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How One Mom Shifted Parenting Her Teenage Daughter

The following is shared with full permission by a very brave mom who I recently coached.

She shared with me how afraid she was of her daughter and the distance they were experiencing in their relationship. She had a completely different vision of how she thought their relationship should be versus the direction it was heading.

She believed her daughter was difficult.

A belief is a thought you keep on thinking.

It's a thought you keep thinking over and over, until it becomes second-nature.

Most of us aren't aware of our beliefs about other people, other than the general feeling that they're lacking in some way or that they are responsible for making us happy.

Our beliefs will determine how we feel about our life. And they will show up in all of our relationships.

This mom wanted support with her belief in being a good mom. She was brave and courageous as she admitted that being a good mom meant "always knowing what to say" when her daughter would "freak out."

She held the belief,...

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The 50/50 Principle

This past year has been amazing. Lots of growth, lots of new opportunities, lots of goodness. And, it’s also presented a lot of personal challenges in my roles as mother and Life Coach growing a new business.


Even though I’m a Life Coach myself now, I’m still a student learning from my own mentors and coaches, and I’m new to running my own business.  My mentors push me to grow in ways I don’t always want to sometimes and they really know how to get me out of my comfort zone. I love this about them! And, it’s hard.


I learned a cool principle about life from my mentor and Life Coach, Brooke Castillo. It’s called the 50/50 principle.


My students love it when they learn this principle because it generates a lot of relief about realistic expectations toward life and what it means to be human.


50% of the time our brains will react to our circumstances

 and will feel bad. And, 50% of the time,

our brains will...

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Generating Motivation on Purpose

My music students have asked me over the course of years I’ve taught music lessons how to cultivate motivation to practice when they don’t feel like it. I love it when they ask me this because it means they’re ready to ‘level up’ in their musical abilities.


Many of you know I'm a classically trained pianist. I used to practice for three to four and sometimes upwards of six hours a day while studying piano performance in college on scholarship.

I didn't want to practice, but did it anyway out of sheer grit.

And then I burned out. And I burned out hard.


When my students ask me about motivation, I usually ask them some form of the question, “how do you want to feel about your music?” They almost always say, “I don’t know,” which to me is never a suitable answer.


I then follow up and say, “Don’t you want to be really good? Isn’t that what you’re going for by taking lessons from...

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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 08, 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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Tools To Help You Parent Confidently

In this free mini course, I'll take you through the Emotion Coaching framework I've taught hundreds of moms and dads for cultivating more peace. Plus you'll discover how to shift the 'frustration habit' and parent from a place of trusting yourself more.