Looking for Hope
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“Life is a train of moods
like a string of beads,
and as we pass through them,
they prove to be
many-colored lenses which
paint the world their own hue,
and each shows only
what lies in its focus.”

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Good morning my dear <<Name>>. And Happy Saturday. For us, this is day forty-three of being at home. We were supposed to be leaving for Europe this next week, something that was cancelled weeks ago. But DisneyI also cancelled a girls trip I had scheduled to Disney World for my birthday next month.

I have always loved traveling, so cancelling my trip and thinking about the already cancelled trip put me in kind of an irritable mood for a few hours.

See, rather than deny that I was unhappy about the cancellations, I've learned that if  I just allow myself to FEEL what I'm feeling, I can get over it faster. To just name things: anger, disappointment, frustration, grief, sadness, etc. - allows YOU to take the power back.

Then, because I didn't want to feel icky, I did a quick walk around the yard to check out the flowers and simply BE in nature.

In addition to allowing myself grace, something I talked about the last time I was in your in-box, I am spending more time with my own moods and emotions. While it's something I've practiced quite well for more than a decade, being at home like this means that I can't "run away" from myself, now, can I?

And by running away, what I mean is this: finding a way to be "busy" so I could avoid my own emotions. It used to be so easy to hop in the car and go grocery shopping. Or tell myself that I absolutely HAD to get my nails done TODAY.

Instead, this time is reminding me that as a human being, I function at my best when I allow myself to feel an open journalwhatever it is I'm feeling. And then find my own path to choosing good thoughts and seeking emotions that feel better to me.

I tell you, though I've done this on and off for ages, just like any of you, I get out of the habit of doing things that are, well, good habits. Now each day, in addition to notating what I've done all day in my planner. And notating what DAY of quarantine this is for us, I am writing down an emotion I want to experience that day.

Yesterday, for example, I wanted to feel peaceful. Last weekend, I wanted to feel productive, so I climbed up on the counters and cleaned the tops of the cabinets before mopping the floors.

Rather than feeling as if my emotions are bringing me down, I am discovering that this quarantine life is better when I manage my emotions. I acknowledge them and seek to feel something different if it's not a mood a want to carry with me all day.

To be honest, I've been stumped on what kind of workbook to provide you all with all this that's going on. my thinking spotSo, my project for next week is to distill this down into actionable steps to help you survive the rest of this quarantine and plan for your post-quarantine life RIGHT NOW rather than just waiting. And worrying about all the things that are out of your control.

How does that sound? I'd love to hear what you think.

I don't want to keep you her for ages. As I am sure your in-box is as overflowing as mine is. I just want you to know that I'm thinking about you. Please feel free to simply hit reply and tell me how you are.

As always, I am sending you love.

PS - Being witnessed and heard during times of crisis can be important to maintaining our sense of self. So, I've extended discounts to all my clients - and am offering half-price sessions for anyone that just needs a little chat.

From the blog: What’s Your Secret Wish for Your Post Covid-19 Life?  For most of us in the United States, we are more than thirty days into our quarantine time due to the Coronavirus Crisis. For people who are basically healthy, the challenge is monotony and boredom. And focusing on the problem can add to anxiety levels. In order to help out clients and friends, we have been trying to find some positives of our time at home. So, I’ve been asking: what is your secret wish or desire for when life returns to normal?

While this can seem, well, hopeless to even think about when we have no idea when stay at home orders will be lifted, one of the best tools I know on managing your mind is to look to the future. Yes, it can feel challenging to make decisions when life is uncertain. However, I would challenge you to look for what’s working and what’s right in your life.

I can tell you it’s something I’ve been thinking about. A lot. Though I haven’t publicly shared my word for 2020, it’s DESIRE. And as such, I continue to ask myself what DO I desire?

secret wish

I share this so that you can ask this of yourself, too. Tell me, darling, what is your secret wish for your post Covid-19 life?

While I have long believed that self-awareness, gaining clarity around your desires, and even breathing some life into a secret wish or two is good any time. It’s incredibly important for you to find a grain of positivity right now.

  • Do you have a big, juicy, secret wish for life both now and later?
  • What have you learned about how to better manage your mind?
  • Are there new habits or routines you’ve created that you want to keep when we’re no longer quarantined?
  • What bad habits have you seen broken that you don’t want to pick up again?
  • How might those secret desires you’ve shot down in the past be exactly what you need to breath life into?
  • Are there cultural changes you see now that you hope translate to the future?
  • Is there a way to find the silver lining in all this time at home so that my life is better on the other side of this crisis?

As with anytime you dig into your own self-awareness, be gentle with yourself.

If you are curious, here’s some of the secret wishes clients and friends have shared with me.
  • Now that people know how it feels to not be “busy” all the time, they’ll carry that into post-quarantine life? Isn’t it time that we stop numbing ourselves with full calendars and living at a frantic pace? Will we finally stop the “hustle” culture on the other side of this crisis? That’s one of my secret wishes for many of my clients.
  • Is it a crazy secret wish that we find daily life to simply be enough? Because one client said she has been able to find happy moments in the average day lately. Something she hadn’t been able to discover in her pre-coronavirus life. While this is tied to the frantic pace and edges of burnout she was living in, I can see why this is a desire.
  • For those folks who were on the edges of burnout, will this time period allow them to regain their stamina and strength? Will seeing what rest feels like help us make it a priority in the future?
  • A grandmother told me that her secret wish was that the education system will change. That folks will finally understand that not every child flourishes under rigid structure.
  • Can we finally admit that the simple pleasures in life hold tremendous value? Because the secret wish and silver lining of this time for several of my friends was lauding how enjoyable a simple walk, reading a book, or doing a puzzle felt.
  • One mom to a teenage girl told her secret wish was that the “Influencer” bubble will pop. She wants her daughter to see that there’s a difference between creating valuable content beyond posting Instagram photos in bikinis at the beach. Because that isn’t a realistic goal for most teens, yet it seemed like a very attractive lifestyle before Covid-19 stopped people from traveling.
  • Another common secret wish thread from multiple folks was the sheer effort people are going through to connect. One friend reported connecting to a bunch of college classmates she hadn’t spoken with in more than a decade. And a client shared she’s talked to her sisters more now than she did all of last year. So, continued connection was a big wish for many.
  • Clarity around relationships is another secret wish that has been shared with me. Not only have some professed more love for their spouse, but a desire to continue making daily life more loving and nourishing. On the flip side of that, others have express how much clarity they now have around toxic relationships. Or relationships that just don’t work anymore.
One secret wish I hope you don’t make: for things to go back to exactly how they used to be.

While I hear you and totally understand why this is a wish for many, remember this. This experience has changed you. And you are now a different person. It’s impossible to go back to who you used to be. However, the upside of that is that you get to choose how you desire to evolve.

One of my wishes for you is that you look to hope and seek the silver linings you discover about yourself and your life during this crisis.

On Easter, I made a turkey breast. JB isn't a big fan of ham and I figured that leftover turkey would be great for lunches. Except I didn't take into account that since we've been home...and since JB isn't a morning person, that he would be eating breakfast around 10:30 most days and skipping lunch. And while I could have frozen the cooked turkey, I decided to turn most of it into a "Kitchen Sink Soup".

Because just like you, I'm trying to cut back on going to the grocery store. And I'm trying to be more conscious of using up leftovers. And, frankly, when we can transform a leftover, it doesn't feel like leftovers.


This is one recipe that doesn't call for exacts of anything. Rather, rummage through your vegetable bin and freezer for small bits of flavor. Begin with aromatics: onions, shallots, celery, garlic, and carrots.

In my case, I diced 1/2 of a yellow onion as well as 1/2 a shallot (left from previous meals). On the stove, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to a pan, turn it on medium high. I may have added some butter, too. If you add butter, only add the good stuff: a big tablespoon of pastured butter, like Kerrygold.

Now, add the onions and/or shallots and a sprinkling of kosher salt (to sweat the onions). Next add carrots: two diced carrots or a handful of those matchstick carrots. I also added a stalk of celery at this point.

And then, after they begin to soften, add some garlic. You can dice about two cloves of garlic OR a healthy squeeze of minced garlic that comes in a tube in the produce section. I used the garlic in a tube.

Next, add some spices. I've found that if I add spices in when there's oil but not a lot of ingredients yet, it brings out better flavor from the dried spices. If I'd had a can of Chipoltle  Peppers in Adobe Sauce, I would have added that. But I didn't, so I added: a tablespoon of tomato paste, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of paprika, a teaspoon of chili powder, a teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of powdered garlic (yes, more garlic), and a teaspoon of oregano. 

Let this simmer a bit until everything is well combined and smelling delicious.

Here's where things can go two ways: I made this midday on a Wednesday. One thing I'm finding is that as a morning person, I am pretty tired come dinner time, so I wanted to use my Crock Pot allowing me to just eat when we were ready.

You can also do it on top of the stove which is the way to go if you're pulling this together at dinnertime. So I'll give both instructions.

In the crock pot, add 3 to 4 cups of turkey, chicken, or vegetable stock. If you don't have homemade stock, use a good boxed broth (I prefer unsalted Kitchen Basics). Then add 2 to 2 1/2 cups of cooked diced turkey (or chicken), your sauteed veggies, and one can of petite diced tomatoes and a cup of frozen corn.  Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. About thirty minutes before you're ready to eat, add a can of (well rinsed) beans. I added a can of dark red kidney beans, but this would work also with no beans, Cannellini beans, or chickpeas. 

I added the beans to warm up while I made cornbread, which cooks for about twenty minutes.

On top of the stove, bring 3 to 4 cups of stock to a boil, lower the heat to medium low and add 2 to 2 1/2 cups of cooked diced turkey (or chicken), your sauteed veggies, and one can of petite diced tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

To add a splash of freshness to this soup, slice up a lime and serve with lime wedges

For serving, get some of your favorite toppings: diced avocado, sour cream, or grated cheese.

Because this makes enough for (more) leftovers, you make it a bit of a different meal by serving soup over cooked rice or tossing in some elbow macaroni.  Note that you might want to add some extra broth if this is the case.  In our house, I had the leftover soup on repeat for breakfast and lunch throughout the rest of the week.

Some notes:
  • If you pulled turkey and stock out of the freezer, you don't want to re-freeze this soup. If you used fresh ingredients, leftovers can be frozen for two months.
  • You can use rotisserie chicken from your grocery store deli and boxed broth to make this come together if you don't have leftovers in the freezer.
  • You could make this more vegetarian by eliminating the meat and using vegetable stock. I would probably add another can of beans, too, to bulk up the protein.

Volume 10 
Issue 09

April 25, 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.


“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

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.

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


Look to Hope

I find that if I am without words, there are the words of others to turn to in order to find a sense of hope.

Whether you meditate upon a favorite quote or simply transfer it to your own journal, note card, or on Facebook, remembering that others who’ve experience tough times have come out OK on the other side can be a balm to the soul.

Here's eighty-seven quotes on hope to turn to when you’re feeling weary, wary, and worried during this time of crisis==>.


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
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


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

Also in the Blog

The best way I know to dig into that self-awareness of who you are and what you most desire is to dip your toes into the depths of yourself through an inquiry process. Sounds ominous in that way, but the core of the inquiry process is posing some bold, open-ended, and probing questions and answering them honestly.

So, grab a pen and your favorite journal, spiral notebook, or stack of notecards and dive into your heart and mind.

Read==>Self-Awareness: The Key to Creating a Life You Love

Nudged Me Forward

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

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

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