Monday, September 26, 2011

I Am Second

Wow, it's crazy how time flies by so fast. I am writing my 100th blog post today and feeling so blessed.  I knew I wanted to do something special and so for this extra long post I decided to share with you my personal testimony in my spiritual walk. For a few months now I have been following this ministry called, I Am Second and it has inspired me to share my faith with you, I am Second style. If you have a few minutes to feel inspired,  please check the website out by clicking here.

Here it goes...

We cared enough for each other to embrace for hours while we sat on the new couch we had bought for us and sobbed. My stomach was doing flips that whole day. It was caught somewhere between being so depressed I wanted to vomit and so depressed I wanted to curl up in a ball and not exist. I was confused and wondered how I could feel so loved in his arms at that moment and not at any other moment in the past four years.  We held each other tight, separately wondering where we had gone wrong:  me, wanting to be more important than sports and video games to him, and him wanting someone that was passionate for him and not the idea of a perfect husband that he would never fulfill.   We cared enough to embrace each other for hours, but not enough to stay married.

My days following were filled with thoughts and feelings of guilt, fear, and failure. The guilt that I had divorced a man who told me he was only getting married once in his life and wanted to make sure I was “the one”. The same man who broke up with me a few short months after our engagement, probably knowing I wasn’t “the one” for him, but took me back after hours of begging. It was the guilt that I had done this to him that consumed me each day more than the feelings of fear that I would never be forgiven and failure at something as important as marriage.  I remember waking up each morning trying to fill a void in my heart and going to bed each night knowing I had failed.

And so began my mission to fill this void. I submerged myself instantly into the first relationship that came my way. A “man of Christ” who was boyishly handsome and worshipped the ground I walked on.  It worked…temporarily.  We went to church together, hung out with new church friends together, and even studied scripture together. On paper, it seemed like the perfect relationship, but it quickly grew exhausting.  It was hard work pretending to be happy with him and with life while holding back the urge to unleash all the unresolved pain, anger, frustration, and disappointment from trapping myself into another relationship without ever resolving the grief of my unsuccessful marriage.  To rationalize my heart’s discontent; I convinced myself that this relationship was God’s just punishment for the vows I’d broken to Him. In my misery, I continued to go through the motions the only way I knew how. My boyfriend and I prayed together, went to church, sang worship songs and even read The Bible together.  If I did these things for long enough, life would surely turn around.  I mean, that’s what God wanted, right?

As the next year and a half passed, my depression turned into anger, anger into resentment and resentment into an emptiness deeper than I’d ever felt.  I was doing everything I thought God wanted me to do, but felt more disconnected from Him than I had even in my college partying years. 

So there I was, pretty much at the end of my rope and wanting so badly to just run away. But, because I signed a contract committing myself to the United States Military and I had just bought a house that I was soon to close on, run away Stacy was not an option.  To make matters even worse, I got a call from my shift chief that morning telling me to report to him when I got into the squadron that evening. I knew in my gut what was about to happen and I didn’t like it. Rumors had been circulating that another deployment was coming up overseas.  My suspicions were confirmed when I got to work to receive the news that I would be one of two people in my 300 plus person squadron who would be going over to an undisclosed location in southeast Asia starting Jan. 9th. It was late November when I found out about the deployment, which meant I had a month to try to get out of it.

I threw everything on the line.  If one person told me I had to go, I went straight to his boss. Until, finally I had gone all the way up my chain of command pleading with first sergeant then to the commander to find a way to get me out of the deployment. I couldn’t handle the thought of being overseas while closing on my house and constantly assuring my boyfriend that he and I would be okay. But, most of all, as much as I thought I wanted to run away I was really fearful to go somewhere and feel even MORE alone.

Despite driving my best complaining efforts all the way to the top of the food chain, nothing could be done. When January 9th came I boarded a plane with four people I didn’t know headed overseas for a four month deployment. I didn’t understand why this was happening.  If God had even the slightest care about me, he would understand how important it was for me to be home to close on my house and comfort my boyfriend.  I guess I still hadn’t done enough to pay off my debt.

Once our plane landed and I in-processed my new position, I found out quickly that this is what happens in the desert when you don’t know anyone.  You read, you workout, you soul search and you try to meet people. At least that’s what I did. I read a lot; The Bible, religious books, novels and then at night I would lay in my bed and think of what my life was all about and who Stacy really was. It was amazing the amount of clarity I was able to perceive myself in when my focus was on only me and God without any other distractions.   In only two short weeks I had already made strides in my recovery surpassing those of the previous eighteen months. Then God gave me Sharla.  We had an instant connection as friends and it wasn’t long until we were laughing together in a genuine sincere expression of joy my heart had missed for so long.  From that point on we were inseparable.   We worked together, exercised together, relaxed together and talked about our lives.  Through our conversations, I found out that Sharla was deployed with her husband and they were considering a separation when they got back to the states.  In helping her through this difficult time, I was able to finally unload the pain and mistakes I’d made in my divorce in a way to help her get through the problems she was having with her husband.  My deployment, away from all my loved ones and all the comforts of home became my time of healing. And, after just a couple of months, I remember feeling more alive than at any other point in my life. I no longer had the desire to go home because I was exactly where I needed to be. It was at this point that God gave me another gift. It came in the form of a $500 Verizon family shared plan phone bill. After a very short investigation, much to my surprise, I discovered that my “Godly” boyfriend was also a boyfriend to at least one other girl in the tri-state area. The break up was clear, but the freedom I felt directly after the break up was even better. I remember crying because I had been so unhappy for so long and it took THIS incident to finally end it.  I briefly chastised myself for being stupid enough to remain in a miserable relationship for as long as I did, but soon felt a huge relief as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.  The fact that I was in the desert and not closing on my house was very clear to me now.  

I came back to the states a different person.  The angry woman who had been dragged onto her deployment reaching for every door frame on her way out, had returned as someone who had found in her heart to seek God’s forgiveness and who truly believed that she had received it. I finally understood that this was all a perfectly designed moment of healing so I could find myself and find Him all over again.

But, my walk was far from over.  I also came back to the states not so single. While deployed I felt lead to begin dating my friend Steve who was back in Delaware and felt an overwhelming sense of peace in our relationship.  And today I am married to him; a husband who cherishes me, a leader in so many ways, the father to our amazing daughter Addisyn, and most importantly, a man of God. You see, sometimes we go through pain for a very specific reason…we would never know how much we need Him without it.  Through it all, I found that God’s love transcends all earthly pain and that my purpose here is so much bigger than what I had been living.  But only when I put God first, could I know the beauty of His love. That is why I am second…

Enjoy some pics from my deployment :-)

Copyright Stacy Hart Photography

Copyright Stacy Hart Photography

Copyright Stacy Hart Photography

Yes, I do know that I am a big dork.

Copyright Stacy Hart Photography

Copyright Stacy Hart Photography

Copyright Stacy Hart Photography

Push up contest...What was I thinking?

Copyright Stacy Hart Photography

Copyright Stacy Hart Photography

It's clear that these big guns lost the push-up contest

Copyright Stacy Hart Photography

Copyright Stacy Hart Photography

Copyright Stacy Hart Photography

Copyright Stacy Hart Photography

Copyright Stacy Hart Photography

Monday, September 19, 2011

A love letter to Addy


Today I watched you play.  You were sitting in front of your toy kitchen set laying a dryer sheet evenly across the surface of your plastic oven before closing the door.  As you carried on, you proceeded to put a turtle in the microwave, the toaster in the sink, and laughed at yourself as if you knew exactly how funny it was to try to bake a dryer sheet.  It was a moment I’ll never forget. Even though you, Mommy, and I play all the time - we love to laugh, dance, play hide and seek and be silly - in this exact moment you were playing by yourself and I couldn’t help but think how much you’ve grown.  This may seem surprising because I see you every day, but I rush around so enslaved by my routine that time flies by and I don’t stop to just see what you’re doing.  I have that problem.  I get so caught up in securing the future that I don’t take the time to enjoy the present.  I want to make sure I’m working as hard as I can to get you whatever you need to succeed and be happy.  Sometimes I am so focused on that goal that I get tunnel vision and, before I know it, it’s the only thing I see.   But today, I watched you play and it reminded me that no matter how hard I work or how determined I am to ensure you are going to have the best life I can give you, one of the most important blessings can be two feet away from me passing me by…the blessing of you.  The blessing of watching you get the most joy out of the simplest thing; of watching you dance to no music wearing a hair tie as a headband; or of holding you in my arms on our corner of the couch as we watch your favorite “good night” cartoon.  Today, I slowed down to watch you play and it was everything I’d been missing.

I love you,


Thursday, September 8, 2011

One More for Love The Story: Chapter 23 - Here Goes Everything


I could start this email by telling you what I’ve been doing, how my new job is going, and how I am also glad we have reconnected.  But, I’d rather tell you about a feeling that I can’t ignore. A feeling that has come as calm as a cool breeze passing on a warm summer day and as strong as a raging tornado thrashing past me in concentrated chaos leaving me lost and breathless.  A feeling that has writhed within me to the beat of my pulsing heart beginning the day I first saw you three years ago.

I laugh at it now. How foolish I must have looked when your beauty froze me in place like a man caught in Medusa’s gaze.  I stood there mesmerized, taking in your every movement in disbelief that someone that breath taking could possibly exist amidst such chaos. Yet, there you were.  The busyness of the world blurred around you like water color spilled on canvas and in the center was only you in full focus radiating with vibrant splendor.

And now you ask if I’d like a date as if I could ever say no.  I can no better deny my feelings for you than Atlas can shrug the world from his shoulders; than the earth can stop revolving round the sun; than a heart can be apart from its one true love.   A date to start, but in truth I desire so much more.  I’m scared to mention what I might be feeling; afraid you might not feel the same, but if I were to be cautious you’d never know that I…”

Somewhere between the back of my mind and the front of my heart floated this email.  Indeed, the filter was off, but I don’t think we were quite at the point of me confessing my undying love.  Instead of completely breaking down the dam and flooding the city, I decided to tip the glass and let some water on the table. Here’s how the email actually went:


Wow…a lot was said in your last email.  And, I have to say, it is a relief to hear that you are ‘interested in more than just a bbq date’ when you get back to the states.  The truth of the matter is that I’m not interested in just a bbq date either, but I wasn’t sure where you were in recovering from your break up with Chris.  I didn’t want to intrude on the ‘new you’ experience you are having overseas by complicating our friendship with my feelings.  I was completely content on letting you be you, attending a few friendly bbqs upon your return, and then slowly working my way into the topic of us.  But, since you broke the ice, here it is.

I’ve been attracted to you since the first time I saw you three years ago.  On my first day at the squadron, you sat across from me on one of the trucks and I eaves dropped on a conversation you were having about submitting an audition tape for the show ‘Survivor’. I was immediately taken by your delicate balance of beauty, drive, and intelligence.  You were married then and went on to date Chris while I was with Melissa. I never said anything because I didn’t want to start something between us by intentionally breaking up our relationships…no matter how trying they were at times.  Well that and I was pretty sure you were way out of my league ;). 

I don’t mean to be overbearing or presumptuous with my response, but only to let you know that as much as I have enjoyed our relationship, I’ve always hoped that if we both felt that there was enough between us, we could at least give us a try.

So, I look forward to our more than a bbq date…

Stay safe out there!

Hope to talk to you soon,


Here goes everything… SEND.    

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

California Dreamin...

About once a year Steve and I get to travel back to California to visit family and friends.  Our trips are far too infrequent and short, but special nonetheless.   This past weekend wasn’t any different than any of our other trips except; instead of flying with a ten month old baby who was just starting to scoot around - as was the case the last time we were in Cali - we had a dancing monkey disguised as our twenty month old daughter, Addisyn.  Lucky for us, she has a knack for making friends with strangers and bringing smiles to unassuming airplane passengers.

Of all our trips to California, this one was especially too short.  Circumstances in Steve’s professional life wouldn’t let us get away for more than a long weekend. But, as short as it was, this mini vacay filled with priceless memories and endless laughter was exactly what I needed.

This past week had been a rough one for me. Aside from dealing with two natural disasters, I had also received news that my grandpa had a severely damaging stroke and was in intensive care. When I heard this news, family both near and far came to the forefront of my thoughts and prayers. The hurricane winds and battering rains were outward reflections of how my heart was twisting and turning with the pain of potentially losing my grandpa this week.  Then, last Wednesday I got my hair colored before leaving on our trip to California. When I arrived home from my appointment, I picked up Addisyn and saw her smiling from ear to ear. She softly brushed my new hair style with her tiny hands eventually resting both hands on my cheeks showing me that she recognized me and loved me.  I smiled the biggest smile and as quickly as the smile appeared on my face, the tears began to roll down my cheeks. This is what it’s all about: holding family close to my heart both physically and in memories. This California trip was much more than going out to see Kami and Sam’s wedding; it was bringing Addisyn to her California family so she could physically feel their comfort and love.

So here I am, on my way back home to Delaware flying the friendly sky’s somewhere I’m guessing above Nevada or Utah while watching Addisyn sleep peacefully in my arms.  My guess… my hope, is that she’s California dreamin’…

Dreamin’ of the new friends she met in Kami and Sam’s family as we all gathered to celebrate their beautiful marriage. Or maybe she’s dreamin’ of the laughter and smiles that surrounded her when she greeted Kami and Sam’s guests with her cute, “Hewooah!“. I bet she might even be dreamin’ of dancing in her Nana’s arms. And, if I was her dream catcher, I would make sure she held on tight to the memory of this entire weekend so, as she grows older, she may go back some nights and remember the love and comfort that surrounds her when she is around her California family and friends.

{Some clips of my weekend}

Kami, the ever so cool bride

Airport photo op

The groom and his best man

Addisyn's Babe Ruth point

 The wind up...
And the release.
She did this about fifty times. Wanna see it again?
Hmm...where does she get this from??

And now more fun with Addisyn

My cute nephews - Don't you just love them?
 Addisyn lovin on her Nana

This boy makes me smile

My sis inlaw

 Congrats Sam & Kami!

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