Making Room for Life: Stories of Transition & Hope Contest Winner Announcement

Female surfer on the beach at the sunset

As a sponsor of Tropic of Candycorn’s Surf & Yoga Mom Retreat, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to give away a retreat package to one deserving mom.  When we started this process, we knew we wanted any contest to center on transitions and how people make room for life and grow from them.  We knew there would be women who had incredible stories to share.  We just didn’t expect there would be quite so many!

As an Extra Space Storage team, we are truly inspired by each of the stories shared:  they made us laugh; they made us cry; and they made us hope.  Well done.

And we hope you’ll agree: “A Burden which is well borne becomes light.” – Ovid

Because so many of you made room for life, we’re making a little extra room for you, too.  Not only are giving a free trip to the winner, we’ve decided to award prizes to the Top 10 entries! (Look for that announcement here on Monday morning).

Without further adieu, we are happy to announce that the winner of the free retreat package is…Katie Dudley!

“If I had a way of receiving a glimpse of my life at 34 when I was 17, I never would have guessed I’d be in the situation I am today.  I couldn’t have imagined the person I have grown to be or the trials I have faced. I couldn’t fully understand the depth of my love for my children, the simple beauty of finding joy in the tiny everyday things, like how tucking the hair behind my baby girl’s ear or hearing my boys giggle themselves to sleep brings such joy to my heart.  On the flipside I couldn’t have imagined the heartache of watching my children struggle because of “grown-up” problems or the deep disappointment of a life I had once expected and the brutal pain of a relationship and companionship that was taken over by a dark mental illness…I don’t take pity on myself or the hardening life experiences I’ve gone through, I believe that suffering is in the eye of the beholder and we have a choice every day on how to react to life’s challenges.  They can either make us or break us.

I look at my children and my experiences and I see heaps of joy and growth amidst the challenges. Sure I’ve struggled my way through it and I am still navigating my way… but these challenges have made me the person I am today, and I kinda like who I am, actually I LOVE who I am!  Can I say that out loud?!  It’s a little scary saying it, but it’s true. If I had had the life I was naively planning on when I was 17 dreaming up my future, I think I would be a lot more vanilla.  Not that there’s anything wrong with vanilla, but I look back at my vanilla self and I think, yeah, she was alright, but nothing like you are today.  Through my challenges I have been carved and shaped into a woman who is confident and strong.  I have done things my old self would have been too shy to do, let alone try.  I’ve grown to realize that I am capable of doing hard things! I’ve also learned to sympathize more easily with others. I’m not afraid to reach out, open up and share my experience.

‘Wise men in every tradition tell us that suffering brings clarity, illumination… suffering is a privilege, it moves us toward thinking about essential things and shakes us out of shortsighted complacency.’”Tropic of Candycorn Logo

Congratulations, Katie!  We hope you have a wonderful time in Costa Rica and come home restored, renewed and with a little more room for life.

Tropic of Candycorn will contact winner.  Please see the TOC Mom Retreat Giveaway for full details and prize terms.  Conditions may apply.