Freedom and more.
View this email in your browser

“In order for you and me
to retain our inward freedom,
we must will for others
what we want for ourselves.
If what I want for
my own well-being
enables others to expand
their inner freedom,
this increases my sense of joy.”

--Alexandra Stoddard

For those of you in the United States, Happy Independence Day. I know there’s a lot happening in our 4th of July: grilling and our flagworld right now, but I would be lying to you if I didn’t tell you how much I value freedom, <<Name>>. In fact, it’s one of my core values. And the main reason I’ve been self-employed since 2003.

That doesn’t mean to say that life is perfect or this country is perfect. I worry about the strife and divisiveness. I worry about how polarized politics and the world has become. Yet, at the core of my being, I believe that people are basically good and decent.

That's why each and every day I am grateful to be living where I live.

While there is a lot to be done in the outer world, I still firmly believe the place to begin is within your own heart. I believe that each one of us has a responsibility to ourselves and the world to be better humans. To live with compassion and empathy. To choose to make good choices, love our neighbors, and find the path to freedom for each person.

This is what freedom is about to me. And while I know at times I may be preaching to the choir, I don't believe that hatred or bigotry or judgement is how the world becomes better. It begins at HOME in our duck pond at the parkown hearts. In the actions we take daily. In the choices we make day in and day out.

The biggest change for me, personally, was when I began to understand that I am always in a position to make good choices. Sometimes those choices are harder than others. Yet, I have the responsibility to keep choosing good and then to follow through with action.

This has to begin with YOU. Yes, I believe that you have to first find love in what already is - whether it be your job, you love life, your body, your home - and then begin to create from there. We can only begin where we are, right?

I find, however, that sometimes we lose our own sense of freedom when we become mired within our own mental prisons. Whether it be lost in the need to be seen as perfect or the desire to be seen as strong and not vulnerable. Or to get lost in judging the world and others that we lose sight of where our own biases may be.

The founding fathers here in the United States wrote the Declaration of Independence and included the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It's the word pursuit that draws me in every time.

That's where our choice comes in. That's where the taking action comes in. We get to pursue happiness, create a life that we love, choose to love ordinary moments....

That's the kind of freedom that I am very grateful for. Each and every day. Each and every moment. We get to choose to love what's before us. We get to choose to thrive where we're planted. Most importantly, a well placed benchwe get to choose the path of love, because even if we have to stretch a little, love, baby is always within reach. I still firmly believe this despite how ugly the world seems at time.

And this love for self must always be present if we hope to love others. We can practice hatred towards others and expect to be happy. Nor can we practice self-hatred and hope to heal the world.

So, no matter where you stand on politics and other social justice issues, please take one step towards freedom and choice today in your very own life. 

Please continue to take care of yourself.  Please be safe.

And if you need anything, reach out to me. I am just an email away.

As always, I am sending you love.


From the blog:  Want to Feel Better About Yourself and Your Life? Then Go for a Walk

With everything that has been happening in the world many of my clients are reporting a general unhappiness with their life. Not only do they feel disconnected from friends and family thanks to all the months sheltering in place. They feel disconnected with their own souls. I’ll admit I’ve been feeling some general malaise, too. And then I stumbled upon an “old friend” and realized it’s a guaranteed way to feel better about yourself: go for a walk.

Early during the orders to stay home, I was taking regular walks to keep myself mentally (and physically) healthy. But a spring cool down and series of rainy days got me out of that routine which I never got back into. And trust me, the longer I went without regularly moving my body, the stiffer my body felt.

I also noticed that without regular movement – like choosing to go for a walk – the easier it was for me to feel discouraged, overwhelmed, and cranky.

go for a walk

But I was reminded how good being active is when JB’s mother was here for a visit. Like many of us, she found herself sitting more often than usual during the early days of needing to stay at home. Though she is ninety, she’s always been active, yet she saw her energy levels plummet. So, she committed to getting her steps in each day – even if she has to do them inside.  After mastering 2000 steps per day, her new goal is 3000 steps a day.

If a woman who is approaching her ninety-first birthday can commit to getting her steps in, well, that sure inspires me to get moving myself. And while I love riding my bike, lifting weights, and swimming, going for a walk has become my go-to way to get my body moving.

Here’s nine reasons why going for a walk can help you feel better about yourself and your life.

One – Walking requires no equipment except a decent pair of shoes.

No need to air up your bike tires or put on a swim suit when you go for a walk. Just put on some comfortable and supportive shoes (and some sunscreen) and head out. And as much as I enjoy weight lifting (which is good for your bones, too), it requires dumbbells, kettle-bells, or bands.

Life is already complicated. And that’s one of the beautiful things about going for a walk: simplicity. Something I think we all need.

Two – You will feel better about yourself when you feel grounded.

When you are walking, you are literally grounding your body with each step. With all the stress, anxiety, and uncertainty in our lives right now, we need solid practices that help us feel more grounded. It’s one of those simple pleasures that help you feel good about yourself and love your life more.

Three – Walking can be meditative and help you be present.

While I like to keep up a good pace when I’m going for a walk, it’s also an active way to meditate. Meditation has  been shown to not just clear your mind, but reduce your blood pressure and even blood sugar. And meditation always makes me feel better about myself and my life.

It also invites you to be fully present, which is a necessity to finding peace and happiness during these stressful times.

Four – What about a gratitude walk?

Gratitude is a proven way to feel better about yourself and your life. In addition to keeping a gratitude journal, consider going for gratitude walks. While taking a stroll, you can reflect upon all the good things in your life. And if you’re outdoors, you can marvel at nature.

Five – Being out in nature can boost your energy which helps you feel better about yourself.

While JB’s mom often does her walking inside to ensure a steady surface, I prefer to go for a walk outside. Though we have some nice walking trails around our neighborhood as well as a treadmill, I often head to a local park for my walks.  Being among the flowers, birds, and trees feels life affirming.

Science agrees. A series of studies published in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology supports what I’ve learned personally: being out in nature made people feel more energetic.

Six – Going for a walk outside can reduce anxiety.

Almost everyone I talk to has shared their anxiety and stress levels are higher than ever before. And it’s hard to feel good about yourself and life when you’re worrying  and stressing out, right? That’s why getting outside and going for a walk is beneficial. And science supports that, too. Another study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that taking a walk in nature reduced anxiety and worrying.

Even if you don’t feel like you have a lot of time in your schedule for exercise, even a quick stroll around the block will help.

Seven – You can get some alone time by going for a walk.

No mater how much you love your spouse or your kids, everyone needs some alone time. So, lace up your sneakers and head out the door for a walk.  By yourself.  And while I sometimes will talk to a girlfriend on the phone, I am finding more and more that my walk is the perfect opportunity for ME time. No noise except the sound of my feet on the pavement, the rustle of the leaves, and birdsong.

So, while it’s tempting to go with your spouse, connect with a girlfriend, or get your kids moving, try to go for a walk by yourself when you can.

Eight – Going for a walk helps you feel better about yourself creatively.

In Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, not only does she recommend artist dates and morning pages, she also recommends going for a walk as part of caring for yourself and your creativity. She reiterated that on her blog where she reminds us that walking helps you figure out solutions to problems and gain new perspectives.

Personally, I often get new ideas or the spark of a fresh approach to something I am working on while I am on my walks. And am excited to rush down to my computer to get it all down when I get home.

Nine – It’s the perfect opportunity to get away from screens.

I know I’m not the only one in front of my computer more and more these days. With the need to write, participate in Zoom meetings, and check on social media, my screen time is up for sure. And while it’s nice to talk on the phone – or even play a mobile game that encourages walking – going for a walk is an opportunity to look at the trees and just BE. Besides, if your phone is a part of your walk, you’ll probably find yourself distracted and more anxious.

Get away from your devices and get moving. All the news and emails will be there when you get back.

Take some control in your life by committing to regular walks.

We are living in stressful and unprecedented times. And I know that all the uncertainty adds to all the worries and anxieties of everyday life. You don’t have to allow all that stress to eat away at you, though! Because no matter what kind of shape you may be in, it’s a simple way to do something good for yourself.

It would be super easy to make the same things over and over again. And I will admit we eat a lot of chicken. In part, because we both like it. But also because beef and some pork haven't been as easy to find in the grocery stores. (My favorite local store works with a local chicken farmer so their supply chain has been mostly unaffected).

With the summertime heat in full force, I'm cooking as much of our meals as possible on the grill. And though I typically am sharing main course ideas here, I'm also grilling corn, zucchini, asparagus, and have even been grilling slices of frozen garlic bread out there.

But as much as I love that Margarita Chicken recipe I shared in my last love note, I need a broader variety of flavors. Earlier this week, I experimented with a new-to-me recipe based on a Chrissy Tiegen  Cravings recipe that was meant for beef kabobs.

And it was excellent as a chicken dish that I'm calling Tropical Chicken (and it kind of reminds me of ingredients for tropical chickenHawaiian Chicken that was all the rage in 1980's at places like Steak & Ale)

Though you can marinade in a shallow Tupperware container, I've begun using gallon sized zipper bags to cut back on dishes.

Open a gallon zipper bag, fold half the top down, and in the bottom combine:
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) of pineapple juice (this is the amount in a whole can of those little 6-packs of juice)
  • 1/2 cup of olive or avocado oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (I use Braggs). You can sub rice vinegar or red wine vinegar.
  • 20 to 30 turns of your pepper mill.
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic (I use the Gourmet Garden tubes found in the produce section)
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut aminos (soy sauce, tamari, or Braggs Liquid Aminios - I am avoiding soy as much as possible)
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger (again, I use the Gourmet Garden tubes but you can use fresh grated garlic or even dry powdered garlic. If you use dry, you only need 1/2 teaspoon).
  • AND if you like a little spice, add 1 teaspoon chili powder.
CLOSE the zipper bag and combine by kneading the outside of the bag.

Next add your chicken. I've been using whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts and typically do four breasts at a time so that we have leftovers for lunch.  Before placing the chicken in the bag, season with powdered garlic, sage, and ginger and using the back of a spoon pat the seasonings into each side.
After sealing the bag, massage the chicken breasts to ensure good distribution of the marinade. Allow it to marinate at least four hours and up to overnight. 

When it's time to grill, take a large sheet of "non-stick" aluminum foil and carefully remove each breast from the zipper bag, shake it a little to discard excess marinade, and place it on the center of the foil in a single layer. On top of your chicken, layer several slices of  red or white onions and (if you have it) several pieces of sliced or diced pineapple.  Put another piece of foil on top and seal it in an envelope. DISCARD THE MARINADE.

Place the foil packet on a pre-heated grill (About 400 degress) for about 20 to 25 minutes, flipping the pineapple chickenpacket once about 15 minutes in..  The packet will keep your chicken moist.

At the end of the time, pull your foil packet off the grill and CAREFULLY open it and using a knife, cut into the chicken breast to ensure it's fully cooked.  If you are really wanting those grill marks, you can use tongs to lay the breasts back on the grill for about 2 minutes per side. But I'm usually too hungry for that.

We had our chicken with rice, grilled corn on the cob, and salads made with cucumber and tomatoes. This would also be great tossed on a salad or served in soft tortilla's  as tacos.

Though I haven't yet made it, I'll be trying this recipe as a marinade for pork loin or pork chops.

Volume 10 
Issue 14

July 04, 2020

Love Notes Published Every-Other-Saturday
Thank you, darling for the precious in-box space! 

See something you'd love to share?  I'd be honored if you forwarded this along to a friend.
Hello from Debra

About Debra

Debra Smouse is a writer, life coach, and Tarnished Southern Belle who is on a mission to help people create a daily life that is loving and nourishing.

A native Texan, she resides in Ohio with the Man of her Dreams. Connect with her on social media:
Instagram | Facebook Twitter.

One-Time Sessions

In times like these, you may simply need to talk to someone that doesn't live with you, doesn't work with you, or isn't in your current list of friends. That's because we need the voices (and ears) of people who have no horse in the race of our own lives.

From now until our need for social distancing ends, I am offering single sessions at half-price.. These sessions can be done via phone or video.

Intuitive Ear

In a day and age where relationships are flat and a true connection to each other is a rare gem to be found, Debra’s genuine enthusiasm for life fuels your coaching experience. An ever-faithful ally and pillar of evolving ideas,

Debra approaches her clients with an intuitive ear, a foundation of love and sincerity, sprinkled with a touch of humor.

Elizabeth Rago
Modern Domestic Woman

Also in the Blog

Everyone’s story matters. However, not everyone should hear all the dirty details of your life. And frankly, not everyone should hear all the fabulous details of your life either. It doesn’t negate the fact that you matter, what it indicates is that you have healthy boundaries and a profound respect for yourself.

Read ==>  Is Authenticity a Pitfall for Success or a Necessity for Happiness?


“No matter what age or stage we are, sometimes life just isn’t everything we want it to be. This course offers amazing insight into some of the many reasons why.

Deb Smouse has prepared an intensive program to help decipher the ways we can derail our own happiness, and, most importantly, lots of concrete tips and tricks for getting back on course to Finally Love Your Life.”

Becca Rowan, Author

Summer Love Notes

I believe in the human spirit. And know that when we can be present in a single moment, it opens us up to see the magic and beauty in the most simple and ordinary things. So when I sought out evidence of this, I was able to find it.

Due to my own desire to find more beauty and lightness in the world, I decided to resurrect an old project as a way to provide a place for others like me to be nourished by the creative work of others AND promote the good work people are doing.

Enter: Summer Love Notes: Fun & Fancy Free.

Thanks to my good friends who were a part of Modern Creative Life and All Things Girl, we'll be celebrating a summer of love.

Summer Love Notes will publish between June 1st and September 6th 

Explore Summer Love notes. And learn more about submitting your writing or photography ==> Call for Submissions

Spot On

Your advice has always been spot on…….from helping me see how important it is to be thankful for my blessings to helping me remove physical and emotional clutter from my life. I am actually the most grateful for the times when you have spoken the truth in love and been honest with me when I wanted to continue to delude myself. Without those wise words, I would have continued to lie to myself and not had the breakthroughs I have experienced.

I’m not all I want to be yet but I would have ever found my path had I not met and worked with you. Thank you for your efforts in helping me find my life. I am forever in your debt.

~Basil Human

Use this Time for Self-Discovery

I believe that if you were to really get to know all the sides of someone, you couldn’t help but fall in love with them.

What if YOU were that person?

Become Besotted. With Yourself. With Your Life.

Become Besotted will assist you in writing your story, a month at a time. An opportunity to get to know all sides of yourself and fall in love.

Become Besotted will also help you explore your dreams and desires. It will serve you in monitoring your victories and shedding what isn’t serving you.

You receive an in-depth questionnaire and 12 months to unfold your story and fall in love...

 to save 50%

Purchase here.


Gotten More Courageous 

Finally Love Your Life is an authentic and deep yet practical and fun program all wrapped up into one.  Debra’s extensive knowledge coupled with her emotive writing and ginormous heart provide the tools, support and space to explore and discover, evaluate and play. 

As a result of class, I was able to dig in and shift some major challenges that were keeping me stuck in annoying and frustrating patterns.

I also realized how little time I was devoting to having FUN and making time for simple pleasures.  With these insights and some easy changes, I have grown, gotten more courageous and have way more delight and joy in my life.

Michelle Reinhardt

Now is the Time for Self Awareness

The reason I’m often asked why awareness is worth it is because there is a shadow side to self-awareness. 

Despite this, awareness is always worth the trouble. That’s because, without taking the time to observe how we feel about what we’re doing, seeing, or experiencing, it’s impossible to feel fully engaged.

Or, as I have to remind myself regularly: when you plant new seeds, the first thing to come up is dirt. Yet, before anything can bloom, working through the dirt is necessary.

Eighteen Reasons Why Awareness is Worth the Trouble (If You Want to Love Your Life)


Praise for Finally Love Your Life

I thought this was an extremely beneficial and well thought out class. The information was delivered in such a manner that there was no way I could “cheat” myself out of delving into the subject matter.

 Some days I was in the mood to listen to the audio, others, I enjoyed reading and rereading. The worksheets were key as they helped me transition what I was reading into personalized knowledge of myself and an action plan.

I appreciated the real guidance and suggestions that were given. For example, Debra didn’t just say it is important to rest, she gave real examples of what rest looked like to her, and in turn, helped me think of ways I could put it into practice. It is a very interactive class and in each module I experienced at least one aha moment.

We are all in different phases of life, so certain modules will appeal more or less depending upon where you are at.

I would highly recommend this course.

Years ago someone told me, “You would never drive a car without putting in gas, getting the oil changed, replacing the fluids, why on earth would you go through life without mental and physical checkups.”

This class is a great way to get the mental oil changed. I feel ready to go another 50,000 miles.

Jeanette McGurk, Writer & Artist
a year of support

Do You Need a Little Extra Support?

My most popular coaching package as it allows us to spend 12 months together. We build trust and get to know each other intimately.

This allows you go go as wide - or deep - as your stage of life demands.

You choose the number of sessions that fit your lifestyle (and budget) and we’ll create an amazing year together for a life you love.

Learn More  or

Copyright © 2020 Debra Smouse - Create a Life You Love, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp