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In the circle of life keep the wheels rolling

Kathy Lilje • Mar 19, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Life’s all about choices.

When Satanta Vonthron was dealt a blow — a cancer diagnosis — she made the choice to fight it.


As principal of Shawnee Elementary School in Huron, she had plenty of work to do and a mission to give the staff and students the guidance they needed.

For more than four years, she made the choice to live. Her disease didn’t define her. Her attitude did.

Many people believe we live on through the people whose life we’ve touched while here on earth. Just days after I met Tanny’s mom in 1986, Debbie’s father passed away. I never had the opportunity to meet Jack Botte. But my life was touched by his words of wisdom and quips as relayed by his daughter.

Years later, I still make a point to serve each of my grandchildren M&Ms for breakfast (just once each) as Jack did for Tanny when she was a toddler. As he saw it, one meal of M&Ms will not harm her, but it will make her remember how cool Grandpa was.

Tanny made the choice to touch as many people as possible. Her sunny approach to life and her ability to make everyone feel special has been documented in the Register, on Facebook and in the hearts of many people.

To some, the pain she endured though multiple sessions of chemotherapy may seem to have been futile.

While it’s true it didn’t save Tanny’s life, her journey is an inspiration. Each year more and more people survive cancer. The choice to treat offers hope. Whether a cancer patient chooses to treat or retreat is up to them.

The choice to smile and to live each day fully, no matter how many you are allotted, is the right choice for everyone. 

And another thing, consider this recipe a gift worth smiling about.

Tanny’s Fajita Soup

•2 Tbsp. vegetable oil 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into strips (or 1 bag faux chicken)

•1 pkg. fajita seasoning

•1 red and 1 green pepper, cut into thin strips

•1 large onion, cut into strips

•1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes

•1 (15 oz.) can regular diced tomatoes

•1 (15 oz.) can seasoned black beans

•1 (14 oz.) can chicken or vegetable broth Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat oil in a large soup pot.

Place chicken in hot oil, stirring occasionally until brown, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle fajita seasoning over browned chicken and stir well to coat.

Add red and green peppers and onion to the seasoned chicken. Stir.

Cook until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Pour the roasted tomatoes, regular tomatoes, black beans and broth into the pot with chicken and veggies.

Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Season with salt and pepper.

Makes about 10 servings.

Enjoy and think about the wonder of life while you eat it.

See you next week.


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