Archives for January 2011

Recipe : Buffalo Chicken Dip


Here is a great appetizer that you could enjoy while watching the Super Bowl.  This recipe is a sure hit.  Enjoy!  It came from my friend Stacey Mahaffie.  Thanks Stacey!

Buffalo Chicken Dip
1/2 Chicken Brest, Boiled and Shredded

1 8oz package cream cheese; softened
1/2 cup buffalo sauce
1/2 cup ranch salad dressing OR
1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing
2 cups shredded colby jack cheese

Spread the cream cheese into an ungreased 8×8 dish. 
Layer the chicken, ranch (or blue cheese) dressing, and buffalo sauce.
Sprinkle with shredded Colby jack cheese.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Serve warm with tortilla chips or celery.  I tried the recipe with ranch and loved it, but it is also good with blue cheese dressing. If you don’t have time to boil and shred a chicken breast you could use a rotisserie chicken.  

Stacey gave this to us for Christmas instead of a plate of cookies.  It was tasty and a nice change!  Scott and I ate the whole thing for lunch while hanging Christmas lights on our house.

Sharing The Good Stuff : Create the Right Atmosphere

If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 
Soon after sharing my last post on “attitude” I read this devotional from Joyce Meyer.  It is an extension of what I was writing about and I thought it would be great to share here:
If we want to hear from God, we need to create an atmosphere conducive to his presence.   By atmosphere I mean the predominant atmosphere or mood that surrounds us. Atmosphere is created by attitudes and certain attitudes enhance or hinder our relationship with God.  To hear from God, we need an atmosphere of peace and we can maintain peace by our attitudes of faith in God and willingness to forgive those we might be upset with.
We should work to maintain and create peaceful atmospheres wherever we go because we cannot hear from God in the midst of turmoil.   An attitude of strife and dissension does not create an atmosphere in which God will speak, but he will speak in atmospheres where hearts-and minds-are at peace and full of love.
To enjoy the fullness of God’s presence we need to consistently maintain an attitude in our hearts that allows us to honor him.

Our Life : Dependent On My Phone


I broke my phone 2 days ago.  I thought I would make a list of how it’s going.  I am AMAZED at just how dependent I am on my very SMART phone.  I am looking pretty stupid with out it.

The good:

It’s quieter. 
Dinner is not interrupted. 

In the car I relax instead of talk. 
I am still okay when it’s quiet.
My friends, even when I mess up their days, are kind gracious freinds!

The bad:
1.  I couldn’t call the school to say my son was home sick.
2.  I couldn’t call the little girl’s mom, to say I was going to be late bringing her home from school, because of a conference mix up.  I had to call my husband, from the school, because I didn’t know her number; and he had to call the mom, so she wouldn’t worry.  Seriously?
3.  I dropped the little girl off at home and her dad and mom were outside washing the car.  I talked to them for 20 minutes, then I realized I was supposed to be at home babysitting for a friend.  She waited for 30 minutes, called her sister to watch her son (who lives 15 minutes away), and I barely saw her leaving my house.  Now, I have missed a responsibility, I was just about 2 minutes away from because I stopped to talk.  I made a friend late to work, changed her sister’s day, my daughter was in tears because she couldn’t wait to watch this cute little baby.  That’s a LOT of havoc in 30 minutes that could have been changed by a simple phone call.  Oh, and it’s only 3pm. What’s next?
I am very dependent on my SMART phone to get me through my day, so far I am sucking it up.  I need some new systems if I am going to be phone-less for another week. 

Stirrings : Kindness for a Grieving Friend

I am ashamed to say that I didn’t know what I should or shouldn’t do when someone close to me lost a loved one.  Since I didn’t know what to say, I did not say a thing.  I just avoided it all together.  I felt awkward and imposing.  I was afraid that I might say the wrong thing or somehow make it worse.  Once, I really hurt a friend with that response.  I am learning as I grow.  I wanted to share with you some things that people did for me that I really appreciated.  I am sure that different people appreciate different things when they are grieving, but I think that sharing some things that encouraged me would be helpful.  I am hoping that you might be able to use this information to help a friend in need to get through the hard times–I know that these things sure meant a lot to me.

These are in no particular order, just a list of amazing acts of kindness we received that we really appreciated.

1.  “If there is an elephant in the room, introduce it.”  When I saw someone who knew about my loss and they simply said, “Jen, I am so sorry for your loss.”  That meant a LOT.  You don’t even need to say anything else.  If it’s appropriate, a hug added in there can be nice.  It says, “I am sorry and I care about you”.

2.  I got a slew of cards.  Some were simple and some had loving notes.  I even got a card from a friend of a friend, someone I had never met.  I read each card and I cried, in a good way, feeling thankful for all the sentiments.

3.  Phone calls are nice.  Sometimes I would answer it and sometimes I wouldn’t.  Just a simple call to say, “Hey, I am thinking about you.  How are you doing?”  A simple message, “Jen, you don’t have to call back, but I just wanted to say, ‘I love you’ and see how you are doing.”

4.  An email or text message.  It can say something simple like “I love you and I am praying for you.”

5.  Food for the family.  The last thing I wanted to do in the early days was to cook for my family.  They had to eat and I just couldn’t do it.  I remember at one point just wandering around the grocery store, knowing we needed milk and just a few basic things, but I left empty handed.  A few friends brought us meals and it was really nice.  A few other friends brought dinner and stayed with us to eat.  We laughed and cried and they listened.  It’s nice to have friends.

6.  We received an edible arrangement around the time of the memorial service, it was especially nice because we had a bunch of people in from out of town and it was nice to have something to offer them.  Of course, I ate it too, yummy!

7.  I always thought it was really sweet when someone shared a fond memory of my dad or something they always admired about him.

8.  We received flowers, which were like a bit of sunshine on a cloudy day.

9.  I wasn’t eating much and a girl friend of mine who had recently lost her husband brought me a nectarine and some almonds.  It was a perfect lunch.

10.  Another friend made me a basket of things that comfort her on hard days.  It was full of tea, coffee, cozy socks, chocolate, bubble bath, and some great verses she had written out.  It was a big basket of love.  The funny thing is she may have needed one too because I know my dad meant a lot to her.

11.  My Bible Study friends made all the desserts for the memorial service.  They did it with love and excellence!  We were all thankful.

12.  My Bible Study also knew my dad loved apples, so they planted an apple tree in my back yard in memory of him. 

13.  Any act of kindness towards my mom, who is now a widow, is an act of kindness for which I am thankful. 

14.  As time goes on, it’s nice when people remember.  I just met Amy’s dad for the first time.  He gave me a big dad hug and said, “Jen, I am sorry for the loss of your dad.  I am a pilot too and we never like to lose one of our own.”  I got teary and was thankful that he cared enough to mention it. 
I thank all of you for all your acts of kindness towards me as I have been grieving.  What is something that brings you comfort when you are sad?  Ask yourself that question and then just give it away.  Do an act of kindness.  A friend is never disappointed when another friend says that they care about them.  From writing a card to planting a tree and everything between, it is good to care for our friends. 

Is there anything anyone has done for you in a time of loss for which you were especially thankful?

Stirrings : Attitude


Attitude is so important.  We know that, right?  Yet, having the right attitude in the wrong circumstance can be quite challenging.  It sneaks up on you.  It sneaks up on me. 
Attitude is a word we “discuss” a lot in our home….because we have a 13 year old.  We see her struggling to have a positive outlook on her circumstances which from our perspective are amazing.  She lives in a warm, comfortable home, has a loving family surrounding her, has a plentiful supply of food, and a closet full of clothes. 
Of course, we know hormones can make a day at the amusement park seem like the most depressing event ever.  But, I wonder what God thinks when he looks at our attitudes?  He can really see the BIG picture….those suffering immensely to those drowning in their own wealth.  He sees us, and more than that he knows our innermost thoughts…our hearts.  Reflecting on that always gives me an attitude check. 
God is compassionate and knows our struggles, and he knows when sometimes we just can’t pick ourselves up our of our situation.  Yet, I do want him to know that I am filled with thanks for all that I have, even when circumstances are hard.

Here is a little saying that I copied down….a good reminder for me!

Watch your thoughts,
they become words.
Watch your words,
they become actions.
Watch your actions,
they become habits.
Watch your habits,
they become character.

Our attitude starts with our thoughts.  It is everything.

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