Thursday, February 26, 2015

Chick-fil-A's Daddy-Daughter Date Night :: Wilmington, NC Photographer

I was so thrilled to be given the opportunity to take the pictures for the photo-booth for Chick-fil-a at Oleander's Daddy-Daughter Date Night they held for Valentine's Day. I was able to advertise my business while having a great time watching the dads and daughters dress up and having fun! I was also able to use my own lighting kit for the first time. If you are throwing a party or hosting an event and plan on having a photo-booth I'd love to be your photographer! Email me at to book me or ask any questions.

See more images of the night by visiting Chick-fil-A at Oleander's Facebook page:

Monday, February 23, 2015

Prayer: Least Important to Most Important (Part 1)

I try to make my titles as interesting and creative as my mind can come up with to draw in readers, but I realize that by simply putting in the word "prayer" many people are going to skip over reading the post. Maybe you almost did, but I'm glad you decided to take the time to read.  Isn't it the way we communicate to God?  I think there are many reasons we don't want to learn more about prayer. For one, we all know that prayer is simply talking to God so we don't feel there's anything to learn, yet we stumble when it comes to our prayer lives and it feels harder than it sounds. Most of us have prayed prayers that didn't get answered immediately or in the way we wanted so we just decided to give up trying altogether. Sometimes it feels like it's too time consuming and we live such busy lives already, that why would we add something else to our plates? We know that God knows our hearts anyway, so why spend the time praying when it only takes up time and we'd probably just mess it up with our jumbled words?  Most of us have struggled with these feelings at some point in our lives. Over the next few weeks I'd like to share with you some thoughts and verses that will hopefully help you take prayer from being one of the least important things in your life, to one of the most important. 

Recently I came across a verse that I've read multiple times, but God pointed out a very important aspect of the verse that I had never thought very deeply into before.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."
-Philippians 4:6

Usually when I used to read that verse the part about not being anxious and instead praying would stick out to me. Basically, I would sum it up as "don't worry, just take it to God." And yes, that is what that verse is saying. But I was missing a very important aspect of it: with thanksgiving. I always knew I was supposed to pray and be sure to thank God, but God showed me a good reason why recently. We usually think of thanking God as an act of worship and praise, so it somehow becomes of the least important parts to our prayers because we usually want to at least get our requests said. But while praise and worship should be extremely important to us, there's another reason why we shouldn't skip over the "with thanksgiving" part of our prayer: it reminds us of who God is. For example, I could be worried about a particular situation in my life and pray to God asking Him to take care of it and let everything be okay...that's great and He still hears my prayer, but I'm still likely to worry about it. But when I go to Him with all my worries, ask Him to take care of it, and thank Him, it reminds me of His capabilities. When I thank God in advance for answering my prayer it reminds me that He will. When I thank Him for being Almighty God, it reminds me that He has the power to handle the situation. When I thank Him for being a loving, merciful God who sent Jesus to die for me, it reminds me that He cares about me so much that He would sacrifice His own Son for me. When I thank Him for keeping His promises, it reminds me that He is faithful. When I thank Him for being faithful, it reminds me that He is always there for me and will never forsake me. Thanking God in our prayers isn't only an act of praise to Him, but it gives us peace and hope in remembering who He is.

Don't forget to check back for part two next week! I'm very excited about this series :)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Family Portraits | Costagliola :: Wilmington, NC Portrait and Lifestyle Photographer

What better way to start the New Year than with a family session? January 1st I was thrilled to be able to take pictures of the Costagliola family. Enjoy!

To view more click here.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Roller Coaster Called Life

I love roller coasters. I love the thrill of the ups and downs and twists and turns. The only downside is the too-quick ride compared to the hour-long lines. Physical roller coasters are great, but the roller coaster called life is a different story. Don't get me wrong, I love my life. But sometimes I wish my roller coaster was more of the kind for kids, tiny hills instead of major ups and downs (sometimes totally upside down). I've been feeling that for a long time. I grow weary of a life where everything seems to be constantly changing, causing my emotions to go from high to low back to high then back to low in a short span of time. But the ups and downs stretch me; they grow me into a stronger person.

"Maybe He's stretching you."

Stretching me? That's exactly what I prayed for. I found myself sitting in tears talking to my dad, and I remembered another time I sat in tears. Only about a month ago I prayed that God would stretch me in this new year and I talked about it here on my blog, encouraging you to pray that prayer. I told you I knew how scary it was to say those words because we all know stretching can mean heartache, but I also reminded you that it would be worth it.

Sure enough, my subtle fear came true...stretching has caused heartache and an emotional roller coaster ride. But highs and lows are all apart of being stretched. The surprising thing? I wouldn't trade it for the world.

“You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.” - Corrie Ten Boom

The roller coaster ride brings me closer to God as I learn to rest in His love instead of other things. I prayed that prayer not only knowing of the possible heartache, but also that being stretched by God would grow me closer to Him...and that matters more to me than anything. In believing, Christ gives me the strength to pray those words. Whether or not I pray to be stretched, life is going to be a roller coaster ride. But I find that God is constant and worth it despite it all. As life carries my emotions up and down, God stays the same. He is never changing. He is always faithful. 

God is constant.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Thoughts on Life and Jesus

I love blue skies. 
I love glistening sand.
I love golden light sunsets.
I love the texture of the ocean.

More so, I'm in love with Jesus. Even "like" is actually too strong of a word for all the things above compared to my love for Him. Everything above simply brings glory to His glorious name. He gives me the breath of life. Without Him my whole life would be pointless. I feel it...I feel the lack of fulfillment it would have if I didn't have Him. School is discouraging and stressful. The future doesn't always look bright. Life is full of sunshine and flowers and laughter, but life is also full of broken hearts, scars, and pain. Sometimes I want to jump from one part of life to the next, but Jesus gives the present purpose. What would anything be without Him?  He gives me rest in the midst of stress. He gives me hope in the midst of hopelessness. He gives me joy in despair. No matter what happens, I always have Him. Without Him I would be nothing. He fulfills me. He completes me. All of life is empty without the Creator of it. Our souls cry out for Him; they long for Him. If you find yourself lacking joy, throw yourself into the arms of Jesus. Full satisfaction can never be found except in Him. I'm thankful that He chooses to prove this to me over and over in life.

Oh, how I love Jesus.

Monday, February 2, 2015

When He Says "I Will"

When God says "I will," He does.

Many of us have grown up knowing in our minds that God keeps His promises. The Bible says it, our parents say it, our Sunday School teachers say it...but do we believe it? Most of us would say yes, so let's reword the we live like we believe it?

This is the question that catches us. We read of God's promises often in His Word, but how often do we trust Him to fulfill them for us? Let's look at a few that can apply to our everyday lives...

"Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." -Matthew 11:28

These past few weeks God has fulfilled this promise in my life. I came to Jesus, as He told me, and asked for rest and He was faithful to give it to me. Maybe you're stressed with school, hurting from a broken heart, or are going through some other difficult time in life and find yourself in desperate need of rest. Go to Jesus. With a trusting heart approach Him and ask for rest.

"Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" - Psalm 46:10

In a world where we're constantly discouraged by hurtful comments, see so many people living life without the joy of Christ, and we ourselves are daily caught struggling with sin it's easy to wonder where God is and what He's doing. We want relief from the struggles and pain. We want to see the world rejoice in the grace and redemption of Christ. In this verse God tells us to be still and know that He is God. Awesome, all-knowing, almighty God. We can rest in knowing this because next He promises that He will be exalted. He will rule this earth again. There will be no more tears, no more sorrow, no more pain (Revelation 21:4). Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11). 

"But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find Him, if you search after Him with all your heart and with all your soul." -Deuteronomy 4:29

This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. It must be the fact that God promises that we will find Him. He will not hide Himself from us. If you're feeling far from God, diligently seek Him with all your heart and He promises that you will find Him.  He longs for you to do this. 

Live like you believe He will answer His promises.

When God says, "I will," He does. 

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