since 2008

TREE of LIFE LEGACIES
storytelling and wisdom keeping

based in the San Francisco Bay Area — traveling nationally and globally — founded by April Bell

Your Stories Matter

A Life Story Video Interview is The Ultimate Gift

Give yourself a moment to imagine one of your ancestors, maybe someone from a hundred years ago. Who are you curious about? What would it be like if you two could sit and have a conversataion with them? What would you ask?  legacy video 

My Life in Paragraphs: Find and Tell Your Stories ~ my book is out now!

Now imagine you have that conversation recoreded. What would it feel like to have their stories and reflections saved in such a way you could revisit them whenever you felt the need? Their life, their adventures, their values, their loves, their sorrows, their hopes and dreams.

Your Stories Are Their Stories, Too!

Creating a life story video is a rich experience of self-discovery. Arranging a legacy video is an eternal gift that ripples through generations. It’s a powerful way to honor a life well-lived.

When an elder is asked to document their life stories, they embark on a sacred voyage. Capturing their stories in a format which meets future generations where they are at — on video — is generous. We never know how, when, or why our story might positively impact the life of another.

Reflections On Capturing Personal Stories

– a priceless investment –

Fostering a Solid Foundation

Why tell my stories?

Did you know research has proved children who know their family’s narrative are happier and more resilient than children who don’t? We are literally wired for story.

Take the time to capture your family’s stories, and see how this voyage of self-discovery is a gift whose ripple effect knows no bounds. 

Each Legacy Video created by me — Tree of Life Legacies — is beautifully filmed, elegantly guided, and serves as a cherished gift for all time.

The story and the information come from the storyteller and my skill at providing comfort and ease while in front of the camera.

I prompt storytellers to relate the details of their personal history, and their family’s ancestral stories. Along the way, we intermix their values, philosophies, and the wisdom which will support and guide your family’s future generations.

Beyond the interview, I offer editing options, transforming the story told into an even more enjoyable piece to share now, and for all time. 

I take great pride in my ability to help people share their heart-felt stories, and the detail required to create a top quality heirloom presentation. I truly honor and cherish my clients.

Explore further to learn about the process of capturing a legacy interview or documentary.

Legacy Video

What legacy will you provide?

legacy video
legacy video
legacy video

Why Create a Strong Family Narrative?

Want happier, more resilient children?

Did you know, happiness research has proved that children who know their family narrative are happier and more resilient than children who don’t. The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: and that’s to develop a strong family narrative.

Several years ago, the wife of Marshal Duke, an Emory University researcher, made an interesting observation. His wife Sara, a psychologist who works with children with learning disabilities, noticed something about her students. The one’s who knew about their families tended to do better when they faced challenges. Her husband was intrigued and along with a colleague, Robyn Fivush, they set out to test Sara’s hypothesis. The two researchers developed a measure called the “Do You Know Scale?” which asked children to answer 20 questions.

Examples included: Do you know where your grandparents grew up? Do you know where your mom and dad went to high school? Do you know of any illness or something really terrible that’s happened in your family? Do you know the story of your birth?

After asking four dozen families these questions and analyzing their answers along with the results of other psychological tests they had the children take, they reached an overwhelming conclusion.

The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. Their “Do You Know Scale?” turned out to be the best possible predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness. They were blown away.

And then the unexpected happened. Two moths after they completed their study, 9/11 occurred. As psychologists, they knew they had been given an opportunity; though the families they studied had not been directly affected by the events, all the children had experienced the same national trauma at the same time. They went back to reassess the children.

What they found was the ones who knew more about their families proved to be more resilient; meaning they could moderate the effect of stress.

So why is this? Why does knowing about where your grandmother went to school help a child overcome something as minor as a skinned knee or as major as a terrorist attack?

The answers have to do with the child’s sense of being part of a larger family.

And the most healthful family narrative they found was the one where the child knew about the ups and downs in their family. Not just the successes, but the setbacks, too: “We had an uncle who went to jail, we had a house that burned down, your father lost a job; but no matter what, we always stuck together.

The researchers found that the children with the most self-confidence have what they called a strong “intergenerational self.” They knew they belong to something bigger than themselves.

Source: The New York Times – The Stories That Bind Us

“What matters in life is not what happens to you, but what you remember and how you remember it.”

~Gabriel García Márquez

What’s your story?

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