Happy St. Patrick's Day Weekend!
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May you never forget
what is worth remembering
or remember
what is best forgotten.

---An Irish Blessing


Happy (almost) Saint Patrick’s Day, <<Name>> May the luck of the Irish be with you!  Saint Patrick’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. It feels like an opportunity to focus on joy and happiness and hope. All emotions that are very welcome in my world.

In a lot of ways, I see Saint Patrick’s Day as the start of spring. Folks where lots of green after months of wintry colors. Of course, I’m not a big fan of too much drinking that seems to go with the holiday in more recently times, but I do like seeing folks be light-hearted instead of so focused on being serious.

A ripe opportunity to reflect on blessings and good things rather than the tragedies of our lives and the world. An honor of what’s worth remembering instead of a constant focus on what’s wrong or what we want to forget.

I also see the holiday as an opportunity to connect, too. JB’s family is Irish and those roots go deep. They say the Irish have always been great storytellers, and I see that trait in his family for sure – that flair for storytelling.

Storytelling as a concept has begun to be co-opted by corporations for the commercial way for which stories sell, yet at the core of that is the reminder that everyone has a story. Some stories are full of drama, some stories are full of lessons, some stories are filled with simple moments that connect to something larger.

I like the reminder that each person has a story and often, what we see on the surface is the very tip of the iceberg. I think that’s why I’ve enjoyed doing some genealogy for JB. In digging up the links to great-great grandparents and their families, you see more than a name and begin to see more of a life story emerge.

It’s exciting, too, to get a flesh and blood feeling of people instead of a flat name on a chart.

(As a note, if you have Irish relatives, the records from Ireland are free to access on Ancestry.Com this weekend).

Last year, we learned that JB’s great-great grandfather went to college in Ireland before the Famine hit.  I wonder how rare it was for a man to be that well educated during the time period?

All this to say that I am grateful for the stories of those that I love, both in my daily life and through the many connections we make. Be they be long passed away or present today. And I think that’s why that openness to the stories of living a life drive me to do THIS – this work I have been called to do.

To be a life coach, to be a writer. To dutifully and lovingly write this note love note to you every two weeks. To work with clients and writers and editors to suss out the stories. To hope to connect with you or inspire you to love yourself and your life just a little bit more. To guide you towards seeing the light of your own story and help you find ways to nourish yourself and your life.

I am fascinated by the stories that people share. The stories that create a life – in all its glory and tragedy. Whether it’s done in a coaching session or an email. Whether it’s an Instagram post or a conversation with a stranger at the grocery store. Whether it’s in a handwritten letter or a blog post.

These stories matter because each person matters. Yes, even in the sea of all this humanity around us, each person and their story holds value and importance.

I hope you celebrate St. Patrick's Day in some way– the holiday, your family, yourself, your life. Honor the stories that live within your soul and heart. And, my dear, I hope you can take a few moments just to savor the beauty of your world. To set aside worries and experiences you don’t want to remember.  To reflect upon the many blessings and the highlights of your own life story. To connect with someone you care about.

And, I want to thank you for being here. For being a part of my world. And witnessing my story as well.

I'm working on some new stuff for you this spring. And I can't wait to tell you about it. 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 ;-)

From the blog: Six Action Steps to Take When You Begin Feeling Overwhelmed. I’m often asked that if you make the decision to choose to be happy. And follow all the strategies of living a life that feels nourishing and fulfilling. Will that equate to never feeling stressed or overwhelmed again?

And, honestly, answer is no. And that’s because life was never meant to be perfect.

But the thing is, when you do find the path to choosing your happiness. And find strategies that work for you, those moments of stress are more easily traversed thanks to knowing the kind of action steps to take when you begin feeling out of sync.

Here’s six action steps to take when you begin feeling overwhelmed:

One – Get Moving

The first one of the action steps to take when you begin feeling overwhelmed is to go for a walk. It’s an approach to exercise that almost anyone can do. And there’s no equipment necessary. All you need is a decent pair of shoes and somewhere safe to take a stroll. This can be around the block, at the  mall, or on a treadmill somewhere.

Our thoughts often shift us from managing things OK to feeling overwhelmed. So, by moving your body, you’re forcing yourself out of your head and into your body. There’s also something especially grounding about putting feet to pavement. As if you’re sending those frustrations into Mother Earth.

Two – Go to the Page

Taking pen to paper is one of the action steps to take to deal with feeling overwhelmed. And the best way to deal with those thoughts and emotions is to go to gratitude. so that your hand and brain seals the message with your soul that, even on the crappiest of days, there is goodness in your world. In a small notebook or a on a stack of index cards, each day simply write down three to five things you are grateful for. Every day, so that it becomes a habit. Kind of a stop, drop, and write moment.

I won’t go into the science of it here in this blog post, just know that gratitude will rewire the way your brain processes your thoughts. To make science work for you, do this daily as a morning or evening routine. Do this as a practice and see it as a ritual. And as a sacred act for your own soul.

Three – Take it to the Mat

There’s a reason why mediation is a hot topic when talking about managing stress. That’s because it works. Scientists have found that folks who meditate  regularly have lower blood pressure. And even lowers blood sugar.

Meditation is one of the best action steps to take to deal with feeling overwhelmed. You can do this by sitting and breathing or downloading an app. And, when you make meditation a part of your life as a regular practice? It can help you better control how you respond to stress. That means you will feel overwhelmed less often.

Four – Make a Coffee Date

Sometimes the best solution to feeling overwhelmed is to spend time with others.  So, when you are feeling overwhelmed, one of the best action steps to take is to call a friend and set up a coffee or lunch date. Yes, I know you’re busy. And yes, I know it can feel challenging to coordinate schedules with your friends, who are likely just as busy as you.

However, when you feel overwhelmed, is there anything that sounds better than having a good laugh? And sharing tales of the day with someone you trust? So, text your BFF and schedule that time stat!

Five – Plan Something Fun to Look Forward To

One of the best books I read last year was by Off the Clock by Laura Vanderkam. In her research, she found that planning something you are looking forward to doing or experiencing allowed the anticipation – and pleasure – to build. Sometimes, even more than actually having the experience.

So, when you are feeling overwhelmed, another one of the action steps to take is to plan something fun. Maybe you can’t take a vacation right away, but you can plan your next vacation. Or purchase a ticket online to that movie you really want to see next week. Or even plan a nice dinner after work tonight. This also allows you to focus on something else, not just what’s causing you to feel overwhelmed right this moment.

Six – Crack Your Own Code by Brainstorming a List

It’s hard to deal with feeling stressed or overwhelmed often because sometimes the feeling just happens upon us. One of the best action steps to take is to prepare yourself before it happens. So, rather than waiting when overwhelm arrives, take some time to brainstorm a list of what helps when you’re feeling calm and relaxed. I can this cracking your own code. Because, the thing is, my darling, you know yourself best.

Then, the next time you feel overwhelmed or totally stressed out, you’ll have go-to actions to take.

When you take action, it helps you move out of your head (and swirling thoughts) and into your body.

Darling, you can find the path to loving your life. And, know that the moments of feeling stressed out and overwhelmed don’t mean that you’re screwing up. It simply is the reminder that you are a human being have a very human experience. By knowing some action steps you can take, then, my dear, that allows you to have more better days than bad days.

Despite the fact that I'm avoiding gluten most of the time, I am still doing some baking - just baking and only occasionally tasting. There's something magical about the baking process that is nourishing - and then I get to feed people I love.

When it came to choosing a recipe to share with you this week, I kept coming back to this Chocolate Stout Cake.  Why?  Because of the Guinness, of course!  If you grab some Guinness to help celebrate St. Patrick's Day, consider this for dessert!  (And if you are ever in Dublin, do the Guinness tour!)

The original recipe for this cake made a giant 3-layer cake and is just too much batter, so I've fiddled with the recipe to make the recipe a tad healthier - and to make two pound-cake type loaves This way, I can freeze one cake for a rainy day and still share this indulgence of of rich chocolatey goodness.

Preheat oven to 350°F.   Spray two loaf pans (or a bundt pan if you prefer) with Baking Spray (those flour and oil mixes in a can). Bring 1 cup stout (such as Guinness) and 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Sift in 3/4 cup cocoa powder (I used the Special Dark Cocoa Powder)  and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.  In a separate bowl, whisk 2 cups all purpose flour (or 1 cup of all-purpose flour and 1 cup of the all purpose flour with 1 cup of Sprouted Wheat Flour which has less gluten then all purpose flour), 2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend.

Using electric mixer, beat 2 large eggs and 2/3 cup Greek yogurt or Sour Cream in another large bowl to blend.

Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes. Transfer cake to rack; cool completely in the pan, then turn cake out onto rack for cooling.

Note: despite all the wonderful Gluten Free flours out there, Guinness (like most beers) is a barley based drink which has gluten.

If I am going to freeze a loaf, I freeze it unglazed. Now, to be honest, if it's just the two of us, I'll often freeze a half-loaf as well and keep a half-loaf out to nibble on.

For the loaf that I'm going to serve to family and friends for a St. Patrick's Day Party? I  just added a simple chocolate ganache to the top (though I think a cream cheese based glaze would be awesome, too). 

For the ganache, melt 4 ounces of good semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes.  STIR until all the chocolate has melted, then add  4 tablespoons of half & half (or heavy cream), and 3/4 teaspoon of instant espresso.  Stir until smooth and drizzle over the top of cooled cake.

This cake is so rich, that a tiny slice will satisfy even the biggest chocolate lovers out there - perfect with coffee or a tall glass of milk!l

Volume 9-Issue 06

March 16, 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:
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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

Clear Clutter
for Spring

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 Fall Cleaning and Clearing Clutter beginning Sunday, April 14th

Just in time to get your home in order before the holidays!

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

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.

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

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


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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