t took five years to rebuild my spine—eight emergency surgeries and twenty-one weeks of bed rest. During this time, I would scribble words into a notebook on my nightstand—mostly tiny pep talks I hoped my soul would hear. I felt the power of a perfectly curated collection of words—how
even amid your darkest day, they can change your perspective instantly, and move you through a sometimes painful breath and seemingly impossible step. So in the heart of the pandemic, when the world became as immobile as me, I offered up the practice that helped me heal. I invited people to share their stories and struggles anonymously through my website. I would reply to each letter, and within my reply, I would author an inspiring thought—ones that read like inspirational quotes to lean into when needed most. I started sharing some of the quotes I penned on my social feeds, keeping each story confidential.
Within a few hours, the project reached five countries. Since launch—and with the help of several translators—48.
Hundreds of letters of every human emotion poured in: grieving widowers, unexpectedly unemployed, hopelessness for the state of our world, anxious college students, LGBTQ teens afraid to come out, scared single moms, fatigued front-line workers, broken hearts afraid to love, lonely retirees, and those who just feel a little stuck in life and seek a gentle nudge.
None of the beautiful stories have been shared—until now.
For the first time, I am sharing stories told to, and by me, under my newly launched brand, named after two little words that started every letter I received...
My hope with Dear Mandy is that together, we create a community that helps you feel seen, heard, and less alone in your struggle—one that reminds you of your resilience, the possibility of hope, and inspires you to take a weekly moment of pause with me. And perhaps one day, even share your story, too.
These two little words have traveled around the world.
They found me. Now they found you.
I am so grateful they did.