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Almond Crusted Torte πŸŒ°

I wanted to share a new recipe I have been given with you all. It is called the almond crusted torte and it is oh so delicious. I first tasted this wonderful pastry last November when we visited my husband’s family for Thanksgiving. I think it is meant to be a breakfast dish, but really, you can eat it anytime you want. It’s that good and it is so easy to make. No muss no fuss!

You will need:

1 2/3 cup flour

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 cup melted butter

1/8 tsp. salt

2 beaten eggs

2 ounces sliced almonds

Now all you have to do is mix all the ingredients together, EXCEPT the almonds.

Transfer the mix into a pie pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Sprinkle the almonds over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

This torte is great when served warm. Enjoy!

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John 15:2 ✝️

Every week I meet with my friend Linda and we do a Bible study. I love this time we spend together. It allows me to really reflect on the week, and brings what is really important in life to the forefront.

I have always admired my friend Linda. She is the definition of pure joy. I think a lot of us aspire to be joyful, I know I do, but life gets in the way sometimes. That is my problem. I let life get in the way. Linda is always full of joy because she is always focused on Jesus. Everything she does is done to honor Him. I think that is where I slip up. I become too self-focused and I don’t realize that truly everything we do should be for Him.

Life can be tough, but if we stay focused on Jesus we will quickly realize that we can get through anything. He did anyway. I know it’s difficult when you’re going through a tough time. It truly sucks, I have been there. John 15:2 helps me get through it: He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. How amazing is that?!? He is always with us and wants the best for us. Sometimes we don’t understand the pruning process, and we are not meant to understand it, we just need to realize that he understands and is IN CONTROL.

I understand that believing in a higher power can be difficult for some people. We are living in a world today that can give us almost anything we want within days, minutes or even seconds and we don’t want to wait for His divine intervention in our lives. However, God’s timing is what will always prevail. We are experiencing this right now with COVID-19.

I once dated a guy (for a very short period of time) who constantly criticized my faith and asked questions like “how can you believe in a God who allows such horrible things, like rape, to happen in this world?” Ok, lesson numero uno: God has given us free will. We saw this with Adam and Eve when they willfully chose to disobey God’s orders in the Garden of Eden. God was literally like “hey you can eat from any tree in this garden, just not THIS tree (tree of the knowledge of good and evil). So of course later satan says to Adam and Eve “hey why don’t you eat from THIS tree? (tree of the knowledge of good and evil). It’s cool, you’ll be fine.” SO THEY DID. They straight up ate from that tree after God specifically told them not to. I’m sure that was a face palm moment for God. Just like really guys? You had one job.

Anyway, that is why there is sin in this world. Because we have free will that began back in the land of Eden. And we are easily tempted by evil. The fault lies with US, not God. Let’s stop trying to put the blame on him. That can lead me into a whole other rant about my generation and how we don’t like being told what to do or accept responsibility for our actions, but I won’t get into that now. Moving on…

In Matthew 4, Jesus is tempted by Satan. He hadn’t eaten for 40 days and Satan tried to tempt him with bread. He did not fall. He resisted every temptation. I don’t know about you, but I can’t resist the temptation of bread even if I’m not hungry. It’s a problem I have.Β Anyway, I digress…The point is that Jesus never sinned. If we were all like him we would have a perfect world free of rape, and other horrible things. But we don’t because people choose to give into the the evils of this world. That is what we need to understand. So stop blaming HIM. It’s rude, and inaccurate. So there.

The ONLY reason I believe in any higher power is because of Jesus Christ. Who He is and what He represents, which is love. All the good in this world comes from Him, so don’t blame our selfish choices driven by free will or satan’s evil actions on Him. Realize that He is for us not against us. Realize that there is good and evil in this world and that is the absolute TRUTH.

Mic drop.

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Change 🌎

 

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I think I can speak for all of us when I say, wow. What a time to be alive. The world…the ENTIRE WORLD is going through a huge change right now. An unprecedented change caused by something called COVID-19 or Coronavirus. At the end of last year this virus started taking a tour around the world. I’m sure we are all familiar with COVID at this point in time as we are all currently on lockdown because of it. I’m really writing this blog so I have something to read in the future when I think back on this time and try to remember what it was like living through something like this.

The main issue with this virus is that it is extremely contagious and easily spread from person to person. Another issue is that when the CDC realized COVID was an issue, we were already 3-4 weeks behind. Because of this many governments are issuing mandatory lockdowns on cities and even entire countries. How f’ing crazy is that?!? 🀯 Italy is one of those countries currently on lockdown. Literally the entire country is in quarantine. You can’t make this stuff up. It’s just crazy. I recently saw a video where Italian mayors were going out into the streets and yelling at residents to go home because SO MANY people are dying. Video posted below:

Stay Home Video

Professional & college basketball seasons have both been canceled because of this virus. The OLYMPICS were canceled because of this virus! How crazy is that?!? So many changes. The city I live in kind of seems like a ghost town. One of my friends put it best when he said “it’s like the world after the Thanos Snap”. If you don’t know what that is, look it up.

My clinicals for Grad school have been ended five weeks early. Schools have been canceled through mid April and a majority of businesses have closed. Well, their lobbies at least. Restaurants and showing commercials saying “we will deliver your meal for free.” Man, they must really be struggling right now. I fear for them. I fear for the people at risk for this virus, and well, everyone I guess. I fear for everyone right now. People are losing their jobs and a lot of people have lost money in the stock market.

I fear for a lot of people right now, but I also feel for a lot of people right now. There are so many doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers on the front lines helping stop this virus. I recently saw pictures of healthcare workers with literal cuts on the faces from the N95 masks they are having to wear.

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I’m glad people are taking this virus seriously and trying to stop the spread because it’s a huge problem whether people want to believe it or not. It’s a silent enemy, that can’t be ignored. People are dying and there are many precautions being taken to help such as social distancing and the stay home order.

I’ll tell you what though, I have always enjoyed staying home, but once someone tells you that you HAVE to stay home, it’s not as much fun. I went out and stocked up on groceries (not too crazy though). Some people actually went cray cray and bought the stores out! There has been a shortage of toilet paper for weeks now. I asked one of the Publix employees if they got any shipments of toilet paper recently. To which he responded “No! I don’t understand this whole toilet paper shortage thing. That’s not even a symptom of this virus!” I laughed really hard about that for a long time. I’m still laughing about it, in fact.

I recently saw a post online informing people of the rules and regulations associated with WIC (women, infants, children). My mom is a registered dietitian and has worked for WIC for 30+ years. She plans to retire soon. Go Mom! Anyway, the post educated people on the labels posted in grocery stores for WIC approved items. It said “if you’re stocking up on goods, check to see if the item has a “WIC Approved” label. If it does, buy another brand. This is because women on WIC can only buy these specific WIC approved brands. If that item is sold out, they will be leaving the store with nothing. So it was nice to see that we are looking out for our women and children.

I have been making/receiving a lot of phone calls over these past 2 weeks. Probably because all my friends are bored, but it’s nice to catch up no matter what. Maybe this is just God’s way of getting the world’s attention. If it is, I think he has it. I’ve been referring to my bible a lot lately. I’ve also been doing a lot of praying. Times like these make me realize how delicate and unknown life is. Everything happens for a reason and sometimes I think God is trying to tell us something, we just have to pay attention.

Stay safe & healthy everyone. God bless.

❀️ -P

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Garden Update πŸŒΏπŸŒ±πŸƒ

GUYS. 🌻🌻🌻

My garden is FLOURISHING. I absolutely love it. Working in the garden and the yard everyday has become my new norm because my fiance, Eric, and I are getting married next month! All of our family and friends will be coming in from out of state and I want them to see the house in the best condition possible.

Here are some pictures and descriptions of what I have growing:

First of all…my peach tree. This is my absolute favorite plant on my property and it is in full bloom. All I have to say is WOW. When a peach tree blooms, it sprouts little pink and white flowers that eventually become peaches. It is a truly beautiful process to watch. πŸ‘

Blueberry Bush. I got this bush a few months ago when my parents came to visit. My dad loves to work in the yard so I got a lot of things outside done. By the way, if anyone needs to know how to create a french drain off their house, I can help with that. This blueberry bush is doing exceptionally well. I should also say that I put Jobe’s Fruit & Citrus fertilizer spikes around the peach tree, the blueberry bush and my lemon/lime bush. It is really helping with the growth and health of these plants. πŸ’™

Papaya Tree: This little guy is trying his hardest to grow. It seems to be very sensitive to heat and sunlight, which I was not expecting. When it gets hot outside the leaves on the tree begin to droop. Water doesn’t help the situation, but shading the tree does. I knew I had become a crazy plant lady when I found myself propping up an umbrella to shade my little papaya tree. Anything for my plants! 🧑

Strawberry Plant: This plant has actually grown surprisingly well since I didn’t plant it ideally. I read online that strawberry plants love to be planted on a mound, and watered by an irrigation system. This is how all the strawberry farms in the area plant their strawberries. I planted mine directly in the ground and water every other day with my hose. πŸ“

Watermelon: I was so excited to buy this plant because watermelon is my favorite fruit. Ever since being planted, it has grown a lot. I’m sure it will keep growing and just take over the entire garden, and that’s fine. It hasn’t blossomed yet, but I’m sure it will happen soon! I have faith. This is the part where I say a little prayer for all my plants. πŸ‰

Cucumber: This is actually a hybrid cucumber plant that I bought from Lowes a few months ago. Like the watermelon, this plant has grown to be huge and is beginning to take over the garden. It has started blooming and I can’t wait to try it! πŸ₯’

Green Peppers: For some reason, one of my pepper plants was viciously attacked by bugs, but the other pepper plant wasn’t.Β  I am trying to nurse my poor poor pepper plant back to life. Meanwhile the other plant is thriving and producing many peppers for my table. πŸ’š

Tomato Plants: I am so in love with my tomato plants. Both are doing well and blooming. Can’t wait for the day I can pick the huge beefsteak tomatoes from it’s vines. Lifehack: Tomatoes love to be spritzed with Epsom salt water. Mix one tablespoon Epsom salt with 1 gallon of water and spray it on the leaves. πŸ…

Herbs: A few weeks ago I bought 3 terracotta pots from Lowes, then I painted and distressed them. Then I planted an herb in each pot; basil, dill and cilantro. Love my little herb garden. 🌿

Over the past year I seem to have developed a succulent obsession, as many other women have. At my Florida bridal shower, every guest was given a baby succulent in a tiny terracotta pot. It was a huge hit. Since my obsession with these tiny treasures began, I have been trying to propagate succulents. (this means grow them). I started with about 20 leaves and 3 survived. God bless them. I am now in the process of trying to get the roots from the new plants to take root in the soil. 🌡

And lastly: Mommy’s little helper: 🐾

Happy gardening everyone!

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Here’s To Being Brave

Power

This was a hard week. A few things came up that challenged my character and my patience at work. I was able to get through it, but not without a lot of deep thought and complaining to my close friends and family. Sometimes you just have to vent. Am I right? Anyway, I experienced a situation at work that I did not feel was handled properly. A pretty big decision was made that involved me, but no one mentioned anything before hand so I was somewhat blindsided by the news. I felt shocked and belittled, like no one cared to ask my opinion on the decision OR even mention it to me. It sucked. I ended up leaving work three hours early because I was so upset and just slept the rest of the day.

Right after I heard the news I asked the people involved why I wasn’t told about the decision. I was met with sarcasm and push back. I decided to take a break from the situation, and think before I said something I would regret. The worst part was someone told me that what I say doesn’t matter because of my job title. Who knows, maybe they’re right. However, that is not going to stop me from speaking my mind.

I used to be afraid of other people when I was young, then I grew up and realized what a strong woman I am. If I’m really passionate about something I am not afraid to speak my mind and fight for what I believe is right. I don’t go looking for problems by any means, but I certainly don’t run from situations that I feel are unfair or immoral.

Younger

When my fiance called my dad and asked him if he could marry me my dad said to him, “I hope you know how independent and strong willed she is. She’s not afraid to stand up for herself.” That being said, I’m glad Eric has put up with me thus far.

I was inspired to write this because of all the women who recently stood up for themselves and chose to be brave.

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My point: Don’t let other people intimidate you or make you feel like you’re not strong enough to defend yourself. You can be strong enough, stronger even. If you truly believe that what you’re standing up for will change things for the better, don’t hesitate. Even if you don’t think things will change or you’re being met with sarcasm and push back from others, be brave. Do it for yourself because no one else is going to do it for you. So in conclusion, practice kindness, but take no shit.

❀ – Paula

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Book List πŸ“š

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Whenever I have a break from school I usually choose a book to read. Over this break I have 4 weeks that I don’t have to study so I chose 4 books to read πŸ€“ 1 book for each week.

I’m at that point in my life where I’m excited about the future, but I’m praying everyday that I’m making the right decisions to get me where I want to be. Normally I lean more toward the happy books. The books that make you feel good and make you laugh. This time I decided to go for books that I can learn from and will get me thinking about my own future and what I truely want for myself.

Here are the books I plan to read each week:

1. I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

I was drawn to this book because I know how important it is for young women to be heard and be brave enough to stand up for what they believe in. Even if they are facing strong pushback from others.


East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Reading about this book I feel I can learn much about life struggles, acceptance and handling guilt.


The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck

This book talks a lot about confronting and accepting problems we may experience in our lives.


The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

When I first saw this book I noticed that a lot of the stories focused on how short life is and that we need to make the most of the time that is given to us. I also read that the author of the short stories (Marina Keegan) passed away tragically in a car accident shortly after college. This really made me realize just how short life can be.

Happy reading! πŸ“

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Holiday Prep πŸŒ€πŸŽ„β„οΈ

Hey everyone! I’m in a really good mood right now. I just finished my fall classes so I can focus all my attention on the holidays. In a few weeks I fly home to Michigan to see my family. I can’t wait to bake with my mom, hang with my dad and brother, go to church on Christmas Eve, and see all my besties at my bridal shower.

I actually began my holiday festivities the night before thanksgiving this year when I baked 2 pies for dinner the next night. I stuck with tradition and made a pumpkin pie along with a pecan pie. So much YUM.

I just love this time of year. Everything seems to be right and good in the world. I could give Hallmark Channel a run for their money when it comes to Holiday cheer. Yep, I’m that Christmas cray cray.

I actually put up the Christmas decorations a few days before Thanksgiving. Yes, I am (as my hair dresser likes to refer to me) one of those people. My Christmas tree means a lot to me though so I like to put it up as soon as possible. This tree reminds me of how far I have come over the past few years. I bought this tree when I first moved to Florida and I didn’t have much money, so I bought it for 30 dollars at the local Walmart. I didn’t have much money, but I had the holiday spirit. The tree was sparse and it didn’t have many gifts underneath, but it was mine and I loved it. I still use this tree, but this year I dressed it up a little more.

Side note: my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has discovered that it is really fun to unwrap all the gifts that I put under the tree. I came home from work a few days ago and it looked like a 4 year old had been unleashed on Christmas morning. Needless to say, the gifts have all been wrapped again and are now living on the kitchen counter until Christmas. She has also made several attempts at the stockings hanging above the couch, but I won’t get into that right now.

This year, since we are planning and paying for a wedding, I made a lot of Christmas gifts for friends and family.

Making gifts for people can help save money and it’s so much fun to add a little bit of yourself to each present. I pride myself in getting gifts for people that I know they will truly enjoy. I DO NOT like buying a gift for someone just to buy it. I always put thought into it, that’s the fun part after all!

For Eric’s Aunt and Unlce, who are HUGE Auburn fans I made a wreath with a sign in the center that says “Mr. and Mrs. AU”

We also got them some Michigan State drink koozies because, you know, I always have to add my school in the mix. And I knew they would enjoy it.

For a couple of my patients and co-workers I made cookies in a jar. It’s a fun gift that they can make with their family and enjoy for the holiday season.

About a week ago, Eric’s mom and I made 4 different types of Christmas cookies for the neighbors and I delivered them to their doorsteps. I think it put them in the Christmas mood.

I hope everyone has an enjoyable holiday season!

My parents cabin in Michigan πŸ’™