If I could bottle up a family and shoot them for the rest of forever, the Hansen family may just be the one.  Sherri has been a long time, tried and true, follower of the blogs (old and new).  When she heard I was going to be in Southern California, she jumped at the opportunity to book a session with me.  So did her husband.  He secretly emailed me right before Sherri had the chance and asked me to PLEASE tell her I was booked so that he could surprise her with a shoot with me as a gift. What a man!!!  I love it.  Sherri was definitely among the thousands upon thousands who wept, plead and grieved with us over the tumultuous weeks last year as we said goodbye to sweet Baby Gavin.  I’m so thankful I got to finally meet her in person and to spend some wonderful time with her family, who are every bit as sweet as she is!  Plus, look what she gave me as a tearful parting gift?! How could yo NOT love this woman. Enjoy some images of our time together. I hope you can feel just how very special this family really is.

Me. Sick nasty, post Bikram yoga.
Dog tag was given to me by my dear friend Mike Colón after the death of my son.
I wear it any time I feel like I need the reminder that life may be big, but I’m stronger.

Run Natalie, Run!

Recently, I took up running.

And it SUCKED.

It sucked so bad that I’m borderline full blown anxiety attack just thinking about it. There are not words for the complete suck of it’s suckiness. (At least not words I’m willing to use on this blog).

People who know me best of all ask me everyday how the heck I (of allllll the people in allllll the world) am now running anywhere from 6-13 miles every single day.

First of all, to be able to grasp the true miracle of my accomplishment, you must understand the depth of my hatred for running.  Imagine a chasm soooooo deep and soooooo wide that you could bury Kilimanjaro inside and never again hear tale of her.  Times that by 9, then take THAT answer, and double it.  You will at least BEGIN to understand the level of hatred we’re discussing here.

So, how DID I do it? Honestly? I don’t know. I TRULY did NOT believe I had it in me. But I’ll tell you what—and with a huge smile on my face—I DID. I had it in me. The ability to commit to and achieve something impossible? I have THAT ability inside of ME. And so do YOU.

I’m not going to go into the details of my training program or the literal steps I took to make it happen for me—another day another post.

But I will say this one thing: I walked before I ever ran.

Walk before you run.

You know Lao-tzu’s brilliant (and unfortunately cliché) adage: a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step? Well folks, it’s true. And it’s never been truer than it is in this very moment. The first step is simply the very hardest one of all.

Have you ever tried to jump start a car by pushing it along a flat surface? (I specify, because once, in high school, Michelle Ostler and I attempted to push a car UP a hill. . . not advisable. Ever.)  It’s nearly impossible to get it going at first.  One push, two, three.  The car starts to rock forward and backward. . . bit by bit, until suddenly it’s rolling slowly along.  Little by little, you’re able to increase in speed until BAM! You pop the clutch, rev the engine and before you know it you’re hitting 65 on the interstate!

You can’t hit 65 on the first push. Or the second.  Each nudge increases your momentum and before you know it, it’s smooth sailing.



How many of of you at the start of 2010 had resolved to lose 20 lbs? The only way to make it is by using the best diet from tophealthjournal.com/!

How many of those self same souls are now a solid 35 lbs overweight and are currently on some nutso cayenne pepper and yak urine cleanse in hopes of dropping a fast five in to prep for xy or z  Hunnakah soireé? (Happy Hunnakah and l’chaim by the way!)

I don’t have to spell it out for you.  We doddle around. We procrastinate. We get derailed. We’re lazy. We’re afraid of failure. We’re afraid of success. We’re afraid of change. We’re afraid of the Boogie Man. We get “too busy” (load of lard that one is). . .  aaaaaaand in the end, we simply . . . opt out. We push pause on (or say “goodbye” all together) to so many dreams, to so many things we could do, say or become, because we can’t figure out how to get the momentum we need to really achieve.

It’s sad. And we deserve better. WE CAN HAVE BETTER. We simply have got to resolve, and then walk before we can run.

You can do ANYTHING for 29 days.

It’s December 1st (for precisely 6 more minutes).

You resolved to lose 35 lbs.  Can you lose 35 lbs in 29 days? Not unless you amputate your left leg.  But could you lose 5 lbs before the end of the year?  ABSOLUTELY!!!

You resolved to organize and dejunk the entire house, including the basement (eek!) and the garage (oy!). Can you complete that in 29 days?  Not unless you want to be divorced and committed to the loony bin by Christmas Eve.  But, could you organize and de junk your office space? ABSOLUTELY!!!!

You resolved to pay off all your credit card debt? Can you pay off 43 million dollars by December 31? (If you can, I want to come work for you). You simply can’t, but you CAN create a debt elimination plan and start hacking away.  Even $1 is forward motion.

You resolved to run a marathon. Can you go couch to marathon in 29 days? Not unless you want to be dead. As a doornail. But you COULD build up to 2—4 miles! And that’s HUGE!!!

Rather than waiting for the new year to come around. . . so you can make yet ANOTHER resolution to lose that baby weight, de junk that garage, learn a second language, start that dream project, forgive your mom, read the complete works of C.S. Lewis, bring together the next hot boy band . . . why not START NOW?  Today. Why not gain some forward momentum so that come January 1, you greet your life at a jog?! Already well on your way to success.  Why not?!

Imagine how good it would feel.

And guess what? YOU DESERVE IT.

Success Tips.

I BELIEVE in specificity when it comes to goals.  Which packs more punch?  “I’m going to take up running.” VS “I’m going to run the Gunstock Half Marathon on October 30th 2010 at 7:00am.” I would have failed without that specific, time bound goal.

I also BELIEVE in accountability.  It’s the ONLY thing that keeps me going when the going gets rough.  If you feel so inclined, post in the comment section ONE THING you want to accomplish before the end of the year.  I would LOVE to hold you to it. It can be as simple as, “Send an email to that guy about that thing.” Sometimes it’s the tiny to do’s in our lives that give us the most anxiety and grief.

Remember, the first step is the very hardest one to take.


Ready, set, GO!


Want to really get a running start for 2011?? Join Lara Casey and I at the last Making Things Happen event of 2010!  This event was sold out!  Lara recently opened up a very few extra seats, and guess what? It’s inches away from selling out again!  COME.  I cannot imagine a more significant gift to give yourself at the start of a new year than this.  I would LOVE to see you there!

click here to open post Oct 28, 2010 | posted in Uncategorized | 9 comments

broken computer.

family in town.

big race this Saturday. (please say a prayer for me.  PLEASE. I’m waaaay south of freaking out about it.)


foggy, grief ridden brain (baby gavin’s birthday hit me up in ways I hadn’t anticipated. I’m not a blubbering mess, as I’d expected to be. I’m “just” feeling really incapacitated.)

medical bills/billions of calls to inept insurance company.

richie’s working on a HUGE (read exciting) project and deserves my full support.

lots of fun shoots coming up in the next few weeks.

plus, I just don’t feel like being plugged in right now.  I don’t feel like being socially connected via the www.  I just don’t feel like stressing over blog posts and email land.  I just don’t feel like it.  At all.

and the beauty of being boss???

This: peace out hommies!

I’ll see ya when I see ya.


click here to open post Oct 26, 2010 | posted in Uncategorized | 7 comments

The night before Gavin’s birthday, I cried myself to sleep. I felt lonely and more devastation than there are words to describe. When I woke, I found this beautiful email from a blog reader named Marie.

It’s still dark outside. The sun has yet to decide to rise and here I sit, still in my bed, with a heavy heart, because I know what today means. I sense the struggle you must feel to get yourself out of bed, because I, a person you’ve never meet is having a hard time too..I didn’t lose my son and my 13 month old (to the day) is sleeping soundly in her bed, yet I can’t seem to pull my legs to the side of the bed. I’m thinking of you. My heart aches. I can’t even begin to fathom the pain and utter sorrow you must feel. I hurt for you. Every.part.of.me.hurts.for.you. I say my morning prayer and I plead with my father in heaven that (if only for today) I may carry some of your burden. Make it light, if even for this once. I wish I could wrap my arms around you in the way that life-long friend would and give you the comfort you need. I wish I had the right thing to say to make it feel better. Not go away, but make it okay; yet I can’t seem to form any clear sentences. I can only think to myself “throw a party…that makes things better.” When I don’t know what to do, I do what I do best and that is to have a party. As I sit here and picture you with your sweet family around Baby Gavin’s grave having a party (cuz every 1 year old needs a party), a smile scratches the surface and I pray that you have a day of celebration among the grief (if even for a fleating moment). I think of Him and all the burdens He has carried for each of us and I again pray that I can help Him carry your burden this day….I read a scripture and I’m sure you’ve heard it before (maybe even have it highlighted a time or two) but I think of you and hope it’s one that gives you comfort…especially on this day…Know ye that ye must believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, and that he was slain by the Jews, and by the power of the Father he hath risen again, whereby he hath gained the victory over the grave; and also in him is the sting of death swallowed up (Morm. 7:5)…and with that thought, I get all the love I can muster and I send it your way with a big Aloha Nui Loa…then I fold a little piece of you and place it next to my heart and throw my legs over the side of the bed and start my day.

You are never far from my thoughts but today I hope you can feel my love/support and have it to lean on.
Your forever friend (whether you like it or not)

Marie Rose

If all of us were as compassionate, as loving, as in tune as Marie, the world would be richer by far.  Thank you my forever friend who I’ll probably never meet. With love, Natalie

Above, Harrison, Idaho. From or 2 month long road trip/camping extravaganza.
Image Credit: Raleigh (left) Yours Truly (right)  . . both shot with the instax mini 7s

I am in a FUNK.

Of the deep and the dark variety.

So clearly, camping is the only remedy.

Though admittedly it’s heart-wrenching to be here. . . where a year ago to this very week I camped on this very same beach, 9 months pregnant and blissfully unaware of the chasm ahead.

. . . . . . . . .

Ah, the loop of time for the grieving heart.

A custom tailored Hell. Desolate, despondent and horrifying.

An indescribably lonely place to be.

I’ll see you when I pull myself together, because we all know that I will.

In the mean time, I’m giving myself permission to be a mess.

Because quite frankly, after all I’ve been through with gavin 1 and then gavin 2 (before the first was even cold in his grave), if I weren’t, I’d wonder what was wrong with myself.

So there.

xx, N