What My Open Heart Surgery Taught Me About Coaching

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A few weeks ago, in a workshop at Camp GLP, I was asked “what is your biggest scar and what’s the story behind it?”

It’s had me thinking a lot about the eight inch scar from the top of my chest to inches above my belly button, a result of open heart surgery at the age of ten.

And, because I’m a meaning maker, I’ve been looking for clues about how that experience connects to my passionate and purposeful work and life today.

I was born with an atrial septal defect, essentially a hole in my heart, but we didn’t detect it until I was ten years old. Within weeks of hearing the heart murmur, and determining the cause, I was in open heart surgery at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles, having my hole repaired with my own tissue, sewn over just like a patch.

It was truly miraculous. I had one of the only heart diseases that is 100% curable. And able to be fixed from something I had within myself.

The Connection to Coaching 

This idea…that we have what we need already inside ourselves is why I fell in love with the model of coaching, trained as a life and leadership coach, and have coaching as a core element of the Mother’s Quest community.

When you work with me as your coach, I hold that you are resourceful and whole, even if there are parts of your life that need repair or shifting. And I believe the person closest to the truth of what you seek, and to the solutions to the challenges you face, is you.

At the same time, I know that it’s very challenging, if not impossible, to tap into that wisdom and those solutions by yourself. A great coach can hold space for you to reflect, listen deeply, ask empowering questions that clarify, help you craft a plan of action, and provide accountability from a place of kindness. We can also share lessons learned from our own experience and offer powerful perspective that can shift your thinking.

When I think about my heart surgery as a metaphor for living our E.P.I.C. lives, it’s true that my own tissue was the cure I needed for my hole. But, it’s also true that it would have been absurd to expect that I could open my own chest and do the repairing myself.

That’s why I believe its a powerful investment to work with a coach like me. Why I feel in alignment when I charge money in exchange for my coaching to you. And, why I invest in coaching and mastermind circles for myself.

One morning, after reflecting on all of this, I looked in the mirror and noticed I was wearing a tank top that revealed my scar. In a flash, the lesson and meaning of my experience came to me quite clearly, along with the realization that I was literally wearing a heart. So, I snapped a photo and share it with you along with this message and invitation to invest in coaching for yourself.

Journey to Right Livelihood

Over the next few days in the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group, I’m inviting you to learn about a program starting this Thursday provided by my own coach, Lindsay Pera, called Journey to Right Livelihood, some of the reasons why I value working with Lindsay, and lessons I’ve learned from her along the way.

And we’ll explore how Lindsay’s Journey to Right Livelihood, along with some coaching bonuses I’ll offer as an affiliate, might support you. If you’re not yet a member of the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group, come on over and join us for a facebook live with Lindsay on Wednesday morning and more personal posts. Visit www.mothersquest.com/community to join.

I look forward to reflecting together on our quest for right livelihood, our answers within, and the power of coaching to help us live our E.P.I.C. lives.

If you know you’re ready to learn more about Lindsay’s program, send me an email and I’ll get you the links to get more information and sign up.

Much appreciation, 

Journey to Right Livelihood

Are you, like me, on a quest for Right Livelihood? 🙋‍♀️

✨Do you ever tell yourself that you can’t make money doing what you love?

✨Do you sometimes feel as though you can have financial success OR you can be happy, but you can’t have both?

✨Do you believe that you must sacrifice one for the other because they are mutually exclusive?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, or begun shifting your beliefs on these but still have days of doubt… my coach, Lindsay Pera, has a fall program, “Journey to Right Livelihood” that could be for you. 

Watch the replay of a conversation I had with Lindsay in the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group last week to learn more or learn more and sign up at this link https://lindsay-pera.simplero.com/purchase/65304-Journey-To-Right-Livelihood

I’m so looking forward to participating in Journey to Right Livelihood as a learner as well. And, I’m honored to be an affiliate and offer some special Mother’s Quest bonuses for any from my community who come along for the journey. We’ll explore this inquiry and move into action in our E.P.I.C. lives together. 

When you sign up with Journey to Right Livelihood will get a Mother’s Quest bonus.

Interested in exploring other ways to work with me as your coach? You can sign up for a free discovery call and learn more. 

>>Book a Discovery Call<<

Start the School Year with Intention – Say “Yes” to Investing in Yourself

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This school year, we had two big milestones in our family…my oldest, Ryan, started high school and my youngest, Jacob, began kindergarten. We’re now a few weeks in, and I’m grateful to say they’ve both transitioned beautifully, enjoying learning, making friends, and demonstrating newfound independence.

I did a few things that I know were essential to their success. Ryan and I spent the day before he started on a milestone hike, reflecting on his first eight years of school, what he learned, what he wants to leave behind, and his aspirations for the next four years. Jacob and I visited the school ahead of time so he would know what to expect, I talked with the principal and the teacher about his unique needs, and we started a “morning practice” to begin his days well.

All of these things were possible because I made sure to slow down myself first, get clear about my vision for a successful beginning, use my own reflection and coaching tools and the E.P.I.C. life framework, and tap into my network of support.

Time and time again, I learn that the best way to support my children for success is to invest in myself.  I want that for you. And if you haven’t yet carved out that space for yourself, the time is now. And I can help!

In honor of the start of the new school year, I’m offering a special rate for a 90 minute coaching session to help you and your children move forward into the fall with clarity and connection.
Read on to see if this could be right for you:


✔️Hopeful that the new school year will be a positive, powerful experience for your child?
✔️Thinking about how best to set your children up for success?
✔️Wondering what new practices you can build into your life and theirs to help make that possible?
✔️Getting lost in all the paperwork and volunteer requests and want to ground yourself in what’s most important?
✔️Ready to focus fully on YOU and YOUR life now that your kids will be in school?

If you’re feeling a similar desire to press “pause” on the busyness as I did and reflect on your vision for this year, what’s working and what needs to shift, and what key guidepost would help you move forward more intentionally, I’d love to support you with a 90 minute clarity coaching session.

You’ll leave with:
✔️Clarity about what matters most to you in your future vision for this year
✔️Reflection on what beliefs/ways of being you want to leave behind and what lessons you want to carry forward
✔️Commitment toward one E.P.I.C. Guidepost and key action(s) that will help you and your children move forward intentionally

Fall Special Clarity Coaching Session 
A 90 minute session for the price of a 60 minute session
Book By September 19th
Say “yes” if this is calling to you. It’s an investment in yourself and your children. 


Just click the link by Sept 19th to schedule a time at this special rate.


Conversations Curated by My Children’s Pediatrician Dr. Song – Thriving Child Summit Starts Monday!

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September 15, 2017

Last year, I had the honor of being one of 40 + speakers in the first Thriving Child Summit, led by the trusted pediatrician of my children, Dr. Elisa Song. It was an amazing opportunity for me to reflect with Elisa about all the things we did to help Ryan thrive after we learned at 18 months old that he wasn’t developing typically and had some real health challenges. You can listen to that conversation here.

I’m so excited that Elisa decided to do another Thriving Child Summit this year. I’ve already registered and have blocked off time on my calendar to take in the incredible conversations Elisa has recorded with experts on a wide range of subjects to help our children reach their potential in mind, body and spirit.

You can register too here now for FREE:

The Thriving Child Summit is a free online conference made up of more than 40 1-hour video interviews with an amazing lineup of experts in holistic health and wellness that starts on Monday, September 18, 2017 and goes through Monday, September 25, 2017.

During the Thriving Child Summit, you’ll learn:

  • The foundations for optimal children’s health.
  • What to feed your kids (or avoid!) to nourish their bodies and brains.
  • How to use natural medicines to avoid antibiotics and keep your child healthy.
  • The truth about EMFs, GMOs, pesticides, heavy metals, and other toxins – and how to keep your kids healthy in our toxic world.
  • How to find the root cause and heal your child’s leaky gut, anxiety/depression, ADHD, autism, PANDAS/PANS, eczema, acne, and other chronic illnesses.
  • The truth about vaccine safety from two board-certified pediatricians.
  • How to talk to kids about puberty, stress management and social media – so that they’ll actually listen!
  • How to “trauma-proof” your child and create resilient kids for a lifetime.
  • How genetics really plays a role in the future of your or your child’s health.
  • How to reclaim your mama vitality.
  • And more!

Register for FREE now to make sure you don’t miss a single inspiring and informative interview:


Dr. Elisa Song is one of my most trusted advisers and a key reason why Ryan is thriving today.  I hope you’ll take advantage of this incredible opportunity to gain access to information that will empower you to be the best parent you can be, and learn how to help YOUR children thrive!

Hope to see you at the Thriving Child Summit September 18 – 25, 2017!


P.S. If you can’t watch all the interviews, you can own access to ALL of the expert interviews at huge pre-summit savings. You can take advantage of this amazing opportunity now through September 18 at 9:00 a.m. to purchase here: Thriving Child Summit. If you use our link, a percentage of the proceeds will also go to support Mother’s Quest.
P.S.S. If you haven’t yet listened to my episode with Dr. Song on the Mother’s Quest Podcast you can find it here. You’ll get a sense quickly why I love her so much!

I’m on the Moms With Dreams Show

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I’m excited to be on the 106th episode of the Moms With Dreams Show where I share my mission to live a truly E.P.I.C. life and, through my example, inspire my children and other mothers to do the same.

Here is the link to the episode – http://ericablocker.com/mwd-106-helping-moms-live-e-p-c-life-wjulie-neale/

Mark Your Calendar

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Our Mother’s Quest Father’s Day Episode Coming Out Sunday


In honor of Father’s Day, our guest this week is an amazing father and a champion for under served youth – Tony Brown. His work has touched the lives of countless children, breaking the cycle of poverty, replacing it with possibilities, and a spirit of generosity.

Watch out for our very insightful conversation which will be released on Father’s Day.



Mother on a Quest: Mia Sutton

By | Mother on a Quest, Reflections From My Quest, Uncategorized | One Comment

Mia Sutton is a Jane of all trades. Wife, mother, writer, avid reader, Editorial Manager for Holl & Lane Magazine, and now the host of the (upcoming) Body of Hope podcast which aims to give a voice to survivors of sexual trauma. Mia is a graduate of George Mason University and spent many years working in local, state, and federal government in the higher education, administration, and human resources fields. She lives in Virginia with her husband and 2 sons.

Tell us a little about your childhood and the impact your mother had on shaping you…

I am an only child, and I spent a lot of my childhood holed up in my room reading books and writing stories in my journal. My parents divorced when I was 3 years old and I lived primarily with my mother and step-father, though I had (and still have) a very close relationship with my father. My relationship with my mother is complicated. To say the least. But she has made a couple of impacts on my life. 1) She is a hard worker. She will be 62 years young this year and she still works as many hours as she did when I was little; maybe even more since my step-father passed away a few years ago. She has never shied away from difficult situations or from doing what needs to be done. And I admire that. 2) She was what you would call a helicopter parent, often doing and speaking for me before I had a chance to do for myself. And I personally think that affected me negatively as I grew up and found myself in situations where I needed to navigate my own path.  I’ve tried very hard with my boys to give them the freedom to be who they are without trying to micro-manage every aspect of their lives. It’s a balance, for sure.

What has been a “spark moment” or “moments” that set you on your path?

A huge spark moment for me was becoming a part of the Holl & Lane Magazine team. Sarah Hartley, who is the creator, designer, and Editor in Chief of Holl & Lane, has created this amazingly beautiful, open, honest, loving community where women can come together and share their life experiences and know that they are not alone. I am so honored to work with her and the H&L team. The trust that people have in us to share their stories completely blows me away. H&L has shared stories on miscarriage, infertility, mental health, body image, love, loss, self-care, and so much more. And being surrounded by the truth and beauty of those stories every day inspired me to share my own and to no longer be afraid or ashamed of being honest.

What is your passion and purpose (the “P” in EPIC)?

My passion and my purpose is to bring awareness and openness to the subject of sexual trauma. It is one that often makes people very uncomfortable, but I truly believe that it’s something that needs to be discussed. I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and it is something that I tried to avoid dealing with for most of my life, even though the damage it caused was tremendous. I felt ashamed and unworthy and unlovable for many years. But it wasn’t my fault. And I think that message needs to be etched into the minds and souls of every survivor. So, in creating the podcast, I hope to not only give a voice to survivors of sexual trauma, but also to share a shining message of hope – that what happened to you doesn’t define you.

What is one of your favorite things to do, related to one of the E.P.I.C. guideposts?

My favorite thing to do is related to the E in E.P.I.C. My family and I are avid movie-watchers and love nothing more than to be at home with a giant bowl of popcorn watching a funny movie together. It might not be fancy, but that time together is so precious to me. Plus, movies always offer teachable moments that give me the opportunity to bring those up with my kids.

What are you currently reading or listening to for inspiration?

I’m currently reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’ve heard from many people that there are parallels between the book and today’s political/social climate, so I’m very interested to find out more. But generally, I read a lot of poetry. Words are everything to me – and poetry is like fine art for the soul.

What is one message or affirmation you tell yourself to ground you on your quest?

“I am stronger than I know.” Meaning that no matter what life throws at me, I can get through it. The obstacles might seem insurmountable, but instead of giving up, I remind myself that there’s always a way.

In one word, what are you seeking most right now on your Quest?


What challenge or offering would you like to share with the Mother’s Quest Community?

I would like to encourage the Mother’s Quest Community to fully embrace authenticity. There are so many times that we put on a smile when we’re not smiling inside, or tell people that we’re fine when we’re not. And I think it’s OK to be real, it’s OK to let people know that you make mistakes or you’re struggling just like everyone else. You never know who might be out there going through the exact same thing you are and just needed you to speak up so that they could say, “me, too.”

So, I challenge the MQ Community to share 1 thing (with a friend or loved one, or on social media, or wherever) that is 100% real. No sugar-coating. Just let it all out. And then see how you feel afterwards. It always leaves me feeling lighter and often leads to some really meaningful discussions.

And then if you feel the need for more honest conversations about the trials and triumphs of life, sign up to receive a FREE mini-issue of Holl & Lane Magazine here: http://www.hollandlanemag.com/signup/


Do you want to share how you are living your truly E.P.I.C. life? Be featured on the weekly Mother on a Quest series by sending in your story here – http://mothersquest.com/mother-on-a-quest-application/