Goal Setting Doesn't Always Mean 100% Achievment
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“ It is spring again.
The earth is like a child
that knows poems by heart. ”

Rainer Maria Rilke

I have to be honest, <<Name>>, I'm ready for a quiet day to sit on the deck and read.  Spring has finally arrived here in Ohio. I got my bike out for the first ride of the year this week and I can't tell you how amazing that felt. Truly, just to feel a sense of play was such a treat.

Frankly, I am needing a bit of a rest. I am longing to go back to the days of reading on the deck and having coffee while watching the baby blue birds next door.

To be honest, the last four weeks, we've had (a) somewhere to be outside the norm and/or (b) folks at the house doing work.

JB got a new car last month and it's something that's been in process since February. No one had exactly what he wanted, and since he tends to keep cars for 10 years or more, it was important he get exactly what he wanted. So, we custom ordered his car and back on April 24th, we traveled to South Carolina to pick it up. See, BMW has an option to pick up a custom vehicle at their plant in South Carolina, attend a half-day driving school, and tour the factory.

Did you know that BMW makes ALL of their SUVs in South Carolina? 70% are EXPORTED to other countries, which is pretty cool. And the driving school was a lot of fun.  Anyway, so in addition to going to pick up his new car, we went to Chicago to spend some time with his family.

The car is beautiful and driving it is a delight. Yet, I am happy to trade some time driving it for quiet, restful days.

After a week away from home and work, it was finally time for springtime prep. We cleaned out the garage, had the floor refinished, got the sprinkler system turned back on, and I got some help with the spring cleaning thanks to a fabulous cleaning lady, Nikkilyn. Both of our vehicles spent time at the car spa, getting detailed and fancied up.

I know that this sounds like pretty normal stuff. I do. And I am not complaining about my life at all. It's just that I am used to having at least two days a week to tend things. To write. To take care of the house. To plan meals. To work out. To ensure that what needs to be dealt with, well, is dealt with.

My coach and editor recently reminded me that all those things - time, planning, and space to breath - is a luxury. One in which I am grateful for. And, frankly, a luxury I've been missing these last few weeks.I have had to remind myself, often, that meeting my own standards for living are important to curate the kind of life that feels loving and nourishing.

In my last love note, I shared with you all the ins and outs of why I moved my website. In between household workers, car stuff, and living life, my number one business focus has been to get myself in compliance with the new GDPR laws. Though the GDPR is a European Union law, I still must be in compliance if visitors to my website and/or folks on this newsletter list live in a European Union country.

At the bottom of this love note is my statements about privacy and how your information is used. Along with the reminder that you can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time. Still on my list to do before the weekend is out is create an official privacy policy on my website. The deadline for compliance is May 25th.

I share this, again, because I desire to be upfront and transparent with you. I can't imagine any other way to be real, honest, and frankly, a little vulnerable with you if I were to gloss over the ins and outs of managing a small business as well as the ins and outs of managing life.

I know from the outside that everything happening in my life: the new car, the household help, the demands on my time - can seem easy. But it has been a stressful string of weeks. And, again, like I remind clients often, I've had to remind myself that stress is stress. It affects your mind, your heart, and your body.

What I've missed the most these last few weeks is my beautiful routines. Having structure also helps me set better boundaries with my clients and myself. Knowing that I plan to lace up my running shoes by a particular time or devote an hour to my book, not just in a general way, but as a firm appointment on my calendar, gives me permission to say NO to best protect that time.

Sometimes, though, we have to say NO to the things that we want to say yes to: like riding our bike or lacing up our shoes or spending an hour on my book instead of writing a privacy policy.

This next week is dedicated to getting my ducks in a row, so to speak. Spending that time with my calendar. Setting a drop-dead date for my next book to go to an editor. Setting up appointments for household tasks and doctors. Reviewing JB’s calendar and seeing what might demand more of his time.

And that also means that next week is the beginning of the new routines. More structure, more discipline, more dedication and time to ensure that I stay focused on my goals. I'm both excited and terrified.

So tell me, darling: Are your routines working for you? What has been affecting the good ones you had? What does springtime do to your schedule? What kind of spring cleaning does your life need? Do you dismiss stress because others have it "rougher" than you and you don't want to seem ungrateful for your blessings? Is it time to take a good look at your morning habits? What could reminding yourself that even good things can be stressful ease? What have you really been longing to do, but haven't yet?

Though I'm not visiting your in-box each week  know that I'm just an email away. I love hearing your stories and helping you find the resources you need to create a life you love.

With so much love...........


PS -Happy Mother's Day tomorrow for all who celebrate. And for those who have lost their mothers, my deepest love.

From the blog: Inner Strength: Eleven Ways to Find and Grow It It’s been more than a decade since I went through my divorce and during that time I’ve forgotten how tough life felt. It all came flooding back to me when I started coaching a woman who was smack-dab in the middle of a divorce. The stress, the worry, the feelings of failure, and the edges of hope and freedom. The inability to imagine who I was if I wasn’t fulfilling the role of wife was terrifying. The number one thing that propelled me through to the other side of it was finding what I didn’t quite know I had: inner strength.

Inner strength is that ability to cope with the challenges life presents and the difficult emotions we all experience. It encompasses a dash of emotional intelligence, self-control, resilience, mindfulness, and good old-fashioned grit. Inner strength is what allows some folks to manage situations with seeming grace.

Each one of us has a deep well of inner strength in our souls, even when you don’t think you do. The secret is that like any habit: inner strength can be grown. See, just like exercise, sleep, and eating well can help us grow our physical strength, it’s possible to not just access, but develop our inner strength.

While a crisis calls us to access it, choosing to recognize and develop your inner strength when you are crisis free is smart. When that next challenge arises, you can see it as not just an obstacle, but a growth opportunity. This is where that mindfulness piece of inner strength comes in: deciding that we are going to overcome any obstacle that comes our way.

Sounds great, right? I know it also sounds impossibly hard. And you may be thinking that you’d just much rather not have to deal with the hard stuff. I wish we didn’t. I wish we didn’t deal with loss of loved ones, a job change, or divorces. Yet, simply being human means that there will be moments of pain.

Choosing to do some small things now to help grow your inner strength allows you to be more resilient when the inevitable challenges of life appear. Looking back at time from going through that divorce, I was able to remember several tools that helped me strengthen that inner wherewithal.

Eleven Ways to Grow Your Inner Strength

One: Know Thyself

It’s not always easy to look in the mirror and take stock of who we are. That’s because humans skew to a negative bias, so the invitation seems to be to pick yourself apart and note what needs to be improved. I want to challenge that view for you and make clear that the only way to get from one side of a crisis to the other side as unscathed as possible demands that you know your strengths and your weaknesses.

Two: Awareness is Your Friend

There are other ways to understand more about who you are naturally. You can also dive into awareness with a simple inquiry method. (I share thirty questions to grow your awareness in this article). Also, make a list of all the acts and actions you are good at. Like sewing, creating a great meal, listening,  or picking the perfect paint color for a room. When you take part in these acts, it gives you feel-good endorphins, reminding you that you already have some true strengths.

The clearer you are on who you truly are means that when a challenge arises, your inner strength will help you survive it.

Three: What’s Your Type?

One of my favorite tools is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Take one of the free personality tests (Some free online ones: HumanMetrics / Keirsey / 16 Personalities). Then, read through the full description of your type, noting both the strength and the weaknesses. This is simply your starting ground.

So, to grow that inner strength of yours, it’s important to take stock of who you are.

To get a jump-start on growing your inner strength, take note of the strengths that ring truest to you. Especially the ones that feel like a blessed reminder that you are a Child of God and deserving of a good life. Then, decide which strengths you are going to enhance.

Four: Recognize Weaknesses Don’t Negate Your Strengths

By the way, the so called “weaknesses” of your personality type aren’t weaknesses, but merely soft spots. Choose to see them as simple facts, rather than as a criticism or an assault on your character. Recognizing so called weaknesses as areas of your personality or life that you want to polish is helpful.

Knowing your weaknesses don’t necessarily make you weak can help you grow your inner strength.

Five: Have a Gratitude Practice

I’m sure you’ve hear it before, but never underestimate the way gratitude can help you grow your inner strength. Having a  gratitude practice has been scientifically shown to retrain your thoughts from going to the negative to shifting to the positive.  Because I have learned that putting pen to paper access a different area of your brain than speaking or typing, by keeping a written gratitude journal, you infuse your practice with mindfulness.

It allows you to recognize what inner strength you already have by immersing you in the thick of your own life.

Six: Create a Compliment File

The flip side of a gratitude practice is paring it with compliments. See, a gratitude practice focuses on your inner world, right? Compliments, however, come from the outside world towards you. I had gone years without positive words flowing from my (then) husband’s mouth, so the first time someone complimented a meal I made or told me I was pretty was a big WOW moment.

You can grow your inner strength by seeing compliments as part of your gratitude practice.  Anytime you receive a compliment, record it. You can print out emails, write about it in your gratitude journal, or even keep an electronic file of compliments. Don’t forget to compliment yourself, too. When you celebrate your successes, you are not just honoring your accomplishments. You are finding and growing your inner strength.

Reading through your gratitude journal and compliment file reminds you how fierce you really are.

Seven: Grow Your Inner Strength by Clearing Clutter

It’s hard to focus on growing any part of your character, personality, or life when you’re surrounded by clutter. You should be able to walk into your home and discover a haven that feels supportive, and supports you in your growth. So, tidy up your spaces and get rid of anything that doesn’t serve you. You should live in a space that makes you feel happy and proud.

And clutter isn’t just about physical clutter; clear that mental clutter, too Clear swirling thoughts by making lists. Take up meditation. Get clear on your desires, needs, and goals.

Getting rid of things that don’t serve you also means looking at your relationships. If any of your relationships – romantic, professional, and friendships – feel like a drain, then they aren’t going to help you grow your inner strength. Make a decision to either fix those relationships or end them.

Eight: Become a Sovereign of Your Time

How often do you take on obligations and extra commitments, even when you don’t want to? As caretakers and nurturers, women are especially prone to taking on more than they can possibly handle. One of the best ways to become a sovereign of your own time and grow your inner strength is to learn to say no.

See, saying “yes” to everything drains your energy, leaving you with less energy for what’s truly important to you. If you use all your energy to do for others, you’ll find yourself deflating like a balloon that’s has a slow leak. By saying “no” to the things you really don’t want to do, or things you know you don’t have time for, you create a sense of inner strength while freeing up your time and energy to do the things that are going to serve you best and that allow you take care of your body.

Nine: Stop Being So Busy

Just like saying no to others helps you grow your inner strength, sometimes the person you need to say “no” to is yourself!

It’s impossible to grow your inner strength if you’re always on the busy train. I’m all about productivity, not busyness. Growing your inner strength is going to feel easier when you have breathing space. So, stop being so busy!

Ten: Shift Your Thoughts

It’s so easy to get lost into the stories of how we’re a failure. A crisis throws our thoughts into overtime:

You should know better than to….
If you were smarter…
If you were prettier (thinner, taller, blonder, etc), this wouldn’t have happened..

Practice shifting negative thoughts to more positive ones. Or at least fact based. For example:  “If I were thinner, my husband wouldn’t have had an affair with that aerobics instructor…” This can be turned around. “No matter how much I weigh, my husband CHOSE to break his vows and have an affair.”

Taking responsibility for your part in any challenge will grow your inner strength as well, just don’t beat yourself up.

Eleven: Rewrite Your Stories

In addition to turning negative thoughts around into a more fact-based recital, focus on the story of your life beyond any particular crisis. Practice seeing yourself rise above the pain, looking back and peering forward at the values, experiences, and goals of your whole life.

Just as knowing yourself helps grow your inner strength, rewriting painful stories of your past helps as well. Research shows that rewriting painful stories to ones that have a more positive spin lead to happier lives.  This allows you to understand that a crisis doesn’t define you.Old stories don’t have to be a part of your future.

When you take part in owning your story when life is flowing smoothly, you grow your inner strength and will be more resilient when a crisis does arise.

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”
— Rikki Rogers

Resilience helps us to lead happier and more satisfying lives. No matter what’s happening in your life, remember that you have overcome hardships in the past. That means that you have tapped into your inner strength before and can do so again.

When you remind yourself that you already have inner strength, it means that you can choose to grow it. And like any habit, the more you grow it, the strong you will feel!
One of the number one standby's in my fridge is boneless, skinless chicken breasts. But, of course, the biggest challenge with a standby ingredient is that we can get stuck in a rut of the same way of cooking it over and over again.
But you don't have to go with the same thing over and over again. You have options! I love the spring-ish feel to this Lemon Chicken with Thyme and Tomatoes!

In a zip lock bag, combine 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 teaspoons garlic, and 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, add several grins of fresh pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Add a boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped into bite sized pieces, seal the bag and put in the fridge from three hours to overnight to marinade.

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a diced shallot, one tablespoon of garlic and sauté for two minutes.  Remove chicken from marinade and sauté about ten minutes, or until thoroughly cooked.  Add 1 ½ cups of grape tomatoes, halved to the skillet and saute until another three minutes or until tomatoes begin to wilt.

About Your Privacy

You may have noticed a flurry of updated Terms of Service, Privacy Policies, and other such emails of late flooding your in-box. That's due to the new EU law - General Data Protection Regulation aka "GDPR" - that goes into effect on May 25, 2018.

I wanted to assure you that I honor this space in your in-box and would never betray that trust by sharing your information with anyone or sending you emails you didn't sign up for.

I don't even cross-pollinate this list with my monthly Clearing Clutter tips. You will only receive this bi-weekly email that contains a little love note from me, a recent blog post, and a favorite recipe. Sometimes, the bi-weekly note to you will be accompanied with information about upcoming dates for courses I offer, new books I am writing, or new books.

When I create a new (free) ebook for new subscribers, I do send a note to you with the opportunity to download that for free. That happens 3 to 4 times a year.

You are on this list because you signed up for it, using a double opt-in method. Meaning, you gave your email address, received an email asking if you'd like to receive these emails, and clicked YES.

The only information I have is the info you gave (email address, name).  Mailchimp does log the IP address from the computer you signed up with.

You may update your preferences or unsubscribe at any time by scrolling to the bottom where it says "unsubscribe from this list" or "update subscription preferences".

If you have any questions or concerns, you can reply to this email.  Thanks again for this time together. I value it, truly.

Volume 8 -Issue 10

May 12, 2018

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.

About Debra

Debra Smouse is a writer, life coach, and Tarnished Southern Belle who is on a mission to help people fall in love with their lives.

A native Texan, she resides in Ohio with the Man of her Dreams. Get social with Debra on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Unbelievable Difference

Working with Deb for just a few months has made an unbelievable difference in my life.

With her encouragement, I made major progress on clearing the clutter in my physical life as well as in my emotional life, which paved the way toward creating a new vision for the life I want to live now.

Deb has an easy conversational style, rational down-to earth wisdom, and a warm sense of humor.

She got right to the heart of the things holding me back from living my best life, and has given me sound principles and practices I can carry forward into the future.

For the first time in a long time I feel excited about my life, and I have Deb to thank for that!

-Becca Rowan, Author

Fall in Love with Yourself & Monitor Your Goals

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...

Purchase here.

You Won't Be Sorry

But the rest, the rest being with Deb’s counsel, has been an interesting, innovating, expanding chapter in my life as a woman, a spouse, a creative artist. My spouse and I have always had what I considered an excellent life together – I did not anticipate an even better and the more intimate relationship that we now find ourselves living into every day.

I’m no slouch in the confidence category but Deb has helped me face those teeny cracks of vulnerability that I sheltered, having helped me prosper mentally and physically at this stage of my life. My creative aspirations are blooming with no end in sight – LOTS more growth ahead for me.

I highly recommend a course with Deb or what she might call a non-course – that’s the arrangement we have now. Personal coaching on a regular basis – touching base on one’s own hiccups, one’s own dimension of daily life, whether it’s exercise, creative habits and/or reaching the next plateau or higher in all of the newness that still continues to unfold for me.

I highly recommend Deb’s methods and courses! You won’t be sorry you signed on with Deb as your super-person sidekick!

Dianna Woolley, Artist

My 1st Book

You do not have to settle for a life that is less than what you most deeply desire. You may have to break the rules, but creating a life that is loving and nourishing is worth the effort. Because you deserve to be happy and live a daily life you love.

Part self-help, part memoir, in Create a Life You Love: Straightforward Wisdom for Cultivating the Life of Your Dreams I share down-to-earth advice and practical wisdom on what it takes to shift your life from surviving to thriving.

Buy it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or order your copy directly from me.

Muse & Cheerleader

I believe everyone could benefit from a good life coach. Yes, everyone. Even (and especially) other coaches! Debra is a coach who models what she encourages in her clients—deep soul searching, practical living skills, and solid business sense. Whether you’re new to exploring personal growth or someone who assists others along their own paths, Debra offers a style that meets you where you are.

Personally, I’ve done a ton of my own transformational work and continue to explore new pathways every day. While I wish I could say that I have ‘arrived,’ there really is no such destination for a lifelong learner like me or probably you. Debra is a friend and mentor who helps keep me on task, shed light on my blind spots, and untangle the stuck places that I can’t quite tackle on my own.

Throughout the time we’ve worked together, she’s nudged me forward with just the right amount of force and given me space to grieve my losses and celebrate my victories. She’s more than a coach. She’s a muse and cheerleader, and I am immensely grateful to have her on my team.

Kayce S. Hughlett – Life Coach & Author

Create Your Vision

Tired of feeling as if you’re just surviving your own life? Take charge of your existence and thrive!

In Clearing Soul Clutter: Creating Your Vision, you'll find a series of 30 intuitive lessons, you’ll learn how to envision a nourishing life and make your dreams come true. It’s time to stop letting life happen to you and start doing something about it.

If you like challenging new ideas, actionable teaching, and caring guidance, then you’ll love this life-changing book.

Order via Amazon or if you are in the US, you can order directly from me.

(I'm also offering a special combo of Clearing Soul Clutter & Clearing Brain Clutter)


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, Engineer, Chief Operating Officer, Writer

Your Heart's Desire

Are you ready to finally know what you want out of life? Discover the unique path to your own heart and soul.

By taking 30 days to dive into your heart’s desires, you can learn how to overcome your highly-stressed life to connect to your deepest wants and needs. Clearing Brain Clutter: Discovering Your Heart's Desire is perfect for people who truly want to reclaim their lives for purpose and passion.

If you like actionable advice, effective workbooks, and crystal-clear guidance on what’s holding you back, then you’ll love this book.

Order via Amazon or if you are in the US, you can order directly from me.

(I'm also offering a special combo of Clearing Soul Clutter & Clearing Brain Clutter)

Best Decisions

Enlisting Deb’s coaching services has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. She is truly an expert de-tangler. I started out with a “Declutter” course at the recommendation of a fellow writer, and as soon as she began offering Make Your Inner Sex Kitten Roar, I was intrigued. I appreciate her honesty, encouragement and her openness. She has a way of seeing things that you can’t see for yourself and is a whiz at breaking bigger dreams into manageable chunks that will get you to where you want to be faster than you thought possible.

I had a very tough few years and have been wanting to get my “oomph” back. Well, with Deb’s help, I’ve found it again! My husband agrees with my assessment and has seen a noticeable change in me since working with Deb. To quote him, “I don’t care how much it costs, keep working with her, because it’s working!”

Rachel B. Kain, Writer & So Much More

Energy Vampires Got You Down?

If you’re like most people, this has happened to you: you were talking to someone and before you knew it, their complaints, their whining, their negative attitudes or their drama drained the life right out of you.

After they left, you looked for fang marks on your neck but they were nowhere to be found.

Then you realized energy vampires don’t have fangs. They have other means to suck your energy, like negative comments and punching holes in your dreams.

Read about 16 Ways to Deal with Energy Vampires at Attract the One

Keen Listener

“Debra is a keen listener who manages to be truly empathetic while also helping clients to face reality, create a definitive plan of action, and move forward.

She applies her creativity to any dilemma and provides consistent accountability and encouragement”

~ Roxanne Ravenel | Novelist/ Freelance Journalist / Social Media Management

Allow Yourself to Receive Help

For the love of yourself, please know that you do not have to do everything alone. It’s ok to admit you can’t do everything. Even if you can do everything on your own, you don’t have to. Help comes in many forms

Read About 13 Key times to Let Others Give You A Hand over at Attract the One
Copyright © 2018 Debra Smouse - Create a Life You Love, All rights reserved.

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