Rest and recoup, create a vision, and have a burger.
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“The most valuable thing
one can do for the psyche, occasionally,
is to let it rest, wander,
live in the changing light of a room.”

-- May Sarton


My goodness, <<Name>>, I have to say that this week has felt like it flew by! But, I guess, the week after a holiday, it usually does, doesn't it?driving range

In addition to the Labor Day holiday on Monday, JB also took the previous Thursday and Friday off. And...So did I! Five glorious days of no Zoom calls or intrusions from the outside world.

In all honest, most weekends, I do a little work here and a little work there, but I made the decision that this weekend I wanted my focus to be on all the small things I love about our life together.

We slept in every day, and you know what? We went to bed early, too. We spent our mornings on the deck with our coffee and reading material and lingered until it was just too hot. I read blogs that didn't relate to work and finished two books over the long weekend.

We watched a little Netflix (finished Lucifer), read more, road our bikes, and even went to the driving range. We did some household chores we wanted to complete (like deep cleaning the laundry room!)

But no work related to either of our “day” jobs. The truth is, Yes, of course, I had work that could be done...For anyone running a business knows that it’s rarely just your “day” job. There is always A Murder of Growssomething on the "to do list".

Yet I felt not one whit of guilt over things not being checked off the list. And just hanging out (like these crows at the park!)

 As I’ve shared in the last couple of love notes, I am still planning on publishing a book this year. I did make the decision to hold it until we’re closer to Thanksgiving (and after the election). Even with the new “deadline”, I could have worked on that.

Thank goodness I have some insight into how my brain best works and knew that taking this past weekend off was critical to my mental and emotional health.

My darling, I know that 2020 has been a tough year for most of us. There are so many friends and clients that have confessed they’ve hit their breaking point. For some they could hold things together until the social justice issues arose. Others on the West Coast have shared they held it together until the coffee on the porchsmoke from the fires engulfed their areas. Some with kids told me they were hanging in there until school started.

Yet, even if you haven’t been affected by any of those things, the months of being at home has worn everything to their thinnest ability of coping.

And I hear you. So listen closely: you are not a failure if you haven’t gotten things done this year.

You are not inept because you’re on the edges – or beyond – feeling burned out. Reaching a breaking point does not make you weak. Nor does it make you incapable of pursuing your desires.

One thing I want to remind you of is that you are resilient.

Yes, even if you feel burnt to a crisp. Deep down, within you is strength and drive and the ability to reinvigorate one desire before the year is out.  

(Side note: I’ll be sending you a free workbook before my next love note to help walk you through that).

AND, that said, like I did this past weekend, you may need to take some time off and just chill.

While it probably seems counter-intuitive and out of alignment to time off when you want more out of this life in the era that is 2020. Burnout and stress actually demands that you rest more. And take more time away from the craziness of the outside world.

Look, I am well aware that making changes means that life will feel different. And that means we have to read a book, sugarplumexperience some discomfort. But it's time to be honest with what you truly need in this moment.

I know that almost every "inspirational guru" preaches that  life begins at the end of your comfort zone. And I understand where that saying comes from, because, as I said, changes mean experiencing some discomfort.

However, I have learned that if we push all the time and never allow ourselves to enjoy the simple pleasures of the day, we can't hear the voice of our heart guiding us.

Choosing moments or periods of comfort isn't about settling.  And right now, we all need a whole lot of comfort and relaxation to combat what's happened this year.

The trick is to allow yourself rest and comfort without giving into your inner 2-year old. (My old friend compassionate discipline).

Yes, I believe that there are times we have to really step into the fear and make bold changes.  Yes, I believe that sometimes, you have to take a giant leap of faith.  Yes, you do need to live on the edge at times.  But darling, you have to have some moments of comfort.  You have to come back to center, and re-charge.

Because how are you going to truly love the every day moments of your life if you don't allow yourself to revel in the every gloriousness of the every day comforts?  

Like relaxing with someone you love, enjoying your morning coffee, and settling in to immerse yourself in a good book.... Get out in nature, hit a bucket of balls, or play catch with your kiddo (or fetch with your dog.)

In order to thrive, we need that mix of working hard and relaxing. We need to celebrate the small go for a long walk in the woodspleasures and the tiny little victories. Life is just too short to work all the time, hustle and try to survive. Especially with what 2020 has thrown at us.
So, coach's advice for this weekend (and maybe next weekend) is to commit to resting. Turn off the news and pick up a book, preferably poetry or fiction. Give your body and mind a break and revel in something good.

If you need some help finding something good, ask a friend to help you find it. Tell your spouse you need a laugh.  Find a therapist if you need to. Go for a nice long walk and let nature sooth and inspire you.

And if you’ve been thinking about how a coach or mentor might be helpful, reach out to me. Though I haven’t made any final decisions, I am leaning toward not taking new clients when 2021 rolls around (though I'll still be available for existing clients).

Please continue to take care of yourself.  Please be safe. As always, I am sending you love.


From the blog: Aim the Arrow for a Life You Love by Creating a Vision and a Plan.  I know something about you, darling. You have these delicious nuggets of desire, big dreams, and these longings of ideas that you know would work if you dared. Yet – especially now in the age of COVID-19 and the challenges that 2020 has brought to us – you don’t move forward with any kind of vision.

Create a Vision and a Plan

Perhaps it’s because you don’t know where to start or that inner voice inside of you tells you that you can’t succeed. Maybe you believe that you’re too old (or too fat or too uneducated) to pursue your deepest desires. Thanks to the challenges that this year has wrought on plans, you wonder why you should even bother. What’s the “point” when there’s no where to really go.

Or maybe, just maybe, you believe that you don’t deserve to even verbalize your dreams, let alone achieve them.

Despite what you are thinking, darling, let me share with you that it’s possible. Dreams don’t have to take place only at night, you can bring them into the light of day. Desires and beautiful glimpses into how you want to feel at the end of the day. Ideas can be nourished into reality.

But what I know is that you can’t just keep the dreams, longings and ideas in the “thinking” stage. No, darling, you have to take some action.

It’s why I’m crazy about making the choice to create a vision and a plan for your life.

You see, when you create a vision means that you’ll begin to be honest about what your heart desires. It means you’ll acknowledge the pieces of your life that you are simply tolerating.  When you create a vision, that means you’ll make a priority around what’s really important. Yes, even now, it’s so important to give yourself the gift of looking ahead to the future you desire.

Talk about a life hack, by the way. Creating a vision for the future helps you have a better present, too.

Creating a plan means that you know where to aim the arrow. You put your time, energy, and money to what matters.  Creating a plan allows you to plot your path. And by knowing where to aim your arrows, it will allow you to know where to begin. It’s time to shush that inner critic by taking action.

Yes, my dear, small, doable actions that are in congruence with the vision you create for yourself.

And darling, let me tell you: you are never too old, you are never too far gone, and you are never limited by a lack of education or other “too muchs”.

The time is now, my dear. Yes, despite not knowing what the future holds for the world doesn’t mean that you can’t chose to create a life that feels loving and nourishing. It’s time for you to choose love over fear and take a leap of faith into your desires.

Because, darling, you deserve to create – and live – a life you love.

PS - if you want a step-by-step guide to creating a vision, my book Clearing Soul Clutter: Creating Your Vision is available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle 
Though we tend to think of summertime as the opportune time to grill burgers, I'm finding I'm making even more of these so far this month than I did most of the summer. In part, I think it's because I just got bored pork with bacon burgerswith grilled chicken breasts (no matter how many different ways I change up the marinades). And the fact that I did this week's grocery shopping at Whole Foods Market rather than Dorothy Lane Market. And while Whole Foods is my go-to for certain ingredients, I tend to buy ground meat there over pork loins and chicken breasts.

Besides, ground meat is so flexible to work with - from meatballs to meatloaf in addition to burgers. The downside to working with really lean ground meat, though, is that it can dry out on the grill. Which means you need to add FAT and distribute it well throughout the patty. ENTER the best combo ever: Ground Pork Burgers with BACON.

Now, this is a recipe you need to plan to make ahead as they need to chill in the fridge for a bit after being formed so I typically make them when I head upstairs for lunch.

Before you begin, lay out a large piece of waxed paper to work on (it doesn't stick and makes clean up easier). And then, pull additional strips of waxed paper to layer in a Tupperware container as these needs to rest in the fridge at least 3 hours - or up to overnight - before you grill them.

Then take 4 slices of good bacon (I prefer a bacon that is nitrate and sugar free) and dice them into tiny pieces - no bigger than 1/4 of an inch as you want to blend it well into the meat mixture. Set aside.

Take one pound of ground pork and place this in a shallow bowl and spread the meat out against the sides of the bowl so that you can easily season more of the pork.

Sprinkle on your spices:  two teaspoons of garlic powder. one teaspoon of cumin, one teaspoon of chili powder, and two teaspoons of oregano. Next add two tablespoons of chopped yellow or white onion (about 1/4 of an onion - or to make it easier buy pre-chopped onions from the produce department).

Use a rubber spatula to  mush the spices into the meat and then add your bacon and combine it very well. Now, this is when I usually begin mixing by hand, but you can use a spatula if you prefer. 

After the bacon is well distributed, I use an ice cream scoop to portion out the meat for evenly sized burgers and have found that each burger is best with around 2 scoops per patty, yielding 4 patties total. To do this, I use the spatula to flatten out the meat mixture into the scoop and then plop each scoop down on the waxed paper. Then I combine an equal amount of scoops per patty. (SO scientific, right?)

Once your patties are formed, I usually add some grinds of fresh pepper and because I love garlic, add a bit more garlic powder to the outside of the patties. Layer waxed paper between each patty and place them in the fridge for at least three hours - otherwise they'll fall apart.

Seriously, did you know that the heat of your hands can melt the fat in ground meats? So, it needs time to firm back up.

When it's time to cook, spray the grates of your grill with spray (it  needs to be high-heat resistant oil, so I use avocado oil). Then heat your grill to medium high.  Place the patties on the grill for 3 minutes per side to get a nice sear on them and then either turn your grill down to low or place the patties on the upper warming rack for another 3 or 4 minutes to cook through.

If you don't want to grill these, they do very well in a pan, too. Sear each side in a hot skillet for about 2 minutes each side. Then cover and lower the heat for another 5 minutes or so.

You can also use ground beef or turkey with this recipe though I've found that ground chicken is harder to work with when it comes to making patties though they do work as a meatball.

I served this with coleslaw on the side. JB ate his burger plain, but I slathered mayo on the bun along with a big spoon of my favorite pickle relish.

Volume 10 
Issue 19

Sept. 12, 2020

Love Notes Published Every-Other-Saturday
Thank you, darling for the precious in-box space! 

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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:
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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.

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

Want to Be More Resilliant?

Each one of us has a deep well of inner strength in our souls, even when you don’t think you do. The secret is that like any habit: inner strength can be grown. See, just like exercise, sleep, and eating well can help us grow our physical strength, it’s possible to not just access, but develop our inner strength.

Read 11 Ways to Grown Your Inner Strength==>


Praise for Finally Love Your Life

I thought this was an extremely beneficial and well thought out class. The information was delivered in such a manner that there was no way I could “cheat” myself out of delving into the subject matter.

 Some days I was in the mood to listen to the audio, others, I enjoyed reading and rereading. The worksheets were key as they helped me transition what I was reading into personalized knowledge of myself and an action plan.

I appreciated the real guidance and suggestions that were given. For example, Debra didn’t just say it is important to rest, she gave real examples of what rest looked like to her, and in turn, helped me think of ways I could put it into practice. It is a very interactive class and in each module I experienced at least one aha moment.

We are all in different phases of life, so certain modules will appeal more or less depending upon where you are at.

I would highly recommend this course.

Years ago someone told me, “You would never drive a car without putting in gas, getting the oil changed, replacing the fluids, why on earth would you go through life without mental and physical checkups.”

This class is a great way to get the mental oil changed. I feel ready to go another 50,000 miles.

Jeanette McGurk, Writer & Artist
awareness is worth it

Also in the Blog

The reason I’m often asked why awareness is worth it is because there is a shadow side to self-awareness.

This shadow side can make us angry or sad at our past choices, and can send us spiraling down the rabbit hole of the so-called “bad” emotions. And how can I forget the Inner Critic’s ability to become oh so judgmental when we play with being more aware of ourselves as our ally.

Read ==> Eighteen Reasons Why Awareness is Worth the Trouble (If You Want to Love Your Life)

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

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...

 to save 50%

Purchase here.



“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

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

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

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