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26 October 2006


yes ring, originally uploaded by shaunaforce.

“And yes, I said, yes, I will Yes.”

Back in February — a lifetime ago, now — I got my first tattoo. Surrounded by friends, I sat, waiting, for a man with tattoo-festooned arms to ink a design onto my arm. A simple design, so simple that this East Village professional was a little annoyed that he had so little to do. Yes. In small, plain letters, on the top of my left wrist, I had yes permanently inked onto my skin.

Why? There were, of course, so many reasons. I wanted it placed there so I could look at that word instead of a watch. Whenever we look at our watches, we are saying no. I want to be somewhere else. Oh god, I’m late. I wish this would end. They are all ways of denying the moment as it exists. I felt a shift happening in my life. I wanted to look at yes instead.

In February, I had just finished my first book proposal and sent it off to New York, hoping a fabulous literary agent would like it well enough to sign me. I had been writing this site for nine months, and I was waiting for something to be born. I had been writing all my life, and I knew it was time to jump into the world of full-time writers. I didn’t know the way, but I knew what I wanted. I wanted to say yes to what my gut said,d what my life wanted. I wanted to say yes.

But I was starting to say no. Not to writing. Never to writing. But I was ready to say no to dating. At 39, my 40th year loomed large. Even though I had rich stories of loving relationships and horrendous blind dates both, I just couldn’t seem to find anyone to match me. The entire process exhausted me. It seemed my energies were going elsewhere — into writing, into food, into helping people through both of these means. I was ready to throw away the possibility of ever finding someone to marry.

However, after my trip in New York, I decided to open myself to it, one more time. Several friends of mine there looked resplendently happy with partners they had met through online dating. Even in the bitter cold, I noticed couples walking down the streets of Manhattan and felt jealous. And at the core of me, there is always hope.

So I remembered the end of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy, the last line of James Joyce’s Ulysses, a book so important to me I had read it four times. Thinking of her husband, with whom she has been struggling, she remembers again when they met, and how he asked her to go out with him, and she said, “And yes, I said, yes, I said, yes.”

I said yes. I said it on my wrist. I went home, I signed up for, and I tried again.

At the end of April, I met the Chef.

“yes” — with an underline

When I was a high-school teacher, I wrote words all over the margins of my students’ papers. Sometimes they were directives to change confusing sentences. Sometimes I encouraged them. But once in a great while, when a student wrote a sentence so authentic and direct, so startling and real, I ceased to be the teacher correcting a paper. I became again another human being, responding to a connection I felt in that writing. And then, I wrote yes, with an underline beneath it.

I felt that way the day I met the Chef. April 26th, in the late morning, at a coffee shop filled with sunlight. And when we saw each other, we both recognized each other. When we began talking, we felt like friends. Sure, there was enormous physical attraction, but that was not the deepest flavor. Instead, we felt comfort. We laughed, mostly. We slipped into the conversation like sliding into warm water, and we haven’t left yet.

Talking with him felt like keeping my hand wrapped around a warm cup of coffee. That conversation tasted like potato-leek soup, like apple crisp, like goulash just out of the oven. We wafted vanilla and sugar between us. We devoured each other’s words, and every one of them felt like yes.

And when he hugged me, at the end of our first date, I almost started crying. It felt that good. He held me, his arms strong around me, pressing me into him. And in that moment, I honestly felt all the loving that would follow, all the days together, all the laughing and comfort. That moment is when I said yes to him.

Six months later, he says to me, nearly every day, with awe and appreciation in his voice, “ I have been waiting for you all my life.” And I want to write yes, with an underline, in the air. I feel the same. There might be other lifetimes between us before this. Who knows? I only know yes. I only know how much I love him.

Soulmate is a word I once would have thought read like a cliché in my students’ papers, back when I was alone. But I’m not a teacher anymore. Now, I believe in soulmate, now that I have found mine.

Yes — with an exclamation point, which is laughter

When I laugh, uncontrollably, I shout out yes! Laughing is one of the places I feel most alive, all my senses open, everything playing. That was in my mind when I had the tattoo put on me too. Yes!

The other night, after a day full of writing for me, and a day full of cooking for the Chef, we were cuddling on the couch. A gorgeous dinner, glasses of good red wine, South Park on the dvd. We have a South Park love, we like to say, which is just as terrifying and hilarious as you can imagine. We love its daring, its wordplay, its bawdy humor. We love laughing, and it makes us laugh.

The Chef and I skip down the street, spontaneously, frequently. We are ridiculously silly. We call each other ten times a day and speak in silly, high-pitched voices to say not much at all. We have a thousand inside jokes. We tease each other relentlessly. And mostly, we love laughing with each other, our bellies full of giggles, as much as we love eating together, our bellies full of food. It’s one of the ways we are alive together.

So, the other night, we were cuddling on the couch, happy and sleepy. Just before I fell asleep, he looked at me, with that devilish glint in his eye, and then he attacked me. His fingers reached into all the places he knew would most move me, and he dove in with full force. He tickled me. He tickled me so hard I thrashed and screamed, giggling and saying, “Stop! Stop!” He knew I didn’t want him to stop. It felt good, in that delicious thrill of a way that the love of your life deciding to be a little kid and give you enormous delight feels good. He giggled at me, thrust his face into me, and made me explode with giggles. I laughed so hard I started shouting, “Yes!”


Yes to being alive.

I first thought of this tattoo after I survived my car accident. Wracked with pain, unable to spend more than a few hours out of bed for months on end, I made the conscious decision to maintain my joy for life. When pain seared my bones, I reminded myself where the pain came from, and how easy it would be for me to not be here. I was alive. It was enough.

When I lay on the couch a year later, weak and enfeebled, back to pain but a different kind, not sure why I was withering away, I still noticed the early spring light coming through the windows. I still said yes to life. When I found out it was celiac disease, and all I had to do was stop eating gluten to find my health again, I never thought of all the foods I had to live without. I thought only, yes. Yes to being alive. Yes to all the foods that do not contain gluten that I can eat. Yes to food and being awake and my body healing.Yes to all of this.

The other evening, the Chef stood at the same window where I strained to see light in the midst of illness. I was across the room, typing. With enormous enthusiasm, he urged me. “Sweet pea, come look at this sunset!” I ran to him and saw the purples and oranges streaking across the sky. He put his arm around me and squeezed my shoulder. Struck again by his un-jaded appreciation of the moments of beauty in our lives, I said to him, “I love how much you adore life, my love.”

He looked at me with his eyes wide and said, “Of course I do. I’m alive. What’s not to like?”

We both understand near-death experiences. We both seize opportunities as they rise. We dance in the kitchen. We kiss every chance we have. We see every day as an adventure. And we eat our dinners with such enormous gusto that you would think it was the last meal for both of us.

We both know. It could be the last meal. We never know when we are going. We like being here now.

Yes to every moment as it arises.

After a difficult life, years of loneliness, a near-death car accident, and discovering that I cannot eat gluten, I have learned. I have learned to say yes to every moment, accepting it as I can, instead of always decrying it, wishing it were something different. After all, every moment is the only time I am ever going to live that moment. I had yes tattooed on my wrist to remind me.

The Chef knows how to live this way too. He lives in his body, instead of dwelling only in the ether air of his brain. Spending all day living in his senses — chopping onions, making veal stock, dreaming up soups and fish specials for hours at a time — makes him practical and alive. He doesn’t think too much. He just greets the day as it arrives to him. I never thought I’d meet a man like this.

He sticks with me in the hard moments — and they do happen, even though they are infrequent — because he knows that I will stick with him. We are committed to each other.

When we are running, and I am sweating and panting, near exhaustion and ready to give up, the Chef comes running back toward me. He sees the doubt in my face, and he steps to my side and touches my belly. We smile at each other, no words necessary, and fall back into rhythm. I have another reason to keep going.

We want to have babies together. We knew that from the start. The Chef loves children. He smiles at every child under five on the street, and they all smile back. He has ten nieces and nephews, who are some of the dearest people in the world to him. He held the first one in his arms when he was thirteen years old, and he says he knew at that moment that he wanted to be a papa.

We began talking about having children only a month after we met, on a bus ride going home. Spontaneously, with no real intention of having this conversation, we began talking about how much we each wanted to have children. At a certain moment, I turned toward him, and said, “Are you talking about children theoretically, or are we talking about our children?”

Here was a moment, arising unexpectedly. He could have denied it, and shied away from this conversation. But not this man. Instead, he says yes.

“I want to have children with you,” he said.

We giggled and kissed. And then we began talking about our children. These children are going to love food, I said. We bandied back and forth about all that we wanted to give them. And then, taking a moment, his eyes filling with tears, he said, “We are going to teach our children to love humanity.”


Danny's ring

Yes, yes, oh yes.

I also wanted yes tattooed on my wrist because yes is what we humans cry out in the middle of the night. It’s what we say in the middle of ecstasy. It’s how we affirm we are alive.

The Chef says yes. He takes care of me. I take care of him. He holds me, in the middle of the night, in the morning. He holds me when I am sick from accidentally getting gluten. He holds me when I am tired at the end of the night, my head on his lap as we lay on the couch, he stroking my hair. I hold him back too. We say yes, together.

Yes through a magnifying glass.

The most powerful reason I wanted that tattoo in February — I didn’t admit to anyone at the time. It felt private, a little silly, and all mine. But still, it was there. It had been since I was fifteen and first became a Beatles fan.

The story goes that when John Lennon first met Yoko Ono, he met her at one of her wacky art shows. As he toured around the strange white shapes, he came upon a ladder in the corner. At the top of the ladder, the ceiling. On the ceiling, a magnifying glass dangling down. As he climbed up the ladder, he expected to see something in the magnifying glass like Stop the War, or Fuck You. He expected it to be incendiary and confrontational. Instead, when he reached the top of the ladder and peered through the magnifying glass, he read, in teeny tiny letters, yes.

He climbed down the ladder and went to meet the artist. Apparently, they spent the entire night talking, two soulmates finally meeting each other. And at dawn, they ate a bowl of cereal and kissed. They were in love. They were never apart.

When I was fifteen, and first read this love story, I thought, “I want one of those!” As I grew older, I grew more jaded about love at first sight, but some part of me still believed. I still wanted it. Relationships waxed and waned, but none of them felt right. I was still looking for someone who said yes.

And so, when I got the tattoo, I thought of this story again. And as silly as it sounds (and it even seemed so to me), I wanted to mark myself with that love story. I thought, “If he is out there, somewhere, that man who’s going to love me fully, he will recognize me when he sees me. He will know this story, and he will know.”

On our first date, the Chef noticed my tattoo. He recognized it. He told me about this later. I didn’t know it at the time. On our third date, as we sat in a park outside Pike Place Market, feeding each other triple cream cheese and kissing, he held my wrist and asked me, “Tell me the story about this.” I started to say all the reasons I have written here. But I noticed that I didn’t want to tell him the John and Yoko story. I wanted him to know it first.

After I had run out of all the other reasons, I started, slowly, “And then there’s this story about John Lennon….”

“And Yoko Ono?” he said.

Startled, I couldn’t talk for a moment.

“You mean the ladder story,” he told me. I nodded.

I told the story, even though it was clear he knew it. When I finished with “…they finally kissed, and they were in love,” he looked at me with tears in his eyes. And then he leaned in for a really long kiss.

“Oh yeah. All right. Boy you’re going to be in my dreams tonight.”

On the first night we spent together, he looked at me and said, “Now it’s time for you to see my tattoo.”

Puzzled, I said, “You have a tattoo?”

He nodded, then slowly took off his shirt. On his upper arm, he has a tattoo of John Lennon. He got it when he was twenty-one.

I just stared at him. You have John Lennon on your arm, I kept saying. You have John Lennon on your arm.

“And you have Yoko on yours,” he told me.

That was when I knew. That long phase of my life — of not feeling well and wondering at my place in life and being alone — was finally done. And the next one, equally long, if not longer — of feeling alive and knowing where I belong and loving this man — had just begun.

I knew it.

Yes, I will.

The first time he asked me, he did it by accident. It was June 18th, Paul McCartney’s 64th birthday. He had been playing me “When I’m 64” for weeks, so we marked the moment. At the end of the evening, he made us a gorgeous dinner. Pan-roasted beef tenderloin, on mashed potatoes, with a port-balsamic-veal stock reduction sauce, with balsamic onions and soft chevre on top. Ay god, this man. Just before we ate, he started to slice up some bread to go with his meal.

Now, he had been eating bread in my house for weeks. By this time, it was our house, anyway. I never complained if he ate gluten. I wanted him to say yes to any food he could eat. But if he eats bread, or drinks beer, we have to wait until he has brushed his teeth before we can kiss. Just the breadcrumbs in his mouth would make me sick.

And so, that night, feeling particularly close to him, I complained for the first time. “Oh, do you have to eat bread tonight?”

Without really turning around, he said, “Honey, you’re marrying a chef. You’re going to have to get used to the fact that he’s going to eat bread.”

What? I said. I turned him around and looked in his eyes, already smiling. “What did you just say?”

He turned red, and said, “I’m going to eat bread.”

We danced around in the kitchen, giggling, not saying it. After all, we had both known, and had been hinting at it, since our first night together. But he had just spoken it out loud. Sort of. He would find his time. We knew where we were going. We didn’t need to be there yet.

Together, we sat down in the living room to eat our dinner. He put on a South Park, the episode called “Cartman’s Mom is a Dirty Slut,” to be precise. I started laughing immediately, and then I took a bite of the food.

Gorgeous, glorious love. Layers of taste, like years together. Every flavor alive. Yes.

He watched me eat his food, as he always does. And when he saw how much I loved it, and thus loved him, he put down his plate. “Oh what the hell,” he said. And then he got down on one knee before me.

Yes, I said. Yes.

We didn’t tell anyone then. He wanted to ask my father’s permission, and he hadn’t met my parents yet. It had only been six weeks since we had met.

A month later, the night I returned home from Sitka — after two weeks of miserable missing each other so physically that we both knew, without a doubt, that our love was real — he made that meal again. He planned it this time. We asked each other. We slipped these rings on each other’s fingers, and we haven’t taken them off since.

And the rest is ours. Some things have to be private.

I haven’t said it here yet, even though some of you have guessed. I am saying it now. I said yes. So did he. And yes, I said, yes, I will Yes.

Today is our six-month anniversary. He is sleeping beside me as I write this, his John Lennon tattoo above the blanket, his sweet face smiling in his sleep. Soon, he will wake up, and I will read this to him, his anniversary present. And then, I will post it, and we will finally let the world know.

16 July 2007.

our rings


And even though it has been months since he asked me, and the rings feel so familiar on our fingers that we could have been born with them on our bodies, he still asks me every day. Every day, he asks me.

And every day, I shout or giggle or whisper or kiss him my answer:

Yes, my love. Yes. Yes, my dear Danny. Yes, I will marry you.



At 12:24 PM, Blogger Marty52 said...

Congratulations on finding such a love... they are few and far between!

At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow!! Amazing story, amazing writing. Congratulations and I hope the happiness you share together will last forever..

At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sit here with tears in my eyes happy for someone I've never even met, but your writing conveys so very much Shauna, thank you for sharing this beautiful, perfect story of your love that was so obviously meant to be. I am thrilled beyond words for both of you.

At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A beautiful and naked piece. Long may your big jib draw (best wishes for a marriage that moves forward for many years).

At 1:11 PM, Blogger Angela said...

Beautiful post, Shauna.

I knew it! I knew it! When I saw those pics on your Flicker Account... Hee Hee! That is wonderful- congratulations to both of you!

I am a wedding consultant and meet engaged couples all the time. And you, my dear, YOU BOTH belong together... YES, indeedy!

Can't wait to hear about the wedding and the babies (I am working on my third one right now, baby that is!)

Really. I couldn't be happier for the two of you (thank you for reminding me of my love).


At 1:52 PM, Blogger Molly said...

Beautiful, my friend. I'm so happy for both of you. xoxo

At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm smitten. This is beautiful- congratulations to the two of you, your yesses, and your full life that is JUST beginning!

At 7:39 PM, Blogger Cynthia said...

Hi Shauna,
I just wanted to say that I've been reading Gluten-Free Girl for a while now and have always admired your writing. I especially love your positive voice (and the great recipes!). I've finally started my own blog and hope it's ok that I've linked to you. Congratulations !
Best wishes,

At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As soon as I started reading this post I thought of the John Lennon/Yoko Ono Yes. Shortly after I heard this story when I was high school, I climbed up on a ladder and wrote "yes" near the ceiling in my bedroom.

Yes and yes and yes and yes and!

At 9:15 PM, Blogger Rachael Narins said...

Girl, you have GOT to stop making me CRY! :-)

Of course, this wasn't the slightest shock, but as always you make us feel connected to you in the way you say it...thank you for sharing your beautiful story. Thank you, and thank you and thank you.


(PS - I love Yoko. I can't help it, I just do. She endlessly amazes me. Hee.)

At 10:33 PM, Blogger g said...

I just want to tell you that your writing touches me - I have made it a habit to read your blog regularly. I always love what you write, but this post... this post has (do i dare say it) given me hope in love at first sight. You brought tears to my eyes and I don't even know you personally. I am so happy for you. Thank you for your writing and thank you for your story of yes.

At 10:39 PM, Blogger Pille said...

Beautifully written and such a beautiful love story, Shauna!
I met my Man a year ago, and have now just moved back to Estonia to live with him. Sometimes you just have to grab the chance, and you and Chef have certainly done it:)

At 12:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


This is what it is all about! It is true joy, what is real and worth all the wait, yes?

Savour every moment.

At 2:11 AM, Blogger Traca Savadogo said...

I was there in the beginning...and then what a beautiful twist of fate to run into you both tonight! I'm so thrilled for you both!

At 3:51 AM, Blogger Peggy said...

Absolutely lovely. Congratulations! Enjoy a lifetime of love & laughter.

At 7:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the most beautiful and heart-warming story I have read in a very long time. Thank you for sharing this with the world and for making me both tear and smile with joy this morning.

At 8:58 AM, Blogger Bengali Chick said...

Congratulations:) So incredibly happy for you. Wishing you all the happiness in the world.

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Geo said...

So, so, so very happy for you!

To me, "yes" is one of the most beautiful words in all language. In my faith (I'm LDS), we believe in marriage for eternity, and when the ceremony is performed, rather than saying "I do," the man and woman each say "YES."

You have given me an idea. I've been thinking I should get a watch, but instead I will make myself a watch that doesn't keep time, but whose face only says "yes." Something in me resonates with that idea. Yes is the universal time, isn't it?

What a lovely, well-deserved life you two can share. Congratulations.

At 9:51 AM, Blogger Liz said...


I must say, after reading that post I'm feeling inspired to say "yes" and believe in possibilities- for that I thank you.

By the way, that is one fantastic tattoo!

At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary Shauna & Danny!!!! Thank you for such inspiration and for sharing your artwork..... beautiful writing, beautiful stories and beautiful food.

At 2:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shauna ... unlike Molly Bloom, who had but her one indelible moment of 'yes' -- I wish for you a lifetime of wonderment and sharing, and many heartfelt yes's to come. Many good things happen to you, Shauna, but much of it has to do with your persistent optimistic attitude and joy toward life, even when the chips are down. And they are, currently -- from all I can see -- definitely NOT down right now! Ride the wave, kiddo!!

At 3:42 PM, Blogger Tea said...

Yes, I am thrilled and delighted for you!
Yes, I am crying.
Yes, I am continually amazed and inspired by your writing, your strength, your story.
Yes, yes, yes!

At 7:46 PM, Blogger nejyerf said...

this post tears it!!

i simply must delurk to let you know i'm totally buying your book now as soon as it comes out!

my sister-in-law works at wiley. i'm going to twist her arm to get me a copy hot off the press!!

wishing you and your chef a lifetime of happiness and late night feasts.

At 3:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my first time reading your blog, what a beautiful post.

At 3:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you finally made the official announcement! I kept wondering when it would come. Congratulations and happy anniversary!

I love that word "yes". It can hold so much meaning for such a little word.

When my own love and I exchanged rings at our wedding, we borrowed from Dag Hammarskjöld: "For all that has been - thank you. For all that will be - yes!"

Be well, be happy, and be loved... as you know, it's a glorious thing.

At 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huh - I just noticed my sister (Beccy) has discovered your blog!

Your post has made me half an hour late for the market this morning!

Although I already knew this beautiful news, I didn't know the story.

It was more than worth the wait.

Bravo, Shauna. If I could show you emails from last year that you sent me, and how things have changed. I am so happy for you.

At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so happy for you both - what a wonderful story. May you always find inspiration in each other.

At 8:33 PM, Blogger Mike Eberhart said...

After reading this entry, I was left wondering, do you have a book deal on the way or is there still only silence from your literary agent? If you don't have a deal yet, would it be too much to ask what kind of deal you are looking for, and are you after more than just a publisher? I assume the book you want to write has something to do with gluten free foods, but I never quite figure that out from reading your entries. Sorry if I am overly curious... it sure seems you have something to share and get out there to your GF community, and I just wonder what is holding up the process.

At 9:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! Your writing absolutely sucks me in.

and the thing that touched me the most is how much of this story I can relate to, even how Danny recognized your tattoo. My boyfriend has a birthmark on his leg that I knew somehow when I first saw it. and that damn soulmate thing, it's so true!

Congratulations to you both!

At 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shauna -- congratulations to you both, and thanks for your beautiful story of love. There's so much in it I recognize -- not the least of which is G's and my constant obssession/adoration of South Park, and the fact that we too use it as a metaphor for our relationship...

At 8:40 AM, Blogger Darby said...

Such a beautiful post. Yes is the word of creating dreams to reality. It sounds like your dreams are your reality....Congratulations to you both!

At 8:40 AM, Blogger Darby said...

Such a beautiful post. Yes is the word of creating dreams to reality. It sounds like your dreams are your reality....Congratulations to you both!

At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw the flickr photos before I read this, and wondered whether they signaled engagement or elopement. This is such a gorgeous piece of writing; I can't imagine a more perfect anniversary present for your love.

Congratulations to you and the Chef! Wishing you many happy years and meals together.

At 11:48 AM, Blogger Bicyclemark said...

funny how the world works. I enjoyed reading your summary of what has happenned and its been also interesting to kind of read the events as theyve unfolded via the blog. So today I was out somewhere here in amsterdam and I told this story to a friend who loved it. amazing.. the way life works sometimes.

At 7:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Magic. Pure magic. You both give me hope. I'm SO happy for you!!!!

At 8:56 PM, Blogger Elle said...

Congratulations! You both sound like people who know how to take life and find the wonderful in it. Your writing is really amazing, especially this piece. Wwshing you many years of 'YES' together.

At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A story like this almost writes itself,eh?

Best wishes to you and the Chef!

One of these days when I head back home to the NW I'll have to pop in and check out the Chef's restaurant and hopefully be able to congratulate you both in person! ;)

At 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations to both of you! You've shared so much--you're blog is a real gift--and I'm glad you're able to receive some of the love you make...

All best wishes,
Crohn-y B

At 10:44 PM, Blogger Princess LadyBug said...

That post should have come with tissues. Thank you for your inspiring words. I've just emailed a link to your blog to several of my friends.

And congratulations to both you and your wonderful Chef.

At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I've never actually posted a comment on your site, but I've been a long time reader. As a young woman with Celiac, I find your take on the gluten free life style so refresing, while giving us all hope on being healthy and gluten free. Also, I've found your relationship with Chef so similar to mine with my boyfriend, having overwhelming love for one another. The way the love you have for him pours out onto the page with unyeilding power, says something for true love. It makes me smile every time I read about you two. I love how you've said "yes" to life. This post honestly openend my eyes to what the world has to offer. I've always been an optimst, but sometimes things can get so frusterating. Thank you for posting this, and thank you for helping other's say "yes."

At 9:30 PM, Blogger Shauna said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone. As every comment trickled, then roared in, the Chef and I read every one. Dan has been more touched by this outpouring of good wishes and connections than I could ever convey. He's new at this blog business. He's good at this love business.

I feel blessed, a hundred fold. Not just because I found the love of my life in the Chef, but also because I found this community of wonderful, funny souls online. I really am grateful.

At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats...but you better get busy on the baby front if you want more than one!

At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just read this and started crying and i'm so happy for you! congratulations!!

At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does you story inspire me? Yes.
Am I happy for you? Yes.
Have you made my day happier? Yes.

This week my wife and I celebrate 7 years of blissful marriage. I wish you and your John Lennon a long and deliriously happy life together.


At 8:00 PM, Blogger the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד said...

Mad love to you, Shauna.

My best to you both.

At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI, I left a praiseful comment at the Food Blog Awards, recommending that everyone vote for this post, and they did not allow it.

So I'm recommending that all my readers come and vote for you.

This post was superior and inspirational, in every regard.

At 6:27 AM, Blogger Sarah Caron said...


This is an amazing, beautiful and meaningful post that really touches people whom you have never met. You have a wonderful gift for expressing yourself.

Congrats on finishing the book, and for the FBA nominations. Reading this was a pleasure.

At 5:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw your commercial on Food Network and read your blog. What a beautiful story of how the two of you finally found each other! You've made me smile! Everyday that I wake up is another chance for adventure, and finding your page was a definite YES! :)

At 7:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I also just 'discovered' you - thanks Food Network - and I'm bawling as I read this!! You guys are remarkable!! Many, many blessings to your infinite years together!! May you always say 'yes' to each other, to life!!

Much Love to you & those many babies who will love food, love their daddy, love their mommy, and most importantly, love life!!

At 7:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so in awe of this story - of these two souls that crossed paths in this crazy world. I feel like I want to watch to seems that beautiful and almost unreal. I want to read the rest of it. I want to tune in for more. What a beautiful thing. It has restored my so mcuh! Yes...absolutely. Yes. I love it.

At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shauna, how beautiful! I have no words, but Congratulations to you and Danny and may you have a long and happy life together.

At 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

amazing writing and congratulations =)

it was a pure joy to read this post.

At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes. that was beautiful. yes. =)

At 7:31 AM, Blogger Sam said...

Wow. I wasn't expecting, on this zero-degree morning, with my wife exhausted in bed, myself at work and our kids probably reading in their beds at home - I wasn't expecting to read such a romantic and beautiful declaration of love and life and living.

I wasn't expecting to have tears in my eyes at 8:30 am.

Thank you.

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Megan said...

Thank you. You have made my day. Thank you for reminding me to say yes to every moment. Beautiful story! :)

At 9:51 AM, Blogger Hummingbird said...

Thank you for sharing your story. You are such a beautiful writer. My heart is smiling after reading this, as I wipe the tears from my eyes, and everything in me just resonates with all of the ways you say, "YES". Bless you both. :)

At 7:42 PM, Blogger Travis said...


At 5:50 AM, Blogger Colorsonmymind said...

This post made me swoon.

I couldn't hold back the tears when you described him revealing Lennon on his arm. What fate.

I just found your blog and am in love with your writing and your gluten free recipes. I cannot wait to try them.


At 10:03 PM, Blogger anna said...

I just found your blog through Soulemama..... Oh what gorgeous writing! What a beautifuly delicious love story!
Your joy sings in your words... now I can't wait to wade through the rest of your site for recipes and more stories!

At 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lovely story. I just found your site, and your cheerful attitude is an inspiration.

At 2:48 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

This is the first time I've seen your blog, but it will not be the last. This post moved me to tears. How magnificent. Thank you for this story.

At 2:16 PM, Blogger Amy said...

I just stumbled upon this and it was really truly beautiful. Thank you for sharing this and best wishes for you both.

At 8:23 AM, Blogger lijhe said...

Wow. That'a beautiful. Congratulations. (And a *gorgeous* ring!)

Got here, serendipitously, through Soulemama; your comment was the one right above mine so I clicked on your name. I had just come from the doctor's office where she told me she felt my symptoms pointed toward an issue with wheat and wanted me to be tested for celiac. What a lovely coincidence. Because if I didn't already have "gluten-free" on the brain, I might not have stopped to read in depth, and I am so glad I did because you are a wonderfully, inspiring, uplifting writer.

At 8:40 AM, Blogger Mrs.Temple said...

My god- that made me cry. How beautiful. Yes. That's wonderful. I love it. I am getting ready to get married and came across your story by accident when I was looking for a tattoo idea to commemorate this special occasion.

At 11:49 PM, Blogger Julia said...

OMG...what a beautiful story, a beautiful love! You two were truly meant to be together. I'm so glad you found each other.

At 8:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW! I just found your blog today - my niece Christine told me about you. What a beautiful story book tale of love between you and Dan. This blog made me cry i felt so much happiness for both of you...and it gave me hope for ME. Thank you for sharing the beauty.

At 4:51 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Absolutely the most inspiring love story I've ever read. "Yes" is my mantra this year as I am living a new adventure far from home. I only hope it brings me as much love and joy as you have found.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I stumbled on this while looking for pictures of hummingbirds and leave inspired and deeply touched.

Your words are astounding and though I've never met you nor read anything else you have to offer I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes and a newfound sense of invigoration.

Congratulations and thank you.

At 6:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

your book says it all but not this.congrats

At 3:00 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

MRS. James Ahern, I am so happy for you! I just found out about your site and your book and your marriage and I am thrilled to death for you. I have to admit too, that you are, and always have been, an inspiration to me. Thanks for giving me something beautiful to read every day! -Sarah Bunch

At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i've never read your blog before. a friend emailed me a link and said i must read it.
you're such a talented and beautiful writer.
you brought tears to my eyes and although i don't know you, i am so very happy for you. i must also thank you. thank you for restoring my hope in love. i too have always dreamt of my soulmate but never thought it would ever happen.
thanks to your beautiful story, i have hope. i will not give up again. thank you!

At 4:30 PM, Blogger She-Ra said...

I've recently had to cut gluten out for medical reasons, and a friend sent me a link to your blog. I am blown away by your eloquence and fervor. Thank you for sharing something so beautiful and inspiring.

At 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are amazing.

At 5:49 AM, Blogger elefes said...

I always come back to read this post but I haven't, I guess, had the nerve to comment yet. I love your writing, in particular I love this post. Whenever I'm feeling a little lost or incredibly happy, I come back to read this. I love it. Words cannot express how much I love it. It never ceases to make me smnile.

Congratulations on Little Bean, too. This post is made all the more sweet knowing that both your dreams of children are coming to fruition. Again, congratulations. You deserve all the happiness in the world. :)

At 7:34 AM, Blogger smileeanne said...

i came across this by chance, and it is long, and I can't wait to read the rest of it tonight, after all my papers are done.

At 8:53 AM, Blogger FishermansDaughter said...

My husband abandoned me and our two young children four years ago for someone he met on line.
What followed were the absolute, soul crushingly darkest days of my life. Stuck in the black limbo of why, blame, unable to move forward, searching for the balance between crippling grief, daunted by the burdens of single parenthood, I became an isolated, bitter shadow of my former out going, sunny self.
Your story has worked nothing short of a Southern Bible Revival on my heart.



THE perfect illustration of when we continue to say yes, not just to life, but to the things that bring us joy, true, lasting, overwhelming, blissful love doesn't just become possible - it's inevitable.
Thank you for sharing. Boundless love and all good things to you, Chef and Little Bean.

At 6:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my, oh my, I am practically sobbing here at my desk with happiness for you both. What a beautiful post you've written. What a heartfelt love story. So glad you both found one another. :)

PS - I found you through Maddie.

At 7:00 AM, Blogger Leah said...

crying and smiling simultaneously is how i finished reading your story. yes, life is beautiful and so are you. congratulations!!

At 1:45 PM, Blogger Rebekah said...

gorgeous so far - can't finish reading now because perhaps I am nearer to where you were - pre-yes. Lovely writing, extraordinary tattoo. Will read rest soon!

At 6:41 PM, Blogger Sophie said...

I couldn't help but laugh when I read that you used to write "yes!" on your student's papers :). My teachers in high school and even professors in college would do the same thing :). I almost felt more excited to see that on my paper than a good grade!

Lovely story, I love how you combine images with food and love. It almost reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Como Agua Para Chocolate :)!

At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My roommate just turned me onto your blog. I'm a huge Beatles fan, I absolutely love to cook, and I adore your blog. What a beautiful moving piece that absolutely brought me to tears. For the longest time, I thought about how blessed I am to not have any food allergies, to be able to eat whatever I want. And now, reading your blog and this post, I am just blown away at what a silly insignificant thought that was. Congratulations for finding and enjoying each other, for celebrating life and love. What an inspiration you are (=

At 10:04 AM, Blogger Cherry Rolla said...

i just found your blog actually looking for an imagine tattoo, but i recognized your tattoo then read the story. I am in tears, i always thought i had a good story but yours is great. i also sent it to @yokoono.

At 11:53 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Wow, you are so great at what you do. Thank you, thank you so much.

At 7:55 PM, Blogger Engineer Baker said...

Every time I'm feeling down, I read this. And every time, it nearly makes me cry with happiness. Thank you. Thank you so much.

At 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i really love your tattoo.
its so simple and it has an amazing story with it.
im going to go get my first tattoo.
all i want is just a plan small love heart on my hand.

At 3:28 PM, Blogger Heidi said...

First, congratulations with Chef, but, moreso finding that partner in Celiac crime, who will help you in your fight...

I could relate to you so much it was like your pen inked words I've wept. Thank you.

I understand "YES". I am a 1 month old Celiac, and am now being tested for cancer, but I understand "YES"...

"YES" means life. I can choose life. There is so much this world has to offer, so much goodness, and fantastic surprises, like who knew Quinoa was so spanking delicious?!

Your story about Sharon and the Lemon Cookies...I share that, only my stumbling block is the kaiser bun...I love to squeeze the buns...and the smell, oooh, girl! hot damn!

Thanks for you and, also, for your participation in The Sister Project.

At 11:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful :) Your story gives me hope. I don't even know you, but your piece made me cry I'm so happy for you. And I didn't know how John and Yoko met, so thanks for that too. I wish you both a lifetime of happiness!

At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Emily said...

Oh, I couldn't hold back the tears as I read this. Not only is this piece stunning, but it has instilled confidence in me. I am eighteen and recently had the strongest urge to tattoo the word "courage" on my right arm. It was out of nowhere, but there are certainly strong motives behind doing it.

I am a celiac and when I am exposed to gluten I have emotional trauma (paranoia, depression,etc) and I have always been a frightened person.
Now I want to scream "YES!" I can feel it like some fire inside of me. Now I want to say "yes" to getting my tattoo because I know that it will bring me positivity and courage. Even though I have lived in fear and am still afraid, I want to say "yes" to courage.

Thank you, and I am so happy for you and Chef! I recognize the way you wrote your words because I have someone special to me as well. You truly know the rainbow that is love.

At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I may be late to the party, but even though this post is new to my eyes and many years old, it warmed my heart like a pan of milk. This is a story for the ages (and deep down I am a sucker for love stories). Yes.

At 8:56 PM, Blogger Makeda said...

I'm reading this 4 years after you first posted it but you have no idea how timely EVERY SINGLE WORD in this post has been for me and my journey. Thank you for sharing. You have touched my heart at a level I do not have the words to articulate. Thank you!


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