Managing Adolescent Grief

Helping a teen through the grief process is not a new concept, but one that is often overlooked. There are many wonderful books for grief targeted towards adults. However, adolescent grief is unique and important to learn about. I was 17 years old when my paternal grandmother passed away. She had been sick for many […]


Underdog Is My Spirit Guide: Lessons in Self-Trust

It was a beautiful day on the equator, particularly on this stretch of the Andes Mountains in Ecuador. The sun was shining, birds were singing, and everywhere I looked the flowers were blooming in splendor. It was also hot, and the direct sunlight was intense. Although it was the wet season, it was uncharacteristically dry. […]


Mental Health is an Important Part of Self-Care

May is Mental Health Awareness month. There are so many great organizations out there that are championing this cause, and pressing for understanding, awareness, and treatment of mental health disorders, including and Please consider visiting these sites, and sharing them widely. We at Hope Springs are passionate about bringing awareness and empathy to […]


Many Children Looking at Personal Screens

Keeping Your Child Safe On-Line

Many parents are uncertain of how to keep their children safe on-line. Although most of us use computers in our day to day jobs, we grew up at a time in history where friendship and learning primarily occurred face to face, and not through a screen or electronic device. Children today use electronics to learn, […]


My Dog’s Mindfulness Gift

“Your dog is so mindful!” my neighbor yelled across the street. Although my kind neighbor was referring to my dog’s obedience, I smirked at the literal thought of my dog’s mindfulness.  Mindfulness happens when we notice everything in the present moment.  In doing so, we are often more grateful and more content.  Sunshine, my 7-month-old Golden […]


Art as a Self-Care Skill

An alternative self-care activity is something we learned in elementary school: art. It doesn’t have to be grand, and in fact, it is often better if it isn’t. It’s just supposed to be something enjoyable to you. Many people feel intimidated by the idea of doing some art for enjoyment. They may feel like they aren’t very good at it, or that they aren’t “artistic.” Most good art teachers will tell you than anyone can be an artist. Art is just a means of self-expression.


How To Help Yourself (And Your Children) Through the Unknown

Helping Your Child Through the Unknown

For many people, unknown things can feel bad or scary. It seems that when we don’t know what to expect, we prepare for all the bad things that could happen. It makes sense; biologically, our bodies are perfectly wired to avoid danger. So when something frightens or upsets us, our hearts beat, our lungs take in more air, and our muscles tense, preparing for “fight or flight.” We try to process the information, make sense out of it, and stop it from happening. We are primed to keep ourselves safe.


Why Self-Love is So Important (And Not a Bad Thing)

Guest Post: Why Self Love is So Important and Not a Bad Thing

While my generation and younger is thought to be full of selfish, shallow, entitled people (which I do not agree with), what I do think is that a lot of what we’re seeing is not too much self-love, but exactly the opposite. No real self love at all, in fact. Holes filled with insecurities. People who secretly do not feel worthy of the space they take up. People whose only memories of Earth have been of her demise, at the hands of humans. People obsessed with the system’s definition of accomplishment. People who are scared to look deeper, scared of what they’ll find there. People who listen to the voice of short-term happiness, over the deeper voice of long-term joy, because well they don’t trust the deeper one, or they’ve no idea how to hear it.

Looking back, growing up, I can’t think of a single conversation where my friends and I even mentioned the things we liked about ourselves, let alone reasons we loved ourselves. Just typing that makes me feel uncomfortable. The general message (especially as women) was that it’s okay to love things about other people but not ourselves.

As a Midwesterner, I come from the land of humble and hard-working. I value humility like crazy. We’re not big on self-love. But I’m starting to believe that you really do have to possess something first, before you can give it away.


Test anxiety

The Power of Positive Thinking for Anxious Children

“In a new study, one group of researchers (Hogendoorn et al, 2014) attempted to find what parts of cognitive behavioral therapy were most helpful for anxious youth. Their findings were somewhat surprising. The children in their study benefited the most from the therapist coaching positive thinking skills (“I can do it,” “It’s not so bad,” etc.), rather than the therapist trying to decrease negative thinking patterns (“I don’t want to go.” “They’ll be mean.”) “


Weathering Life’s Adversities

“Each of us is a flower growing in life’s garden. Each of us is a flower. We need the sun and rain.” The above song has been sung by both my children in elementary school. As I attended my youngest son’s music performance this week, I listened to the words. I found myself wondering if […]


Building Resiliency in Our Children

Stop the avoidance

Many parents have appropriately question whether there is anything they can do to keep their children safe, strong, and healthy. Many parents, even myself at times, avoid thinking about all the hard things their children may face. Sometimes, this avoidance feels easier than contemplating a future that seems so scary or uncontrollable. However, by avoiding thoughts of fear or tough things in the world, we also evade making healthier changes in our lives, and our children’s lives.