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This nation will remain
the land of the free
only so long as it is
the home of the brave.”

---Elmer Davis


Good morning<<Name>>. It seems like only yesterday,  I was replacing my 2019 calendar, and in the blink of an eye, we've arrived at almost the midpoint of the year:  Memorial Day. Socially, of course, it's the kick-off to Summer as a state of mind.

The pools are opening, folks are having BBQ's, and we're finding ways to be outside more, whether it's dinner on the deck or an after-dinner stroll around the neighborhood.

It won't be long before the fireflies are out! For us, we're eating on the deck as much as possible. It also means getting out on the bike more and playing some golf!

That doesn’t mean, though, that we won’t take some time to pause and remember the real reason behind Memorial Day: it’s a sacred day, set aside not to have a party, but as a day of remembrance. 

We’ll hang the flag this weekend and remember those who gave their lives in service to this country..

Memorial Day traces its origins back to the Civil War Days, originally called “Decoration Day”. In fact, if you visit Arlington National Cemetery, you can see the original amphitheater dating back to that time period. (It's near the Custis-Lee Mansion). 

Though many formal and informal ceremonies took place to honor those who lost their lives in war, it was in 1971 that “Memorial Day” become an official Federal Holiday in 1971. 

Other countries have their version of Memorial Day and most call it “Remembrance Day”.

In the midst of the Memorial Day sales and BBQ’s, I hope you take a little moment to remember why we have this day and what freedom truly costs.

Back during my heavy travel years, I typically spent Memorial Day weekend in DC, working the week before or following week. But I stayed the weekend so that I could head out to Arlington National, visit a friend’s grave and pause at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

We’ll make our regular pilgrimage to Arlington the next time we’re in DC…During his time in the Navy, JB lost friends and classmates in the first Gulf War…and the last time we were at Arlington, we visited the grave of his father’s buddy who died in Korea.  So, our list of graves to visit and leave a coin or some flowers is growing longer. Another sacred duty that I honor. And am grateful to have.

This year, though, I am so incredibly grateful that we are NOT traveling. JB has been traveling more than usual. And though I haven’t been with him on every trip, all the disruption to schedule means I am not as productive.

As much as I hate to admit it, I need structure. I thrive on freedom and sovereignty. And for me, the key to that is discipline and productivity. I know, it doesn’t sound very sexy. Yet, it is how I am wired.

I need time to sit in quiet on the deck. To read while I sip coffee an write in my journal. And I am at my best when that can be a part of my every day, setting me up for embracing everything that speaks to my mind and soul.

When I began creating the curriculum for Finally Love Your Life, the core value I went into it with was FREEDOM – a good reminder as we enter this weekend. That if you want a sense of freedom, you need to be able to curate a life that feels loving and nourishing.

The other piece of valuing freedom is feeling as if we have sovereignty over our own life. Something I talked about recently with my dear friend, Briana Saussy. She’s one of the Guest Instructors/Interviewees in Finally Love Your Life. And before we recorded our interview for Module 1, we talked about her new book, Making Magic. And what magic and stories have to do with loving yourself and your life.

You can find that interview here on YouTube

I am loving the way video allows me to connect, so I also did a bonus video - first on Facebook Live and then as a YouTube video: Birthday Reflections: 5 Things I Did This Year That Made My Life Easier & Happier.

Besides being the unofficial start of summer, for some folks, it’s a sign that it’s time to slow down and savor the invitation warmer days offer. For others, it's an opportunity to tackle some projects they've been putting off until they “had more time”. 

And, again, it's why I chose the summer for the inaugural offering of Finally Love Your Life. Because of the mix of childhood memories of summer vacation - a time I embraced following my curiosity rather than what the school wanted me to learn. And for others, having more time means being able to devote some time and attention to their inner desires and self-development.

Which calls me to ask…what about you? What is on tap for you as summer arrives? Are you desiring to slow down and do less? Is there a special project you’d like to tackle? Are you going to join me for Finally Love Your Life?  (Use Code LOVEMEIN2019 to save 25%)

What new goals would you like to set for yourself as we begin the 3rd quarter of 2019?

What does freedom mean to you?  Do you get so focused on what you haven't done that you lose sight of what you have accomplished? Can you grant yourself some grace and celebrate your achievements? What does sovereignty mean when it comes to curating a life you love?

Remember that I'm just an email away. I love hearing your stories and helping you find the resources you need to create a life you love.

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


From the blog: 7 Reasons Why You Feel Invisible and Unimportant: How to Change That

Shortly after my divorce, a girlfriend jokingly suggested we cover all the mirrors in my house. She had noticed that every time I passed a mirror or reflective surface, I turned my head to look. As we laughed and chatted about this habit, we realized I wasn’t channeling Narcissus. Rather, I was verifying to myself that I wasn’t just an invisible and unimportant specter in my own life.

I can say this with humor now. Yet, though we laughed hysterically about this at the time, at heart I was emerging from a fathom deep hole of simply surviving. Feeling as if I didn’t exist or matter in my life.

Where was the vibrant, passionate woman in the hot mess of all the roles I fulfilled? Because I could find was the employee, the mom, and the wife to an absent husband. Beyond looking in the mirror to remind myself that I was flesh and blood, how could I remember what it felt to be alive and excited about life?

When you’re feeling lost. And taken for granted.  It’s so easy to feel invisible and unimportant in the scheme of your own world.

My darling. Life doesn’t have to feel this way.

So, the question becomes: why do you feel invisible and unimportant? And more importantly, what can you do to be reminded that you matter?

One – If you grew up being told to not speak, yet allow yourself to be spoken to, you learned at an early age to be a physically present, but not call attention to yourself.

I grew up in an age where little girls and young women were to stand still and look pretty. To gain a man’s attention, you should be quiet yet alluring in looks. Never should you call attention to yourself in groups of adults. Or even your peers. And, of course, that your opinion should be kept behind your teeth.

Otherwise, life could be a social disaster. And no one would like you. Let alone want to love you.

Even if you are a naturally shy and quiet person, this kind of attitude causes you to act as if you are a delicate flower. Or else be a a person that should fade into the background. Unless needed to tend a guest.

When you need to break a behavior of being a ghost of sorts in your own life, learning how to not feel invisible and unimportant requires you shift long ingrained habits and thoughts.

Begin in a safe space of family or friends. Or with a therapist and coach. And speak up for yourself.

Offer an opinion on something non-controversial at first so that you can build some courage and stamina on a more visible version of yourself. Begin slowly. Be compassionate with yourself. Remind yourself that you have wisdom to offer that is valuable.

Allow yourself to unlearn the habit of fading into the wainscoting. And being visible within your own existence.

Two – If you fail to honor your feelings and ignore your intuition, then of course you’ll feel unimportant and invisible.

One of the keys to making decisions that help you love your life is to listen to your gut. While it may seem that your intuition is woo woo silliness, science has shown it’s our brain working like a super computer to help us make quick (and good) decisions based on our experiences in life. And your feelings are meant to be a GPS system for your life.

However, many people ignore their intuition. And rather than honor their feelings, prefer to numb an negative emotions. Ignoring the built in ways your body, mind, and heart are trying to get your attention. And guide you towards your desires is always going to lead you to feeling invisible and unimportant.

If you’ve become accustomed to ignoring your feelings and our gut, the only way to feel visible again is to allow yourself to begin actually feeling your feelings. And, when your inner voice of wisdom or your intuition gives you a nudge, give it a listen.

Three – If you’re a people-pleaser at heart (and in action), you’re sacrificing your visibility in the hopes of making other people happier. Or hope they love you.

On the surface, pleasing other people sounds like a way to get people to notice you. So, if you want to be more visible, you may think helping others is key. In all honesty, being a people-pleaser is going to make you more invisible. Because people will expect you to just do all the stuff.

As a reformed people-pleaser, I can tell you that I always tried to be The Good Girl. I did my work at the office, helped others when they got stuck, and I was the gal to go to if you needed a favor. When it came to my family, I did what others wanted me to do, not what I wanted (or needed) to do in order to keep the peace. Or hope I wasn’t rejected.

And, when you consider one of my ex-husband’s go-to “punishments” was stone-walling. And an infraction could lead to him not speaking to me for several days, something that made me feel even smaller and alone.

Rather than getting what I wanted – more attention or approval – my people-pleasing ways made it easier for people to take advantage of me. Because who wants to give love and attention to someone that is needy. Or constantly hustling for their love?

If you want to stop feeling invisible and unimportant, then you’re going to have to end your people pleasing ways. This means learning to say no.You cannot do that at the cost of neglecting yourself.

By the way, while I believe you do need to nurture the people you care about? And nurturing in relationships is a way to bond and build trust? People-pleasing isn’t nurturing. It’s being a doormat. Or using the dysfunctional approach of helping, which can sometimes be seen as a form of control.

Four – Speaking of people-pleasing, let’s talk about family. Sometimes, you’re so good at your role in the family that you’ve become invisible to them. There are two different approaches to this one.

The great thing about teamwork in families is that each member can fulfill a role and make the family operate more smoothly. Like cogs in a wheel. Good examples of this is one person cooks, the other cleans. Or the way you divvy up responsibilities for large family gatherings. The bad thing about fulfilling a role in a family is that sometimes, familiarity can breed the expectation that you are always going to fulfil your role.

In other words: you’ve been put in a box by family members.

Loving your family doesn’t mean being a doormat. And loving your family also means you don’t want to spend all the time with them feeling invisible or unimportant. Speak up in a loving and honest way to encourage dialogue. Not in an angry rant. Speaking up about feeling invisible and unimportant to your family members can go two ways.

Sometimes it can go sideways and you being told you’re seeking attention. Or always complaining. And to be honest, if this happens to you when it comes to the older members of your family (cough *your elderly mom* cough) your best approach may be to simply accept that person for who they are. And then carve out the role you desire to fulfill in your extended family in a way that makes you feel worthy on your own merit. Not as a way to please others, but as a way of acceptance that you cannot change others. And to please yourself.

On the other side, it’s to approach the person in the family you trust the most: you husband, a sister, a beloved aunt. Ask how YOUR Cog in the wheel of your family is perceived. And be honest with them about how you’re feeling. This allows you to be seen. It allows you to speak up and advocate for yourself. And it also allows them to give you loving and constructive feedback. If you don’t like how you’re seen How can you act in a way that is loving while changing the perception of how you’re seen by others?

Last but not least, when it comes to feeling invisible to the people you share a house with? A family meeting may be in order. Perhaps it’s time to divvy up chores. Or shift responsibilities.

Five – If you’re really honest with yourself, you may realize you probably feel invisible because you’ve kind of checked out of your own life.

Does this sound like your daily life? You get up at the last possible minute, grab coffee to go,grumble through work, eat a sad desk lunch, pick up dinner at a drive-thru, ignore the laundry, and binge watch TV while scrolling through social media? That’s not living. That’s simply surviving. And living on auto-pilot.

If that sounds familiar, then you’ve checked out of your own life. You are doing nothing to engage with the world around you. Or seek ways to inject a sense of passion about your own life. Of course you feel invisible because without being interested in your own life, you’re going to feel invisible.

And look at your social media habits if you feel invisible and unimportant. Are you scrolling through social media, silently observing others and consuming their adventures? Are you consumed with envy when you observe  the lives others portray on social media? Do you spend your time being a passive consumer of social media? Yet never really contribute to the conversation can also lead to feeling invisible and unimportant.

The antidote to checking out of your life is checking IN. Make the decision to be present in your life.

Shift your routine and disrupt a habit. Get up earlier and ease your way into the day with meditation, prayer, or some reading. Take an extra ten minutes getting ready for the day, really tending your own self. Drive a different route to work. When you disrupt a habit it’s like rebooting a computer.

And stop just scrolling through social media! Make a post. BE visible.

Six – If your friends are a bunch of gossips and drama queens, you probably do feel invisible and as if you don’t matter in your social circles.

Have you ever met a girlfriend for coffee and realized the entire conversation revolved around HER life? Does it seem as if your best friend is always experiencing a crisis? Do you find that even if you’re having a tough day and turn to a friend for support, she still turns the conversation back to how challenging her life is?

When you’re friends with drama queens and needy or narcissistic people, you’re going to feel invisible and unimportant. Because all the attention and demand for attention goes to them.

And if all your friends do when they’re together is talk about other people, it’s unlikely you’re going to speak up and call attention to yourself. Because who wants to be the subject of discussion when you’re not in the room. Right?

Unfortunately, the way to deal with feeling invisible in your social circle thanks to drama queens and gossip is to begin to lessen your time with these friends.

Seven – If you want to stop feeling invisible and unimportant, you need to work on your self-confidence.

If you’re dealing with any, all, or some of these reasons you’re feeling invisible in  your own life, the other contributing factor to feeling unimportant is that your self- esteem has taken a hit. You probably don’t have a lot of confidence.

That’s why it’s important to nurture your self-confidence. This can be built over time. And I’ve found the best way to begin is to act as if I FEEL confident. To dress myself in clothes that make me feel good and take time with my make-up and accessories. To stand up straight, smile, and remember that I am worthy of feeling loved, valued, and important.

When you’ve spent years feeling -or even trying to BE a smaller, less noticeable version of yourself, it can take some time to remind yourself that you DO exist.

Just like any part of the journey in life, find the path to being visible in your life is an important part of loving yourself. And curating a life you love. Because even when you desire a quiet and simple life, you still deserve to be not just visible, but to be the star of your own life..

Do you need a reminder that you are not invisible? And that you matter?  Join me for Finally Love Your Life. We begin on June 1st.

One of the number one standby's in my fridge is boneless, skinless chicken breasts. And despite my love of cooking, there are nights I just want to get dinner on the table. This is when I turn to a stir fry, like this chicken and broccolini Stir Fry.  I like broccolini for a change as it feels more substantial and is a bit more tender than regular broccoli.  (You can also use a  mix of broccoli with the larger broccoli and some carrots).

Begin by chopping a boneless, skinless chicken breast into bite sized chunks. Set aside.  In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, and 2 teaspoons garlic powder. Combine with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add to the chicken. Mix to coat well and set aside.

In a large skillet with enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, add one diced onion, 4 cloves of chopped garlic, and sauté until onion begins to soften.  Add coated chicken breast and stir until seared.

Lower heat and add 2 teaspoons of low sodium soy sauce (or coconut aminos if, like me, you are trying to eat soy free) to de-glaze the pan.

Toss in 12 ounces of broccolini OR a mix of broccolini, broccoli, and carrots.

If you are wanting to add more greens to your life, serve this on a bed of spinach or zucchini zoodles. OR over rice.

Volume 9-Issue 10

May 11, 2019

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.  
If happiness, ease, consistency, and grace are what you long for, I’m here to tell you that it’s nowhere near as hard as it seems.

Where you are on this journey is a part of the universal experience you must go through to find your own version of happily ever after. No one can do it for you, AND if you want to be happy, you must do it for yourself.

I know what it takes to walk this path, because I’ve done it. To help the women in my life, I pulled together my best tips, tricks, and life hacks that took me from barely hanging on to thriving in my own life.

Join me for 11-weeks to walk this transformational journey from who you are TODAY and who you really desire to be. We begin June 1st.

Use code LoveMeIn2019  to save 25%.

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

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.

Love & Affection

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

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.

So Much Love

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

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

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

Over at YourTango

Feeling Burned Out?

First up, darling, you need to know that there is nothing wrong with you. You are not a wimp. You are not undisciplined. Feeling overwhelmed isn’t a sign from the universe that you’re missing some magic ability to handle whatever life throws at you.The truth of the matter is this: you have too much on your plate.

Read the article at YourTango and Learn 5 ways to reduce burnout and 7 habits to keep you from getting burned out again


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

Also in the Blog

Isn't it time you stopped playing the "what's for dinner" game?

Meal planning helps you reduce stress.

Click here to read==> Meal Planning Reduces Stress and Helps You Achieve Your Goals


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

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