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“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life.
Be happy now.
Don’t wait for something
outside of yourself to
make you happy in the future. ”

--Earl Nightingale

Happy Saturday, dear, NAME. Can you believe it’s already December?

I got caught in that cycle in my head Tuesday evening. It was one of those longer days. JB was out of town for work, so I’d risen around 5 AM, jumped right into work, had several calls, and by the time it began to get dark, I was just too tired to cook dinner.  

As once does, my mind went to the worst thoughts: "Good heavens, I haven't had a good meal all week.

Forgetting, of course, the beautiful meal we’d had on Thanksgiving. And the absolutely scrumptious meal snacks for dinnerwe had Saturday evening (that recipe is below). And on Monday, I met a girlfriend for a delightful meal.....

Our thoughts will always focus on the negative. Especially when we're tired.

So, instead of wallowing in my tiredness and simply appreciating that I didn't want to cook, I made a beautiful Charcuterie of salami, two kinds of cheese, olives, and a small number of Lemon, Sea Salt and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Crackers . (BTW - these are so yummy.)

And it was just what my mind (and soul) needed.

That's the thing: to recognize that it's easy to lose track of the good moments in our lives. Sure, we may photograph a beautiful meal for Instagram, but forget it when we're tired and hungry.

Maybe one of the reasons I focus on creating a daily life that you love is because I finally understand the reality that we humans are meant to experience the highs and the lows of living. And, that we spend most daily lifeof our time in the middle of that.

When we can capture the beauty in the every day parts - the ones that aren't high or low. Well, darling, that's when life becomes truly exquisite.

That "normal" life is really the best part of living. To savor the small moments. 

Or to make an ordinary Tuesday night something special with just a little creativity. Besides, who says that snacks doesn't make a nice meal for one?

I find that I especially need to remind myself of that as we get closer to the holidays. The energy of so many people is frantic as they seek to create perfect holidays for everyone.

So, tell me, darling, what about you? Are you focusing on the stress? Are you only capturing the perfect moments? What can you do the capture the beauty in the ordinary moments? Does the energy of the holidays push you and pull you? How can you step away from perfection?

In what way you can take that moment your of feeling tired, hungry, and as if nothing has been good in you DO look goodages and allow it to become a moment of pleasure.

How might you recognize that in the midst of messy days, you DO look good? (this is over the sink in my favorite local bakery rather than a mirror).
What can you do to capture the beauty that is all around us? How can you grant yourself permission to stop focusing on the highs and the lows and finding grace in the middles?  What can I do to help you find your threads of courage and love? How can I help you prepare for an amazing end to 2019 and a beautiful beginning to 2020?

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.

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

PSS - I am taking ONE or Two new clients beginning January 15th. If coaching is on your list for 2020, feel free to  book a Discovery Session now and we can see if we're a good fit. If not, I am happy to refer you to other coaches I know.

From the blog:  Self-Care for the Holidays (and Beyond)

If the song tells us that this is the “most wonderful time of the year,” then why are so many folks so stressed out? Yes, my dear, I know that with all the demands on your time and attention as the holidays approach, often what gets tossed aside is self-care. Yet, my darling, that’s the last thing that you should be sacrificing.

Because if you aren’t nourished – mind, body, and soul – then it will be practically impossible to enjoy the holidays. Because, darling, not tending your own needs will eventually lead to burnout. No matter what time of year it may be.

Here’s twenty-four things to consider when it comes to self-care during the holiday season (and beyond)

Self-Care for the Holidays

One: Be more compassionate with yourself.

Self-compassion is a vital tool in cultivating a life that is full of contentment no matter what is going on in our lives. That inner critic contemplates the negative and berates us for the mistakes, no matter how minor, and refuses to congratulate if the slightest flaw or wrinkle is apparent. The irony is that while we think being tough on ourselves, towing a strict line, and holding our feet to the fire is beneficial on the road toward success happiness, the opposite is actually true. The quality of our lives is largely due to the way we think we are doing. Self-care demands more self-compassion.

Two: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry… in Moderation

Drink a glass of wine at dinner. Eat the dessert. But don’t finish a bottle of wine or indulge in dessert every night. Ensure that most of your meals are healthy to balance out the holiday treats. And up your water intake as it’s easy to forget that we still need to stay hydrated in cooler weather.

Three: Put your phone down already!

I popped into the washroom after breakfast out with girlfriends, and standing at the sink was a woman leaning over the sink on her phone. Driving to Target the other day I had to change lanes to get out of the way of a reckless driver; glancing over at her, I noticed that she was reading her phone. These are not rare occurrences. The addiction to smart devices is an epidemic, and we miss so much with our necks hunched and our eyes looking down at our screens (not to mention what it’s doing to our bodies).

If putting away your tech is difficult, make a game of it: when you go to lunch or dinner with a group, have everyone pile their phones in the center of the table. The first person to check their phone for anything other than an incoming call, buys for everyone (or buys dessert, or the next round of drinks). At home, consider instituting no-tech nights.

Four: Self-Care Demands You Get More Rest

In the name of self-care, stop burning the midnight oil. Adequate sleep is critical to the way the body and mind function (and there’s lots of science to back that up). Don’t forget that technology can interfere with your ability to sleep well, so no devices in the bedroom!

If you have a job that requires you to be “on call” at the very least enable the features that most new phones have, allowing you to shift your screen colors into a warmer spectrum from sundown to sunrise. It’s easier on the eyes, and the brain.

Five: Schedule that doctor’s appointment already.

Have you been putting off going to the doctor? Make the appointment. Especially if you are worried about what the doctor might tell you. If you are putting off an essential self-care because your doctor shames you for an issue (ie – needing to lose some weight, not dealing with high blood pressure or high blood sugar, etc) then find a doctor with a better bedside manner. You have the power to choose better doctors to serve you.

Six: While you’re making appointments…

All the things you do in the name of “beauty” are acts of self-care. Do yourself a favor and make –  at a minimum  – your next three appointments for each of the ways you beautify your body: hair appointments, nail appointments, massage appointments, and such.

Seven: Speaking of beauty…

I am a no-nonsense gal when it comes to make-up. I can get from shower to full make-up in a half-hour. But a couple of years ago, I decided to invest in myself when it comes to the make-up department.  Though it was a bit of a challenge mentally when I spent $49 on a bottle of foundation rather than the $12 I was spending at the drugstore, I discovered that there is a difference other than cost: quality. While the drugstore foundation lasted about a month, the department store foundation lasted almost six months.

Since then, I've slowly but surely upgraded the quality of all of my beauty products. A nice bronzer or blush lasts a year. Those beautiful eye-shadow palates even longer. And, my dear, there is something just delectable in a beautiful and luscious lipstick. (My favorite lipsticks these days are by Charlotte Tilbury.)

Spending some time at the beauty counter may be just the self-care you need. Because when you feel good in your own skin, you'll feel more confident. And confidence always makes me feel more joyful.

Eight: Use Your Good Stuff. Daily.

While we’re on the subject of the good stuff, wear your good perfume and use your “company” china. Using your good stuff every day sends the signal to your soul that you are valued. Besides, using the good stuff turns and ordinary day into an exceptional one.

Nine: Examine who you spend time with and choose them with self-care in mind

Research reveales that while healthy social connections helps make us happier, they are outweighed by the adverse effects of strained relationships.  Spending time trying with people who can’t give us what we need puts us in the mindset of never being worthy enough for love. We increase our own stress level and add to our own suffering when we reach out to those who are unable to love us as we are. The hard truth is, we can’t force people to change.

For the sake of nourishing your own soul, reduce your time with those who move you further away from loving yourself instead of closer. Choose the people you spend time with, choose to be intimate with, wisely, because they have a significant influence over the quality of your life.

Ten: Boundaries Equal Self-Care

Sometimes the folks that drain your energy or make you feel like you’ll never measure up are folks we can’t avoid: co-workers, family members, service providers. Even if we’ve set clear boundaries in the past, when we’re tired or stressed, our boundaries get lax. Sometimes people will attempt to make you feel guilty or shame you for saying “no”. Their reaction is all the more evidence that you need a boundary with these people. Respect your need for self-care, your sense of self-worth, and your feelings by protecting yourself with better boundaries.

Eleven: Take note of What Activities Do Not Feel Like Self-Care

Did a particular activity stress you out or exhaust you? Make a note on your calendar to say no to that activity next year. That way, you won’t forget how excruciating the office Christmas party was, or how drained you felt after Thanksgiving at Aunt Sally’s.  And while you’re making that note on your calendar, block off at least one day a week next year to have a night at home.

Twelve: Make a List

It’s easy to look at our goals and believe we’ve “accomplished nothing”. Make a list of everything wonderful you’ve done in the last twelve months. Take time to celebrate all your accomplishments – big and small.

Trust me: I know how easy it is to look at your life and see that one thing that’s still outstanding instead of the ten goals you’ve achieved. That’s one of the reasons I use my Bullet Journal to keep not just my “to do” list, but also my “what I’ve done”.

Thirteen: There’s Still Time

You may arrive in December and believe that your goals and resolutions were just a pipe-dream. Not true! There is still time to, if not accomplish a goal, at least make progress. Commit to ushering one of your dreams into your reality by taking that first step towards one of your goals.

You deserve to create the kind of life you desire – and going after your goals in an act in extreme self-care.

Fourteen: Seek Regular Silence

Did you know there’s a correlation between high blood pressure and chronic sources of noise? Perhaps the noise you are around isn’t chronic, but it highlights the power of noise our bodies and soul. In the name of self-care, make space for regular silence in your daily life. Maybe it’s in the car on the way home or the first half hour after you get home. You need some quiet to feel nourished.

Fifteen: Make Space for Reading

The Greeks believed that reading was healing for the soul and research has shown that reading will make you happier. Consider reading as “biblio-therapy” and make space for it in your life. Even if you aren’t a big fan of books, indulge in a favorite magazine or reread a favorite book.

Sixteen: The Gift of Nothing

Give yourself a day without a to-do list. No obligations, no errands, no parties: just a day of nothing. This doesn’t mean you have to lay on the couch or stay in bed the entire day, unless that’s the one thing you most need to do. This is about granting yourself the permission to do whatever you want. Just relax, lose track of time, wander, nap, tinker, play, follow where your curiosity leads.

Seventeen:Savor at least One Holiday Shopping Excursion

Most of the shopping we do these days is either online or in a hurry. The crowds are stressful as is the traffic. Yet, the stores are decorated beautifully and there are always little things offered during the holiday shopping time that aren’t in stores otherwise. Choosing to designate at least one shopping excursion as a savored ritual is nourishing. And don’t forget, window shopping can be fun if you go into it with the attitude of having a few hours of exploring.

Eighteen: Give Without Expectation

Observe what those you care about would appreciate, what would make them feel loved, known, and heard. Let the results of those observations guide you as you decide how to give. Yet, do so in the pure spirit of giving. Choose an “angel” from a tree to purchase a gift for, or volunteer time at your favorite charity. Though it can feel like just one more thing on your to-do list, being generous with your gifts – whether money, talent, or time – can be an act of self-care.

Nineteen: In the Name of Self-Care Buy That Thing You Want

Speaking of shopping, buy that thing you really want – even if – or especially if – it doesn’t seem “practical.” Yes, I’m talking about that pair of shoes you’ve been lusting after, or that floral arrangement you’ve been eying for your dining room table. No, don’t go into debt or buy things that will just add clutter to your world. But if you really want something, stop denying your desires.

Investing in something you desire is an act of self-care and a sign to your soul that you value those desires.

Twenty: Dress to Impress… Yourself

Check your closet to see what you already have and love, and then take advantage of the aptly timed sales going on to finish or freshen your look.  Research shows that what we wear also affects how we feel about ourselves, so as a nod to self-care, buy clothes that make you feel good about yourself.

Twenty-One: Plan a Day of Decorating

You’ve probably done your holiday decorating this year, but go to your calendar right now and make an appointment with yourself for a day of decorating next year. During the holidays, your home can be transformed into a festive holiday sanctuary with pine boughs, stockings hung, and tabletops becoming adorned with festive crimson and white. Knowing that the decor is temporary offers a welcomed change, but also the gift of packing it up for the next season and kicking off the new year with a fresh new home.

Choosing to see decking the halls as an act of self-care AND making the space for it in your schedule will lift your spirits.

Twenty-Two: Try New Things

When opportunity comes knocking, don’t slam the door in its face. True, you may be saying yes to things you don’t want to do during the holiday season, but don’t say no to something just because you’ve never done it before.  You never know when that spark of inspiration will grab your eye, and you find your next new hobby that you couldn’t imagine living without.

Twenty-Three: Listen to Your Gut

The only way to come to trust your gut is to use it.  It is something that most women are more likely to listen to, but following it is often an entirely different thing.  Your subconscious will work for you if you let it and are willing to listen

Twenty-Four: Plan an After Holiday Respite

Okay, let’s be honest, the holidays can be exhausting. Yes, they are lovely and provide an opportunity to reflect, be grateful and truly be present, but at the end of December or January 1st, most of us are ready for life to get back to “normal”.  So why not plan an after holiday respite to look forward to?  This can be a trip or just a few days off to putter around your house. The gift of time and rest is a way to nourish your mind, body, and soul!

Acts of self-care remind yourself that YOU MATTER. And that’s critical especially during the holiday season.

As Audre Lorde would remind us, self-care isn’t the same as self-indulgence. Rather, it’s an act of survival. We’ve all heard the adage about not being able to serve from an empty vessel. It’s true all year long, but especially so during the holidays, when even those of us who are typically laid back find ourselves buying into the hype and unable to resist the annual rushing around.

You, my darling, are a finite resource. Self-care is the way we refill the vessel that is made of our mind, body, and spirit. Self-care, is how we refresh ourselves.

Do you ever buy something at the supermarket on a whim without a particular recipe in mind? Like some broccoli because it's on sale and looks good. Or a cheese you've never eaten before yet the samples are delicious.

In my case, it was a pound of ground chicken breast. They were out of the ground pork I usually buy. And it was something...different.

But then...unless you get motivated pretty quickly, it lingers in the fridge (or pantry). On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I was doing my best to create meals over what was left in the fridge. John was leaving the next day for a business trip...and in addition to leftover turkey to be frozen, I wanted to ensure that nothing got tossed for the simple reason I neglected it.

This is how I came to make Basil Pesto Chicken Meatballs.

chicken meatballs

Preheat the oven to 350 (or 325 if you have a convection oven).  Put a piece of parchment paper on your favorite cookie sheet.

Begin with a pound of ground chicken and place it in a bowl that gives you room to work. Next, add 2 tablespoons of good Basil Pesto, 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, several grinds of fresh pepper, and either 2 teaspoons of garlic powder OR two teaspoons of FRESH Ground Garlic (this is in the produce department in a TUBE).

Mix WELL together. Either with a rubber spatula or your hands. 

Now, make the meatballs. Small meatballs are about 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture. Shape into a ball. This will be a sticky meatball, yet know it has NO fillers or binders. Place each meatball on the parchment lined cookie sheet.

Once the meatballs are made - this makes 24 of them - bake for 30 minutes.

These can be eaten as they are. They can be frozen for up to 3 months. They can be tossed in with a can or two of crushed tomatoes for a pasta sauce with meatball - all depending upon how saucy you want them.

When we had this for dinner, I served these with the tomatoes over pasta for JB and without the pasta for me.

Volume 9-Issue 25

December 07, 2019

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.


“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
small acts of kindness

Over at YourTango

When your partner makes you so mad you could spit nails, it’s easier to deal with your anger when you recall the times he’s fixed you that cup of tea when you were feeling stressed, or jumped in and done the dishes when dinner is over.

READ ==> Why Small Acts of Kindness Matter

Facing Teeny Cracks of Vulnerability

My working relationship with Deb began a number of years ago through an online course in which we both participated – post-course, we agreed with a few colleagues to an online accountability relationship for positive steps we were all taking in our lives. During that time for me, Deb established her attention to detail and her accountability to both contribute input and to positively listen to each of the persons involved with the group. After that group ended, she and I personally kept in touch loosely over our blogposts and those posts of other online friends.

When Deb posted her “Sex Kitten” course for the first time, I was totally taken with the clever title and provocative content offered for positive and long-reaching advances in one’s personal and in one’s very personal life. I dialed in for a personal conversation about whether or not we were a match regarding present and future ambitions of mine and…….“the rest is history!”

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, Abstract Artist


Also in the Blog

The holiday season can feel challenging. Whether it's because of the added stresses and demands on your time. Or the darker days due to winter's approach. Gratitude can help.

Click here to read==>  Cultivating Gratitude May Be the Answer to the Challenges of the Season


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.

Ordinary Desire

Also from the Blog

Just because your desires and small or seem too simple when you compare yourself to others doesn't mean it's a bad thing.

Rather, it's the sign that it's time to shed the shame of wanting ordinary desires.

Read ==> Having Seemingly Ordinary Desires Doesn’t Mean Your Playing Small



I would just like to state for the record that Debra Smouse is a genius and an awesome listener, to boot.

In one phone conversation with her, I was able to verbalize, and thus realize, something that had been on the tip of my brain for weeks.  Her simple way of listening and asking led to a proverbial light bulb moment that has stayed with me for days and has helped open up new, clearer avenues of thought and feeling.

~Brandi Lee, Photographer, Small Business Owner



One of my tricks to do this when times are tough is to take pen to paper and write down gratitude quotes in my journal. So, even if I can’t access the emotions with my own words, then I can be inspired by the words of gratitude by people like the poet Rumi, the researcher Brene Brown, and the Monk David Steindl-Rast.

Here are seventy-nine gratitude quotes to turn to when you need inspiration to choose happiness


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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