Chris & Tina |Mr & Mrs Redneck Rosarian | Happily Ever After

Tony’s thoughts… I met Chris VanCleave on a mission trip to Russia back in 1998 and we’ve been friends ever since. Chris makes me laugh! He has one of the biggest hearts you’ll ever find. He’s a gentleman, and a priceless friend. I can be real with Chris and never be judged.

Meeting Tina for the first time was like meeting a best friend. She too has a heart of gold. She’s a diva! She’ll talk your head off but you’ll love it! And as for a mom, Tina is the greatest mother you’ll ever meet, she adores her family.


I’m just so proud of his accomplishments following his passion for roses. He is referred to as the Redneck Rosarian in rose circles. Chris blogs, tweets, and chats on the radio, and  speaks at society meetings and garden shows!  Visit his site:

Click the following link to see a video of our recent visit to the VanCleave home and garden:  VanCleaveRose


nose to nose

I love sitting and laughing with Chris and Tina. They warm my heart and make me feel at home.

Chris & Tina’s happily ever after love notes:

The attraction, the time when your love story started…
We met in the 8th grade. Chris was on the tennis team at school and Tina came to practice to see a friend. We started hanging out every day after that. We’ve been together since.

A memorable moment…
When we were dating we used to meet one another in the neighborhood. We used to sit on a big metal drain spout and talk. Tina would paint her nails while we talked. She painted our initials on that drain pipe and about 10 years ago, we went by there and you could still see the outline of our initials.

The ingredient to our success, and the challenges that make us stronger…
No matter what, cling to each other. Our biggest challenge has been dealing with the consequences of a suicide in the family. It has challenged us in ways we never imagined.

Our favorite quote or verse
Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

A gift that touched my heart…
Each other’s love and commitment

That something you do very well…
Tina is a great encourager and organizer and Chris a great speaker who never meets a stranger.

Our favorite foods…
Comfort foods, chili, soup, and fried chicken.

Something we dream about doing…
Traveling to Italy

Something about us…
We have a passion for growing roses.  On our small subdivision lot we have a rose garden of over 160 roses.

He thinks… Tina has a million little things that made me fall in love with her and its a million more that keeps our love strong. She has such a sweet innocent spirit.

She thinks… Chris is so talented; he succeeds at everything he touches. It’s that can-do spirit that I have loved since we met. He has a great love for his family and the world around him which makes me love him all the more.


Together, Chris and Tina have found the perfect treasure. Each other. We look forward to visiting them in different seasons as their love grows and garden blooms!

Teresa / - February 5, 2014 - 5:57 am

What an amazing article. You captured the very essence of Chris and Tina’s love and life — an encouragement to all who know them. The pictures are wonderful and the story inspiring!

Lots of Hugging Seen Today!

Hugs, goose bumps, and a camera. A group of warm-hearted people gathered down at Vintage Market & Paint Studio this morning and talked about love and Valentines.  And there was a camera – but not ours. We were in front of a camera recording a segment for Channel 31.

tony interviwWonderful Lillian Lalo from Channel 31 did an interview about Olivia, the star of our second book Olivia’s Hug. Olivia is a real, incredible teenager that Suzi and I had the honor to meet  last year on Valentine’s Day.  Olivia came right up and surrounded us with such an awesome hug that I actually wrote a story about the experience that same day. Here’s a few pages from our book Olivia’s Hug:




Olivia and her mom were wonderful during their interviews! It was fun! Olivia was awesome, she even sang a song, “The sun will come out tomorrow.” Lillian and Tina joined in too for some nice harmony. Olivia, of course. hugged everyone in the room. I mean everyone. And not just once.

olivias interview

Our art illustrator, Mishele Beaman, was  there too.  She drew our goose bumps, and they are so cute! The accompanying  colorful heart paper design on our pages is by Leora Sanford.

My Suzi has spent countless hours getting our first two children’s books together and her photo art in the books is awesome. I could never be a published author without her brilliant talent!!  We are so excited to share that we are planning our first book signing to be held at Vintage Market & Paint Studio on Saturday, March 15th! Mark your calendars! More details will come soon!!!

Vintage Market & Paint Studio, LLC
2345 Whitesburg Drive, Huntsville, AL

YOUR life is beautiful – HUG it out!

Hope is Always on the Horizon

Cancer, a word no one really wants to hear.  Especially someone getting the bad news. So how does someone deal with the diagnosis?

Just with a quick glance of the word cancer, the first three letters stand out to me…C-A-N. This part of word seems a little nicer and little more positive. Maybe even a little more powerful. What can one do when given the diagnosis?

One can be really pissed off! One can make the most of the situation!  Or one can go skydiving, rocky mountain climbing, two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu….  (just singing a song made famous by Tim McGraw)

cannot imagine what I would do, but our friend Patty Sobieski is living with cancer. We love her spirit, her friendship, and her story. We think you will too.

Patty with her mom

Suzi, Patty and Patty’s sweet mom 🙂


Here is beautiful Patty’s journey in her own words…

I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 32 in 1997. I did not know anyone with breast cancer. My cancer involved a whirlwind of surgery and long treatments but my progress was great! I was so glad I lived in the United States and not a third world country where hope was almost impossible. Amazed and thankful by His grace that we can be born on this huge planet with so many opportunities.

Unfortunately, in 2009 my cancer returned. I found out by a routine mammogram.  This time I was older and the road has been tougher. Keeping an optimistic spirit has been the toughest part. Good days, bad days, we each have our own circumstances. It may not be cancer but the loss of family member or friend. Any severe tragedy can be devastating. The best part about my cancer is that I have time to study my inner person. Not a day goes by I take for granted, even though some days I feel I will never return to the way I once felt physically and emotionally.

I love my family. If I had to describe those I love in a word. Well…

My sons in one word, loving.
My Mom in one word, honest.
My Dad in one word, respect.

Each family member plays a beautiful part of my being. I thank each of them for their precious gifts.

I have the best friends in the world! They never let me down. The hardest part is asking for help. My friends have supported me when I cried, whined, or needed prayer. My friends have washed my clothes, and cooked lots of chicken noodle soup. They just showed up when my days felt like 48 hours instead of the intended 24. I received so many encouraging cards and support, kind words that left me feeling so loved. These friendships gave me hope for seasons not just days.

What I want people to know is I may be vulnerable, but I still get to make choices.  I am forever grateful for my family and my friends. I know that my illness has affected their lives as we journey this road together. I strongly believe in God and His miracles. I know this battle is my hardest one yet. But I’m a blessed women, I have had a great life, and traveled many places. There are so many things to love and appreciate.

I love Christmas, the meaning, the smells and chilly air. Fall is my favorite season. I love seeing the leaves on the mountain as they change into beautiful colors. I love to zip line, swim, and paint. I love the touch and feel of fabrics and how one swatch can change the mood of an entire room. The designer in me, I suppose. I love people, animals and nature. I love peace! Maybe this all because I graduated with a Fine Arts degree with appreciation for architecture, interior design and construction. Or maybe it’s just because I’m me.

My philosophy in life, I’m not really sure. The secret to a great life is a bad memory. Forget and forgive the stuff than does not matter. Work at achieving a peaceful existence everyday.  Know that one more days means I GET to take my son to school, clean the house, kiss my mom, and put gas in the car. These are those mundane things… the threads of life… the GOOD STUFF!

My favorite thing is to love my children. Tomato sandwiches were requested this morning and I could not wait to get to the bread.

My favorite quote was sent to me from my dear friend Dana and it touched me so much so I will share:   Beyond each impenetrable expanse of thundercloud obscurity reigns a boundless canopy of brilliant sapphire blue.  -Cara Fox

Hope is always on the horizon.

Love Always,
Patty Sobieske


Wanna see a video?? We joined Patty as she joyfully celebrated her 50th birthday. Friends and family even allowed us to capture images (and words – you will see) to make a video to celebrate Patty:

Because your life is beautiful, love it out!

Updating Your Photo Art When that Toddler is Now a High School Senior | Matthew – Class of 2014

Time for a photo art update! Especially when your oldest son is heading towards his graduation from high school but the dining room displays the precious pictures of the toddler ages. Or the family image on display in the living room was before the second child. Nothing wrong here but Beth did decide it was time for a family photo catch up.

We have three favorite times in our process: the time we spent together actually photographing, the tears of joy flowing from the mommas at the viewing, and displaying of the finished art. Family art is the best! The sweet cats even love the new look, they were the first to jump up on the table to check it out. Actually right on one of the new prints. No harm done though.


Beautiful family, they look awesome!


Something we did in Beth’s home is to split a canvas cluster on two narrow walls in adjoining rooms. Now Beth & Ken can enjoy family art each day  – especially when Matthew heads off to Tuscaloosa this fall.


Seven canvases and only 9 holes. If doing the math, just a few more hidden holes and adjustments of the nails. I believe ( yeahhhhhh) Beth was happy not to have to hang them. The yeah was for the word believe. (yeahhhhhh!!!) This word is our 2014 world. If Suzi, Justin, Courtney, Jacob, Lauren, or Tony see or hear the word believe (yeahhhhhh) we have to get excited!!!!!!! And say yeahhhhhh! Because we believe (yeahhhhhh) that 2014 will bring great opportunities and more beautiful you’s like the McCullough family – or YOU –  for creating your own beautiful wall art photographs and honoring your story.

Here are a few of my favorite images of Matthew from his session on Monte Sano Mountain.

1 matthew-high-school-senior2 mccullough_034T_LR3 mccullough_072T_LR

Proud momma &  a handsome son!

6 mccullough_125T_LR

7 matthew-high-school-senior-mtn

YOUR life is beautiful when you love it out!

Harvest For Huntsville

The Deep Roots Harvest For Huntsville this year was held at the historical Renaissance Theatre – a great atmosphere and right next door to Lincoln Academy allowing a tour of the educational garden. And of course when you gather for a great cause, you find great people!

great people

Special thanks to the following for helping make the evening a success:

Local eats: Delicious entrees by Chef Sam Buchanan

Local sweets: Delightful desserts by Chef Trevoree Simelton, Regale Cupcakery

Live Music: Entertainment by Harvey Thompson, Thompson Trio

Volunteers, including the Lee High Gamma Phi Delta Sorority

& the many local businesses donating items!

For more information on Deep Roots of Alabama, visit
They are like trees planted along a riverbank with roots that reach deep into the water.  Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought.  Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.  -Jeremiah 17:8

YOUR life is beautiful… love it out!