Friday, December 30, 2016

2016: Oh What a Year

2016. Every year I sit in front of my laptop and every year I think how has another year gone by in a blink of an eye?

I can't even put into words the amount of change, surprises, and beginnings that filled 2016. I traveled alone for the first time to a retreat in Georgia. I met dozens of beautiful women who loved the Lord… and my heart expanded so much more.

It made me realize just how short this life is and how much I want to pursue the Lord with everything I have and everything He has given me.

Then my Nonno was taken to the hospital out of nowhere and we had no idea what would come of it. I pleaded and cried my heart out to God not take him away from us yet. During this time, I grew and relied on the Lord like I never had before.

Then my Nonna went to the hospital several weeks later.

But the Lord answered, and both my Nonno and Nonna are here better than ever today. And we got to celebrate his 80th birthday all together.  

All the glory I give to Him.

I got to see the Grand Canyon with my sister and cousin… and marveled at just how beautiful God created this world.

And just when I thought God was done… a new job opportunity opened up. And despite my greatest fears… I said yes.

I've been learning day by day, and most importantly growing. God is molding, squishing, pulling, and refining me in every way I never knew was possible.

2016 was a year that God showed me just how much He'll give us… if we just put our trust, our hearts, our worries… our every part of life in Him.

Oh 2016, if I can shout through the streets just how great God was this year I would, but instead I'll just post it on here.

God is good guys, I can attest to that because I know how much He has done in my life just this year.

And so I leave you with this: No matter how great your struggle, no matter how hard your circumstances, no matter how far you think you are… you are never ever too far gone from His love and forgiveness.

Just give that thing to Jesus. Whatever it is you are pleading for… give it to Him. And just watch what He'll do. I dare you.

Make 2017 the year you truly decide to live free and give it all to God… it'll be the greatest decision you'll ever make in your life. I promise.

Thank you so much to the readers of this little blog of mine, my clients, my family, and my friends who constantly believe in me… God truly blessed me with the most abundant love.

I wish you a new year full of joy, health, and new beginnings. I hope God surprises you with things you never even thought could be there for you.

2017, I'm so ready for you. Happy New Year!!!! <3

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Promised Coming

It was prophesied in the Old Testament in Numbers 24:17, that a Star would come out of Jacob... the promised Messiah and Savior of the world.

And so when the star appeared, the wise men knew that this star was unlike any other. With exceeding joy, they gathered treasures and gifts to bring to worship Him.

They followed that star until it led them to the Light itself: Jesus. 

The people of Israel were promised that their Savior would come. But God didn't just send their King right away... they had to patiently wait His arrival in His time.

I often wonder if the wise men ever doubted what they would find. God didn't give them a map or any signs that told them if they were going the right way... he just gave them a destination, and it was the light from the star. 

But they carried on and finally found the babe underneath the bright star.

It amazes me that a God so grand and majestic and powerful and wonderful... would come down here in the darkness, leave His glory to be with us. 

But what I find truly incredible is that God always does things in the most unexpected way. He always adds a mystery, something seemingly impossible to us as humans... but just the beginning of God's wonder. 

They expected a King that would bring justice and destroy the enemies of Israel... but He came down as an innocent little baby that would be a Savior and a Light to all.

They expected Him to have riches and power on Earth... but instead when He was born, there was no room for Him

This season no matter what circumstances we are facing, let us rejoice the reason we celebrate... because He is our hope. 

Because He came... all is well.  

//And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.// Luke 2:10-11

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Lifestyle Portraits | Zachary

I love watching families grow in front of my camera. I took little Zachary's photos for his first birthday back in June, and I was super excited when Jen asked me for a Christmas session... especially because she always makes amazing props and backgrounds! Here are some of my favorite for this little cutie.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

With Thanksgiving and Praise

The aroma of the turkey in the oven filling the rooms, my father playing the guitar as he whistles a tune, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade playing in the background on our tv, and my Mamma stirring up some vegetables for her Pumpkin Soup in the kitchen. 

These are the little things that I never want to forget on days like this. The older I get, the more I really start to see how blessed I am to be in the family God placed me in.

In a bit my family will start coming and we still have two tables, one for the adults and one for the "kids"... and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. My Nonno says the prayer in Italian as he has done ever since I was child before we enjoy our meal. 

I'm so grateful for many things this year, God placed me in a position I never thought I would take, new beginnings, new hopes, and both my Nonni still here with us.

God is good always, always, always. May we always remember that... and may you have a beautiful, joyous, filling, and full of laughter Thanksgiving Day with your family and friends.♡ 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Silence among the Chaos

Quiet. Stillness. Peace. In our world and society, these words seem to be the complete opposite of what we strive for.

We want the success, we want the perfect home, family, job… we want the perfect life. And often times when we reach for the Lord, we only look for Him in the big, and loud parts of life.

We want the boom, showy, make a statement type of God. We want to see Him make grand, amazing things right before our eyes…so then we can proclaim it truly is His voice.

But God.

God is grand and majestic and all of those wonderful things. But He also doesn't normally do what we expect of Him.

When Elijah went up to the mountain, the Lord spoke and passed right by Him. And Elijah saw the greatness of strong winds, and rocks being broken apart. He saw the earthquake and a great fire… but the Lord was not in any of those.

1 Kings 19:12 //And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.//

After all of the noise… came His still small voice.

Sometimes it's hard to think a God so grand and capable of the impossible would be in the stillness, in the quiet. Our human hearts want to see to believe, yet the Lord asks that we listen.

He asks us to see beyond what is in front of our very eyes. The Lord wants us to seek Him with no distractions… He wants our whole hearts and attention.

And so He comes to us in the most unlikely places.

1 Kings 19:13 // And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?//

The Lord's still small voice was in the cave. Not in the busyness, not in the noise and chaos. But in the silence after it all.

When the world becomes too loud and we're busy looking for signs… let it be quiet.

When you can't seem to find peace in the everyday… let it be quiet.

When you think you're not enough and too much all at once… let it be quiet. And sit and listen for the small and faint whisper He wants you to hear. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Lifestyle Portraits | Bryce

     I was so excited when Jen asked me to take Christmas photos of her adorable baby Bryce. Jen and Anthony were my first engagement couple around 4 years ago. As soon as Jen arrived with Baby Bryce I went over to say hi to him and as I looked into the car, he shot me a smile..... and then I melted.
     There was a park nearby, and as I'd take a few photos of Bryce, he would smile and take off running  (losing slippers and all). He kept us chasing after him the entire session! But his contagious smile kept us all laughing. Here are my favorite photos of Baby Bryce... total cuteness overload!