A tough news week...
View this email in your browser

Other people's opinion of you
does not have to become
your reality.
---Les Brown


Good morning! How are you, my dear? This has been a challenging week to read the news, hasn’t it, <<Name>>?  I have heard from more than one person how upsetting it is to watch and I will be honest: I’m right there with them. There is a delicate balance of staying informed and allowing what’s happening out there in the world to impact how you live your daily life.

More and more, I am convinced that the 24-hour news cycle PLUS the replaying of every detail played out in social media is hurting us. 

It is hurting us as a society. It is hurting us as individuals.

I do not like to discuss politics in this space. Or, frankly, online. It’s not my thing and has never been my thing. I discuss these things with my closest friends and with JB, however, it would be outside my own integrity to do so here, on my blog, on my Facebook page, or anywhere else you might see words or images from me.

If that bothers you, then I apologize. I don’t believe that knowing my opinion on every little thing is going to affect the quality of YOUR life.

And, honestly, that is my role as a coach. My role as a coach is to be neutral. To give you the space to make your OWN opinions.

If I am too opinionated, that erodes my trust with clients. Especially if it makes them feel as if they cannot share an opinion that is different from mine (especially a recovering people pleaser!) . Or, worse, if it makes them feel they have to lie to me.

A huge part of the coaching process (and therapy) is for us to give voice to our thoughts. To say things out loud. Because words can both give us power – or rob us of our personal power.  And speaking lies out loud can erode a client’s progress towards healing and growth.

And that is an important to me that I keep that space sacred for the client’s benefit.

My role in this space is to inspire you to love YOUR everyday, ordinary life.

By sharing how I am managing the tough days, I hope to inspire you to manage your tough days. By exploring how I am finding ways to love the ordinary, simple things, I hope I can give you a glimmer of how to love the ordinary simple moments in your life.

I want you to find ways to expand into your own holiness as a human being. To up-level the very essence of what could be seen as the “boring” parts of life. To nourish you in some way - be it with my words or with the recipe I share with you.

This day. When we have to go to work. And do laundry. And make dinner. And tidy up the house. And do those unexciting things that allow our lives to run smoothly.

When it comes to my personal life, I have responsibilities, too.

The underlying intent of everything I do is to make the experience of living to feel loving, nourishing, and beautiful. I have the responsibility to myself (and to JB in our shared life) to make our life a space where we feel safe to be ourselves. A home as a haven. An environment that is sanctuary.

And I do this by better curating what I allow into my mind. What I watch and what I read. And how I allow that to affect my thoughts. Because, frankly, I am choosing to face what’s happening in the world in a very thoughtful way.

And that includes being overly kind to myself and everyone I come in contact with.  Rather than looking for what is wrong, I am looking for those sparks of what is right with the world.

If you are feeling stressed out by the news, then, darling, don’t watch it. Yes, stay informed, but don’t become glued to it. If you are feeling stressed out by folks in your social media feeds, then UNFOLLOW them. (You can unfollow folks on Facebook without unfriending them. You can also MUTE people on Instagram.)

Science has shown that negativity is contagious. So, focusing on all the negative stuff is going to make you feel negative. 

No matter who you are or what you do or what your goals may be, it’s important to guard both our mind and your tongue.

I am not suggesting you bury your head in the sand. Nor am I suggesting that you don’t fight for what you believe in.

I am just reminding you that YOU have a responsibility to yourself to curate the kind of life you desire to live.

If what you are taking into your mind – be it through traditional media, social media, books, or conversations – is making you bitter and angry and unhappy? Please, for the love of all that is holy, temper that with some good stuff, too.

Play with a kid or a pet. Read a great piece of fiction or poetry. Go for a walk and admire how the landscape is shifting from one season to the next.

Go to a museum. Watch a movie. LOOK for beauty. SEEK something that makes you smile or laugh.(If you need a laugh, I highly recommend Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle )

Though it's been challenging in a lot of ways, darling, I hope that you are also finding moments of love and nourishment.

So tell me, darling: What about YOU?  Do you let the opinions of others color your own opinions? Are you seeing that your consummation of media is harming your heart or mind in some way? What can you do to shift towards a more nourishing or beautiful life?

Are you in need of talking through these things? What goals are you abandoning or trying to re-capture? What's something you could do well, however, getting some help would allow you to really take it to the next level?

What are your priorities as we inch towards the final quarter of 2018? 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 this fall. Reach out if you're ready to dig into making your life feel more nourishing and loving.

From the blog: How Clearing Clutter Changed My Life.

The underlying belief of my life is that I need to be willing to do the work to love my daily life. No, my life isn’t perfect. Yet I can tell you even on the challenging days, I experience at least a moment of happiness. Folks often ask me for the secret to make that happen for them. One of the most important things I’ve done? Learning to manage all kinds of clutter. That’s why I thought it was time to share with you how clearing clutter changed my life.

Though that seems like a bold statement, I can trace major growth and personal advancements in my life to shedding clutter of some sort.

Now, I make no bones around the fact that I am not a naturally neat person. No, darling, I am creative force of nature. That means that I often leave a trail of stuff behind me no matter where I go. Especially when I’ve been in a creative bubble. Or life is especially stressful or overwhelming.

Like anyone, when my house is a mess? I begin to feel overwhelmed. And drained. Man, oh, man does clutter drain me! And I know that it drains you, too, darling. Clutter also makes it hard to think!

So how did clearing clutter change my life at different times in my life?

To be honest, I never got a handle on clutter when I was a kid. It was a constant battle of stuff under my bed and a disaster zone in my closet. As a young bride and home owner at nineteen, I was in over my head when it came to managing being in college and being a dutiful housekeeper.

Then I found a magic book: Sidetracked Home Executives. The core of the book was that with block scheduling and note cards, you could learn to manage your house with more ease. And that’s part of how clearing clutter changed my life: having a system to help me.

After I had children, I just had too much in my head and on my plate to be dutiful to the system. I felt overwhelmed by life. And all the moving pieces.

One of the contributing factors to my marriage failing was the constant criticism by my ex-husband around the tidiness of the house. Despite the fact that we both worked full time. And he was not at home during the evening to help manage the flurry of managing two kids, their homework, dinner, baths, and bedtime. He expected me to keep an immaculate house.

And let’s be honest: I had too much stuff to organize. That’s because I used stuff as a way to fill the lack of love and affection in my marriage.

How Clearing Clutter Changed My Life As a Recent Divorcée

After my ex and I separated, I decided I’d had enough. And something needed to change. A girlfriend came over, and at the end of a dizzying weekend, I found hope. We’d stripped the house of every piece of furniture that felt joyless and oppressing. Out went the broken bookcase,how clearing clutter changed my life.the tattered recliners, and the chipped end tables.

We dragged everything to the curb. Oh, wow. Seeing the detritus of my marriage strewn in the front of my house was embarrassing. And life changing. Every item on the curb held negative energy.

And for the first time in years, the air in my house felt welcoming and loving.

Over the coming weeks and months, I continued to transform the energy of my home. If I didn’t love something, it was either tossed or donated. I got rid of plates and plastic cups. I finally began to allow myself enjoy small luxuries. Flowers in my kitchen. Finding a favorite mug for my morning coffee. A new bedspread that felt lush and feminine.

So how did clearing clutter change my life? I slowly but surely began to shed the layers I’d been hiding under. And found that dancing to the beat of my own drum allowed me to become the person I was always meant to be.

I also found that inner sex kitten of mine. And, that, my darling,was transformative.

How Clearing Clutter Changed My Life After My Mom Died

After my divorce I continued to shed clutter and keep a mostly tidy house. But my closet was a little, well, overstuffed. I had begun traveling extensively for work, and I was constantly adding new suits and shoes to my wardrobe.

Then, seven years after my divorce, my mother died. My sister and I helped our father clean out her closet. I can’t explain how heartbreaking it was to find so many unworn clothes, still with the price tags.  Besides clothes with price tags and barely worn clothes, there were shoes. Lots of shoes still in boxes. And handbags, scarfs, and belts.

If you wonder where I learned to use buying stuff as a way to fill an emotional hole, it became very clear to me. When we finished cleaning out her closet, we were left with thirteen 39-gallon trash bags stuffed full of my mother’s things.

In the weeks following her death, all I could think about was my own daughters having to go through my closet. I was traveling on average 200 days a year then, so what if something happened to me? Would they be stuck going through all my dresses, suits, and shoes?

I pared my closet down tremendously.

If you ask how clearing clutter changed my life when it came to my closet? I’d tell you that I finally learned to dress for who I am today. No more saving clothes in case I lose (or gain) weight. No more hanging onto something just because it was expensive. I only kept what I loved, what fit, and what I felt great wearing.

How Clearing Clutter Changed My Life when I left Texas.

After loss, love transformed me. As I was managing the grief of losing my mom,  I was simultaneously falling in love. When things began getting serious and we began talking about merging our lives together. And that meant making the decision to sell my home in Texas and move to Ohio.

I cleared more clutter than I could ever imagine with that move.

Over the months when our relationship was long distance, I brought the maximum amount of baggage American Airlines would allow each time I flew into Ohio. By the time my house sold, I had most of my clothes in Ohio. (Thankfully not too challenging considering the purge months earlier). In Ohio were also my golf clubs, my favorite kitchen tools, and some beloved pieces of art.

Then, I cleared the decks, so to speak. Only bringing to Ohio what would fit in my car.

Yes, my dear, you read that right. I walked away from an 1800 square foot house full of furniture and artwork. I didn’t pack (many) dishes or appliances. And, nope, no linens or other little things I spent countless hours shopping for. And no telling how much money.

My mantra in that last frantic weekend of shedding stuff? “Do I love this enough to either pay to store it or haul it 1000 miles.”

The answer was no more often than I could have imagined. I found good homes for what I wasn’t bringing to Ohio. And you want to know how clearing clutter changed my life that year? I learned that starting over when it came to possessions was ultimate freedom.

The treasure in life wasn’t in my belongings. The true treasure of life was trusting my gut and listening to my heart. And, of course, finally understanding the sheer power of love.

How Clearing Clutter Changed My Life This Year.

This past year, JB’s mother sold her home and moved in with one of her daughters. That meant that JB and his siblings began diving a home full of memories. Several pieces of furniture, art, lamps, and other such stuff has made its way into our home.

To be honest, that can be a challenge. Yet, thanks to regularly culling through our things – from books to dishes to furniture – we were able to welcome these items into our home with joy.

That’s one way clearing clutter changed my life this year. By regularly tending any excess that builds up through everyday living, it made the decisions of what items to welcome into our home.

And don’t think I say that lightly. Because I know that every single item holds energy. All the psychic weight of memories can be overwhelming.

And that’s how clearing clutter changed my life this year: it isn’t overwhelming. It enhances the welcoming and peaceful feel of walking in the door. And is there anything more important about having a home than for it to be a welcoming haven?

And the thing is, clearing clutter continues to change my life. Both in big ways. And in subtle ways.

If you ask me how clearing clutter changed my life, I would tell you that it opened the door to me being who I was always meant to be. Rather than hiding behind stuff, I let my inner light shine. Clearing clutter led me own the path of building a level of confidence I never had before. And did I mention freedom?

And those subtle ways? Seemingly small ways that don’t seem like a big deal. At least on the surface.

But, oh my darling, do they have a powerful effect only the quality of our daily life. Like walking into the house and feeling that sense of nourishment and welcome. Wanting to stay home instead of dashing out to escape the chaos. Being able to wear everything in my closet and like how it looks.

And surprisingly to me, clearing clutter has invited me to find pleasure in housekeeping.

Darling, if you are seeking to live a life you love, then you must be willing to do the work of clearing what’s in the way. Yes, I know that our minds can get in the way of our happiness. Because our thoughts to create our reality. And, yes, I know that life can feel challenging and overwhelming. However, sometimes you need to start from the outside.

Because I can tell you all the ways and whys of how clearing clutter changed my life. What’s most important, though, is that clearing clutter can change your life. I know it can be scary, darling.

But the work is worth it. Because you and your happiness are worth it.

PS - 30 Days to Clarity: Clutter Busting begins 10/14.
We're in a transitional time of year here in Ohio. Not just in the air, but when it comes to food. Alongside the beautiful local Amish tomatoes, peppers,  and last of the local Sweet Corn, there are other local veggies emerging: beautiful beets, squash, broccoli, and pumpkins are here, too. But the Alaskan fishing season is winding down, which means the main protein in our dinners is going to lean towards lots of chicken.

On days when I don't want to spend much time making dinner, I go for something easy - like this Thai inspired Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry. I have been "cheating" when it comes to rice and buying the steamed brown rice (frozen) (gluten-free) from Grain Trust

Prep work:  In a small bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup no salt chicken stock, 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut amino (you can use soy sauce, but I am avoiding soy and it's not always gluten-free), and 1 teaspoon (preferably local) honey. Set aside.  Chop 1 small bunch green onions and separate the whites and the greens. Cut 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite sized chunks and lightly season with kosher salt, garlic powder and fresh ground black pepper.

In a large Dutch oven (over medium-high heat) add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil. When the oil is hot, stir-fry the chicken until just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer to a plate.

To the dutch oven, add the white parts of the chopped green onions, 2 garlic cloves, minced, 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and ½ teaspoon ground ginger and cook for about 30 seconds to season the oil. Now, add about two cups of chopped veggies: I use a combination of carrots, broccoli, peppers, snow peas, cabbage, and bean sprouts and cook about one minute.

Then add the sauce mixture into the pan and reduce the heat to simmer. Scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the cooked chicken and the green parts of the onions to the pan and cook just long enough to rewarm the chicken.  If you want a Thai twist to it, add ½ cup of roasted unsalted peanuts with the chicken.

Plate your rice and add your chicken and veggies on tops.  It's easy, delicious, and certainly a way to bridge the seasons.

Volume 8 -Issue 20

September 29, 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:
Instagram | Facebook Twitter.

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

Have you gotten stuck in the trap of comparing your life to strangers on the internet?

Click here to read==>
Honestly Declare "I Will Love My Life" by Ending the Comparison Game

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, October 14, 2018

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


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

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.

Muse & Cheerleader

I believe everyone could benefit from a good life coach. Yes, everyone. Even (and especially) other coaches! Debra is a coach who models what she encourages in her clients—deep soul searching, practical living skills, and solid business sense. Whether you’re new to exploring personal growth or someone who assists others along their own paths, Debra offers a style that meets you where you are.

Personally, I’ve done a ton of my own transformational work and continue to explore new pathways every day. While I wish I could say that I have ‘arrived,’ there really is no such destination for a lifelong learner like me or probably you. Debra is a friend and mentor who helps keep me on task, shed light on my blind spots, and untangle the stuck places that I can’t quite tackle on my own.

Throughout the time we’ve worked together, she’s nudged me forward with just the right amount of force and given me space to grieve my losses and celebrate my victories. She’s more than a coach. She’s a muse and cheerleader, and I am immensely grateful to have her on my team.

Kayce S. Hughlett – Life Coach & Author

Over at YourTango

If your internal critic is holding you back when it comes to dating, love and relationships, learning how to get rid of anxiety and calm the paralyzing self-doubts that are keeping you from finding happiness in your love life starts with healing your inner child.

Read How To Stop Anxiety From Crippling You In Relationships over at YourTango

Also from the Blog

HOW to love your life again when things go a little crazy or sideways.

Read ==> How to Stop Feeling Burned Out and Love Your Life Again

Best Decisions

Enlisting Deb’s coaching services has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. She is truly an expert de-tangler. I started out with a “Declutter” course at the recommendation of a fellow writer, and as soon as she began offering Make Your Inner Sex Kitten Roar, I was intrigued. I appreciate her honesty, encouragement and her openness. She has a way of seeing things that you can’t see for yourself and is a whiz at breaking bigger dreams into manageable chunks that will get you to where you want to be faster than you thought possible.

I had a very tough few years and have been wanting to get my “oomph” back. Well, with Deb’s help, I’ve found it again! My husband agrees with my assessment and has seen a noticeable change in me since working with Deb. To quote him, “I don’t care how much it costs, keep working with her, because it’s working!”

Rachel B. Kain, Writer & So Much More

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? It hurts my heart to read the news though I won’t dive into politics or world events in detail here. It’s enough to say: yes, my darling, I know that the world is kind of a scary place right now.

Read: The Secret to Happiness: Decide to BE Happy.


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

Copyright © 2018 Debra Smouse - Create a Life You Love, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp