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Surviving Your Family Jungle

Uncategorized May 29, 2023

If you are familiar with Tall Trees Profiles, Growing Kids with Character, Hettie Brittz, or the tree types, you will know that we talk much about the Rose Bush, the Pine Tree, the Boxwood Tree, and the Palm Tree. We call them our “basic” tree types, although we know that they are not basic at all. We do this to create common ground and provide a basis for understanding the tree types. Truth is, a very small percentage of people can be described as being 100% one tree type. 

Our statistics show that a very small percentage of people in the 13-year history of Tall Trees scored 18 out of 18 on just one Tree Type index, making them 100% one tree. Only 33% of teens and 37% of adults have one prominent Tree Type and can rightly call themselves Pines, Palms, Boxwood, or Roses. The majority of us (53% of adults and 55% of teens) are combinations of two Tree Types. The remaining 14% of teens and 8% of adults are what we call Contra-Trees (a combination of three trees)....

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Looking in the Mom Mirror

Uncategorized May 08, 2023

Looking in the Mom Mirror

  Mother's Day highlights a particular group of precious, vulnerable people—mothers. For one Sunday in May, they are celebrated and hopefully spoiled, but they are also put under such a glaring light that many moms dread the day.

 Perhaps you read this and think, "What are you talking about?! It's a great day. I get flowers, breakfast in bed, a special prayer at church, and a lunch for which I did not even peel the potatoes! What is there to dread?" We're so happy for you! We also would guess that you are the fortunate carrier of some strong Palm Tree genes—the personality type DNA that helps you celebrate all that is good and enables you to enjoy being celebrated. This DNA also helps you forget that you forgot one of those precious kids (the one who will be peeling your potatoes) at a party last week. You don't even feel guilty anymore because you keep short accounts for happiness' sake. If any of your kids ever need therapy on...

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People don’t grow while someone is trying to change them.

Uncategorized Apr 01, 2023

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” - Edith Wharton


Change is a buzzword. Agents of change are our new heroes. Secular culture convinces people that it is good to change everything from their eye color (long live the Instagram filter!) to their gender. The more radical the claim that everything is relative, fluid, and limitless, the louder the applause.

Change is good, right? When it comes to changing ourselves - who we are - it can be good, don’t you think? Isn’t growth just another word for change? My short answer is, “Not really.”

Change has a dark side when it comes to people. I believe there is a part of people we can’t change without breaking them entirely, just as we can’t cut away a ring of bark around a tree without killing it. People have an intricate and original design that is closely linked to their purpose. Messing with the design puts their destiny at...

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All Trees are Tall Trees

Uncategorized Feb 28, 2023

All Trees are Tall Trees!

I don’t know about you, but when I heard the word “leader” I did not think of myself. Instead, I looked around to find people more important, more resourceful, more self-confident, and more self-assured than me. Leaders are people like John Maxwell, Brene Brown, Nelson Mandela, Billy Graham, Joyce Meyer, your local pastor, or the CEO of the company you work at. People with big platforms that are known worldwide. In my mind leading is directly correlated with education, importance, fame, fortune, and maybe being a huge social media Rockstar.

But leading actually is just performing to the best of your ability using your unique DNA - your inherent leadership strengths. We all have them. When we change our perception of what a leader is and become open to the idea that people can lead in different ways, a whole new world of leadership development opens up to us! You might actually discover that you ARE indeed a leader!


Take the Pine...

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People do come with a manual.

What I, Hettie, love most about living in Tennessee for the past five years is that I can suddenly grow things. It was not the case when I still lived in South Africa. Formerly known for my ability to kill even indoor plastic plants, I can now grow almost enough wineberries, blackberries, and blueberries to provide the whole of England with jam on their morning toast. (For those who don’t know about Tennessee Backyard Berry Farmin’, the art is to just keep clear, let Mother Nature take care of things, occasionally shoo the whitetail deer away, and exaggerate your harvest story. And for those who don’t know what jam is - it’s just chunky jelly for British folks.)

People growing is so much harder than this! People don’t flourish automatically, and letting human nature run its course, is a recipe for chaos. If you have been raising kids, please say this with me in a chorus: They ought to come with a manual!

Well, actually, they do.

When you buy a sapling...

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"Was it something I said?"
Who of you can identify with this scenario? Someone is telling you about a new phase in their life and how excited they are. You're really into the conversation as well. You think about how brave they are. How entrepreneurial, even! They may be writing their first book or planning their engagement. You can hear the hope, the anticipation, and above all the desire to share it with you, their good friend!
You want to know all about it, so you ask a question. Maybe something like, "Wow, so who did the manuscript editing for you?" or "How sure are you she'll say yes?"
Silence... and then a whole new tone of voice from the other end. "You don't believe in me much, do you?"
This time the silence is yours. Your sincere curiosity about the writing project or your fear that your friend's best life moment to date could somehow go wrong got twisted into a question mark that now hangs between the two of you and casts a shadow over...
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"Will I ever grow up?!"
(Parenting version: "When will they ever grow up?!"
Some of you may be in the part of the woods where the patient trees are planted. My fellow hasty trees and I need to see progress DAILY. I think that is why I love spring in Tennessee. Every day my tulips are taller. I think if I stood and watched this morning, I would have been able to see the Bradford pear's blooms turn from light green to white because it happened sometime between 9 am and 11 am! Now that is maturing at a speed I can live with!
What frustrates me even more than slow growth in projects and other people in my own slow growth. My inner voice is a real nagger. She likes to say, "So how many more years do you want to...?" and she comes up with yet another piece of unfinished business. Especially around my birthday, as if I may finally grow up in time to blow out the candles with a...
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"Not another fallen preacher!"

Uncategorized Apr 05, 2021
Are you as shocked, saddened, and disappointed as I am whenever yet another spiritual leader shows feet of clay?
The God-denying media enjoys stomping those clay feet into powder afterwards too, don't they? Sensational fodder like that is irresistible.
Louis and I call it "yet another loss of innocence." (We have collectively lost so much innocence by being in ministry and seeing too much, that we are probably guilty of pretty much everything by now.)
For many years that was my fear. I said to myself, "Don't become well-known, because everyone eventually falls, and when you fall from a negligible elevation, no-one will notice, but when you fall from a big stage, you'll do so much damage to people's faith."
Stage or no stage, I did come to the precipice of a spectacular fall, and a wise man I asked for prayer, said, "Is it money, an addiction, or a man?"
"Is it that simple?" I asked.
I've thought about it so much since. When we know someone's...
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Can you smell pride?

A heads-up to those who prefer podcasts. This post is about self-awareness and you can find the full audio story here:
He: “You know how prideful those people are!”
Me: “I have not noticed. How did you realize their problem was pride?”
He: “Well, they’re always seeking out the spotlight and center stage.”
Me: “Aha, so those who prefer not to be behind a microphone are usually less prideful than those who like to have the microphone?”
He: “Yes, of course!”
Me: “So pride is loud, and humility is quiet?”
He: “Usually, yes!”
Me: …
Before I tell you what I would say at this point, let’s ask everyone on this platform a question: What is a greater talent – art or athleticism? GO!
Cue popcorn to watch an epic debate, right? Because...
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"But are we compatible?"

(As usual, the non-long-social-media-post-readers have an alternative - have a listen here:
When people get to know Hettie Brittz as "That Tree Lady," or our facilitators as Tall Tree people, they assume that we already have them profiled, and then they want us to look into their minds the way a gypsy fortune-teller looks into a crystal ball. Can we then please tell them secret information of some kind, such as whether they and a person they're in love with (usually not the same tree type) are a match?
No, we can't.
We can fairly accurately predict, though, once they have taken a profile test and showed us their result, where they will have to work a little harder to stretch across the forest trail towards the beloved tree that is not like them. It is all about intentionality, initiative, and humility.
"How badly do you want the relationship to work?" is our answer to the question...
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