Making Meaning and Living Your E.P.I.C. Life In 2024 Wishes by Mother’s Quest Founder Julie Neale


The name Mother’s Quest came to me early on in my motherhood journey. With a child diagnosed with autism at the age of 18 months, the intensive advocacy that followed, and more than five years of infertility before conceiving our second, motherhood had consumed me. I was desperately seeking a way to reclaim my whole human self while still showing up fully as a mother. That was my quest! 

One day, when two birds were trapped in my house and I opened the door to let them out, I realized I felt like I was crashing against the glass too. I knew I needed to open the door for myself. I needed to open the door for myself. As I stood at the doorway, slowing down to make meaning of the experience, I chose to see the two birds as a sign for my personal reclamation. 

Though I said “yes” that day to returning to the fullest version of myself and my life, I didn’t yet have the words to express all that I was seeking. Then, one night, I created the E.P.I.C. framework with a napkin and pencil at my kitchen table. It was midnight and I had been having conversations about my vision for Mother’s Quest. One woman reflected back to me what she thought she heard. “You want to help mothers have more balance in their lives,” she said. “You want to help them live better lives.”

“No!” I remember typing emphatically in the comments, pounding the keyboard as I went. It’s more than that! I want them to live their version of an “epic” life… the kind of life filled with all the things that matter most. A life where when you look back, perhaps when sitting on a porch with your grandchildren, you can tell the ones you love stories about all the things you did in your life, the experiences that shaped you, the challenges you overcame, the difference you made.

I decided “epic,” though not a perfect word, best captured what I was trying to express. But there was more to it than this idea of the powerful “story” of our lives. I wondered whether it could also act as an acronym for all the things I was seeking as a mother, the things I think help us to live an epic life when raising our children.

So, I sat down and wrote out the first letter of epic: “E.” Sure enough, “engaged” mindfully with our children came to me immediately. “P” for passionate and purposeful, the impact we make beyond our family. “I” for invested in ourselves. And “C” for connected to a strong support network, so we are in community on our journey. They all came out within a minute, with clarity and ease at long last.

Since then, what I now call the “E.P.I.C. Framework” has become a guiding light in so many ways. It’s become the content of my interviews on the Mother’s Quest Podcast and a focus of my coaching programs. It fills the pages of the Mother’s Quest Planner. It provides a touchstone for how I live my life each day, something I scan for and check-in with myself about during my morning practice. It’s a manifesto for living my life.

As we enter this new year, filled with promise but also the possibility of feeling stuck and trapped, I invite us all to look for the signs that can set us free. Perhaps they are in the pages of this Almanac. I urge us to slow down and make meaning in our lives. Use the metaphor and the guideposts of the E.P.I.C. Life Framework, if it resonates, to reflect on what matters, set powerful intentions, and turn those intentions into inspired action. 

During a time of sadness a few years ago, when my father was in the ICU, the Almanac offered comfort for me and my family. In the hours before he died, we read him that day’s page from the Almanac. It was about the transformation that takes place when a caterpillar lets go of the form that keeps it stuck on the ground and becomes a butterfly, capable of flying. This idea of transformation and freedom gave us solace and hope that something more powerful could be awaiting my father. We saw it as a sign, and we made meaning of it. 

It seems fitting then to close these reflections on living an E.P.I.C. life in 2024 with something from my father. He learned it from his mother and would share it at every special occasion. It’s become a favorite offering of mine during major milestones, like a birthday or new year. I’m honored to offer it to you as part of this beautiful Almanac.

“May the most you wish for this year be the least you shall receive.”

ABOUT Julie Neale

Julie Neale is a life and leadership coach, community builder,podcaster, and mom to two neurodivergent boys who challenge her to grow into her best self. After a 20-year career in youth development, it was motherhood that transformed her and set her on a course to live what she calls a truly E.P.I.C. life.

As the founder of Mother’s Quest, Julie provides inspiration, coaching, and community-building. This enables mothers (and those who care for young people) to connect to resources, fulfill their unique purpose, and live a life filled with all that matters most, inspiring their children by their example.

Order your 2024 Mystics Almanac now and gain the peace of mind to carry you through the entire year.