Friday, February 14, 2014

Double Chocolate Cookies

Happy Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day - a day to celebrate one another. 

Life's too short to NOT celebrate one another.  I can't speak for the male population but I know that women NEED encouraging people in their lives who can find the positive in every situation - even when life isn't necessarily going as we planned.  We need trustworthy people around us who won’t judge our choices but challenge us by asking the tough questions.  People who embrace our imperfections and graciously forgive and forget when we screw up.  (And believe me, we all do.)  We need people to remind us of our strengths and encourage us to dream beyond what we think is possible.

I am truly blessed to be surrounded by a group of people who boldly celebrate me and others.  A few years ago when I was dealing with an ankle injury, I intentionally spent time with people who reminded me over and over again that I was brave and strong instead of people who showed pity on my situation.  (I can have pity parties on my own.  Certainly don't need any help with that.)  I'm so thankful for friends and family members who unselfishly built me up during a time when I was clearly - down in the dumps.  There were days when I didn't need to talk at all - I needed a shoulder to cry on and I'm grateful for friends who just sat and listened - without judgement.  Even though I didn't always receive their love and encouragement graciously while my heart was hurting, they could overlook by shortcomings and they and loved me anyway. 

I cherish each and every one of these family members and friends because they were placed in my life by God for a great purpose.  I want to be a person who reciprocates that same love and encouragement toward others.  I definitely believe that life is far too short to NOT celebrate each other.

Everyone has their own way of celebrating others.  For me, a lot of times it involves making a meal or a baking a special treat.  These double chocolate cookies are a great way to show love to any serious chocolate lover. 

Double Chocolate Cookies
1 1/3 cups shortening                     2/3 cup cocoa
2 tablespoons water                       1 ½ teaspoons salt
3 cups brown sugar                        1 teaspoon baking soda
4 eggs                                             4 cups chocolate chips
3 ½ cups flour                                2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream sugar, shortening, water and vanilla.

Beat in eggs.

Combine dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Bake 12 minutes at 375.  Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets.

Cool completely on wire racks.

Double chocolate cookies + a glass of cold milk = love.

To all of my family and friends,
Thank you for celebrating ME - encouraging me, listening to me, motivating me and telling me the things I need to hear - even when I don't want to hear it.  Thank you for being someone who I can laugh AND cry with - often at the same time.  I'm thankful that you tell me - with conviction - that "I'm normal" even when I really am crazy.  You give of yourself, expecting nothing in return and you forgive me when I disappoint you - even before I ask.  You're intentional about loving me well and I can count on you to be truthful and trustworthy. 
I love you all.


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