click here to open post Mar 26, 2012 | posted in giveaway | 70 comments

Post Edited to Include:

The winner of the customized watercolor painting from Birds of AshMae is Brooke. She said, “I have been thinking about this all morning. I would love to have one of these. I think I would want one of my family. My 2 1/2 year old son passed away last summer and we have only 2 pictures of all 5 of us together. Im thinking that or just my 3 boys together. Ashley truly does beautiful work.” This was deeply touching to Ash and I. One of the primary reasons I keep up with photography, even as my life gets crazier and crazier, is because images MATTER. They bless lives for years (generations) to come. Just ask Brooke. She knows. Congratulations Brooke! Your comment doesn’t link anywhere, so please contact me at aloha{at}natalienortonblog{dot}com to claim your prize. xoxo!

Ash has extended the deadline for custom orders! She’ll be accepting orders for customized paintings until 4/6/12 (this Friday). They’re so insanely affordable as far as customized art is concerned! I keep telling her she’s GOT to raise her prices! But she’s more concerned with blessing lives than making moola. Go figure. ;) Love her face off. Such a quality soul! (Perfect Mother’s Day gift, hello!)

Hello friends!

Happy Monday to YOU!

If you’ve followed my blog for more than 5 minutes, you’re very familiar with the art of the beautiful Ashley of Birds of Ash Mae (also check out her LDS temples here and wonderful blog here).

Ashley’s art fills my home (I’ve got FOUR of her paintings up on my walls).  I simply can’t seem to get enough! Here‘s my favorite painting I’ve commissioned Ashley to do for us. I have it printed on a 20×30 canvas. Love. You can pick one up here.  (Um, it’s only $15 for an 8×10!)

Well, my friend, today is a happy, happy day, because you can enter to win a customized watercolor portrait for your very own home, FREEEEEE!!

To Enter:

1. Simply comment below (by Friday 3/30) and tell Ashley and I which portrait you would submit and why.

That’s all you have to do to enter. :)

But if you’re awesome, you’ll head on over and “like” Ashley’s awesome Etsy Shop here. It won’t increase your chance of winning, but it couldn’t hurt you either (know what I’m sayin’? Mmmm hmmmm. ;))

The Loot:

The winner will receive 1 customized portrait of up to four people (winner must pay 15.00 for every person/pet above 4). All Ash needs is your favorite photo to work from! Even a simple snapshot will do!

Good luck!

I hope YOU win!

Top L to R: Laie Temple (commissioned) | SLC Temple | Gav and I (commissioned)
Bottom L to R: My boys meeting Baby G (gift from Ash post tragedy-painted from a cell phone pic) | blue horse | boy and his dinosaur (buying this one for Cardon today. It’s magic.)

NOTE: AFTER APRIL 1ST, ASHLEY WILL NOT BE ACCEPTING PORTRAIT ORDERS FOR SIX MONTHS WHILE SHE WORKS ON SOME OF HER OWN PROJECTS. IF YOU’D LIKE A PORTRAIT (AND YOU DON’T WIN ONE FROM HERE, OF COURSE), BE SURE TO ORDER BEFORE THEN! ASHLEY CURRENTLY HAS 10 SPOTS LEFT.

Above, screen shot of my favorite moment of the entire experience.

First of all, why has no one ever told me how RIDICULOUS I look when I run?

Seriously people?

In my mind, I’m Paula Freaking Radcliffe. In reality? I’m like a . . . I honestly don’t think there’s an adequate description. Umph.

My episode of The Generations Project aired last night on BYUTV. Many of you followed my journey as it unfolded. It was heavy. It was emotional. It was exhaustive.

AND it was AMAZING.

It was truly one of the most inspiring experiences of my life.

And I almost didn’t participate.

When the casting director contacted me, I was an inch away from following a knee jerk reaction to simply say, “no.” I’d never heard of the show. I didn’t have time. I’ve got 4 beautiful boys (yes, I’m including Richie), who like me, a lot. PLUS, I was scheduled to be shooting a wedding on Oahu only 2 days before they wanted to start filming in Salt Lake City. All arrows pointed to not.a.chance.  Thankfully I called my sweet-mother-in-law, Shelly. She said simply, “You’ve GOT to do this.” And my heart echoed. Completely. So off I went.

And I’m infinitely grateful I did.

You know, The Old Testament talks about the Spirit of Elijah. I never understood it before now. And even after the absolute depth of my experience, I still can’t express it in words. Were I to try, it would somehow dilute the power—the absolute significance. I’ll simply say, this spirit, this power is real. And it’s astonishing.

Here’s the episode in full. (OR: View Natalie Norton on The Generations Project on the BYUTV site by following the link.)

Sincere, heartfelt gratitude to the following:

Kohl Glass: Because he listened to me. Because he not only HEARD my words but felt them. Internalized them. . . and helped me to connect with, and internalize, them as well. Bless you, brother. Bless you.
Raquel Marvez: Because I’ve never met a more passionately committed person in my life. EVER. She hustled. Every second. Of every.single.day. And because her sense of style blows my mind.
Chantelle Olsen: Because we’re soul sisters, and because she made it all possible. xo, woman.
Marcia Richards: Because there isn’t a soul the world over who doesn’t love Marcia best of all. PS. Marcia, it’s 2012—get yourself a bona fide web presence! What the heck?!
Jack Allred: Because he’s a visionary. Because he’s patient beyond all human capacity or reason. And because he made sure not to make me look too fat. . . other than that one shot. . . from behind. . . just before the final scene. WHAT.THE.HECK.JACK?! ;)
Katienne Norton: Because she’s a Norton (even though we’re not technically related). And because her heart is oh so tender and most definitely made of solid GOLD. And because she’s a sound NINJA. Hi ya! (But for real.) And PS. Katienne, no website for you either?! Woman!

I said it before, and I’ll say it again, love you like family, people. Like family. THANK YOU, from my SOUL. No, deeper. xo, N

Congratulations to Teresa Peschke! You win. Tada!

First things first.

No, Cardon does NOT have a bowl cut. But since he’s a total spaz (times infinity) about getting his hairs cut, we let him walk around (and be photographed) looking like he IS in fact sporting a bona fide, 1990′s, bowl-doo. (However, I also let my kids dress themselves, which is infinitely more embarrassing than the hair situation, so at least there’s that. . . or . . . gosh, there’s that too?! I’m not sure which best fits.)

Check out (and enter to win) this amazing “Adventure In A Box Fort Kit” from The Happy Family Movement!

H A N D. S E W N. Yes, for serious. This activity was the most fun we’ve had together as a family in months (and SOOOO Much easier to clean up than the traditional “raid the linen closet” fort variety).

PS. Be sure to check out the ever inspiring HFM Blog and their fun family product center which includes a KILLER Roadtrip Adventure Guide (take it from me, it takes roadtrips from hair splitting, to side splitting, in no time flat).

We may have spent more time throwing, wrestling around with, and rolling ourselves up in the pieces than we actually spent building with them.

Boys. Enough said.

I don’t know WHAT came over Lincoln that night, but GOSH, he wanted to be in every.single.shot. Luckily he’s so stinkin’ adorable  . . and charming, and handsome, and funny, and irresistible, and cute, and PERFECT . . . in every.single.way. That little boy owns my heart.

Enter to win a Fort Kit from HFM!

1.  Comment below. Easy as pie.
2. To earn another entry for yourself, simply Facebook, Tweet, or blog a link to this post, come back and comment telling me you’ve done so, and BAM! You’re entered again!
3. Have a happy day!

ENTER BY FRIDAY, March 23rd. Winner will be announced shortly thereafter. Monday? Probably. But you just never know about these things, do you?

This is picture holds permanent residence on my home screen.

It reads, You must never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it. – Charles Buxton

People, let’s take this advice! Shall we?!

We deserve to feel complete, intentional, peaceful. We do. We do. We do.

We deserve to feel capable, successful, competent. We do. We do. We do.

The bottom line is, sometimes you simply have to take two steps BACK in order to regroup and prepare for those giant LEAPS forward.

I’m right. You know I am.

And guess what?! The world won’t stop spinning with out us! It won’t stop spinning without you, and it certainly won’t stop spinning without me.

We do this living thing but once, let’s make the time to regroup and ensure we do it right!

xo,
N

PS

My Recent Posts,
Posted Elsewhere:

Why not go out on a limb, isn’t that where all the fruit is?
5 Tips to Flattering Maternity Photography
10 Things You Should Know, If You Want to be a Professional Wedding Photographer.

Love this guy.

Times infinity.

Every single day, he reminds me to get up, put a smile on my face, and consciously live out the gratitude of my heart.

Who could ask for anything more?