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Kristen_Brown_HeadshotKristen Brown – Kristen Brown is a Keynote Speaker, Corporate Trainer, 2-time Bestselling Author and Widow Mom who helps people spin stress into success with her Happy Hour Effect philosophy. She is the author of two bestsellers, The Best Worst Thing and The Happy Hour Effect. She has been seen on over 100 media outlets including Live with Kelly & Michael, Inc. magazine, Psychology Today and many more and she is a contributor to The Huffington Post, LinkedIn and Dr. Oz’s Sharecare site. Her past speaking audiences include: Cargill, Boston Scientific, Mayo Health, Sam’s Club, Target, American Heart Association and many more. Kristen spent 15 years in leadership positions in corporate America before starting her own business, Happy Hour Effect LLC, in 2009. She lives with her daughter in Minneapolis and will do just about anything for bacon.

HannahStonehouseHudsonHannah Stonehouse Hudson – Hannah Stonehouse Hudson is best known for her dark humor, and overly sunny attitude towards life.  She wears many hats:  photographer, writer, speaker, adventurer, and dog lover. Previously a city girl, Hannah is a Northwoods chick at heart who carries snowshoes and fishing gear in her car, next to the red tall boots are worn when it’s not mud or 18 inches of snow…In 2012 Hannah took one of the most viral photos of all time – John and Schoep in Lake Superior.  Less than six months later, her husband Jim, a well known fishing guide, drowned in a tragic accident on Lake Superior when his snowmobile went through thin ice.  After her husband’s unexpected death in 2013 following that ice fishing accident, Hannah started documenting the crazy things that happen when you are young, widowed, and grieving in the age of social media. Hannah’s writing on grief, resilience, and what to do with your fake bait inheritance can be read over at http://hannahstonehousehudson.com.

DSC01654Michael– Michael is a graduate school intern at Widow’s Hope for the 2015-2016 school year. Eclectic and a general contrarian, he found a home in social work after reveling for years in the autonomy of self-contracting, and previously experiencing a well-rounded liberal arts education studying journalism, psychology, chemistry, botany, and Traditional Chinese Medicine. His interest in grief and working with the bereaved came after years of avoiding his own isolating grief from the death of his fiancé Marlowe in his early 20s, and subsequently wondering why North American culture is often so unsupportive and grief-phobic. He’s developed a growing suspicion that grief, although deeply unwelcome, is a sort of midwife to a deeper understanding and appreciation of life. In his spare time he enjoys gardening, maintains a near-daily mindfulness meditation practice, stubbornly works on his humiliating but beloved 25-year old junker economy car to squeeze another couple years out of it (for the ninth straight year), and endeavors not to become one of those people who adopts dozens of adorable cats. He’s looking forward to learning from and being a faithful witness to the grief of others, while also contributing his humble but hard-earned insight and dry humour to the service of the bereaved.

Caroline SaenzCaroline Saenz – I am 39 years old a mother of two. My husband and I met in 1993 and we married in 1995. After he graduated from college we began our journey through countless relocations–5 states and 7 cities. In 2012 we made our final relocation to the west coast. This was one of the hardest transitions we had made. Little did we know we had a world of change in front of us. At the end of 2013 my husband wasn’t feeling well, and after countless doctor visits and misdiagnoses, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer in March of 2014. He battled three different types of chemo in the course of a year. In April we went to the ER because he wasn’t feeling great, and was admitted and stayed in the hospital for two weeks. We tried as best we could with 24/7 watch by the kids and myself to keep him going. He collapsed on May 3rd, was admitted once again, and the kids and I were told by all physicians it was time to let him go. May 4th 2015, my birthday, was the last day James was coherent. He passed on May 6th 2015. I am trying daily to learn in a quick course how to be me without him. The pain of losing him and watching my kids continue to grow without Dad by their side is truly heartbreaking. But we hope to continue James’s positivity, strength, love and kindness. I hope to be a part of your journey as you will be a part of mine.

Connie HubertyConnie Huberty – My name is Connie and the day my life was forever changed was October 31, 1999. My husband David left us for heaven that day and I will be forever grateful to have been his wife and the mother of his children. I am a Christian and believe that that our Lord brought me through all of that for His purpose as an overcomer. I am thrilled to say that I offer my time here at Widow’s Hope to encourage others on their journey. My mission is that as you hear my story, you will hear love. As you read and share, you will feel personal victory. Love will prevail, even through significant loss. LOVE ALWAYS WINS!!

Crystal Joi Copeny PruittCrystal Pruitt. I bring you greetings from KY. I’m a mother of 3, 2 of which are in college, the youngest is in elementary school. My husband and I were married for 22 years. He worked in the corporate world as a Systems Analyst and I taught for 23 years. My husband was diagnosed with Renal Failure in 2011. He had dialysis 3x week. On Wednesday, September 10, 2014 my husband was on the dialysis machine and his stomach began to hurt. The technician took him off the machine. My husband went into cardiac arrest and gathered his wings. Our lives completely turned upside down, inside out. NOTHING IS THE SAME. While on this journey, I have discovered that nothing just happens, nor does anything surprise God. The stages of grief overlap and flow in reverse for me at times, especially when I am slammed by a trigger. My new daily life goal is share my experiences with others as we strive to reach our destiny. I feel tremendously blessed to be a part of this phenomenal select group. Much Peace & Blessings to you all.