The Dream Come True

We are raised on dreams coming true. On happily ever after. Cinderella’s glass slipper fit her, not her step-sisters. Jack escapes from the giant with the goose that laid the golden egg. All problems neatly tied up and solved.

Your dreams are yours to create. Image: available as wallpaper from

We know it takes a pure heart and determination to make those dreams come true, but the stories of childhood end there. The guy gets the girl. They live happily ever after. It’s a little vague how that happens, exactly.

Making your dream come true can be scary. This is your dream, which is somehow supposed to stay in the future, and now you are holding it.  Part of you doesn’t believe you could (or should) have it.

Your negative self talk told you often enough how out of reach it was. You might have chased that dream because it was good exercise, but deep inside you may not have thought you’d catch it. And now you did.

At this very point–the point of reaching your dream or goal, you’ll want to jump back, to the point right before you had it.  After all, if you hold the dream, you suddenly become responsible for it. You will have to be content with it. You will have to live happily ever after. If you could actually achieve it, was  the dream good or big enough?

The biggest burden of reaching a goal is that the same you that struggled for it suddenly has it.   Along the way you might have become older, wiser, thinner, but it is still you.

Getting that dream doesn’t come with a limo and posse for most of us. It comes with responsibility of admitting that we worked hard and got what we wanted.  Time to  acknowledge it. Even when your friends whisper behind your back, “So what? What’s the big deal?”  Some friends will snort, others will be envious. A few people will be mad at you. None of this should stop you from admitting you reached your goal. None of this should make you belittle yourself.

The important part is knowing what you did to get here, knowing that you could have stopped to avoid having the responsibility and pretended to change the goal. It’s a brave thing to reach your goal. Unlike running a marathon, once you cross the finish line with a goal, you realize you can’t click a stop watch and compare your goal reaching with others and see who won. You did. You got it. You have succeeded.

Before you feel dipped in fear, acknowledge your growth. Be proud of yourself. And take some time to celebrate. Celebrations remind us that we have strength and courage and determination. Celebrations honor those traits without saying that we don’t need anything else. Once you reach a goal, no one can take the accomplishment away from you. Honor yourself. Be proud. You’ve earned it!

Quinn McDonald is a writer and creativity coach who has a tendency to pretend that none of her goals were big accomplishments. She chooses the next one too soon.  She’s working on it.

Steel Cut Oats: Worth the Time?

Oatmeal has always been a favorite breakfast food in my house. Not the instant, which always tastes as if it had been made in the Play-Doh factory, the old-fashioned. Yes, they took a little longer to cook, but it could be done in five minutes. I cook oatmeal in milk, it gives a much richer taste. But milk means you have to stir, so 5 minutes is about all I could handle.

steel-cut oatsMy niece introduced me to steel-cut oats. I was astonished to find that they were not flat or flaked. These oats are still grain-shaped.  (You can see both flakes and steel-cut in the photo.)

The taste was completely different–sort of nutty, like wheat berries, and an incredible taste treat. They also filled me up completely for three hours, making it easy to pass up the donuts, eclairs and other breakfast goodies in my clients’ kitchens.

Steel-cut oats take forever to cook. The package I have said “about 10 minutes.” Only if you need to break out a few annoying molars. It takes a full 20 minutes to cook steel-cut oats. If you are cooking more than one serving, you can count on 30. I just don’t have 30 extra minutes in the morning, so I began to experiment with shortcuts.

Here are two that work really well:

1. Stir and run method. Put the milk (or water) into a deep saucepan, add the oats (follow directions on the can) and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once they have boiled for 30 seconds, you can turn the burner to warm (if you have an annoying electric stove) or the lowest gas setting. Then go take a shower or get dressed. Do not desert the oats. Check in once in a while to make sure there is enough liquid in the pot. You probably will have to add more. I add water, even when cooking with milk, give it a quick stir, and go put on my makeup. By the time I’m ready for breakfast, the oats are done perfectly.

2. Cook two servings at once, following the instructions above. Eat one serving, and put the other one in a covered container. If you are covering the container with plastic wrap, make sure the wrap touches the top of the oatmeal to prevent milk skin from forming. The next morning, you simply pour a little milk or water into a pan and warm up the oatmeal. You cannot tell the difference in taste or texture.

Update: There are more than 95 comments so far with excellent suggestions, please browse them to learn so much more!

From the comment sent in by Jan: Before you got to bed, put a half cup of steel cut oats and cover with water. The next morning, drain the water, add milk (or cook in water) and bring to a gentle boil. Takes about 5 minutes to cook. Best suggestion yet!

Don’t reheat in the microwave, you will be eating dense, chewy little rubber bullets. Mix in dried cherries, fresh raspberries, or cut up crystalized ginger. Add sugar, honey, or syrup. Or just eat it plain.

You might also enjoy: Bulgur Wheat: Side dish, Main dish, Salad

–Image: Quinn McDonald.

Quinn is a writer and certified creativity coach.
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