Monday, March 28, 2011

My hubby - Hart Strong

He’s my breath of fresh air. The kind I need when I am having a bad day and the kind I feel when he walks through the front door.

He gives the best good-morning kisses. Not the kind that are rushed and routine, but the kind that linger for a moment longer and leave my lips tingling.

He is the cause of almost all of my laughter and inspires the goofiest side of me. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Yikes! How did that get in here?

He defines a part of who I am - a proud wife wanting to make him the happiest husband. And it certainly doesn't hurt that I think he is incredibly handsome.

He is a writer - passionate about his words and lyrics.

He is a musician - Taking hip-hop music and turning it into something positive

He has a ministry. To reach out to youth who may be lost and to show them Christ’s abounding love.

To go to Hart Strong's facebook page - Click here

Check out some of his work on youtube by clicking here.

To go to Hart Strong's next event check out the "Summer Bash Youth Rally" Facebook page -click here.
Want Hart Strong music on your iPod ? check him out on itunes :-)

To check out our personal love story, click here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

One More for Love The Story: Chapter 13 - Ride Along

The conversation did not go as planned. Stacy was unwavering in her faith and I quickly realized that I would have to plot out a more calculated argument than “What did Noah feed the animals while they were on his Ark?” However, discovering Stacy was a Christian helped me in a way. At that time I would always come to work, get into a conversation with Stacy, feel a connection, then, on my drive home after work, wonder why I didn’t have that same connections with Melissa. Stacy’s faith helped me for those drives home. I was able to convince myself that it would never work out between us because she smoked and was a Christian, both of which I didn’t agree with. Technically speaking, that meant that Melissa was better for me because she didn’t smoke (well actually she smoked and lied to me about it. I knew, but never brought it up) and had no religious affiliation. I would use this type of logic to rationalize going back home to Melissa and when on my way to work on shifts when I would be working with Stacy. It wasn’t as effective as I had hoped.

Stacy eventually became an expediter, which meant she was tasked with driving the big blue bread trucks around the flightline and dropping people off at certain planes to fix the broken jets they were assigned. On the nights she was driving I would ride around on the truck with her. I would tell myself that I was riding along to keep her company, but I knew in my heart it was because I wanted to be with her.

We would talk about everything; nothing was off limits. Some nights I’d ask her what she thought of a particular female on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit issue and other nights we talked about journaling, music, movies; anything. The more I got to know her, the more I looked forward to coming to work at 7:00 p.m for my twelve hour shift. I started to realize that work with her had a flow; it had a rhythm. Aircraft would take-off in the distance with a high pitched hum and people would exchange conversations as they entered and exited the truck. Having her there changed how I looked at everything. Even when I had a job to do, I would step off the truck and notice the brilliant blaze of the stars in the sky shining bright through the cool fall nights. From the time I entered the military I had not felt comfortable being myself until I found a friend in Stacy. It got to a point where it was hard to work without her. On the nights when I would come into work and she wasn’t there, I would find myself either remembering the last time we were together or anticipating when she would be back.

One night in November I was basking in the rhythm of the night shift and a conversation came up about the new construction townhouse Stacy was having built and would be closing on in January. I was also considering buying a home so I started out to get some info.

“So what type of property is it?” I asked.

“It’s an investment property.” Stacy began as we cruised down the flightline at a steady 20 MPH. “Just something for me to buy and live in until I separate from the military and move back home to Virginia.”

“Move back to Virginia? I thought you wanted to be a Delawarean for life!” I said, jokingly, knowing Stacy missed her Virginia roots. “So where is it? What does it look like?”

“It’s a beautiful three story townhome with kitchen and wood floor upgrades located in cozy Camden, Delaware.” She responded with a smile.

“Nice realtor impression, I don’t think you’ll have any problems selling the place. Is Chris moving in with you?”

“No way! I’m not moving in with anyone unless I’m married and Chris and I are not even close to being in that place.” As she responded with a cute smirk, her phone began to ring. It was Chris on cue. Stacy looked at me and rolled her eyes as she flipped open her cell.

“What do you think I’m doing? I’m working.” She answered, agitated.

I could barely hear a garbled Chris amongst the sound of the truck.

Stacy continued, “I don’t like coming over there on my lunch break, you’re tired and you usually just fall asleep. I don’t understand why you want me to come over at two in the morning when you wake up at 6:30. It doesn’t make any sense.”

His garble became more defensive. The phone went silent. Stacy paused and looked at me for a moment. It was only her and I on the truck. “Yes, I’m working with Wes and Steve. We’re on the same shift.” She rolled her eyes again. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow, bye.” She said and hung up.

“Sorry about that.” She said, getting back to our conversation. “Chris has been a little on edge lately. He asked me the other day if I am attracted to you. I told him I found you ‘intellectually attractive and I don’t think he liked that.” Before I even had a chance to let my emotions go chaotic she continued. “Anyhow,” I mentally picked up my jaw from the floor, “it’s going to be a really nice short term property. They’re actually almost finished building it.” What exactly does intellectually attractive mean? “Hey, I’ve got an idea! If you want to see if new construction is something you would be interested in buying, why don’t you meet me at the townhome tomorrow night? We both have the night off and I can give you the grand tour!” What on earth is happening?

“Sure Stacy, sounds good.” I said, as controlled as I could, considering that I had to try to interpret how “intellectually attractive” and spending time with Stacy had both come up in the last thirty seconds.
“Ok, I’ll call you tomorrow. This is your jet.” She said as we came to a stop in front of one of the planes.

“Thanks” I grabbed my tool box and stepped off the truck thinking: what just happened? Is there anything I can take away from being intellectually attractive? Was I really going to be alone with Stacy Morey away from work? Seriously, was I going to be alone? Was Bollard going to be there? How would I tell Melissa? Would I tell Melissa?

Monday, March 21, 2011


One thousand three hundred and twenty.

That is the total number of calories of the whole box of Lucky Charms I am currently devouring and the amount of calories I could inexplicably consume in the next hour if I don’t stop staring at the computer screen and catch my thoughts that are currently playing ping pong in my brain. Although, I am picking out a lot of the marshmallow charms so if I get to a point when all the marshmallows are gone and it is just the main cereal left over, I will probably stop… therefore only consuming approximately eight hundred calories for my pre workout snack. Awesome! Oddly enough, just by writing my current state of affairs, I feel compelled to put the cereal box away.

And speaking of compelling situations (how’s that for a transition sentence?), I had a huge one this past week. I was able to take Addisyn to the park twice! The weather was pleasantly mild and it felt amazing to see the excitement of a different kind of playtime in her eyes and on her face. As I was pushing her on the swing, the words “Quality Time” were blinking in a metaphoric neon sign right over her cute contagious smile. There I was stuck in a moment where the urge to grab her out of her swing and freeze time took a hold of me! My life has been busy. In fact, I have been so busy that Steve and I sat down the other day to go over how to say the word “no” to the next person who wants to put something on my plate (and his too for that matter). It was almost a moot point. This was mainly because Steve and I are “yes” people and it is hard to think of giving up one of the positive things currently filling our plate. But, as I was pushing my daughter on the swing, watching her laugh, watching her face light up when her dad came to join us after work; I had a moment of clarity. I need to stop! So Steve and I have agreed on these two things: 1) We will be getting rid of the cable television for a little bit. It is normally always on for background noise, but after a long day it is easy to get sucked into the TV when what our hearts really want is some quality time. 2) Steve and I have decided to switch off weeks for the second blog post throughout the week. He will continue to do our love story every other week and I will continue to do Photog Friday on the opposite weeks. Of course my Monday blog posts will always be around.

Life is too short not to embrace these small moments of joy…If there is any lesson we should be learning from the tragedy of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan it is this: Life is short, love deeper and love stronger.

With Love,
Stacy Hart

Friday, March 18, 2011

Photog Friday: Finding a theme to your set

She is softhearted, kind and has a gentle soul. She is beautiful and a friend.  I knew when my friend Arianne put her outfit on that these pics were going to be amazing, but I didn't know that the theme would turn into soft and muted colors that capture her beauty even more.

Arianne is a great friend of mine with whom I had the pleasure to work for a few years ago when I was a personal trainer . She is the owner to an amazing  personal training studio in Wilmington Delaware, but her job definitely does not define who she is. She is all together a wonderful and lovely person and someone I am proud to call my friend. And not to mention, she is a blast to work with!

This photo shoot was very easy for me. I kept screaming out things like, "Oh yay! That is beautiful" and "you're a natural!" and she laughed at my dorky-ness - which made it even more easy to capture all these great shots. When I came home and uploaded the pictures, I knew instantly what I wanted the theme to be. I wanted the colors to be soft and muted and make everything about her pop off the screen. I ended up turning the whole bridge scene into soft and muted colors. I am normally a very bright colors and high contrast person, but this wouldn't have captured Arianne's personality and "look" to what it truly is: gentle beauty.

To edit these, I decreased the saturation and clarity in Photoshop raw conversion program and then I also added a very soft pink texture that I purchased from this website. After I applied the texture to the way I wanted it, I sharpened some colors that I wanted to pop a little more.

It is all about what style and theme you want to portray. This style may not be for everyone, but I love it!

I didn't add a texture to the picture below, but kept the colors and clarity a little softer than the original pic SOOC (straight out of the camera).


Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Fever

I can taste it. Even though it is only fifty degrees outside and the crisp cool wind is still gently tapping my cheeks and nose, reminding me that it is not quite time to spend the afternoons outside all day. But oh how I can already smell the sweet scent of the inaugural spring flower that pops up from beneath the soil. I can already hear the birds chirping telling me that they are home from their winter hideaway and ready to greet me each morning. It is so close, I can taste it. Addisyn and I are ready to say goodbye to the lazy days of winter.

And this has nothing do with the anticipation of spring, but I love my "mommy" moments. The precious moments when I look at Addisyn and realize that we are connected so deeply that even her simplest expression can make my heart soar. I soak these small moments in. I especially soaked them in this past week when I was able to bring her to the park for some much needed outdoor play time. She made my heart swell the minute I put her down and we walked hand-in-hand into the playground. She was gripping my hand tightly (which touches my heart unlike anything else), but smiling when she would occasionally trip over her feet because she was more focused on the other children than the balance needed to conquer the soft mulch overlay.

Addisyn has been craving the outdoors just as much as I have. And, even though we are not quite over the cold winter days, the extra hour of daylight has given us the headstart we need to venture outdoors for some fresh air. Come on flowers, birds, and warm weather. We are waiting for you!

With Love,

Stacy Hart

Thursday, March 10, 2011

One More for Love The Story: Chapter 12 - Swim Sin

When I was ten years old I loved to swim. I wasn’t a great swimmer and ended up getting “swimmer’s ear” so bad and so often that I had to stop swimming all together. But, when I was ten, I looked forward to throwing on my swim cap, diving off the starting board, and letting the water rush past me with every freestyle stroke. It was the one sport that my sister and I participated in together and incredibly, my mom (who was a single mom at the time) found a way to make our minimal financial income stretch across family necessities, her community college classes, and a spot on the swim team for both of us. I practiced three days a week. Then, every Saturday, I put myself up against the other ten year olds in Tuolumne County and competed with a level of intensity and insecurity that only a ten year old in a Speedo could achieve. Swimming was my absolute favorite sport, but as a ten year old boy, it wasn’t the only thing I was into.

Every Sunday mom would dress my sister and me in our Sunday’s best, pack us in the car and drive us to a little Church of the Nazarene that was about twenty minutes from our apartment. On the car ride there, I would sit in the back seat smiling from ear to ear with the excitement of knowing that when we got there I would be only a few hymns away from being released to children’s church and getting to be with the one I had missed for six long days… Her name was Alicia Robinson. She was Pastor Rick’s daughter and a ten year old boy’s dream girl. She was cute, sweet, and would help me with the glue and scissors during our craft projects. Nothing says true love like sharing a bottle of Elmer’s with the preteen church heart throb.

We had become regular attendees of this particular church for a few months; which was longer than we had ever stayed at one church for one time in the past. Even though the church was small (it wasn’t out of the ordinary to have fifteen to twenty people in the congregation on any given Sunday) it was beginning to feel comfortable there. We were getting to know some of the other families and even had dinner at Pastor Rick’s house one night. Because my mom, sister, and I had spent some time moving around after my parent’s divorce, it was nice to be on some kind of schedule and to have something to look forward to every weekend. This was the regular routine for an entire summer, until for one reason or another, one of our final swim meets was moved from Saturday to Sunday. Because it was late in the season and my sister and I had been working so hard all summer, my mom decided to forgo church for one weekend and take us to the swim meet. I was upset that I wouldn’t get to see Alicia for a week, but my heart would go on as I went on to get third place in my race at the meet.

On our way to church the following Sunday, I sat in the back seat excited about the opportunity to tell Alicia how well I did at my swim meet. The Sunday school teacher would certainly have noticed I was gone last weekend, would ask me what I did, which would open the door for the bragging and recognition that every ten year old so desperately desires.

When we got to church my mom, sister, and I sat at a pew near the back as Pastor Rick began with the announcements. The congregation was particularly light that day, maybe seven or eight others in attendance. My mind was busy thinking of how Alicia would react when she found out I was a top tear junior swimmer in the county, when something Pastor Rick was saying caught my attention.

“Before we begin with worship,” said Pastor Rick with a stern and forceful tone. “I think I need to reinforce how important it is to put church ahead of ALL things in our lives. It should be ahead of tennis matches, football games, and… ” He turned to look at my family “swim meets.”

Even though there were only a small number of people there, it immediately felt like the three of us were in the court of Christian law standing in front of a jury of a hundred with scarlet “A’s” painted on our shirts. In my short life I had never been so embarrassed and confused. I looked up to my mom, “Mom, did we do something wrong?” I asked, eyes gaining moisture by the second.

“No baby, let’s go.” said mom, as the three of us filed to the outside of the pew, left church and never came back.

Even though I didn’t go to that church again, the feeling I felt that day never left me. As I was growing up, any time anyone would bring up religion I became the defender of a ten year old boy who didn’t know why it was a sin to swim. I argued that religion was a crutch for those who were too weak to cope with the harsh realities of life. I was angry, bitter, and defiantly opposed to Christianity or any other form of faith. This rejection of religion later led me to studies in philosophy. I was half way through Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra, when I overheard Sergeant Morey discussing her faith in Christianity to two other airmen at the smoke pit one day. I was astonished. How could someone who was so intelligent believe in something so ridiculous? I was sure a simple logical conversation would change her mind.

“Hey guys, what’s up?” I asked, walking into the conversation, hoping they wouldn’t change the subject

“Sergeant Morey here’s a Jesus freak and we’re trying to talk her out of it.” said one guy.

“Yeah, she still can’t prove why there aren’t any dinosaurs in the Bible.” said the other. Sergeant Morey didn’t seem to be offended and her even temperament found me even more intrigued.

This is perfect. I thought to myself, and then jumped right into the conversation.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Good day

Today I did three loads of laundry.

Here is the evidence.


I call that a good day.

I also worked out.


This isn’t really evidence per say.  I could have set up the weights and shoes to make you think that I worked out, but I REALLY did work out. Jillian Michaels and I are becoming BFFs, but she doesn’t know it. She is the only BFF that makes me want to cry.

But the rest of the day, I have nothing to show for it.

Except for ….



And this…





And this Elvis impression...Ain't nothin' but a hound dog




It was a good day.

Side Note** I totally realize that in every single picture Addisyn's shirt is incredibly dirty. That's how I roll folks! 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Photog Friday (delayed): Making eyes color pop!

People often ask me if I Photoshop Addisyn's bright blue eyes and my answer is almost always, no. She has been blessed with Steve's baby blues and I love them!  But I also like to share those beauties with you too and the only way I can do that is taking a picture of her in the "perfect" light. In this case it is natural light coming from the window. Finding the right light is the first step to getting all beautiful eyes to "pop" even more.  Yes, of course you can always Photoshop light into the eyes after the fact, but it just isn't the same as getting it straight out of the camera. This picture is a straight out of the camera photo and the blue in her eyes is definitely present.  Now, I do tend to edit most pics in Photoshop, but if I find the best light for the eyes, I don't have to spend extra time editing them. All the colors in the this photo are a little softer than I would prefer  so I blended the soft light to make the colors a little more vivid. It took about ten seconds to edit this photo because there was enough light hitting her eyes already.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

30 at 30

Tomorrow I will be thirty. And I must say, I am delighted to be thirty.

But tonight I am 29 so I am going to meditate on that. It has been quite the journey to get here and thirty seems more like an award than an age. I am going to reflect on all the valleys I have stumbled in and mountains I have conquered throughout my twenties and all the life lessons I have gathered on the way. These lessons have led me to where I am now: settled and content. I am living in a place where the number thirty doesn’t resonate because I am at the beginning of a new chapter of my life. I know who I am, where I want to go and who will be by my side on the way.

I have discovered...

....that I have an addictive nature, currently being practiced on Coco-Cola Classic (p.s. I don’t intend to ever give it up).

... that I am a unique individual, similar to not one single soul on this earth. My crazy curly hair is my hair. My big nose is my nose (and by the way, I prefer “prominent”). And my small soft brown eyes are my eyes.

... that I’d rather be the person making the mistake and learning from it, than the person who judges people who make mistakes

...that love is not how someone makes you feel, but how you desire to make them feel.

... the importance of putting the marriage commitment before the wedding day

... that it is okay to “wear my heart on my sleeve”

... that being a “cup is half full” kind of girl is a practiced art.

... that whoever this Atkin’s guy is that thinks you can live without carbs is no friend of mine (* Side note, I am currently eating a baked potato and potato chips)

... that God is the author of my story, but I choose to be the narrator.

... that I love being a business owner

... that I was born to be a mommy and that is a gift.

... that reading a book and having a glass of wine will always be a perfect escape

... that being in love with someone who appreciates my goofy side makes for a more entertaining time at the bathroom sink brushing our teeth.

... that if I had to do it differently I wouldn’t be who I am.

... that I passed the age of working out to make my body look good, now I work out to eat whatever I want.

... that I want to live in a place that always smells like Bath & Body Works, Coconut and Lime Verbena

... that the greatest gift I can give to anyone is my time

... that being a blogger has been a wonderful way to try to share all the love I have

... that I am not a desk job kind of gal…enough said

... that I have no specific style and that is my style

... that I can rely on and appreciate my family

... that I know the importance of making someone feel special and loved

... that finding and embracing my purpose is much more important than being successful

... that loving myself was the first step to finding my husband

... that my parents really were right about some things

... that I prefer to wake up earlier and have a productive day than to stay out late

... that I am able to forgive myself

... that photography affects my soul

... that loving my husband in plain view is a profound statement to our children and to the people we know around us.

... that I am always capable of loving more

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