FALL my dear, is here.
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“It’s not selfish
to love yourself,
take care of yourself,
and to make your happiness a priority.
It’s necessary.”
– Mandy Hale

How are you this lovely Saturday? I'm enjoying an extended weekend with JB. Since Monday is a Federal Holiday, he extended that for a five-day weekend by taking off yesterday as well as Tuesday. We have ZERO plans and to be honest that sounds wonderful. To really just BE home, have some nice meals, and Fall in Ohioadmire the crisp beauty of fall (though there is snow in the forecast for Monday).
Right now, I’m  taking every opportunity to get some fresh air, of course, but I'm beginning to ponder how I can assure that my run to the library and jaunts to the mailbox become extended forays into breathing in all that is nature.

I'll admit it, I've been spending long moments staring at the leaves floating off the trees and watching the hawks hunt for their dinner.

Though I'm not a fan of super cold weather, I'm plotting ways to entice myself outside, because,  I know that I am energized and nourished by the sights, sounds, scents and feel of nature. And, since I’m not really a fan of hats of any sort, I’ve been eyeing ear muffs and those knitted ear bands, too.

As the holiday season approaches, it can feel increasingly selfish to take care of yourself.  We move into Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s, all with the need to see family, friends, and celebrate the season with co-workers to boot.

There are all kinds of pulls on your time and pushes against your having that moment to just breathe.  Don't think I don't get sucked up in the "crazy" pace of the season.  It's hard not to react to the frenzied energy more fall in Ohioaround us.

So, what can you do to ensure that you get your sunshine and breathing space? OR at least not get sucked in to feeling like you need to be in a hurry.

I'm a pretty driven person, and stepping away from doing what I love (coaching and writing) feels, at times, like punishment. I talk to clients everyday who love all the things squeezed into their calendars, too. So, even though (at first) it feels like a punishment, stepping away from work allows me to breathe and refresh and to recharge.

I have to schedule blank space on my calendar.  I block off a day for writing most weeks and protect that time.  I’ve also scheduled all my nail appointments, haircuts, doctor, and dental visits through the end of the year. Otherwise, it’s so easy to let them fall by the wayside. Or skip them.

But the biggest thing seems really small: I work little treats into the day-to-day.

There's gratitude, of course. I believe that gratitude allows us to slow down and notice what's happening in the present moment. But, this time of year, sometimes my gratitude practice isn't enough to slow me down.

Earlier this week, I had the usual list of errands to run: dry cleaning, library, and a stop by the hardware store.  At the end of my errands, instead of going through the drive through of Starbucks, I went inside.

There, the Barista made me a decadent Mocha in a REAL Cup.  I sat and savored that cup while I did mochasome planning for my business.  and left feeling as if I'd been coddled and nourished, not like I was grabbing and running.

These are the moments of self-care I work into my daily living to make sure that, in the course of doing those things that I do, there is a layer of love.

What about you? What small acts of self-care or special-treatment can you do for yourself during these last 8 weeks of the year?
 Do you need to schedule some self-care appointments to ensure that you're taking time away for yourself.

And I have to ask: What are you just dying to do before 2020 rolls around?
What seeds do you need to plant in your life so that next year blossoms? What can I do to help you round out your 2019 and prepare for the year to come?

I hope you're weekend is as amazing as mine is going to be. Don't forget that Monday is Veteran's Day.  And, if you need anything, please don't hesitate to reach out to me if there's anything I can do, to help you make space in your world.

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

PSS - If you've considered hiring a coach, I am have availability for ONE new client right now - and ONE additional slot beginning January 15th.  If you want to see if we're a good fit, book a Discovery Session.  

From the blog:  The Perfectly Imperfect Ordinary Day Process Helps You Be Happier

I’d love to be able to tell you I’ve always been crystal clear on the direction of my life and my business, but that would be a lie. We all hit those crossroads where life is changing, and – even if we’ve chosen the changes – life can feel hazy. What I’ve learned at any crossroads, though, is to go back to my “perfectly imperfect ordinary day” process to help me discover the best decision for myself.

In fact, it’s a process I recommend to clients over and over again. Because it never fails to help discover nuggets of truth, desire, and practicality. Being at a crossroads – or in any space of limbo will feel challenging to you as well.

perfectly imperfect

And that’s why, rather than fighting the reality of needing to make changes, I recommend turning to tools to find your own perfectly imperfect solution.

You see, my dear, Sometimes, we try to hang on to how things used to be. We want to be  our old selves, our old ways, our old routines. But, my dear, that isn’t truly possible.

See, there will be seasons of life that demand something different. Periods when we toss out everything familiar in the hope that doing so will help us settle into a new phase of life faster. For me, the worst is when I feel like i”m just drifting. Even though we have a “purpose” we don’t seem to be getting anywhere.

The first time I learned the value of the Perfectly Imperfect Ordinary Day exercise was back in 2011. I was at a crossroads of how I used to live and what I desired my life to look and feel like.

See, a former coach I’d been working with told me I was choosing to play small when I told her I needed to have a season of settling into real, everyday life. After years of being on the road, I needed to put my suitcase away and nest. And that meant no new coaching programs or International retreats sounded appealing.  (Of course, she told me this when I told her I didn’t want to join her Mastermind, but it felt all too real at the time.)

That was a month after selling my house in Texas and moving to Ohio to create a life with JB.  I was no longer actively parenting (hello, empty nest). At the same time, I was shifting the focus of my business from consulting and project management to coaching.

Fortunately for me, I’d just hired a new life coach. (The reminder that while someone may be a good fit as a coach or mentor during one season of your life may not grow with your needs.)

And a single conversation with helped me shift from feeling lost to feeling grounded.

And it all began by admitting that I didn’t have lofty goals for the year ahead. Rather, I wanted to find love and beauty in the simple moments of my everyday life. Rather than shame me for seeming ordinary desires, she helped me see that there was nobility in simple goals.

While my mind had been toying over a variety of ideas of shifting my business life in a way that felt more sustainable. And allowing my personal and home life to have priority over my work life. But it did feel silly when compared to the bigger goals of others.

She asked me what a perfectly imperfect ordinary day would be like.

Rather than leaving me and told me to describe it in exquisite detail from the moment I woke until I fell asleep. When I would pause, she’d help me continue by asking a question about what comes next.

I’d done similar exercises in the past, of course, but usually when someone asks you to describe a Perfect Day, they encourage the fantasy. They applaud and push you to create scenarios where you’re waking to a sunny beach out the front door and snow covered hills out the back door. Or waking in Tuscany and laying your head down in London.

How would I describe a perfectly imperfect ordinary day? That question had me fantasizing not about what I WANTED if I were ever going to find satisfaction or happiness. No, darling, it allowed me to finally understand that I got to create my everyday life.

Here’s how to do the Perfectly Imperfect Ordinary Day process for yourself.
  1. Grab a pen and your journal. Taking pen to paper helps you get through the mental clutter.
  2. Begin by describing your day from the moment you rise.
  3. Include details like what your home and surroundings are like. And what you’re wearing.
  4. Add delicious tidbits like what gives you pleasure.
  5. Whenever you get stuck, go back to the basics of living your life. Look for pivot points like time of day, meals, and relationships.

Yes, imagining a perfect fantasy day puts you outside the box and allows you to find the traces of what you desire. But you can’t actually live in the fantasy. Then, my darling, parlay this work by taking action.

Yes, find the nuggets of what you define as perfectly imperfect in your ideal day that can be present tomorrow.

Best of all, it allows you to define what you can have right now.

The perfectly imperfect ordinary day process invites you to not just feel satisfied and fulfilled. It helps you choose happiness in the here and now rather than waiting.

Darling: one thing to know is that hidden within the stresses of everyday life are blessings. When we examine what’s beautiful in the imperfections or our ordinary day, you get to do something magical: hone your focus for living a full life.

Because no matter what glorious vacations you may take. Or how fabulous a wedding might be or a date night feels good. Our lives are lived in the ordinary trenches of daily life.

By focusing on an ordinary day that is beautiful in all it’s perfect moments and crazy imperfections, you can more easily see what you really desire to experience.

You get to focus on your daily life instead of some fantasy in the future.

The reason I return to this process is simple. It helps me love myself and my life more easily. If I am to be a better custodian of my time, my focus, my business, my relationships, and my soul, then it’s my responsibility to be clear around those ordinary days.

Whether you’re feeling clear, murky, or somewhere in the middle, play with this activity and see what your heart and mind want to tell you about your daily life. In some ways, it’s a form of positive day dreaming. It’s also a step on the path to taking all the ideas you have in your head about your life and your work and really exploring the essence of how you desire to spend your time.

We all want the fantasy; we all dream about what happens LATER. But designing – and living – your own perfectly imperfect day? That can happen NOW.

I'll be honest.  This week's recipe isn't one of those "quick and easy" things. This is one of those recipes that you should linger over and savor.  Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. If you're looking for something that fits the fall season - or want to add a special elegance to your Thanksgiving meal, this soup is your ticket!  It combines the best of what is sweet and savory in a soup, giving you a delectable balance.

Butternut Squash is a winter squash, which means it should be chosen and cooked during this time period. Choosing ingredients that are in season means that you will get the most flavorful version of your produce.  When possible, choose produce that is grown locally.  Local produce means that your produce comes to the table soon after harvesting.

Stage One: Roasted Squash.  Preheat oven to 400. If you have a convection oven, preheat to 375.   Cut 2 Butternut Squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds and any stringy pulp.    Using a spoon, scoop a hollow out of the top portion of the squash, placing the scooped out hard squash in the big hollow at the bottom so you don’t waste any squash.   Place squash, flesh side up, on a parchment lined or Pam sprayed baking dish.
Place a tablespoon of butter  and a teaspoon of maple syrup into each cavity of the squash.  Lightly spray the flesh with olive oil.  The butter will keep the squash moist and add flavor.  The olive oil will keep  it moist until the butter melts and allow the spices to stick to the flesh!
Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper as well as a heavy sprinkling of cinnamon.  Bake for about an hour or until squash is tender.  To test, insert a spoon into the flesh.  If it sinks in easily and is golden brown, it’s ready to be removed from the oven.
When cooled, scoop out the roasted squash.  If making the soup the next day, place in sealed container in the fridge.

By the way, this is an amazing side dish all on it's own.  While you're roasting, why not throw in another Butternut squash?  Just scoop, stir and serve!
Stage Two:  Soup Base:  Chop your base veggies.  You'll need 1 medium onion, 4 medium carrots, 4 stalks of celery, 2 medium leeks, sliced into moon shaped pieces (and cleaned!)  In a large stockpot, 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter over medium-high heat.  After melted, 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Add onion, carrots, celery and leeks and sauté for about 5 minutes.  Add 6 cloves of minced garlic and 4 sprigs of thyme and continue to sauté until the vegetables are translucent, approximately 5 to 8 minutes.  Add 2 cups of good white wine, and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add the 1/2 cup of bourbon, 1 star anise pod, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 4 whole cloves and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.  Stir well.  Add the roasted squash and 6 cups of vegetable stock or water.  Bring soup to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

Scoop out the star anise pod as well as the cloves.  Now, it's time to blend all the flavors together.  IF you have an immersion blender, use it to make your soup smooth and creamy.  If not, allow this soup to COOL and, in small batches, put in your blender.

During these cool fall months, I serve this as an appetizer sometimes - and as a side dish to go with roasted Italian sausage or pork loin. 

You can also use this soup as a sauce base. Brown a pound of ground pork with a diced onion, two tablespoons of powdered sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss in a cup to cup and a half of this soup and then serve it over some fresh pasta (the pasta you find in the refrigerator case at the grocery store.)

This recipe makes a whopping 15 cups of soup.  You could reduce the recipe in half, but I typically make a full batch and freeze perfect portions in my favorite 3-cup BPA free freezer containers.  It will keep in your freezer for up to 6 months. 

Volume 9-Issue 23

November 09,2019

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:
Instagram | Facebook Twitter.


“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

a year of support

Make 2020
YOUR Year with
a Year of 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
Your response to Fear

Also in the Blog

Did you know that the Fight-Flight-or-Freeze response to fear is present in our daily lives?

Click here to read==> Stressing Out? Here’s How to Understand Your Response to Fear and How to Deal


Debra.  Your blogs and columns and coaching advice always seem supportive and like they’re coming from a place of love.

~Melissa Bartell, Word Ninja.  Bathtub Mermaid

Love Yourself & Track 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.

A Joy

Working with Debra is a joy.

She inspires me, she supports me, and she gives me direction so I can identify my needs and my wants. But she doesn’t stop there. Not only does she assist me in laying the foundation, but she gives me the tools to actually achieve the life I desire. This is an ongoing process, not a quick fix. And it takes practice.

If I veer off my intended path, Debra has given me the structure, along with the tools to get back on track. Since working with Debra, my life flows more smoothly, I know where I’m heading and I know how to get there.

I feel better about myself and my life. I look forward to each day as an adventure!

–Susan Mushkin

masks we wear

Also from the Blog

Do you hide who you are behind masks of every day life? Here's what to know.

Read ==> The Masks & Disguises of Everyday Life


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
Refresh Your Home

in the Blog

A tidy, clean home can have a real effect on your mindset, helping you to feel lighter and with a clearer mind. You can create a much better atmosphere at home with some deep cleaning or a good clear out. Changing up your home a little can help to change your mindset. Especially before the holiday season arrives

Read Six Ways to Refresh Your Home Before the Holiday Season Arrives
Copyright © 2019 Debra Smouse - Create a Life You Love, All rights reserved.

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