Meet our Secret 13 Essay Contest Winner!

SAY HELLO to 2018!

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For the past few months, we’ve read Secret 13 stories from 12 inspiring finalists, as they’ve shared how the lessons found in Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life personally affected or changed them.  Last week, you voted for your favorites.  Today it is time to announce the winner of our absolutely fabulous, totally AMAZING grand prize!.

How amazing is it?

Win a One Week Cruise for Four Onboard the Carnvial Sunshine!!

Yep, that’s right–our lucky grand prize winner has won an all-expenses paid cruise for up to four on my family’s all-time cruise line, and our all-time favorite ship, the Carnival Sunshine!

And our winner is (drumroll please)….

Maggie | The Love NerdsMAGGIE ROUSH!

 Maggie writes the blog, The Love Nerds, and her inspiring essay, “It’s Okay to Change Your Plan,” shared her story of needing to abandon her dream of being a teacher because of the debilitating migraines it was causing.  Regarding why she decided to write this essay, she wrote,

“I wrote this blog post for me. I have a desire to be more open on the blog about our experiences – the good and the bad – and the hard work we are doing to earn our “good life”. However, I am entering this contest for my husband.

If not for my husband, I would still be teaching and most likely still be in constant pain from my migraines. As Ruth says, I would have kept my dreams on hold in order to be practical. After all, leaving my teaching job cut our budget in half. His unwavering support is truly incredible – never once making me feel bad for our new financial situation, always encouraging my ideas and vision, rearranging his schedule for blog projects and even patiently waiting for dinner as I snap a few photos. I am submitting this to the contest because he has had to make so many sacrifices for my health and my dreams that I would love to give him something wonderful in return – a vacation! Thank you for the opportunity!”

Congratulations Maggie!


  1. April 28 at 09:35AM

    You rock Maggie! Congrats!

  2. April 28 at 10:14AM

    Thank you so much for this opportunity, Ruth! I love to write and am so thankful your prompt nudged me toward writing something truly personal and sharing my experience. While this cruise is an AWESOME reward for that and we are beyond excited, I have also been so deeply rewarded by the messages or comments people have sent to me after reading this. Chronic pain is so hard and I love that this essay resonated with others and made them maybe feel a little bit better about reevaluating their plan, And thank you to everyone who voted and supported us. i think we are still a little bit in shock that we won! 🙂

  3. Congrats! I was a teacher before becoming a SAHM and I know just how rough those kids can be on someone who doesn’t have headaches. I can’t imagine compromising your health to deal with your job. You made the right decision!

    • April 29 at 10:53AM

      Thank you so much, Hannah! There are still some moments where I miss it, but I know this is the best path for me and my family.

  4. April 28 at 01:44PM

    Congratulations Maggie! Have an awesome time on your cruise.

  5. April 28 at 06:07PM

    So happy for you, Maggie! I hope you and your husband have a wonderful and relaxing time on the cruise!

  6. Congrats, well done! 🙂 I enjoyed all of the stories and every one of them was really inspiring! 🙂

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