put my children in the situations they were in...situations that ultimately brought freedom on many fronts.

This picture is of the celebration we held for all the kids at his intranat in Ukraine
. Don't be fooled by all those smiling faces. They were happy because they were happy for my son.  They were happy for something different and good to be happening.  But mostly, they were happy because we brought them cake and juice...treats that were rarely ever had. In fact, some of them tasted ice cream for the first time because we shared it with them during our time in Ukraine. My heart breaks looking at this picture noseeing these kids that we had come love dearly in just a short time, knowing what their futures held. It truly was a day of great joy...and also one in which my heart broke in a million pieces as this was the last time we ever saw many of these kids.



I know what "God Bless America" really means. I remember well the day we landed in New York on our way home from adopting our kids. We had been out of the country for nearly 6 weeks. It was an experience that forever changed us. We experienced first hand the very real impact that government chaos has on its people. Everywhere we went we saw the oppression of socialism and how it robs  people of hope, purpose, and motivation but leaves the door wide open for covert dishonesty, bribery, blackmail, and extortion. People are meant to be free, industrious, and hopeful.

Even more striking to me was to see what happens to a nation and society when God is removed from it. During the Nazi invasions of WWII, it wasn't just the Jews that were attacked. It was Christianity, too. Much of Ukraine was impacted, especially in the south and east. Most of the churches were destroyed and people were forbidden from worshiping. Just 2 generations later, the result is a chaotic and essentially lawless society...or at least one in which enforcing the laws they do have is extremely difficult.  If you've watched the news over the past year, you know it's even more chaotic now than it was when we were there.

My boys, however, lived in the western part of the country. The impact of socialism and it's big brother communism were still ever present  So are the scars of the horrible Jewish extermination.  The wounds are still painful, not just emotionally and religiously, but also economically and socially.  The societies and communities geographically surrounding those once Jewish settlements were crippled for decades.  Christianity in this area, however, had not been subject to the same extermination as the more eastern parts of the country had experienced. The difference between the people in the east and the west is astounding. In those areas where God wasn't removed, the people are happier, more united, more concerned about each other, and are more peaceful than those in areas where He was banished. Perhaps most importantly, the children are still taught to know God. Even in the desperate situations my children had once faced, both of my boys had been taught to pray before they were mine. God heard their prayers, too.

As soon as the wheels safely touched the ground in New York and all the passengers were cheering after a very long international flight, I couldn't hold back the tears. I was so profoundly grateful to be home...and to be free! God bless America has NEVER meant more to me than it did in that moment. 

I see the tide changing in America, though...especially over the past few years. May we never be a nation that forgets our roots or our Maker. Even if you don't need Him personally, our nation still does. As my dear friend so aptly said this morning...America, bless God!

And now a few words from our founding fathers...










So much has been said lately regarding "rights"...yet much of what has said and done has no ties whatsoever to the Constitution or the liberty intended by or granted by our founding fathers.

In all our doings and our fight for "rights" and what is right, may we not forget Amendment 10!  It is there for a reason and is just as important as all the rest of them.




May we as a nation remember and understand the tyrrany and oppression these men fought against.  May their vision and the freedom they literally sacrificed all to establish and preserve once again inspire us and unite us.  May we never allow tyranny to rule our nation.  May we return to and always be "one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

2015 Moms Retreats

Have you heard about the Hope Rising retreats for moms of children (in or out of the home) who struggle with intense emotional and behavior challenges associated with complex trauma, attachment issues, and/or mental illness?  They are a super awesome way to connect in person with other moms who are living this same crazy life and to take a break, rest and relax among friends who get it, and to refill your own emotional bucket.

We will be hosting retreats in 5 different locations this year.  All retreats will be hosted on the same dates, regardless of location... September 23-27, 2015.  Use the links below register for your spot on the Hope Rising website.



This retreat will be held in Eden, Utah. Eden is a beautiful mountain resort town with plenty to see and do. It is also just 15 minutes from Ogden and 40 minutes from Salt Lake City. We're staying in a lovely mansion home and treating ourselves like queens.  We only have one twin spot left at this retreat. Come grab it before it's gone!  http://www.hoperisingforfamilies.org/utah---north.html




Our Southern Utah retreat will be held in warm and sunny St. George. It's in the heart of red rock country and offers some fun and unique community opportunities, including some incredible outdoor theater productions. There are only a couple of spots left at this location and when they're gone they're gone!  http://www.hoperisingforfamilies.org/utah---south.html






This retreat will be held in Branson, Missouri - right in the heartland of America.  This retreat is located in a lovely, secluded area that is close to everything that Branson has to offer. 1 private room and a couple of lovely shared rooms are still available. http://www.hoperisingforfamilies.org/missouri.html





This retreat will be held in east Tennessee in the Pigeon Forge area.  Our venue is nestled in the smokey mountains with plenty of opportunities for play and relaxation.  1 private room and some lovely shared rooms are still available.  http://www.hoperisingforfamilies.org/tennessee.html




This retreat will be held in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The beautiful home we will be staying in is located right on the beach. It's an ocean lover's paradise!  We have one private suite (private room/private bath) and a couple of twin bed spots left at this location. http://www.hoperisingforfamilies.org/virginia.html
***Important Note*** Much as we love these retreats, this is also the last year that Hope Rising will be formally hosting them.  We hope you'll come and join us at any of our locations and help make these last retreats the best ones ever!  We also hope many will be inspired to continue doing them in coming years in their own local areas. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

2014 Holiday Gift Swap

Many have asked if I will be doing the "Trauma Mama Gift Swap".  The answer is no. :-(  It has been so much fun in past years, but like many other things, it got too big and too time consuming for me to do on my own, I had to let it go.  Unfortunately, there were no takers interested in picking up the ball and carrying the tradition forward.

May each of you find ways in your own circles to reach out to those in the trenches, connect with other parents, and lift and support those who are struggling to make it through this season that is still so difficult for many.

Happy Holidays!




Monday, September 8, 2014

A Gift of Healing - Enter to Win

As I've mentioned before, Hope Rising is no longer just mine.  It isn't just a parent support group, or a grassroots retreat group anymore, either. We are now a legally registered non-profit organization with our 501c3 status pending.

One of the big things we do as Hope Rising is host respite retreats for moms just like all of us who are in desperate need of a break and healing for themselves. We still have spots available for our super awesome retreats coming up the end of this month, too. The retreats will be held September 24-28.  Yes, there's still time for you to come and join us! We have a couple spots left in Arizona and have opened up several more in Utah.

We also have a scholarship program and sponsorship program to assist our moms who need some financial help be able to attend our retreats.  Yes, you are still welcome to apply for either of these programs.  Much as we wish we could, we, as Hope Rising, also can't do what we do for free. Reality is that without donation funds coming in, it's pretty tough for us to keep doing what we do in any area, including running our online support groups. Our only sources for obtaining funds are through fundraisers, donations, and retreat registrations.

The theme of our retreats this year is "Choosing Hope." Our focus is on taking care of us as moms and helping each of us find rest, relaxation, and healing for ourselves. For this reason, we're offering a very healing essential oils package as a give-away for our last pre-retreat fundraiser!! We want all our moms to have the opportunity to receive a gift of healing, even if they can't join us in person.




There are many ways you can enter to win this awesome prize!! You get entries simply by sharing our give away post (http://www.hoperisingforfamilies.org/2014/09/donate-to-win.html) in as many places as you can and asking others to share it as well. Of course, you also get extra entries for making financial donations, too. All donations we received are first and foremost used to fund scholarships to help as many moms as possible be able to join us for our retreats this year AND they are tax deductible too!

This campaign is also short and sweet. It only runs through this coming Thursday night, September 11. The winner will be announced on Friday, September 12. We really need your help in spreading the word! Will you help us by sharing our give away post (link above)  Even if you can't come join us for a retreat, or just want to help support a great cause, we welcome financial donations to help other moms come...and yes, to help Hope Rising continue doing what we do and making sure our retreats and other parent support activities can continue in the future!

Donations are gratefully accepted through PayPal to the address hoperisingforfamilies@gmail.com or by using the quick link button below,

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hope Rising Retreats Update

Retreat time is getting close!  We're less than 4 weeks away now!  These retreats are so amazing!  They are fun, healing, relaxing, and educational.  They very literally have saved more than one of our lives, too.

For those of you who've followed my blog for awhile, and also for those who have just found me, Hope Rising began as a grass roots effort to save my own sanity.  I began hosting retreats in 2010 for moms of children who are struggling with attachment disorder, have been through severe trauma, or struggle with other similar mental illness simply because I was drowning myself and needed an in-real-life support network. The experience was so amazing that we've kept them going.  We've had moms from all over the country join us, too.  Our strength and numbers have steadily grown over the years and we reached a point where I could no longer host them on my own.  Plus, we recognized there is such great need in all parts of the country for these retreats, but not everyone has the opportunity or means to travel.  With that thought in mind, we formalized our group into a legal non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation called Hope Rising, Inc.

We have retreats coming up September 24-28 in Utah, Arizona, and Wisconsin.  Our Wisconsin retreat is now full and we are down to just one twin bed spot in Arizona! More info about this retreat can be found by clicking this link.  If you're anywhere close to Arizona, get on it and grab that spot before it's gone!




















We have still had a lot of interest in our retreats, though.  We want to put out there that we have the option to open up several more spots at our Park City, Utah retreat.  We need to have at least 4 people commit to come before we can do it, though. Click that link above for more info on our Utah retreat.  If you are interested in coming and having us make more spots available, please let us know by email us at hoperisingforfamilies@gmail.com. We know there are SO many moms out there who need an experience like this.  We would love to fill every single spot we have available! Every spot filled is a mom who is making self-care a priority and is finding the strength, friendship, and support she needs!

Here's some pictures of our amazing Utah venue!  Park City really is one of our favorite venues. It's home to many Olympic training venues, it has easy access to the Salt Lake City airport and there is TONS of fun stuff to do in Park City...not the least of which is hang out in the hot tub with a whole bunch of absolutely amazing women who completely understand this crazy life we all live.

We have two different options available for financial assistance for moms who need a little help in getting to a retreat.  We have a scholarship program in which donated funds are gifted back to moms who apply for scholarship as funds are available.  If you would like to help very literally change the lives of some really amazing women who are parenting very, very, very hard kids, donations are gratefully accepted through PayPal to hoperisingforfamilies@gmail.com.  We've yet to have a mom receive a scholarship that hasn't broken down in tears when it was awarded.  That's how much these retreats and this gift means to them!

We also have a sponsorship program that allows moms to help themselves by allowing them to raise the funds they need in order to attend.  The neat thing about this program is they can raise the funds they need for necessary travel expenses in addition to retreat expenses. We currently have 3 moms who are working on raising funds... Corrie, Emily, and Alissa. Donations to their causes are also very welcome gratefully accepted. Every one of them are incredibly deserving!  Even though they look all sweet and put together in their pictures, some of them are on the verge of shattering at the seams.

Please note that all donations made to Hope Rising, Inc. are tax deductible, too! 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Educating About RAD

**Welcome!  Scroll down if you're looking for my Attachment Disorder chart.  There are many other great resources I've linked to in this post as well.**
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It’s that time of year again. The kids are heading back to school and it’s time to educate the educators on the basics of complex trauma, attachment disorder, etc.  I have 2 kids with multiple diagnoses including RAD, PTSD, ADHD, FASD, and a bunch of other stuff.  Over the course of the years they've been with our family, they've also attended several different schools in two different cities ranging from preschool to high school.  What that really means is I’ve a lot of practice doing these meetings over the years.

I've tried many, many, many different approaches over the years. Some have failed miserably; some have been WAY too long (our first IEP meeting lasted over 3 hours!)  Some have been ok, others have been good, but not worth the investment in time and energy for what the school got out of them, and others have been very successful. Yesterday's meeting was one of those highly successful ones!

Over the years, I've realized there are two main things that make a difference in whether or not the meeting will be successful.  The first is the willingness and receptiveness of the school to listen.  That’s something I've come to accept that I don’t have any control over. They're either going to listen because they want to, or they're not going to.  If they don’t want to listen, or don’t want to see it, and even more importantly, if they don't want to do anything about it, they’re not going to no matter what I do.  That doesn't mean I get to give up, though.

I am a big believer, though, that the schools NEED information about the issues my kids struggle with...even if they don’t want to hear it and don’t want to do anything about it (as is the case with one of my kid's school.)  For sheer liability reasons for our family, we need the school to have all the information we can possibly get them to take in their files.  That way if anything does happen at school, it becomes their responsibility, not mine.

What I can control and encourage receptiveness through, though, is how I present the information. The trick, regardless of how receptive the school is going to be, is getting everything they need to know presented in a way that will make them want to pay attention, keep things on track, and get them out the door and on to other things. I know there are a lot of people out there who say you have to keep whatever you give them short, sweet, and limited to only a couple of pages.  I say to really do justice to all we’ve got going on with my kids and what the scholls really need to know in order to protect themselves, other kids, and be able to help my boys, there is absolutely no way to condense it to “short” and still keep anywhere close to effective.

The alternative to short, then, is engaging.  It has to be presented in a way that makes them want to listen. Yes, it takes a LOT more preparation on my part to make the presentations engaging and still as “brief” as possible, but when things go like they did today, it makes all that preparation worth it.  FYI: In my world, “brief” as possible means I tell them I need an hour and then work really hard to have them out the door well before that hour is up.  

Here’s how I do my presentations:

1.  I provide an information packet about my child to each teacher a day or two before the meeting.  I usually just give all of it to my son’s case manager and then let her distribute it and invite all the teachers to the meeting.  I ask all the teachers to read over it and write down any questions they have and bring them to the meeting.  Then, when they come to the meeting I tell them I've done these meetings a lot and want to keep things on track, so I ask them to hold all their questions until the end.  Reality is that most of them get answered along the way and never actually get asked to me. 

2. This year I added something new to my presentation and information packet. I’d seen a bubble chart floating around the internet describing RAD.  I really liked the one page “snapshot” approach, but at the same time, found the existing chart I’d seen very incomplete.  The main ideas were there, but so many critical details had been removed to make it fit on that one page that it lost a lot of its power and effectiveness. I know this because I’d actually tried using it to help others understand.  I realized very quickly those on the outside couldn't see the whole picture nearly as well as I could from that chart, and therefore it wasn't nearly as effective as I thought it might be.

Being the half-crazy, tenacious, creative, and well-seasoned with experience soul that I am, I finally bit the bullet and went to work.  I realized that I could do a lot better job at making a truly effective chart using the same general one page format, but didn't lose all the critical details in the process.  I was very pleased with how it turned out!  It turned even better and far more functional than I envisioned. It truly is that missing piece I've been searching for!   They say a picture is worth 1,000 words.  That definitely proved to be the case with this chart.  It has all the big, scary details of RAD on there, but at the same time, allows me to now teach about all the complexities of it very quickly and effectively.


I know something like this has been sorely lacking in our community for a very long time now.  I know because I've tried in vain many times to find something like it myself and have heard others begging for similar resources as well.  Several parents helped pull this list together. For this reason, I am making my chart freely available to any who can benefit from using it.  If you want to pass it around or pin it to Pinterest, I (and others as well) would appreciate that you do so by sharing the link to this whole post and my blog rather than just the image.  That way others will know where to find it and it will still be connected to the information on how to use it for greatest impact and effectiveness.    You are, however, welcome to open the photo and save it for your own personal use.  It is a print quality image that should be formatted to print nicely on standard 8.5x11” paper. Did you know images like this also lose significant print quality when they are saved and resaved and passed around separate from their original source?  They do!!  That's why others will want to find the original source.

I deliberately included this chart as part of the information packet I gave to each teacher with no explanation prior to our meeting.  I figured that way they were more likely to actually read what was in the bubbles and see what some of the symptoms of RAD really are, how they are all connected to each other, and how many of them there really are!  I then kicked off our meeting by showing the chart to the group and asking two questions:
A. “How many of you find this chart overwhelming?”  Several hands were raised.
B. “How many of you asked the question ‘How much and what of this applies to my son?’” Even more hands went up this time.
I then answered both questions with “Attachment Disorder IS overwhelming…and big and scary and messy and encompasses the whole person.” Much to the surprise of many, I then answered the second question with “ALL of it applies to my son.”  And with that, I had their attention! Many of them gasped a little and sat up a little straighter and got their pens out to take notes.

We then talked for a bit about internalizers vs. externalizers and how even though they might not see all of my son’s stuff outwardly manifesting at school (this particular kid we were talking about is an internalizer), it’s all still there and it’s all still part of the package that needs to be considered.  I do like to take a few minutes at the start of meetings like this to give some general overviews.  I know my kids aren't the only tough kids they have and I've had many teachers tell me over the years that what I share with them helps them better understand and work with other kids as well.

One of the things I really like about how this chart turned out is that I can cover some of the color quadrants with my hand while leaving others exposed.  Because I was talking to a bunch of teachers, my favorite way to do this was to cover up all but the green “Academic” quadrant.  We then talked about what happens when you only see the academic piece.  It took about .2 seconds for everyone to realize the chart now looked a whole lot like the iceberg that sunk the Titanic!  I also talked about relationships and how what is in that quadrant doesn't just apply to me.  My son has relationships with his teachers and peers, too…and those relationships, while different than they are with me, are equally as stressful for him.  What happens within those relationships and the lacking foundation skills necessary for them not stressful does impact his learning and what goes on in his internal world.  Of course, both relationships and the internal world have a significant impact on behavior. 

My very favorite part, though, is that I taught all of that and more in about 2 minutes!  Really. I taught a whole group of people who knew precious little about attachment disorder in a very brief few minutes...and they "got it" (at least at a high level) too!

You’ll notice a few of the cells in each quadrant are highlighted.  These are some of the most important /most common/most pressing issues for outsiders to be aware of in each area.  I did spend some time talking with the group about how children with attachment disorder are often charming, engaging, and compliant for outsiders, but hostile toward parents.  One of the highlighted cells in the relationship quadrant is that parents can sometimes appear angry or hostile.  I did this because I know some of them have already seen that in me, especially during our last IEP meeting last spring. I explained that if they do ever see that in me to please realize I (and other parents like me) are not intentionally hostile and angry, but we are exhausted.  When you have the whole picture right there in front of you, it’s not too hard to see why!

I made an accidental discovery when I printed this chart the first time.  There was an errant piece of white cardstock left in my printer I didn’t realize was there.  It turned into something I now recommend that you do if you use this to teach a group of people like I did.  Cardstock will stay standing up straight while you cover stuff up with one hand and hold it with the other. Regular paper will not, at least not with a lot of fidgeting.

3. So what’s in the rest of the teacher information packet?  I’m glad you asked!  I opt for engaging and easy to skim rather than short.  People are actually a lot more likely to read 10 well set, personalized, and interesting pages than they are a generic two page letter printed off the internet or 3 pages where everything is squished together with a small font.  The key to creating an engaging page is to use as little text as possible to explain what you need to say, then use a basic, easy to read, professional looking font, a font size that is a little bigger than normal (12.5-14 point) with a little more space than normal between the lines (2-3 point sizes bigger than your font.)  Also be sure to leave plenty of white space on the page.  Not only does this visually look better and is more comfortable to read, but it also leaves teachers plenty of room to take notes.

Here’s a sample of what some of my pages look like.  I found all the pictures I used on the internet.  There are many sites out there where you can download free and free use stock photography.


This setup isn’t just “pretty” to look at or easy to read, though. Everyone, including teachers, has a preferred learning style and learns in different ways.  Some prefer reading, others are visual learners like I am (we like the pictures!) and some prefer auditory learning.  By structuring these meetings and information packets as I do, I embraced all of those different learning styles.  In one way or another, I made sure the information got through to all of them.

4.  I gave one copy of some carefully selected supplemental materials to the case manager and told the teachers she has them.  Not all teachers are interested in reading them, and everyone is overwhelmed with feeling like they have to read them all at once, so why waste the paper and ink printing them?  I actually emailed copies of the articles to her after the meeting so she could distribute them electronically to all the teachers on Monday.  I sent this short article on possible school behavior problems associated with RAD.  There's a printer friendly version available on the site that can be printed to pdf format.  I also sent Classroom Fact Sheets for RAD, PTSD, and FASD.  These fact sheets are really neat.  They are short and sweet, but give a good overview of the condition and how to effectively handle it in the classroom.  You can find similar fact sheets for several other mental health related conditions here.

Some other good resources I've either used in the past or as inspiration in my own stuff include this article on Oil &Water: The Rad/School Mix.  I like this one, but it's quite long.  The one I used is a condensed version written by the same therapist.  There are also similar but different Fact Sheets written by a different organization than the ones I used, this "Dear Teacher" generic letter (which I've used in the past without a lot of success.  The schools felt it was too negative, impersonal, and generic and rejected it because they didn't see the same things I do. That happened at more than one school.)  I DO however, really like their suggestions for the teacher and I incorporated many of the ideas from this into my own presentation. Especially when my kids were younger, I also used this Adoption Awareness in School Assignments to help teachers think about how their assignments impact adopted children.

5. As many of us know, these meetings can get REALLY heavy and overwhelming if we’re not careful. They can also get sidetracked really easily...which is exactly what makes them longer and more frustrating than they need to be. I've found the best way to keep these meetings as short as possible is to use the very same information packet I give to teachers as my script and stick to it!  My packet is broken into two sections.  The first section is “what they need to know” about the conditions and how they impact my son. We try to get through that part pretty quick. I try to anticipate questions and answer them as part of the presentation, which helps a lot to keep things moving.

The second part is “what they as teachers can do to help.”  I like to slow down a little bit when we hit this part and give specific examples of what I know has and hasn’t worked in the past.  I allow only clarification or relevant to that specific subtopic during the presentation.  Anything else I ask them to hold to the end.  That really helps a lot to keep things on track!   More often than not, many of the questions they have do get answered by the time we’re done.  The ones that do come up at the end are almost always really good quality and well thought out questions that benefit everyone or the teaching team can help answer and help brainstorm ideas for.

6.  I like to end the meetings on a lighter note.  We talk a lot during my presentation about real chameleons and how they change colors to fit their environment, why they do it, and how my son does the very same thing.  We also talk about what chameleons do when they get scared.  They turn black and hiss at you…and my kid will do the same thing.  Adding in the chart on Attachment Disorder this year really drove home the whole chameleon thing, too.  They could all finally very clearly see and understand exactly what that means and how big the difference between the different “colors” can be.

I noticed a couple years ago when I first put this presentation together that our dollar store regularly stocks packages of little plastic chameleons in all sorts of funky colors in their toy section.  I buy them in bulk when I see them.  I keep enough on hand so at any given time I have enough for all my kids’ teachers plus a few extra.  When meeting time rolls around, I take them with me and give them out to the teachers.  I then suggest they put them somewhere in their classroom where they can see it as they teach. That way they have a reminder that they have a human chameleon in their classroom that needs to be handled with care.



The teachers have really enjoyed those chameleons!  They all pick out their favorite color…and they often tell me why they picked the one they did.  Some of them like the ones that look like the red rock deserts, some like the rainbow colors, some like the green ones.  I found some funky glow in the dark ones this year.  They all really liked those!  The best part is that they really do put them up in their classrooms.  My son does know I take them with me to meetings and give them to teachers, but he has no idea what I really do with them, who I give them to, or what they mean.  If he does happen to notice them in the room, all he knows is that mom it to teacher as part of our back to school meeting.

Hopefully you’ve found some new ideas for your own school meetings.  Leave a comment!  I’d love to hear what works for you as well.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fall Mom's Retreats

I've noticed that even though I've been fairly quiet here lately, I'm still getting quite a few hits to my blog. Thanks for checking in!

Just in case some of you are wondering about those awesome retreats I used to do and whether or not they are still happening, I thought I'd take a minute to share a bit more about what's going on with them. Over the years, they have become such a wonderful and needed thing for our moms that we outgrew what any one person could do on their own.  Earlier this year, our group incorporated into a formal non-profit (501(c)(3) pending organization called Hope Rising.  We've got some really exciting stuff going on over there, too!

First of all, not only will there still be a retreat in Utah this year, but there is also going to be one in Arizona and Wisconsin as well!  That's right!  We're taking our retreats to our moms in various parts of the country now.

Retreat Dates:  September 24-28, 2014

Price: $250-290 depending on the bed you choose

Registration:   Click on the links below to learn more about each locatoin and to access registration links for each venue.  You can learn more about our retreats and what they're all about by clicking here.

Registration for all locations closes August 15!!

After that time, anyone interested will be placed on a waiting list. Payment in full is due at the time of registration. Contact hoperisingforfamilies@gmail.com if you have questions.

Utah Retreat:  This year's retreat will be held at the same amazing place we hosted it at last year.  It's a super fun and HUGE cabin nestled high in the mountains above Park City.  The cabin is spacious, comfortable, and charming.  The scenery is breathtaking.  There are also recreation opportunities abounding.  Park City offers everything from quaint shops and outlet malls to alpine slides, zip lines, mountain coasters, and all the hiking, biking, and other outdoor recreation you can imagine.  Park City is located 35 minutes from Salt Lake City and is home to many still busy and very fun to visit Olympic training venues.  Athletes from all over the world train at these venues year round.  It's a lot of fun to go watch them, too!



It's convenient location also makes it ideal for moms who will be traveling.  The Salt Lake airport is easy to access.  We have many moms who pass right by there on their way to the retreat and pick our traveling friends up.  We've yet to have anyone need to rent a car.

We currently have 3-4 queen beds and several twin beds, both top and bottom bunks available in Utah.

Arizona Retreat:  This retreat will be held in Pinetop, Arizona in the heart of the White Mouintains, midway between Phoenix and Mesa.  If you are looking to fly, opt for Phoenix so you won't have to rent a car.  Peaceful scenery and recreation opportunities abound.  There are also some really fun local festivals going on in this are during retreat time as well. Nothing, however, beats the amazing moms you'll be spending the weekend with.




We currently have a couple queens, a king, and a couple twins left at this location.

Wisconsin Retreat:  This retreat will be held in Wautoma,Wisconsin.  This is a quiet, rural community located in central Wisconsin, about an hour from Madison and Wisconsin Dells.  Our location sits right on the shores of Big Hills Lake.  There are lots of waking trails, boating equipment, and the fall colors will be splendid this time of year. And, of course, there's a private hot tub for soaking cares away. (there's one at all locations, actually.)


There's only a couple spots left at this location.  We have two top bunks and/or can squeeze in another mom or two on some good quality air mattresses.

If you need some financial help, we have a very limited number of scholarships and also a sponsorship program available to help our moms be able to find the funds needed to attend. You can find out more about those programs here.

Registration is winding down quickly for these retreats!  Don't wait until it's too late.  We don't want any empty spots.  Empty spots means there are still moms out there who need help and support!  We want to find them!