we want to hear your love stories.

I want to tell you a story.

On New Year’s Day, I received a message from one of my dearest friends. She’s in New York now, far away, but we still talk frequently. All through the fall, however, we barely talked. After we saw her in the city in September, and stayed in her apartment while she was away on business, she sort of disappeared. Oh, there was phone tag and text messages and the occasional Facebook exchange. We were a mite busy as well, so I didn’t worry. The best friends always allow each other space and silence. Still, I missed her.

So when I received this message on New Year’s Day, I was thrilled: “Sweetie, I have the most wonderful news. I’ve never been this happy. Let’s talk soon.”

As soon as I read it, I knew. I turned to Danny, read it to him, and said, “If this is about a new job, I’m going to kick her.”

It wasn’t about a job.

The next day, Lu was taking a nap and I was out for a walk, clutching my cell phone, waiting for my friend to call. There she was.

I could hear the happiness in her voice at hello. She sounded lighter than I had ever heard her before.

You see, my dear friend was heartbroken when she was in her early 20s. Actually, heartbroken isn’t even the word. Heart-stomped-upon-and-smashed is perhaps the more apt phrase. The story of what happened is hers, and I don’t want to encroach on her privacy. Just suffice it to say that it involved a trans-continental four-year romance and a wedding called off a few days before it was supposed to happen because of horrible betrayal. I think, for the first decade after it happened, my friend sealed up tight against the world so as not to get hurt again. By the time I met her, eleven years ago, she had opened just a crack.

We laughed, a lot. The two of us were fast friends the last years I was in New York, and then in Seattle together. We lived in apartments across the hall from each other; we joked that we were living in a sitcom. We grew up together, in a lot of ways. We both opened to the world because we were friends.

And then I met Danny. At first, she didn’t approve. Of course, it makes sense to me now. It all happened so fast. I knew within a few dates that this was the man I would love for the rest of my life. With her history, my friend grew frightened. She closed up again. She didn’t want to hear about it.

Once she met him, however, she relaxed. It was Danny. She recognized us. He adores her too.

The day after our wedding, she left for New York. My heart broke a bit, but I knew she needed to go home.

In all that time I knew her, my friend didn’t really date anyone. Neither did I, before I met Danny. We were the two musketeers. Danny and I broke that up, unwittingly. I hoped that when she moved back home to New York, she would meet a new person, someone who could embrace her and soften her more. But she found a job that sucked up all her time and she seemed to be growing tighter again, instead.

And then this fall of silence. And this phone call.

“I’m in love with a wonderful man,” she told me, her voice full of soft amazement. “And last night, he proposed.”

I screamed with joy, out in the woods, jumped up and down. Yahoo!! And who was he?

“You know him. Do you remember P?”

It all came flooding out. Of course.

My friend has been good, close friends with this man for over 20 years. He is smart, kind, aware, courageous, and funny. The two of them understand each other, deeply. I knew that when I met him, years ago in Seattle. I watched the banter between them, the sympathy and understanding, the history. They were connected, in all the best ways.

My friend had been good friends with this man for years. She had also been friends with his wife.

His wife battled cancer for years. My friend walked with them through those struggles, marveled at their strength, helped them in any way she could. For a few years, it seemed she would be okay. Then, four years ago or so, the cancer came back. Pernicious. Fatal. The man stayed with his wife through her cancer. She died over a year ago.

Several months ago, my friend connected again with her friend. They spent time together as friends. He had moved away from New York, but he returned for visits, again. It made sense. They had been friends for two decades. Why would they not want to spend time together?

But something shifted after the visits and conversations, the connections and laughter. My friend bought her friend a series of cooking classes for his birthday. He called to thank her. And then he said, “This feels like more than an act of friendship.”

I imagine my friend in that moment, terrified and exhilarated both. Would she open to this? Could she be honest?

She said yes, even though she didn’t know what he would answer next. She said yes.

So did he.

And now, they are madly in love, together, and engaged. I think every day about the two of them, about their connection and friendship, their courage in loving again. This is no one’s perfect Hollywood-ending love story. This is the hard choice — to love again in spite of enormous heartbreak. I think every day about the joy in my friend’s voice and I start laughing.

She opened.

They are getting married this summer, in the backyard of a dear friend of ours, here on our island. Lu might even be a flower girl. And I will be crying.

I’ve been thinking about my friend’s story in the midst of this Valentine’s Day week. I see all kinds of websites offering chocolates and roses, singing telegrams and lingerie. Ew.

I never liked Valentine’s Day when I was single. In spite of the fact I knew it was a Hallmark holiday, I still felt bad that other people were out there celebrating their love with champagne and truffles, arms intertwined around each other, and I was home in my pajamas.

Now that I’m married to a wonderful man, with whom I am more in love every day, I still spend the night of Valentine’s Day in my pajamas. Danny will be cooking (“…for the people!” as Lu likes to say), not home until late. I’ll be reading bedtime stories to our daughter, laughing and hoping she’ll go to bed early enough that I can finish a blog post before midnight. Danny will arrive home late, and we’ll kiss. I’ll have some dinner for him — the earlier the kid’s bedtime, the more elaborate the dinner will be — and we’ll sit on the couch and talk about our days, perhaps with a Law and Order: SVU on the television. Probably there will be mashed potatoes.

That’s my love story at the moment.

We all could use more love right now. When could we not use more love? But these are fractured days, full of bad news that only seems to multiply with the internet and 24-hour-news cycles. However, there are heroic stories and small moments of glory happening all the time.

I think of my dearest, oldest friend in the world, whose father has been in my life since I was 14. He’s not doing well. In fact, last week, we all thought he was dying. I walked around with joy in my heart for one friend and grief in my heart for the other. The day she told me it didn’t look good, she said, “I just miss him already. I want him back now.” We cried together on the phone. Last week, however, he had an unexpected recovery. An astounding recovery for an 80-year-old. We’re not out of the woods yet, but it’s much easier to deal with today. I think of my friend, all her siblings, her father’s partner gathered around his bed, willing him to breathe. And now, cheering him on as he learns to use his swallowing muscles again.

That’s love.

I think of my friend who visited us on Sunday, bearing pie. We all enjoyed our time together, in one of our boisterous brunches, filled with kids running through the house and bouncing on the bed. As our friend was leaving, she realized someone had left our gate ajar. Her dog was nowhere to be found. She and another friend and Danny went running, calling through the neighborhood. No luck. We all grew anxious. Lu went into her room and came back out, the dog following her. She had fallen asleep in Lu’s room. We ran outside, calling in joyful voices. Our friend came running back. The look on her face as she embraced her dog was grateful relief.

That’s love.

If you can read this story about Liam Witt, and his courageous battle with cancer without any complaining, and not cry, you are made of brittle stuff. “He loved to bake cakes so he could decorate them. He loved Valentine’s Day because he always loved telling people he loved them. He did that every day.”

And I am moved by the mother love and patience of my friend Lecia, who created incredible Valentine’s Day cards with her sons.

Love stories. I want to hear more of them.

How about you?

So here’s what we’d like to do for Valentine’s Day. We want to hear your love stories.

Write your most important love story, on your blog, or in a comment here. We will compile them all next week, on Valentine’s Day, to create a far more nuanced meaning for the day.

Imagine the effect of reading hundreds of love stories, one after another.

We have some prizes to give away, including copies of our cookbook (it’s sort of made for Valentine’s Day, in a way), cookware, baking supplies, and other books about love. We have a few details to share. We’ll tell you about those later. That’s not what this is about right now.

We just want to hear your love stories.

PAN-SEARED BEEF TENDERLOIN WITH BALSAMIC ONIONS AND PORT SAUCE

This is a dish from our cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. I suppose we should make you buy the book to learn how to make this dish, but that doesn’t seem in the spirit, does it? We want to share it here with  you now, in case you would like to make a lovely dinner at home for the one you love. (Pssst. That’s much better than a restaurant, any day.)

Danny made this in our kitchen, in the home we had just started sharing, back in June of 2006. He went to slice up some bread, some bread with gluten. (He had his own drawer and knew to not kiss me directly after he ate it.) I asked him if he had to eat bread that night. (I wanted to kiss him.) He said, over his shoulder, “Honey, you’re marrying a chef. He’s going to eat bread.”

At that, I turned his face toward me and asked him, “What did you just say?”

He blushed and stammered. We laughed. I knew he’d ask when the time felt right. (We had only been together for 2 months but we knew.)

When I took a bite of this meal, and he saw my joy in tasting it, he got down on one knee.

Let me tell you, however — and I’m going to make you buy the book for the entire story — love stories in real life are rarely as perfect as they are in the movies. Danny’s proposal involved South Park and farting. And it was wonderful.

“I made this dish for Shauna the night I proposed (even though I didn’t know I was going to) because I knew she would love it. The first time I ate this flavor combination was at Gramercy Tavern. As I worked, I set aside some scraps to eat later. There’s a rich meatiness to the balsamic onions, as well as the tender beef, and the veal stock in the port sauce rounds it all out. All the textures and flavors blend together.

This dish is one of my favorites to cook for people I love. The night I first made it for Shauna, she swooned. And I didn’t need the bread after all.”

Balsamic onions
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Beef tenderloin
2 pieces beef tenderloin, 3 to 3[1/2] ounces each
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil

Port reduction sauce
1 cup port
2 cups veal stock (you can also substitute chicken stock, see below)
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons butter

Caramelizing the onions. Set a large sauté pan over high heat. Pour in the olive oil. When the oil starts to smoke, add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have wilted and shrunk, have turned brown in color, and smell sweet, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the brown sugar to the pan and cook, stirring, until the sugar begins to melt into the onions.

Finishing the onions. Pour the vinegar into the pan and cook, stirring occasionally and tasting continually, until the liquid is reduced and thickened, but not burnt, about 7 minutes; if you reduce it too much, it becomes tarry with a burnt taste. Instead you want a strong balsamic flavor, followed by the sweetness of the onions. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Set aside.

Searing the beef tenderloin. Season the tenderloin medallions with salt and pepper. Set a large sauté pans over high heat. Pour the canola oil into the hot pan. Put the tenderloin pieces in the hot oil; don’t crowd the pans, or the beef will boil in the oil, and that wastes a good piece of beef. Cook until the bottom of each piece has a lovely brown crust, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip over the tenderloin pieces. For medium-rare doneness, the medallions should have a little firm push at the center when pressed, but with softness all around, and the internal temperature should be 150°. Remove the pans from the heat, transfer the beef to a plate, and allow the beef to rest while you prepare the sauce.

Reducing the port. Pour ½ cup of the port into each pan, scraping the goodness from the bottom. When you have deglazed both pans, pour the contents of one pan into the other. Set the pan with the port over medium heat and simmer until the port is reduced by half its volume.

Finishing the sauce. Scoop the balsamic onions into the reduced port. Pour in the veal stock. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half its volume. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Drop in the butter and whisk the sauce until the butter is fully incorporated.

To serve, spoon the sauce with the onions onto each plate. Place a tenderloin piece on top of each serving.

Feeds 2. (You could easily double or triple the amount of beef if you wanted to cook for more people. You will have plenty of onions and port sauce.)

Variations: This dish would work well with rib-eye, porterhouse, or top sirloin steaks in place of the tenderloin. If you don’t want to use veal stock, you can substitute chicken stock, but the sauce might take longer to reduce. You might also have to thicken it with a cornstarch slurry (cornstarch mixed with cold water, then mixed into the stock for 1 to 2 minutes).

Suggestions: Whenever we eat this, we serve it with potato puree. In fact, these potatoes really should be part of the dish.

You will probably have some balsamic onions left over. The next day they can also top lamb, hamburgers, or chicken, or make a simple quinoa dish better.  The port sauce is great on roasted vegetables, pasta, brown rice, or anything you want.

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155 comments on “we want to hear your love stories.

  1. cef

    A simple one– I was unemployed for about a year after I finished grad school. It was the burst of the first bubble, the internet one. I was constantly called for interviews, constantly in the final two and never got the job. I called my mom in frustration once, and she said, well, I’ve been praying for you to get a job but I’m also praying you find a job where you can meet a nice guy.

    I was so annoyed by this– I felt like her caveat that a nice man had to be at the job was useless.

    I was finally hired at a publishing company. On my first day, I’m filling out the human resources forms and a very cute guy walks in and introduces himself to the receptionist. He shakes the HR woman’s hand, who then turns to me and says, “C! This is A! He’ll be working with you.”

    We were married two years later.

    1. Marcia Setzer

      This is a late post for your love stories from Valentines Day. But this love story “bloomed” as my Celiac began and I owe you and the man I love for the hope that was instilled for me to learn and accept life gluten free.

      If you can only read this due to length that is fine with me. I am home alone catching up on your blog, recipes, life/love story. My fiancé Don, is at a family reunion with his grandson, who arrived back just this morning after a year fighting in the war in Afghanistan. Don is enjoying a short visit with his children and grandson even though I could not join due to work and health issues. I am looking for special recipes from your site to make his “welcome home” dinner tomorrow evening.

      I was diagnosed with Celiac 14 months ago, have been hospitalized four times in that time frame only definitively diagnosed in July and just now out following a week hospital stay after two weeks of winter weather unable to get to the hospital following medication changes, extremely drastic gastric distress and procedures to determine the issues. Since 2009, it has been your books and blog that has saved me, mentally and physically and taught me to know that life can go on. And it was YOUR love story that gave me hope.

      Although Don and I are foodies, we are much older, 61 and 71, and at this age everything is a bit more of a challenge due to both the good and difficult life experiences we have had; spouses lost to cancer, families raised and dreams fulfilled….but there is still much left to experience, at lease one last love, surely.

      Don and my love story really transitioned during this last hospital stay earlier this month (even with all the positive things I learned on your blog and gained from you about living gluten free), it was only then that I realized this man has endured the unknown prior to my diagnosis, the knowledge that life will never be as simple as it was and education that has come from the knowledge of Celiac and gluten free living and still loves and cares for me unconditionally. He never gave up, never walked away and learned as I did of how life would change for us. He is not intimidated when our dining out is delayed by my questions and time consuming effort to ensure it is a safe experience for me.

      We met via an online dating site in July 2009 at a time when one of my best friends was enduring the end of her life and I was involved as power of attorney. I still regret they never had the chance to know each other personally. He helped me through the grief of that loss and has been there for me managing a long distance relationship and growing it to where we are now from a distance of 100 miles away. Then in December 2009 I became ill as if a switch was turned on and life has never been the same.

      In the hospital for two weeks in December 2009, a week in January 2010 and then another week in February 2010 at a larger research center, he begged and I denied him the opportunity to be with me during those early days except in limited ways. I had no knowledge of what was happening, depleting all bodily fluids and thought I was dying….then, the health professionals decided it might be Celiac by process of elimination and that wasn’t even a certainty for another six months. Short term disability, home health care, no way to live for a 60 yr old women who lived to dance and work and enjoy life……and resistant to accepting this was her life now.

      Thankfully, Don hung in there and still remains my best educated family member and support along with the support group I was blessed to find. We were engaged in April 2010 and decided to wait until his home sold to marry and relocate to the city where I work. After ten months of enduring the economic and housing market decline we have determined there is no joy in our lives to remain in that place even though we have shared a life in my home since that time. His support and love have always been there, offered unconditionally even though I was unable to accept that could be possible with the complications and confusion that celiac brought to our life until effective treatment and a clear understanding and determination to overcome the problems and live gluten free kicked in. When that happened, enduring all the horrible gastric distress you described at one time, although I do not have the sensitively you obviously endure, it was an epiphany to realize this man had been there through the really bad times and still cared and supported me. We are now planning to marry in June or July and are planning a small wedding and concentrating on where to enjoy our honeymoon as gluten free foodies wherever we go.

      This is likely too long for a blog….I am new to that whole social evolution. I have read your books and your recipes and have now moved confidently to try to use more of the specific flour mixtures you use rather than the flour mixes. I do love all you have done to convince me there is life after celiac diagnosis and life can be fully lived. How did you get so smart and be so young? They say wisdom comes with age but you prove that theory wrong! For Valentines Day I made a shrimp ceviche and GF coconut shrimp with mango sauce, steamed green beans and Bella mushrooms. Simple food celebrating a great love!

      Don loves and supports me as The Chef supports you. The only difference is that Don is my sous chef in training and you have a man who can cook! Lucky you! Once married, my life goal is to come to Seattle for the dinner hour at Impromptu Wine Bar!

      Thank you for all of your hard work, both of you…..and your inspiration which is your love and the family and partnership that resulted.

      Marcia Setzer

  2. jen @ the baked life

    Fantastic Post Shauna. Really touched my heart to hear about your dear friend finally finding love and happiness.

    I think real love is one that you can be your true self with someone, you don’t have to put on a show to hide things you wouldn’t ideally want to come out in the beginning of your relationship. My husband and I have been together 7 years, married for 9 months, and being our first Valentine’s day as a married couple, I’d like to think nothing will change. I will volunteer all weekend, like I do every Valentine’s weekend, and I will come home to a home cooked meal, along with a fancy french dessert so thoughtfully done by my lovely husband. The best part is that I will not look ridiculous when I eat that in my pj’s or drink too much wine, because I have found my true love, who doesn’t care what I’m wearing or what day it is, he’s just happy it’s me.

  3. Anna

    I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I had developed a vague idea of who this unknown future husband of mine might be. When I met Ray he was completely not this person and I never thought we would be anything but friends. I didn’t even know he liked me when he came over to help me fix a flat tire on my bike. When, after a night at a bar, he asked me straight out if I liked him, I said I liked him but I didn’t LIKE him.

    Well, of course all of that changed. Even when we were first dating I never thought we would get married. But, after about 6 months I knew he was the one. Anyway, after bicycling cross country together and having many other adventures we’ve been married for about a year and half. Truly, not a day goes by when I don’t think about how lucky I am and how astonishing it is to have someone who loves me so much, for who I am, with all my faults. I am amazed that he sees all of me and takes it all and loves it all. No relationship can be absolutely perfect, but our love continues to grow even though I still find myself pleasantly surprised by that this wonderful man is my husband and we are making a life together.

  4. Julia Sarver

    Lovely post, Shauna. My husband works for a winery and we fell in love over the grape sorting line. It’s 4 1/4 years since we met and we couldn’t be happier.

    The one thing that’s troubling me about your post is the use of veal stock. The way veal is raised in the country is probably the farthest thing from love imaginable – a young animal taken from it’s mother soon after birth and then tethered into place until death, never being allowed to move. Although I do eat meat, veal is just pushing it too far, and especially in a recipe with a post that’s about love.

    1. shauna

      Julia, veal is not always raised in the way you assume. There is a big movement of what is called “humanely raised veal” in the past five years. I invite you to look into this. Our friend Rebekah Denn wrote an interesting piece about this in the Pacific Northwest magazine two years ago, about a farm that is here on the island where we live.

      http://www.eatallaboutit.com/2009/08/31/humanely-raised-veal/

      1. Julia Sarver

        Hi Shauna!

        Thanks for responding. Yes, I definitely know about humanely raised veal. In our household, we raise and butcher our own chickens – yes, the whole process. Our friends raise a lamb for us every year, and we have a farm share in a cow and a pig. However, my concern is not so much about the decision you or I might make, but rather the person who doesn’t have access to humanely raised veal. It’s a fine line to walk, definitely, but I know many of us can’t purchase the humanely raised product, whether due to cost or it simply not being in our area. In my mind, the suffering of commercially raised veal (have you seen the videos? So heartbreaking.) just isn’t worth the risk. But I really appreciate that you responded, and from reading your blog for the past 4 years, I know this is something that’s important to you, too.

  5. Jen O

    I’ve always said that God has plans for each of us and when we are in the right place, love will happen. We can’t hurry it up and it frustrates us to no end, but it’s true. Someone said that I had waited long enough for Mr. Right to come along and I should enjoy it. The thing is that now that I found him, well took a new look at someone right under my nose, it doesn’t feel like I’ve been waiting.

    I met my Mr. Right when he started dating a friend of mine just over 11 years ago and was the maid of honor when he married that friend 2.5 years later. Fast forward a couple years and we end up teaching at the same school (and still do, but in different departments of course!) while his wife decides she’s not happy and starts taking him on an emotional roller coaster for the next several years and through all sorts of other junk… He and I became closer friends as she and I grew further apart. Last year was particularly rough on him, but I just kept being a friend and if someone brought up the possibility of me dating him eventually I would laugh.

    He pulled the plug on his marriage at the end of July. At the end of August, when school started, people would bring up the idea of us dating and we laughed. A week later, our interactions were shifting and it became a possibility. Then a week after that, it was decided that if we were to give “us” a try, we would have to be careful with the intention of serious only – we meant too much to each other for this to be just a whim. Everything also had to be when he felt ready since he was the one that had been dealing with the crazy (and that’s putting some of it mildly) ex-wife and the baggage that comes with it. Texting, talking and spending time together encompassed the month and a half because he was still married. Then he kissed me after a Homecoming football game (we went to the same university) and I knew for sure I was done searching.

    We are the best of friends and taking our time moving to the next steps, but we know they are coming in the future when we are ready for them to happen. We balance each other out and know each others big and little flaws, loving each other more because we are comfortable sharing them with each other. One of the best parts – we cook together and he’s willing to try all my “experiments” in the kitchen to then tell me exactly what he thinks about them! (Of course, he still doesn’t know that I can’t stand butter sauces… ?)

  6. BriannEm

    It’s almost been a year since I married my sweetheart. We met through a friend and after a casual invitation to see a really cool park, we spent the day together eating, talking, and laughing…He healed my broken bits and made me safe. I pull him out of his shell and make him laugh. Together is better than we’ve ever been.

  7. Kharina

    I met my husband online over 2 years ago. After a few dates he drunkenly asked me if I wanted to be his boyfriend. I laughed and said yes. Since then we were unseperable. He had the guts to propose in front of my family when we had been together for 11 months and made my brother cry, something I hadn’t seen since our dog died. We got married last August in a DIY affair that was full of food, music, booze and alpacas – the best wedding people ever had been to according to many, as it was so laid back and fun. Just like us. Now we are parents to 8 guinea pigs and still laugh at me being his boyfriend. 🙂

  8. Caneel

    This post has me crying. I am so happy for your friend, and for all of you! I will blog my love story and let you know so you can include it in your collection. What a great idea!

  9. Krystle

    Shauna, I’m newly gluten-free and I love your website and am about half-way through your cookbook. I love it. The part about Italy was so very helpful as I’m going to be going to Italy on my Honeymoon! I was so happy it brought me to tears!

    This post really touched me and I wanted to tell you a little about my love story.
    Take a look at my blog for the whole story.
    http://krystlelee.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/our-love-story/

    Krystle

  10. Rachel

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful love stories. I had been in an abusive marriage and gone through a horrendous divorce, hated all men and swore I’d never get married again. When I was 34, I decided to go to college and was hitchhiking to school because I didn’t have a car. One day I walked over to a bunch of guys hanging around talking and asked them if anyone knew of a Volkswagon Bug for under $200. ’cause that’s all I had to spend. Bill turned around with this warm smile and beautiful eyes and said, “You shouldn’t be hitchhiking; that’s dangerous. Let me pick you up tomorrow.” And this stranger picked me up and found my heart. We’ve been together for 35 years and fall in love more each day.

    1. Lauren

      Rachel,

      This was a beautiful story. I am sorry that you endured that sadness, but am very happy that you found love, in an unexpected place, no less.

  11. Jaime

    This is not your typical love story. Some people may not think it a love story at all. But it broke my heart open when I wasn’t sure what to expect, and isn’t that what love is all about? Back in 2006, for a myriad of reasons, I had some genetic testing done. I wasn’t planning on getting pregnant; I wasn’t even dating anyone. I just wanted to know for when the time comes. The results were not quite what I expected. Turned out I was homozygous (I have two copies) of a gene mutation that seriously increases my risk of having a child with a neural tube defect or mental retardation, miscarriage, stillbirth, placental abruption, etc etc. This isn’t a guarantee, esp taking into consideration my future husband’s genes, but it’s something I need to be aware of. To say that I was devastated would be an understatement. About a month later, I found out I was going to be an aunt. My YOUNGER brother was going to be a dad….unexpectedly. And I had to watch as his girlfriend went through pregnancy, not knowing if I would experience that or make the decision to adopt because of the mutation. And as bad as this sounds, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to love my future niece/nephew or whether I would resent them. Being around kids was painful, because it reminded me of the genetic testing results.
    Well, as it turned out, my fears were completely unfounded. In April 2007, my baby nephew was born, and the minute I laid eyes on him, about 20 minutes after he was born, my heart cracked wide open and expanded. I instantly fell in love and knew that I would do anything for this little person. Without knowing it, he has shown me that I don’t have to worry; my heart is one of those that loves children no matter whose uterus they come from (because that alone does not make you a mother), and that I will be a great mom when the time comes. He reminded me that my heart is too big to be sealed off. He has reminded me about what’s really important in life, and brought so much unbridled joy into my heart. He will be 4 in April and has been my biggest teacher in love so far.

    1. Krys72599

      THIS is a love story for sure.
      And what makes it so special is that it’s not about a man and a woman, but about you and your nephew and your realization that there IS love of a child, your child, in your future.
      What and awesome gift your little nephew gave you, without even realizing it!
      I’m so happy that you and he are “in love.”

  12. filaree way

    I was always a bit of romantic. I believed in in real, crazy love and that it could last beyond those first burning moments. I know people find love in all ways (starting with friendship, growing over years), but I couldn’t see that happening to me.

    Two weeks after I had been in a car accident and bed ridden, my friend invited me to a dinner a man from her master’s program was cooking for her. Even though I was desperate to go, I declined saying I didn’t want to be a third wheel. She swore it wasn’t romantic and in fact he had a girlfriend in another state. So I went. And for some reason (maybe to offset the partially shaved part of my head) I dressed like I was going on a date.

    And I met him. We all decided to go to sushi instead and on the way he made some crack about being careful of his pheromones. I guess I wasn’t that careful. At dinner we started talking, and as cheesy as this sounds, for a brief moment we were in a “bubble” where everything was in slow motion and only he and I existed.

    I did something I never thought I’d do. I got involved with someone in a relationship that was leaving in a month to start a new job. I hate ambiguity, but perhaps I knew instinctually that asking him to stay would ruin the relationship. I said nothing and just enjoyed our month together. A few days before he was supposed to leave, I finally asked him why he wasn’t packing and if he needed help. He said he wasn’t going and that he was staying not because of me but because it was the right thing to do. In a way it was a gift to our relationship to not put that much pressure on it.

    We moved in together three months later, were engaged five months after that and were married four moths after that. We’ve been married for almost seven years now and have two beautiful boys (16 months and 4 years).

    For us the secret was finding that soul connection and then making sure we could grow together. There is a fine line between “taking something out” on the one you love and “working through” your own crap with them. If you can love each other enough to allow your partner to work through the things they need to in order to grow and evolve then you’ve found real love.

  13. Rosanne

    This is a different kind of love story, but it is a love story nonetheless. I married my best friend right out of high school. Wonderful man. Things happened, and we divorced. We didn’t speak for many years, but one day I knew I had to talk to him again. After all, we were best friends.

    He is happily married, with a great family. He loves my daughter very much, and she thinks of him as an uncle. I enjoy his stories of coloring with his granddaughter more than you might think possible.

    He has exactly the life he always told me he wanted, and I am delighted for him.

    Perhaps not the romantic, Valentine’s Day story you were looking for, but then… love comes in all shapes and sizes.

  14. Hope

    It had taken 2 1/2 years to break up a 2 1/2 year painful relationship. I had just come to the point where I was strong in being me. I had a renewed faith, a positive view on life and was completely comfortable being me. It was the first time in my life I could remember being that secure.
    The HE walked in. The FedEx man. Twice a day, every day for months he came in our office. We began sharing smiles and comments, realizing that we practiced the same faith and we both were learning how rise above the scars that sometimes comes in our lives. After a quick romance, we became engaged, were married in the Fall of the next year.
    That was 21 years, one bio child, the adoption of a child with multiple medical needs, two career changes and the commitment to continue falling in love everyday. The knowledge that love is a choice, trust is vital and faith is a foundation that when solid helps hold you up through the harshest of storms.
    I am happy for you and for your friend. Thank you for starting my day off with a smile and warm thoughts.

  15. Annie

    1992, stumbling out of 10 years of failed relationships, just plain WRONG relationships, getting burnt, getting hurt, doing myself some serious emotional and mental damage, I decided I had to take time out. I commited to a year without relationships. A year focusing on being me. Repairing, regrouping, rewning. An old friend who was visiting (actually, ironically, an ex-boyfriend) invited me along to his new church the same week that I made that decision.

    I walked through the door and *bam* there he was. I knew. Instantly.

    Then I told myself off VERY firmly – let along going a year without a relationship I hadn’t even lasted a week.

    Despite my conscious attempts to *be cool* my subconscious engineered ways of being around this guy. I went out to the pub with mutual friends. I went along to the cinema with mutual friends. Then one day the other friends couldn’t make an arranged trip and I ended up outside a cinema just with him.

    The film was fully booked. He shrugged, said he was hungry and asked if I’d eaten. My subsconscious took over and said “no” despite my conscious self knowing fully well that I’d just had dinner.

    He took me along with him to an Indian restaurant (I hated Indian food at that time). I ate food I’d never eaten before and we talked solidly for 2 1/2 hours. It was the 4th time we’d met.

    By the end of the meal we just knew. A week later, on Valentine’s Day, we’d decided to get married – but we thought this would shock everyone so we waited 4 weeks before announcing our intentions.

    We married 9 months and a week from the day we first met.

    This year we’ll celebrate 18 years of marriage during which time we’ve been blessed with four beautiful boys.

    We don’t “do” birthdays nor Christmas – never exchange presents or cards. But every Valentine’s Day we try to go out for a meal, and also on our wedding anniversary, when we remember and celebrate two people truly becoming one.

  16. Nicole

    What a sweet post, Shauna. I love my husband more than anything and I am so blessed, but one of my fondest Valentine’s Day memories was the year before my husband and I started dating. My Dad always bought my mom her favorite chocolates and one of those wordy greeting cards (he never thought he could write something nicer) and that one Valentine’s Day he surprised me with chocolates and a card, too. It was so sweet and unexpected. I’ll never forget it.

  17. Jennifer

    Your post is beautiful.

    I guess my story starts with me always joking through college “you’ll never meet your soul mate at a bar” when all my friends would get dressed up to go out on weekends. Well I was proven wrong in a weird twist. After college I job jumped for a while, from one arbitrary job to another. At one point to get myself out of the house and meet people I took a job at an Irish pub in our city’s downtown. I was the hostess and was looking to make friends. I met a few people, but really connected with the one bar-back on a conversational level. We talked every time he was in even if for a few minutes between shifts. When we first met he was seeing someone and I wasn’t looking for a date. This friendship turned into something more over time and we’ve been together through thick and thin for 2 1/2 years. I can’t see myself without him ever, because he is my best friend friend first and foremost.

  18. Nicole

    Shauna, I don’t normally comment but I had to respond to your request for love stories. David has never been one to do flowers or chocolates on holidays. However, he is romantic in the everyday way he turns on the bathroom heater before my shower or tells me how much he loves my mind.
    But this one Valentines Day, our first actually, we went out for a romantic dinner and he asked that we get dessert to go. When he opened the door of his house, music was playing, and the entire house was filled with candles. He had arranged for a friend to come over while we were at dinner and set the whole thing up. I melted.
    It might be cheesy, but he had gone to some effort to impress me, and that alone captured my heart. So I married him!

  19. Asia

    The day I knew that he was my other half was based on one simple exchange, one moment. We were already very much in love, as we fell hard in the first few weeks of dating. But at this moment I knew I wanted him to be a part of my life for a great many years.

    We were out celebrating a friends birthday, at an Italian restaurant with zero to no gluten free options, the chef didn’t even know what I was talking about. Ordering at a place like that is never easy, and I’m still shy about being demanding and picky with what I order, so I usually play it really safe with something simple. When we went to order and found out that the only “safe” option on the menu wasn’t available that night, and everything else was wheat-tacular, I somewhat panicked. He could tell immediately, and spoke up. He made sure that the chef would make me something special so I wouldn’t be sick, and oh boy did he make sure cross-contamination wouldn’t be an issue. But it was during this that I realized, he was fighting for me. He was fighting with me. It touched me so wonderfully.

    I had earlier that day made my first White-Chocolate Raspberry Gluten Free Cheesecake, and later while we were enjoying it amongst the friends we love, he kept going on and on about how amazing it was. And how amazing I was. It was clear that we both were on the same page, and from this day forward he still fights and cares for my cause, which is all I could ever ask for.

    Its safe to say that this Valentines Day there will definitely be another one of those cheesecakes, and hopefully a few late night episodes of SVU 🙂

    Thank you Shauna for continuing to inspire me in my Gluten-Free life, with your blog I feel I always have a safe haven if I’m ever feeling singled out! Not to mention a long list of new recipes to try!

  20. Ayah

    My life with my husband began with a concert in San Francisco that I was planning to attend with my best friend. The band was called CocoRosie and my friend had invited a date and wanted to set me up on a date as well. I protested, who wants to go on a blind date, ever? She was adamant “He loves CocoRosie” she said, “and he’s really sweet.” I had met this man once, he had pierced my nose once upon a time but I didn’t have a very good read on him. But he was my dear friend’s coworker and she seemed to really like him. After having been on a long string of bad dates that had left me feeling empty inside, I thought to myself “How bad could it be?” And so, begrudging I agreed to the date.

    We went to the concert and it seemed to be going well, that is, until someone made the mistake of goosing my 5 foot tall pit bull of a feminist best friend. A drunken guy pushed by us in the crowd and pinched her butt. Boy, if that wasn’t a bad move on his part.The next thing I knew my tiny friend had leaped at the 6 foot drunkard and was pummeling his stomach with punches. It was crazy! I had never seen her behave that way, but the guy was out of line and while I’m typically a nonviolent person, I kinda felt like he deserved it. After prying my pal off of the guy, she and her date stormed outside to cool off and they didn’t come back. So there we were, me and this guy I didn’t really know, awkwardly watching a band that, as I would later learn, he had never even really heard before.

    Fortunately, he was easy to talk to, and he had a quick wit to rival my own. Something about him felt comfortable and safe. I laughed a lot that night and enjoyed the show. By the time midnight rolled around we were sharing our first kiss on the sidewalk outside of my apartment. And the rest, as they say, is history.

    When he asked me to marry him on my 25th birthday, we were standing on a dance floor at his best friend’s wedding, something by Michael Jackson playing in the background. I couldn’t imagine saying anything other than yes. For someone who had always said she was never going to get married, that was pretty big deal. We married in October of 2008 in a backyard in Northern California over looking the Russian River. Today, I honestly can’t imagine how my life would be without him. I am so grateful for having him in my life and I look forward to the many years of growing and loving ahead of us.

    Oh, and as a side note, that band that we saw? The next time they toured the US and stopped in the Bay Area was on our wedding day. How’s that for an auspicious sign?

  21. Carthey

    A love story, my love story, starts a few years ago. I was living in a small town outside of Seattle working/living in an outdoor resident camp with my fiancee at the time. Within the first few weeks I found out that I was not the only apple of his eye. And that there had been many tryst to other cabins, thru tears and heart break I choose to move across the state to where my family lives. After two months of putting my life back together I moved into a home shared by another person, N, in my same profession.

    She lived a wild lifestyle which brought the “Cookie Monster” to our doorstep two days after I moved in. It was at 3am that the door bell was ringing. And there he was! Dressed as the “Cookie Monster” with “Oscar the Grouch” and a “Beer Maid” asking where my roommate was. Needless to say, I was not the nicest at 3am with my work wake up call at 4:30am. Cookie Monster asked my roommate for my phone number the next day but was refused. So he started showing up at our place.

    The first time I saw him out of his Halloween costume, my heart tumbled into my throat and I had an overwhelming sense of deja vu. My heart was still in tiny pieces from the break up I had just been through but a part of my soul recognized him. Over the next year and a half we would run into each other occasionally or send a text message with simple words. Each time this happened my heart healed a little more and I would smile with a rush of giddyness. Until one night I received a text from him that was a simple “It isn’t a night out with N without a message to you.”

    Funny enough I had been dating someone at that time and I was sitting on his kitchen floor crying at 2am because of hurtful words he had used and careless gestures made. So Cookie Monster and I started to text with the end text being an agreement to get together over drinks “soon.”Needless to say the other guy was out of the picture.

    A month passed and neither of us had acted. Then I received a simple message with “How are you? P is leaving town be at Wad’s Friday night. I want to see you… Please.” I said maybe, and ended up blowing it off. Saturday night I was called by Cookie Monster telling me to get my rear out of bed and head to the going away party. I did. When I walked into the bar, he was the first person I saw. All laughter and friendliness. I went up to him to say hello and found our mutual group of friends. That night he invited me back to his place with a group of people. We talked for a few hours and I left at 4am. He walked me to the door where a hug turned into the best kiss of my life! He told me to call him sometime, I retorted with “Your the man, you call me.” And walked away.

    By the time I got home I had a message from him on my phone telling me how wonderful it was to reconnect and asking me out on our first date. Since then it has been a whirlwind of romance and laughter, a few shared tears and struggles. And this past New Years Eve he handed me a beautiful heart shaped necklace, whispering that he couldn’t afford a ring yet but that would be next.

    My Cookie Monster (and yes he still wears that silly costume every Halloween) lifts my heart, believes in me and has held my hand through some very hard moments. Each time he tells me that it is making us a stronger couple, and he wouldn’t change it for the world.

  22. Gwen

    I actually wrote mine out on my blog a couple of weeks ago. It’s kind of long so I’ll just link to it. My husband’s deployed right now and our anniversary happens to be on Valentine’s Day. I always hated V-day and it was the LAST day I would have ever picked to get married but it was the only weekend that worked with the Army’s schedule so I’m stuck with it :). I love my love story :).
    http://teaandvino.blogspot.com/2010/12/sweet-november-rain-love-story.html

  23. Kelly

    I will be married 10 years on March 17 to the love of my life, and I have my nagging sister to thank for that. She met Kevin through her (now ex-) husband, and as soon as she met him, she said, “You need to meet my sister Kelly”. At the time, I was living in PA and he was in IA. She got his address and phone number from him and then proceeded to nag, harangue, harrass, and pester me for 3 months about contacting him, until finally just to make her leave me alone, I wrote him a letter. That was the beginning of our friendship.

    We met face-to-face about 6 months after we began writing and phoning. During our time together that first visit, Kevin said to me “I am never getting married, I am not looking for that kind of relationship with you”. At the same time he was making that declaration, I heard a voice speak to me loudly and clearly: “This is the one”. So I crossed my fingers behind my back and replied to him, “That’s OK, I understand”. And then I just started to pray. I prayed for him for years after that – “Lord, please break his heart of stone”.

    After almost 3 years of no change, I was starting to give up hope. We had not seen each other in several years, as I had moved to MD for grad school and he was very busy with his work. But in Nov. 1999 God’s plan came together, and I came to IA in Dec. to take his church’s youth group on a winter retreat because he was too sick with chronic fatigue syndrome to take them.

    He kissed me before I left to go back to MD, then began calling me more and more frequently as time went by. In Feb. he called to ask me on a “date” – which for us meant me flying from Baltimore to Cedar Rapids and staying in a hotel. We had our first date on March 17, 2000, were engaged on August 14, 2000, and married on March 17, 2001. Kevin was pretty debilitated by the chronic fatigue for a while and it was hard to see him fight through it, but he knows that it was part of God’s plan to break him down and bring us together. We now live in central OH with 2 beautiful boys, 9 and 5, and love each other more every day. I love our love story – I know God spoke to me that day and the power of prayer is demonstrated so richly. Blessings to everyone on St. Valentine’s Day!

  24. Adrienne

    What a great idea, Shauna!

    My story starts with comic books. I grew up reading my dad’s old comic books from the 1960s and completely fell in love with the medium, especially a certain super hero called The Green Lantern. I never grew out of them. A few years ago, I dressed as Green Lantern for Halloween and went to a party with some friends. My friend took one look at my costume and said, “You need to meet my brother.” A month later, on my birthday, we “just happened” to swing by and pick up her brother on the way to the bar. He was wearing a Green Lantern t-shirt. We both had Green Lantern wallpapers on our cell phones. It was nerd love at first sight.

    We were married last July 4, with a giant Green Lantern symbol cake I made myself (GF, SF, DF, for myself and all the people I know with allergies). It even had action figures on top! Now, we go to the comic book store every week for the new issues. My husband isn’t gluten-free himself, but he cooks and eats almost all gluten-free with me. (He has his own shelf in the kitchen for his bread.) He’s also become the local waiter-expert on gluten-free at the restaurant where he works. Our dream is to open a completely gluten-free cafe, full of good food, books, comics, games, and community, where we can play and eat together for the rest of our lives.

  25. Carol

    This is my parents’ story. My mom (aged 14) was dragged to visit relatives. When they arrived at the cousin’s house, the foster son of those cousins was there with his buddies. They were looking for a date for R. The guys looked up, saw Mom, and said, “She’ll do!” They did not realize she was 14. They were 21. She got permission to go. After the evening, my father called her (he was not R0, wanting to date her. My grandparents allowed him to come to the house, which was always chock full of relatives. They decided he was a nice boy (although 7 years older) from a nice family and they should let it take its course.
    In over 60 years of marriage, I NEVER heard them fight. They were always the happiest couple I knew. Dad died in 2005. She is still in the same house they bought in 1950. “Why would I want to move anywhere? This house is filled with happy memories.” Amazing. Wonderful.

  26. Kaysey

    I met my partner Kari almost two years ago after moving from Washington, DC to Denver when I was laid off from my job. One of my ex’s and close friends introduced us via email (she lived in Portland but knew us both). I was heartbroken about losing my job and leaving a city that I loved so dearly. I was devastated to leave all of my friends and didn’t want to open up to a new city or a new life.

    Kari agreed to meet me and show me around the city. The night that we first met she was with a group of friends and the woman that she was currently seeing. I had a strange feeling that I was about to meet the person I would spend the rest of my life with. I can’t quite explain it except that I laughed a bit to myself thinking how absurd that thought was.

    We met and became fast friends. Close to best friends in a matter of weeks. I started to develop feelings for her shortly after we met but I didn’t want to intrude in her relationship so I remained quiet. Her relationship ended (it was a very casual thing to begin with) and I stayed quiet for the next 2 months until one fated night when she drove me home. Maybe it was the alcohol or maybe it was the adrenaline of singing and playing music on stage for the first time in several years but I turned to her and told her everything. It all came spilling out of me – the fact that I was terribly and overwhelming attracted to who she is, that I respected her, that she made me laugh and smile, that it had only three months since we met but everyday of those three months was difficult because I couldn’t tell her how I felt. She was surprised and speechless. I ran inside my building and felt completely foolish. Two weeks passed and at my urging we acted as if nothing had happened. Then came Halloween night.

    I received an email from her as I was putting on my Where’s Waldo costume. She was confused, and sad, and having emotional dreams about me. I called her and agreed to meet up and talk. We talked and I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t be around her for a while, at least until this attraction faded. We parted ways with tears in our eyes. Less than an hour after that she contacted me, we met up, made up, and we both knew that this was “right.” It was magic. It was quickly the most non-competitive, equal, loving relationship I’ve ever experienced.

    We might not have the most dramatic of stories but it was perfect for us. We live in Portland now and have a beautiful warm home with wonderful pets, and friends, and food. I am the luckiest.

  27. Deidre

    I love this idea…(PS I just made a delicious gluten free cake – come over to blog to check it out if you’re interested…)

    My love story is just beginning really. I saw him around campus, he finally asked me to coffee we started dating towards the end of 2009…And it was just easy. I was never scared he wasn’t going to call me. And when he went away for a week a few weeks into dating, I felt at such loss.

    Because I am an expat, I think we had to look at our relationship a little differently right from the beginning. We had to let each other know we were serious about each other, because the chance was always there that I might have to leave the country and he might have to marry me so that I could stay – luckily that hasn’t happened yet. But in the year that we’ve been together he’s opened me up to the world, let me be scared, and held my hand until I am courageous enough to let go. I adore him and can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives together.

  28. Kate McDermott

    Dear Shauna- Indeed that was love you saw on my face. Sweet Lady has been with me for 15 years now have been through alot. She lies next to me now, peacefully snoozing. We couldn’t be happier! Love to you, Danny & Lu. Some of the sweetest hearts around. xo

  29. Aunt Jayne

    My honey and I met when we were 14 years old.
    When we were 16 we got pregnant and gave the baby up for adoption.
    I was going through some pretty rough times in other areas of my life and it drove a wedge between us and we broke up.
    25 years later we were looking for each other and found “us”. We also got to meet our wonderful son!
    We have been back together now for almost 12 years and it is bliss.

  30. Christine

    We had only dated for few months (5 months to be exact) in 2005 and he proposed. I thought he was joking at first but I accepted it. It was funny because I just knew that this is the guy I wanted to spend my life with. My family didn’t approve, because well, I was 19 at the time and he was 30. They thought I was being “fooled”. And with my parents live so far away, and only several skeptical relatives nearby, we eloped. Not such a happy beginning (apparently for some people, marriage has to start with a lavish wedding. Not necessarily for us), lots of my relatives hated that idea. 5 year later, we have 2 kids together, happy as can be, and still going strong, if not stronger each year. My mother finally got to meet him for the first time in 2009! She loves him like her own son! I definitely can see ourselves in adult diapers, still loving each other 🙂

  31. Jessica

    My love story isn’t a miracle or a second chance, or even love at first sight. It’s a story of timing, and of exchange – back and forth in writing, back and forth in person until suddenly all we had was a great big love.

    My ex-boyfriend of nearly 5 years broke my heart. Slowly, without me even knowing it, he broke my spirit and betrayed me in nearly every way. I wasn’t ready for something so serious (I didn’t know that either) and I let myself get caught up. When it finally all felt too wrong to go on, I broke up with him. It was hard, it was quiet, and it was something I should have done much sooner.

    S, my boyfriend now, was a college friend of my very best friend from high school, C. I had met him a few times when I would visit her at school, but I always had a boyfriend and he was always having too much fun to worry about C’s best-friend-from-home-with-a-boyfriend. I can’t blame him.

    Once I had decided to end things with my ex-boyfriend, J, I took a weekend off and went to visit C. That weekend, I talked to S, really talked to him, for the first time. His humor, his wit, his perceptiveness, his openness, I noticed it all. I wasn’t thinking about dating, in fact, I was thinking about never dating, but I felt something good with him. I went home and he had sent me a sweet email thanking me for the nice conversation. That was it. We began exchanging emails every day, each day revealing more and more of ourselves and becoming more and more connected.

    When the chance came up to visit again, I was there. I was so excited and nervous and happy and scared all at the same time as I drove to the small college town where S lived. I’ll leave out the details, but the weekend was good. Very, very good. The next week, I called in sick 3 days in a row just to stay with him so we wouldn’t have to stop talking (and kissing). Now, I was sure.

    Here’s the catch – I was moving to Philadelphia 3 weeks later to start graduate school. That would put a 7 hour drive between us, instead of just 2. Still, we both wanted to make it work. I moved as planned, but decided not to attend graduate school for financial reasons. I worked, hard, and tried to figure out what to do next. I spoke to S about it on the phone, telling him I wanted to move on and pursue graduate school elsewhere. He said wherever I go, he’ll be there. We talked on the phone for 7 months, seeing each other only 3 times. We couldn’t afford train or airfare any more often than that, and I had to work as much as possible to support myself. It was a difficult 7 months to say the least. When my acceptance letter came in stating I had been accepted at the University at Buffalo, I called him to tell him the great news.

    What did S do? He moved. To Buffalo. Immediately. He straightened things out at home, packed his life up, quit his job, and moved to Buffalo. It was January 2009. He got a job and an apartment and I joined him in March. He changed his whole life for me. We haven’t left each other’s side since. Now we have a beautiful dog and a warm apartment full of love, and it really feels like home. I am grateful everyday to have someone in my life who takes risks for us and believes in me as much as he does. He makes me believe too.

    Oh, and this morning? He called to ask me my ring size. It’s just a guess, but I’d say things are only going to get better from here.

  32. Meg

    My husband and I attended school together from 5th grade until graduation – I transferred in when I was 10 and he had been there since kindergarten. We didn’t really notice each other, but 5 years later, out of the blue he started harassing me in a joking, but still annoying and slightly hurtful way. I heard through gossip at our school that there had been an incident and his parents were divorcing (this turned out to be completely false – they’re still together today). I decided that he was lashing out at me because he was hurting personally and took a chance – I made it my mission to make him laugh at least once everyday. It started out with emailed jokes and throughout the spring and summer, we developed a deep friendship.

    We started dating that fall (I was 16, he was 17) and he tells me that from our first date, he knew he wanted to marry me and love me forever. During our senior year we ended up breaking up and spent 6 months dating other people, but no one could ever make me feel the way he did. At university, we ended up seeing each other frequently and started dating again and the rest they say, is history. We’ve been together (minus the 6 month separation) for over 11 years, married for almost 7 and he’s always treated me with the utmost love, respect and compassion. Now we’re expecting our first child and we’ve never been happier. I think the thing that defines us most is that we fall more in love with each other everyday and we make it a priority to grow together. I’m a very very lucky woman.

  33. Caneel

    I’d like to share my love story in your comments section for now. I think this is a wonderful idea!

    My husband and I dated for four years before we married. I was in college when we started dating, but he had already graduated. He moved to a town four hours away the second year we were dating, but we kept things alive with many phone calls and a visit once a month or so. The third year, he joined the military. It was very hard – we saw each other only once in a time of almost a year while he was away in basic training and then AIT. The phone calls were few and precious, but there were many, many letters. We got to know each other even better that way.

    The fourth year, we were together again. In the military, he ended up choosing a field of training in technology that ultimately became a very wise decision because a couple of years after our marriage, he was employed in a job where he used that exact training and still has that job today.

    Our strong relationship was put to the test when I became pregnant with our first child, and lost that baby in the beginning of my second trimester, right before Christmas. I kind of lost it for a while and the depression was unbearable. I have a strong Christian faith, but that was challenged with the “why’s” and I was very angry with God at the time. I had an extremely demanding, stressful job as a newspaper reporter but until then I’d loved my job. I started losing the passion for my work, though, along with nearly everything else. Everything seemed to be falling apart, but my husband was my rock. He stood by me through the darkness and my anger and resentment at the world and encouraged me to get some help, which I ultimately did.

    I became pregnant with our second child, our oldest daughter, and had complication after complication from the beginning of the pregnancy. She was due a little after Valentine’s Day, but after being on strict bedrest for two months due to pre-term labor, she was born a month early and was such a tiny little thing. When Valentine’s Day came, my husband bought her a little Valentine’s bear covered in hearts (it was about the size of a beanie baby, maybe just a tad longer). She wasn’t too much bigger than the bear. I took a photo of her asleep next to the bear, and now when people see that photo and then I show them the bear, they are amazed at how tiny she was then.

    We have since had another daughter, as well as two more losses, which is why infant and miscarriage loss and support, as well as pregnancy complication awareness, are things I am deeply passionate about (along with gluten-free living!). We have been through a lot of things together, both happy and sad, and are even more in love now than we were then.

    God has blessed me with this family of mine, and I am very thankful. My husband and I will celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary next month. I am proud to call him my Valentine, along with our two younger Valentines.

  34. Emma

    I never dated in high school, and only started dating in my second year of university. I was one of those girls with incredibly low self esteem and felt like I never really deserved love, and so it made sense that no one was interested in me. I eventually started seeing a friend of mine who I had known for years, but it was one of those situations where he was still technically dating someone else while we were showing interest in each other. They broke up, and then we got together.

    I always knew he told fantastic and preposterous stories, but within a month of dating him it became apparent that he was basically a compulsive liar. He always had these amazing opportunities thrown his way that somehow never managed to work out. He told me he was visiting his family out of town but then would call me from his home phone number. He would say things that were blatantly not true, that I could verify were not true, and then would freak out at me when I suggested they were not true — how could I not believe him? So I stopped arguing about it and just took everything he said with a grain of salt.

    Never did I think about breaking up with him. In a lot of ways he was a fantastic boyfriend — he made me breakfast in bed everyday for a whole summer, he would stop by my apartment to bring me my rubber boots at work when it was raining, he made a giant heart-shaped brownie on Valentine’s Day. But I didn’t trust him. Because he lied, about everything. And I stayed with him because I felt like that was the best I could get, the best I deserved.

    I ended up breaking up with him after finding emails he had sent to a longtime friend of his declaring his love for her. Apparently he had been in love with her for the last seven years. We had been dating for more than two. In addition to his compulsive lying, he also can’t be alone, and sets up new relationships before his current one is over.

    After that I still didn’t date very much. The occasional date and a couple-month fling with someone who I didn’t really like, but hey, he was super into me so why not? I still didn’t get that you shouldn’t be with someone if you’re not happy.

    Two years ago I was introduced to my current manpanion through a mutual friend. I thought he was cute, but didn’t do anything about it. We became friends. I started dating someone else. We became better friends. I broke up with my boyfriend at the time. We started hanging out all the time, almost everyday. Eventually, after all of our mutual friends told me that he clearly liked me and thought I was amazing, I believed it. I believed that maybe there was someone wonderful out there who thought I was wonderful too. And maybe, like me, he was scared. And so I kissed him.

    We’ve been together for almost a year now. He’s brilliant, fun, funny, kind, caring. He understands my terrible anxiety and talks me through it. He is incredibly supportive of all my endeavours. He knows when I get cranky it’s just because I’m hungry. He tries very hard to not hurt me in any way. He never lies. I enjoy doing absolutely nothing with him. Oh, and we cook a lot together.

  35. Dianne

    My husband and I met when our best friends at the time got married. John was the best man, and I was the matron of honor. Neither of us was looking for love at the time; in fact, we had both given up on romance after ugly divorces, and had resigned ourselves to celibately raising our children–there are eight between us.

    The bride and groom asked if we could take them out the night before the wedding, to talk through the ceremony and help them relax from pre-ceremony jitters. (I never could understand wedding jitters. I’ve always believed that true love casts out jitters). I arrived late, walked into the bar, and was introduced. Time stood still, and both of our friends swear to this day that they saw a giant blue spark pass between us. The rest of the evening we talked over wine, and behaved like…two people who had just been zapped by a gigantic blue high-voltage spark: rather stunned!

    After the wedding the next day, more than one guest commented that there was more chemistry between John and I than there was between the bride and groom. I felt that wordless promises were exchanged that day, though I could not even think of words to explain what was happening.

    Late that evening, before he tenderly kissed me for the first time, he drew back and said, “You should know before you accept my kiss that with it comes my heart forever.” “I do know”, I whispered breathless, “and I offer you mine”.

    A week later he was on one knee in his working white Naval uniform, proposing. Four and one half years later, there is a pair of white pants in our closet with one dirty knee. He refuses to send them to the cleaners and plans on telling our grandchildren the story behind them.

    Together we have faced and overcome many challenges. Love has given us courage to navigate major life and career transitions with joy and laughter. Unconditional, passionate, crazy love has given us each the freedom to heal and to blossom into the people we always dreamt were deep inside of us. We are more madly in love than ever; the fires burn hotter, the passion has grown deeper and richer.

    At Christmas, he prepared my favourite recipes…gluten-free. Right after he threw away everything containing gluten, because “I don’t ever want to make anything you can’t eat”.

    Sweet love. EVERY day is a celebration. This year, he is in Afghanistan, where rockets are delivered more frequently than flowers and my homemade fudge brownies will not survive the trip. Our hearts will feast on life-giving intimacy that spans half a globe, and we will taste the richness of food, wine and kisses six months later.

  36. Cheryl Arkison

    My husband and I have been together since our early 20s, having met at a bar. How cliche of us. We’ve been through the drunken energy of youth, a great party of a wedding, long distance, moves, deaths, babies, home ownership, entrepreneurship, and the joys and trials of every day life between two strong-willed people.

    The moment of love that is profound for me came last summer. We’d been expecting our third, only to find out at the end of the first trimester that there was no longer a heart beat. Before we could do anything we had to travel to the coast for the funeral of a dear family friend. We lived a week in this surreal state of being/not being pregnant. On the way home my body decided to miscarry on its own. Because I never do anything half-assed I ended up in the ER with a lot of blood and emotional trauma to us both.

    It was a lot for both of us to take in such a short period of time. Tears, beer, and time is what it took. But there was one afternoon, shortly after our girls went down for their nap, that I succumbed and needed to be held up by my man. Instead of simply wiping away my tears and giving me random words of comfort he took he into his arms, literally. He lay with me as I fought to get under the covers and never get up. We cried together and fell asleep. And when the elephant thuds of our two girls woke us up I couldn’t shake the feeling that indeed, we would be okay. We would be okay because we had each other.

  37. Dorian Tenore-Bartilucci

    Shauna, I was so moved by your friend’s beautiful, hard-won love story. I hope your friend and her darling will be warm and happy together for the rest of their (long and happy) lives!

    Since you and the folks here are sharing your love stories, I wanted to share my husband Vinnie’s blog post for our 20th anniversary from July 14th, 2009. (We are still very happily married and expect to stay that way — not to put the whammy on it! We don’t believe in taking good fortune for granted! 🙂 My dear late Mom was still alive and well at the time, hence Vinnie’s mention of her. Here it is:

    “On spending two decades plus with the same person”

    A guy is sitting in his favorite chair, looking melancholy; a tear runs down his cheek. His wife asks him, “What’s wrong with you?”

    He looks at her and say “Do you remember when your father found us in your bedroom, and he got out his shotgun and said if I didn’t marry you, he’d have me sent to prison for twenty years?”

    “Yeah, and?”

    He sighs quietly. “I would have gotten out today.”

    As of today, I have been married to The Wife for twenty years. Counting the time we were affianced and just plain going out together, I have been with her longer than I have been without her. I am happy to say I have not regretted it.

    I proposed after the third or so date; she didn’t actually accept until several weeks later. We were necking in an old book store, and in a fit of passion I asked her to marry me again, and she said yes. As I opened my eyes in joy, I spied a first printing copy of Earthman’s Burden by Gordon Dickson on a shelf, which I had been looking for just forever. If that’s not a good omen, I don’t know what is.

    I didn’t have a ring or anything, and we both knew we weren’t in a position to actually get married, we just knew that we would indeed get married when we could afford it. (we were as annoyingly practical when it came to having kids too, which is why we didn’t have The Kid until eight years after were got hitched) So to celebrate, I got her a piece of chocolate cheesecake. When she finished it, I asked her to give me the styrofoam box. When she asked why, I explained, “So when we finally get the ring, I can put it in the box and hand it to you. She thought that was adorable, handed it to me, and promptly forgot about it.

    Several years later, we went to Fortunoff’s to pick up the ring; I was carrying a small paper bag. I got the ring, distracted her for a moment, there was a rustling of brown paper, and handed her a styrofoam pie-slice box. She fell apart — it couldn’t have gone any better.

    Our wedding ceremony was performed by my old High School English teacher, who had since joined the priesthood. Eight years later he baptized The Kid. Our reception was something out of of Goodfellas, complete with the satin bag full of cash, which was promptly seized by the mother of the bride to pay for said reception.

    We’ve moved four times in that time, which is as I understand it, below average. we’ve gone from job to job, but never reaching a point where money has ever become an argument point. Our arguments have been few, far between, petty and pointless, and quickly sorted. We spend most of our time quoting movies at each other, being witty and urbane, and generally laughing our asses off.

    Her mom remains bewildered as to how we could possibly be happy, since we are not rich and do not live in a fourteen-room mansion. But as the years have ground on, her mom has had to admit that we ARE happy, she just can’t possibly grasp how.

    She fits in my arms, and fills in the bits about movies that I don’t. We have shared things with each other — she had never read Douglas Adams, and I had never seen Little Shop of Horrors. I explained how the DC Multiverse to her, and she explained the appeal of Shell Scott novels. I got a few writing gigs from her old boss, and she went to work for Jim Shooter at Defiant, where she met Steve Ditko. Twice.

    Considering all the things that could happen in a relationship, and the few things that have, we’ve apparently gotten very good at dodging bullets. I’m hoping our luck holds out. We’re both in pretty good shape (searches frantically for a piece of wood to knock — stupid pre-made cubicles) and expect to be stuck with each other for quite some time to come.

    Works for me.

  38. anamcara1004

    I started dating a man while in college. Had I paid attention to the feeling in the pit of my stomach, I may have saved myself a heap of heartache and time, but I was young and impatient and wanted to be in love.

    We dated for almost five years, going through a lot with each other, sharing experiences, and at a certain point, I found out that I was technically the “other woman”: this man had another girlfriend who lived abroad and they had been together before he even met me.

    I was flabbergasted at the time and felt quite the fool. How could I not have known? How could he not love ME? In hindsight, little things made more sense. His weird vacations to see an Army buddy he claimed to not like most of the time…how he would be unreachable for weeks (this being before cell phones, etc.).

    During the time we dated though, I met some of his friends and suffice it to say, when things came to light, his friends decided I was worth keeping around, not him. These friends D & R, were a man and woman, a couple and D listened to me cry and helped soothe my soul with his friendship.

    Within the last six months of dating old boyfriend, D moved out from his campus apartment, into a more adult apartment with SJ. I had met SJ one night when we picked D up to go see a movie. Then D got an awesome job out of state and SJ threw a going away party for him and I went to celebrate my friend, D.

    I wasn’t interested in dating anyone. I wasn’t ready to open my heart again. But SJ was funny and SMART (and well, cute). He hit on me without any subtlety at the going away party and even when I rebuffed him, he was funny about it. We decided to be friends – because every single lady knows you always need that “nice” guy that you can take to adult functions. Plus, he knew from D what the background was – so I didn’t have to rehash the whole stupid saga of old boyfriend. He just knew and we moved on from his silent understanding that this would take some time.

    Our first date was a double showing of the 2nd “Austin Powers” movie and the “South Park” movie – to give you an idea of our sense of humor. From the first date, came the second, then the first kiss which happened late at night, under a bright light in a soft, warm, light rain and it made my legs and head swoon.

    D was not at all happy about SJ becoming my next boyfriend – he issued very stern warnings about what would happen if SJ hurt me. In the end though, SJ was D’s best man at his wedding to R. And D was SJ’s best man at our wedding. And we are blessed to be godparents to their daughter, who we adore.

    SJ and I have had our troubles and our miscommunications and our stony silences. But at the end of the day, he’s made me a better person just because he’s let me into his life. He taught me what true unconditional love is. He’s believed in me from day one, even when all he got was the cold shoulder. He’s been my tower of strength and my cheerleader and my knight in shining armor.

    He makes me laugh every day. He makes me swoon every night when I come home and he gives me a huge hug and kiss, and tells me how much he missed me during the day.

    We gross people out because even after 12 years together – 7.5 as a married couple – we still act like a pair of teenagers in love. We hold hands and cuddle. And laugh A LOT!

    We’ve seen some smaller dreams shatter and honestly, it’s made us stronger because we have each other.

    I’d go through everything again if, at the end, he was still there. He’s worth everything to me. He is truly my anam cara – my soul friend.

    He is the macaroni to my cheese, the peanut butter to my jelly and the warm hearth to my soul.

  39. Christine Couvelier

    My Passion For Food led me to the love of my life.

    I was not looking for a relationship & I was never going to be married again. I had instructed many girlfriends to lock my in a closet if I ever said I was getting married again.

    I was happy, very, very successful in my career, had a wonderful daughter, a great house, a fun car, tons of friends — what more did I need in my life ?

    As my world revolves around food, I was reading the restaurant review one day in a national newspaper — there under the review were the personals.

    We all have from time to time, read the personals — they are usually small, like a postage stamp. But, there was one there that looked like a long column.

    Hmm, what was that .. I read it .. and dropped the paper. Goosebumps on my arms. This was nuts.

    I read it again the next day, and knew he was speaking to me.

    It was a love letter & he was writing it to me !!
    The only hitch was that he was on the other side of the country. But something told me to do this.
    So I made up a name & made up an e-mail address ( did not send a picture, was I nuts ! ) — and sent off a reply.

    He answered that night — we talked for a few days via e-mail. I could not find anything about him when I googled him — turns out he made up a name & made up an e-mail address too!!

    Then we talked in person .. and he sounded wonderful. He had received over 700 responses to the ad & he felt I was speaking to him also. He flew to meet me that week.

    I knew as he walked across the room .. this was my love.

    We met the next week on his side of the country .. then I started to fly back and forth each weekend .. this was serious.

    What was I doing not being with him all the time.

    I talked to my daughter, who said she just wanted me to be happy !!
    So, I left my job, sold my house, left my daughter in university ( it was Mom who was moving ! ) — and moved to the other side of the country.

    He proposed within 2 months of the ad, I moved 3 months after the ad, & we were married 8 months after the ad.

    After being married now for 2 1/2 years, — I now know what it means for my heart to be happy !!!!

    Our lives are filled with great food & great wines & great adventures & great love.

  40. Kristina

    I have been with the love of my life for almost 9 years. And I’ve known him most of my life. Since middle school anyway. For a while, we even hung out with the same bad crowd. But never together. We had never even really spoke to each other. But that changed when we were juniors in high school. I had been going through a very rough patch, (that I’m not going to get into here), and I had decided that I was going to be celibate and just focus on my studies. The girls at my school were particularly cruel to me, and during Spanish class they would sit in my seat and tell me horrible things and taunt me. I sort of sensed that he liked me, so I would always have him move with me, so that I wouldn’t be alone. We would pass notes during class. And laugh. And he always made me feel at ease and safe. One day I passed him a note that said, “So, are we going to prom or what?” I think he literally shit a brick. And we went. And he was so handsome. And it was perfect. And we have been practically inseparable ever since.

    He asked me to marry him at one point, but I wasn’t ready. Even though I always thought that we were soul mates. And would eventually. When I was finally ready, he wasn’t. Today we’re still not. But we both want to someday. Probably when I’m done with graduate school.

    But things haven’t always been so happy. When I was about to graduate college with my BFA, he decided that he couldn’t be second to my art anymore, and that he needed to find himself and see what life was like without me. I was devastated. I stopped eating. I stopped going to school. It was probably the hardest thing either of us have ever been through. But even while we were apart, we were really together. We would talk everyday, and send very intense text messages, and we still had that deep connection. It’s hard to explain, but we would have the same dreams. We would wake up at the same time in the middle of the night. I could feel him with me when he wasn’t… It was hard, but honestly it made my work much stronger. And after a while, things just fell back in place. We were together again, we were happy, we were communicating and understanding each other on a level we never imagined.

    And two years passed. It was great. But I was miserable in my job and he had been pushing me forever, to go back to school and get my master’s degree, so that I could one day get the job I really wanted (to teach art on the collegiate level.) And I finally listened to him and applied. And I ended up getting into 6 of the 8 schools I applied to. And I ended up picking my number 1 choice as the school I would attend… I always thought that he would come with me, but when the time came, he stayed in Ohio to pursue his love of music. And I moved to Texas to attend school… We are still together and madly in love, but the long distance is very hard. We try to see each other every few months, but it’s just not the same as being in the same town and getting to see each other all of the time. It oftentimes feels like we’re living separate lives. But we try to make it work. This Valentine’s Day will be the first one in almost a decade that we’ll spend it apart. I know that it will be hard. But I know that we’ll make it through it.

  41. Melissa

    Without my illnesses, we never would have met.

    He worked at the college magazine and wanted to interview me for an article on what it was like to be disabled on campus. At the time, I was suffering from undiagnosed, untreated lupus and Celiac, and was so weak I couldn’t walk without help from a cane.

    I was too sick to stay in school and took the next semester off. I got diagnosed with lupus — the Celiac diagnosis wouldn’t come for another five years — and went back to school in the fall without the cane. I applied to work at the newspaper, where I was reunited with that goofy reporter. We met at a Blues Traveler concert, and I tested how cool he was by enticing him to dance. He passed.

    We’ve been married for two and a half years, and he was by my side last year when, once again, I was too sick to sit up or bathe myself. He was the one who helped me get dressed and brush my teeth. He drove me everywhere when my seizures took over, and carried me to bed when I was too weak to walk.

    And he was sitting right next to me in the doctor’s office when we expected to hear that the lupus had started attacking my brain. Instead, I got the Celiac diagnosis, and he helped me weather the transition.

    Now, thankfully, our lives can focus on something other than me being sick.

  42. Kari

    My story starts with Craigslist. I had pretty recently gotten out of a 5 year relationship that taught me a lot about what I didn’t want in a future husband. Determined to make the best of it, I moped for a while then got back on the dating wagon. After going on a few dates and feeling frustrated with dating and not finding the connection I wanted I posted an ad on craigslist. I didn’t expect anything to happen, but then I got an email from J. Attached was his picture: Chacos on his feet, fish in his hand and the smile that made me fall in love with him on his face. We emailed a few times, found out that we had a TON in common and he asked me to go to a concert with him.

    Going into it I was nervous but tried to keep my hopes from getting too high. The moment I walked down the side walk to see his smiling face I knew that he was different. We had the best time at the concert and haven’t stopped smiling since.

    We aren’t married (yet) and have only been together for 8 months, but I know he is the man I will be with for the rest of my life. He makes me the best Me I can be.

    On a side note, he went Gluten-Free about a month after we met, and now we live a Gluten Free life together and enjoy every minute of it!

  43. Leah

    My now-husband and I used to work together at a terrible dead end sales job. I had just gotten out of a nasty relationship and wasn’t looking but he had his eyes set on me. After we worked together for 5 months, I invited him, along with a bunch of other coworkers, to a wine party at my house that I still lived in with my ex. Awkward much? Anyway, we had a great time and he and I ended up talking on the kitchen floor until the weee hours and consumed far too much wine for anyone’s liking. And there may have been a kiss under the stars when I walked him to his car.

    We didn’t get serious for a couple of months but casually dated and hid it at work. We snuck kisses in the elevator, he’d think of excuses to come to my cubicle, it was all butterflies. Another 5 months later, I got let go at my job, my lease was up and not eligible for renewal and I was up a creek. I ended up moving in with him, on a whim really, and thinking that as soon as I got a job, I’d set up shop somewhere else. Well, this was 2008/2009 and the job market did not fare well. I didn’t find a job for another 6 months and by then, I was head over heels and couldn’t dream of moving out.

    We got married last year. This is our first Valentine’s Day as man and wife and I look forward to another 60.

  44. hannah

    gosh, i love this.

    i don’t have a love story, but i’ll tell you a little story about my parents.

    one day, my dad was out hiking and was thinking about my mom. he looked down at that very moment and saw a stone, in the perfect shape of a heart. he brought it back to her and now she carries it in her purse.

    i just love that. 🙂 it’s nice to have parents who are in love, even after 25 years together.

  45. Ellen W

    I had moved to Chapel Hill to attend grad school. Part of the reason I left Texas was to get a clean break from the ex-college boyfriend whom I was still emotionally involved with at the time. Within a few months I met my now husband at church in the grad school/20-30’s group. He had not had an active faith life for the past 15 years or so and had recently started attending church.

    When I started dating him, I realized what it was like to date a grown up. He didn’t have silly rules about waiting 3 days after a date to call me and he owned a house. Nine months later we were engaged and another nine months later we got married. We have now been married for almost 9 years and have two wonderful boys – 5 years old and 20 months. Seeing my husband become a dad has made me love him even more.

  46. Lisa

    My freshman year of college, over half of the girls on my floor were in the same biology class. We had an exam every other Tuesday night. After our very first exam, all of us were standing in the hallway discussing our answers. With 25+ girls standing in the hallway, the door opened and a stunned guy walked in. Somewhat taken aback at the number of girls, he managed to stammer out if we knew where he could find a high school friend of his. Feeling rather punchy, I immediately asked him what he’d give me if I told him. After stumbling over his words for a 10 seconds of so, he managed to spit out that he’d give me his eternal happiness.

    We became good friends that fall, toyed with the idea of something more and had our first official date on Valentine’s Day. That date was the first of many unsuccessful Valentine’s Day we’ve spent together over the years. We ate a dinner he planned to make but I prepared because he didn’t know how (in a friend’s kitchen he’d “borrowed” for the evening), gave up on ice skating because he feet blistered so bad, got a parking ticket and had many awkward moments. I backed out of our developing relationship a few weeks later claiming I wasn’t ready for a relationship, yet our friendship continued.

    As the school year came to an end, he came to say goodbye. We hugged and he gave me a quick kiss on my forehead. As I walked to my last final a few minutes later, I came to the realization that I didn’t want to say goodbye and I wanted to spend my life with him.

    A week later, he visited me at my parent’s house for my birthday. After all of my other friends had left, we sat on the couch and I shared with him that I was ready for the relationship to continue.

    This May will mark 14 years since that evening and we’ve been together ever since. He proposed two years later on my birthday and we married the following August. We celebrated our 10 year anniversary last August and have enjoyed every minute of our time together. While we’ve given up on celebrating Valentine’s Day, in all these years he’s given me happiness each and every day and I look forward to a lifetime of “eternal happiness”.

  47. Heidi

    My husband and I actually went to college together when I was finishing my undergrad. After graduation, I went to work in a neighboring town and didn’t see him after that. We weren’t really friends in college, we just did a lot of college activities and field trips together. My job suddenly ended when I was laid off after 3 years of working. I had no idea what to do, and so decided finally to go back to grad school. I was laid off in November and started grad school that summer. The next summer, I was working hard trying to finish my master’s project, two fields of chickpeas with lots of different plots. I also had some plants in the greenhouse. One day, I was at the greenhouse working when I ran into John. He was there to pick up some leftover plants from a club’s plant sale to sell through his wholesale nursery. We got to talking and I convinced him to let me have one of the echinacea plants and I would send him the money. Well, I never got his address and the fall semester started and I have to admit, I pretty much forgot about the $5 I owed him. Then one day, I got an e-mail from him. It was the middle of January. He asked if I wanted to go to lunch with him as payback for the plants. I agreed. I have to admit, it was not a good time for me. I had been having kidney stones for about 6 months and the week before our lunch, I had to have surgery on one. So, we went to our lunch, but I was pretty drugged up. I had a good time though and he offered to pay, which I refused since I owed him. He started asking me to lunch every week. I thought we were just friends. It was nice to have someone to talk to. It wasn’t until 3 months later that I realized he was interested in me. In May, I went to an interview in Hawaii and was offered the job a week later. I decided since I was leaving for who knows how long, that I would go on vacation with my family. I had a blast, but I was really missing John. I came back from vacation and John came over that night. We were talking about the job and he admitted he didn’t want me to go without him. We were married a month later. The job fell through, but I got an even better gift 9 months later, when our first son was born. Nearly five years have passed, and number 3 is on the way, and I fall more in love with him every day.

  48. lj

    I’ll admit that I’m already a bit emotional today, but wow. This was a really powerful and moving post. This is the kind of post that reminds me that yours is not just a blog about living gluten-free. It is a blog that celebrates living.

    I have a sort of sad story to share.
    My mom’s best friend lost her daughter last year in a car accident. The daughter and I grew up together- we were the same age, lived one street apart, her older sisters would babysit us. Since my friend’s death, our mothers have been coming to visit me in New York to see some of the creative projects i’ve been working on. I know my mom is trying to be a good friend, having these ‘big city adventures’ as they call them. But every time they come to visit, I can see the sadness in this woman’s eyes, the pain of knowing she’ll never have a chance to visit her own daughter in a far away city. My heart hurts so much when i look in to her eyes, but i know the only way to ease that hurt is to live with more liveliness, more love in my heart, to celebrate her daughter’s spirit in everything i do. And slowly i am learning how to do that- to embody the best qualities of my friend, to let my heart be filled, to follow my own bliss, and to love life.

  49. Kate Lam Sam

    How to keep this short….

    At 15, I was a sports freak and had lots of friends. My boyfriend was a cyclist, and the world seemed perfect. Then I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
    3 months later I was bed ridden, my friends had stopped calling, and my boyfriend came round one day, gave me some yellow roses, and left.
    We were so young, no one understood what was going on, and they had their lives to live.
    It still hurt though.

    When I returned to school over a year later, I made new friends, ones who stuck around through thick and thin, and I started to live my life – a new non sporty and slow way.
    I also didn’t want to let anybody, esp boys, get too close to me.

    Years went by, I somehow made it through University, got a job and decided to look for Mr right. By this time I was 26, felt like an old maid and figured that I was going to be living by myself for the rest of my life (perhaps with a few cats).
    I’m a christian and one day I told God. Ok, I give up, i’ve looked for the perfect guy and had no luck. If i’m supposed to get married, You find him!

    He did.

    2 months later I met my husband to be at my friends engagement party. He was to be the best man, and I the chief bridesmaid. We talked, exchanged phone numbers, and then he flew back home – 7 hours drive away.
    The day before our friends wedding he asked me out on a date. He pulled out all the stops and at the end of the night we decided to get married.

    I’m not the fairy tale type of girl, but I can tell you in all honesty, that I now believe in love at first sight!
    We have been married for almost four years now and we are even more in love than we were in the beginning. Life is good. I have two beautiful children, and now life really is perfect.

  50. Lindsay

    I was three months out of a relationship that I knew was never going anywhere, but still. Being single in a big city felt lonely, and I wanted to put myself out there. But at the same time I finally felt free and wanted to do things for myself. I went out on some Internet dates, but mostly spent time with friends and signed up for classes. My parents have a summer house on a lake, and they had bought a kayak. In anticipation of visiting, I decided to take a 4-week kayak class. The teacher split us into two groups, and off I went. It was harder than I thought, but still a lovely way to spend a night after work, gliding on the water watching the ducks dip their heads in and out. The next week, the two groups came together and the teacher paddled up beside me. We chatted, found a few things in common, and off he went to talk to the next boater. I was going to miss week three, so I switched my class to another night. At the last minute, I couldn’t make that class either. Week four, the last class, and the teacher and I talk some more. I don’t think much of it though, and the class ends. A few days later, I get an email from him asking if I want to go out sometime. My heart flutters. Our first date is on the fourth of July. Fireworks! He later tells me that when I rescheduled my class during week three, he rearranged his schedule to teach that class and was disappointed when I didn’t show up. Three and a half years later (just this past October), we are married. Our huppah poles are kayak paddles, carved out of wood.

  51. suzina

    So many similarities to your friend, it is amazing. I met my sweetheart 20 plus years ago, but just knew each other socially. I had closed my heart after a not so great relationship, so when this man came to me, I missed all of the signals until he reached out to me, and I too said yes! We have been together many years, with the last three years fighting a cancer diagnosis. (His). Once again I said yes! This time together may not be as long as I had hoped, but we are making the most of our time together. We don’t spend alot of time thinking, “what if”, but are leaping forward in life. We know how lucky to have found each other later in life, and count our blessings every day!

  52. Jessica @ Gluten Free Confessions

    Wow, how wonderful all these love stories! I dont think my story is anything special, but we met in college and dated for 3-4 months, then got engaged for 4 months then we were married. We have been married 6 years this April and still going strong! I pretty much left out all the lovey dovey details, but thats okay, I am enjoying reading everyone elses awesome stories. Thanks for the post!
    <3

  53. Carolyn

    I met my now husband on an Internet dating site. Yahoo Personals, to be exact. He was in Bahrain on a minesweeper looking for a penpal back home (Raleigh, NC) and I didn’t have anything better to do that day.

    I still don’t know what made me answer his initial e-mail. He broke all my “rules”–he hadn’t posted a picture *and* he was in the military. Eew. All I can say, is I was bored that day and in a pique of ‘doing my patriotic duty’ I answered the “not so drunk sailor” back.

    In the following months, I told him all about my adventures becoming someone who went on dates: about going out with friends, what movies I’d watched, what bands I’d seen, what books I was reading; about all the little details in life you share when you don’t really expect to ever see the person on the other end of the line. He told me about everything he liked, everything he was and what he did during the small amount of free time he got to spend off the ship.

    We got to know each other. He was seeing a girl over there and I was trying to be a dater, so a friendship blossomed. I created a chat space on my website so I could rush home from work and we could talk without him getting in trouble; he rearranged his schedule to be at the computer when I got off of work each day. We chatted. We griped. We both held on and looked forward to our time together more and more each day. He even managed to call a time or two. Then he told me he was coming back home.

    And we lost touch for a few months while he adjusted to life back in the States.

    Thankfully, one of his sisters intervened. I still thought about him, but in a ‘that was a nice chapter, let’s see what kind of drama I can get into instead’ way.

    And then he called and my heart skipped a beat. We had our first date on December 26, 2004, and the bottom fell out. He picked me up (which was a rarity–I never gave out my home address to strangers) and after I calmed down (apparently I wouldn’t look at him at all when he came in the door I was so nervous), we went to see The Aviator. During the movie, he reached over and just barely held my hand and I wanted to jump out of my skin. After dinner (at my favorite Italian restaurant at that time), he kissed me in the car and I thought I was going to die. It was all over from there. We ended up talking (literally–not a euphemism, ok, there was some kissing and a lot of snuggling but that’s all) all night and I got maybe half an hour of sleep before work the next day. He came back the next weekend (he was stationed in Florida), and the next, and the next, until it was clear that I needed to move to be with him. I remember thinking that this was the thing I was waiting for all through high school, all through college, in order to really start my life.

    We’ve been married coming up on five years in April, I couldn’t be happier about my decision to be with him and can’t wait to tell him so when we renew our vows in Vegas this year. He’s my best friend and even though we may have petty arguments and he can’t fight/debate for shit, he’s my closest confidant. I’m lucky that way.

  54. Jenny Eliuk @ Stay on Path

    My love story is simple but sweet: we met on a blind date set up by a mutual friend, and we’ve been together ever since (two and a half years). The cutest part of the story is that I met him at the bar of a nice restaurant in Vail Village, and a friend and co-worker was sitting at this small bar too, but I was so engrossed with him I never, ever noticed her! A very good start to what has been a very good relationship.

  55. Laura Fesmire

    My sweet 6 month old son was very ill. He was born with a kidney condition, but this episode seemed unrelated. His body was destroying his platelets and he was bleeding internally. My son and I were at the hospital while my husband and 2 yr old daughter waited for news at home. Tests were run, medications given, and the little guy improved. After four days, we were discharged. My son was on the road to recovery but I was emotionally spent and utterly exhausted from lack of sleep. Upon arriving home, my husband immediately took our son from my arms and ushered me to the bathroom. There were fresh towels he had placed on top of the radiator to warm in anticipation of my need for a long hot shower. After my shower he greeted me with hot tea and a freshly made bed. He cared for both children while I slept, waking me only to nurse the baby. I found out later I had slept for twelve hours.

    Fourteen years have passed since that January day and I have never forgotten how those hot towels felt, how the tea tasted, or how much I needed the rest. The four days I spent at the hospital were difficult for my husband. He became sole caregiver for our 2 yr old daughter not to mention dealing with anxiety over the health of our baby. When I returned from the hospital he could of handed me our daughter and showered and slept himself but he didn’t.
    He took care of me.

    When I think back to the many times my husband has shown his love to me over the years, this always tops the list. No roses, no diamonds, no candy…just pure unselfishness. That’s love!

  56. Summer

    This isn’t a whole love story, it is just a part.

    I returned to school during the fall of 2009 after 10 years. I was terrified and excited. I knew that it was going to be hard to balance the life of a mom, a wife and a full course load of university courses, but my husband said that he would support me.

    The day of my first exam a couple of months after I started school I was terrified. I had studied and studied and still I was so nervous about passing a real university exam after so long. The exam was on a Thursday and I returned home and discovered after checking my grade online that I had earned a high A.

    It was only then that my husband told me that he had lost his job on the Wednesday, the day before, and kept the news to himself until after my exam because he wanted me to do well.

    That is true love. Keeping hard news to yourself so that someone else can succeed. It was still devastating to hear that he had lost his job, but it was cushioned by an act of selflessness.

    Married life hasn’t been a walk in the park, but we have been married for 9 years and I am grateful for the small blessings as we muddle through.

  57. Diana Banana

    What a beautiful entry. To read my full response and more context for the love story you inspired me to put into words, you can view my blog entry here:

    http://dianabanana510.wordpress.com/2011/02/10/a-healthy-heart/

    In the meantime, here is the slightly shortened version:

    Sam and I were friends for several years before it dawned on us how much we cared about each other. Our love was a slow-moving force that finally found its stride in the summer of 2006, the night before he left for Nashville with his band. We found ourselves saying the lingering, tearful goodbye of lovers rather than friends, but the Nashville dream had a kind of stale inertia, so off he went. He had to give it a shot; that’s his nature. But we were both in the grips of something larger than our separate lives, a looming presence laced with possibility, and just as I was on the computer picking out a plane ticket to go see him, he called me and told me that his band had broken up and he was coming back home. And then our love story truly began.

    I suppose the Nashville tale is an amusing saga, but what matters to me more than how we fell in love is why we work and how we continue to love one another. We were 19 and 21 when our relationship took off that summer, the end of the age where you think you know who you are but only because you don’t know enough to know how much you don’t know. And so Sam and I have gotten to discover ourselves and each other together. His dedication and enthusiasm locked tight with my honesty and grounded-ness. In the light of laughter and music and art we have enjoyed this learning process immensely, and the deeper we go, the more compatible we realize we are.

    Sam and I have very similar bodies: big, strong frames with a tendency to store weight. We have both experienced the heavy stigma that comes with being heavy, we have both given in to despair, and we have both revived our hope and found the power to care once more. Looking back it is often hard to tell who was the leader and who the follower at any given point in our relationship because we take turns in such an intricate way, but I do know that it was Sam who broke our despair-induced-exercise-strike at the beginning of 2009 and inspired me to do the same. We are all private heroes when we love ourselves and each other enough to grow and inspire growth. Sam is my hero. He helped me save my own heart.

  58. Erica Leonard

    I hate NASCAR. Yet for some reason I decided to enter a contest to get tickest, and I won! I was so excited for the 5 day weekend that I decided to take my friend Dana out to play pool and darts. In walks Twon with his friends. I promply told my Dana “That guy is gonna talk to me.” After letting them make fun of my terrible pool skills, we got to talking. Another guy came up and tried to talk to me. Not once did Twon act like most men would. He bought me some water, waited till I got the guys number (he was cute!), and then we talked all night long. The next day Dana said I wopuld marry him. I told her “No Way!” By the time I met twon I was pretty much jaded on relationships. I had just come out of a bad realtionship so i wasn’t really looking for another one. After 2 weeks of seeing each other everyday he told me that we would always be friends but we would probably never be together. I told him I appreciated his honesty and whatever happened, happened. 2 months later he asked me to be his girl. 1 month after that he asked my dad if he could marry me. 3 months later we decided to get pregnant. 10 months later we got married. This April will be our 3 year anniversary and I thank God for him each and everyday.

  59. Heather Jones

    I’ve been married for six years now to the most wonderful man, he’s a better parent than I will ever be and honest to a fault. When I look at him I can’t help but laugh because if someone had told me ten years ago I’d be married to someone like him I would have laughed in your face.

    My husband is an ex-con, a walking statistic, an African-American man from a broken home who spent the whole of his twenties working as a “street pharmacist”. He spent some time behind bars and while there realized that he had not lived the kind of life that he truly wanted for himself. He wanted to be someone’s father, someone’s husband, he wanted to be admired, loved, and respected. We met in Church six months after he was released. He was good looking for sure but so not my type. I was a spoiled middle-class girl who two years prior had ended a long term relationship with a surgeon. But when he asked me for my phone number I said yes, and we’ve hardly spent a day apart since. Before him I don’t know if believed people could really change I believed the horrible stereotypes, the stuff you saw on the six o’clock news. I didn’t think there were too many “good” men out there but especially black men. My husband is a walking miracle, he has transformed his life in a way that few people have the opportunity to do and I’m so proud and thank God for him every day.

    I just realized something else, I have never shared my husband’s story with my food community still afraid of what others might think but you know what it feels good.

    Happy Valentine’s Day Shauna to you and your beautiful family

  60. Jennifer

    25 years ago….. The sweet, hypnotic smell of tuberose filled our home in Corpus Christi, TX.
    I was all of 19 and getting married. I was so proud of my fingernails. I had stopped biting them and they were long….pretty for the pictures.

    Oh, if I knew then, what I know now. Would I change anything? I think not. We were young and in love and full of dreams.

    This walk of marriage is not for the faint of heart. Neither is parenting! But oh…..how my heart can feel so full…it is only from God.

    My dress cost $300. We rented ferns from the local greenhouse for the day. I DID know at that time I didn’t want my parents to spend alot of money on 15 minutes. I would not change that.

    It was a sweet, funny service. My sister, who HATED the pink dress I chose for her, stood with me. I thought the dress looked JUST like the dress Leisel wore in her “I am 16, going on 17 dance” from the Sound of Music. My sister, not so much.
    Jay’s brother stood with him.
    The pianist was AWFUL! The photographer-not nice. But our families were there and that was good with us. It was over 100 degrees that day. Our get-away car from the church-didn’t get away. 🙂

    Our honeymoon was to my Aunt’s ranch in Burton, Texas. So beautiful. The nerves, the shyness, the laughter. Growing up….all at once. I got my ears pierced in Houston on our honeymoon!

    Now, 25 years later. We are still in love. We are still learning. Still growing.

    My son is a junior in college-older than I was when I got married! A sweet, funny, handsome, talented young man. How did he get so big? I am no longer the woman in his life. I continue to let go.
    My daughter is 13 and a woman-child. I look at her and time is racing by. I want to freeze it.
    I see her laying on her bed, reading and listening to her ipod and want to hold her there.

    And Jay, my partner, my friend, my love. So patient, so giving….I don’t deserve him….I’m pretty sure he doesn’t deserve me! (had to throw some humor in there)
    He knows me and still loves me. I am home.

    Thankful. Hopeful. Full. looking to the next 25 years.

  61. The Healthy Apple

    I love this post, Shauna. Such a beautiful story; thank you for sharing this with all of us. You are amazing…this recipe is incredible and I cannot wait to create this tenderloin deliciousness for myself on Love Day… Enjoy your Love Day with your beautiful family and have a great night. Thank you again for sharing such an inspirational story…you’ve touched many hearts, including mine…Always and forever. xoxo Aims

  62. Mo

    The first time I saw him, he was riding his mountain bike though our college campus. I stopped in my tracks. Dang, he was cute…all long-haired and hippied out…just the way I liked it. Nothing much happened between us for twelve years. Our brothers were good friends, we ran with the same crowd, he threw a mean kegger; almost every weekend. We dated lots of other people. We graduated. He moved to Sun Valley to live the life of a ski bum. I stayed in our college town and did my thing. Four years later, he was back to get his masters and, fortunately, I was still there. Although we both had significant others, they didn’t last long and we found ourselves floating down the Yakima River with friends and family one summer. I couldn’t get my eyes off of him. We danced away the night. Now, I was wondering how to start hanging out with this guy.
    That fall, my brother was getting married, with his brother as the best man. I invited him to the wedding and he agreed. We were having a blast, dancing and talking. I should mention two things at this point; 1. He is 6’ 5” tall and 2. We are children of the eighties.
    On the dance floor, a circle is formed and he begins to break dance. Booze had been imbibed, the man has never quite grasped how much space his large frame takes up, and sure enough his foot met the eye of a woman in the circle of onlookers…my sister. Those rubber-soled Birks packed a punch. There was blood and a huge gash just below my sister’s brow. The ambulance came, took her to the ER, and she left with 9 stitches.
    He felt terrible and it took a lot of comforting from me to make him feel better. My sister was in good spirits when she left, it was an accident, and she had known him almost as long as I. He would be forgiven.
    My friends, other brothers and I had gone in on a hotel room and all headed back. He came with us. He had just got a new puppy that we had to sneak into the room. We shared a kiss and began to doze. The puppy was constantly licking its fur and my brothers kept yelling at me to stop making out. I wasn’t. They didn’t believe me, but what can a girl say? That was our first date.
    The next morning, as I drove him to his car, we made plans for walks and hanging out together. A year later we were engaged and now we are seven years blissfully married with two spirited boys. I love our story and I love him. Life has never been boring.

  63. Tracy

    My love story involves NYC as well. I went to NYC for grad school, and while it was tough in a lot of ways, it was the only I think I could come into myself, to figure myself out. I was 300+ miles from my family, and that distance helped me, figure out me, not what my mother expected of me, not what my father expected of me, just me. So I am not a slender girl, Rubenesque is really how I am, I will always be, even if I manage to hit that magic number that the doctors tell you is healthy. After living in NYC and changing my eating habits to be, well mine, I dropped 80lbs, yes 80 (a bunch came back after moving to the suburbs, but meh). So needless to say, I’m in my midtwenties, in NYC and well, dong what midtwenties woman would do, Date!

    So I did.

    While I was dating I met my fiance (who is a Celiac, but I didn’t really know what that meant then and neither did he), and he knew I was dating I was open but not wanting to get pinned down. So he wooed me, yes woo. Everyone should be wooed. I tell my young coworkers, then ones just out of college that every woman should be wooed, at least once. I’m not talking about opening doors and flowers and stuff, but the kind where he would call everyday and ask me how I was, he would come visit from Boston, and started visiting him. We talked, we existed and it was easy. Needless to say he wooed me away from who I was dating and I ended up moving up to Boston.

    Nearly 5 years later we’re in engaged, we knew we would be 6 months into dating each other, but when you’re with someone and you know that they’re yours and you are theirs for all your differences and all your similarities, time doesn’t really matter, just that you get to enjoy it together.

  64. Allison

    Sigh, Shauna, your entire post made me weepy!!! So happy for all those happy endings! Love exists!

    I, too, am blessed to be living a love story.

    In January of 2010, I was in the process of ending a relationship with someone I deeply loved but who was all sorts of wrong for me. That same month, I reconnected on Facebook with my very first boyfriend, James, from 1985…we were high school sweethearts who spent about 3 years together, on and off, and hadn’t been in contact in about 23 years.

    (Sidenote – also in January of 2010 I was becoming very, very ill.)

    For months we shared emails about our lives and discussed what we’d been up to the past two-plus decades. We talked of heart-breaks and, five years earlier, he had been in a situation eerily similar to the one I was getting out of. He completely understood what I was going through.

    He listened to my endless tales of woe regarding the end of that relationship – including my declarations that, “I will never love anyone again”, “I will never date anyone again”, and “I will never have sex with anyone again”.

    As I got progressively sicker over the months and the doctors had yet to figure out what was wrong with me, he became a closer and closer friend. We began chatting online and stayed up way too late many nights because neither of us wanted to say good-bye.

    Finally, in early Summer, I became so ill with my blood pressure up to 190/120 and I was put on medical disability and bed rest. James continued to check in on me daily and our online chats turned into phone calls. It was so odd hearing his voice that first time, yet totally familiar and comforting.

    I was still, despite how ill I was (love is blind, as well as idiotic, at times!) going on and on about my broken heart, and he still listened and commiserated with the patience of a saint.

    Trying to tip the Universe in my favor, I had made a list of all the qualities I wanted in my next boyfriend, despite still professing to never wanting another boyfriend, and not even knowing if I was going to get well enough to ever have one.

    One of the things on that very long list was, “Must have Celiac” (my last boyfriend did and it just made things easier, since I do) and another was, “Must live nearby”. James laughed when he read my list and said, “Well, that’s a great list, but you might have to compromise on something…”

    In August, at the height of my illness (I was diagnosed with hypertension, thyroid disease and CKD) when I was disgustingly skinny and weak, James drove 2 hours from his house in NJ to my apartment in NYC to visit me. Somehow, I made him dinner, though I had no appetite myself, but no one comes to my apartment without being fed!

    We spent the day watching Castaway and comfortably hanging out on the couch, me laying down, my legs over his lap, and mostly talking about everything. We never ran out of things to say, but I didn’t feel a love connection and that disappointed me, because he was the most wonderful man I’d ever known.

    About 7pm I took my hair down – it had been up because it was so hot out, but one of my medications made my scalp hurt and I couldn’t take the pain anymore. As my very long hair came down, he smiled big and said, “Look at your hair!” and in that moment something hit me (I think it was Cupid’s Arrow) and I kissed him.

    We’ve been inseparable since, and just celebrated our “6 month-a-versary”.

    His love helped save me and get me back to life. His love helped heal my heart from the ache of the one before him. His love supports me every single day as I navigate my ‘new normal’ with medical challenges. I have never been so happy as I am now. I have no idea how I got so lucky to have this second chance with him (and a second chance at life). I believe that he, quite literally, saved me.

    We are getting engaged this year and plan to be married next.

    I recently asked him, “When did you know you wanted to marry me?” and he said, “25 years ago.”

    He doesn’t have Celiac (ha!) and he lives 2 hours away, but he’s still my Mr. Everything I Ever Wanted. I am so blessed.

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours, Shauna!

  65. kelbel

    Experts say that if you can’t recall the first time you met your love, you’re doomed to failure. Not so, I say!
    I met my love in high school. Neither one of us remembers the first time we met. It wasn’t instant attraction. In fact, we were friends for years. We hung out with the same group of kids. Somewhere along the way, a spark happened. The friendship changed into mutual attraction, then into love. We have been together since December 1, 1986. In that time (almost 25 years!?!) we moved out of state together, lived together, eloped, had two amazing children, and managed to remain friends in love. We have ups and downs. Communication, honesty, understanding, and respect seem to pull us through.
    Will I get roses on Valentine’s Day? Probably not. (He knows I like tulips better anyway.) But maybe we’ll pull out some old love notes and photos and open up a bottle of red wine. We’ll laugh at things that nobody else would get. We’ll look at the past and toast our future.
    Does it matter that we can’t chuckle about our first meeting? Nah, I think that the love that blossoms from friendship grows in pretty rich soil.
    Thanks for asking, Shauna ; )

  66. Patricia

    My love story began about 16 weeks ago when a seed was planted. And it’s growing bigger and better every day.

    [Actually it began when my husband and I met over ten years ago, because knowing that this life growing inside of me came from our love just makes it even stronger.]

    I don’t know whether this child of ours will be a boy or girl. I don’t know whether she’ll take up biking someday, or whether he’ll love cooking or hate it. In fact it’s even hard to fathom that there’s really a tiny person in there.

    But I’m already falling hard.

    p.s. I haven’t read fully through all the comments, so maybe I’m not the first to acknowledge it, but I love that you (surely with intention from what I, as a blog-reading stranger, know of you) cropped or framed that last photo to look like a perfectly imperfect deep crimson heart. That, Shauna, captures your love of food and the photography that can share it with the world.

  67. Courtney

    Shauna- thank you so much for your beautiful post. I am coming up to two years gluten free now, and I must say that reading your book and your blog have been a huge part of making that transition easier. So thank you.

    My love story is actually a gluten free story as well, which I don’t think is a coincidence…

    I had been suffering horribly from migraines, depression and general awfulness for close to ten years when I decided to go to a naturopathic doctor. After taking an incredibly thorough medical history, she recommended I cut out gluten for 3 weeks.

    And then my life changed. I was happy, I had energy, I lost 30 pounds and I was no longer in constant pain. I felt like my life was finally starting.

    A couple of weeks later, I ran into a guy I had gone to school with and always admired from afar. We fell insanely in love and I have really never been happier:)

    So gluten, or lack thereof, changed my life in more ways than one!

  68. Lucy

    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story.

    I met my fiance was my blind date to my high school junior prom. I didn’t want to go since I had no date and none of my friends were going, but my mother didn’t want me to miss out on such an important high school event. My younger sister set me up with a guy from her choir.

    I don’t believe in love at first sight, but the first time I saw him, I had a feeling that this person would become very important to me. We started dating after I graduated from high school and maintained our relationship throughout college even though we were on opposite coasts of the country. When I needed to stay on the east coast for medical school, he picked up his life and moved here for me. I know I’m so lucky to have him in my life.

  69. Jessica

    My love stories are not conventional love stories either, but (I like to think) life-love stories. I am still a young woman. And, yes! After years of self-depleting relationships–some lastingly traumatic–I am in a loving and productive partnership. I am privileged to call myself a partner to someone who, as my mother says, “makes [me] more of myself, not less.” But, this isn’t the love story I want to write about. It’s a fresh, open book I haven’t yet seen the ending to.

    What stories I have read enough to share are the ones where I learned to love not someone else, but myself–and the other loves that made that happen. I grew up as a sad girl. Frustrated. With a family I would never trade, but closed off. I’ve had many years of despair where I never thought I could be happy, warm, appreciative, safe, loved.

    When my parents divorced and my father re-married, I felt particularly alone. When, many difficult years later and into college, I found they were expecting, my heart hardened. At least, until the baby was born. I don’t know how he did it, but there is nothing in the world I would not do for this child. He’s too old for this now, and I’ll never get to share this with him, but my favorite memory from those years is holding him on my chest as an infant. Winter afternoon naps feeling this warm weight balanced on my body–so small, but so great–with a small fist gripping my shirt collar. Though I’d never had much “hope” for the future, this boy makes me believe absolutely in goodness. I am sure he will have a safe, happy life. Here is something to fight for.

    So, then, why have I never felt that way about myself? In the intervening years I have had many more difficult times. People I trusted absolutely have not been there for me. I have endured complete, consuming grief, fear and anger over dark things in my past. To some degree this is everybody’s story, and my heart opens to everyone on that count. Through those difficult years I haven’t mastered that belief in goodness in myself, but I have learned to try (and to admire everyone else for fighting this fight every day, too!). I have learned that to find a life to fight for, I must make it myself. Who am I not to think that I’m beautiful? Why did I take so long to realize not just the sensual and productive pleasures, but the absolutely life-affirming feeling, that comes from kneading bread dough, from sorting through a weekly box of farm-share greens? If there is no inherent happiness in life I certainly wouldn’t have had the delight to cut open my first golden beets–and that’s something to hold on to. Really, if those vibrant, welcoming golden beets aren’t a sign of benevolence, what could be?

    When I envision my future, I see it full of creation. I see new drawings to express the joy I found; new hand-work to keep my fingers busy, and new maintenance skills to keep my life running smoothly; nourishing food, and a happy kitchen; I see I see children, and love, and growing, and bright lights casting out onto snow on a dark winter night.

    The tattoo stories on this blog are particularly meaningful to me because I have my own. During those times of grief I drew a raven taking flight and placed it on my shoulder–about the size of a palm, so no small task to get it tattooed for the girl with a fear of needles!–and every day I look at it, I remind myself of the deep, dark, comforting places within myself, the wisdom and the ability to take flight.

    I am not gluten-free but I love reading this blog for the bravery to accept happiness as a lifestyle. How wonderful.

  70. Ami

    My husband and I met the first day of high school.  Our last names begin with the same letter and so we were assigned to the same homeroom. We began a courtship which entailed sitting together in class, meeting up at football games, and his Dad driving us to movies.  This lasted about 2 months until one day he didn’t sit next to me at a pep assembly.

     Of course I had to end it. Ah teenager drama.
     
    We remained friends throughout high school, however after graduation we lost touch. He moved across the country and I got married and had a child. Several years later, I was long since divorced and he had just moved back to our hometown.  I was pub crawling with some friends on New Years Eve and from inside a local establishment he spotted me walking down the street.  As I turned the corner at the end of the street I heard someone yell my name.  

    Here I did something I never do when I hear my name, as my name is so common: I stopped and turned.  And there he was running around the corner.  We embraced and smiled giddily and said how nice it was to see each other. I gave him my phone number and continued on with my friends. 

    The next day he called and we began seeing each other.  In May of that year he moved 2 states away to find work, a five hour drive.    At the time I was a single mother and  just starting grad school. I was concerned we wouldn’t be able to make the long distance thing work, but somehow we did. For four years.  

    We had been together for 3.5 years and were on holiday in the OuterBanks. There on top of the largest sand dune on the island,  with the ocean on one side, the sound on the other and my son taking photos, he proposed. We were married later that year and he was able to move back the following year…and we are living happily ever after 🙂

  71. Jodi Nina

    My love story hasn’t happened yet. BUT, I wanted to thank you for you the story of your good friend – it helps me remember that love is out there and it will find you!

  72. Latinosunshine

    My Dh and I met at church only I dont remember the first meeting. I was off to Siberia to work with people with addictions. He told God privately he could never marry someone like me. I was too loud and conceited. Upon my return, we met again (and I remember it). I thought he was rude because I paid him a compliment on his singing and he thought now he had a public prominent position that now he was good enough for me to talk to. We went through a period of not liking each other as people. Through us volunteering together, we came to admire each other’s committment to spiritual things. We found out we both did not believe in dating but old fashioned courtship. God showed him 9 months before I even had a clue that I was going to be his wife. He prayed and then he sat me down and told me he was in it for the long haul (we hadnt even been out alone together) and wanted to use getting to know each other as marriage prep. He asked my parents and pastors for permission to court me (I was 24) and we started counseling right away for marriage. 2.5 years later, we married. We know God put us together and has kept us 11 years together through some rough times. He is still my best friend. I love him more each day and know I have been blessed with a precious gift from God.

  73. Stephanie

    Shauna,
    You’ve already heard bits of the story, in person and by tweet. But here it is:
    Michael and I were both involved with NW Bookfest back in the day. He was an insider, me, just a paid “friend of”. One year, we ended up on a after event panel that was asked to discuss what worked, what could have gone better, and general thoughts about books and authors. I faded into the background, but Michael was entertaining, a bit rude, and very visible. Later that year, he was a volunteer at a fundraising event that I attended with two friends. I pointed him out, mostly because he was pouring the champagne, an act of volunteerism I’d performed many times.
    Years later, I commented on an article he wrote for the newspaper. He responded, we emailed back and forth for a couple of weeks. He went out of town, and when he came back, we arranged to take a walk around Greenlake. Still not knowing much about each other that a determination that neither of us were old enough to be each other’s parent, we took the risk. We walked the lake twice that night, got an inexpensive dinner, and went our respective ways. Thing was, he had planned to attend friends’ anti-Valentine’s Day dinner that night, but by the time we parted company, it was too late. I figured out the next day that we had ‘not met’ twice before.
    By the time February ended, we were seeing each other pretty much every day. That lasted for about 6 months, continually getting more difficult. It stopped, badly. Fast forward 2 1/2 years, another February, and we had dinner together again. We’ve been together for 6 years now and can only imagine what fun and adventure we might have had if we had clicked that first time (perhaps 1995?) I guess the time wasn’t right. But we’re here now and he has stuck by me through these very difficult last years.

  74. Marna Mortimore

    A year after going through a divorce, I met my husband at a local bar we both frequented. I had seen him around several times, but never spoke to him. We’re both singers, and we were there for karaoke night. I approached him with a catalog of “adult toys” that I was selling, and we started talking. I told him I didn’t want a boyfriend, and that I was still working on myself after the divorce. He invited me to sit with his friends (I was alone, as I always was), and I instantly felt comfortable around him. We talked about restaurants, and he mentioned he had issues with wheat. I asked him if he had Celiac Disease, and he was shocked that I knew about it. You see, my ex-husband ALSO had Celiac Disease (I can pick ’em, can’t I?!?). We talked about different foods and places to eat. He took me out for our first “official” date 2 days later, and we got married 9 months after that. We’ve been married for over 3 years, and we have a beautiful 16 mth. old baby girl that is our pride and joy. Although I do not have any issues with gluten, I stayed gluten free for 15 months after our daughter was born in order to not contaminate her (she is still nursing). This past month I have started introducing gluten into her diet and she seems to be doing fine with it. 🙂
    So I guess this post is about 2 different kinds of love-the one I have for my husband, and the one I have for my daughter, in which I gladly gave up my gluten goodies for her well-being.

  75. G.

    When I met S. I was twenty-two and had just started my PhD. It was winter in Toronto, books scattered across my unmade bed, I walked black suited streets alone and watched the sun set between skyscrapers. I longed for the restless Pacific, the northwest forests lush and alive. Out east there is no ocean, just crystal sheets of ice melting and cracking form the top of the lake. The wind there was unlike anything I’d ever felt—comes roaring across the concrete and strikes hard, right into the bone.

    S. was in my course “Political Theory in the Age of Empire.” I knew he was from Montreal by his heavy French accent when he spoke English. I knew he was engaged by the single gold band around his finger. Still, I had so much empathy for him, doing a doctoral degree in a language he barely knew. I smiled across from him through the entire twenty minutes of his nerve-ridden and stumbling presentation in front of twenty snobbish and impatient graduate students (who had apparently never tried to take a course in a second language) for no reason other than to encourage him. Years later, he says that smile was the only thing that saved him from sobbing in frustration and despair when the dreaded presentation was finally finished.

    We had tea once after class in a café on campus, talked about our term papers. He walked me to the bus, snow flakes falling on our eyelashes, and I noted, with great sadness, his deep kindness, his quiet, tender warmth, knowing I could never reciprocate as fully and deeply as I wished I could. I had never had a boyfriend before; had never found someone that I could truly love. And for the first time in my entire life I desperately wanted one. I wanted to love and be loved by S.

    The course ended, taking me West to my family and him East to his. So much happened in that month. I started getting welts up and down my legs over Christmas, joint pain, was sleepy all the time. Found out I had an autoimmune disease called Sarcoidosis which made little welts on my lungs and heart– bruised sensitive one– and spent a week in the hospital mourning, morphine, machines breathed for me like God. When I got flew back to Toronto I was taking drugs, could walk again, joints weren’t as swollen, and I was determined to finish the school term. I was determined to see S. again and at least become close friends.

    But his heart had been bruised too. His fiancé had dumped him, betrayed him, and when he told me this sadness welled in his eyes but they were also very warm, like apartments at dusk. We saw ourselves so clearly then. Day dreamers so far from home, so in love with someone we barely knew but in whose eyes we saw the same quiet fire, the same wish to be good, to soften the suffering in this world. We both had our struggles. But that wasn’t what underpinned our falling in love. No. Our love came from the strongest and most resilient places within us, it flourished through the strong and quiet voice within that said Yes! when it would have been much easier to say no. We said, finally finally yes. And then, everything confirmed our courage.

    Five years later. We have survived a house fire that destroyed all of our belongings. We have moved West to finish our doctoral theses in solitude, in beauty, in peace. We have discovered and try each morning to tap into the faith that comes from loving fiercely the one who is rightfully yours, ‘especially if you have waited years and especially if part of you never believed you could deserve this loved and beckoning hand held out to you this way’ (David Whyte). On Valentines Day, my true love will make me a gluten free dinner (probably from your book, Shauna and Danny) and we will glow with gratitude, with appreciation, for all the quiet kisses, and all of the love; for how far we have truly come.

  76. Joy

    Hi, I live in Australia and many, many years ago I thought it would be fun to have some American penpals. I began writing to lots of different people all over America. There was one guy who was really nice and we began writing more and more to each other. Eventually all the others seemed to disappear and only he mattered. We wrote for almost 2 years and then he came over to visit. He arrived just before Christmas 1985. On Valentines Day 1986 he proposed! I of course said yes!! He then had to return to the U.S and gain residency here in Australia which was not an assured thing. We waited nervously for months and eventually he was accepted and he arrived back here. We were married in the Spring. This September we have been married for 25 years and I love him more now than ever. He is also my best friend and I am so glad I decided one day to write to strangers in a country so far away. He loves it here and we have a gorgeous son. You never quite know where or when you are going to find the ‘right one’ but when you do your life is blessed. Joy. 🙂

  77. Rosy

    I remember the first time I ever laid eyes on him. I remember the first time I heard his voice, and the first time our eyes met. I was startled to realize we understood each other without speaking. We were sixteen years old, and part of a religious group that forbade dating until marriageable age, so with no potential for a relationship, we silently agreed NOT to be friends at all. We weren’t even going to try to maintain a friendship on a shallow level. So I dismissed him.
    Four years later he was still there in the almost daily undercurrent of my life, the shadow under the streetlight assuring me I was safe in the dark, the eyes in the rear view mirror as we all carpooled to work, the voice in the room behind me reminding me I was not alone in the crowd… such a comfortable presence; my subconscious reference point. When he one day looked at me with different eyes, I couldn’t resist a playful insistence that HE break the silence. Our marriage eventually meant leaving that church group and we’ve since been to hell and back again together, but eleven years, three pretty babies, and one chronic disease later, we’re still talking and walking arm in arm like old souls in Elysium. “I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend…”
    Thanks for easing our recent dive into GF cooking and inspiring us to taste more of life together as a family.

  78. Linda

    I am often asked how I happened to meet and marry a Frenchman. Women often ask with awe and longing in their voices, like it must be heavenly, like it was magic or something. I guess it must not be that common although you wouldn’t think that if you started looking at all of the blogs out there written by American women married to French men.
    I was married before, for 26 years, to an American. After a very painful divorce and finding out how much of an illusion my marriage had been, I went through years of depression and floating about in life. I became a traveling nurse and moved around the States like a ball in pinball machine. It wasn’t until my oldest son and his wife were expecting their first child, my first grandchild, that I decided I wanted to be back in Texas. I didn’t want to move back to Dallas where I had lived with my ex, so I choose Austin, a city I had always been fascinated with. It’s not like most places in Texas but has a looser ambiance, a hippy feel left over from the 60’s.
    By then almost seven years had passed since my divorce and I felt ready to start dating again. I even joined a dating club and must have dated a dozen men but nothing clicked. Then I was set up on a blind date by some friends with this Frenchman. Was it love at first sight? No, but I found him attractive and he was a very nice man. A gentle man. He didn’t have that force field and aggressiveness that most American men seem to have and I found that refreshing. It wasn’t until our third date that there was that “bing” as he calls it.
    We dated for about 6 months and it was wonderful. Then he got transferred back to Paris-he worked for IBM. I visited him there a short time later and loved it, Paris not being the most romantic city in the world for nothing. But, when he asked me if I loved him enough to marry him one day, I really panicked. I wasn’t ready for marriage. I liked being single and in control of my life. So I went back to the States and started dating other men again. I broke it off with Maurice. Maurice is a man who can quietly get things done and get them done his way. He got himself transferred back to Austin a year later. The minute I heard his voice on the phone when he called me after he arrived, I don’t know why, but I knew I would marry him.
    We had our wedding in France, in a small village near Annecy close to the Swiss border. We ended up back in France via IBM again. Maurice retired a few years later and we still live in France. I know he would move back to the States with me if I wanted but I am enjoying life so much here that, even with guilt and longing for my family in the States, we live in France. We’ve been married for 11 years now. It hasn’t been a fairytale but it has been wonderful. He’s a great man and I feel very fortunate to have found him.

  79. Michele Burnard

    I was always thinking that I would be married by the time I was 25 and would have had my children by 30. Well needless to say that didn’t happen. My boyfriend of 4 years decided that we should go our separate ways and I was heartbroken. Fast forward a couple of years and an interesting conversation with fellow band mates…I should meet their friend…”you share the same sense of humour”…what could it hurt?? It took him 2 months to call and in the few minutes I talked to him, I knew this was an interesting guy…I was to see him in an hour to go for a plane ride over the city (he was the pilot). A blind date of sorts, with our friends there as well. It was great!

    Well it took him four years to propose and then only 9 months to get married. We bought a house together, have had 2 beautiful little boys (now 8 and 5) and have shared many great experiences. Then 2 1/2 years ago we were put through one of the hardest things we have ever had to face together…Greg was diagnosed with Stage 4A Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma…we were devestated, and Greg didn’t know what the future would hold for him, us and our family. He started his 6 rounds of chemo, and is now one treatment away from finishing his eight maintenance chemos. Our outlook on the future is far brighter than we first thought, as we have found out that you can live with his form of Stage 4 lymphoma for many years (some people we have talked to have had it for almost 30 years). He is still flying, looking forward to seeing our boys grow up, and the two of us growing old together. We have just celebrated our 10th anniversary, and I have never loved my hubby more. I never thought when I said “in sickness and in health” during our vows that it would come into play, but it did, and we’ve done well.

    Thanks for letting us share our stories. Cheers!

  80. E. M., "Pie Daddy"

    My wife and I have been together for 20 years (over half of our lives). Throughout those years, periodically, a new food allergy appeared and my wife had one more food or food group she had to avoid. From nuts, to sulfites, to gluten, we’ve had to adjust our lifestyle on a regular basis.

    The gluten intolerance was the latest issue, and for me, the last straw. So, because I’ve had to watch the love of my life completely stop enjoying food due to her limitations, I decided to take matters into my own, albeit, clueless hands. While gluten free foods, somewhat at least, have improved in taste, what we were able to acquire was just not cutting it. In fact, most were down-right awful.

    So, without much experience in the kitchen, I took it upon myself to start making gluten free food that she could not only eat, but she would want to eat. It was rough going at first, not just because I was learning how to cook and bake, but because what I had to work with was not always resulting in eatable fare. I was finding a great deal of the gluten free flours out there, well, leaving me wanting something else (which I’ve now found).

    But, after a couple years of discovery (including the fact that I’m actually pretty solid at this kitchen/baking thing), I now can give my wife “regular” tasting meals and baked goods. In fact, she was so ecstatic, she started calling me “Pie Daddy” after a string of successful pie making attempts. And, now, I am blogging about it all, telling our story and am so happy my best friend and wife of 16 years has started enjoying food again.

    E. M.
    Pie Daddy
    http://www.piedaddy.com
    iampiedaddy@gmail.com
    @iampiedaddy (Twitter)

  81. Sue Bastaja

    I thought I had found true love with my husband, as for me it really was love at first sight. But the deeper, richer meaning of true love came to me four years later when my beautiful daughter was born with severe cerebral palsy. The perfect love that my son and I shared with my daughter, Mary Therese, expanded our capacity to love in ways we could not have predicted. I had never felt the vast, joyful love that I saw in my child’s eyes every time I walked in the room. She would nearly jump out of her wheelchair in excitement whenever she saw me. We knew from the start that Mary would not be with us here for very long, so we challenged ourselves to make the most of every moment. By God’s grace we were able to keep Mary for eight years and everything we did for her was a labor of love. She never once complained when her body wouldn’t do the things that others found easy, or the asthma kept her inside for the last four years. When her severe food allergies to all food protein set her immune system to attacking her own body, not a whisper of distress was heard. She gave up all food except a hydrolyzed protein formula through a feeding tube. Mary shouldered it all with heroic patience and fortitude that made us all stronger. My husband chose to withdraw and separate himself emotionally, eventually leaving. But my son and I were there with Mary helping her to bear her crosses and never withdrawing to protect ourselves. We knew the end of her life would come, and when it did we were determined not to have any regrets. The joyful, fulfilling love that my daughter poured into our hearts can still be felt by everyone who knew her. Although we don’t have her here physically any longer, she taught us lessons in love that continue to refill our hearts on a daily basis. Love is powerful enough to bridge the space between Heaven and earth. I wrote and published her story, which is now available to help anyone who knows a child with special needs. Mary’s book is titled A Beacon of Joy: Finding Peace and Answers When Your Child Has Special Needs and it is available here http://dorrance.stores.yahoo.net/beofjofipean.html.
    Blessings,
    Sue Bastaja

  82. Laura

    How funny that you’ve featured this recipe today – my husband and I made it last night for friends, along with the potato puree. Everything was fabulous and we received lots of compliments.

    My husband gave me your cookbook for Christmas: he’s my chef and I’m his gluten-free girl. (Also, he thought the recipes in your cookbook were amazing!) That is my love story.

    But I do have a cooking question regarding the Pan-Seared Beef Tenderloin. When making it, my husband and I found that the second reduction when the veal stock was added took a long time. During this time, we were worried that the beef would get cold, so we put it in foil and put it in a very low oven. The beef stayed warm, but as a result, it was more medium than medium-rare when we went to eat it. However, if we had left the beef out, by the time the sauce reduced, it would have been cold. Do you have any suggestions for keeping the beef warm?

  83. Jo Anne

    My love story started so long ago. Only an idea, a longing to be a mother. But, as luck would have it, it was not an easy journey.

    We tried for many years, knowing that if it didn’t work we would adopt. But we also have our own business, so I found the need to balance the stress of trying to get pregnant—and failing month after month, year after year—with earning a living and creating a life. When we finally started the process of adoption, we decided we would adopt from China.

    The stress of being examined to determine your worthiness as a potential parent is enormous. It makes absolute sense because there needs to be a screening process to keep children safe. At the same time, when you are being asked to provide every little detail of your life down to your vet records, it tends to make you want to tear your hair out and scream at the unfairness of it all.

    After a very long process, we were finally ready to submit our application to China—and China changed their rules. We no longer qualified because my husband was outside the allowable age range. Totally frustrated, I completely and utterly gave up.

    Three days later I received a phone call from a friend. We were connected to a young woman who came to our country from Guatemala at 14 to work and send money home. Her courage and moxie are an inspiration. We had an anxious waiting process, to see if she would change her mind after the birth, and finally a baby girl.

    It is three and a half years later, and every day I continue to be amazed and thrilled. It is everything I imagined it would be and more. Certainly the hardest thing I have ever done, and the most amazing love I have ever experienced.

  84. Pat

    My husband said he knew I was the girl he was going to marry 10 minutes after we met while snorkling in Jamaica, I was there on vacation from NJ, he was on vacation from CT. We were blessed that our paths crossed that day in January ’95. My husband, too, is an executive chef. The first time I visited him I had a cold. He had made me homemade chicken soup. I couldn’t believe it. We married a little over a year later and have 2 beautiful girls. Our oldest was dianosed with celiac at age 3 and that is how I began the journey into the gluten free. I am still amazed everyday that I have been given the chance to live my dreams with my wonderful family.

  85. banjogirl

    I turned him down the first time he asked me out. We were working on a project together and I had decided that I didn’t want to mix business with personal affairs. Luckily, after the project ended he asked me again. And I said yes. I think we both knew after that first date. I made my sister meet him after the first week just to make sure I wasn’t crazy. She went home to our mother and told her that I’d met the man I was going to marry. His father told his mother the same thing, after listening to him after they took a ski trip together soon after.
    We’re still going strong, twelve years later. Through thick and thin. Through several career changes resulting in the discovery of my calling. Through unexplained gastro-intestinal misery that resulted in a celiac diagnosis and blooming health thereafter. He didn’t care when I was a vegetarian, and he doesn’t care now (no longer a vegetarian: I can handle one, but I can’t juggle both!). In June, we’re welcoming a third member to our tribe in the form of a little girl and we can’t wait! Bliss exists, every day.
    Thanks for the interest, and keep writing. I love it!

  86. Kelly Ellis

    My love story started out in high school. I met the love of my life when we were sophomores and on his birthday our senior year, he proposed. We married one month after high school graduation, and 30 days later, he left for Army basic training. Throughout the last fifteen and a half years of marriage, we welcomed two beautiful children, and have stood strong throughout many deployments and separations. With the diagnosis of celiac disease, he stood by my side and delved deeply into research and any information he could find to keep me safe and feed me well! When he retires from the military, someday, we will continue this extraordinary journey and enjoy this adventure we embarked on over half our lives ago!!

  87. Shay Taylor

    It was 2 years ago this week – the first warm day of the season- late winter in the south, and the first hint that spring would arrive soon. I’d been diagnosed with Celiac Disease for less than a year, and it had been a long, tough journey; my health was still compromised. A Sunday afternoon. Sitting outside in my backyard, my dogs cavorting about, I was drinking it in . . . the sunshine, the breeze, the warmth. I rolled up my pantlegs, my shirtsleeves, and felt the sun on my skin for the first time in months. Settling in with a nice cup of coffee, and my laptop, invigorated by the perfection of the afternoon & the delicious solitude. I started playing word games on my social network, relaxing into the setting. I was leap frogging someone I didn’t know; I followed him, he followed me. He seemed happy, optimistic, interesting. I still don’t know how or why I pursued an introduction; it was unlike me, for sure. But I did, and he responded. We began to chat – fun, interesting, lighthearted banter. We clicked. We connected quickly on many levels, many topics. The rapport between us was so natural, as if it were simply meant to be. Chatting with him lightened my mood even more, lifted my spirits even higher. We chatted another time or 2 that evening. He was on a cross country trip, hitting 4 cities scattered around the country in about as many days. He hooked up with me from an airport; I smiled as he described sitting on the floor in the terminal, chatting with me online. I’d never seen him, yet I could see him, you know? It was quite innocent, those first chats, really. There certainly was a connection. Was I aware of the attraction that early? I don’t know. I don’t think so. Maybe? hmmm . . .
    The next day, Monday, comes and goes. I settled into bed a little before 11pm that night, and logged on to the computer to wind down by surfing a bit before I went to sleep. I checked in to see if my new acquaintance was around. He was. When he greeted me I felt this quick rush of happiness, but tried not to admit it to myself. We just had so much in common, we connected so perfectly.
    It was 10 minutes until 8pm his time . . . we were three time zones apart. As soon as we greeted each other he let me know that he was hungry and was heading out to dinner in a few minutes, so I figured we’d chat for about 10 minutes. We fell right into step with each other again. A groove, like we’d been friends forever, and yet fresh and new and exciting at the same time. We connected on issues of politics, social issues, current events . . . and our energy! Our energy was so in sync . . . like I’d never experienced before. Once in awhile I’d felt similar energy to mine with girlfriends, but never with a man. It was exhilarating. We came from very different backgrounds and yet fit together like we’d grown up next door to one another. We talked and laughed and connected and were energized by our conversation.
    I looked at the clock and it was 10 minutes until 1am my time! Nearly 10pm his time – we’d been chatting for 2 hours! It felt like maybe 20 minutes! I gasped, and told him he must leave at that very moment and go & get some dinner. He refused. He said it was too late, and he’d rather visit with me than go have dinner. I felt terrible! I insisted that he go to the hotel lobby and raid the front desk snack shop for nutrition bars, fresh fruit and something to drink. It took some coaxing, but I talked him into it, made him promise he was going to do just that & would come back. He wasn’t gone 5 minutes. I thought he was pulling my leg, but he promised me he’d gotten a couple of granola bars and a drink. I told him I was joining him and having a nutrition bar myself, with a soda. I sat in my bed, at 1 o’clock in the morning, eating a fruit & nut bar, drinking a soda, and chatting with this stranger online . . . and it felt like we were sharing the most delightful, spontaneous picnic I’d ever had. I was lost in the evening. The kind of experience where I was so present, and so happy, that time and all else ceased to exist. That saying that we are happiest when we are not looking for happiness comes to mind. I don’t know that I have ever been that present in my life. And I’m a very present person. I think honestly that it is the most delightful evening I’ve ever spent. I loved every moment of it. And he seemed to, too.
    We met a couple weeks later. It was combustible. I’d met my best friend, and the most passionate connection of my life. We spent the next year and a half living a thousand miles apart. We somehow managed to see each other for a few days every few weeks. And in between we relied on phone calls, texts, e-mails & Skype to stay connected. And then, six months ago, against his best professional interest, he bridged the thousand mile gap between us & moved to me. And here we are. Celebrating 2 years together. Happier, richer, more deeply in love every day. I am so very fortunate and so very grateful. This great love of my life leaves me in a state of amazement all the time. I am so happy. I’m in love. Big, epic love. ?

  88. Jorie

    I have a very simple love story, one that I knew all along but took on special meaning as I got older. I have had small medical issues all my life, but when I woke up one morning with numbness in my foot, hand, and stomach, I called my mom crying. She was two hours away and the first thing she said was, I will be there. Over the next two months, I went to doctor after doctor, week after week. For every doctor’s appointment, every night in the hospital, every injection, test, anything that was done, my family stood by me. They drove hundreds of miles over those months to hold my hand while I got steroid treatments, MRIs, spinal punctures, and finally the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. I can never thank them enough, and I can never love them enough. They did so much for me, support me, and keep me positive. I can never express how much they mean to me, or how much I mean to them. This is for them.

  89. emily mcmason

    Thanks for all the GF love you send out to the world – it makes such a difference to us all. I took a cooking class from you years ago in Olympia and have been a fan ever since.

    Falling in love is the easy part. Falling. Endlessly. Breathlessly. Eyes bright with dizzying anticipation.
    Yet eventually we all must land. And the landing in love? It isn’t always smooth. Sometimes there are rocks and thorns and things that go bump in the night, and our hearts are bruised by the scission in the relationship with our partner, friend or child.

    the rest of my blog post on love is here:
    http://revolvingmama.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/way-back-into-love/

  90. Judy A. Johnson

    Every cancer diagnosis calls forth a multitude of love stories. This is one of many I could tell.
    We’d been introduced by a mutual friend in the city in which I grew up, despite the fact that neither of us wanted to meet the other person of whom we’d heard so much. He had been my friend for fifteen years, seeing me through career change, faith crisis, the death of my mother, the marriage of my brother. Although we lived several hours apart, we’d visit or meet halfway for dinner and a movie, or lunch and a hike.
    He was sleeping on the sofabed in my living room on the early morning when my cancer announced itself with tremendous pain. That day we were going an hour away to the capital for a national convention, where I would sign copies of my first published book. A therapist, he thought the pain was simply nerves, but offered to take me to the emergency room. I opted for the book signing. The pain came and went, finally sending me to a specialist.
    Six months later, the week before Christmas, recovering from major surgery, I received the official diagnosis—Stage III B ovarian cancer. He drove down on Christmas Day to make sure I wasn’t alone. With his help, I was able to walk in the woods along the river I love for the first time in weeks.
    I didn’t want him, or any man, around during treatment, so I fought him on nearly everything he wanted to do for me. Over my protest, he took a vacation day and drove me to chemotherapy, although I had willing friends living nearby, reminding me that cancer wasn’t just about me. Every day during four months of treatment, he called me, giving me hope and courage—all this, after losing a colleague to cancer and during his dad’s cancer treatment. After I regained some strength and some hair, he took me to a favorite town for my celebratory vacation.
    Although we don’t use the word “love” to each other, the love is there.

  91. trez

    Married my best friend 20 years ago. We were young and suddenly in love, and looking back i realize we knew nothing about each other. I love him now more than ever, and always feel like i’m on the best date of my life when he’s in the room. 20 years, 2 little boys, 2 cross country moves, and all i can say is i can’t wait to see what the next 20 is like. 🙂
    GREAT Love post by you, Thanks for the uplift. Happy Valentines!

  92. alex rea

    My girlfriend and I have been together coming up to 2 years and have only recently taken the plunge and moved to Australia (from UK).We are both in love and that’s what made the move easy (there’s been a few ups and downs, but not many)

    I’m gluten free and she isn’t, but we both love Buckwheat Galettes and that’s what we are having for Valentines day.

    A love of food unites us !

    Here is the recipe:

    http://gallopingglutenfree.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/gallette-brettones-au-sarrasin/

  93. Corinna

    Thank you for the post. When I was first gluten-free, you were the one who gave me the courage to believe that I could change my life. Now, on a day that makes me feel sad as it did you for so many years, you’ve written exactly what I needed to hear. My love story is as yet unfinished, but I am hoping for the man I love to gain courage and embrace the idea of loving again after having lost his wife. Thank you for the belief that it can happen again.

  94. Irvin

    I’ve read all of these comments, and each one has touched my heart. My partner and I found it each and lost each other and found each other again. Shauna you’ve heard the story before, but others can read how we met on my latest blog post http://www.eatthelove.com/2011/02/rice-crispy-treats/ which also features a gluten free bourbon caramel rice crispy treats.

    You can also find the story of how we found each other again on my tenth anniversary celebration story. http://www.eatthelove.com/2010/04/ten-year-celebration-with-chocolate-html/

    Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

  95. SMITH BITES

    Shauna ~ I love this post for more reasons than you’ll ever know; and I wanted to share mine here but which love story would I tell? I finally decided on the one that was mulling around in my head for the past couple of weeks – I’ve posted it here if you’re interested: http://www.smithbites.com/2011/02/a-valentine-delivery-quinoa-and-beet-pancakes/

    It’s my boy’s birthday today and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate him – thanks so much for making us dig deep and for asking us to share our own stories!

    Happy Valentine’s Day Shauna, Danny & Lu!!

  96. Caroline

    Wonderful post. Just beautiful! Your words made my cry.

    My love story? I met my husband five years ago when I was a college journalist and he was studying dance at the same school. We had a class together a year before we “met”, but at the time neither one of us was ready for the other. When we did meet, I was covering performing arts for the school and asked the paper if I could profile a male dancer (I had an interviewee in mind). They obliged and I posted names that the head of the department offered as candidates (I made sure his was included). Everyone on the list responded — with the exception of him (I know now that this is classic Dan fashion). So, I took it upon myself and practically lunged at him the next time I saw him in a hallway. “You’re a dancer, right?” I said. He smiled and said yes. We scheduled an interview and talked for four hours when we did finally meet. About halfway through he admitted something to me: “You know that English class we had together a year ago?” I nodded. “I had such a crush on you.” I smiled (and kept my crush to myself). Five years later, we’re married … and I’ve finally admitted my crush.

  97. Sheena

    My love story is so cliche! But it’s perfect none-the-less:

    My husband and I met in college marching band! He was my section leader (we both play trumpet). We met freshman year, were dating by sophomore year, and were engaged by senior year! We have now been happily married for over two years (April 13th will be 3 years!). But yeah, definitely met at band camp, lol.

  98. Laura

    I made this for our V-day dinner last night too, we LOVE it! So amazingly easy and delicious.

    I married my love nearly 3 years ago after dating for 6 years. Looking back I think I knew he was the one within a month but I was 18, my parents were going through a nasty divorce, and I had been horribly betrayed by my high school sweetheart so I wasn’t ready to see it. He patiently stayed by my side through all of the healing and growing and learning that took place over the next few years and showed me what a wonderful gift love can be 🙂

  99. Emily

    I was diagnosed with celiac about 6 years ago, and it was very hard. My then-husband never really understood or could be bothered with my gluten-free diet. I knew our marriage was over the night he made me a dinner of wheat pasta with chicken. I was also a vegetarian at the time! Many things contributed to the demise of our marriage (including his girlfriend), but I think the most hurtful thing about it was that he never really saw me or accepted me for who I am.
    After my divorce, I moved back to my hometown, and I was not planning on dating anyone. But, as it happened, I met a guy at work, and he invited me out to dinner to a cute little bistro in San Francisco. When we arrived, the maitre d greeted us warmly and showed us to our table. He then went through the menu with us, pointing out what was gluten-free and what could be made gluten-free. I was stunned to discover that my date had called ahead to check that the restaurant would be a safe place for me to eat. He had heard that I had celiac, done some research on the condition, and wanted to make sure that I was taken care of. I was smitten, what can I say? On our next date, he made me gluten-free spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce, and I was hooked!
    My celiac has never been an issue for him. He loves to cook, and he makes the most amazing food for me, our family, and friends. He is Chinese-American, so his family uses a lot of soy sauce, but now they keep gluten-free soy sauce on hand to make dishes just for me at family gatherings. His sister-in-law even made a batch of gluten-free cupcakes for her daughter’s birthday party so that I could have a sweet treat. And when we get married this August, our Chinese wedding banquet will incorporate all the traditional dishes, but everything will be gluten-free. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with this man. He loves and accepts all of me, and I know that my heart and my stomach will always be safe with him. I guess it was love at first bite!

  100. The Very Hungry Bookworm

    I met my boyfriend on the first day of college. In fact, I had seen his name posted on his dorm room door and I was (mistakenly) sure that he was some sort of foreign exchange student. When we were introduced, I slowly said, “Hello! Welcome to America!” and he gave me a very puzzled look. Later on, I found out his confusion was not because he couldn’t understand my English, but because he is American. Ha!

    We became fast friends. I began dating another guy (bad mistake on my part) and as that relationship spiraled downhill, I realized that the person I always turned to for help, comfort, and happiness was my friend, not my boyfriend.

    Only a few months later, we began dating and we have never looked back. Almost five years later, I’m am in love with him more than ever. He may be my boyfriend, but his first role was my best friend. I’m happy that he can be both.

  101. ~Mrs. R

    My love story…?

    It’s the story of a lovely lady,
    Who was busy with a gi-rl and a boy.
    And then one day this lady met this fellow

    OK, so I have old sitcom theme show songs in my mind. How sad is that!!

    I met my husband over 30 years ago. The Lord used him in my life to heal many hurts from my childhood. Our relationship has deepened and gotten far richer than I could have ever imagined at the beginning. We have a combined family, sort of like the old Lucille Ball movie “His, Mine & Ours”, only in our case it is His, Mine and Someone Elses. “His” & “Mine” are all grown and out of the house, and have been for many years. “Someone Elses” is not yet in his teen years. He has added such a joy to our lives! So in a way this is a “double love story”!

    Wow. 30 years encapsulated in one paragraph. I would never have thought that possible!!
    Happy Valentine’s Day!
    Blessings,
    ~Mrs. R

  102. Jessica

    Today is the one year anniversary of my grandmother’s death. I think of her often not just as a grandmother, but as a friend. She lived very close by and I grew up thinking of her house as my second home. I remember so distinctly the love she and my grandfather had for each other, how each day when he came home from work she gave him a kiss and they settled in to have cocktails before dinner was even started. They shared so much together, but mostly they laughed together. And tonight when I sit down to share Valentine’s Day dinner, not as a romantic dinner for two, but as a lively GF dinner for four I’ll think of her and together we’ll laugh because that is what love is truly about for me. The ability to always laugh together.

    –jhf

  103. nicole

    This is lovely.

    My family seems to have a tradition of falling for (and ending up with) old friends — my parents met in high school (just friends!) and reconnected in their 20s. My brother met his wife (just friends!) in college, and they just got married in the spring. And I am currently with my oldest friend in the entire world; we grew together in a sense (though he’s a bit older than me — and, yep, we were just friends! for 30 years), our parents are best friends, we have photos that were taken of us when we were small … love, unexpected and wonderful and friendly.

    Hope you + yours have a sweet Valentine’s!

  104. Kate M

    I work for an organization called LOVE (Leave Out ViolencE) that serves young people who have been the victims, witnesses, and perpetrators of violence. The greatest love story I know is the incredible love among the young people we work with. They come from very different backgrounds – frankly, in any normal setting, these young people wouldn’t even speak to one another and might even be hostile. But something magical happens in our program and they learn to share opposing opinions with respect, to support one another through hard times, and tolerate and cherish even the most difficult personalities. Our program runs in four cities across Canada and one in the US; every summer the leaders of each city coverge north of Toronto for a week of LOVE camp. It’s teenage utopia. Those eightysome kids teach me what true love is all about – being able to love someone and treat them with respect no matter how fleeting your contact might be.

    It’s not a coincidence that one of the tenets of the program is that everytime we meet together, we eat together.

  105. Anu Menon

    This is probably not a typical story but ever since I can care to remember my Mother has been a source of support and inspiration. When I turned a teenager and was supposed to be having boyfrds and stuff I ended up being a geek who loved Maths. I still celebrated the spirit of Valentines Day by buying myself and my Mom something in red every year except the last three. She still is my number one valentine along with my hubby of 1 year 🙂
    Happy Valentines Day people!!!

  106. Brandi

    Shauna, you manage to touch my heart every time I come here. As a senior in college, I look forward to graduating and getting an apartment with my boyfriend and our own kitchen so that I can share in the love-filled recipes that you share with us.

    My love story now has gotten routine, we’re 4 and a half hours apart while I finish my undergrad and he finishes grad school. But our start is perhaps one of the strangest I’ve ever known. We met my freshman year, and a friend of mine had “laid claim” to him, and so I never pursued it beyond one dinner and a movie. Until my second semester. I had begun waiting tables at the restaurant he was waiting tables, and there was some sort of odd chemistry between us. I had liked him for quite some time, but didn’t want to ruin friendships for it. The night we were supposed to talk about “us”, I got off of work late, and he was already at his fraternity’s party. I showed up, and as we started to talk, his little brother started dry heaving. And so he and I picked the little guy up (he had an entire bottle of tequila to his little 100 pound self), put him in the car, and drove him to the hospital. At 3 AM, while we were waiting to make sure he was going to be okay, we became a couple in the hospital waiting room. We’ve been together three years now.

    And that’s our love story. We can’t wait to make the food you both have shared here, and make it a part of our love story the way you’ve made it a part of yours.

  107. DLucy

    Shauna, like your friend, I too was practically left at the altar. He was my high school sweetheart, a man that I allowed myself to change schools in college for, and uproot my life to be a part of his. Being left just shy of your dream wedding most definitely closes ones heart up! I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, and wouldn’t let anyone but my parents, brother and best friend come near me. After months of refusing to sleep alone (thank you mom and dad for letting me invade your personal space!), I finally decided enough was enough! I got my own apartment for the first time in my adult life, I slept in my own bed, and I decided to see a therapist because I had to get better if I was going to find the Real Mr. Right!

    Years later, I met him. At a bar (so cliche), after my best friend pointed out that the awkwardly tall guy in the back was really cute. Feeling brave, I approached him and he asked me to dance. Weeks later he moved in, and months after that we were engaged.

    We just celebrated our third wedding anniversary. As I am typing, the adorable awkwardly tall man I am head over heels in love with is making me the very recipe you posted because I am a sucker for this very Hallmark day, and while he is anti-Valentine’s day, he also loves me enough to wear pink floral apron and cook a lovely dinner for me.

  108. kelly

    I come from a family where my parents were high school sweethearts and that was always my dream too. but the guy I fell for wasn’t quite marriage material if ya know what I mean. In my head, I knew he wasn’t the right guy for me, but my heart just didn’t quite get it. My parents suggested I move out of state to “get away for the summer” and stay with some relatives. I knew this was just the right thing. Through a series of events, (one could call them coincidence, but I think it was Divine Intervention) and I went to a church and started to get my heart right. During that time God healed my heart and I moved in with a couple from my church (I was 2,000 miles away from home and they became my home away from home) The man who lived there just happened to have a younger brother and 3 1/2 years later we got married. I officially became a part of the family. I call this my very own cinderella story. A broken heart transformed and a princess on the inside. This doesn’t mean that life is easy or perfect, but it is absolutely wonderful and my husband and I love each more than ever before. It just gets better and better and now 13 years later, 1 little girl, 3 little boys, and one big dog…our family is complete. ?

  109. Lauren

    We just made this recipe for our Valentines Day dinner and.. Oh. My. God. We decided it was the best thing we have ever made together, so thank you. Jeff made the beef and mashed potatoes and I made the sauce.

    A little over two years ago I was on a plane from our college town back to my hometown, Houston. I had met jeff casually at a few parties and I knew his face but couldn’t remember his name. He had boarded the plane before me and as I found my seat I spotted his familiar face and waved, went about my own business and sat down. When I turned around, I saw him fighting the crowd from the back of the plane and moving towards me. He finally got up towards me and sat in the middle seat next to me. I thought, “here we go, an hour flight of forced and awkward conversation.” After the plane took off, the conversation never stopped. We both flipped through our magazines, not ever actually reading. Time went by so fast and I didn’t want to step off of that plane, and I don’t think he did either. We continued to talk, and ever since then he has been my best friend (and wonderful boyfriend). The most supportive and most caring person I have ever met.

    It was nights like tonight that I realize how lucky I am. Cooking wonderful food in my cozy, warm home, with the person I love, and dancing in the kitchen to country music.

  110. Julialuli

    To quote my husband tonight, “Dinner was exquisite.” Thank you for posting this recipe! It was a breeze to make. A little steamed asparagus (I know…out of season, but it looked so good at the store!) and chocolate from an amazing local chocolatier, a great bottle of wine and you made our V Day! Our 15 year old son and 12 year old daughter agreed as well. Our family is our love story. The more we grow together, the more my heart grows.

  111. GrantziePantz

    We are the unconventional “love story”. I was taking a year off to earn in state tuition and was working as a barista. There was an Army officer who came in every day for his americano. Nothing out of the ordinary. One day I mentioned that I saw him the previous night at Target. He asked if I was also shopping, and I told him I worked a second job there. This piqued his interest, as he thought I must be “industrious”. He asked me out a few days later.
    The unconventional part– we went on our first date March 5th, were engaged a month later, and were married June 12th. The Army had reassigned him, and I didn’t want to be left behind!
    The really unconventional part—- He was 40 when we were married (and I am his first and only wife). I was 22. Yep, we were told it was ridiculous. People “warned” us. I’ve endured many comments, from Dr’s who ask if my father would like to come back with me, or the Victoria’s secret lady asking if he was in town for Parents weekend.
    My parents met him a week before we were married. I once asked my father how he was able to let me marry someone so much older that he barely knew. He told me that they had done the best they could raising all their kids and they just had to hope that they had raised them well enough to make the right decisions.
    Almost 12 years later, with 4 sons added to the mix, and the joy that I am married to the most wonderful man, I like to think all those other people who warned us were “wrong” and that I did make the “right decision”.

  112. Vicky

    I have a love story- this recipe! I made it last night after putting the baby down to bed and was so easy to follow even for this absent minded/last minute cook who after 5 years of marriage has never cooked my love a piece of red meat (hamburger doesn’t count). Made it with some simple mashed potatoes and an affordable rib eye. I did use chicken stock w. a bit of corn starch mix- no problem. Reduced wonderfully. My husband loved- and so did I. Thank you!

  113. Damaris @Kitchen Corners

    My met my husband 8 years ago today. It was February 15 2003 and I had gone to a Valentine’s dance at a church with some friends. Because it was the day after Valentine’s day the dance was actually called “The Last Chance.” I didn’t want to be there. It was freezing cold. I was in Connecticut, far away from my warm home of Sao Paulo Brazil. Only 6 months prior to that dance I had moved from Brazil to Massachusetts to go to college and in so doing broke up with a boyfriend of 3 years that I loved, my first love. I didn’t want to be at the dance and was feeling totally out of place when in walks Christian. Christian had been at the NYC anti-war protest, the big one before the US decided to invade Iraq. He looked beyond scruffy with a white handkerchief wrapped around his arm. I wasn’t sure if he was homeless, or a druggie, and frankly I didn’t really care. To me he just seemed like a guy who had been out on the cold all day and was hungry. Maybe he walked into the church looking for a soup kitchen. Unfortunetly, as these church dances usually go, there were only store bought sugar cookies and Kool-Aid. None the less I took some over to him and asked he he wanted something to eat. He said “no, I don’t really like store bought sugar cookies I prefer baking them myself” I replied “me too.” We began talking and I realized he had been asked to organize the dance. He was not homeless and he was not a druggie. He was just a guy who decided he needed to go to NYC to protest againt a cause he didn’t believe in, and he liked to bake, and he had lived ion Brazil, AND he was fluent in Portuguese, AND we were studying the same thing, AND he was a surfer from Hawaii. In the middle of our conversation I asked him to excuse me and I went to the bathroom. Sat on the floor and thought to myself “HOLY SHIT I just met the man of my life” We’ve been together ever since. We’re now married with 2 kids and our love and adventures only keeps getting better and better. We still go to church Valentine’s Dances together and we only eat cookies made from scratch.

  114. Melissa

    I am also recently married (with a new baby!) to a former widower. There are challenges sometimes that just don’t need to be there that your friend may face. A great, relationship saving resource is WLW: Women Loving Widowers. Please, please, please even if nothing is seemingly wrong have her check us out there. http://www.womenlovingwidowers.com/testimonials.html

  115. Lydia

    I am late to the party, but I just read your post and teared up reading about your friend’s story. So touching!

  116. Happy

    My love story is simple, I love myself 🙂 I am thankful every day for my health, intellect, happiness, and kindness of my own spirit. It seems so easy (in life) to become so wrapped up in others (significant other, family, children), and to “measure” oneself using relationships as your ruler… but I ask: when did you last spend the day with just yourself? and really enjoy that time? At the end, your own spirit might very well be the only one you have….. so get to know her/him well now 🙂

  117. Theresa

    Mine is a simple story. On Valentine’s Day 8 years ago, after a very long labour, and an assisted delivery, my daughter arrived in the world and made me something more than just me…….she made me a mother. I was so exhausted (literally) that I just looked at her in wonder, felt quite numb and slept for a long time. When I woke up I saw her, thought she was amazing, but didn’t feel a huge rush of emotion for her. I worried that there was something wrong with me……but just kept holding her, feeding her, cuddling her. Then a few days later I realized that my love for her hadn’t arrived in a big rush. It had snuck in, minute by minute, cuddle by cuddle, until i couldn’t imagine not loving her completely. And that love has kept growing each day for eight years. She taught me that love was not a finite resource. So much so that she now has a sister and a brother. And my love for them grows every day.

  118. vanessa

    danny,
    this was ridiculous! i mean sooooooo freaking good it’s insane. i made it for my husband for our anniversary and he told me he’d buy me a new car! not that i even want or need one… he was just so overjoyed eating it, he was trying to think of a present that would be sizable to his love of this meal in a comical way. we took your advice and served it up with potato puree. i added a little grilled asparagus and rounded out the meal with shauna’s mexican hot chocolate cakes. the celebration was fun, delicious and memorable …. thank you two lovebirds for sharing the love:)

  119. Molly Stoltz

    My fiance and I have been together for four years, after meeting in a ditch in Georgia on a “alternative” spring break.

    We were the only two people brave enough to venture down into a creek bed and discover what was in the thousands of plastic bags scattered around the area- dog poop that residents of the apartment complex that we were cleaning had flung into the creek.

    He asked me on a date a month later, after I thought I would never see him again, by sending me a Facebook message that said “Hey, want to go and pick up garbage together or something?”

    We’ve been together since. Love at first poop, I guess you could say…

    We’re not the romantic type- no presents or grand gestures of love- but I proposed to him (yes, girls can propose!) in our senior year of college by writing to him in a notebook where I collected my thoughts before I couldn’t hold it in any longer and just had to let him read what I had written each and every time I thought of him.

    I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us!

  120. Lisa in New Zealand

    Hi there,
    I know I am a little late, but wanted to share my love story.
    At 29 I had dated a lot of men, but had no relationships when friends of mine, who were moving away signed me up to a site so that we could all talk online while at work or home.
    I didnt realise that anyone could message me!
    I deleted anyone who popped up that I didnt know till one day I saw it was an Englishman who was living near where I had grown up. He also had never been in a relationship.
    We got chatting and 3 months later met up, as friends.
    But, a week later when we caught up over Christmas it was obvious we had feelings for each other and a week later we were engaged!
    We got married 3 months after that.
    We have been married 9 years, have 2 gorgeous boys and are loving and living life to the full.

  121. Sarah

    My love story is about my husband, for sure. It’s also about my family and friends and pup, as well as my future children. It’s also a late submission for reasons that will likely become clear.

    Like Danny and you, John and I met when we were a little older than many of our friends and family. He was 38, I was 33; Many of our respective friends and family were married (some divorced) and with children. He was a few years out of a loveless marriage, I was fighting to be optimistic about ever finding someone to spend my life and have children with. And then, we just…were (thanks, Match.com!). And were so happy, which is not to say that we don’t argue but even those are, mostly, quite satisfying and growthful.

    Fast forward to Valentine’s Day 2011. We’ve been married for a year and a half, and open to pregnancy that entire time. We’ve had one miscarriage, one surgery to correct the likely cause of the miscarriage (an endometrial polyp) and, almost immediately, another pregnancy. Which began to end three days shy of Valentine’s Day, at 10 weeks, while I was on the road for work. A blighted ovum. We were devastated.

    I cannot begin to describe the love that our community wrapped around us during the two+ week process of our miscarriage. Our family called when we wanted them to and gave us alone time when we preferred it. Our friends gave me space to land on the road back to our home, and listened to me through the tears and the anger and the despair. The colleagues we’d told out of necessity gave us every bit of release-from-responsibility possible, plus personal stories of their own eventual triumph over reproductive tragedy. Our dog Scout, who travels with me, cuddled me and reminded me to take her on walks, when the beautiful outdoors that I most needed to see was the thing I was most unmotivated toward. And then there was John. Who, when I finally made it to him, took great care of me which included letting me do those things for myself and for us — like cook — that comfort me most.

    Through this incredible pain, I am now more committed than ever to forming our family, and more open-hearted to forming it in whatever way it comes, even if not biologically. So my love story today is a celebration of gratitude for our current family — and in that I include our coworkers and friends and, of course, dear Scout – and of strong faith that it isn’t too big to find room for one, two, or a couple more whenever and however our kids make themselves known to us.

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