Gratefulness Seeds Hope

Lifetree News
Creating Prosperity with Harmony
Alice G. Vlietstra, Ph.D., Editor
November, 2010
Gratefulness Seeds Hope

In This Issue:

1. Welcome
2. Small Seeds, Quality Change
3. Gratefulness Seeds Hope
4. Reseed Your Stories
5. Announcements

1.  Welcome

In the US, this is a time of Gratitude and Thanksgiving. I am most grateful this year for the inspiration I have received through the stories of people rising to their challenges by tapping into their strengths. Honoring your strengths helps you to create stories of resilience, harmony, and purpose. Often, it is just a few seemingly small acts. Still, it makes a tremendous difference in our community and families.

In our culture of individualism, consumerism and the mass media, relationship and community building skills have often been neglected. Untapped is a rich and deep vault of wisdom and guidance in our families and community. It comes from our personal and family stories, especially those of overcoming challenges.Take time this season to honor and cherish them. Reflecting on your stories can be a great source of wisdom and knowledge for building resilience in challenging times.

2. Small Seeds, Quality Change

One of my favorite stories this season is about the green beans from my garden. These are special beans because they germinated from heritage seeds. Some of the seeds were descendants from the seeds brought over on the Mayflower; others were from the Cherokee Trail of Tears.

I tried to grow them a couple of years ago and they didn't do so well. This year I had help from my sisters; and the beans flourished. Then my sisters showed me how to save seeds for next year. This is how the seeds are passed on. In the process we had to work together and share our knowledge. Most of all, we were grateful for the seeds.

Just as seeds have qualities that allowed them to endure, we too have hidden strengths that allow us to grow and endure. They are our character strengths. Gratitude is one of them.

3. Gratefulness Seeds of Hope

In the US, we celebrate Thanksgiving with story of the Pilgrims. Gratitude was important to the Pilgrims. During the first cold winter, almost half of the original group died. By October the following year, with the help of Squanto and the local Indians, they  learned to plant crops and to survive in their new land. The harvest was very successful and the Pilgrims grateful to be able to put away enough food for the winter. They had much to celebrate. The times were tough, yet their gratefulness brought them through.

In 1863, in the midst of a civil war, President Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving as a national holiday. It was a statement of political deference to God. Once again, the record acknowledged the importance of gratefulness.  Secretary of State Seward noted the surprising strength of the nation in the midst of war and the unexpected neutrality of foreign nations at the depth of America's weakness. Lincoln's proclamation states, these are "gracious gifts of the most high God, who while dealing with us in anger, nevertheless remembered mercy." Times had changed.  Still gratefulness continued to be a powerful source of resilience.

4. Reseed Your Stories

As you gather with friends and family this season, honor your stories.  What are the challenges that you have faced?  What are the strengths that brought you through? What qualities of your family do you appreciate?  Learn about your cultural and family stories, it helps you to know who you are.

Stories also give us perspective. The story of the Pilgrims shows the power of faith, gratitude, courage, and persistence. Through this history we see the qualities that make for success. It helps us to see how far we have come, respect our origins,and gives hope for the future.

When facing challenges, reseed the qualities you want to keep. We all have stories of hard times, dramas, and crises. We can choose to move beyond them by connecting with our strengths. When we do so, we allow ourselves to be used by a purpose greater than ourselves.

Take time to discover your strengths. Are you grateful, generous, courageous, and honest? These are the kinds of qualities that make a difference. As you relflect on your stories, consider the qualities you want to keep. Then reseed them to help to create new stories of resilience, joy and love.

5. Announcements

Teleconference - Monday, December 21: 10:00-10:30 AM, CST.
Build Resilience: Discover Yours stories That Light Up the Dark
Phone 760-569-9000, Access code 308311

Warm Regards
Dr. Alice
 
Resource: Learn more about your strengths.  Take the Brief Strengths Test at www.authentichappiness.org
 
 


Copyright 2010 Alice G Vlietsta

Newsletter Name: 
Lifetree News

The Lost Child

Successful Relating
Fulfillment through Connection and Community
Alice G. Vlietstra, Ph.D., Editor

To subscribe or unsubscribe, see below.

December 2007

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In This Issue:
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1.  Welcome
2.  The Lost Child 
3.  Renewed Hope
4.  Announcements

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1.  Welcome
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Welcome. This is the holiday season, the time for celebrating, renewal,
and hope.  When you look over this last year, what has touched you the
most? Did you get what you wanted? Or, would you have liked more to happen? 
How has this affected your intentions for next year?
 
What I received was different than what I had expected, even better. This can
also happen to you. Let me share my story.

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The Lost Child
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It was December 2002, and I was in Central Missouri, doing yet another investigation for an inmate on death row.  As an expert witness in human development, I had been asked to testify on the early childhood factors that impacted the development of his personality.

Was this person a monster, an evil person?  Or, was there another story?  As I saw all too frequently, there was another story, one of a lost child – a child that had fallen between the cracks of a busy, fragmented world.

The pattern was similar to many I had seen previously; poverty, broken family, school problems, shame, blame, and guilt. As in the rest of my investigations, the crime had been committed by age 18.  The child's most basic need, to be connected and significant, had not been met.  Instead, it had been replaced
with fear, anger, drugs, and crime. 

The choice now was death or life in prison. And, he was not the only one. The prison business is one of the fastest growing in the country.

I was concerned. Must it be this way?  No. We have enough information to do more for our children. It was then that I decided to shift gears, and use my background in human development and psychology to touch the hearts and minds of the community to effect a positive impact for change. 

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3.  Renewed Hope
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Over the last five years I reinvented my career.  I sought out advanced techniques to better access the early developmental emotional states and patterns. Then I delved in positive psychology, the study of character strength and virtue, and
in the skills needed for successful, healthy relationships. Finally, it all came together with a deeper understanding of the law of attraction. 

This year, my story is different.  Again, I was asked to serve as an expert witness
in Central Missouri, -- this time to reunite a child with the biological parent.

In the courtroom, faces were grim and pinched, grievances had been expressed, and the air was tense. An infant had been placed in alternative care and local groups had voiced concerns.  Children in foster care had died.  Immediate
placement of a child was not always better than the child remaining with the parent.

This time I was most grateful to be able to speak to the character strengths, virtues, and developmental assets present in the family -- generosity, perseverance, spirituality, and to me, the most powerful, forgiveness. 

The judge ruled in favor of including an evaluation of not only potential problems,
but also of the developmental assets, virtues and strengths in the home. This ignited a broader, more positive approach. The child was reunited with the biological parent.  

What touched me most deeply about this story was the power of the community to work together for good.  Once they were made aware of the bigger picture, their perspective shifted; instead of making complaints they focused on working together as a community in the best interest of the child.     

Our children are our hope for the future. Often, the voice of the child is hidden,
both within ourselves and within the children in our lives. Once it is honored
and expressed,and our higher ideals are acknowledged, the negative can be transcended.
 
We can build a new future. I hope you include this renewal in your intentions for next year.  Thank you for being my very best gift, the gift of being YOU.

Warm Regards,

Dr. Alice
 

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5.  Announcements
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Women, would you like to experience more flexibility in your life, more peace at
home, and true wealth?  Then come join me for our workshop on Saturday afternoon, January 19th, 2008. 

“For Women:  Secrets to Wealth and Peace”

Call me at 314-729-2855 or visit:  www.creatingrelationshipsthatwork.com

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© Copyright 2007 Alice Vlietstra. All rights reserved.

Newsletter Name: 
Successful Relating
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