click here to open post Nov 30, 2011 | posted in Inspire | 11 comments

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities, brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.
- John W. Gardener (via http://twitter.com/motivational)

Life is full of hard. Hard. Hard. HARD. I get it.

You’ve scarcely had the chance to stand up and brush yourself off before you again find yourself on your knees. . . likely in a pool of your very own blood. I get that, too.

I used to believe that I would grow up, and there would come a time when life would slow down, things would get easier, everything would miraculously fall in to place. But the reality is, life is a challenge, nearly every day of it, and for a million wonderful reasons, it’s meant to be so.

We have to learn to seek stillness despite all the noise. We have to strive to hold on to that quiet peace we feel, even if we have to dig down to the very bottom of our hearts to find it.

Because, I SINCERELY believe that all these things truly can and WILL work together for our ultimate good. I SINCERELY believe that the universe is NOT out to get us, and that we, each of us, is meant to be happy and fulfilled, despite it allllllll.

So many AMAZING OPPORTUNITIES come to us all wound up in a zillion obstacles we’ve got to overcome.

A happy life (and I TRULY BELIEVE we are meant to be happy) necessitates that we learn to train ourselves to see the world in this way. To say emphatically, “Yes! This is bologna, an absolute disaster, but there’s got to be something good all wrapped up inside. If I stick with it long enough, if I face it square on, I’ll turn this ship right around. I’ll figure this all out!”

But right there’s the problem. We hit a wall and we don’t think this way. Not at all. We instantly fall to the ground, complete and total victims of circumstance. We whine, we complain, and we compare saying, “If I had things as easy as he does, or if I were as thin (smart, pretty, rich and on and on and on) as her, THEN . . .”

How does meeting life like this serve us? It doesn’t. Not in the least.

Step up. Lean in. Remember, you are MEANT to be happy, and that insurmountable problem you’re facing? Well, it just may prove to be the very biggest opportunity of your life! It’s all about perspective. . . and a healthy dose of faith, just for good measure.

xo!

N

Remember Jane and her awesome husband, Conor?! Well, now they’ve got a little Henry bun in the oven! I.CANNOT.WAIT to meet him! It was SO WONDERFUL to be back in Hawaii to shoot them at this exciting, joyful time of their lives! Love you J + C. Baby Henry, hurry the heck up!

Enjoy!

PS. It totally hurt my heart to go through these images. Homesick to the power of a zillion. Oh Hawaii, why can’t you be less perfect so my heart can heal?

Our halls (read: door) has officially been decked. Such an easy (and cheap) Christmas wreath. I love it. Thanks for the nudge G. And yes, I am VERY impressed by my mad DIY skillz as of late. Arizona is clearly rubbing off on me. (I even created a new DIY category on the blog (see?!) in the off chance the DIY fairy keeps whispering sweet nothings in my ears).

If you want to make something like this for your own door, I recommend doing 2 things better than I did.

Tips:

1. Use a white foam wreath (Michaels, Joann’s), rather than green, so that if you inadvertently miss a spot with the yarn, you won’t see green blaring through. White would be less noticible by a thousand times.

2.  Run a piece of double stick tape along the perimeter of the wreath before you start wrapping. This will help keep the yarn in place so that it doesn’t become loose and move around from too much handling.

Merry Christmas!

Photo by G.

You know, this time of year is a real struggle for me. I have a tendency to feel anxious and melancholy. . . for no apparent reason. It’s important to acknowledge that these feelings existed even before I had a legitimate reason to be experiencing them, so they can’t simply be chalked up to grief or intense missing, though yes, those feelings have clearly been added to the mix.

This time of year will always hold a little tenderness for me, but that doesn’t explain why it always has.

I think I’ve figured it out. Officially. Finally. Thankfully.

A Quick Premise:

I believe that our bodies and our spirits are intimately connected. I believe that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind and spirit—and vice versa. Note: I didn’t say a “skinny body leads to a healthy mind and spirit.” I said a healthy one. There is a significant difference between being thin just for the sake of it and actually being healthy—mind, body, soul.

Over the past couple of years, in an effort to really nurture myself through my grief, I’ve become more and more nutritionally minded (and balanced). In so doing, I’ve become increasingly aware of the effect poor nutrition and lack of exercise have on my physiology. When I’m living in a cycle of disordered eating and exercise patterns, I become mentally clouded and depressed. My body feels uncomfortable, lethargic and frumpy (for lack of a better description). My soul feels thirsty (unquenchably so) and alone.

Today, as I suffered through Diet Coke withdrawals, I realized what happens to me over the holiday season. I eat and behave myself physically, mentally and emotionally ill. The disordered eating starts in October and lives on well into January (and if I’m being honest, it would be safe to say it continues until Valentines Day).  I know, this is fairly intimate. Many of you are reading along thinking, “I cannot believe she’s sharing all this.” But I truly believe that many more of you are nodding your heads as you experience “ah ha moments” of your very own.

Something New:

Let’s choose something new. Let’s choose to care for ourselves even when everything circumstantially seems to dictate otherwise. I don’t want to live through to New Year’s Day in a cloud of gloom and discouragement. I don’t want to eat away my worries and fears, or my joys and happiness’ for that matter! I want to be clear, happy, bright, hopeful, connected . . . free, all the things I’ve found come to me when I’m truly caring for myself. And I think that’s exactly what I deserve. I think we all do.

I’m not pledging “perfection” (whatever the HECK that means in terms of health and nutrition, particularly over the holidays), and I’m definitely not a fan of deprivation.  Heaven knows I’m in a pumpkin pie induced coma as we speak (Thanksgiving is, after all, the gateway drug). . . I’m simply pledging awareness, commitment and resolve, through 12.31.2011.

My Plan | Ideas for YOU:

1. Water: I’m committed to drinking more of it. At least 2-3 liters a day. Hydration is KEY to any kind of wellness, body or otherwise.

2. Exercise: I’m committing to getting at least 20 minutes, every weekday. No exceptions. Exercise is my anti-depressant. It’s necessity.

3.  Sleep: I’m committed to getting at least 7 hours a week night. Again, necessity.

4. Reading/writing: I’m committed to taking at least 10 minutes for myself to read and/or write, every day. It fills my cup and allows me more to share with others.

5. Proper nutrition: This one is the hardest for me to commit to this time of year. . . But, if I really listen to my body, I know, I’m ready for a cleanse. I’ve been traveling so much over the last month, and eating and exercising so poorly as a natural result, that my system is all out of whack. I KNOW that nothing centers me or brings me more clarity and peace than a good nutritional cleanse. I’m not talking molasses and cayenne pepper (seriously people??). I’m talking real, accessible nutrition that nourishes me on a cellular level. I personally love the Isagenix system, but if that’s not your thing, watch the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, grab a juicer and set something else up that works for you. Whatever serves you best, brings me joy! For me, starting Monday, December 5th, I’ll be stepping in to a 9 day deep body cleanse using the Isagenix system.

I’m going to build an accountability team with anyone who wants to join me on this journey, and we’ll all work together (personally, via facebook and email) to achieve overall success. The goal? Real health: mind, body, spirit.

2 ways to join:

If you’re interested in joining me using the Isagenix system, email Angel (ASAP so you can get your product in time) at angelnaivalu{at}gmail{dot}com.

If you’re interested in joining me using a system of your own, email me at natalienorton{at}gmail{dot}com with the subject line: Accountability. You don’t have to join this accountability circle to participate in good health this holiday season, but don’t let shyness be your reason not to. I’d LOVE to get to know you. I won’t bite. ;)

6. Moderation: I pledge to be moderate. I pledge to enjoy the holiday season, after all, food is a HUGE part of what makes this time of year great! Tradition is all wrapped up in food, and I LOVE IT.  I simply promise to be moderate. To eat what my body wants and needs and to “indulge responsibly.” ;) I promise not to eat myself sick. After the cleanse is complete on December 14th, I promise to move forward in moderation, not deprivation.

And that’s that. Who’s with me?

I can’t wait to experience this holiday season as the very best version of myself: clear, happy, bright, hopeful, connected . . . free. All the wonderful joys truly caring for myself provides!

xo!

N

click here to open post Nov 26, 2011 | posted in Weddings | no comments

Shot on the Instax Mini 7s.
More, REAL, images coming soon. Happy weekend!