Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring Awakening

     I love the Spring. Besides the much dreaded allergy season that strikes many of us... the Spring is like a long awaited celebration after a season of bitter cold. To me the Spring is like an awakening for the soul. The simple joy of taking a walk outside and smelling the sweet dew after the rain, the bare trees now springing up life again with blooms and leaves, and the warm sunshine rays kissing your cheeks. 
     It's a season of growth, of new ideas, plans that were on hold in the winter season that can now bring new life. How beautiful is it to know that after the Winter will always come the Spring? I believe to truly enjoy and appreciate the Spring, one must know and experience the Winter. It's funny how our lives themselves mirror the seasons and nature, but I don't find it a coincidence at all :). Here are a few projects I have worked on, inspirations, and my thoughts in photographic form. Happy Wednesday! 

50 Waves of Ombré ;)
Sunsets never cease to amaze me.
Jesus + Nothing 
Dolci Italiani = My favorite. 
Beautiful lonely star shining brightly.
My Mamma's delicioussss Easter Pastiera di Grano. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Seasons of Stillness

    In today's world most of us can barely catch up with what is going on today, let alone think about what tomorrow will bring. And yet among all of that busyness we still immerse ourselves in planning out every.single.detail of our future. I mean we are the society of "ME? NO I CAN'T STOP, WON'T STOP...GOTTA HUSTLE HUSTLE HUSTLE!!" We have become in a sense so obsessive with having the perfect future, perfect home, and perfect career... that sadly I feel we have completely forgotten how to live in the present. The irony of it all though, is that we can plan all we want but we have no idea how our futures will turn out. 
     There is nothing wrong with fighting for what is placed on your heart and the life you desire. I'm actually all for it but until now have fallen for the same thinking and daily routine. After all, if every one else thinks that formula is the best way to success... it must be the way right? Not exactly. I am coming to understand that perhaps this type of fast pace living isn't exactly what our lives were meant for. 
     There comes a time when all of us go through one or many "seasons of stillness", meaning that you may be going through a period in your life where you feel like nothing is moving. Perhaps everyone around you is "successful", and well you feel sort of left behind. If I were in a classroom right now, I would be the girl in the back with her head down in shame and slowly raising her hand to this truth. I'm guilty of struggling with this a lot. But what we don't realize is sometimes those "seasons of stillness" are the greatest blessings in disguise.
     During these times of stillness, we discover what we truly need in life. I feel as though God sometimes purposely allows things in our lives to slow down or be taken away solely for the purpose of seeking Him. Isn't that when we are most vulnerable? When we feel there is no one left to turn to, and we wish that someone or something would just hear our cries? 
     I know that feeling. That gut feeling and pain in your heart where you just feel helpless, and that it won't get any better than this. But what seems to us like a wasted period of time in our lives... is actually quite the opposite for God. You see what may seem to us as disadvantages, God actually uses to help us grow. Isn't that amazing? Think about it. There are so many things in life that require growing, that we may not even realize. 
     Trees are one of the most magnificent things in nature. With their great branches that stem out, they leave us all in wonder. Yet, trees go through many seasons. In the Winter, a tree may seem "dead". It doesn't have any leaves, and is exposed. Yet, those strong branches that are exposed, are actually the foundation of the tree. Without it, it wouldn't be possible for the beautiful, colorful leaves that grow in the Spring. 
     Beautiful things take time. The beauty that will be revealed in us needs a solid foundation to grow from. And so God seeks our hearts. Our lives were not meant to be perfect... but purposeful. He intended our lives to have a perfect balance of work and rest, and sometimes the only way for us to truly find Him is to go through seasons of stillness. Though we may not like it... we can be rest assured that after the Winter comes the Spring. 
      The most amazing times in our lives aren't perfectly planned. They come just when we thought nothing great could possibly happen to us. If you are in a "season of stillness", take the time to seek Him and see where He takes you. He has the most wondrous plans for us and the best it truly yet to come... I promise. 

He is like a tree planted by streams of water, 
which yields its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither. 
In all that he does, he prospers. 
Psalm 1:3

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Baked Boxes

     I was super excited when my friend Danielle asked me to photograph her amazing desserts for her new online bakery shop Baked Boxes. I mean photography AND dessert?! Ummm you don't need to ask me more than once! ;) When I arrived at her home for the taste party, she had so many unbelievable sweet treats ready. 
     So naturally I had my camera in one hand.... and with my other hand took bites of every delicious chocolatey, peanut butter, coconut, Nutella filled dessert. Look out for her new website launching soon.... her desserts are soooo delicious!!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Honey Frosting
Coconut Cake with Lemon Curd Filling
Chocolate and Raspberry Petit Fours
Cookie Dough Truffles
Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Reese's Cheesecake Brownies
S'mores Pie
Nutella Cheesecake Bars

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Choose to Remain: Love

     Love. A four letter word that has been used since the beginning of time. It brings unending joy and happiness into our lives, yet sometimes we also experience heartbreak and pain. How can a simple four letter word cause so much of these emotions to overcome us you may ask. If it was intended to bring happiness, why then does it also cause so much hurt? 
     Our perception of love has vastly changed over the years, from media to music, to the way we speak to one another... we have come a long way since "Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?" Yet, I still believe that deep within every one of us, the longing of being truly loved, not merely idolized for physical attraction, wealth, or temporary desires... but truly loved, and adored for who we are is still very much alive. 
     Though many of us may not want to admit it, we often give up on love. It's easier that way. We don't have to argue, or pursue something we think is long gone or forgotten. We don't have to keep trying, the pain is just too much to bear. So we choose to leave. Now you want to hear the truth? You're probably thinking 'Go ahead Barbara, tell me what can possibly be the truth, other than yes sometimes things don't work out and there's nothing you can do about it?' ....The truth is it isn't about us. 
     Love was never intended for oneself. The very act of love is selfless. When God sent His son Jesus to die, it was the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate act of love for you and me. I mean Jesus could've easily refused and saw how undeserving we were and that would've been it. Just like that, given up and all would be lost. But He didn't. He chose to love and remain instead. He chose kindness instead of anger. He chose to be patient and wait. And most of all...he chose to stay and forgive. What kind of love is that? It's a love that reaches far past anything we may ever want or need. It's eternal love. It's love without boundaries. 
     Below is a photograph I took of my grandparents the other day. They have been married for over 50 years, and I'm blessed to have seen their love. It's not perfect if that's what you think. They're your typical traditional Italian grandparents who yell at each other and say funny things here and there. With that many years together, I am certain they have had their share of hardships. But amidst it all... they chose to remain.
     They chose that their promise to one another meant more than any hardship or heartbreak could ever separate. Movies and many things we see in society tells us love should be a certain way. We should act a certain way and do certain things, otherwise it's not love.
     Real love is what happens behind the scenes. It's putting that person you love before you, it's letting go of that anger all of the times they were wrong. It's letting go of your pride. Real love is choosing to forgive someone even though they hurt you so many times. Real love is having the courage to turn around and hug someone when all you want to do is walk out the door and leave.
     So friends, choose love. Though the world may tell us we need temporary fixes, bandages over our wounded and lonely hearts... that's exactly what it is. Temporary. But why would you settle for temporary, when your heart and soul was created for an endless and true love? It just seems silly. 
     Choose to forgive. Choose to be kind. Choose to fight for love. Don't ever let the world harden your heart. Don't let anyone tell you true love doesn't exist. You were created beautifully. You were created out of love. You are loved. Always choose to remain and love, for love never fails. Happy Valentine's Day.   
     
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13