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“ Golf is the closest game
to the game we call life.
You get bad breaks from
good shots;
you get good breaks
from bad shots –
But you have to
play the ball where it lies.”

---Bobby Jones

As you are reading this note, <<Name>>.  I am heading home from a dream day. Yesterday, JB and I attended The Masters Golf Tournament. For me, it's one of those childhood things I imagined doing when I was finally a grown up. But, of course, I never imagined I would actually go. You know? It's one of those bucket list things.

And not only is it my first time at the Masters, it's my first time to go to a golf tournament in person. For those of you who don't follow golf, The Master is one of the 4 "Major" tournaments on the PGA circuit. So, for this to be my first feels like a pretty big deal to me. And I'm excited in ways I can't quite express.

And we've been planning this trip for awhile. JB got an email back in July about a chance for alumni to go to this outing - meet in Savannah, play a round of golf locally, and then journey to The Masters. We put down our deposit in August and here we are, eight months later with alumnus from 6 other colleges.

Now, as I write you this note, it's the eve before our tournament day and we are sitting in a hotel room in Savannah, GA. A couple of hours south of Augusta where the tournament is held.  I knew that there was no way I'd get this written after we got back on Friday evening...

Though I don't talk about it much here, I enjoy playing golf.

It's something I did as a pre-teen with my Dad. And then, starting playing again back in 2008. Back then, I was still doing Project Management work. And I realized I was missing out on a lot of socializing with potential clients. So, for Christmas that year, I gave myself new clubs and lessons.

I wish I could tell you that I play really well. But, I don't.  And I go long stretches without picking up a club, despite living on a golf course.

But, what I did when I made that investment in nice clubs and those lessons back in 2008 was commit to simply enjoying myself when I played. No pressure to hit a particular score. No pressure to be the best player no matter who I was playing with. Sure, I'm competitive, yet I have discovered that easing up on my Type A Personality  has allowed me to meet that goal of just enjoying myself.

If you're wound a little tight like I am sometimes, I'm sure you know how rare that feeling can be sometimes.

When I play golf, I'm outside in nature and am surrounded by beautiful landscapes.. Sometimes you see interesting birds - or in the case of the round of golf we played on Thursday, A PAIR OF ALLIGATORS!  Yep, a mamma alligator sunning and watching over her baby alligator. (They were on the other side of the water hazard!).

While this may sound simple, when I was a little girl, if i couldn't do something very well (or almost perfectly), I was reluctant to keep at it. Roller Skating? Nope. Basketball or Volley Ball? Nope.

And it takes a lot of being real with yourself to make peace with the fact that you can do things that you might suck at. But if you have a good attitude about it, it can still be a pleasant or pleasurable experience or past time.

To have a hobby that's enjoyed whether you're good at it or mediocre is, I think, important as you get older.

It also brings up some nostalgia for me. One of the few times it was just me and my dad without my mom or sister around. I wonder if I'd kept playing if I'd still be able to have this attitude towards it...or if the years and maturity and just enough life lived have helped me chill out a bit.

In many ways, I credit that decision to take up golf again as one of those decisions that shifted my life. It helped me understand that one of the keys to loving life is to not take it so seriously sometimes. And going "all in" while making space for imperfection has helped me tame that inner critic.

One of the other promises I made to myself when I started playing golf was this: I wasn't going to play with jerks. If someone got angry at a bad stroke, cursed, or worse, threw clubs out of temper? Then I wouldn't waste my precious time playing with them again.

The same goes true in life. If people are negative jerks, why hang around them? I used to just put up with negative people. Or worse, commiserate along side them. Now, I dig for compassion and then move on. LIFE, darling, is too short for negativiy

(By the way, back to the Masters, there are some golfers I love to watch play because even when they play poorly, they do it with grace. But the sore losers? I just can't root for 'em)

Golf, too, has reminded me that sometimes, not so great stuff happens in life. But the key is to just move forward. To mention the quote I chose for you this week: you have to play the ball where it lies. Doing so with an attitude of loving life and finding pleasure in it, no matter how bad things may be at any given moment is the key to staying positive and moving forward in life.

Not a bad little set or rules, huh?  Don't take things so seriously. Have a hobby that's fun. Decide you're going to find pleasure in things. Don't play with jerks. And play the ball where it lies with a positive attitude.

Here's to life, love, and bucket list stuff!

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

PSS - Clutter Busting begins TOMORROW!  If you want to begin spring by decluttering your home, join me by signing up here.

From the blog: What I’ve Learned About Boundaries By Living On a Golf Course.  Want to know how to ensure you live life on your terms? And how to ensure that others respect the ways in which you define your life? One of the keys to that is to have firm boundaries. That may sound like a no-brainer. Because if you want to live a life that you love, you probably know you need standards for your life. And boundaries.

But the thing is, though most folks will respect your boundaries. At least when you are both firm and clear about them. Other folks will try to push through them or pretend they don’t exist.

While I know how important boundaries are to a life well lived, the clearest way to understand people’s reactions to boundaries came to me due to living on a golf course.

There are a lot of things I love about living on the golf course. It’s beautifully maintained and often peaceful. The neighbors take immaculate care of their flower gardens. I love sitting on the deck with my morning coffee as the birds have their breakfast and the early golfers get in a round. It’s a paradise in many ways.

Paradise isn’t perfect, though. We haven’t had any broken windows, but we have had to replace two broken porch screens. And, of course, there are the golfers who have no respect for boundaries.

Our boundaries are mostly invisible to the naked eye.

Golf courses have these poles that mark the bounds of play. There are only two or three of them on each side of the course and it’s up to you to connect the poles to make a firm line.

We humans are like that. We have the obvious boundaries of our bodies, but most of our boundaries aren’t going to be visible to most people. We hope that most folks can figure out the general bounds without having to spell all of them out.

We may need to create boundaries up front. So no one has to guess.

A couple of my neighbors have huge flower beds along the border of their property. They’re beautiful to look at, of course, but most importantly it puts a barrier between their property and the golfers.

Whether you need to set boundaries with clients, children, family members or friends, sometimes the best thing you can do is to create some boundaries up front so no one has to guess. You put “house rules” on the fridge as a reminder to children. If you own a business, you set hours or provide availability to clients. We tell our in-laws that we’d love to spend Thanksgiving with them, but will be spending Christmas at home so the kids can enjoy Santa.

No matter how clear the boundaries may be, a lot of folks will push them.

The official rules of golf are that if a ball is hit out of bounds, you drop a new ball near the boundary of where you lost your ball. Most folks playing golf don’t follow that rule, though. They go into the out of bounds area and search for their ball. Now, most folks quickly find their ball, pick it up, and then drop it into bounds and hit it.

In all honesty, almost everyone else truly want to respect our boundaries because they want us to respect theirs.

They may send an email and ask for clarity about business hours or ask if there’s a night next month you’ll be having evening office hours. They may call and leave a voice message and explain Uncle Al is going to be there for Christmas, but can’t make it Thanksgiving, so could we spend Christmas Eve there and still have Christmas morning at home?

We’re all in this life together and seeing if boundaries are solid or stretchy is a way that people find ways to coexist with other people. It’s about the art of the ask. The art of the compromise. Sometimes, it’s testing the boundaries. This isn’t about a lack of respect.

Some people are more likely to push your boundaries if they think you aren’t looking (or paying attention).

Golfers are often surprised to see us sitting on the porch with our coffee. It’s as if all the houses are simply a part of the scenery and the proof that someone lives there is a shock. If they don’t see us, they are more likely to linger as they look for balls (and peek into windows). They are more likely to drive the cart into your yard or take a swing from your property instead of picking up the ball and moving it in bounds.

There are a lot of people that get lax about rules. There will always be people who take easy way out. They sense you are away from home, so to speak, and will try to push it. And they ask you to do things that are nudging it (like hosting Christmas since you want to spend it in your home). They try to guilt you into saying yes when you really want to say no. They are more likely to ask (push) when you are in a hurry, tired, or stressed.

Some folks feel entitled, and will purposely cross boundaries. And then be belligerent about it. They believe that rules don’t apply to them.

Some golfers are downright rude. They drive their carts across the boundaries and into yards. They look for balls right next to the house (or in the flower beds). I’ve seen golfers walk onto a neighbor’s porch and pick up balls sitting there. I’ve also seen golfers ready to hit a ball from the middle of the yard.

You have to be firm with some people. You can begin kindly and gently, but when someone feels that your boundaries are unimportant (and that rules of humanity don’t apply to them).

One week, I had two encounters with golfers and had to remind them that they are out of bounds if they’re in my yard. One apologized and said he didn’t know (he was a teen). The other got belligerent and sarcastic, made a big show of picking up his ball, asking if a particular spot was “ok with me”.

Thankfully, I stayed calm when I firmly reminded him that hitting out of bounds was completely against the rules of the game. He was surprised that I stood up to his attempted bullying.

People who feel entitled won’t respect your boundaries because, in all honestly, they have no respect for themselves. They get angry or belligerent with you when you make your boundaries clearer. They believe that the rules don’t apply to them.  Be firm and calm, but stand your ground if someone tries to bully you.

Let’s be honest here: these are the folks you don’t want to continue to battle with, so maybe…just maybe they shouldn’t be getting much (or any) of your precious time and attention.

You have a right to your boundaries and the right for them to be respected.

It doesn’t matter that there isn’t a fence around our backyard, it doesn’t give anyone the right to cross into it. Just because a golfer pays to play a round of golf doesn’t mean he has the right to break the rules if he feels like it.

You have a right to your boundaries. It doesn’t matter if it’s your favorite aunt, a beloved client, or your adult child. Just because someone has a relationship with you doesn’t give them the right to change your own rules or boundaries. A client paying you for a good or service doesn’t have the right, either.

And, baby, you don’t have to explain why you have a particular boundary if you don’t want to do so. (Just sayin). It’s no one else’s business but yours.

People will treat us the way we ask to be treated.

A couple of the instances of golfers pushing the boundaries had to do with young players. Our children will observe how we play the game of life and follow suit. My belligerent golfer had a teen with him, so he was teaching his teen to have no respect for others and that the rules didn’t apply, which may not lead to harm on the golf course, but can certainly do great harm in life.

There’s an old saying that “good fences make good neighbors.” In much the same way, well-defined boundaries, even though they may be invisible, ensure that we have good relationships with each other and ourselves.

No matter how others may respond to the boundaries you set, it begins with you.

if you want people to respect your boundaries, then you have to get clear about what those are. You also have to respect them yourself. So, get clear, darling! What’s acceptable and what’s not? How do you wish to be treated? Then, we must be firm and gentle in how we convey them.

When you are both clear and firm about your boundaries, you’ll naturally love your life even more. And when someone tries to break the rules you’ve set for your life, you’ll be better prepared to deal with them.

if I were to be completely honest with you, I would tell you that I use a lot of garlic. Powdered garlic goes on every kind of fish and meat, on spinach I'm wilting, and in my homemade salad dressing. A batch of marinara sauce or caccetora sauce contains at least 10 cloves of sliced and/or minced garlic.  I believe that the amount of garlic in every recipe should be doubled (or tripled).

So, maybe I buy Listerine by the bulk, but it's worth it ;-)

I have a garlic press and a garlic slicer. In fact, I just replaced my favorite slicer because I wore it out.

(LOVE this thing, by the way.  I found it at Williams-Sonoma)

So, this week, in honor of Garlic, I thought I'd share my go-to-topping for fish.  I use this on salmon, arctic char, halibut, sea bass, or any other thick white (or pinkish) fish.  (We had halibut last night).  This is perfect for a one-pound fish fillet.

In a small bowl combine: 6 cloves of garlic (sliced or minced), 1 shallot (diced), the zest of one lemon, the juice of one lemon, several grinds of pepper, 2 dozen parsley leaves finely chopped, a pinch of kosher salt and 1/4 cup of olive oil. 

Lightly spray your baking pan with PAM, put your fish skin side down on the pan, and gently spoon the garlic and parsley mixture on top of your fish and bake in a 400 degree oven for 22 minutes or until fish easily flakes. 

Serve with slices of lemon!

Volume 9-Issue 08

April 13, 2019

Love Notes Published Every-Other-Saturday
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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 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 Spring Cleaning and Clearing Clutter beginning Sunday, April 14th


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

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.

PS - all new clients get FREE access to the new offering this summer!


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

Make Your Life Blossom

Did you download my latest FREE eBook? It was sent out Friday, April 5th! Be sure and check your email for it. If you can't find it, just reply back to this note and I'll send you the link early next week!


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

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
Copyright © 2019 Debra Smouse - Create a Life You Love, All rights reserved.

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