Remember that compassion also means self-compassion
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“ Self-compassion is
simply giving the same kindness
to ourselves that
we would give to others. ”
Christopher Germe

I'll be flat out honest (and a little vulnerable) with you, <<Name>>. This has not been a very productive week. In fact, I’ve been feeling a little worn down.

Like most folks, I don't like to admit that I’m not making BIG progress on my goals. Or that I’m feeling less than stellar. Though I no longer numb myself by being busy, it can still be a challenge to rest instead of soldier on!  I know that I'm not the only one who reaches Wednesday evening, wishes it was Friday and find myself a little overwhelmed at what's still on my "list" to accomplish this week.  

When I realized that less than half the “to do” items on my list for this week have been checked off, I made myself sit with my 2nd cup of coffee this morning and do some journaling (aka asking myself some questions).

Curiosity rather than self-flagellation is always a better path. So, before I share the reason behind this less-than-productive week, I thought I’d share with you a series of questions I asked myself:

1.  How are you treating your body? I’m talking about sleep and rest (two different things). And what I’m consuming (food and drinks). And movement (because our bodies need to move)

2.  How are you spending your time? Are you taking some play time or only working? Are you reading? Are you watching quality TV shows or just mindlessly surfing?

3.  Have you laughed this week or are you too serious? (If I need a laugh, I re-watch  Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle - at least the first half-hour)

4.  Are you doing your spiritual work? The stuff that keeps you grounded? I’m talking journaling, meditation, prayer, and writing in that prayer journal.

5.  Are you fueling yourself with enough human interaction? Or is there too much interaction?

6.  Are you setting unrealistic expectations? Is the number of items on your to-do list beyond what a human being can accomplish? Are you too hard on yourself?

7.  Are you taking into consideration all the extras on your list? Doctor appointments, conference calls, and such?

8.  Have you taken into account the demands of the previous week? Because there can be an accumulation effect of energy drains.

9.  Are you worrying about something? Does your mind keep wandering back to a particular challenge?

There is a combination of things leading to a less-than-productive week.

The most important factor is that I didn’t make enough space to recover from last week’s travel.

See, last Wednesday, I flew to New York City to work on that project I mentioned in my last newsletter. For the first time in forever, so to speak, I am challenging myself to create something brand new. And parts of it are way outside my comfort zone.

To make the outside-my-comfort-zone parts a little more comfortable, I went to New York to work with my friend Jen Lee. She’s a story teller, photographer, film maker, and course creator. Not to mention almost the exact opposite of me when it comes to Myers Briggs. This made her a great collaborator and feedback giver.

((Her new movie is over on YouTube right now!))

What I didn’t take into account, though, when I made my To Do List for the week (actually before I even left for New York) was how much mental, emotional, and physical energy it would take to do the work while I was traveling.

I’m fairly used to a good night’s sleep and a nice meal helping me bounce right back. But, that’s the recovery time for an ordinary day.

Basically, I expected myself to be Wonder Woman, not a human being.

I also didn’t take into account the number of out-of-the-house appointments I had on my calendar. JB working from home three days this week (which creates a completely different energy to the house).  And just how darned tired I would be after squeezing, honestly, a week’s worth of work into 1 ½ intense days with Jen.

All of these domino into simply not getting as many words on the page as I had hoped to do.

It sucks to not be 100% on our game. We want to be strong and focused and powerful and always know the RIGHT action to take. But the real deal, kitten, is that in order to have those strong, focused and powerful moments, we also will experience feeling drained, raw, or vulnerable too.

A wise warrior (or even Amazon Princess) knows when to wield our sword and when to keep our sword sheathed.

We also need to remember the intense periods of work change our being. They are happening FOR our own growth, yet require time to regain our equilibrium.

My wish for you (and for me) is that we continue to move forward, remembering that the rough days (or weeks) often begin in our minds (perfection, inner critic, worry wart, control freak, etc.) and are simply blips and roadside attractions on the beautiful journey of life.

One of the hardest lessons I've had to learn (and relearn) is that I am, too, am human. And though Wonder Woman's outfit may be kind of sexy, it's not the outfit for everyday living.  No, darling, there are days that are meant for jeans and sneakers instead of armor. (Especially if you've glammed up for the armor wearing days!)

I hope you have a spectacular weekend on tap. As the earth comes to life and we say goodbye to March, I hope that you approach everything that comes across your mind by choosing love and kindness to yourself - and others.

Speaking of saying goodbye to March, I have a new eBook that I'm working on for new subscribers. As always, I'll send that along to YOU as well when it's ready, so look for an email that says "Your Gift for Spring" sometime before April 10th.

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...........

PS - I am releasing something brand new this spring. If you would like to be a Beta Tester, reply to this email ;-)

PSS - I am taking ONE or Two new clients this spring.  If you want to chat to see if we're a good fit, book a Discovery Session.  All existing clients get free access to any course I run (hint, hint)

From the blog: How to Declutter Without Going Minimalist So Your Home Reflects Your Personality.

If you’ve been anywhere around the internet, I’m sure you’ve heard about Marie Kondo and how “Tidying Up” is the new black. I love that she’s inspiring folks to get rid of the clutter that doesn’t serve them. Because, truly, excess clutter gets in the way of living your best life. But, the thing is, for some folks, shedding everything that doesn’t “spark joy” feels minimalistic. Where’s the middle ground? Let’s talk about how to declutter without going minimalist.

Let me be clear: I do agree that if you have too much stuff in your home, it can effect your ability to love your life. And going with a mantra like “does this item spark joy” as a path to getting rid of things that are truly clutter can be helpful. Because clutter distracts you from your goals.

But know that you can declutter without being a minimalist.

For some of us, a home that has been decluttered of everything can feel sterile. I’m reminded of how, in the movie The Quiet Man, Maureen O’Hara grieved when her brother withheld her belongings after her wedding to John Wayne.

“Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of having my own things about me. My spinnet over there, and a table here, and my own chairs to rest upon. And a dresser over there in that corner, and my own china and pewter shinin’ about me.”

There can be great sentimental attachments to being surrounded by items that we love. And that’s the goal I want to share with you. Of how you can shed the excess, but still keep your sense of style. And have a home that feels loving and warm to you.

Here’s some things to consider if you want to know how to declutter without going minimalist.

The first action to take is to get rid of things that are basically trash. You know what I mean. Piles of newspapers and magazines. Things you’ve been meaning to recycle. Stuff you’ve saved because maybe you’ll do that craft project. Be honest with yourself about what is really trash.

Now, walk around your home and snag anything that feels out of place to you. Part of learning how to declutter without going minimalist? Knowing that your home will feel less cluttered when everything has a place.  You don’t have to discard these items. Rather, gather them all in one location (a table, the counter) so that you can later put each one in its permanent home.

Identify the hot spots in your home. Those places where you toss your purse or keys. Where the kids discard their backpacks. Any flat surface where stuff gathers can feel tidier when you clear the hot spots. And then designate place for what typically gathers here.

Look at the big stuff in your house: furniture. Is there furniture that you really don’t like? Or needs repair? What about the furniture you bought just to fill a space? When you declutter by discarding furniture that doesn’t serve a purpose,  you open up space in your home. Space doesn’t equal minimalism.

Next up: identify decorative items you truly love. Those knick knacks that may have no monetary value, but great sentimental value. And the art pieces that just make you feel happy or joyful. It’s possible some of these items are in your pile of items without a spot of their own.

Now that you’ve gotten rid of trash, shed excess furniture, and identified some things that are important to you, it’s time to shed useless items. Any item in your home that isn’t used on a regular basis. The dishes you never use. The clothes you never really wear. Or are saving for when you lose weight.

That’s is the beginning of how to declutter without going minimalist. Now for how to breathe life into your home.

  • Rearrange any furniture if you need to fill some “holes” in your design.
  • Ask yourself if the rooms in your home need a fresh coat of paint. Or simply a good scrubbing and dusting. When a space is fresh and welcoming, it is less likely to feel cluttered.
  • Return to the gathering of items that felt out of place. Begin to place them in spots that can be permanent.
  • Arrange items in clusters. When you gather like items together in an artful manner, it comes across as a design choice rather than clutter. Recently, i pulled out two place settings of my grandmother’s china and put them on display in my dining room.
  • Add true decorative touches. Items like flowers, candles, and throw pillows bring warmth and personality.
You can have a home that “sparks joy” without it feeling sterile. Just like you can have decorate items about your home without it feeling cluttered.

I have struggled with clutter and messiness my entire life, yet I can trace much of my personal growth back to shedding clutter of some sort. This approach has saved me time and again.

The trick of how to declutter without going minimalist is to be discerning. Shed things that don’t serve you. Regularly tidy up and clean up so your home feels neat, yet welcoming. Don’t keep stuff simply because you’d feel guilty if you ditched it. You deserve a home that supports your life and your dreams. And you can have that without living in a sterile environment.

Decluttering will always be a path to creating a life you love. Just know you can do that without ditching it all.

When I walked into the grocery store and saw the fresh, beautiful display of mangoes, I knew that one of the dishes on the menu the coming week would be some sort of FISH topped with an avocado-mango salsa. A visit to the seafood counter saw me leaving with fresh, wild salmon (hooray for the Alaskan fishing season opening - I also got some beautiful wild halibut.)

But this fresh salsa is good with chicken, pork or almost any fish.  Here's the Salmon with Mango-Avocado Salsa

Preheat oven to 400.

Dice: one small red onion, ½ of a habanero chili (seeds removed), one avocado and one ripe mango (peeled) in a small bowl. Add ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro and ½ teaspoon of coarse salt. Drizzle with the juice of one lime and 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.

Gently combine and set aside (covered) in the fridge.

Generously spray a pan with Pam. Take a piece of mahi mahi, cod, salmon or other similar fish and place it skin side down. In the dish. Generously sprinkle the fish with garlic powder, cumin, chili powder and freshly ground pepper. Roast for approximately 20 minutes, or until fish easily flakes.

Plate fish atop brown rice or couscous and top with the mango salsa. OR serve fish in corn tortilla's to make fish tacos.

Volume 9-Issue 07

March 30, 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:
Instagram | Facebook Twitter.

Unbelievable Difference

Working with Deb for just a few months has made an unbelievable difference in my life.

With her encouragement, I made major progress on clearing the clutter in my physical life as well as in my emotional life, which paved the way toward creating a new vision for the life I want to live now.

Deb has an easy conversational style, rational down-to earth wisdom, and a warm sense of humor.

She got right to the heart of the things holding me back from living my best life, and has given me sound principles and practices I can carry forward into the future.

For the first time in a long time I feel excited about my life, and I have Deb to thank for that!

-Becca Rowan, Author

Clear Clutter Begins April 14th

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 14, 2019

Just in time to get your home in order before summer!

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


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

Did you know that you emotions are like an internal GPS?

Click here to read==> Allowing Yourself to Feel All Your Emotions is Key to Loving Your Life

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 from the Blog

Gratitude isn't just for Thanksgiving.

Read ==> A Gratitude Practice for Lent


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

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.

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

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