Loving Yourself in Crazy Times
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“We are all still learning
about how to do our best
as we move into uncharted terrain.

-- Alexandra Stoddard

It seems as if I never know where to begin these days, <<Name>>.  This has been a YEAR so far, hasn't it? And, honestly, I never thought I'd be writing to you several days after the election in the US without us outside my kitchen windowhaving a declared winner.

If you've been around my love note for long you know that every evening JB and transition from "work to home" time by having a glass of wine (or a glass of San Pellegrino) and talking about the day.  This has been a critical part of how we've not only survived but continued to strengthen our relationship during all this togetherness due to both of us now working from home.

We learned early on that if we were both going to actually get work done and still enjoy time together it was best that we (mostly) keep to ourselves during the work day. 

Last evening, I shared with him that I didn't know how to approach this newsletter this week. Because how can I help you love YOUR life without touching on how the outside world may be spinning your head round and round? 

First - here's the part where I don't follow his advice to not mention anything closely related to politics....

One thing I've learned - especially this year - is that when we see the world only in black or white...and see life in absolutes it makes it harder to find any nourishment in our daily lives.

What I mean by this is something I'm sure you know about how to argue in a healthy way by choosing carefully the words that come out of your mouth. When you say "YOU ALWAYS" or "YOU NEVER" that's an absolute. And it's a dirty way to fight that will always cause damage to the relationship. 

Where the healing comes in is to grant grace to others. Because each one of us has had different life experiences, traumas, and joys that have informed our brains (and bodies) as to what to think and believe. And it colors the way we make decisions and react to the ups and downs of life.

For example, JB and I had similarities in our upbringings but also a lot of differences. Blended together, this gives us a broad perspective on how to curate a nourishing home life together. But it also means we've each had to make compromises.

That's life. And it feels good to choose not to be a doormat yet also recognize that others have value into the coffee with CREAMlandscape of our life. Otherwise, it would be pretty darned boring if everyone was exactly the same.

Can you imagine a world where every listened to ONLY Classical music or ONLY Rap? Or can you imagine if the only pet you were allowed to have was a CAT? And no one could have dogs? Or that everyone must drink only decaffeinated black coffee because you don't like caffeine, cream, or sugar?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you want to be happy and life a life that is positive and peaceful you're going to have to understand that not everyone is like you. That doesn't make them a bad person. Just different. 

If that feels like a bit of a soap box, I'm sorry. I just believe that we can come together as people rather than continuing to try to point out where everyone is WRONG because they have a different opinion. Moreover, it doesn't make them EVIL.

Please stop labeling people and assuming you know who they are based on a single thing....

Now, here's me following JB's Advice to talk about stuff that helps me not think about politics and the state of the world.

Remember that we can only control what we can control: our thoughts and our actions. So, if you need to feel in control, get busy. What I mean by this is CLEAN clean somethingsomething. I raked leaves the morning after the election as it gave me a sense of accomplishment and for a brief moment the yard was perfect.

I've also cleaned the washing machine (with this stuff) as well as the dishwasher. And I got down on my hands and knees and cleaned all the baseboards upstairs.

And don't be jealous of my weekend plans: steam mop all the hard surfaces in the house! Wooo Hooo!!

Because our brain needs other things to think about than politics, follow a thread of curiosity and learn something NEW.

This past week after receiving an email about one of our nesting pairs of Bald Eagles, I went down the rabbit trail of learning about other Bald Eagles (and other Raptors) thanks to the American Eagle Foundation and thoroughly enjoyed learning about all the raptors in their care for various reasons

I double dog dare you to BE curious about something. And then research it. Ask your Alexa about it...Google it...or go to the library and check out a book....

Get yourself outside.

I began going back to my local park this week for my walks. Our bodies need us to be active my parkand nature sooths us. So, even if there's a chill in the air, throw on a jacket and some gloves and go for a walk.

I took this photo to the left here earlier this week because I had forgotten how soothing my walks were to my heart and mind.

If the weather is just too hard for you to manage, GO FOR A DRIVE. Get in your car and find a spot of nature to see. Even if you just sit in the safety and warmth of your car and allow yourself to just chill.


Whether you bake something, knit something, paint something, or write something, just do it. Earlier this week I began working on a new eBook for how to choose a Word of the Year AND have a GOOD 2021 no matter how crazy things are out there. And I think I've hit upon something.

It's good for our minds to make something. And I can't wait to share it with you late next week.  

Last - but not least - find something that makes you SMILE or chuckle.

When I want to giggle and feel a little less anxious, I look at what Thelonious Chipmunk is having for lunch  thanks to a very creative restaurant critic in Georgia.

See, her Uncle sent her this little wooden picnic table early during the pandemic and since she couldn't go out to review restaurants, she began creating elaborate Chipmunk friendly meals for hew new patron of one rodent.

It's also reminding me to watch the furry little critters around here. Just his morning, I stood for a solid ten minutes and watch a squirrel methodically strip the berries off our Bradford Pear tree. And it was both relaxing and humorous.


This is the value of compromise. I am following my gut - and sharing what's on my heart. the Dam I found on a driveAND I am listening to sound advice to share how I'm tending my soul.

Walk away from  your digital devices, walk outside, and just observe the beauty of the world around you. So, find a therapist, coach, or spiritual director to help you find hope if you're feeling lost. It's so critical that we take care of your mental health.

Remember 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.

Please continue to take care of yourself.  Please be safe. As always, I am sending you love.

PS - I'll be making some changes to this love note in 2021...

There seems to be a sense of CHRISTMAS in the air everywhere I look. Maybe because retailers are cookies!trying to get a head start on the holidays. Or may it's just that people need a little infusion of joy.

And because I think we can all use a little baking therapy, I'm bringing out my favorite cookie recipes to share with you in the rest of my 2020 Love Notes to you. (Can you believe there's only 3 more love notes after this for 2020??)

Let's begin with a cookie containing a seasonal favorite ingredient: Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies (since I have a big bag of crasins thanks to trying this new to me side dish recipe.) And a note: though I normally recommend unsalted butter for baking, this recipe just sings with the slightly salty touch.

Heat oven to 350°F and line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper for easier baking.

In large bowl, cream together 2 sticks of (softened) salted butter with ¾ cup of firmly packed brown sugar and ½ cup granulated sugar.  Add 2 Eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift together 1-1/2 Cups all-purpose flour (or ¾ cup whole wheat flour and ¾ cup all-purpose flour) with  1 Teaspoon Baking Soda, 2 Teaspoons cinnamon, and 1/2 Teaspoon salt.  Combine in with butter and sugar mixture.  Don’t over-mix. 

Add  3 Cups Old fashioned (or rolled oats - not instant) and 2/3 cup of dried cranberries and 2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips and stir until incorporated

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonful onto the parchment lined (or ungreased) cookie sheets (I use a small ice cream scoop so the cookies will all be about the same size). Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Cookies can be frozen for up to six months.

PS - as Ina Garten said in her new book Modern Comfort Food "You can be unhappy before eating a cookie. And you can be unhappy after eating a cookie. But it's hard to be unhappy WHILE EATING a cookie"

Volume 10 
Issue 23

November 07, 2020

Love Notes Published Every-Other-Saturday
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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:
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