Core  Concepts

Just as a plant draws its life from the soil, water, sunshine, and good gardening, so we draw our lives from God’s gifts to us here on earth and from His presence here with us — to not only survive but also to thrive. In Gardening Your Life, the core concepts lead to developing gardening skills to help absorb more life-giving elements, such as:

• Healthy boundaries

• Serenity Prayer (and the Serenity Prayer approach to life)

• Mindfulness: observe, describe, and fully participate in your life

• Distress tolerance: strategies and exercises to get through stressful times

• Emotion management: tools to work through emotions well

• Relational effectiveness: practical strategies for valuing relationships and ourselves

• Grief education and grieving with purpose and hope

• Developing an adult ally — a healthy self, rooted in God’s love and goodness

• Prayer journaling through feelings, attitudes, and behaviors

• Hardiness training — thriving in the midst of struggles

• Self and relationship care strategies (active listening, assertive, loving communication)

• Spiritual disciplines (prayer, mindful meditation)

Many core concepts featured in GYL are drawn from excellent resources developed by psychologists, pastors, physicians, and other professionals. Each book in the Gardening Your Life series consists of ten sessions. Each session is planned to open with reading out loud an adaptation of the classic Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr to quiet minds and focus on key concepts that are developed throughout Gardening Your Life. The Serenity Prayer is fundamental to Gardening Your Life because it grows out of a Christian foundation. Sessions conclude with a reading resource suggestion — to dig even deeper.


Gardening  Your Life

Book One: Grounding


Gardening  Your Life

Book Two: Grieving

About  The AuthorHeidi Vermeer-Quist, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist providing professional counseling services as well as a wife, mother, musician and family business consultant. Born and raised in Pella, Iowa, Heidi deeply values the Christian principles that drive her as a third-generation member of the Vermeer family business — Vermeer Corporation. She completed a double major in Psychology and Music Vocal Performance at Calvin College. Psychology and a passion for helping people drove Heidi to pursue and earn her doctorate in clinical psychology from Wheaton College Graduate School.In 2002, Heidi helped to establish the Des Moines Clinic for Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services that has grown into a fully staffed outpatient mental health clinic, serving thousands of patients and families annually. As a clinical psychologist, Heidi provides psychological assessment and treatment to people struggling with anxiety, mood disorders, relational conflicts, grief/difficult transitions, and personality disorders.  She has specialized training in the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Eating Disorders, as well as extensive training/experience in Organizational Psychology and Family Business Consulting.Heidi teaches Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Christian Spirituality, Boundaries, and Mindfulness Skills to her clients, health professionals and clergy.  She has presented on these topics at conferences for the Iowa Psychological Association, the American Association of Christian Counseling, Goodwill Industries, and various other professionals. For several years, Heidi has served on the Iowa Board of Professional Psychology.  In that capacity, she has been involved in overseeing the rules, applicants, complaints and disciplinary cases for psychologists in Iowa.With a passion for working with churches and Christian non-for-profit organizations, Heidi’s doctoral dissertation, “Psychology Serving the Church” focused on encouraging emotionally healthy spirituality and empowering church with the best practices of psychology.  The past two decades of training, clinical work and spiritual formation inspired Heidi to develop the "Gardening Your Life" series of books.  Her prayer is that this series would provide churches, counselors and anyone interested with best practice skills of psychology rooted in healthy Christian spirituality. Heidi currently practices counseling out of St. Mark Lutheran Church in West Des Moines, returning to one of her core passions of "psychology serving the church."Heidi currently serves on the Christ Life Ministries Board of Directors and is active in leadership at the Meredith Drive Reformed Church.  She also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Vermeer Corporation, as well as many other leadership roles within family governance.  Heidi currently does her clinical work out of church space in the Des Moines area.  She enjoys working with clients there and actively engaging in the organizational development of that church community.In 2012, Heidi teamed up with her husband Chad, who serves as a Physician Assistant with an earned MBA, to found Vermeer Quist Consulting. Heidi and Chad now work part time with other family businesses to assess and improve family, business, and ownership processes ( prioritizes her family life above any of these work commitments. She is thankful for her husband, Chad, and their three children — Xander, Anna and Zoey. As a life-long learner, Heidi continues to discover new lessons everyday, and she is learning how mindfully participate in the joy of each God-given moment.

Gardening  Your Life


Your Life

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