Remember the lessons my daddy taught me.
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“ Respect your parents.
What they tell you is true.
Hard work, dedication and faith
will get you anything.”

---Russell Simmons


How are you doing, <<Name>>? Are you managing to stay cool? I'm hearing about how hot it is from so many friends!  Thank goodness for air conditioning! I've had a (mostly) good couple of weeks and I hope you have as well. 

A year ago this week, my father died. It's hard to believe it's been a year.

There are still times I think "I should call Daddy and tell him..." Momentarily forgetting....then remembering all over again.

The day passed quietly for me not too busy, but a steady do-able pace.. I began with coffee and quiet time on the porch. I had a couple of calls, one we me as the coach and one with me as the one being coached. Did some website troubleshooting for a friend. Ran a couple of quick errands (groceries, the library).

Then, I dug into spreadsheets, calendars, and had a massive planning session to plan what I’ll be writing between now and the end of October. I went old school for this part, printing everything out and taking pen to paper.

When JB came home, we sat on the porch with a glass of wine and talked about the day. And after dinner, I went back on the porch to read a book and breathe in the night air.

It may not seem like a day honoring the memory of a beloved on an anniversary of their death, especially the first anniversary of losing someone so valuable in your life. But it felt right in its own little way.

Dedication to my work. Tending my home and partner. Relaxing with a favorite hobby.

See, my father had one of the strongest work ethics of anyone I’ve ever known. During all the years of me living out of a suitcase, he was the only one that seemed to really get it. To understand that if I didn’t get on the next plane, then that meant I wasn’t making money or tending my business in the way it needed to be tended.

My mom or sister would try to send me on a guilt trip about being away or leaving again. But not him. No matter what was happening, he had great pride that I was managing my own business and taking care of clients.

He understood why I needed to work. And not just for the money to pay the bills as a single mom. But at the personal pride and satisfaction I received doing it.

More than once, I can recall him asking me to promise him I'd go to work. After his heart attack and heart surgery, was the first time I remember. And when my mom was in and out of the hospital when she was diagnosed with lung cancer, there were again the conversation of him asking me to "promise" I'll head to work.

No matter what.

Even some of his last coherent moments two days before he died, he chastised me for hopping a plane to visit him “when I should be working.”

I told him it was a Sunday and he agreed I deserved a Sunday off.

As a child, I can remember him bringing orders home from a business trip. He was a salesman and back then everything was on paper and his orders in triplicate. It was a thrill to separate the white, pink, and yellow copies and put them in alphabetical order, stashing the pages in one of those big accordion folders. We were still living in the house on Hillcrest, so I would have been five or six.

But something about that helped connect me to him when it came to the value of working and the importance of having a strong work ethic.  I learned about honoring commitments. And being dedicated to doing the best we could at whatever job we had.

He also taught me that life was to be enjoyed after working hard. He’d come home and work in the yard, something that seems like work if you don’t love it.  I don't love working in the yard for long, but there is some enjoyment when I do something like plant flowers or pull weeds.

He’d play golf. Or watch golf. He’d kick back and watch the Rangers or Cowboys play. And he always loved a good Western.

So maybe it wasn’t a typical way to honor the life of my father. But I sure felt like I honored his spirit. And that, my dear, made it a good day.

So tell me, darling: What about YOU?  How was your week? What lessons from your mom or dad still stick with you today? Do you have a memory of something ordinary that now seems so special? How can you carry a legacy forward? 

Most importantly, how can you take pieces of the past and allow them to nourish you in the now and help you love your life more?

Though I'm not visiting your in-box each week  know 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 have space for two new clients beginning this summer. If you are interested in coaching, just reply to this email. Let's connect and see if we're a good fit.

From the blog: Why Decision Making is Hard When You’re Exhausted (According to Science)  Back in my road-warrior princess days, I allowed myself to work ten (or more) hour a day. I regularly went to bed around midnight and my alarm went off at 5 AM. Months of living at that pace, I often felt overwhelmed and fuzzy-headed. After hanging up my suits for good, I started making a balanced life – and sleep – a priority. I began to understand why decision making is hard when you feel exhausted, stressed, or overwhelmed.

But don’t think I learned my lesson on sleep quickly! It took a time, experimentation, and science for me to take that lesson to heart.

When I began spending more time in Ohio, we created a very orderly and routine life. Good meals and exercise. Time to work on my business. And, going to bed earlier, ensuring we got adequate sleep. Talk about thriving! My emotions were more even-keeled.I finally began to understand that having a nourishing day helped me curate a daily life I loved.

I also made some life altering decisions.

I sold my house in Texas and made Ohio my full-time home; creating a shared home and life with JB was a part of that move. After the house sold,  I greatly decluttered my belongings, getting rid of everything that wouldn’t fit in my car. A big career move was another decision: no longer would I take project management work. It was time to devote my time to writing and being a life coach.

Then, JB took an overseas trip. And I pulled a couple of “all-nighters”. Working past 2 am. Still getting up before 7 AM. And my lessons came home to roost! Just shorting myself on sleep a couple of nights left me feeling irritable and a little overwhelmed. What frustrated me beyond my irritability? Even the smallest of decisions felt huge.

Why was decision making hard when I was short on sleep? Why was I more prone to irritability? What was it about not enough sleep that led to me feeling overwhelmed more easily? Sure, I thought I got a lot of work done during those two late nights. But not real, quality work.

I wanted to know why decision making is hard when you’re exhausted.

I got super curious and poured over sleep studies.Wow, did science give me some great insight!

A May 2015 study from the journal SLEEP found that a lack of sleep created short circuits in the brain. Their study didn’t focus on long-term sleep deprivation. Instead, they focused on short amounts of slept debt. What most folks consider normal. When you wonder why decision making is hard when you’re exhausted, this study helps answer that.

See, when the brain short-circuits, it’s hard to make the right choices.Especially when doing activities like driving, something all the participants knew how to do. This study shows how sleep deprivation can lead to fatal errors of judgement in real-life situations. So that’s one of the reasons why decision making is hard when you’re short on sleep.

Basically, even minor sleep deficits can thwart your ability to make astute decisions.

You probably know that when you’re tired, it’s hard to concentrate.  It’s not just you (or me). A dual study done in 2007 by the National Institute of Health along with the US National Library of Science gives additional insight. They found that sleep deprivation affects the frontal lobes of the brain. The frontal lobes of our brain affects spacial, auditory, and visual attention.

The study further showed that the ability to communicate slows as well when you’re short on sleep. That can make life complicated if you’re making a decision with another person. Because when you feel overwhelmed and exhausted makes it harder to communicate your thoughts and feelings.

If you’re wondering why decision making is hard when you’re exhausted? It’s because you can’t concentrate.

Though our intuition seems to be magic, it relies upon all of our experiences to help guide us in life. That includes decision making.

The NIH/US Library of Science study also found that not getting enough sleep affects our working memory. We need both our long-term and short term memory to make good decisions. So that’s another factor as to why making decisions is hard when you’re exhausted.

The ability to draw upon our life experiences helps us make every day  – and important – decisions.

Now, I believe we should feel all our feelings as it helps us create a life that is fuller and more satisfying. Yet, I’m the first to admit that I haven’t overreacted before. It can feel both frustrating and embarrassing when we respond in a way that’s out or proportion with a situation.

And let’s be honest. No one wants to make big decisions when our emotions feel out of our control. Science backs us up there, too. A UC Berkeley study found that sleep deprivation hampers our ability to regulate our emotions as it affects our prefrontal lobe. They also found that when you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more apt to overreact to experiences. Especially negative ones.

Life will always be a series of decisions and choices. One of the keys to ensuring that the decisions you make support the kind of life you desire to lead is getting your beauty sleep. Time and again, science shows us why decision making is hard when you’re exhausted. Shorting yourself on sleep will never be a good thing, sugarplum.

If you want to live a life that feels loving and nourishing, then, darling, make sure you get enough sleep.

When we tire of eating chicken, my number one go-to these days has been ground pork. It’s both flavorful and versatile. (Also, for the best quality, I always choose “certified humane” pork products.)   My go-to use has been pork tacos, but the other day I experimented and made pork burgers (slider sized) and they were delicious! Here’s my recipe for Cuban Inspired Pork Burgers.

Take a pound of ground pork and add a teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of kosher salt, a teaspoon of garlic, ½ teaspoon of paprika, and a teaspoon of dried oregano. Then add one (beaten) egg, a tablespoon of tomato paste, and 2 tablespoons of coconut flour.

Combine well.

To make the same size sliders, I use an ice cream scoop to portion out the meat mixture. (or two scoops for regular sized burgers.)

In a large pan, add enough olive or avocado oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Heat oil on high (about 2 minutes) before carefully adding patties to hot pan.  Leave patties in pan, untouched, for about 2 minutes to get a good sear. Then, carefully flip the patties and cook for another two minutes to sear the other side.

Add one sliced onion to pan along with a splash of either tequila or rum to deglaze the pan. Now add ½ cup of chicken or vegetable stock to pan. Cover and put heat on slow and let simmer for another ten minutes. (you want to cook the pork thoroughly )

I topped my sliders with dill relish. JB used a little splash of good mustard. Other ideas: thin slices of ham, swiss cheese, etc.

A couple of notes here: if you aren’t trying to eat gluten-free, you can use your favorite binder (crushed crackers, panko, etc.). instead of the coconut flour.

Also, I purchase tubes of tomato paste so that I can use as little as I want for any given recipe.

Volume 8 -Issue 15

July 21, 2018

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

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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 fall in love with their lives.

A native Texan, she resides in Ohio with the Man of her Dreams. Get social with Debra on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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!

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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!

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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

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Best Decisions

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

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