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.

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

Dake Family Photos 2017

It's hard when you are the photographer. You take everyone's photos and you find you don't have any professional photos of you and your family.

A few months ago I thought I would schedule new family photos. It's been about 5 years ago and it was time. Thank you to Hannah for capturing our family! You are amazing. I couldn't be happier!

Photo Credit:

Ordinary Beauty

Partnering with my friend Debby Hudson this month on her Ordinary Beauty writing challenge. 

I had a chance to travel this summer. I went to London and Paris. I love Paris! The architecture and food are amazing! I love to go to new places. Experience cultures, architecture and food. But those photos are for another post. Today is about ordinary beauty. 

A few weeks ago I went with a family to take their annual family photos. Four years and counting. We went to a very familiar place to me. A beautiful park here in Georgia called Stone Mountain. Stone Mountain is only a couple miles from where I live. After we were done, I stayed and captured some of the natural beauty.

I absolutely love it. There are walking trails. You can climb up Stone Mountain...literally a huge granite rock! You can walk the 5 mile course around the base of the mountain. When you do that you see the beautiful lake. In the morning you can witness the sunrise and the water just glistens. Keep walking and the road goes a little to the right and then to the left. The road goes up, up, up. Your legs are burning waiting for the road to level out. Then the downhill! 

There are so many beautiful nooks and crannies and sights and sounds. A place where you can find quite...right in the middle of this metropolitan city and suburbs we call Atlanta. A place where you can mediate on the beauty that God created for us to enjoy. 

You don't always have to travel to another time zone or country to experience the beauty that surrounds us. 

"As as the beauty of nature is constant; so is God who made it." 


Last week I was on Instagram and I came across a photo in my news feed from @ShutterSisters They were starting a new project #GiftingGrace inspired by the authentic and abundant beauty of Bella Grace Magazine. The idea is sharing and dedicating your own grace inspired photos with a community of people you want to encourage and inspire. All you have to do is tag your post, dedicate, tag and share.  

 This is easy! It is the anniversary week of my brother's entry into heaven. I could choose any photo of him. His story is profound and has touched so many. As I was looking through my gallery of photos, I cam across this one of my grandmother who just celebrated her 98th birthday. The matriarch of our family. This woman who loves Jesus. A woman who prays for us. A woman who will hug you harder than anyone I know (Except for my dad. I guess that's where he gets it from. :) ) She is amazing!

This photograph was taken after the celebration of life service for Doug. Her grandson, 43 years old. My aunt drove from Wisconsin to Ohio to pick up grandma and drove to Virginia so that she could be there to celebrate with us. She has outlived her husband, her two daughters and her grandson. I love this woman and I wanted to celebrate her.

Grandma and Me

Later that day, Shutter Sisters send me a note congratulating me on winning a copy of BellaGrace Magazine and my image is featured on the Shutter Sisters website. They said my image was gorgeous and thanked me for for #GiftingGrace.

I was pretty excited and in honor of a wonderful lady. My grandmother. 

Love you Gram!

Ballet Magnificat!

I am fascinated with the movement of dance whether it is ballet, ballroom or Latin. It takes phenomenal physical and mental strength.

One of the evening programs this year at the Territorial Music Camp (TMI) was a group from Jackson, MS called Ballet Magnificat!

Magnificat is Latin for "to magnify Him".  It is derived from "Mary's Song" of praise in the 1st Chapter of the the Gospel of Luke when she first learned she was to be the mother of the Messiah. Ballet Magnificat! is an arts organization dedicated to presenting the good news of Jesus Christ to the whole world.

They came to Texas the day before. They ate meals with us, they worked with the Creative Arts groups and they presented a beautiful story, Deliver Us.

I always get nervous when people are expecting great photos from me. Many times I don't have the confidence in my ability to take the poor lighting conditions for a photographer and work the camera settings in such a way to achieve something great. I was quite surprised at the results. Some shots are lucky and some take patience. Holding the camera up to your face for what feels like forever anticipating the movements of the dancers.

These people are awesome and display the story of the gospel in a beautiful moving way.