CALIFORNIA

Our California vacation was based around our nephew’s wedding. The family flew to Orange County from all over the east coast. New York. Ohio. Georgia.

We rented a nice VRBO property in Anaheim that housed 12 of us comfortably. It had 7 rooms and it had four bathrooms. It had an awesome gazebo for us to hang out in the mornings and the evenings, a pool and a hot tub that got used everyday!

The wedding was beautiful and the weather was perfect.

We went on a few side trips. I keep a yelp list of places and restaurants that I want to go to. I keep checking the list off. One day was the Griffith Observatory, which is a place I’ve wanted to see. We also we to LA so my parents could see the sights.

I went hiking with some of the family on the afternoon of the wedding to Peters Canyon. Beautiful! It always feels good to move and push yourself physically.

One of the highlights was El Matador Beach. The views were amazing with the cliffs and rock formations! Unreal! The bad part of that day was the traffic back home because of the time of day. Travel time was basically doubled. Wow!

But this view will always be such a beautiful memory!

My nephew Noah took these photos my me and my parents.

We stopped at a few other places like Newport Beach and Crystal Cove. This trip was all about family.

Where will I go next?! Only time will tell BUT Italy is still number one on my list.

Lisboa!

I can’t believe it has been just over a week since we have returned from an amazing vacation to Barcelona and Lisboa! You count down the many months, weeks and days and then once you have arrived it goes so fast.

I’m starting with Lisbon even though we went there after Barcelona but I have all those photos edited so here you go.

It was an amazing week spent with great friends. I love to travel. To see parts of the world that have such a rich history. Where the lifestyle is completely different from ours. I should take one of those DNA tests because I feel like I am 100% European. I love the way European’s experience life. Walking everywhere or taking the train (their systems are so much better than ours…at least Atlanta’s) Shopping at markets and carrying your bread and fresh flowers home. 💛🌻🌷💕

We stayed at a beautiful apartment which was located across from the Praça da Figueira. A big square that has an outdoor market called Mercado Da Baixa which has been in existence since 1855.

These are photos around Lisboa.

I fell in love with the tiles on the buildings and the sidewalks are also beautiful. Gorgeous! We met our friend Débora’s parents and they told us about an authentic tiles shop called Sant’anna. We of course took their recommendation and bought a tile or two to take home with us for a constant reminder of the beauty that is Lisbon.


The food!

We had great dining experiences. The highlight was Bairro Avillez’s Pateo restaurant. We sat at what I call the Chef’s Table. It was in front of the window where we could experience the activity in the kitchen. The chef’s working each station. The Head Chef calling out the orders as they came in and the communication between them. The food coming to the pass. The tasting to make sure it was good enough to serve. The plating! Wow! I was in heaven. We met Chef Adriano who was very gracious to take a moment from the busyness of the kitchen to take a photo with us! The food was amazing. I had the Sea Bass and the desserts he recommended were out of this world!

Other foodie highlights were Forno d’ Oro and Time Out Market.

Of course you can’t go to Lisboa and not try Pastel de Nata or pastéis de nata (plural) because you can’t have just one! We went to Manteigaria and Pastéis de Belem. My new favorite! I really need to learn how to make them. It is a custard tart. I can make creme brûlée so I think I could do that part but it is all about the crust! Buttery and flaky layers of thin dough. And coffee, my order was a Cortado) and pastéis…yes please!

And finally, Jeronimos Monastery, Sintra, Pena Palace and Cascais.

The colors. The history. The beauty.

Cabo da Roca is the most westernmost point in Europe mainland and we were there on a beautiful day with sunny blue skies.

Lisbon is colorful and just beautiful! If it isn’t on your travel bucket list, it  should be…and go with friends who love travel, culture and food as much as you do.

Five Year Anniversary

Here we are.

April 8.

Five years ago we surrounded Doug and prayed over him. We prayed that he could breathe. He was struggling so badly. We prayed that God’s will would be done.  We cried. We loved on him. I went to bed after midnight and at 1:28am God took him home.

It still seems unreal! Sometimes it seems like it was yesterday and other times it feels like a lifetime!

I was fortunate to call him brother.  We had a very special relationship. He made me laugh! I cried and prayed over him when he was making poor life decisions! I am so thankful for those special people who prayed fiercely for Doug. People besides my parents.

Cyndy Morris, you are one of those people. Who were our “Virginia mom” and I know you spent hours on your knees praying for Doug’s salvation. I love you!

I am forever grateful to Rob and Amy Reardon. You were pastors who took Doug under your wing. You invited him to Sunday school and coffee. You watched him change into the God loving man he became.

There are many more but these special people come to my mind. Because of the prayers and  actions of God’s people I am confident that Doug resides in heaven with the Father and that is the only thing that eases the pain.

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Happy birthday!

Today you would’ve turned 48 years old.

2019 also will mark the five year anniversary of you going to heaven! How can that be?! I wonder what your days look like in heaven. I can’t even imagine.

You are so loved Doug! Your fun loving spirit was so infectious…even as a little boy! You were the best brother that God could’ve given to me.

Love you and miss you so much!

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#lifewithluger has new challenges

If you know us at all you will know that we care deeply for our animals. We would do anything and everything we could to give them the best care. They are a part of our family! They infiltrate our hearts and our homes and become a significant part of the family unit.

Granted I am a lot older than I was when Osa was this young but Luger and Osa are polar opposites! He is a boy...she was a girl. He likes to go to day care and dog parks...she hated every dog that she saw. He is crazy and has an extreme amount of drive and energy...she was sweet, calm and affectionate. He is toy driven...she was food driven. Having said that, these two animals have been our family.

Because Luger is so toy driven and absolutely loves the Kong Wubba toys, he can be quite obsessive. He doesn't know when to stop. Because he doesn't always eat his food regularly, (our philosophy is he will eat when he is hungry) toy time is the reward for eating all of his food. 

The morning of June 19 he only had a few kernels left, we encouraged him so he could get his toy. Did I say he is obsessive with this toy? He is an amazing catcher and is a great goalie but this particular day I threw the toy up in the air. He jumped so high and landed on his backside. He got up and wouldn't put any weight on his hind leg. We took him to our vet and they referred him to Northlake Veterinary Surgery. They took an x-ray and Luger tore his ligament. 

So now he is in a custom splint waiting for the swelling to go down and hopefully have ligament reconstruction surgery Monday. He will be immobile for 8-10 more weeks. After that we will be put on a walking regimen. 

It is really difficult to slow this dog down (medication helps 😊) but he is adjusting pretty well to the splint. He sometimes goes on three legs.

We are praying for a successful surgery and recovery! I am confident in Dr. Coleman and his hospital staff. We have heard so many good outcomes from other clients while sitting in the waiting room.

So #lifewithluger has new challenges but we are managing! Thank you for your prayers and your "sweet" get well gifts Aunt Cyndy Morris.

Notre-Dame Cathedral and Sacré-Cœur

I was looking through the photos on my phone the other day and came across this one of Notre-Dame. It is one of Bernie's favorite spots in Paris. I was reminded of the time we spent touring around Paris a few years ago.

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One of my favorites to photograph the first time we went to Paris was the Sacré-Cœur. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris. 

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Great memories. Can't wait for our next adventure. :)

 

All photos were taken by me, laurajdake

Peace is a journey...

Today marks four years when Doug entered heaven. How can that be? Time moves so fast. 

I was recounting the journey to a friend today (thank you Jan.) n the last week of Doug’s life we prayed for peace and calm. I was not at peace...not one bit! I dare say I was probably a bit angry! Seeing the suffering that took place was unbearable! 

I get so emotional when I hear songs that talk about approaching the throne of God like “And Can it Be” because my mind tries to imagine what that experience was like for Doug. Music is so powerful.

Four years is a long time but it also seems like yesterday.

I wish every day that Doug didn’t have to leave this temporary home so soon. He is missed by everyone who loved him. He was a very special man!

Peace is a journey and I take one day at a time. Some days are just hard and some are filled with wonderful memories that make me smile. 

Thank you for being on this journey with me, reading my ramblings and for the encouraging words that you have shared with me. It means more than you know. 

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Happy Birthday to me!

I celebrated a BIG birthday last week. Bernie and I spent it in Biloxi and NOLA. Here is our trip through my lens.

Biloxi, MS | Back Bay of Biloxi 


New Orleans, LA | Sites around NOLA


Food around NOLA. The Famous Cafe Du Monde and a really cool restaurant called Meauxbar in Vieux Carré. I had scallops with a squash gratin. Yum! Is was a great birthday dinner! 


Art | Cafe Du Monde and Armstrong Park

Christmas Mug Sister Exchange

My friend Lily, picked 20 women that she cares about and intentionally prayed for each week. A sisterhood, if you will. 

She thought - who doesn’t love to receive packages at their door for Christmas. So she prayed for each of us and paired us up. We would receive a coffee mug from someone and also send a little love and encouragement. A simple connection between sisters. 

So this morning while enjoying my cup of coffee, I prayed for Lily who arranged this simple gift exchange. A person who loves Jesus and who prays for her friends. I prayed for Jenny Alarcón, my sister who I was paired up with and pray for. I also prayed for Alexa Ponceano who sent me this beautiful mug. 

We don’t really know each other but we belong to the family of God so that makes us sisters. 

“Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart.

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:3‭ MSG‬‬

#christmasmugsisterexchange2017

 

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