Archive | Summer Love Challenge

Summer Love Notes Challenge #4

I have to be honest. By the time August rolled around, I couldn’t wait for school to begin again. Not only did I love school, but in my child’s mind, all the good parts of summer were over.

Classic SandwichThe visit to my grandmother and vacation were both complete by the time August rolled around. I had long ago finished the Library’s summer reading program.

And I was bored.

B-O-R-E-D.

I had watched every episode of Gilligan’s Island. I was played out with my Barbies. I was even tiring of Nancy, Cherry and Trixie and was looking forward to a Social Studies text book.

Of course, it seems as if I got in trouble more those pesky weeks. I was restless and my mom was ready for school to begin so that she could have nice bouts of solitude.

And all I did each day had become a drag. I had a bowl of cereal for breakfast and then would be ushered outside to play until it got too hot (which was 10 AM in Texas!) I’d eat a bologna and cheese sandwich (with Miracle Whip) on Mrs. Baird’s white bread with a handful of Frito’s for lunch. Entertain myself with my books or dolls (and not bug my mom) and  waited for my Dad to come home. Then, we’d continue in the same BORING routines: dinner, a little TV (re-runs – yawn) and bed.

Being bored and restless was the signal that it was time to go Back to School Shopping.

We’d head to Cox’s, Striplings, and Sanger Harris (all department stores which no longer exist these days) and though my mom loved shopping in her later years, her goal of Back to School shopping was to get as much done in one trip as possible. Then, it was time to go to crayola_rainbowEckerd’s to stock up on notebook paper, folders, and fresh boxes of crayons.

I still love the smell of a fresh box of crayons.

Getting ready for school quelled the boredom of those last few weeks.

Though I didn’t get it then, now I get the twofold reason getting my ducks in a row shifted brain from BORED to ENGAGED.

  • One – I was preparing myself for the future. Knowing that school was around the corner is different from actually preparing for it. Buying new clothes for school as well as paper and crayons was a concrete way to move into the next phase of my life.
  • Two – I changed my routine. I got out of the rut of being home and equating it with being bored. After shifting from the ordinary day-to-day, I was happy to reengage in days spent doing the same thing. Even that cereal and the bologna and cheese on Mrs. Bairds.

Because you can enjoy every moment of your life just like you enjoy every drop of summer, but sometimes, you need to shake things up.

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And that’s my final Summer Love Notes Challenge to you: shake up your routine.

Take a new route home. Try a new restaurant. Go to a different grocery store. Play hooky. Do something out of the norm. Try a new Starbucks on your way to work.

Instead of having coffee in the morning, have tea. Or, instead of having black coffee, have a latte.

Trade cars with your spouse. Get up early and watch the sun rise. Go for an evening walk.

Do something out of your norm.

Shaking up your routine will allow you to savor all the moments of your life – even the ones you thought were BORING.

While you’re shaking things up, snap a photo and share a glimpse of your shift it in your Social Media Streams (Facebook, Instagram) and tag it: #SummerLoveNotes – That way, we can all share in your personal quest for adventure.

Note: This Summer Love Notes Challenge #4 runs until August 15th.

About the Author – Debra Smouse

debrasmouse200x300 I’m Debra Smouse, a self-admitted Tarnished Southern Belle. I can help you detangle all your clutter, fall in love with yourself and your life, and unleash your inner sex kitten.

My truth? In order to live life the way you were meant to, you must fall in love with the day-to-day activity of living.

I spend my days writing and working with people who want to change the world, beginning with themselves.

Want to bring your dreams into your reality? Snag my FREE EBook You Can Achieve Your Dreams: There’s Still Time in 2015

A life coach and writer, me and my Gypsy Soul have stopped their constant roaming and have settled down in Dayton, OH where I share life’s adventures with the Man of My Dreams.

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Summer Love Notes Challenge #3

Eleven was an awkward age for me. I felt as if I were the only one experiencing those growing pains of yellowschwinhaving an adult mind (and in my case an almost adult looking body) yet more childlike desires and experiences.

Ballet helped that awkwardness to a degree, but we didn’t have classes for a big chunk of the summer.

To manage the loneliness of that limbo stage between child and woman, I came to understand that adventure would be my saving grace. I turned to the two ways to gain access to adventure to be found in a small Texas town in 1979: books and my bike.

Within the pages of books I could be transported to Sleepy Hollow, Napoleonic Paris, New York City, the Cotswolds, or Atlanta. Though my bike couldn’t take me physically beyond a four block radius of my house, I discovered that the yellow Schwinn I had inherited from my sister could transport me beyond the boring trappings of daily living.

Though I was confined to that four block radius, I don’t know if my mother knew that at the end of Cedar Street, I could enter the trails that eventually wound their way to Red Bluff.

Red Bluff was where naughty boys and girls went for make-out sessions, but at eleven , my ideas of naughty ended with what was described as a “French Kiss” (which both intrigued me and grossed me out).

blackberries_morguefileOn entering this trail, I could wind my way back to Laurel Street and exit the woods at the base of the cul-de-sac where the Watson family lived – or go all the way through to Magnolia. Magnolia was a scary choice in case my mother was looking out the window, because that part of the street would mean I was Outside the Boundaries.

One day, I discovered that these exotic berries were growing on the edges of the trail; they turned out to be blackberries. We didn’t buy blackberries at the grocery store; we only purchased strawberries in the summer.

So, I secretly indulged on the beautiful dark purple berries each time I made my way past them. Some days, the berries were all red, just waiting for the sun to bring them into full beauty. Other days, the vines were full of the luscious treats.

I enjoyed each delectable mouthful but never told another soul about the discovery on my adventure. Until today.

I just picked up a beautiful container of local blackberries this week; every time I put a plump juicy blackberry in my mouth, I remember the forbidden taste of wild blackberries and the careful way I had to pluck them from their bramble on my adventure through the woods.

“Life is either a great adventure or nothing.” –Helen Keller

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My Summer Love Note Challenge to you this week is this: set out for adventure.

Too often in our adult lives, we get stuck in ruts. We drive the same route to work and the same path home. We arrive and, in all honesty, don’t quite remember how we get there.

Change the route you drive to the grocery store. Stop at a place you always wanted to check out. Allow serendipity into your world.

Between now and July 30th, seek adventure.

While you’re on your journey, snap a photo and share it in your Social Media Streams (Facebook, Instagram) and tag it: #SummerLoveNotes – That way, we can all share in your personal quest for adventure.

Note: This Summer Love Notes Challenge #3 runs until July 30th.

About the Author – Debra Smouse

debrasmouse200x300 I’m Debra Smouse, a self-admitted Tarnished Southern Belle. I can help you detangle all your clutter, fall in love with yourself and your life, and unleash your inner sex kitten.

My truth? In order to live life the way you were meant to, you must fall in love with the day-to-day activity of living.

I spend my days writing and working with people who want to change the world, beginning with themselves.

Want to bring your dreams into your reality? Snag my FREE EBook You Can Achieve Your Dreams: There’s Still Time in 2015

A life coach and writer, me and my Gypsy Soul have stopped their constant roaming and have settled down in Dayton, OH where I share life’s adventures with the Man of My Dreams.

Get Social with Debra

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Summer Love Notes Challenge #2

As I may have mentioned before, I spent at least a week at my grandmother’s house each summer. It was my mother’s mother and she lived in Waxahachie, a thirty minute ride from our home in Mansfield.

Being the only kid in a settled neighborhood, I had to entertain myself. Once I had exhausted the tales of the Soap

Little girl with a book on a tree branch

Little girl with a book on a tree branch

Operas, I escaped into my books.

Of course, I was always hungry for new stories, but it seems as if summertime kicked that desire up a notch.

When I first realized that the Oak tree in my grandmother’s front yard was perfect for climbing, I explored. Soon, I sought an old 2×4 to nail into the branches so that I could create a space to lean into. Thus became my summer ritual: I would take a pillow or two up into the oak tree and lean it against the board I’d nailed into it’s willing branches.

I’d finish breakfast and an early morning stroll around the block, then I would bring a bottle of Dr. Pepper and my latest book and climb up into the tree where I would perch until 11, when it was time for The Young and the Restless.
We watched her stories unfold and I got lost in the worlds of the characters, but when General Hospital concluded at 3 PM, I’d head back out into the front yard with my book, read and observe the world go by.

My favorite books were books that were a part of a series: Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and Cherry Ames. I also read Perry Mason and any book with a series of characters I could get to know.

I would chain-read: one book led to another and another. I got to know the characters, and then they became my imaginary friends. Each book invited me back into their lives.

When I got older, my mother tried to get me away from such juvenile books, but those characters were comforting.
During the school year, I often read books assigned to me, but in the summer it was all about the simple act of reading for pleasure.

This year, I have rekindled my pleasure reading desires. I read a lot of serious books for work about psychology, relationships, and all sorts of serious topics.

But I also have given myself permission to read for the pure pleasure of enjoying the characters and their stories. From Cleo Coyle to James Patterson to Juliet Blackwell, the books I read for pleasure may not be of high academic summer_love_challenge2value, but they provide me with pleasure.

I may not be climbing a tree to read them, but losing myself in the lives of fictional characters is a delicious escape.

Recently I read an article about the rise of erotica thanks to eBooks. You can read anything on an eReader and no one really knows what it is. It often feels embarrassing to admit you’re reading “Hexes and Hemlines” to someone when they’re telling you all about their deep dive into the works of Dickens, but I believe that any book has the ability to transport us into a deeper relationship with ourselves by experiencing the lives of others (even fictional characters).

That’s my new Challenge to you:  Read for PURE PLEASURE.

 

Between now and July 15th, choose a book for the pure pleasure of getting lost in the story, not for it’s academic or social values. Just because you enjoy the adventures, trials and tribulations that only the pages of a book can bring you.

And while you’re out indulging in whatever Literary Delights strike your fancy, snap a photo and share it in your Social Media Streams (Facebook, Instagram) and tag it: #SummerLoveNotes – That way, we can all share in a love or Summer Reading!

Note: This Summer Love Notes Challenge #2 runs until July 15th.

About the Author – Debra Smouse

debrasmouse200x300 I’m Debra Smouse, a self-admitted Tarnished Southern Belle. I can help you detangle all your clutter, fall in love with yourself and your life, and unleash your inner sex kitten.

My truth? In order to live life the way you were meant to, you must fall in love with the day-to-day activity of living.

I spend my days writing and working with people who want to change the world, beginning with themselves.

A life coach and writer, me and my Gypsy Soul have stopped their constant roaming and have settled down in Dayton, OH where I share life’s adventures with the man of my dreams.

Get Social with Debra

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Continue Reading

Summer Love Notes Challenge #1

In the early 70’s, Mansfield, Texas was a one stoplight town, but it was far enough away from home that I never gave summer_love_challenge1it much thought.

What I did think about, though, were the train tracks: if a train was coming through town, we were stuck on our side of town until it passed. That meant we couldn’t get to my granny’s house or Lee’s Supermarket.

We could, however, get to Dairy Queen.

I loved the nights my mother didn’t want to cook and we’d get take-out. Our only in-town choices were the Fried Chicken place off of Main or Dairy Queen. I liked Dairy Queen the best.

We could get hot dogs with onions and relish on them, big juicy hamburgers with melted cheese, steak fingers served with cream gravy and thick buttered toast, and crispy French fries.

Best of all: Dairy Queen had ICE CREAM.

If we were picking up dinner, I’d beg for an ice cream sandwich or a Dilly Bar, treats we could pop in the freezer while we ate our completely delicious and perfectly greasy food choices.

What was even better, though, were the late summer evenings when my mother would get out a cake pan and send my dad and I to Dairy Queen to bring back Banana Splits and Hot Fudge Sundaes. (Her theory being that if anything melted, the pan would catch the drips.)

I fondly recall their “Banana Fudge Royale”. It was much better than the Banana Splits and that gooey yellow-ish pineapple concoction on the middle scoop; the Royale was all my favorite parts of a banana split: ice cream topped with bananas, hot fudge and whipped cream.

Though we regularly kept Ice Cream in the freezer, it didn’t compare to the soft, creamy goodness of Dairy Queen’s soft-serve with it’s thick, rich flavor and the signature Curly Q on the top of every scoop.

I learned, too, that going with my dad to Western Auto, to take something to Granny’s, or to hang out while he took the cars to the Car Wash typically meant we would drive through Dairy Queen for a Cherry Coke or Cherry Vanilla Doctor Pepper and an ice cream cone.

Do you remember their beautiful soft serve cones DIPPED in Chocolate?

We never fessed up to my mom or sister that we’d gotten a treat while we were out; I’m sure my mother suspected.

Summers meant an increase in ice cream consumption.

That’s my Summer Love Challenge to you this week: Go out and get ice cream.

Don’t calculate the calories or the points. Don’t look for the low-fat or sugar free versions. Don’t obsess over the fact that it isn’t “Artisan Made” with “Organic and Fair Trade” ingredients.

Go to an Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor and get two scoops. Go to Dairy Queen for a Soft-Serve Dipped Cone. Indulge in a Hot Fudge Sundae or go for that Banana Split.

Allow your more sophisticated adult palate to play like a child.

And while you’re out indulging in your Summer Treat, snap a photo and share it in your Social Media Streams (Facebook, Instagram) and tag it: #SummerLoveNotes – That way, we can all share in the creamy deliciousness that is Ice Cream.

Here’s to Ice Cream on a Hot Summer Day.

Note: This Summer Love Notes Challenge #1 runs until July 1st.

About the Author – Debra Smouse

debrasmouse200x300 I’m Debra Smouse, a self-admitted Tarnished Southern Belle. I can help you detangle all your clutter, fall in love with yourself and your life, and unleash your inner sex kitten.

My truth? In order to live life the way you were meant to, you must fall in love with the day-to-day activity of living.

I spend my days writing and working with people who want to change the world, beginning with themselves.

A life coach and writer, me and my Gypsy Soul have stopped their constant roaming and have settled down in Dayton, OH where I share life’s adventures with the man of my dreams.

Get Social with Debra

facebook Twitter Pinterest Instagram-logo

 

 

Continue Reading

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