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On taking the back roads , Standards for Life, Decision Fatigue, and Rosemary Lemon Chicken with Mushrooms

What if you shook things up by taking a different route?
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“Thank God I could say that
I had truly enjoyed the journey,
because if I had saved all of my joy
for the destination,
I would have missed it. ”

— Robin Roberts

How has your week been, Blue? Mine has been good in so many ways. Lot’s happening in my little world. Yet, nothing is happening. It's that paradox of life that sometimes, there is much under the surface bubbling around, yet there isn't a lot to see on the outside. 

You may notice some small changes here and there in the coming weeks and months. I'm writing a bit more, I'm choosing some different art.  It will all shake out in its own way in time.   In the meantime, I wanted to tell you about one part of my week: Monday.

For several months, I have been trying to figure out when I could block off a day to drive over to Richmond, Indiana to do some genealogical research on JB’s family. Richmond is a little over an hour away and not only did I need to block off a day, it needed to be a Monday. Because Monday was the only day the Genealogical Society Library was open.

Well, this past Monday was the first time the stars seemed to align for me.

Now, every time we go to Chicago, we pass through Richmond. So I thought I knew exactly how to get there. However, when I woke on Monday morning, there was fresh snow on the ground with a few fresh flurries here and there, so I decided to use the handy little Waze APP, which accounts for not just directions, but traffic and such.

Well, Waze had a whole other idea on how to get from here to there. Rather than direct me on the Interstate, the way I knew and had I anticipated I would go, it directed me on State Roads and Farm to Market Roads winding West. After seeing the geography, I began to understand how some of JB’s distant relatives – his Great-Grandfather’s Sisters and Brother – ended up in the Richmond as well as Dayton and Eaton areas of Ohio. It was closer than I had realized when you took the back-roads.

Often when I am in the car for any length of time, I’ll call a friend (I use a headset!), leave Voxer messages, or listen to a book on CD. Because I wasn’t sure where the next turn would be as I wound past farms and bright red barns against a snowy landscape, I drove in silence. Except for Little Miss Waze telling me to turn here or there.

Honestly, not knowing where I’m going is stressful to me. Because I’m such a planner. And because I don’t like to feel lost. But to be honest, it was such a peaceful and enjoyable drive.  There was very little traffic. I had an opportunity to understand the geography of how one town was a threshold to the next town, going through towns I’d only heard of (like Eaton).

And despite me feeling desperate for spring to arrive already, the soft snow across plowed fields with the contrast of (mostly) mostly white farm houses and red barns, it was a beautiful drive.

I did my research as the Genealogical Society, learned some new ways to manipulate Newspapers.Com to research, had lunch, and then visited the city library, where they housed City Directories from the 1860's forward. The trip was not as fruitful as I had hoped (my big question: why, when they left Ireland, did they go to Richmond?).  Yet it still worth the trip as I did find some clues here and there.

I was thinking about it on the way back home, where Waze took me on a similar though not exactly same route: what had changed about me? Am I getting old? Maturing? What’s up? I usually like to get from HERE to THERE as quickly as possible. I am not a fan of leisurely drives at 45 miles per hour, I like Interstates where you can go 70! And time in the car without being “productive” in some way often feels like a waste of time.

What was so soul nourishing about the drive? The landscape? The quiet? The forced time away from screens? I didn’t even check EMAIL until I returned home late in the evening.

I haven’t quite puzzled out the answer to what’s changed exactly or why something different inside me clicked and gave me patience I normally just don’t have.  I just know that there’s a thread of something there for me to explore.

And as I often tell clients, finding what tiny thread to pull out can give you just the answers you are seeking.

So tell me, darling: What about you? What can you learn from taking a different route? What might shutting out all the distractions and enjoying the journey show you? What have you really been wanting to do but haven't found the time to do yet? What could happen if you made the space and time to pursue that?

What threads in your own life do you need to pull to find your answers?

What are your priorities these days? Have you taken a look at your goals since January? What DO you want to get accomplished in the next quarter (before the end of summer) ?

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 an opening for one client beginning after May 1st. Is that space yours? Just reply back to this email - let's chat.

From the Blog

Since the last time I was here in your in-box, I have written two blog posts. I love providing you with a love note that allows you to read everything HERE without having to click to a website to read the rest. Yet, two blog posts is too much or you to scroll through in email.

I also don't want to assume which blog post would best meet your needs, so I'll include an excerpt to each post with a link for the full post.  Feel free to reach out to me and give me some feedback for the future notes to you and let me know your preferences.
Standards Support You in Creating a Life You Love

You decided that this would be the year you made some of those big dreams of yours turn into reality. You started strong: going to the gym, meditating, eating right, and cutting back your use of social media. You had high standards for yourself and by golly, you felt invincible. You acted with thoughtfulness and mindfully. You dove in with all your beloved attention , taking purposeful actions.

Then you had one of those days. You hit snooze four times instead of going to the gym. You told yourself you didn’t have time for meditation. Scrolling through Facebook became your number one obsession.

And before you knew it, every day was full-out reaction mode.

You know what I mean: get up after hitting the snooze button four times, rush through your shower, discard four outfits before finding something that works, and then rushing out the door without breakfast let alone coffee.  As you go through the Dunkin Doughnuts drive through – for the fourth time this week – you realize your life feels as if it’s careening out of control.

What happened to those high standards you had for yourself? What happened to living mindfully? What happened with your beloved attention to the details of your life?

Darling, what happened was life. You forgot that the small stuff adds up to bigger things. Those new habits you were working on seemed small and insignificant, so the new lifestyle changes you were seeking just didn’t quite get cemented in place.

What we so often forget is that every day life matters because the culmination of each day creates your life. And while maybe a part of you gets that, another part sees a failure one day as an excuse to just forget about the big picture. Well, until your life feels so out of control and crazy you don’t think you’ll recover.

I’m here to tell you, my dear, that today is as good a day as any to begin fresh. Yes, even if it’s late in the evening, you can make a single decision to set yourself up for feeling successful.

The secret: set non-negotiable standards for your life==>.

Decision Fatigue is Real: Here’s 9 Ways to Deal

I had two clients break down into tears this last month over how overwhelmed they’re feeling. Mile long to do lists that seem never ending. Too many responsibilities with no ability to delegate or even defer much. Feeling on the edge of not just burnout, but a breakdown. In trying to figure out tools that could help, something hit me: decision fatigue is one of the factors adding to stress, overwhelm, and tears.

Decision fatigue, my dear, is real. It stems from having so many decisions to make that the brain becomes lethargic. It’s exacerbated by our society’s addiction to busyness and perfection. Your brain gets so tired of deciding, that it just begs you to take the easy way out. This is why it’s hard to stick to a diet when you’re tired. This is why it’s hard to devote time and energy to your dreams when you have a lot on your plate.

Decision fatigue is more pronounced when you’re dealing with stress or life changes. Even good life changes – like a new job, completing that book of yours, or falling in love – can exhaust that brain of yours.

One of the most powerful things you can do for yourself and your life is to decide that you desire more and are going to make it happen. Unfortunately, if you’re so overwhelmed with the sheer volume of decisions you are making to survive the day, it’s hard to put any energy towards making the decisions that propel your life forward.

Please don’t roll your eyes or mutter the words about it being a “first world problem”. First of all, let’s be clear here: so called first world problems are still causing stress and anxiety to the person experiencing them. Trying to shame someone into a belief that their problems aren’t big or real compared to others is crap. Comparative suffering eases no one’s pain. And yes, I am a fan of perspective. It’s always helpful to get perspective on anything happening in our life.  No matter how much perspective you get, though, the body and mind reacts to stress no matter how someone else might judge the stressor.

But let’s not digress. I really want to be clear with you: decision fatigue is real and it can derail you from loving your life. Since I’m all about helping you create a life you love, let’s explore ways to deal with it. Because dealing with decision fatigue is one of the ways you can improve your devotion to goals, reduce your feelings of overwhelm, increase your productivity, and love your life.

I’ve long been a proponent of getting off the busy train, choosing ways to be more efficient and productive instead of simply busier. Finding ways to combat decision fatigue in your life will help all of this. And more.

Here are Nine Ways to DEAL with Decision Fatigue==>

Though the temperatures finally felt more spring like yesterday, most of the week has been chilly.  That's when I crave something a that is a comfort like food but with a hint of the freshness that's around the corner.

Like this recipe for Rosemary Lemon Chicken with Mushrooms. The mushrooms make it feel hearty without needing rice (though you can certainly use that as a side) and the fresh rosemary give it that hint of freshness. As a bonus, I'm sharing with you three ways to cook this recipe: stove-top/oven, crock pot, or Instant Pot.

Juice 2 lemons, then quarter the rinds and set aside.

Mix together in the bottom of a large zipper bag: 2 cloves garlic (minced), 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, several grinds of fresh black pepper, the juice of 2 lemons,  and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Take a sprig of rosemary and snip the leaves with a pair of kitchen scissors into your mix (about 2 tablespoons). Close the bag and combine by kneading the mixture with your hands.

Take a boneless, skinless chicken breast and chop it into bite sized chunks. Open the zipper bag and drop chicken in and then knead the mixture into the chicken to coat.

(You can do this the night before if you like and put the entire bag in the fridge. If so, don’t forget to bag the lemon rinds in a separate container and refrigerate, too.)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F.

Put a tablespoon or so of olive oil in the bottom of an oven-safe skillet or dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat. Add your coated chicken to the hot pan.  Add  two cups of cremini (baby portabella) mushrooms that have been cleaned and halved (sometimes, I de-stem them, too and just use the caps) to the pan and stir to combine. Remove from heat.

Add to the chicken and mushrooms: the reserved lemon rind quarters,  ½ cup of chicken stock, and 2 small sprigs of rosemary. Cover and put in the oven for 25 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

You can also modify this to cook a crock pot. Discard the marinade and instead of 1/2 cup of chicken stock, use a full cup (or enough to cover the chicken completely).  Cook on low for 8 hours.

If you have a new Instant Pot, you can modify this recipe for that as well.  Take your marinated meat out of the marinade and turn your Instant Pot to saute. When chicken begins to sear, add 1/2 cup of chicken stock and the lemon rind quarters with the rosemary sprigs on top. Change the setting to Poultry Setting and cook for ten minutes at high pressure.  You can let the pressure come down on its own or release it. I've had a delicious meal both ways.

Since JB was out of town, I ate this with nothing else on the first night and then tossed it on top of some spinach the second day.  You can also serve it over rice, riced cauliflower, or mashed potatoes.

Volume 8 -Issue 08

April 14, 2018

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 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.


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

Fall in Love with Yourself & Monitor 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.

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

Create Your Vision

Tired of feeling as if you’re just surviving your own life? Take charge of your existence and thrive!

In Clearing Soul Clutter: Creating Your Vision, you'll find a series of 30 intuitive lessons, you’ll learn how to envision a nourishing life and make your dreams come true. It’s time to stop letting life happen to you and start doing something about it.

If you like challenging new ideas, actionable teaching, and caring guidance, then you’ll love this life-changing book.

Order via Amazon or if you are in the US, you can order directly from me.

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

Your Heart's Desire

Are you ready to finally know what you want out of life? Discover the unique path to your own heart and soul.

By taking 30 days to dive into your heart’s desires, you can learn how to overcome your highly-stressed life to connect to your deepest wants and needs. Clearing Brain Clutter: Discovering Your Heart's Desire is perfect for people who truly want to reclaim their lives for purpose and passion.

If you like actionable advice, effective workbooks, and crystal-clear guidance on what’s holding you back, then you’ll love this book.

Order via Amazon or if you are in the US, you can order directly from me.

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

Allow Yourself to Receive Help

For the love of yourself, please know that you do not have to do everything alone. It’s ok to admit you can’t do everything. Even if you can do everything on your own, you don’t have to. Help comes in many forms

Read About 13 Key times to Let Others Give You A Hand over at Attract the One
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