Category Archives: photos

2013… a year in review

This blog seems to be just a year in review with nothing much said in-between, but then i guess that has been testament to the sort of year it has been! They say that time seems to go quicker the older you get, well if that is the case then this year i feel about 90 years old!  With joining the Army as a Padre and taking up the role with The 4th Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment i cannot even begin to articulate the pride I have experienced to be able to serve the men and women who are doing an incredible job for our country

So here are the Best’s from this year of living on Planet Norton…..

Book – Leading from the front – Sir General Richard Dannatt, He was the head of the Army and a committed Christian, I found it really interesting thinking about how these two things stand together, not that i have got my head round it yet but it was good to push some buttons.

Television – Game of Thrones, this has been great fun to watch. Sad thing is I think I know more about the politics of Westeros than I do about the UK!

Album – Bastille – Bad Blood – fell in love with Mr Bastille’s voice, seriously that guy could sing the phone book. Great album hope they bring out more stuff next year.

563921_10153187948455160_525681161_nMost inspiring person – I think it has to be 77, for Father Pip as everyone else knows him. Met this chap on my Army Interview and we shared a room together. We clicked straight away and got each other though it. But his inspiration is his faith and the way in which he goes about his job. Giving so much up for the sake of he Gospel really inspires me.

1235125_10153322005540160_26364630_nJoshua moment – watching Joshua complete his first competitive road race by doing the Junior Great North Run 4k. I was so proud, I guess I felt like my dad did when he encouraged me to run all those years ago. Joshua made a sterling effort and as with everything else in his life just got on with it! Legend !

Caleb moment – I have never seen Caleb so excited and animated about anything as much as he was about his speaking role in his school Christmas play.  He absolutely nailed it by saying in a very load clear voice, “Christmas time, excitement everywhere!” and “Suddenly the snow storm stopped, and the sun came out?” which as you can imagine in a broad Hull accent sounded fantastic! – I would have put a picture up here of him but there are too many rules about posting photos of school plays – but i am sure you can imagine!

Norton-fam-2013-242 (1)Martha moment – Martha started school this year and has taken to it like a duck to water.  But this has meant an end to our Friday morning shenanigans… of baking, swimming, painting, reading in the library, going for juice and massive biscuits and of course eating cheese straws ! and yes that was usually all in one morning!

Becky Moment – Again, really proud of Bex for so much this year, especially getting her new job that she starts at Easter 2014.  I loved taking her to her first Officer’s Mess do, she looked Amazing!!!! But to be honest just journeying though life with her is the best bit, all the small moments that we don’t always remember and more often than not take for grated are actually the times to be treasured and enjoyed as the years pass.Norton-fam-2013-060

Norton-fam-2013-080Welcome to Winston – In May after 12 years of nagging I finally convinced Bex that getting a dog was a great idea, and with the hound we found i don’t think i was wrong.  We got Winston from a charity called stay aid.  We knew nothing about his past other than he was about 18 months old and huge!!! he continues to grow ! But its to have him with us and he has fitted in really well, even with muddy paws and a love for lying in puddles !

My best tweet – Ben Norton @tinymind 3 Jul – We will be changed as we embrace one another.

My Best FB Status – Hey kids, if you are board this summer then take some advice from your wise uncle Ben, Don’t… I repeat Don’t prod a wasp’s nest with a big stick to see how many wasps come out! They will probably sting you.. more than once… and on the bottom! (hangs head in shame!)

Although the year has been busy, we are all feeling really settled in Middlesbrough, I am sure 2014 will again bring many new things, not least lots of travel with the Army!  Thank you to friends and family who have prayed and supported us a family, I know i am a very blessed man to have so many fantastic people i can ring and moan, laugh mock and be mocked by at any time!  I’ll leave you with a few pics from the year that would be too boring to write about

So may the Blessings of the Christ child be with you and all those whom you love, this Christmas time and into the new year!

Grace and Peace

B

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The old roads were never that certain….

I was praying yesterday, writing down some thoughts. I have over the next month some big questions to face and i started to say to God that i wanted to find him and know him again the way i used to when i was a teenager. I then got to thinking about the old road i used to travel down, and how those old roads seem to bring back a nostalgic view of being safe and familiar, and a strong sense of comfort and that if journeyed down again everything with be all right.

I used to travel down those old country lanes on my 50cc twist and go moped, it was a time in my life when i had the first taste of freedom and independence visiting friends and girlfriends when i wanted and on my own terms. And those roads were surrounded by the smells and sights of the most amazing parts of the English countryside, sunsets, sleepy clouds bimbling by, wildlife busy living, surviving, hiding and playing, grasses and fields full of crops. There was a sure and certain assurance that the world was turning and everything was enjoying the season as it should.

I guess in many ways this is what i was searching for in my prayer, some confidence that although the waters ahead seem somewhat choppy, that actually that is what is meant to be happening at this point. Just as the tides ebb and flow and the seasons change around us everything has its place and time, including uncertainty and worries.

And actually looking back at those old roads, things were never are certain as i now think that they were, but on reflection God was, and still is the quiet assurance veiled just out of sight but ever ready to guide, comfort and protect.

This is the tree i used to look out on as i travelled those old roads, i went back to find it last year and found that it is dying, and although i was sad to find this out, there is a quiet comfort that all things have their place and that coming and going, uncertainty and dying is as much a part of life as the immediate and now, and realising this allows us to live the life we have now more fuller than before….