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Oatmeal . . . sounds like there might be a recipe forthcoming, right?  Not this time.  This is my new trigger word for when I need to take a step back and take a deep breath.   Call it what you like:  attitude adjustment, time-out, chilling, reality check, etc.  It’s one of those times when everything just seems too overwhelming and I need to re-think what’s going on and how to handle it.


Decided to use this word after reading a story on the internet.  Guess you might say it’s one of those time when you think your situation is difficult then you see someone else who has it much harder than you do.  I’ve learned two things really well . . . one is to not say ‘never’ and secondly,  that things can always get worse.


This is the story that struck a chord – author Kathryn Rose [1]


This is Sharon, my mother-in-law.

She taught me it’s important work to see someone for who they are and not what you expect.

When I first met my mother-in-law, I had a hard time understanding her thick southern Virginia accent. And she seemed a little bossy in that southern passive aggressive polite way. But I knew she was important to the love of my life, so I accepted her begrudgingly, as some of us do when family is forced on us.

After 7 years, I still don’t really know her.

When my wife got leukemia at 30, when they gave her a 10% chance to live, when our world was shattered and changed forever, Sharon very quietly and very firmly stepped into the role she was born for. She moved, with her dependent Vietnam vet husband, into our house and became my wife’s caretaker too.

Over a period of two years, she bought most of the groceries, cooked almost every meal, did most of the laundry and cleaning, drove both dependents to almost every one of the 300+ doctor appointments , sorted tens of thousands of pills, and made sure they were all taken on time at every hour, every day.

And she did this when she herself was diagnosed with cancer in the middle of caring for everyone else. When she was getting a mastectomy. When she is going through chemo.

She hums when she works. She talks to herself when there’s no one to listen, and she goes about every day with humility and grace.

I took this photo (seen above) before I left for work one day. She didn’t know I was there.

This, friends, is what greatness looks like in a quiet moment. Waiting on oatmeal to cook for her daughter for the 300th time since she got sick. Her hair was gone from her own chemo. She refused to quit caring against all odds.

Not everyone gets to have a real-world superhero in their lives. And for this I was filled with gratitude every day.

The real heroes don’t wear capes. Sometimes, they wear bathrobes in kitchens making oatmeal.


Been a little bit introspective this week – can’t say why – but sometimes things I read seem to resonate like the story above and the following  . . .


If you have to choose between being kind and being right, choose being kind and you will always be right.   [2]


Will really try to do this one, but sometimes not everyone is easy to be kind to.  But, will do my best.


Putting away the soap box for this post. Hope to have a new sugar-free brownie recipe to share next time –  as we say down here in the south – “Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.”


Lastly, just because this is such an amazing storm cloud (seen over North Dakota? . .  I think) –

to view the video, click on the image.























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