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“Grace is one of the most
majestic words in theology.
It suggests the sublime spontaneity
of the divine which no theory or category
could ever capture.
Grace has its own elegance.
It is above the mechanics of
agenda or operation.
No one can set limits to the flow of grace.
Its presence and force remain
unmeasurable and unpredictable.”
-John O'Donohue

Good morning my dear <<Name>>.  I don't know about how you're marking time at your house, but here it tulipsfeels a little like Groundhog Day. (In fact, that's one of the movies we watched last weekend). 

I know that this weekend may feel especially hard for many of you. We've arrived at Easter (and Passover) and without going to church or gathering with family and friends, you may be really missing those traditions. 

If you are able, do connect with folks you'd normally spend time with over the holiday. We have a Zoom Gathering scheduled with JB's extended family on Sunday afternoon.

And celebrate in some way if you normally would do so. Attend virtual church, make a favorite holiday treat, or simply find a way to celebrate being healthy and safe.

Remember it's ok to feel what you're feeling - sad, frustrated, angry, grief, or disappointment. And please, Bradford Pearsgive yourself a lot of compassion and grace.

Grace has been a constant companion to me, especially in the last week. 

Here in Ohio, today is Day 29 that we have been at home. That's five weeks with several more weeks to go (as our current Stay at Home Orders have been carried through to May 1st).

Though it really feels as if the days are blending, I am finding it's so important to keep writing in my journal - even if it's just jotting down my daily activities as a bullet list in my planner/bullet journal.   

Just the reminder of what I cooked, how many loads of laundry I washed on a particular day, and who I connected with has been a life line. Being able to check off basic to-do-list items like showering and watering the plants is offering hope and purpose.

That's because of grace, my dear. 

daffodilsGrace invites us to be kinder and more loving - to ourselves and others.

Another saving grace for me these past weeks has been Nature. No matter what's happening in the world, nature soldiers on. Soon, the blossoms on trees will become leaves. And it won't be long before the tulips and daffodils will be replaced by fragrant roses and then sunflowers.

If you are able, get outside. Even if it's just to stand in your yard for three minutes. Because when I witness the grace and invitation of nature, I am soothed. And inspired. And invigorated.

I was especially grateful for temperatures in the 70's a couple of days this week! Talk about an invitation to grace!

I don't want to keep you long as I am sure your in-box is as overflowing as mine is. I just want you to know that you aren't alone. That I am here if you just need to reach out to someone.

Keep an eye on my blog this week. I have an article for Extroverts (and those who love them) below - and will have one for Introverts in the coming days.

And, as always, I am sending you love.





PS - Being witnessed and heard during times of crisis can be important to maintaining our sense of self. So, I've extended discounts to all my clients - and am offering half-price sessions for anyone that just needs a little chat.

From the blog: Managing as an Extrovert When You Feel Lost Because of Self-Quarantine

When we first began talking about the need to self-isolate, it seemed as if everywhere I turned was a meme by an introvert saying this need to practice social distancing wasn’t only what they trained for, but a welcome respite from the noisy world. Introverts touted that they were pros at canceling plans, staying in, and not interacting with humans outside their home on the regular. As an extrovert, I felt inadequate and overwhelmed. And I admit that the prospect of not leaving the house caused me to feel lost at times.

I know that the very idea of social distancing and self-quarantine is going feels challenging to everyone, no matter if you’re an extrovert or introvert. Yet with each and every one of those Instagram posts, Tweets, and articles I read touting the virtues of introverts during this time of social distancing, I will admit that I felt that my extroverted self was, well, frankly screwed. And so envious of my introverted friends and loved ones.
Yet, I know myself well enough to find the humor in those feelings. And now that we are several weeks into the need to self-isolate without a specific end date in mind, I want to share some helpful ways to not feel lost when you’re an extrovert.

Extroverts may feel lost

First, let’s get something straight about the difference between extroverts and introverts.

When it comes to the core differences between introverts and extroverts, it isn’t about how well you get along with people. So being shy or not enjoying lots of people doesn’t necessarily make you an introvert. And, no, just because you’re a people person doesn’t make you an extrovert. In fact, I witness that a lot of introverts have better people skills.

Because my go-to personality test for getting to know yourself is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I look at the differences between the I and the E.

Extroverts gain energy by being around other people while introverts need more alone time to recharge their batteries. The other key difference is how thoughts are processed. Introverts tend to figure out what they think before they speak. While extroverts often have to speak to figure out what they really think.


Now, here’s twelve ways to help yourself not feel lost while we are social-distancing. So you can better manage your thoughts, actions, and emotions as an extrovert during times of self- quarantine.


One – Don’t Shame Yourself for Not Being an Introvert

Just like my initial reaction to all the introverted means, don’t feel bad that you aren’t an introvert. And therefore, better equipped to handle being isolated from most of the outside world. So, no shaming yourself. Or wishing you were wired differently. Accept that you are YOU. And, in fact, now may be a good time to work through all the things your inner critic says to you.

Being an extrovert doesn’t make you less capable, so no shame.

Two – But Do Acknowledge Your Feelings

JB is a tried and true introvert. And there are times that I have felt envious of his ability to simply BE at home for long stretches of time without getting antsy. So, allow yourself to feel envious of your introverted friends. Allow yourself to be angry about what’s happening in the world. Remind yourself that it’s ok to feel lost. And a note, too: acknowledge that you are probably grieving right now.

It’s so important to allow ourselves to feel our feelings. Because, when we FEEL them, they can move through us more easily. Otherwise, they just linger and fester.

Note: even if you are a “thinking” type (ENTJ, ENTP, ESTJ, or ESTP) that doesn’t mean you don’t have strong feelings. Acknowledging your feelings is just as critical for you as it is for “feelers”. If you are a thinking type, it may be easier to FEEL your feelings if you get logical and clearly identify them first.

Three – You May Feel Lost and Frustrated Because You’re So Tired All The Time

Extroverts need to interact with others in order to charge their batteries. So, even if you’re surrounded by your family, you probably aren’t getting enough external stimulation to charge your energy stores. So, even if you are getting in what seems like enough sleep, it may not be everything you, my dear extrovert, need in order to feel energetic.

So, yes, you’re going to feel tired. But rather than feel frustrated, please grant yourself some grace.

Four – You Probably Need to Talk About It

In the earliest days of needing to stay home, I found myself wanting to talk about all the COVID-19 news and statistics every evening during “wine hour”.  While JB was patient and tolerant, I could tell it was way too much talking about the crisis for him. That’s because introverts prefer to really think about things before talking about them. Whereas me, as an extrovert needed to talk. About everything.

Don’t beat yourself up for needing to talk about everything. Even if you, yourself, are worn plum out from everything to do with this crisis. You need to talk about it because speaking words out loud is how you figure out what you think.

So, yes, even if you are a “feeler” (ESTJ, ESFJ, ESFP, or ENFP) that doesn’t mean feeling your emotions are enough. In order to not feel lost and get clear on how to manage your mind, you may need to speak words out loud in order to figure out what you think.

Five – And You Probably Need to Talk About Other Things

If you don’t want to overwhelm your family members, find a friend that can listen to you. One of my go-to ways to do this personally is use of the Voxer App. Several of my closest friends use Voxer to leave voice messages to each other with the agreement that the other friend will listen when she can. And skip over messages if it’s too much to handle on that particular day. Rather, it’s a way to allow us all to speak (or ramble) what’s happening. That way, we can better manage our minds.

Five – Your Family Members Can’t Be Your Only People

If you are living with an introvert, you are probably aware of how easily they get “full up” with conversation because a little goes a long way. This doesn’t mean they don’t want to communicate with you. Nor does it mean they don’t love you enough to listen to you. Be compassionate and understand that they need to manage their mental health and emotions, too!  As an introvert, they just have different needs than you.

And even if you are living with other extroverts, it’s perfectly normal if you are tired of talking to them. Or them talking to you!

What too many people fail to understand is that whether family members are introverts or extroverts, we all need human connection outside of our immediate family members. Even if you see your significant other as your best friend and/or soul mate, that doesn’t mean that they can fulfill all the needs you have for friendship, conversation, and companionship.

That adds way too much pressure on your loved ones to fulfill all your needs. AND it puts way too much pressure on you to both fulfill all the needs of your family when it comes to social interactions. So, cut yourself some slack if you are feeling lonely for people that live outside your house.

To help you better manage your mind and emotional help, don’t be afraid of scheduling regular phone or video calls with friends or other family members.

Six – Your Old Tricks for External Interaction May Not Work Right Now

When I first moved to Ohio, I didn’t really know anyone except JB. In order to charge my extroverted batteries, I turned my errands into interactions. For me, that looked like making conversation with the deli clerk and the butcher. Or striking up a conversation with the fellow post office waiter. But honestly, right now during our time of social distancing, this isn’t possible.

Yes, I still engage in conversation when I’m interacting with grocery store workers. But mostly, I’m just ensuring that I am kind and compassionate to someone who is already stressed out. And since encountering other shoppers adds to my own stress and anxiety, I come home exhausted, not recharged.

So, yeah, going to the store makes me feel a little lost, too. Because it’s changed one of my favorite things to do.

Remember that it’s okay that you are reacting differently right now. Knowing up front that running errands will help you better manage your expectations of yourself. And it’s OK to grieve cherished activities like this.

Seven – Move Your Body When You Feel Lost or Restless

I’m sure you already know this, but when you begin feeling lost or anxious, moving your body can help. Get up out of your desk chair and walk around the house. Or do some jumping jacks or push ups.  If you still feel restless, clean something.

Though I would never tell you that you need to get in shape while we’re under home quarantine, getting some exercise will be helpful to managing your extroverted mind. And helping recharge your batteries a bit.

Eight – Speaking of Moving Your Body: Get Outside if You Can

If it’s safe to do so, get outside for a walk. There is something particularly grounding about allowing your feet to touch the earth. Though it isn’t the same as having a conversation with a beloved friend, being a part of nature can help recharge your batteries.

So, if you feel lost or a little hopeless, the outdoors can be especially helpful to your extroverted soul right now. Watch the birds or take a nice long look at the flowers. Engage your imagination by naming the squirrels in your yard. Or making up stories about them. The combination of fresh air, Vitamin D, and engaging your mind will help you recharge a little bit.

Nine – Know that You Probably Feel Exhausted

One of my very extroverted clients asked why, oh WHY she was so exhausted by dinnertime. The truth is, without being about to be out in the world interacting with others, your batteries probably won’t get fully charged. Remember that as an extrovert, you need to interact with other people. And even if you’re talking to people in your home, having daily Zoom meetings with friends or colleagues, or even having some socially-distanced conversations with a neighbor, it may not be enough for you.

It’s like plugging in your cell phone for twenty minutes to get a little extra battery life rather than letting it stay plugged in until it’s fully charged. So, don’t shame yourself if you feel lost and exhausted earlier during the day. Give yourself some grace, listen to your body, and just go to bed early.

Ten – Having the Television on in the Background May Help

If you’re used to being around others all day, then one way to simulate an office environment is to turn on the television. While I would never recommend this as a prime way to be productive, we are not in normal times. So, if you have a day when you feel lost or not productive, it could be because your house is too silent. This is a trick I’ve personally used in my decade-plus of working at home.

Now, in order to be truly effective as background noise rather than something to distract you, choose a show you’re familiar with. And preferably a show that has several seasons and also has well-paced dialogue.

Turn the volume down low enough that it’s not blaring. And the volume loud enough that you don’t get distracted trying to tune in. This will allow you to somewhat simulate being in an office or coffee shop.

While this may not be easy with everyone home, sometimes I’ll let a show play in a browser window and just wear my earbuds. That way, I am getting the noise level I need without keeping JB from working.

Eleven – Talk to Yourself

This is the perfect time to begin talking to yourself. No, not in having full conversations with yourself. Rather, start posting on Instagram Stories and talk to the camera. Or start a YouTube Channel. Not necessarily as a way to promote your business – though it could help. Instead, use this as an opportunity to learn how to be in front of the camera.

Why I suggest this for extroverted folks is because it is allowing you to interact, face-to-face with someone: YOU. The bonus is that if you allow your social media friends to see you, it offers some connection. And while it isn’t the same as a conversation with a friend, it can help trick your extroverted mind into seeing it as interaction. AND helps you with the talking-out-loud to figure out what you think part of how you’re wired.

If you aren’t comfortable sharing it with your social media followers, know that Instagram allows you to restrict viewing of stories to a “close friends” list. Which can be empty. And YouTube allows you to upload unlisted videos.

Twelve – Check in on Your Introverted Friends

Just because some of your friends may be introverted, don’t assume that they are thriving during this time of quarantining at home. So, schedule a Zoom happy hour or book club with your introverted friends. Though introverts need a lot of quiet time, that doesn’t mean they don’t need human connection. When you check in, you may find they feel lost. Or maybe just need to talk, too.

One of the great things about being an extrovert is that you are probably a good conversation starter. Consider that introverts may feel extra isolated, too right now. But it may take you, the extrovert, to invite them into that conversation.

While I know that you may not only feel lost, but frustrated and lonely in the midst of stay-at-home orders, this isn’t going to be forever.

There is no shame in admitting that you feel lost or out of sorts. You don’t have to put on a brave face and pretend that social distancing isn’t challenging for you. Just know that if you go into this time with some awareness about how you are wired, you’ll be able to better manage your own mind. And that, my dear, can make the difference between feeling as you are thriving at times rather than barely hanging on.
 

PS - I'm not forgetting about you, dear Introverted friends. I'll have a piece for you this coming week.

One thing I've been making once a week - both before we were quarantined at home - and now like clockwork -  is coleslaw. It's my go-to side dish when we have burgers of any sort (especially pork burgers). cole slawAnd it's something JB appreciates finding in the fridge when he's ready for lunch.

So, the next time you do a grocery run (or order groceries) add a bag of coleslaw mix - and maybe a bag of those already shredded carrots. I am partial to the organic mix at Whole Foods, but any coleslaw mix will do. If you're feeling like you want to play with your food processor, then grab some carrots, a head of purple cabbage, and a head of green cabbage.

Cabbage, by the way, will keep for WEEKS in the fridge. I always buy two heads of green cabbage when I go to the grocery store (and sometimes a head of purple cabbage, too).

In a large bowl, add 1/3 cup of good mayo, 1/3 cup of buttermilk (I prefer whole milk buttermilk), and 3 cap fulls of apple cider vinegar (yes, I use the cap for measuring).  Combine well - it's easiest when done with a rubber spatula. Next add some spices: 1 heavy sprinkling of garlic powder (or several cloves of fresh pressed garlic if you have it), a tablespoon of celery seed, and teaspoon  of dried oregano or dried basil (or both)  MIX well.

Next, begin adding in your coleslaw mix. I add about half the bag, a giant handful of shredded carrots, and if I have it on hand, I may also add some additional chopped purple cabbage. (I like for it to be colorful).  STIR gently, turning the cabbage so what's on top gets rotated to the bottom. Continue adding more coleslaw mix until you get it to the right amount of wetness to your taste. For me, it's usually 90% of the bag (according to how much extra carrots and purple cabbage I've added).

I think it's best after being refrigerated for at least 30 minutes or longer. It will keep in the fridge for about 3 days.

So, the thing about making your own coleslaw dressing is all about the ratios. If you want a small batch - one that will only use about half a bag of coleslaw mix - begin with a tablespoon rather than a 1/3 cup measuring cup. And about one cap-full of apple cider vinegar. Or, once we are back to holding gatherings, you could easily double this by using a 1/2 cup measuring cup for the mayo and buttermilk.

And you can change it up by adding other spices you like. But I promise you that the celery seeds is what makes this so perfect. And better than the coleslaw you would get from your grocery store's deli.

Volume 10 
Issue 08

April 11, 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.
 

One-Time Sessions


In times like these, you may simply need to talk to someone that doesn't live with you, doesn't work with you, or isn't in your current list of friends. That's because we need the voices (and ears) of people who have no horse in the race of our own lives.

From now until our need for social distancing ends, I am offering single sessions at half-price.. These sessions can be done via phone or video.
 
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

Use this Time for Self-Discovery
 

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...

USE Code SPRING2020
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Purchase here.

Spot On


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

Hope!

Look to Hope

I find that if I am without words, there are the words of others to turn to in order to find a sense of hope.

Whether you meditate upon a favorite quote or simply transfer it to your own journal, note card, or on Facebook, remembering that others who’ve experience tough times have come out OK on the other side can be a balm to the soul.

Here's eighty-seven quotes on hope to turn to when you’re feeling weary, wary, and worried during this time of crisis==>.

elizabeth

Intuitive Ear


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.

Elizabeth Rago
Modern Domestic Woman
a year of support

Do You Need a Little Extra 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
why decluttering is good for your well being

In the Blog


It’s important to understand the impact that being stuck at home can have on your physical, mental, and psychological state and in knowing that, make efforts to keep yourself busy and occupied while at home.

A great way to do this is by using your time to clean and declutter. Not only will this help your house to be clean, but it will also have a large impact on your well-being as a whole.

Read==>Why Decluttering and Organizing is So Important for Your Well-Being
Dianna!

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.

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

soothing anxiety

Over at YourTango


It’s so important to manage your stress levels at any time for your own mental health and happiness.


Read==> 23 Calming Techniques For Soothing Coronavirus Anxiety Fast

Nudged Me Forward


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

self-awareness

Also in the Blog


The best way I know to dig into that self-awareness of who you are and what you most desire is to dip your toes into the depths of yourself through an inquiry process. Sounds ominous in that way, but the core of the inquiry process is posing some bold, open-ended, and probing questions and answering them honestly.

Read==>Self-Awareness: The Key to Creating a Life You Love

Genius!

 

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

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