Changes, darling...
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“ The only way that we can live, is if we grow.
The only way that we can grow is if we change.
The only way that we can change is if we learn.
The only way we can learn is if we are exposed.
And the only way that we can become
exposed is if we throw ourselves
out into the open. Do it. ”

---C. Joybell C


Good morning and Happy Saturday! How are you, my dear? <<Name>>?  As for me, I'm laughing at the irony of life.  Below is a blog post I wrote late on Thanksgiving about how much I dislike Black Friday. And you know what? I ended up shopping on Black Friday!

So, Friday was a workday for both JB and I. We both worked from home - a norm for me, a sometimes thing for him. And as we ended our workday, he handed me his phone and said "It's dead."

We Google "Black Screen of Death + Galaxy" And even though we follow the suggestions on how to revive it, there's nothing. His phone is, indeed, dead. Gone are his photos from California and Hawaii. More urgent, though, is that we fly out on Monday for a quick work trip.

I need my phone for work. Him? Not so much. Yet, still, we've become accustomed to traveling with the handy little devices in hand.

Now, in all honesty, we've been talking about the need to get new phones for awhile. Both of our phones are more than three years old. The batteries are lasting less and less. The GPS is sometimes spotty. And though phone companies used to offer you all kinds of deals to get new phones? Now, they want you to pay ridiculous amounts to continue being a loyal customer.

I had begun researching "unlocked phones" earlier in the year. A fascinating option. Especially on Black Friday. So, late in the evening, I ordered not one - but two phones- from Amazon.With a promised delivery of Sunday.

Along with the phones came the other stuff: screen protectors and cases. And stalking the postman for that Sunday delivery. The phones arrived and off to the Sprint store we went.  FYI, if you buy unlocked phones, you need a SIM card for your cell phone carrier. AND, since it has none of your carrier's software, there's no Voicemail app.

All this to say: never say never. I was convinced I had zero shopping to do and was proven wrong. Yes, it was something we needed in the long run, but that doesn't make it easier.

No one really likes change - even those people who say they do. We like things how they were because it's easier, less stressful, and takes less brain power. Yet, the thing is, life is always changing, Right?

So, how about you, darling? Are you finished with any shopping? Are you, like me, doing shopping you hadn't planned? Does change feel challenging or do you tell yourself it's easy? Or console yourself with the fact that things are always changing?

What can you do to shift towards a more nourishing or beautiful life? What goals and dreams are beginning to speak to you as we approach 2019? What goals and intentions do you want to accomplish before January? What might compassionate discipline look like for you?

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.

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

PS -I am taking two new clients in the New Year. Interested in coaching? Just replay. We can squeeze in an intro call before Christmas and dive in after the New Year.

From the blog: How to Stress Yourself Out This Season: Shop Until You Drop

As I write you this love note, the Thanksgiving leftovers have been put away. And we’re still too full to have our pie. I wanted to do a quick check of my email, mainly because I know if I don’t, my inbox is is going to stress me out. Yes, thanks to “Black Friday” and all those places trying to entice you to shop with them? It’s almost as if our email is being held hostage by consumerism.

And I’ll be flat out honest with you: I have moments when I really do love to shop.

There is something primal about finding the perfect pair of boots. Or just the right coffee mug for my morning ritual of caffeine with sugar and cream. I think it’s the traces of our Hunter/Gatherer roots.  And then when you tie that desire to hunt and gather in with finding the perfect gift to show someone how much you love them? Well, darling, that can feel like hitting the jackpot.

To be honest, though, the glut of consumerism you see this time of year makes me question where people’s minds (and values) truly are.

Last year, I took a trip to a couple of big box stores a few weeks before Christmas. Honestly, hoping that seeing happy shoppers would fill me with the holiday spirit. Instead, almost everywhere I looked I saw stress rather than joy. And I mostly witnessed people mindlessly piling shopping baskets to overflowing.

To be honest, it makes me a little ill. The rebel in me wanted to suggest store managers post specially trained employees at each register to ask “Do you really think your mom needs a popcorn cart?  And does your grandson Tommy need ever single Harry Potter Lego set and a dozen sweaters?”

Now, before you think Santa should put me on the naughty list and ban me from all Christmas goodies, consider this: everything has energy.

Everything from the clothing that you wear, to the books on your shelf, to the coffee cup on your counter.  Before you bring a single item into your home (or as a gift into another person’s home) stop a moment to question its worth.

When it comes to energy, I’m not just talking about the price of the item. I’m talking about the weight of an item’s energy in your life. Before you buy something, ask yourself

  • Is it an item that will enhance you life? Or your loved one’s life?
  • Did you discover an item that will bring pleasure and add beauty? Or will it sit on a shelf and gather dust?
  • Are you choosing a classic piece of clothing that can be worn for seasons to come? Or will it sit in someone’s closet waiting to be liberated to Goodwill?
  • Will it enhance the quality of life of the person receiving it? (Yes, that includes you).
  • Can I afford to purchase it?

And if it isn’t any of these things, why would you purchase it for yourself, let alone for someone that you love?

Gift giving should be a way to show love and appreciation for someone. Not the source of stress.

I simply believe in choosing to shop in a mindful way. When you find just the right gift for someone, then by all means, purchase it. But please don’t over shop and over buy in the hopes of proving your love for someone. Especially if you go beyond your budget. That’s just going to stress you out even more.

We had wonderful Christmases when I was a child. My mom was a wonderful shopper. And she chose great gifts. She was a banker by trade, and did a great job with the budget, too. Though my folks were generous, they also didn’t add more stress to their lives by overspending.

On the flip side, though, my mom was a bit of a shopaholic. Well, not exactly a shopaholic.She often believed that stuff could make you happy.

Yet, when she died in 2010, my sister and I helped our father clean out Mom’s closet. We ended up with twelve 50-gallon trash bags full of clothing, shoes, belts and handbags. Many of the clothes still had the price tags on them.  Lots of the shoes were unworn.  Let’s not even begin to talk about the beaucoup Precious Moment statues hidden in the cupboards.  All of this stuff did not make my mom a happy woman.

This was actually the moment when I began to understand how our stuff can cause stress. And how clutter hurts us.

I also realized that no amount of stuff will make you happy. So, when the Black Friday emails come. And every commercial you see says buy, buy, buy? Well, darling? I wonder how many people  are going to succumb to the ads. Go over their budges. Buy stuff that no one needs. Clutter up their homes. And stress themselves out.

And to be honest, up until that time I was a reckless buyer of stuff. I overbought at Christmas. And when I was bored. Or just saw something cute. Without bothering to ask myself if it was truly something I truly wanted.

But after my mom died? I began to shed stuff. And six months after she died, I walked away from practically ever stick of furniture I owned.

I share this story to remind you that this time of year is meant to be filled with love and joy. Not stress and more stuff.

Now, another piece of honesty.  JB and I don’t exchange Christmas gifts. This is far different from my first husband. Who complained I never got a “good enough” or “thoughtful enough” gift. Talk about adding stress to the holidays.

So, if you have anyone in your life who causes you to feel as if nothing you gift them will be good enough? Then, darling, for the love of all that is holy, don’t add another layer of stress to your life by overspending or buying too much stuff.

Because stuff doesn’t equal love. Instead, choose a thoughtful gift that comes from the heart. And remind yourself that you cannot control how other people feel or react. And, darling, love and a healthy relationship don’t rely upon stuff to prove love.

When you shop, use your head and your heart.

Find pleasure in buying the perfect gift. Sprinkle your world – and the world of loved ones – with pleasure, beauty, and delight. It’s a gift of self-care when you purchase items for your life that add value to the quality of your life. I’m a big fan of small luxuries.

However, don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of shopping that you lose your way. STOP before you swipe your credit card. Remember that a bargain isn’t a bargain if it’s something no one needs or uses. Ask yourself if the purchase is worth it. Remind yourself that the stress isn’t worth it.

Shopping online makes things seem so easy. And, oh, darling, it’s so easy to overbuy and overspend.

And if you’ve already made purchases you regret, there is nothing wrong with standing in your power as the consumer and returning it.

This truly is a season of giving and I’m not on a mission to discourage you from embracing the season.

My reminder to you this holiday shopping season is to simply do it with moderation. Because, darling, you deserve to have a stress-free holiday.

The holiday season is certainly busy with holiday get together and shopping.  A lot of folks are putting in extra time at the office, too, to wrap up year-end projects.  I've discovered I function a lot better when have good food for my body. This AMAZING Marinara Sauce is one of my go-to's for a hearty meal (served over pasta or zoodles) or as the base for other Italian dishes (Lasagna, Pollo Caccetora - or add ground beef or pork for Meat Sauce). After having this sauce, you'll never want jarred sauce again. (Besides, jarred sauce is full of sugar, salt and preservatives - ick!)

Directions:  Chop 1 1/2 Spanish Onions  and 4 stalks of celery and then saute in 1/4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium heat until translucent, but not brown (about 10 minutes). Add 3 tablespoons of fresh thyme, 6 cloves of thinly sliced garlic and 1/2 cup of shredded carrots (I buy the pre-packaged ones) and cook 5 minutes more.

Add 2 (28-ounce) cans of tomatoes, preferably San Marzano tomatoes.  I use 1 can of diced and 1 can of crushed to add some texture.  Then add 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of Italian Seasonings,  a pinch of Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat to just bubbling, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.

This makes about 12 cups of sauce.  The sauce may be refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for up to 6 months.

To be honest, I typically double this recipe and then freeze 3 cup portions in Ziplock Freezer Bags or Stackable BPA Free Containers.  The bags are great to freeze in as they can be laid FLAT and easily stacked!

It's on my list to make this coming week as I'm down to ONE

Volume 8 -Issue 25

Dec. 08, 2018

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.

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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Unbelievable Difference

Working with Deb for just a few months has made an unbelievable difference in my life.

With her encouragement, I made major progress on clearing the clutter in my physical life as well as in my emotional life, which paved the way toward creating a new vision for the life I want to live now.

Deb has an easy conversational style, rational down-to earth wisdom, and a warm sense of humor.

She got right to the heart of the things holding me back from living my best life, and has given me sound principles and practices I can carry forward into the future.

For the first time in a long time I feel excited about my life, and I have Deb to thank for that!

-Becca Rowan, Author

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.

You Won't Be Sorry

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, Artist

Also in the Blog

Not sure what you want? What about what you DON'T Want?

Click here to read==>
Want Clarity? Maybe You Should Begin with What You Don’t Want

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

Clear Clutter

One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that you cannot welcome new things into your life if you don’t release some of the old stuff. You need to begin to purge things from your life.

Join me for 30 Days of Fall Cleaning and Clearing Clutter beginning Sunday, January 06, 2018

Just in time to get your home in order before the holidays!


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

A Year of Support & Accountability

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 Email me for a complimentary chat to see if we are a good fit.

From the Archives

What if I told you the key to overall happiness and satisfaction with your life was simply to decide that you are going to be happy?

Read: The Secret to Happiness: Decide to BE Happy.
Copyright © 2018 Debra Smouse - Create a Life You Love, All rights reserved.

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