Abundant

Love abundantly pursues – driven by compassion, persistence and patience – encapsulated in grace. Love reaches out. Love is freeing.

A love like this, you say, is of myths.

A love like this is hard to believe. Receive it.

Witness the Lamb – slaughtered and risen. Yes, so much love.

Perfect life – placed in sin – died a death of my ownership.

So I can live, so I can write, so I can lead my whole life to Him.

That’s love, y’all. The unworthy, approaching the Perfect Presence because of His blood…

In the midst of tears, injustice, unfairness and corruption, He loves.

Suffered on our behalf, complete obedience, reigning…

Challenging prejudice, showing compassion, including the excluded…

I want to love like that.

Protesting the inequality of lepers, challenging rejection and behavior…

I want to be like Him.

Walking with the outcast, encouraging the suffering, rejoicing the good news…

I want to love like that.

Praying without ceasing, a grace like no other…

I want to be like Him.

His love doesn’t reject because of race, illness, intelligence or status.

I want to love like that.

His love doesn’t smother, fade or leave us alone. Forever pursued.

He brings hope, authentic relationship, life and a listening ear.

Not alone.

Lord, would you send belief – grace that squashes out guilt – no condemnation.

Like a rock. I’m grateful.

Acceptance and love that sets us free.

Broke our chains.

The world battles for my heart, but I claim Your victory.

A mighty seamstress, mending my life with your love.

Yes, Lord, thank you for your abundant love.

When It Hits You All At Once…

Anybody else been feeling somewhat overwhelmed lately? Like you don’t just have one big decision to process, but more like ten big decisions?

That’s how it’s been in the Bathon household over the past few months.

Ok, so I’m being dramatic when I say we have 10 big decisions, but sometimes it can feel this way.

Buying a house, changing careers, starting new ministry projects… Lots of deciding!

..But trust me, no complaints here. I’m super grateful for these opportunities.

So what do you do? I’m not going to just sit here, self-loathing about my “problems.”

I make lists…

If you are like me, the type that needs to see things down on paper, lists are perfect for you! It’s an awesome way to see things in a new perspective. And it’s super practical.

If you see it written down, these decisions may seem less heavy. I have a sense of accomplishment when I check off tasks.

Lists are practical and they help, because perspective is hard…

I believe wholeheartedly that God’s timing is perfect and that He knows our hearts, but it doesn’t always help when people’s advice goes like this, “Everything is going to be fine!”

I don’t want to have a pity party with you , but when I’m frustrated I don’t want to hear, “Everything happens for a reason.” God gave us community so we can share in our anxieties and our rejoices. You can’t nor should you keep them all bottled up.

Sometimes things just suck… It’s nice to have people say it sucks too.

Like I said, I believe 100% that God is gracious and knows exactly what we need, but this kind of advice doesn’t help when the stress of decision making is bearing down on you.

I don’t know about you, but I need practical tasks…

In my life God doesn’t normally just lay the answer right in my lap or give me a road sign with the answer as I’m driving down the highway.

That’s why I write, journal and make lists. It’s a practical way that Jesus speaks.

His love is so deep for us. It’s normal and HEALTHY to feel frustrated. Sometimes this part is hard for me… I don’t LET myself feel frustrated. I keep going and bottle it up as if everything is ok. Thank goodness for community who allows me to share these things.

FEEL what you’re feeling, but don’t let it take control. I am constantly looking back on situations where I didn’t understand, but God knew exactly what was happening. I have to laugh at how silly I was being then…

When I am feeling super frustrated, I try to lower my pride and ask Jesus to fill my heart with more Christlike love. That I would get out of my own, selfish head and see my life and other people as opportunities to share.

God’s going to equip you. He’s not going to leave you hanging out to dry. Some things just may suck along the way…and that’s OK.

Welcome to real life. Don’t disregard what’s going on, but get ready for that breath of fresh air! God is so good!

Fall/Winter Date Ideas In Southern Illinois

1. Go for a bike ride on SIU campus. You can stop at Starbucks in the Stud Center first!Edited with Polarr Photo Editor

2. Explore the Carbondale Farmers Market.

3. Bonfire party with s’mores (more couples maybe?).20151025_203942872_iOS

4. Board game/cards night (one of our favorites).20150304_195547000_iOS

5. Bowling

6. Try out some of our local restaurants (Pita Alley, Mackies, Longbranch Cafe, Harbaughs, Quatros, Thai D, New Kahala, Blend, The Flame).

7. Spend the evening at Barnes & Noble (again, coffee first).

8. Bake together.

9. Pumpkin Patch trip (Bandys or Eckerts).20141004_202834929_iOS

10. Pizza at Turley or Evergreen Park (Frisbee or baseball catch anyone)?

11. Hiking at Giant City, Garden of the Gods or Ferne Clyffe.20141026_203803484_iOS

12. Attend a high school sporting event or an SIU game.20140927_235753156_iOS

13. Go to a Winery.

14. Listen to some local, live music.

15. Movie night with popcorn and cider.

16. Take a drive (with your favorite Fall drink) with no destination.20131103_053243000_iOS

17. Fair/festival date night.20141207_013211000_iOS

18. Berry picking. 

19. Classic dinner and a movie.

20. Take a trip to the Alto Pass lookout and see Bald Knob Cross.IMG_9061

21. Fishing date: Crab Orchard National Wildlife has three main lakes: Crab Orchard, Little Grassy and Devil’s Kitchen.

22. Take a trip to Fort Massac.

23.  Yard saling!20150914_185955610_iOS 1

24. Movie at Walker Bluff’s giant outdoor screen.

25. Photograph each other out in the beautiful, autumn leaves.

26. Trek across Pomona Natural Bridge.

27. Root beer saloon in Alto Pass.

28. Autumn Fest Arts and Craft Show – Nov. 13 and 14 at JALC.

29. Barbeque!

30. Be artsy at Cedarhurst.

31. Walkers Bluff General Store

32. Makanda ice cream shop.20150321_180606142_iOS

33. Play paint Twister.

34. Build something together!20151006_233324777_iOS

35.   SIU’s Campus Lake!20150912_201539009_iOS

Favorite Kind of Date Night

My husband knows me so well! He surprised me with a trip to Alto Pass for the most beautiful date night! We arrived at the perfect time when the sun was starting to set. The sky was breathtaking, so I had to share some of my shots with you! If you haven’t been out to Bald Knob Cross, I definitely suggest that you go. It’s stunning and an amazing place to worship the one who created it all!

 

 

Stillness: A Lost Art

When did activity and amusement take over our lives? When did Parks and Rec become more important than going to the Park with friends?

For me, distraction is a constant, unwanted friend that won’t leave me alone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about a good ‘ole Leslie Knope pick-me-up or an Andy Dwyer mishap, but since when is this what we look forward to when we get home?

These distractions come in obvious and cunning sizes. In my life, these distractions come from thinking, “Hey I can do it ALL!”

I feel like I have lots of ideas and interests, so of course I want to do them all. But what I really need to do is s l o w d o w n. I have to tell myself, “Ok, Kristen, you have cool ideas but you can’t get all of them done today! FOCUS.

Focus is my constant desire, but stillness is sometimes hard to acquire. I get distracted and lose sight of community and the Gospel.

Let’s say I get to the point of actually sitting down. I suddenly remember about the laundry, the dishes in the sink, and our next weeks’ social engagements. I LITERALLY (you Parks and Rec fans will understand the reference) have to tell myself to sit down and be still.

God’s faithfulness is so massive even though I can’t even sit still for more than an hour. He listens with no thought of time or busyness. Our God knows our junk, yet He sacrificed His life for us.

He took our pain so we could be still.

My favorite part of being still is getting to talk to God like if He were sitting on the couch with me in my livingroom. I especially love to journal and get my prayers/thoughts on paper. I realize it’s less likely for me to get distracted if I write my thoughts down. It focuses me.

There are so many journal ideas out in the online word. Who doesn’t love Pinterest? You may even have some cool ideas yourself!

One of Rick Warren’s well-known quotes makes it simple for us, “The more you pray, the less you’ll panic. The more you worship, the less you’ll worry. You’ll feel more patient and less pressured.” Being still is a way for us to focus our hearts on the only One who knows everything about us.

Not to worry though, none of us are going to get this stillness thing right all the time. None of us.

Try to view each day as an adventure. Be still. Stay in your field, and stay faithful where you have been planted.

From H to T

Congratulations, you have hired the photographer, your session date is scheduled and you are now patiently awaiting your photoshoot.

You’ve almost got everything together and…BOOM…You forgot pick out your outfit for pictures. You may even have outfits to pick out for a significant other or little ones. Ahhh!

So instead of scrambling around and putting “blah” outfits together, let me see if I can help. I have put together a few color ideas to help solve the, “What do I wear” problem.colors for blog (white or cream)

White and cream are great colors for engagement shoots. They are great, neutral colors for men to match!

I just happen to love the faded denim, blue or gray as a complimentary outfit.

In fact, here’s a photo from our engagement shoot that we shot ourselves!

Bathon/Ellis Engagement
Bathon/Ellis Engagement

If you are in the mood for blue, you’ll have great color combination opportunities! Blue seems to be the most versatile color for family photos!

You can use all different shades of blue; light blue, sapphire, navy! Put all of these colors together and you’ve got a great shot!

In order for photos to be balanced, it’s best to pick out just a few people in your family to wear the dominant color and then mix in patterns or neutrals.

Blues are great for beach family photos too!

Feeling, fun and spunky? Try a red photoshoot!

If you and your family have Christmas cards on the mind or you’re just feeling spunky, try a red photoshoot!

Red is classic. It’s energizing. It’s a warm, positive color that gives off confidence.

The color red is the longest wavelength in the spectrum, so it’s a very powerful color. It grabs our attention first.

Add a few pops of navy or neutrals and you’re set!

colors for blog (black)

This next color is one of my favorites to wear. Black is a sophisticated color. I love wearing black on a day-to-day basis because I can mix different colors with it.

Black works particularly well with white and all neutrals.

One tip I like to give out to clients is that if you plan on hanging pictures up in your livingroom or other areas of your home, why not try matching your outfits to your home decor? It’s a simple tip that can help people decorate their homes as well as coordinate their outfits.

Sometimes you just have to make it easy.

Black and neutral colors are great to use in photoshoots if you’re wanting to match your home decor. For example, our livingroom walls are a light blue, with black furniture and pops of yellow throughout.

If I wanted to use photos to match in my home, I would want my family to wear black with a few pops of blue and a touch of yellow. These colors would be very soothing to the eye and would complete our space.colors for blog (orange or yellow)

Orange and yellow are great color options for our current season, fall.

These are often forgotten colors, but look great against the changing leaves this time of year. I love the different shades these colors offer.

I am especially a fan of mustard and burnt orange this year. They are becoming popular fall colors along with forest green.

Even in summer time, coral and peach colors are very popular. You can even cross categories and put coral, navy and neutrals together for an appealing photo session.

What’s great about these color combinations is that you can mix and match them for any season or shoot you want.

Even with these color ideas available, let your creative juices flow! It’s YOUR photoshoot and YOUR family. Make it natural and fun for YOU! Let these color combinations be a guide in making your photoshoot perfect for you and your personalities!

Now that you have the tools to pick out perfect outfits, call me and we’ll put those outfits to good use!

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Confessions of a Pictureholic

It’s a beautiful “sickness…”10153746_10153484823572664_4134770298588507768_n

A craft in which I am fascinated…

A constant desire to learn more…

My first instinct…

The sound a shutter makes…a beautiful portrait…meeting new people…all apart of this thing we call photography.

IMG_6101_1The love I have for this craft has been intensely growing since I was 11 years old.

From digital to film, I love it all. I took a film photography class in high school and fell in love with creating images. There’s something about being in the darkroom, in control of the image’s end result. Amazing.

IMG_6170_1Even being out and about, no DSLR in hand, my IPhone 6 is always ready to work for me. It’s my personal sidekick. Carnivals, nature walks with my husband, there is beauty to be captured every where you go.

My family may fuss at me because of my persistence to get family photos every time we’re together, but they’ll thank me later.

IMG_5042I want to capture the moments we’re together. It won’t always be as easy to see each other.

People ask me all the time, “Do you actually get to enjoy moments when your behind a camera?” It’s like they’re saying, “Do you actually stop and smell the roses instead of just photographing them?”

My answer to that awesome question would be yes

Photography is extra special in my mind because not only do you get to smell the roses, but you’ll have a photo to remind you of how awesome those roses smelled and the people you were with.

IMG_7528You get to hone in on all the senses and explore the artist within you.

Sight, Smell, Taste, Touch, and Sound.

I love looking back and remembering. Photos are important. They tell us what is important to us. I have a constant desire to preserve these special moments.

IMG_8223Photographs matter because they freeze moments in time that may seem insignificant.  The significance; however, may be for those who are searching for remembrance of a specific time or person.

But photos are more than just simple records. They are ways to communicate with audiences. Our photos can involve the strangers in our lives and create a unique platform for real conversations and relationships.

It’s a complex language that a lot of people speak. When words are impossible, photos are possible. Photography is a powerful form of movement, using emotions as a universal tool to go forward.

IMG_5770_2

If you don’t think photos are special, wait until they’re all you have left.

These are my confessions…

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