handling what’s hard.

This week was hard in an inexplicable kind of way. I just felt really jumbled, confused and disoriented all week long—feelings that grief, unfortunately, has acquainted me with all too well.

I’m sorry the last few days have been so saturated with sorrow. It’s simply what is. I’ll pull it together when I’m ready.

In the mean time, I’m resting in this beautiful painting. If I play pretend, I can almost feel his warm little body against my chest—his weight centering me. . . keeping my heart and mind connected to the things that matter most.

Gosh I miss him.

But handling what’s hard is simply a part of this Earthly existence. Our ability to find calm within the inevitable storms of mortality is developed line upon line, as we trust in Him and retain an eternal perspective. Right? Right.

So on we’ll march. One foot joyfully in front of the other, until one day, all is made right again.


PS. This masterpiece was painted by my sweet cousin Ash Mae. If I had all the rainbows in all the world they wouldn’t be enough to help you see just how much light and joy this woman brings to the world. And thank you to Mom for commissioning her to paint it for me! Mom, I love you more than every star in the heavens . . . times infinity.

Find me on Instagram: Natalie Norton

Sorry I went rogue last week and forgot to blog. Truth was, I didn’t have reliable internet access– for an entire week. (My definition of Heaven on Earth).

It was so nice to just BE.

I feel like being, in the sense of being totally present in life, is something we have to really fight for in today’s day and age.  I’m here to tell you, the fight is ALWAYS worth it, 1,000%.

Truth is, I really needed this.

I really needed time away from this new life I’m trying to navigate. The world is vastly different here from home. Faster, louder, all together crazier. I’m happy here in Arizona, don’t get me wrong. I am, after all, “a bloom where you’re planted” kind of gal, but it’s an adjustment (to say the very least).

I’m so thankful for the time we spent near the ocean, soaking in the soft, humid air, breathing in friendship and laughter and so much love it made you crazy.

Yes, I needed a break. I needed the ocean. I needed my family. I needed my friends. . . I needed some time to just be.


I knew this girl once.

She was happy and brave. She had a skip in her step and a song in her heart. She loved the world completely, and the world loved her right back again.

The girl grew up.

And sometimes, she felt as if the world had stopped loving her quite so much. . . or just maybe, he’d forgotten about her altogether.

The girl felt all alone.

The girl cried. She cried and she cried and she cried.

A hundred rivers, she cried to overflowing, and then she cried some more.

Then one day, the girl woke up, and she didn’t want to cry any more.

The girl wanted to laugh.

She wanted to laugh, and she wanted to sing! She wanted to skip, and she wanted to dance!

She wanted to love the world, and she wanted to show the world how to love her right back again.

The girl declared war on her hurt, and she sang as loud as she could to overcome the sound of her sorrow.

The girl had forgotten how to skip, so she learned how to RUN instead.

She ran and she ran and she ran.

She wasn’t running away from the wanting, or the anger, or the sadness, oh no! NO no no no no! She was running right over the top of it all. Showing herself that she was strong, and brave, and that she had so much fight left in her. Enough fight for all the world (and then even more left over, just in case).

The girl found her smile again. The girl found her courage.

The girl had proven that she (and you) can overcome anything in life, just so long as you stay brave and keep right on loving (and believing in) the world, no matter what.

So even though the girl knows that in a different life, on a day like today, she’d be buying balloons and baking a cake. . .

Or that in some other world, she’d be living through a cleaning frenzy, preparing for a neighborhood full of smiling faces and hours upon hours of happy celebration. . .

Or that in another life, she’d be singing Happy Birthday To You and dancing the night away. . .

She’s Ok.

Bruised, but not beaten.

Yes, today, she’s dying from so much ache. The wanting is heavy on her chest, and the hurt keeps finding it’s way to the girl’s stomach until she can literally feel the vomit rising into her throat.

Yes, she wonders what he’d look like.

She wonders how he’d sound.

She wonders how his little 2 year old fingers would feel in her hand or how his sweet head would smell as it rested upon her shoulder.

Yes, the girl has much to wonder about. . .But one thing is clear.

He’s hers, not matter what. He’s her’s forever, and though, on a day like today, she’s filled with pain so deep and so wide that no number of tears could ever hope to wash it away, the girl knows that this day will be but a moment. And one day, sooner than later, this pain, so deep and so wide that it threatens to swallow her away, will be filled with joy twice as deep as is her sorrow.

Happy birthday handsome. Mommy loves you times a MILLION.

It was a fast forward kind of day. Go go go. All day long.

And there I was standing in a strip center, a million and one things happening all around me. . . and I stopped. I leaned back onto the hood of my car, took a deep breath and I looked into the sky.

This was all that I could see.

This simple little tree, quietly going about his business, growing, growing, growing up toward the Heavens.

Little Tree is completely focused and completely unaware of the chaos alllllll around him. He’s happy, because he doesn’t waste his precious energy worrying over things and stuff and more things and more stuff. Little Tree just keeps his eyes on the sky and climbs, climbs, climbs, patiently and intentionally toward his goal.

I want to be more like Little Tree. Looking up. Calming down. Focusing in. Being still and knowing, really knowing, that He IS God, and that none of this stuff really matters, anyway.

What DOES matter you ask? Laughter, love, truth, kindness, life long learning and of course, watching soccer huddles at sunset.

All images from this post shot using the Instagram App the for Iphone.  Instagram, thank you, sincerely. You make my world a brighter place.

My wonderful Mother-in-law sent me this this morning, and I’m pretty sure I laughed for 5 solid minutes. I KNOW there are moments that each of us can relate to this. Don’t you dare try and tell me otherwise. Parenthood is a battle, and it’s not for the faint of heart.

The important thing, I suppose, is that we just keep getting back on the horse and trying again. . .  even if said horse just kicked in our teeth and stomped on our sternum.

All joking aside, I really believe that these kids (yours and mine) are remarkable little spirits, sent to us from God, and that they are capable of so.many.miraculous.things if we can just help them see their tremendous capacity and worth. It’s our responsibility to get up every morning and give them the very best we have to offer. Even when we’re exhausted to the core and in complete emotional deficit. All they need is our very best ;) . . . even if some nights that equates to cereal for dinner.

“Our very best” will fluctuate from day to day, and that’s OK. I really believe that ultimately parenthood life is all about LOVE, abundant and unconditional. That’s all any of us, grown or teeny weenie, are really looking for anyway. Someone to look into our eyes and to say, “I may not be perfect, but I love you, no matter what.”