Saturday, February 8, 2014

Leader Enterprise - Feb. 5, 2014 - Love & Friendships & Chocolate too




February is a month we celebrate the loving relationship we share with spouses, relatives and friends. Valentine's day is my favorite holiday. I think it's so important that we think of it as a'day of love'and not just one for lovers. Here are some thoughts to ponder to consider taking time to tell everyone in your life that you care about them, focusing on friends. I am sharing a number of favorite quotes throughout.

"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people stay for a while and leave their footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same."

"Friends are God’s way of taking care of us."

Life is all about relationships. Spouses, Children, Friends, Family, God. Each one demands your time, your heart. You may be connected by blood relationships, or you may simply be bosom buddies. You may not communicate regularly, but when you reconnect with a true friend it’s as if you’ve never been apart because your hearts are always linked.

There are gaps in your hearts that only a friend can fill. If we’re fortunate enough, some family members become friends and oftentimes, some friends become family.

It’s vitally important to spend quality time with friends. There are days when you simply must MAKE the time in your busy lives to connect, because it’s always so worth your time and effort. Even if it’s an email or phone call over many miles that separate you.

The sweet memories you make when you reunite,long distance or face to face,live on forever, even after one of those friends has passed on. Nothing can warm your heart more than to recall the voice of a friend, or to remember their laugh when you last talked.
There are people whom one loves immediately and forever. Even to know they are alive in the world with one is quite enough. ~Nancy Spain
Fortify yourself with a flock of friends! You can select them at random, write to one, dine with one, visit one, or take your problems to one. There is always at least one who will understand, inspire and give you the lift you need at the time. ~George Matthew Adams
Authentic friendship is not superficial, surface-level chit chat. It’s genuinely sharing the deepest gut-level thoughts of your heart. A friend is someone who knows all about you, and likes you anyway.

How blessed you are if you have a myriad of friends - you can run to one when you’re up or down, knowing they will willingly multiply your joy, or divide your sorrow. Even when you think you have no more to givewhen a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

A favorite scripture of mine is Prov. 18:24- "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly.. "If you feel like you don’t have friends, why not make an effort to befriend someone? You may brighten their lonely days in ways you could never have imagined.

Take time to listen or share a meal with someone. Those little things may be a very big thing in someone else’s life.

"To have a friend,be a friend."

Maybe you have been hurt in the past,so you withdraw and are afraid of revealing your true self to someone else. Dredge up some courage-open up and reach out to another person. You may discover something wonderful that has been missing in your life.

"Strangers are just friends waiting to happen."

I once gave a tea party for two of our granddaughters, Charlie & Chloe, and 4 of their friends. Since we were having the party in July, we decided on an"All American Girl" theme. We did all the decorations in red, white and blue. We enjoyed bubble gum tea with star shaped sandwiches, recited the pledge of allegiance and enjoyed sharing knock knock jokes..

I would love to know my grandchildren would be blessed, as I am, to stay connected to some school-day chums many years after graduation. Facebook has been a wonderful tool to reconnect me with old friends. Late last fall, I received a phone call from one of my college chums. It was unbelievable that she had found me after 40+ years, but it's been a joy to keep in touch ever since.

Some friends make you feel richer than if you’d just had a sweepstakes check delivered to your door. Sometimes the benefits of having friends isn’t just about the relationship, but the life lessons we learn. Some of the best lessons we can learn from each other are simply how to be a friend.

"Friends are one of the most important ingredients in this recipe called life."

Of course, we gotta have some chocolate to celebrate this holiday of love. I so love this chocolate pudding. It's quick; add peanut butter (after cooking) if desired. We enjoy eating it warm. 


THICK MICROWAVE CHOCOLATE PUDDING



1/3 c. sugar (or sweetener)

1/4 c. baking cocoa

3 Tb. cornstarch

1/8 tsp. salt

2 c. milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract
Whipped topping, optional

In a 2-qt.microwave-safe bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Stir in milk (a whisk works best) 1 cup at a time, until smooth. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 2 minutes; stir. Microwave 3-5 minutes longer or until thickened, stirring after each minute. Stir in vanilla. Pour into individual serving dishes; cool. Refrigerate. Garnish with whipped topping if desired. Yield: 4 servings.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CROCKPOT PUDDING CAKE

1 box (18 ozs.) Chocolate cake mix
1 pkg (4 serving size) (sugar free) instant chocolate pudding and pie filling mix
1 c. sour cream
1 c. heath toffee bits,optional
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. water
3/4 c. canola oil or vegetable oil

Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Combine cake mix, dry pudding mix, sour cream, toffee, chocolate chips, water and oil in mixing bowl. Stir well to combine. Batter will be slightly lumpy. Pour into slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Middle will be a little gooey and pudding-like. Serve warm with ice cream.