My DNA and me.

Often times the best things we find in life are not the things we are searching for. Such was my experience when I went searching for my ancestry.

In my last video blog I made a point about my place in life being attributed to hard work rather than luck. While I stand by that wholeheartedly, there is one area I consider myself extremely lucky… my family.


Me and my big sister Kelsey – a beautiful person inside and out.

My parents went to great lengths to have my sister and I using a sperm donor. I have always felt loved and supported in every endeavor I have pursued. I grew up with the most amazing sister anyone could ask for. We bickered, we fought, we didn’t share our toys – we did all the ornery things sisters should do. In the end we became best friends.

One year ago I was having a drink with a buddy who had just received his results from a website called 23andme. It broke down his ancestry into a very detailed chart. Although I knew I was “white”, I wanted to know what shade! So I submitted my DNA to discover my ancestry.


The very first selfie I ever took with my brother Jason.

To my surprise I found a brother! This brother could have been absolutely anyone, and any type of person. But when we finally met we had an instant connection. I don’t believe in fate, or in things happening “for a reason”, but I can say that our discovery of one another came at the most auspicious time for us both. We were going through major life changes, and to find a new sibling was like finding a complete stranger who you could confide in without judgement. I often joke that whatever he thinks of me, he can’t “un-sister” me!

And with the addition of a brother came 3 more little relatives. I am a self proclaimed “Super-Aunt”! I now have 3 nieces and 3 nephews. And I’m just the crazy gypsy Aunt living in her teardrop trailer who drops by every once in awhile! I believe it is my solemn duty to instill a sense of wonder, imagination, and adventure in each of these little buggers.mld_4357akids

When 23andme heard our story, they were moved and wanted to document it. We were both honored to share our story, and now I am happy to introduce…

Mandy & Jason’s 23andme Story:

Sharing our story with the film crew was a fun experience! Here are some behind the scenes photos:

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  1. Reply


    November 22, 2016

    Wow. That is very cool.

  2. Reply

    Sherry Sauter

    November 22, 2016

    I know how it feels to find family. I never had my dad in my life growing up but found when I was in my 20’s that I have 2 half sisters. I grew up with 3 brothers and I never had another girl to talk to other than my mother. This video really hit home with me so thank you for sharing your story Mandy. You are truly an inspiration to me.

  3. Reply

    Mandy Lea Photo

    November 22, 2016


  4. Reply

    Jeannie Eddy

    November 22, 2016

    Beautiful story Mandy! I know a bit of what you’re feeling. My birthson and I were reunited 14 years ago, when he was 31. He got to meet four full-blooded siblings! I love how their relationships have blossomed. Such a gift in our lives. Congratulations on finding your brother, and for expanding your family in such a beautiful, meaningful way!

  5. Reply

    Jeff Rector

    November 22, 2016

    Wow, what a cool story!! I can just see the joy in your eyes, Mandy, as you discover and explore such an amazing surprise “gift” in your life. A beautiful thing to witness, indeed. Thank you for sharing it, for I know it will bless many of your readers…myself included.

    • Reply

      Mandy Lea Photo

      November 23, 2016

      Thank you so much Jeff. Your support just by following means the world to me.

  6. Reply


    November 22, 2016

    As an only child who has always wished for a sibling, this is really cool.

  7. Reply

    Krys Rockwood

    November 23, 2016

    Yay!! Oh, I love a good reunion story!!… I placed my son up for adoption when he was born, because his biodad was abusive to me (I had just turned 17) & I didn’t want him to grow up in that cycle of abuse. I was always at peace with my decision & I never looked back. I knew in my heart if he was anything like me, he’d want to know who I was someday. I carried his baby pic around in my wallet & shared my story as I saw fit, if anyone needed to hear it… Twenty four years later, I got the letter, “Hello, my name is Mike, I am your son…” & We have been GREAT friends ever since then. Ten years now. It’s awesome. Genetics is such an amazing thing!

  8. Reply

    Carmen Davailus Buck

    December 1, 2016

    Wow!! This is beautiful! I’m happy for you.

    • Reply

      Krys Rockwood

      December 1, 2016

      Thanks!… It truly has been beautiful! It’s a real life, feel good story.

  9. Reply

    Mar Robbart

    December 4, 2016

    Great story! Thanks for sharing! Congrats on meeting your brother!

  10. Reply


    December 5, 2016

    Love the video….thank you for sharing your story and life with the entire world.

  11. Reply


    December 20, 2016

    I had chills as well…but Mandy but you gave me chills listenig to your storyat thtiny house festival in fla….amazing story!!

  12. Reply


    February 4, 2017

    Big happy tears!! That is beautiful!!!

  13. Reply


    May 2, 2017

    Ok, now you’ve made me cry. It’s an amazing story. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Reply

    Ruth Duckworth

    May 3, 2017

    I tried yesterday to “follow” your blog When I just received an email from you to confirm it wouldn’t let me. Is that because I’m not using my own computer but my daughter’s. Could it be because the computer has been set not to allow me join blogs,or rather follow blogs?

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