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Being Seen
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“Happiness cannot be traveled to,
owned, earned, worn or consumed.
Happiness is the spiritual experience
of living every minute with
love, grace, and gratitude.”
–Denis Waitley

Good afternoon my dear <<Name>> and Happy Saturday to you! I know this note is going out a little later the parkthan usual and I apologize for not being in your inbox before you woke up on this Saturday before Thanksgiving (in the US).

I didn't forget, I just got distracted. And rather than throwing something together I wanted to send you a note that was as honest as possible.

And to share with you where I'm struggling and what I'm doing about it. I'm not here to whine, honestly, just hoping my honesty makes YOU feel less alone. AND I also have some answers for myself - and you.

First, it feels as if time is smooshing together. You would think with all the time of routine sameness and being home, time would drag. Instead, it seems as if time is speeding by me on the average day. One moment I am having coffee and writing morning pages. and in the blink of an eye, it's the end of JB's work sunsetday and he's heading downstairs for our daily catch-up.

The solution to this challenge is more simple than I would like to admit. I am having to force myself to create transitional cues throughout the day thanks to my calendar and the use of Alexa. This means I am having to go back to old habits of putting everything on my calendar - like work on the book from 9 AM to 11 AM and "walk away from your desk and have some lunch" from 12:30 to 1 PM. Because without these cues of beginnings and endings of things, it's easy for time to just keep on smushing and smushing.

I'm also finding myself more forgetful than I have been in years. I still have a great memory for those teeny tiny details about stuff (like Mickey Mouse's birthday or what a character did in a book I read five years ago) but am  reaching the end of my day and realize that once again I forgot to call the Insurance company about a dental claim or never wrote the blog post I've been meaning to write for weeks. Or when WAS the last time I mopped the kitchen?

This is where the calendar is helping me, too. By putting taskers on my calendar for household chores - like that aforementioned mopping.

pumpkin

I also wanted to understand WHY I am so forgetful lately.

Did you know that a lack of variety can affect your memory? Though most of us thrive with nice solid routines, the same thing that makes routines help us be efficient causes our brains to kind of shut down without any variety. Reading this article a girlfriend sent to me sure made me feel a lot better about my forgetfulness these days.

So, the lack of variety combined with less social interactions, lack of regular daily cues (like a commute or similar trigger), and just worrying about stuff totally outside our control is pulling a number on those brains of ours.

For one thing, I'm playing puzzle games on my phone. The games change daily and it forces me to do use my brain. And when I go to the grocery store, I am challenging myself to get something different to eat (this week, it was a couple of slabs of lasagna from the deli for dinner tonight - because there's no way JB and I would eat even a small lasagna!)

And in addition to using my calendar to help with cues, I have begun experimenting with using old coping my journal and coffeetools in new ways - choosing desired emotions and aligning actions with my values for example have been a Godsend. Because though I'm not seeing a major increase on productivity, I am in a much better mood.

This experiment is actually one of the reasons I haven't sent out my Word of the Year book  to you yet (It's coming soon, I promise)

The Word of the Year book is something I've been sending subscribers since 2011. And rather than same the same old book, I wanted to include how to use these tools to create a year that's as nourishing as possible even if things in the outside world are challenging. Because as much as I know we all want the world returning to "normal" it looks as if that may not happen for a couple of months.

Last, but not least, is the whole reason I am telling you all this when I would normally be writing about gratitude and Thanksgiving. And even if you ignore ever other tip I'm sharing with you today, I'll hope you'll use this one

I am granting myself lots and lots of grace.

Rather than be frustrated with myself for everything I'm not getting done, I'm forgiving myself. Instead of beating myself up, I'm finding humor. Because it's OK to admit that this year has been HARD. 

Have faith in yourself and be kind. Because the world can always use a lot more kindness, can't it? When you grant yourself grace you are giving a gift to yourself - and everyone you come in contact with (even if that's only on social media or Zoom)

And on that note, my dear, I am going to get a fresh glass of ice water and make my grocery list for our Thanksgiving dinner.  I hope you have an amazing week. And if I don't tell you often enough, I am ever grateful for this space in your inbox.

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 18th!  If coaching is on your list for 2021 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: Grateful Tidings Help Nourish Your Life.  As I write this, it will soon be Thanksgiving in the US.  One thing I have always enjoyed about social media during this time of year is the opportunity to see the little things that nourish the lives of my friends and colleagues as they share “what I’m grateful for.”

Due to the post-election social climate and all the COVID news, though, I’m not seeing much “gratitude” in my Facebook feed this year. Instead, I’m still seeing anger, vitriol, whining, and complaining. I’m seeing the ending of longtime friendships, and the rapid spread of news stories that aren’t rooted in fact.

While I am not willing to permanently close the door on the people I care about, I have been doing some judicious filtering of the folks who keep harping on doom or gloom, whichever side of the political spectrum they happen to lean toward.

Why am I hiding people from my feed, stashing their posts behind a privacy curtain? It’s not because I don’t care about what’s happening in our country or in the world. It’s not because I believe that ignoring world events will somehow make the “bad stuff” go away. In fact, I believe it’s important to be an informed citizen.

But sometimes it’s necessary to step back, to limit the number of voices and views that are vying for your attention.

I’m going to make the bold suggestion that it’s time for you to do the same. At least, it’s time to do so if you want to access your own joy, feel hopeful and have a deeper sense of peace.

I promise you, what you focus on grows. Focusing on anger and vitriol will never make you find any sense of peace or happiness. Sharing stories meant to stir up hate and fear does nothing to spread love. And name calling and labeling folks means you are also labeling yourself.

What you are doing is choosing to extend your own suffering.

Maybe that sounds a little harsh, but I say it because the core goal of my coaching practice is to help you create a daily life that feels loving and nourishing. While I’m a firm believer that all of your feelings are important, even the negative ones, wallowing in negativity doesn’t just make it harder to experience positive emotions when they come, it also makes you more likely to become obsessive. It leads you down a path that only ends in more negative feelings, and more negative interactions.

Feel your feelings, please, but for your physical, mental, and spiritual health, don’t  just focus on the negative.

Actively seek gratitude, and you will find it easier to achieve a better balance. Choosing a desired feeling and taking actions that allow you to experience that feeling will propel you towards joy, happiness, and satisfaction.

I am a lover of logic and am grateful for all the scientific research out there that helps us understand how the way our brains work affects the quality of our lives.

Studies on human behavior show that our thoughts create pathways in our brains.

If we tend to go to the negative, those negative pathways grow deeper, becoming deep ditches and ruts for our thoughts, rather than mere roads. This means that, especially in times of severe stress and upset, our minds can’t help but send our thoughts to those entrenched ways of thinking.

As an example, complaining is a choice to focus on the problem instead of seeking a solution. Complaining rewires your brain to the negative and shuts down your ability to problem solve. The more you complain, the more your brain will bring about those negative thoughts. It’s a cycle: the more you complain, the more you’ll find to complain about and the less you’ll find to be grateful for.

But those studies are not all bad news. They also show that you can create new, positive pathways for your thoughts by focusing on the positives in your life – like what you are grateful for. Over time, the old pathways grow over from lack of use, filling in all those ditches and ruts in the roads. At the same time,  freshly paved roads of positive streets are formed – smooth, pleasant roads for your joyful, uplifting thoughts.

Science is fascinating, but I also look to other areas of research beyond the black and white of neurology and biology.

When I look at sociological research, such as the work of Brene Brown, I see the evidence that she brings forth from interviews with people who are resilient. Brown began with the assumption that happy people were grateful. What she discovered, however, was that grateful people were the ones that could better access their joy.

When I looked through philosophical texts for evidence on gratitude, I discovered the works of David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk. He wrote about the connection to joy and happiness through gratitude more than a decade before Brown’s research.

Research with couples by the Gottman Institute found that those couples who complain and share negative interactions with each other are more likely to divorce early. It’s hard to nourish loving feelings when the environment is negative. What’s worse, because our brains are wired to the negative, we are more likely to believe criticism over compliments, which destroy our confidence.

Just as fear spreads more fear, joy and beauty inspire more joy and beauty. Choosing to seek grateful tidings enhances your daily life and spreads that hope to others.

So… the choice is yours. Do you want to live a daily life that feels loving and nourishing? Or do you want to struggle and feel BAD? Are you finding ways to build joyful interactions in your daily life or are you complaining? Are you choosing to extend your own suffering? What if you focused on what you are grateful for as a path to nourishing your mind and your spirit?

The holiday season brings about an opportunity to rededicate our lives to being grateful and celebrating what is beautiful in our daily life. That’s going to be my choice. Won’t you join me?

OK - I have to admit that this has become one of my favorite cookies: Eggnog Cookies, truly the softest, tastiest sugar type cookies.... and I could eat an entire batch myself with a pot of coffee on a cold day! 

Sift together 2 ½ cups of flour (you can mix half all-purpose and half whole wheat) with 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg. Set aside.  Then,  Cream together 2 sticks of salted butter and ¾ cup of sugar. Add ½ cup of eggnog, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
 
Add flour and spice mixture until a smooth dough forms, but don’t over mix (or your cookies will be tough).
 
Roll the dough into a thick log. Chill it several hours, until somewhat firm (it will still be a bit soft because of the high butter content), then roll the log in turbinado or colored sugar and slice. Alternatively, you can cut out shapes with this dough as well.
 
Preheat oven to 350° F. and bake on a cookie sheet for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack to cool.
 
In a saucepan warm ¼ cup eggnog and 2 tablespoon butter over low heat. Do not allow this mixture to boil! When butter is just melted, stir in 3 cups double-sifted confectioners’ sugar.  Then, add 1 tablespoon of rum (or 1/2 teaspoon rum extract). Keep stirring until the sugar is melted and a smooth glaze forms.

I usually just put the cookies on waxed paper and pour the glaze over the cooled cookies and then, while the glaze is still wet, sprinkle with nutmeg.

If you wrap them in waxed paper, they freeze beautifully.

Volume 10-Issue 24

November 21, 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.
 
Becca

Insight

“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

Michelle

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

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.

Gratitude


Debra, one thing I have learned from you…..and likely the most important…..is 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 W. Human
tend your heart

Also in the Blog

Even some of the wisest people I know are feeling worn out, overwhelmed, and exhausted. Even those folks that have done a lot of self-development work are just too tired to manage the basics of self-care. Who has time to tend their own heart and soul when they are just trying to keep it together?

Because for a lot of folks, simply keeping everyone in your house fed, in clean clothes, and attending any work or school Zoom calls  can be a monumental feat. Especially when you have to do it again the next day…and the next.

While I don’t want to add anything to your plate, I did want to share what’s helping keep me stitched together during these challenging times. Especially on the days when I feel a little more overwhelmed or hopeless about what’s going on in the world.


Click here to read==>  Six Ways to Tend Your Mind and Soul During Challenging Times
Brandi

Brilliant


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

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

Elizabeth

Love and Sincerity

“In a day and age where relationships are flat and a true connection to each other is a rare gem to be found, Debra’s genuine enthusiasm for life fuels your coaching experience.

An ever-faithful ally and pillar of evolving ideas, Debra approaches her clients with an intuitive ear, a foundation of love and sincerity, sprinkled with a touch of humor.

Her written communication is always that of a lively, three dimensional storyteller, as she pours her personality on the page, never leaving you disappointed.

Driven by the positive result of being relentless in her own life, Debra always captures your attention with thought-provoking topics and a working action plan for your life, both personally and professionally..”

~Elizabeth Rago Writer – Storyteller – Small Business Owner

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