Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017: The Waves You've Made

I never quite know what to say when this time of year comes around. And yet when it does (all too quickly), it seems like there aren't enough words to describe just what an entire year can bring into someone's life. 

For me, 2017 can be described as waves. It was a year that brought me new experiences I never thought I'd go through.

But each one of those experiences brought me to something else.

I was a teacher for the first time. Something I always ran from, but finally got to do. I taught Italian to elementary students, and somehow along the way, God showed me through the mishaps and tears, and joyful laughs of every day... that I truly can do all things through Him. 

That it is He who equips us and gives us what we need and then calls us to do that very thing. 

I learned that what I run from is often times what I need most. 

I got to do some traveling with amazing family and plant my feet in places I never thought I'd walk.

Jesus gave me the grace I needed when I just wanted to give up and leave. 

After submitting an entry and months of interviews... I got chosen to be an ambassador for We Are Unveiled.  A ministry dedicated to awaken women to the full life found in Christ and their God-given identities.

But among all of this, there is one thing that clicked for me that I never gave a thought of before. 

I'm always looking for the "perfect job", but had I had what I wanted from the very beginning... I would've never met some pretty special people at the jobs I've worked at. 

I've realized that God places us in the jobs, communities and experiences we are part of for a reason.

God is all about relationship.  

He's taught me just how much He cares about people and how He wants me to love them like He does. 

He's been showing me that there are broken hearts all around me. And if I just look around and listen... I'll realize I'm there to be His arms to hug, His helping hands, His ears to listen, His words to speak love and encourage. 

Sometimes I'm scared of the future, thinking 'what trials await me?' But I don't have to be because I know He is already there. 

Every year is something new to learn. In just this short amount of time, I've lived through so much. I know 2018 will be another year of beauty, growth, and loving on some pretty amazing people. 

I'm grateful for the relationships I've formed through this online home of mine, through the photographs I get to capture of the people that entrust me with their beautiful moments in life... thank you!

And thank you for reading these words that are from my heart.

Here's to another incredible year full of love, truth, light, tears of joy, learning through all of life's unexpected moments, and little surprises that God sends your way. 

May we always have the courage for new beginnings, and to see the blessings of every day given to us. 

2018 you are going to be one for the books. Happy New Year!!! 

Monday, December 18, 2017

In Season for the Reason

You probably think I got that title backwards right? But if you stay with me for a moment... you'll see how we're in certain seasons in our lives for a reason.

I feel a change in me. My spirit feels as bright as the lights around me and as festive as the brimming Christmas tree in my living room.

Not to sound overly cheesy, but there's something different and entirely new happening inside of me. It's like that part in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, when the Grinch feels his heart beating out of his chest and coming alive. 

"Oh Martha! Oh Christmas!..."

They say when you become a believer in Jesus... you start to change. I've been seeing the fingerprints on my life and my entire outlook slowly take a curve... painstakingly slow at first. But then there's the certain outbursts where I find myself singing after a long day of work... and I look in the mirror and question, "Is that really you Barbara?!"

I barely recognize myself sometimes. And it's a good change.

They say once you turn to Jesus, get ready because there's gonna be a whole new you.

Suddenly the cloudy skies filter you once used to see... have suddenly become partly cloudy. Then you start to see the rays of light shining in. Pretty soon you'll be singing in the rain just like Gene Kelly.

Now I don't want to give a misconception, it doesn't happen the same way to everyone. And it certainly doesn't happen overnight. And your life will not become perfect from that point forth.

But surely you'll start to notice the changes in yourself. 

It's like your heart was frozen... and it starts to beat again. The blood starts to flow and you find yourself marching to a whole other beat... flowing right from your own heart.

It's been a rough couple of years for me personally. But something has changed in me this year. I can actually feel God's presence in my life through different situations.

There's a certain peace I never had before. I find myself less anxious, and the singing.

After a long day I would usually cry... but recently I've caught myself singing in the car after a long day's work. I still cry sometimes (otherwise it woudn't be me xP)... but recently it's been grateful tears.

Everyday is something new.

This year is going to continue to mold my heart... because it already has.

God does listen, because everytime I think something... He responds in the most unlikely way.

God you're too good. And right now in this season... my soul glows. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Amanda & Stephen | Maternity Photography

Three years ago I photographed their proposal and now I got to be part of their new adventure as they await their first baby boy. It's so exciting to see my friends' love stories grow in front of my camera!

I had so much fun photographing these two... Baby Oliver is due this month! Here are a few of my favorites from their portrait session.  Enjoy!