Europe/South Africa Vacation

Florida and Home

After 22 hours of flying we landed in Houston, headed to the car rental place and together with Elvia and Alfredo started our drive to Florida. After a couple of hours we stopped for the night in Baton Rouge. Wow, it was so good to lie down! We had no trouble sleeping as it was 4 in the morning for us. After a good breakfast we drove the rest of the way to Pensacola arriving around 3:00. Wedding preparations were in full swing and everyone was excited for the big day that would join our two families. We have known Kevin Leal for 25 years and Mike has been on several ministry trips with him. Who would have ever thought that we would be related one day! Their house is huge, bedrooms and bathrooms everywhere, beautifully furnished and full of love and hospitality. They currently have 5 dogs (there is a story behind each one that I won’t get into) 8 week old puppies and 3 cockatoos. At times it sounds like the jungle in here, those birds are loud! This home has housed many ministers and countless people who have needed a place to stay, a shoulder to cry on, help to get their life back together, mentored and then sent on their way. Karen is a generous and kind person who would do anything for anyone and loves The Lord with her whole heart. It is easy to feel at home here. This is where Lisa has been staying until she got married.

What a beautiful wedding and gorgeous bride. She is my daughter, but she is truly beautiful. They pulled this wedding together in record time, taking advantage of us being in the area and Kevin being in town, something that is hard to pull off with both men travelling so much. It was a simple wedding with immediate family only and Mike and I and Alfredo and Elvia the only representatives on Lisa’s side. We will have a reception for her in Canada next year some time. It was at the beach, beautiful white powder sand, the ocean and sky stunning shades if blue as they said their vows. Couldn’t have a more beautiful setting as the sun settled into the horizon. The reception was at a restaurant also on the beach, complete with a sand volleyball area behind where the kids were able to play while we ate our dinner. The food was delicious with enough leftovers for several days worth of meals. We lit Chinese lanterns and set them off in the sky from the dock, at least that was what was supposed to happen – most of them didn’t take flight falling into the ocean, but it was so much fun and a lot of laughs. Lisa and Hale are staying in a condo here at Pensacola Beach for a week, what a wonderful way to start off their new lives together.

We have one more day to soak up the sun here in Florida before going home to the rain and cooler weather. This has truly been a trip of a lifetime, I am so blessed and grateful to The Lord for making this possible for me to travel to Europe – with South Africa thrown in, then to be here in Florida for Lisa and Hale’s wedding. I think we have squeezed every drop of emotions and experiences out of our last 6 weeks – Wow!

I have really enjoyed chronicling the journey. It was important to me to record the details and to try to capture my feelings and emotions, also to just remember what all we did! With so many different countries, cultures, adventures and events it can all blur together quickly. I want to be able to go back and reminisce with Mike and keep our stories straight 🙂 Ever noticed that over time how our minds change our memories and you end up having two different versions of the same thing? Our memories fade, especially as we get older, and only a few details remain of important highlights of our life. So with that in mind I want to keep up the discipline of journaling, and who knows, maybe my grand kids will be interested to read them and learn a little about their history and heritage. I’d love to hear your feedback, leave a comment or a like and thank you for reading.

2 comments on “Florida and Home

  1. Dave & Carolyn

    Jacki – This has been the most incredible journey of a lifetime for you! God has blessed you both beyond measure with this fabulous time away – and for six weeks at that!

    And then to end the vacation in Florida for Lisa & Hale’s wedding is the ‘icing on the cake’ – Wow! We are so very very happy for you both and especially for the new Mr & Mrs Leal! God has just orchestrated another amazing blessing in putting these two beautiful people together!

    You and Mike are so deserving of all that God has blessed you with – and yes, there is more to come!!!

    Dave & Carolyn


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