Welcome to Lifetree Solutions

At Lifetree Solutions, we help you discover the joys of a life of purpose and meaning. We will help you in your journey to honor your higher intentions and strengths while giving you the tools for managing stress. We offer coaching, consulting, and teleconferences to bring out your potential to create success in your life. We help you learn to:

  • Tap into your core strengths, right now, right where you are;
  • Build your resilience and engagement with life;
  • Accept differences and use them constructively;
  • Use stress effectively for learning and growth;
  • Learn to communicate about difficult topics such as money, spirituality and death;
  • Rediscover your family in terms of its meaning, strengths and deeper purpose;
  • Discover and honor your legacy in a way that can be passed down from generation to generation

Visit the Lifetree Solutions blog!

Celebrating the Family Meal

 Family get-togethers remind us of the importance of celebrating the family meal. Family meals bring us together, nourish us, and uplift our spirit.  All too often, however, family meals can create a lot of stress. Who is family? With whom can you get together?  Are you stressed out from buying all the stuff and the work?  Are you worried about family arguing and people getting along?  Has it actually been a hard time this year?  Come join us to help you transform your challenges into joy.

Listen to Three Wise Women give you tips on celebrating the family meal.  You can listen to the replay of our teleconference call in the Seminars section.

Build your family spirit.  Here are three tips to get you started.

·         Be Grateful – What you seek you will find. If you focus on the positive, you will get more of the positive.   Learn how to simply by looking at the positive. It will increase your happiness and joy

·         Co-Create – Honor your strengths and the strengths of others.  It will increase your ability to unify and work together to find co-creative solutions – ones you can all enjoy. People commit to that what they help create.

·         Celebrate - Cherish your family stories, especially the ones where you overcame a challenge to create success.  It will amplify your good will. 

Samantha Shields, a home energy specialist will be giving us her insights on simplifying, and managing the challenges of time and stuff.  I will be giving you tips for gaining cooperation and building positive family energy. Dr. Jane, a cultural anthropologist, will help us reflect on family meals and the larger community.


Dr. Alice

Managing Family Differences

Lifetree News
Creating Prosperity with Harmony
Alice G. Vlietstra, Ph.D. Editor

In this Issue:  Managing Family Differences

1.  Welcome
2. Focus on The Positive
3. Be Aware of the Ghosts
4. Let Solutions Emerge
5. Upcoming Teleconference


I recently visited my roots, my family of origin.  We had a successful gathering.  We enjoyed being with each other, and also had to make decisions regarding our larger family goals, such as managing the family farm.  In almost every family, individual members often can have different views.  While this can give rise to potential conflict, it can also lead to stronger and more effective teamwork. The challenge is to stay positive, working in individual perspectives, while also looking at the best interest of the whole. Here are three tips for managing differences so as to create success. 

Focus on the Positive

Celebrate your strengths. We all have individual strengths and at the same time share deeper values and strengths with the people we love. Recognizing your character strengths, such honesty, love of learning, sense of humor, is important because it focuses on what you love to do that also serves the greater good.

Family is a good place to discover and share them.   When you can use your strengths to serve a cause greater than yourself, it is deeply gratifying.  You can learn more about the power of the character strengths in my article, “The Hidden Power,”    http://www.lifetreesolutions.com/news/newsletters/2006/05/hidden-power

Express your appreciation and gratitude. It builds positive energy, broadens your perspective, and facilitates your productivity and creativity. It will help you become more inclusive, considering the views of everyone, rather than fighting over one solution or another. Over time, the positive is more powerful than the negative. When you express your appreciation, it brings out the higher positive power of life. 

Be Aware of the Ghosts

Every family has ghosts. These are old patterns from the past, not fully resolved, that threaten to destroy the family unity and joy. Suspect a ghost if you are picking up negative vibes, gossip, blaming, or a constricted view.   Be curious, is this really true?  Then work to take positive action. You cannot change another person, but you can change yourself. Facing challenges and choosing to transform them is deeply empowering.  A major success in any family is to keep the ghosts away.
Ask yourself, what can I do to create a more positive solution?  Often, negativity stems from false assumptions from the past.  When you release them, it creates a much brighter future and helps you to communicate more effectively.  Even better, the work of any one person in the family has a positive impact on the whole. 

If you are having difficulty staying positive, check out Barbara Fredrickson’s positivity website, www.positivityratio.com and take the online test.  Fredrickson discovered that experiencing positive emotions in a 3-to-1 ratio with negative ones leads people to a tipping point towards flourishing and resilience. Successful businesses have a positivity/negativity ratio 2.9/1. Successful marriages have a positivity/negativity ratio of 5/1. If you find your ratio is negative, then look for ways to raise it.  If you need help, call me.

Let Solutions Emerge

I have found in my family that decisions are much easier when we have short and long range goals.  Some decisions need to be made immediately while others can wait. Think through your priorities and sort out your short-term goals from the long-term goals. Then create a holding space for the longer term goals. When you are positive, this holding space allows for the goodness of life and necessary time for new solutions to emerge. It keeps you minds open, allowing for creativity and resilience, rather than fighting over one or another position. You will be surprised at the success of your ability to work together.

Upcoming Teleconference:  Can Everyone Be a Leader?

Do you know what is most important to you?  What you value the most?  Do you know your strengths, what you love to do, and how you contribute to the world? Can you stay grounded, and calm, not get swayed or reactive by people think differently from you?  Or do you go along, and then and find yourself upset when you find a decision was not right for you?  The ability to know yourself and maintain your values while staying connected with others is the mark of a leader.  It helps you to simplify your life, increase your happiness, and to relate more effectively.  You develop it in your ordinary everyday actions.  It can be a challenge for all of us.  Come join us to learn more at our teleconference, Tuesday, October 16, 9:00 – 10:00 AM, CDT.  Call 760-569-9000, Access Code 308311. 

Three of us will be sharing.  Samantha Shields, energy specialist, will give you tips for handling the challenges of taking action in your daily decisions about your environment.  You will discover knowing yourself and having the courage to act on this knowing helps you to become more grounded.  I will share how acknowledging your uniqueness builds your relationships, and Dr. Jane Granskog, cultural anthropologist, will share how these daily actions impact the larger world.


The Family - 

We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding, shampoo, borrow money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. – Erma Bombeck

Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.  Anthony Brandt


Newsletter Name: 
Lifetree News

Tips for Managing Family Differences

I recently visited my roots, my family of origin.  We had a successful gathering.  We enjoyed being with each other, and also had to make decisions regarding our larger family goals, such as managing the family farm.  In almost every family, individual members often can have different views.  While this can give rise to potential conflict, it can also lead to stronger and more effective teamwork. The challenge is to stay positive, working in individual perspectives, while also looking at the best interest of the whole. Here are three tips for managing differences so as to create success.  

Focus on the Positive

Celebrate your strengths. We all have individual strengths and at the same time share deeper values and strengths with the people we love. Recognizing your character strengths, such honesty, love of learning, sense of humor, is important because it focuses on what you love to do that also serves the greater good. Family is a good place to discover and share them.   When you can use your

The Good Life -- It's Close to Home

LifeTree News
Creating Prosperity with Harmony
Alice G. Vlietstra, Ph.D. Editor

In this Issue:   The Good Life - It's Close to Home

1.  Welcome:  The Good Life
2.  Is the Family Changing or Declining
3.  Families Awakening and Changing
4.  The Heart of Home
1.  Welcome: 

Family life is in the midst of change.  Cultural norms are changing as more women are in the work force and more dads are at home.  The economy also has had significant impact on home and family. Since the beginning of the 2008 Great Recession, many homes have foreclosed, suburban mansions have become nearly obsolete, and more families are coming together to live in multigenerational homes. Whether out of wisdom or necessity, almost two thirds of households have cut down their spending.   Many are discovering that the key to well being is not in more spending, but in the richness of our relationships. 

The concept of family is changing.  Where as previously it referred to those of the same bloodline and genetic lineage, family today is expanding to include all with whom we experience an affinity and  emotional bonds.  People are building extended families, neighborhoods, and communities.   Co-housing and other shared housing options are offering more choices for building connection and community.  Now that there are more ways to be part of a family, there are more opportunities to offer our gifts to the people we love. 

Families -- and the communities that support family, are at the core of our well being.  It is family that accepts us as we are, warts and all.  As we turn to each other to give and receive support, we discover a deeper gratification from discovering the strengths that pull us through.  Rather than coming home to stuff, we are coming home to ourselves and each other.

2.  Is the Family Declining or is the Family Changing?

Both -- As we grow and develop old forms which no longer serve us evolve into more sustainable forms.  Here are some forms of family that are declining and new trends that are emerging.

The family for many centuries has functioned to ensure economic stability, to raise children, and to sustain health and care for family members.  Over the last 50 years, consumerism took over many of these functions.  The essential promise of consumerism was that all that was needed for a fulfilling life --  from happiness, to health, and love, could be purchased.  Parents worked to purchase goods and services.  Meanwhile the school, coaches, sitters and day care centers were unwittingly given the responsibility of raising the kids.

The neighborhood, the primary support for family, also lost its traditional function.  Today, the support that used to reside in the neighborhood is now provided by the marketplace.  Instead of being raised by a village, all too often children have been raised by television, cell phones, electronic toys, and marketing.  In the process, families have become fragmented.

Now, 50 years later, a deeper truth has emerged. Once basic needs are met, more money and stuff does not lead to greater happiness.   As families have become  fragmented, divorce rates, crime rates, and suicide rates in youth have climbed. Depression at all ages has soared.   Consumerism is no substitute for our need for human connection.  The fragmentation of family has lead to decline.

3.  Awakening and Changing 

Today, many families are aligning with a depper truth.  We are caring, creative human beings, not just consumers.  People are becoming more aware of their capacities, gifts, and the need for connection.    We have discovered gifts and capacities within ourselves that can substitute for our habit of consumption.  As people connect with others, making their gifts practical and usable, they build an abundance of community.  This supports family.  As families reclaim their functions, they reawaken their power. 

When family and community connections are strong, there is positive child development.  Health improves, the environment is sustained, and people are safer and have a better local economy. The research on this is decisive.
At the core is how we see ourselves.  No longer do we see ourselves as lacking, or needing more stuff for survival, but as capable, caring co-creative beings.  We can take action on the gifts that we already have.     The shift starts within our homes, reducing stuff and making space for our relationships .  As we do so, more energy is becomes available to support the needs of the larger human community.  Come join us as we share this journey.

4.  "The Heart of Home"

Come join our teleconference June 19th," The Heart of Home."   A home is more than a physical building.  It is at the heart of our relationships -- with ourselves, with others, and the environment.   As we release limiting beliefs within ourselves, it impacts how we relate our surroundings.  We develop a broader perspective and an increased capacity to act for the benefit of all.

Three of us will be sharing:  Dr. Jane Granskog, cultural anthropologist, will share on the meaning of place.  I will share on the psychology of happiness and wellbeing, and Samantha Shields, a home energy specialist, will share how to relate to your home surroundings to create positive energy.

Come join us to learn more about "The Heart of Home."  This Teleconference will be held on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 from 9:00 -10:00 AM CDT.  Call 760-569-9000 Access code 308311.


Having a place to go -- is a home. 
Having someone to love-- is a family
Having both--is a blessing -- Donna Hedges

Home ought to be a clearinghouse, the place from which we go forth lessoned and disciplined, and ready for life.  Kathleen Norris

Warm Regards,
Dr.  Alice


McNight, John, and Block, Peter.  The Abundant Community:  Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods.  San Francisco, Berrett-Koehler, 2010

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Lifetree News

Wise Words for Creating solutions That Work forAll

Here in St. Louis, the doldrums of winter are giving way to spring. Buds are appearing on the trees, blades of green grass pushing out of the ground, and flowers are bursting into bloom. Everywhere new growth is beginning to emerge. In celebration of new growth, this post focuses on the emergence of solutions that honor the the best of ourselves while adapting to change in meeting the needs of all.

Getting Real

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

In this issue:

1. Welcome
2. Facing Challenges with Strength
3. Gender Strengths
4. Winning - Side by Side
5. Announcements

1. Welcome

Welcome.  Today we are in a period of significant change.  Economist, Dr. David
Korten, has summarized this change quite well.  He has challenged the belief of the old economy, “All you need is money,” with the statement, “Get real.  What we need is healthy families, communities, and ecosystems.”  I heartily agree.  Money can reduce anxiety, but money alone will not make you happy. Our real happiness comes from the bonding we have with each other. This e-newsletter, focuses on “Getting real” by facing our challenges with our real assets, our strengths, and our ability to work together.

2. Facing Challenges with Strength

Do you know the number one factor that impacts performance and growth? It is our faith in our potential.  Researchers, such as Bandura (1997) have shown that how we see our potential has more of an impact on our output and performance than our level of training, background of knowledge, motivation, and almost everything else combined.  We develop this faith from focusing on strengths. We have talked about the imporance of our values and character strengths in previous issues.

One common assumption in business and life is that your weakness is your
greatest area of opportunity, and that you need to be well rounded to fit an “ideal.”
Research by Buckingham (2007) at the Gallup organization, however, finds that this deficit view actually diminishes your chances of making your greatest contribution. You will have a much stronger sense of well-being from an integrated sense of yourself at your best. This does not mean you ignore your weaknesses, but that you outsource them, and team up with others to get the job done.

3. Gender Strengths

One of the most fundamental aspects of our identity is gender. This too is an area  where there has been a deficit influence.  It shows up in the belief that there exists an "ideal" man and woman, and that if you fit this ideal, you will be happy.  The only problem is that this ideal may not exist, other than on the media. If the ideal person does exist, the ideal person may be different for every individual.

At the same time, we do know that there exist gender strengths. Extensive literature  in virtually every discipline in the social and behavioral sciences shows that relationships are a strength for women. A strong feminine relationship orientation has been demonstrated in young girls, teenagers, as well as for women in all stages of adulthood, and in all walks of life. Women see themselves and the world through relationship glasses (Babcock & Laschever, 2008).

The orientation of men, on the other hand is much more logical and task oriented, focusing on a single goal. When men talk, they are more self assertive, competitive, and action oriented. Their communications are much more to the point about the tasks to be done.
Many of these differences are hard-wired in the neurology of the brain. Often
they are a source of confusion and misunderstanding. When we appreciate and
accept them as strengths, it is much easier to create effective teamwork.
Businesses that train their managers on brain-based gender differences, increase workplace comfort, productivity, and profit.

 4.  Winning - Side by Side

A deficit approach to meeting an ideal, has limited success. It is a top-down power over approach, with one view dominating over the other, that results in competitive and adversarial relationships. The real issue, I believe, is not the abilities of people, but a crisis of consciousness. Old patterns of thought, deeply subconscious, from childhood such as “I am not enough," or "There is only one way of seeing the world." They result from a childhood view when we were dependent on adults, who in our view were, big and powerful, while we were little. As we mature, these old patterns give way to honest expression, connection, and productive teamwork.
When we get real, we can work together side-by-side, seeing ourselves as different and equal.  People are not inferior or superior, but have strengths and a capacity to give.  Side- by-side relating focuses on the whole, nurturance and empowerment. It produces much more harmony, productivity, and security.

Women have a deep capacity for connection and collaboration to find a way through difficult times. When women step up to the plate, and ask for what is needed from a relationship perspective, the crisis can turn into a just and more sustainable form of life. I will be having a Women’s workshop on August 29th to help bring out these capabilities and skills.

What is needed is not consumerism, but shift in how we view the world. Adversity, in the short term, leads to unhappiness and despair, but In the long term it is a stimulus for change.  Change always progresses towards greater wholeness. 

We can no longer think of Planet Earth in terms of individual countries -- the
planet is integrating into one complete system. The system that prevails is the
one that best allows beneficial cooperation. It is the system in which the
self-interest of the separate parts is better served through cooperation than
competition.  An approach that promotes conscious choice for the benefit of the
whole brings a more positive outcome. Stay positive and appreciate all that
is there.

Warm Regards,

Dr. Alice


Babcock, L. & Laschever, S. Ask for It.  Princeton, NY: Random House, 2008.
Bandura, A.  “Self Efficacy:  The Essence of Control.  New York, 1997.
Buckingham, M. Go Put Your Strengths to Work.  New York:  Free Press, 2007
Korten, David C.  Agenda for a New Economy:  From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth.   San Francisco, CA:  Berrett-Koehler Publishes, Inc. 2009.

5.  Announcements

1. Tuesday, August, 18, 7:00-9:00 PM.  Join us for a demonstration of the power of releasing old patterns for creating more effective teamwork. It will be held at
the monthly open house of "A Gathering Place." 12131 Dorsett Road, Ste. 101.

2. Monday, August, 24 7:30 PM CDT we will be having a complementary telesminar: "Winning in 2009:  Get Real" Learn how your actions every day can create a shift on three levels: Cultural, Relational, and Personal. Just Click this Link:http://www.instantTeleseminar.com/?eventid=8615154

3. Saturday, August 29, 1-5:00 PM, CDT I will be giving a women's happiness
workshop, "Creating Relationships That Work.  Sign up at:


© Copyright 2009 Alice Vlietstra.  All rights reserved. The above material is
copyrighted but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as
long as not a single word is added or deleted, including the contact information.
However, you may not copy it to a web site without my permission.

Forward this newsletter to people you think would like to read it!




Disclaimer:  By reading this e-newsletter you understand that the information given in the e-newsletter, and related teleseminars, and blog are presented for informational entertainment purposes and "food for thought," not professional advice. You are solely responsible for the use of the ideas, concepts, and content and hold Lifetree Solutions LLC, its members, affiliates, and Dr. Alice Vlietstra harmless in any event or claim.

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