not only is she stunning (seriously--like really stunning), talented, and successful, but she is also one of the most kind-hearted individuals you will ever meet.
you can read more on her very charming blog here.
she is classy, stylish, and a gifted writer.
so--ladies and gentleman--this is mandy.
So many of the posts this week that Kristen featured relate to love. The hope, the desire, the need to be loved – something that has occupied days, weeks, months of my life in thoughts, in prayers, in experience, in every part of who I am. I am not the expert in love, but I have found it, and just celebrated one full year of being married to my husband Kevin. After one full year of marriage and having seen every season of being married to Kevin – I understand love better now than I ever have before, and have some words of encouragement for those of you are searching or hoping for love of your own.
I met Kevin as a camp counselor in New Hampshire, and knew within days– that I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life. People hate hearing that, because it seems to them that it came so easily for me. I should let you know though, that I had my fair share of heartbreak and struggle before Kevin, and not everything was so easy and simple the way it was with him. I think people see those who are married and feel envious because all they are looking at is the end result. They can’t possibly see the ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, the pain of heartbreak, the months of healing that ensue. They see the happy result, but love cannot be measured by one result. Love can never be a single event.
The truth is, before I met Kevin I was in love with someone else. I wanted to marry him for years, but things never worked out. We would break up constantly and every time I felt this suffocating blackness, that things could never work until we were together again. We could get back together and I would cry because it wasn’t what I wanted but the hard thing was that I didn’t know what I wanted. Our relationship was toxic for both of us. Even knowing in my heart that it was not right, the hardest thing I have ever done is say goodbye to him. I knew I had to, but I couldn’t bear the thought of living in a world where he did not exist with me. I cried for months.
For years I knew only that love, so when I met Kevin, it was as if someone had flipped on a light switch. He was funny, so funny that I would gasp for air, so funny that on a scale from one to hilarious he was more than I could handle. He knew how to tell me how he felt with abandon – he was not afraid of a return, or reciprocation. He loved without symmetry. He was so good, too, and I think his goodness is what made me fall so fast. He was so gentle with me, with my feelings, with my love as if he knew too that this was something so precious and rare.
We fell in love under a giant willow tree in New Hampshire. We would lie on our backs and look at these enormous branches and leaves, bowing to the wind, sifting the sunlight as if through a sieve. We held hands for the first time under that tree. We had our first kiss in a hammock by the lake. He said I love you for the first time when we were saying goodbye. He proposed under a sea of stars in the middle of nowhere. We were married and covenanted forever, agreeing in our hearts that we would never stop trying. Last weekend we celebrated our first anniversary in Vegas with a drunken man playing the flute in the hallway outside of our hotel room and more love in our hearts for each other than we ever had before.
It is impossible to know when love will come, but I believe that the first step has to be letting go of what is not right, even if it means more pity parties and “Girls Night Outs” and ice-cream than we can stomach. It takes so much courage to tell someone you love goodbye, but it is so necessary. It is better to be completely alone, than with someone who you are not yourself with. It is important to learn to be your own friend, to love yourself because when we don’t love ourselves we are far too reliant on the love of another. We use any form of love we can as reassurance, as proof that we are lovable. But as humans, as individuals, we are too important to settle for less than the right kind of love - We need the kind of love that will make us whole, not desperate.
Whole love is the kind of love I know after one year of marriage. And those are my words of encouragement.