natalienorton I could hold this little hand for five thousand forevers, then start all over at the beginning and go for a million more. 4d

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natalienorton It has come to my attention that I have approached the stage of life wherein my arms are no longer long enough for flattering, make-up free, selfies. Finally. I'm a real, live, wrinkle faced, grown up. #booya 4d

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Normal Natalie Norton
natalienorton This was nearly two years ago. And I'd give almost anything to go back to this moment right now and snuggle my little man. // His heart was hurt today by an adult mentor he really loves, which makes the sting all the more bitter. I'm sure it's all just a big misunderstanding, but nonetheless, I have to keep reminding myself that this is life... and he's learning how to be human. And that's OK. Good, even. (But truthfully, part of me kinda wants to just go fist bump someone in the face. 😬) 5d
  •   shanscan12 😕 5d
  •   thejollyholiday Oh cardy.... 4d
  •   taypierce I love him. Always, and forever. 4d
  •   coveylink Love you Cardie 4d
  •   laurenhowell02 Oh, I love that tender hearted Cardy boy. And blast anyone who hurts his feelings. 4d
  •   autumngturley I'm so sorry! 4d
  •   annielink Cardon, you are such a perfect, bright, kind, loving boy. Even big people, even good people make mistakes sometimes. I'm so sorry this person's mistake has hurt your heart. But their mistake doesn't change your absolute wonderfulness. Not even one tiny bit. I hope you know that. I love you. 4d
  •   kenzisme so cute. 4d

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natalienorton but really... 1w

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Normal Natalie Norton
natalienorton This girl is so many wonderful things. @sharaleeprang 1w

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natalienorton It's amazing how something so beautiful can be laced with so much stress, hardship and pain. Being a foster parent is just so so so hard, friends. I'm not complaining, just emotionally exhausted. And it's not the kids, really. The kids are the beauty amid the ashes that strengthen your resolve to keep walking through the outermost recesses of hell itself. It's just hard to live at the bottom of the heap when you are the one sacrificing EVERYTHING in your life to try to lighten the burden of someone else's mistakes from the backs of the innocent. I'm sounding sooooo melodramatic. I'm sorry. (And to be fair, maybe I am feeling a little bit sorry for myself, after all. Hmmpf.) But good gol, people. Good gol. (If you want a poignant and balanced look into the world of foster care in the US, I highly recommend the book, "To the End of June." Phenomenal read.) Just please keep sending prayers and love our way. We just want what is best for these kids—Whatever that is. We're certainly smart enough to know that we can't possible make that determination ourselves. Thankfully, we believe in a God who can...and we just want His will to be done. (And we pray that we have the faith and longevity to see it through.) 1w
  •   emlizalmo @aprilkennedy Do you two know eachother? You should. ;) 1w
  •   thejmendoza I read this and it's what my mom described to me of the life she and my dad fought daily to give my sisters and myself (we're all adopted from foster to home). I see it in the way she talks about it all and today me constantly wishes I could go back and just give my momma a hug and thank her for the emotional, physical, and just entire exhaustion she and dad went through....for my sisters and me!! While I can't say that I know how you feel....I can tell you that I know how much those kiddos see, and I admire you and @richie_norton more than all of the words could cover. I love you and your family! Y'all are in my thoughts and absolutely in my prayers every day!! #TeamNorton 1w
  •   jaevalerio Praying for you & family! You have got the perfect strength from above, you were made for this task, and your servant's heart is doing God's work. Just remember that rest is also God-commanded, and it's okay (& honestly, completely normal!) to feel overwhelmed. You are doing a good work, so find rest. We have all got you in our prayers! 1w
  •   aprilkennedy @emlizalmo thank you for the connection! @natalienorton I followed your story a few years ago when your baby Gavin died. If I remember he was named after your brother. I only remember because my younger brother died too. We are now foster parents also. Have had long term placements. Adopted one three weeks ago!! Said goodbye to another. And recently said goodbye to a sweet sibling set after 4 days. I didn't agree with their placement plan and fought hard those 4 days for them and subsequently fell in love hard and fast with those little girls. I say we are in the business of having or hearts broken... And not just because of the goodbye. I'm glad I have been reconnected to you. 1w
  •   karinmckinney With love all things are possible. Just love them, everything else will fall into place. I'm a step parent of seven awesome kids, who are adults now. It is by far the hardest thing I've ever had to do. What I've learned is to be the best I can be for them, and continually love them. Prayers and love to you're awesome family!! Xoxo 1w
  •   stacythiot You're amazing! 1w
  •   nicolemilesphoto A part of me has always wanted to be a foster parent. I find myself really drawn to the idea, but have always feared i could not handle the emotional part of it. I still hope someday to feel like I am in a good enough place with my own children and a little better organized to be able to do it. I also love the idea of adopting an older child. But I know how difficult that process can be for all involved - having seen the struggles with children coming out of such incredibly difficult (doesn't seem like a strong enough word) situations as a teacher of kids with emotional disturbance and severe behavioral issues. Bless you and your family for your open hearts and for being willing to take on the huge challenges. You commit fully to all you do and you all pour your hearts all in. I so admire you. May God buoy you up and give you peace and strength. 1w
  •   brassyapple Thanks for the suggestion @keirstenreinhold . Im now following her! Fellow foster parent too :) 1w

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natalienorton Fruits of my precarious perch (though the square crop cuts out a few of these beautiful bridesmaids). 1w
  •   natalienorton @nikkissaw @kariholt I have pictapgo. I just prefer to post square images on Instagram whenever possible for a few different reasons, one being that I want my @chatbooks to print consistently. Haha! (But really.) 1w
  •   natalienorton @imallheart ️ I just prefer square. Like real square. Not square because there's a white background around a horizontal image. I'm a weirdo. 1w
  •   imallheart Ah! Gotcha! True, it's a rectangle in a square. Haha! 1w
  •   lindsmcbride You know @kariholt that is neat! 1w
  •   natalienorton @lindsmcbride do you two know each other? Small world! 1w
  •   lindsmcbride Yes. We were in her ward while we lived in AZ. Love her! My first reaction is surprise when I see we know the same people but then I'm not surprised because you know everyone!!! It's cool that we are all connected. Love ya! @kariholt 1w
  •   kariholt We miss you @lindsmcbride!!! I haven't had the chance to meet Natalie but know of her through my work with Becky Higgins and several other connections locally. Homely we'll get the chance to meet sometime soon!! 1w
  •   lindsmcbride @kariholt I miss you too!!! Tell your girls hi! Natalie is a cool cat you'll like her when you do finally meet. 1w

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natalienorton Throwing back on this fine Thursday morning. (I wish I a had grown up woman version of those high waisted pink corduroys). #throwbackthursday 1w

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natalienorton "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." I've always loved this quote by Thoreau. But it was only today that I read the rest of it, which is equally as powerful (if not more so) than the first half. "As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler." Amen, Henry David. AMEN. (And namaste.) 1w
  •   caisajill Been one of my fave for years too! I have a magnet with this quote that had hung on my fridges for at least 10 years (i also read it before XC/track race in college). Now I love it even more... I may need to frame the full quote in my home. Thx 1w
  •   thelittlest incredible. really perfect!!! 1w
  •   barbara_thornton Whoa 1w
  •   shellnort Love this. 1w
  •   coveylink Boy do I need that 1w
  •   annierigby Natalie, i have never met you but stumbled across your feed through a friend and I am so inspired by your words and photography. Thanks for the good you put out in the world. It is felt and appreciated. 1w
  •   natalienorton @annierigby you are the sweetest. xo 1w

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natalienorton Just don't look down. Photo credit: @sharaleeprang (How high would you say that drop behind me was, Sharalee?) 1w
  •   natalienorton @coveylink it's all those years of dance and yoga really paying off. I know my body, dad. I was totally stable and safe up there. Thus the seemingly awkward but tremendously more stable position I'm in. 1w
  •   jayner8 So good! 1w
  •   nicolemilesphoto Perhaps my inflexibility (of body) and terrible knees (3 surgeries) is my problem... It just seems like those legs are ready to spring you off in some weird direction. I was a terrible dancer.... 1w
  •   kimberlyaharvey This picture freaks me out? 1w
  •   kimberlyaharvey Not ? I meant ! 1w
  •   rachelgnilsson You're a nut 1w
  •   natalienorton @rachelgnilsson says the adult woman with turquoise hair. 1w
  •   thelilbee This gives me vertigo 1w

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natalienorton She wanted to write a letter to one of the veterans in our family but wasn't satisfied when I mentioned Uncle @erikbnorton, who is a JAG officer, or Uncle @benysmalls who is a doctor for the air force. Her: "What about somebody who's dead? Got one of those?" (Bwahaha) So I told her all about my most treasured Uncle Bart. I told her about his good heart, his unconditional kindness and his extraordinary courage. Then she disappeared for about 20 minutes, and came back with this. #godblessveterans #godblesschildren (PS she's 7.) 2w

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natalienorton Sidewalk chalk and hopscotch with my girl. (And a fake light leak to blur out the twins. ) #mextures 2w
  •   lisamtro Such a great shot! And where do you create a fake light leak? (An app?) it is hiding the twins beautifully. 2w
  •   laurenhowell02 She needs to come hopscotch with Audy. Family play date soon? 2w
  •   natalienorton @laurenhowell02 YES! I want to meet baby Howell!!!!!! 2w
  •   natalienorton @lisamtro well to be clear, the light leak is on the left of the photo. The right is the actual sun. Does that make sense? But the app I used was Mextures. The hashtag is above. xoxo!!! 2w
  •   angie7070 I recognize that shirt ;) My Jenna just asked about her the other day. Much love and continued prayers 2w
  •   natalienorton @angie7070 you!!! I couldn't for the life of me remember who sent it! I'm so sorry! The entire first 6 weeks is a total blur. When I look back on it, it's like trying to remember details from a book I read 20 years ago... She LOVES it!!!! Wants to wear it daily, and if it's dirty, she places it right in top of her hamper "so it can get washed first." 2w
  •   angie7070 Do not apologize! It makes me happy to hear she is loving it. 2w
  •   natalienorton @angie7070 1w

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natalienorton 24 hour, human jungle gym, part II. 2w

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natalienorton Dare to be free. // If something is physically suffocating you, you cast it immediately away. I often wonder why we don't have the same primal instinct in regards to our emotional wellness. How many of us are being emotionally suffocated by guilt, comparison, longing, feelings of inadequacy, envy, pride...etc? And yet, instead of casting those damaging vices immediately away, we offer them fuel. Why? Is it because we feel trapped there, victimized and stuck? (Because we aren't.) Or is it that we feel entitled to stay in those spaces? (I suppose we are; we're entitled to do whatever we want with our lives, but camping out in a world without emotional oxygen sounds like a pitiful waste of a life to me...) // Do the work. Cast away the baggage. Dare to be free. It's worth it. You're worth it. 2w

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natalienorton Happy Monday!!!!! Weeeeeeee!!!!! 2w

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natalienorton Mommy's a little behind on laundry, so we both wore sister twin's lacy tights to bed. No one's complaining; we like warm tootsies, mucho. 2w
  •   acluffschmidt Growing up my mom called them boy tights when my mom had my baby brothers wear them to church. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized there wasn't such a thing as boy tights. 2w
  •   esteeify Love this . 2w
  •   natalienorton @acluffschmidt bwahaha! Why did she make them wear rights to church? I really cannot wait to hear this. Hahaha!! 2w
  •   acluffschmidt She just figured it would keep them warmer and there were 5 girls ahead them there were plenty of tights to go around and so "boy tights" were born. Haha! 2w
  •   annielink @acluffschmidt boy tights! smart mom. 2w
  •   natalienorton @acluffschmidt I REALLY like your mom. A LOT! Bonus: keeps them from taking their diapers off! I could have used "boy tights" for Cardon @annielink! 2w
  •   annielink I'm thinking CARDIE probably needed Boy Tighters. Super strength. 2w
  •   annielink (Not sure why auto-correct felt Cardie needed to be in caps …) 2w

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natalienorton Day Two: black and white challenge. (5 days, 1 b/w image a day, tag a new person each day, yes? Right? I never get this stuff.) I tag @bklynbird; you go get dem black whites, gurl. 2w

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natalienorton This picture tells so many wonderful stories about this awesome kid. @callie_canlas @jonathancanlas 2w

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natalienorton Day one: black and white photo challenge. // In the last 2 days, between Facebook, Instagram, and twitter, I've been challenged 5 times to participate in the black and white photo challenge. So here I am! The way I understand it, post a different black and white image each day for 5 days, and along with each post, I'm to tag someone new to participate as well. // Day one: Daddy daughter first look. (He gave her his handkerchief so her makeup wouldn't run and used the back of his hand.) I tag @jonaspeterson (but only if a) it's not annoying and b) you have the interest + time). 2w

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Normal Natalie Norton
natalienorton I'm optimistic, highly optimistic, in fact. I wish on stars and say my prayers and visualize success, abundance and happiness—all the live long day. But part of optimism, part of FAITH, is being ok with, willingly embracing, some things that, given the choice, we would never opt into on our own. Because friends, life rarely lays us down softly on a bed of roses. More often than not, we're left to duke it out in the rocks and mud. And the real tragedy is that instead of putting our energy into growing joyfully where we're planted, we waste it all on yelling and screaming and trying to claw our way up and out of the unfairness and injustice of it all. What a wildly tragic a waste of life! Because, honestly? What if things never change? I mean, what if THIS is simply the circumstance you've been dealt, and it's never, ever going to change? Just stay with me and ask yourself, what if?? Do you really want to spend your one precious dance on this earth kicking, clawing, hurting and screaming? // Grow. From where you stand. Right now. This minute. Plant your feet firmly, with optimism and faith. Surrender to the uncontrollable messiness that is your one bold and beautiful life, and before you know it, you'll find yourself blossoming, joyfully, amid the stones. 2w
  •   raingearstudio Such great truth, natalie. This is the song a friend of mine has been singing since her husband passed away (shockingly) two months ago. Preach it, woman! I am living this reality as are many of us. Xoxo 2w
  •   annelisanokes Beautiful. Thank you 2w
  •   newmomamanda Love this. 2w
  •   sariahfales truly thank you. I needed this. 2w
  •   kelcienl @natalienorton Thank you so much. A friend needed these words tonight, and I am so glad I had a way to say it that is so much more eloquent than I could. You are such a strength to so many of us- who don't even know you. Thank you. 2w
  •   shelleyshelley for some reason I thought of you (and me) when I saw this. @constancecrog 2w

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