Apr 15, 2012 | posted in giveaway, on the agenda | 76 comments

Winner is Jana Neser!
Congratulations, Jana!

That’s right! I’m headed to Hawaii! And what better way to celebrate than a giveaway from the AMAZING Etsy shop, Everything’s Jake!? (Yes, I will be available for a limited number of photo sessions; information available at the bottom of this post.)

Enter to win this Retro Hawaii Map (27×19)! I bought one for Richie for Valentine’s day and it’s even better in person. Slap a frame around it and you’ll die. LOVE.

PS. My family’s Hawaii roots run deep: Here‘s what I gave my mother in law for her birthday, and here‘s what I gave my sister in law for hers. I guess you could say I’m a BIG fan.

To Enter:

1. Leave a comment below, any comment will do.
2. Like this post on Facebook (using the button on the bottom of this post) and then COMMENT to that effect, and you’re entered again!
3. Tweet or Facebook the link to this post with the following text “Enter to win a retro Hawaiian map from Natalie Norton and Everything’s Jake.” And BAM, you’re entered again (be sure to come back and comment again, so I know you’ve posted).
4. Be awesome.
5. Share some aloha today!!!

Winner will be announced Friday, April 20th (on this post, so be sure to scroll down to see if you won)!  Good luck!

Hawaii Session Information:

Like I mentioned! I’m coming to Hawaii!!

June 4-July 17th! I’ll be available for A VERY LIMITED NUMBER of sessions on Maui the second week of July and Oahu the rest of the trip. Again, only very limited availability so I can snuggle up my babies (and my besties) and soak up some sun (and some RAIN). Contact me for session information. First come, first served.

Alooooooooha!

Apr 12, 2012 | posted in Authenticity, Inspire, Personal | 11 comments

I love this quote so much.

I’m really working on GROWING right now. I’m reeeeeeeeeeaching, learning, changing, embracing, submitting.  I’m committed to living deliberately, and part of that commitment requires me to take a long hard look into every corner of my life to determine if it’s all intentionally aligned with my heart.

It’s hard.

I think it would be hard for anyone. But one of my biggest revelations throughout this process has been how deeply difficult the process has been for me. I’m finding untapped reserves of grief along with other emotions that I didn’t know I’d harbored. This introspection is intriguing. . . and painful. . . and deeply frustrating, in a nearly infuriating kind of way . . . but underneath alllllll of that, it’s worth it.

I just want to be me. Healthy. Happy. Complete. Whatever that takes, whatever that means, mostly so that my children have permission to do and be the same.  I don’t want to set any example for them but that of LOVE, AUTHENTICITY, CONNECTION, COURAGE, KINDNESS and JOY.

So here I am. . . reaching, learning, changing, embracing, submitting. . . being me.

Apr 08, 2012 | posted in Baby Gavin, God is Good, Inspire, Personal | 67 comments

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.)

Nope. Not her real name. Well, the Millie part is, just not the May. There’s a little boy growing in that cute little tummy of hers! I can’t wait to snuggle him in May!  PS Millie started working for me a couple of weeks ago! So excited to have her!

I love these next two more than anything. Ever.

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.