A few months ago, I was sitting on a curb at the boy’s school, watching them hi ya their way through Karate class out on the soccer field.

A beautiful blonde woman came and sat near me. I’m not sure how our conversation began, but within 45 seconds (it seemed), we were both in tears. Her daughter, Kalyn . . . was dying. And there wasn’t anything anybody could do to change it.

Two strangers. . .

Sitting on the curb. . . in the middle of the desert. . . relating on such a personal and intimate level. Never try to tell me that God is not meticulously mindful of his children.

The two of us, through tears, spoke of love and loss . . . of faith and hope. We spoke of fear and courage and submission to the perfect(ly terrifying) will of God. We only had moments together, before we were surrounded by noisy boys, ready for their momma’s undivided attention. Through misty eyes, I quickly told my new friend that I would be more than willing to photograph Kalyn’s funeral when the time came (at that point, she was optimistic that they had as many as 6 months to go, if not more).

Lisa and I lost touch for a couple of months after our “chance” encounter at Karate that day. 2 months later, almost to the day, Raleigh came home from school and told me that a little boy in his class had lost his big sister to cancer. I immediately knew it was Kalyn. I tracked Lisa down, and 2 days later, I found myself facing the most challenging shoot of my career. How would I even BEGIN to know how to approach this? I turned to Heavenly Father and essentially said, you got me in to this mess. . . you certainly better help me out of it. :) Not really (um. . .yes, really).

Today is Easter, and as I spent some time preparing this slideshow from beautiful Kalyn’s funeral, I was reminded of the astonishing POWER of the atonement and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

POWER OVER DEATH?! When we say “glory to God,” GOSH! We certainly mean it.

I’m so thankful for my understanding. I’m so thankful for my relationship with God and his son, Jesus Christ. I testify that EACH of us are KNOWN and LOVED by our Savior. He is our literal spirit brother, and he is EVER mindful of our welfare. He is ever accessible. As we cast our burdens upon him, they are made light. This is TRUE. And always so.

Happiest Easter!

Without further ado, sweet Kalyn. She was loved DEEPLY by all who knew her. . . her family, very most of all. So thankful to know, that because of Jesus Christ, their separation is only temporary.




Remember this BEAUTIFUL SONG written for us by our (now) friend, Ryan Tanner? It’s dripping with love. I couldn’t find a THING that was more fitting than this.

(Thank you, Jon, for giving me the courage to do this in the first place. You taught me what a real treasure these images can be. I’d say it again, but you already know how very much I love you.)

Sometimes, the missing* rolls in. Like a wet, heavy fog across the desert.

And it fills EVERY PORE OF MY BEING—every crevasse of my parched heart.

I look around. Everyone with their perfect babies, and their perfect pregnancies, and their perfect families. And my heart cries out. Tears stream down my cheeks and fall shamelessly upon my chest.

Life continues. PEOPLE continue. Continue to laugh, and smile, and love. . . and breeeeeeeeed.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. I WOULD NOT HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY. AND—

And the line between my joy for them and my ache for me. . . is at times, imperceptible. My family is still broken. Signs of grief, pain and overwhelming devastation still float to the surface from time to time. Often, they’re overwhelming, other times, they are tender and sweet. . . either way, they keep us connected to what’s true and real about the world, connected to the things that matter most. Connceted to our God and sealed to our faith in His plan for us.

I want to heal. I want to BE healed. I want my family to heal, my children to be made whole.  I desperately want these things. But healing prematurely would equate to lessons lost. And I want the lessons more than I don’t want the pain. As bitter as those words taste leaving my heart, they are true.

Because I don’t just want to live. I WANT TO LIVE!!!!!!! I want to FEEEEEEEEEEEL. I want to BE—alive in my heart, in my understanding, in my influence. I want to be alive in my integrity. I want to say—”LIFE IS GOOD, GOD IS REAL, LOVE IS ALL AROUND US,” and when I do, I want to know it. In every pore. In every breath. In all of me.

I WANT.TO.LIVE.

*Dear You, The line between missing, self pity and overwhelming fear, is often imperceptible. THAT IS OK. Please know that. Sweet you, out there missing, hurting, wishing to be anywhere but here. It’s OK. YOU are OK. I do not judge your hurt. I do not ask you to quiet your pain, or to hide (from) your self pity, or self loathing, or from your desperation (wishing that it could all be different—willing to do anything you can to make it so). “Wherever you are, be there.” This wisdom comes from a heart that knows. A heart that would never judge you. Not ever. Don’t you dare judge yourself. You wake up every morning, and you breathe in and out all day long. Don’t you see the miracle that you are? Are you so clouded and confused that you are incapable of seeing what you are doing? You are walking on water. Despite it all, you breathe in and out all day long. In and out. All day long. You are a miracle. Just as you are. Do not judge that. And know, He “will go before your face . . . on your right hand and on your left, and [His] Spirit shall be in your hearts, and [His] angels round about you, to bear you up.” There are better days ahead. There are.

click here to open post Mar 28, 2012 | posted in Inspire, Personal | 11 comments

Shot, layed-out and blogged, all from my phone. So very 2012.

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

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

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