You can find magic in the ordinary day
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“ The ordinary arts we practice
every day at home
are of more importance to the soul
than their simplicity might suggest.”
--Thomas Moore


Happy Saturday, dear,<<Name>>. How is your 2020 going so far? How are you feeling about your goals Family for 90th Birthday at Disneyand resolutions? Or are you taking it slowly? (I'm taking it slowly, my dear, just to be honest).

As I mentioned in my last love note, we gathered with JB’s family to celebrate the New Year and his mother’s 90th birthday. We began in Fort Myers Beach with JB’s siblings. And then we joined his entire family – grandchildren and great grandchildren – 23 of us in all – at Disney World. Our group ranged from almost one to 90! What a truly magical experience.

My friend, let me tell you, that is a lot of folks all together Disney World at one of the busiest times of year.  I was worried, I’ll admit. But overall, it was amazing. No big meltdowns from the little ones. Lots of playing in the parks with some folks and then gathering back together for dinner or breakfast.

JB and I mostly stuck with his 8 and 10-year-old nephews. Doing Disney World with active and engaged boys was a different experience for me than leisurely trips with just the two of us. And quite different from any solo time or my Animal Kingdomgirls’ trip. We hit every inch of the parks and did as many rides as we could possibly do (based on fast passes and lines).

Though we were sad when everyone else left on the 5th, we stayed two more days. One more day in the parks with just the two of us – back out our leisurely ways of doing Disney World. Leisurely strolling through the parks, stopping at one of the lounges to rest and have a cocktail. And then back to the room for a long rest before heading back out for Disney’s After-Hours event.

It was nice to see all ends of the spectrum on this trip. And I was reminded about one of the things Disney does well: the details.

From the resorts to the parks to individual rides, Disney cares about the details. From the Mickey Shaped coffeesugar cubes in the lounge at the hotel, to the aging of the Hollywood Hotel (Tower of Terror), to the gravestones at the Haunted Mansion, to the way their cast members (aka employees) go to the next level to make your experience, well, more magical.

I love the adventure of travel, the opportunity to experience new places and connect with other beautiful souls. And still, there is nothing more delightful than to spend that first night in my own bed and wake-up and be able to make coffee in my own kitchen.

It reminded me how much I need regular play and ways to feed me creatively outside of the computer.

As much as we enjoyed family and friends, I have to say again: being home is a very good thing. All that Disney Magic? Well, I was reminded I have a different kind of magic before me every day: ordinary magic.

I am ready to return to routine days. To go to my favorite grocery store, choose ingredients I know from the MKfolks I have come to know and love, and then make dinner in my own kitchen. I love eating out sometimes, but not all the time!

There are so many small aspects of tending to life that make it so much more pleasant: from those home-cooked meals to fresh sheets on the bed every Thursday to knowing there's a warm blanket to throw across my legs as I read in a favorite chair. I know one of my favorite coffee cups is within reach and all around me are books I can read (or re-read). It seems I especially need these small pieces of life during the winter months.

These may seem small or insignificant, but the older I get the more I learn that they are what I need to fuel my soul. Even better than a family trip to Disney World.

So tell me, darling: What tiny details of your days add up to more? How are you settling into this new year? Does how you begin your day affect the balance of it? Is it time to take a good look at all your routines? How might a trip somewhere - and then returning home - renew your love of home?  What have you really been coffee at homewanting to do in the first part of the day yet haven't?

What are your priorities as we are now firmly into 2020? Have you taken action towards those goals of yours?  How might finding beauty in your daily life - and home - support that? 

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.

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 this month. 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:  Seven Tips to Get Things Done When Your Motivation Has Gone Missing

When I first made the decision to have a blog associated with my coaching practice, I made a commitment to myself and anyone visiting that I would have a fresh post each week.  Some weeks, this commitment feels easy.  My muse softly whispers in my ear and the words flow without struggle. I believed that because I was passionate about the work I was doing, I’d never lack for motivation.

I wish that I could tell you that’s I sit down to the computer every day knowing just what to write here. That my desire to help folks live a life that felt more nourishing and loving would flow from my fingers to the page. And that I would always have the ability to help find the motivation for folks to actually make changes in their lives. Rather than accept burnout.

Yet, darling, I would be lying if I told you I always had a burning motivation each and every week.

Just like you, I have moments of feeling overwhelmed by my responsibilities. There is always laundry to wash and fold. Meals need to be prepared from start to finish – which includes grocery shopping, cooking, and dishes. And even when I love tending these things, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take time away from my writing.

Of course, there are times my body just interferes. I’m feeling too restless to just sit at my desk. Or I am struck down by a bad case of bronchitis and struggle with doing anything beyond laying on the couch.

Other times, the voice of my Inner Critic overwhelms my Muse, sending her cowering to the corner with phrases designed to keep me small. Those voices in my head say things like “who do you think you are?” and “that’s a stupid idea” and other such nonsense. Since I am my own boss, I could make excuses because, who’s to know, right?   But here’s the deal, kitten:  our Inner Critics are Pros at helping us justify-away not making progress towards our goals and commitments.

There’s also all the ways I get distracted: social media especially distracts me. Or I read a great article by someone else. And then feel zero motivation because the old comparison pops up and I believe I’ll never write anything as brilliant.

Motivation Missing?

I’d planned to dive into 2020 with gusto, but to be honest that hasn’t exactly happened. We traveled over the holidays and getting back into the swing of things this month has been hard.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last.
Well, neither does bathing –
that’s why we recommend it daily.”
–Zig Ziglar

Yet, here I am with a fresh blog post. And that love note I send every-other-Saturday will arrive like clockwork. So, I’m sure your’e asking the question: how am I getting stuff done? I’ve been sick, battled with my inner critic, and battling the demons of distraction. That’s why I wanted to share some of my favorite tools, tips, and tricks to deal with the challenge around missing motivation.

And, darling, best of all, these tips are usable and adaptable for all sorts of challenges: eating right, exercising, writing, creating art or any kind of work you find yourself avoiding.

If your motivation has gone missing, here’s seven tools to turn to to help you get things done.

One – Make Peace with Your Lack of Motivation thanks to Awareness and Acceptance

The first step for me is to create awareness around the fact that I’m struggling, courting my muse or battling fear demons. Sure, it’s easier to avoid that awareness, because coming to grips with it can be a bit painful.  But, to continue to argue with the reality of the situation just delays getting anywhere.

What I find most helpful when working through awareness is pulling out pen and paper. Whether it’s making a list, turning to my journal, or exploring a series of questions to help me find my answer, a pen and paper is helpful.

Then, it’s a matter of accepting the fact that THIS is where I am for the moment.  Acceptance allows me to start from the here and move forward.

Two – Stop Looking for the Siren’s Song of Inspiration

It’s easy to get caught within Siren’s Song that promises Results if we are Inspired. We tell ourselves that, of course we can Get Things Done if we feel  motivated, inspired or enthused about an area of our life when it’s meant to be. And I get it.  I love it when my muse is Loud and Strong. The trouble is that if we require these feelings, this level of inspiration, to be present before we take action, then we’re setting ourselves up for major disappointment and few real changes in life.

It isn’t that we’re not motivated, it’s just that we expect to FEEL motivated before we have to take action.  The truth of the matter is that motivation is created by showing up.  Not the other way around.

The trick is to stop looking for inspiration and just do the work. Yes, even when you’re tired or feeling a crappy. Even when your inner voices are screaming in your ear. Taking action helps restore your motivation eventually.

Three – Find Your Motivation with Supportive Routines

So, how do you show up when you aren’t feeling it? You create supportive routines around your goals. Routines allow us to get our bodies involved.  At first, it may feel as if you’re going through the motions, but here’s the deal: when our bodies become engaged through the muscle memory of routines and habits, it allows our minds and souls to engage with us.

This is the challenge, by the way, of pursuing our goals and resolutions. We have desires. And sometimes we even make plans to make those desires into real goals. But if we don’t make space for taking action towards our goals in our everyday life, they’ll never really come into fruition. Making space in your daily life for what you desire allows you to get things done. Even when you’re motivation is missing.

Four – You can find Motivation by Utilizing the Body-Head-Soul Loop

As creative beings, we have this awesome system with which to work. It is comprised of these three elements of being:  our bodies, our heads (minds/thoughts) and our soul (or heart’s desires). It’s a circle. Think of it as the Body-Head-Soul Loop (B-H-S).

When it comes to motivation, most people think that creating things – change, weight loss, businesses, art – is all about inspiration. Or, the Soul.  And yes, an idea or concept might originate within the soul. The good thing, though, is that  B-H-S is a closed loop – and you can enter it from any point! I have discovered that I can choose to enter from whichever point is available to me in the moment.  This allows me to set aside the requirement for where to always start.

And it means that none of the points has to be “the best” or the “only” place for me.

When my motivation is lacking, I begin with the body. When you allow your body to lead, eventually your head becomes involved. Eventually, the action allows us to reconnect to that motivation from the soul level.

I know it doesn’t sound very sexy, but, baby, it is the unimpressive truth.

Five – Remember the Art of Compassionate Discipline

Let’s be honest: as humans want to experience pleasure over pain (at least most of the time).  Words like “goals” “discipline” and “action” seem worlds away from pleasure.  Of course I want to feel good.  I want ease and flow!  I want unlimited cupcakes, lattes and for the words to just jump onto the page.

But you don’t move forward in any area of your life if you don’t sometimes go against the flow of things.  (And let’s face it, cupcakes sound a lot more pleasurable than going for a jog!)  But to live only for this kind of pleasure means that we’re giving into our inner two year-old and ignoring the dreams of our deeper wiser self.

Compassionate discipline brings  clarity and deliberateness to the game and trumps that a momentary tantrum. By channeling it, compassionate discipline requires that we let our vision for our life guide us.  It also invites us to cut ourselves some slack.

Six – Create a Minimum Weekly Requirement and Non-Negotiable Standards.

When my muse is strong, I can easily create 10,000 words of content in the blink of an eye.  When my motivation seems to be missing in action, I apply the Art of Compassionate Discipline with the creation of a Minimum Weekly Requirement (MWR). Think of the MWR like the amount of Vitamin C and D your body needs each day. The MWR is about engaging the B-H-S loop.

So, your goals and dreams and desires bring your soul in the mix.  Our souls want us to live an engaged life. Our heads get involved by defining what that minimum weekly requirement is. When we take action with routines and giving ourselves a deadline, we’re better able to accomplish tasks. Even big ones

For me, it’s two pieces of writing per week. However, if your motivation is lacking around your weight loss goals, it may start simply with three 30-minute walks a week by Sunday. And for an artist, it may be a number of hours in the studio.

This is where non-negotiable standards can serve you, too. Setting non-negotiable standards means that you are setting the rules for your life according to your desires, not the desires of others. It’s about choosing to take control on the quality of your daily life. It’s easy for a bad day – or bad series of days – get us off track. This is another way to get things done when motivation is invisible.

Seven – Give Yourself Grace and Be Grateful for Baby Steps

Every journey, no matter how large or small, begins with a single step.  Getting your motivation in gear is no different.   Motivation is created by momentum.  Momentum doesn’t have to begin with huge gestures to get started. We can begin with a tiny movement and as the momentum grows, we create success towards our goals.  Over time, we suddenly find our motivation has returned in force.

And, over time, those tiny victories will allow us to create a larger body of work.

Look, darling.  I know that it can on.sometimes feel as if our motivation will never return.

But I promise that if you access even a portion of these tools, you’ll be able to get things done, and eventually get back in the saddle of motivation.

I don't know about you, but there's something about cold winter days that calls for SOUP. Especially if you're struggling with a cold or just not feeling 100%. (We came home from Florida with a humdinger of a soupcold).

Better yet: when making the soup allows you to use up leftovers in a way that creates something totally different? THAT is a winner in my book.  So, if you're a leftovers-in-the-freezer kind of gal like me, this recipe is for you: Turkey Tortilla Soup.

For Thanksgiving, I made a Turkey breast for JB and I as well as a couple of batches of turkey stock. Of course, there were leftovers. I mean, you can only eat so much leftover turkey with gravy, right? And who wants "holiday food" in January?

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, 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, and add the onions and a sprinkling of kosher salt (to sweat the onions). Next add carrots: two diced carrots or a handful of those matchstick carrots. 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.

As this sautes, dice 1/2 a can of Chipoltle peppers in adobe sauce. I'm not a big fan of big spice, so I sliced the peppers open and removed the seeds before dicing them. Add the diced peppers as well as a couple of spoons of the Adobe sauce to the mixture on the stove. Set aside.

Here's where things can go two ways: I made this on a lazy Sunday after doing the breakfast dishes, and wanted to use my Crock Pot so dinner would be ready whenever we got hungry. 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 or chicken 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.  Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

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, grated cheese, and your favorite tortilla chips.

Because this makes enough for leftovers, you make it a bit of a different meal by serving soup over cooked rice. Note that you might want to add some extra broth if this is the case.

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.
  • The leftover Chipoltle Peppers in Adobe sauce can be put in the freezer.

Volume 10-Issue 2

January 18, 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.


“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


In the relatively short period of time that I have worked with Debra, she has been awesome. She has helped me to get and stay focused, hold me accountable in a manner that was effective and beneficial to me and my life. In addition, she gave me great insights into how I can get much more balanced as well as how I can handle delicate situations in my life. I walk away from our sessions with a renewed sense of purpose and focus in all aspects of my life. She is tough when I need her to be tough, yet supportive at the same time. She instinctively knows what I need.

I was hesitant to have a woman coach me. I went with my instincts and I am glad that I did. Debra is a true professional that is dedicated to her client’s success. I should know, I have been coaching people and developing people for the last 25 plus years. I would highly recommend her if you want to gain more from all aspects of your life.

~Michael Ehrler, Business Coach

Also in the Blog

I know that making the decision to choose happiness – especially when life feels pretty rotten – can be tough. That’s why, time after time, I turn to a collection of quotes to help remind me that making the choice to be happy is the path to actually BEING happier.

Click here to read==> 67 Quotes to Remind You That Choosing to Be Happy is the Best Decision Ever

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

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?

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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...

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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

New Year with Gusto

Also in the Blog

There is no such thing as a magic pill or miracle cure. I know that there is nothing more magical about January 1st and a New Year to change life. However, I do know that the sheer power of deciding that This New Year Will Be Better has power.

Here are some ways I’m going to choose harness the magic of a new year and new decade with zeal and gusto.

Read ==> Twelve Ways You Can Leap Into the New Year (& New Decade) with Gusto


Debra, one thing I have learned from you…..and likely the most important… to be thankful for my blessings. I realized today that I have never really taken the time to formally say thank you to you for your wise counsel as my life has evolved these past three years. Your continual patience and guidance have allowed me to move from being a man who didn’t believe he had anything in his glass to a man with a glass overflowing.

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

Also from the Blog

Every year, many people will center their goals around enhancing their well-being for the new year. Although this can be beneficial for your health and happiness,  if you put too much pressure on yourself and this goal, it can also be negatively impactful. To ensure your new year’s goal doesn’t take over your life, check out this blog post.

Read ==> How to Set Well-Being Goals for the New Year (Without Getting Obsessive)

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