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A Little Light

Almost twenty-two years have gone by since I gave birth to my first born son.

Noah Gabriel Vaughn was born at 11:50 pm on December 6th, 1998 to a younger version of me who had eagerly anticipated being a mother.  He didn't cry when he was born, just a small squeak.  I remember wishing he would cry, but there was just silence mixed with the doctor's hushed instructions for me of what to do next.


"Is he still alive? Is he okay?" I knew he wasn't okay. But I wanted some sort of re-assurance that all was not completely lost.  The doctor said, "Yes, he's still alive, but it won't be long judging by his color."


"Can I see him? Can I hold him yet?" It seemed like an eternity before he was finally placed in my arms.

He was beautiful.

He was perfect.

To me.

He looked just like me, lots of fuzzy ginger blonde hair that grew low on his forehead, little ski-jump nose that turned up on the end, a tiny, round chin, and square face.


**** A truth about birthing...

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Practicing Constraint

How are you feelin' about this year's growing holiday list of To Do's?

Sending big love and support to everyone who's feeling the overwhelm.

I'm deciding ahead of time that this year the holidays are going to be a little different.

For me, that means to practice constraint.

Constraint is a limitation or a restriction you put on yourself that simplifies your life. I've noticed many of my coaching clients are feeling a lot of dread with some of their holiday responsibilities that are coming up.

Constraint helps eliminate overwhelm. If we decide ahead of time how we're going to focus our energy during the holidays, the more energy we have to create what we truly want.

Constraint (saying no) gets difficult if we are the type of people who like to keep our options open.

Keeping our options open is a problem though, because we have too many options these days.

Constraining your holiday parties is a great idea. One of the things I really like to teach is to find your people and then...

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Bring the Sunshine

mental health recipes Nov 09, 2019

Surround yourself with those who bring the sunshine with them.

We soak up the energy of the people we are around.

Of course this doesn't mean to avoid people who are sad. No.

It just means to seek out those who bring out your light and who make you want to be a better person.

I've been reading a great book entitled, 'Habits of a Happy Brain,' by Loretta Graziano Breuning, Phd. She talks about how we can design joy and wire it into our neurons based on the habits we form.

Five tips to make this winter amazing versus. . . not:

Play in the snow. NO EXCUSES. In Seattle, there is a saying that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing preparation. Truth my friends. Hike in it, ski! or learn to ski, go for pretty drives in the canyon and pack a thermos and a plaid blanket picnic. . . you get the idea.

Not a skier? Create a girls snowday in and instead ride the gondola, then get lunch together in the ski lodge. Enjoy these beautiful mountains we have access to.

Make a 'Cozy...

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Inner Child Work

Things I wish I could go back and tell little miss Wonder Woman Danielle:

You really are Wonder Woman ‼ You just don’t know it yet.

You have no idea what’s comin’ but you’re strong and you were made for all of it.

Trust your gut. It’s never wrong.

I know you struggle with shyness, but if you only knew how many people want to be your friend.

Keep challenging those teachers at school when they’re treating The Hulk there unkindly. He relies on you and looks up to you. Your feisty ness is your friend.

Don’t ever quit the piano. It will be a saving grace for you often, and you don’t know it now, but you’re going to grow up and be a piano teacher yourself someday. Surprise! So don’t quit!

Savor every minute with your grandma. Every minute.

Savor every minute with little Mini Mouse and The Hulk. You were meant to be siblings.

Start now with writing your poetry and writing in your journal. You need to write, write, write.


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All We Can Do, Today

This kid. Has been through it all with me. 


Isn't that how it tends to be with our caboose kiddos?


He lived at Primary Children's hospital for his first five months with open heart surgery recovery and then complications. 


He moved with our family seven times. From Utah to Seattle and back to Utah again. 


He's spent endless hours on speech therapy and audiologist appointments to try and understand why he's gradually losing his hearing. 


He's shown endless patience as he's eaten lots of ice cream cones in the back seat of the car while I loaded my music gear back and forth for gigs and took him to the babysitters.


He's been my snuggle buddy when Ethan had to travel a lot for work.


He always has a big smile for me when I walk in from the door after a long night of teaching music lessons.

We just found out he has Usher Syndrome. He will most likely go completely deaf (he has severe to profound hearing loss right now)...

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Lessons from Autumn Leaves

I take my golden retriever out for a walk in the foothills almost every day. The leaves are gorgeous right now. They have lived their lives. A good life.

Made me think a lot about my own progression and how I’m entering the fall season of my own life.
It’s tricky navigating getting older in our current culture focused on youth and unrealistic beauty standards. If I place all my value on being pretty, then where does that leave me when beauty fades?
the falling leaves drift by my window

the falling leaves of red and gold

I see your lips the summer kisses

the sun-burned hands I used to hold.


On my hike this morning I thought about how the fallen leaves are showing me an important cycle on embracing change, surrendering, and knowing there will be renewal again in another season. We will make a beautiful comeback when we’re ready. Mother Nature knows what she’s doing.

When I read the magazine headlines after my hike as I stood in line at the...

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Being Adopted: I Love You No Matter What

I wish I could ask my mom when I was born, what day of the week, what time.  A Christmas baby. That's what they used to call me since I was born 2 days after Christmas.  But that's all I know. I was adopted at 3 years old along with a Navajo Indian brother a few months older than me, and a Korean sister a couple years younger.


My auntie raised four kids in her lifetime that weren't her own.  Her body just wouldn't make baby's even though every fiber of her being ached with the longing of being a mother. But she raised us like we were her own.  She knew she was taking on quite a lot.  She was doing it for the right reasons, she had so much love to give, and Lord only knows, we had so much love to be needing.

"You aren't my mama!  I want my real mom!!"  I still remember how red hot my face felt when I hollered those words.  I didn't care.  I missed my real mama and in my four year old mind, tantrums had become a way of getting what I...

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Conference Weekend Orange Almond Sweet Rolls

Friends, you will love these Orange Almond Rolls. I make them for General Conference every six months now and my teenage boys love them and love me a little more for making them.

They are a labor of love. But worth it in every way.

I've tweaked Joanna Gaines' recipe from her Magnolia Table Cookbook, which I really enjoy drawing from on a regular basis.

You can use store bought dough to save time, such as Pillsbury crescent rolls, or Rhodes frozen dough. But I like to make them from scratch.

For the Dough:

1 Tbls. yeast granules

1 Cup warm water

2 Tbls. sugar

Proof the yeast for 10 minutes in a silver Kitchenaid bowl. (If you don't have a Kitchenaid, what are you waiting for? Get one as soon as possible. Especially if you have teenagers. Baking is the way to their hearts!)

Add to the yeast mixture:

 2 cups milk heated in microwave for 40 ish seconds.

1 egg

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

8 - 9 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached

Mix in Kitchenaid with bread dough attachment until dough...

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Rocketship Romance

I just celebrated my twenty year wedding anniversary. Can you believe it? Neither can I for how fast it's gone by.  I married when I was nineteen, much to the chagrin of my dear mom.  But when you know you've found a keeper, what do you do? You hold on for the ride and you don't look down lest vertigo kicks in.  That's what I did while keeping my gaze steady towards the stars. 

I took dating very seriously.  Probably too serious, looking back.  But I knew I didn't want to waste anybody's time (or money) when I already knew I wasn't looking for anything long term just yet. I believed in being honest and upfront with the guys I went out with.  Besides, commitment was risky business.


My childhood was fraught with love gone awry.  One of my earliest memories I have is with my step dad's arm around the babysitter in the front seat while taking her home.  I must have been barely three at the time, but I remember thinking how my mom (this...

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