Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

Bravery and Winners Announcement

If I were asked to describe myself, I’m not sure that I’d include the word “brave.” It’s not that I think I’m a total chickenshit or anything. I mean, I wipe up poop, catch vomit with my bare hands, convince Tucker to let me cut his nails on occasion, and kill spiders with the best of ‘em. I try new foods. I’ve been skydiving and scuba diving. I’ve been in a graveyard, in New Orleans, in the middle of the night. Ok, fine, that one was more drunken stupidity than bravery, but still. I survived.

In reflecting on bravery, I realize that all of us are brave and powerful. Every day.

Each time that we reach out to make a connection with another person, knowing that we may be rejected, requires bravery. Walking into a party full of people we don’t know. Learning a new skill. Asking for help when we need it. Offering help. Reaching out. Admitting loneliness. Fear. Facing the hard signs of aging and feeling blessed that we have them because too many don’t. Those things. They require bravery.

I have done many of those things. And yet. Do I have a Very Bravest Thing? I don’t know. Here are some moments that come close.

Walking away from a marriage that was no longer good for either one of us. Having faith that I’d find love again.

Saying goodbye to the life that I built, grew into, and made mine. Packing up, moving, and creating a brand new life 2,600 miles away from my comfortable one.

Meeting Robert. Trusting myself when I knew, on our first date, that I’d marry him.

Becoming a mom, regardless of the odds being against me and the papers that had “Advanced Maternal Age” stamped across the top. Making it through bed rest. Pregnancy. Birth. Allowing myself to believe the doctors and nurses at the hospital when they told me that we’d be just fine.

Taking my baby boy home. Trusting myself to be enough. To do enough. To not drop him on his baby head. To protect.

Walking into Early Intervention for Tucker’s first evaluation. Not falling to my knees at the end of it. Moving on. Getting help. Enduring further evaluations. Hearing the word “autism” for the first time. Telling my friends. Telling my family. Telling myself.

Dropping Tucker off at school for the first time. Driving away. Later, putting him on the bus. Not following it. Trusting.

There seems to be a common theme here. Trust. The very bravest things that I have ever done involve trusting myself. Trusting the universe. Trusting life to be okay even when it’s unexpected. Even when it hurts. Even when it’s better than I ever thought possible and not allowing myself to worry about the unknowns. The future.

Believing. Believing that I’m enough. That this is enough. That we’re all here on purpose, and that it’s all enough.

Trusting is the bravest thing I’ve ever done.

What about you? Do you have a very bravest thing?

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. Today’s sentence is “The bravest thing I’ve ever done is…”  Next week, its “The hardest choice I ever made was…”

Your lovely hosts:
janine: Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic

kate: Can I get another bottle of whine?
stephanie: Mommy, for Real
me: finding ninee

Prize Times

And now, it’s time for me to give away some money! Whoot! 

I’d like to thank each and every judge who was kind enough to read through all of the wonderful and amazing comments on Finding Ninee’s One Year Birthday Post. Some were hilarious. Some were touching. Others were a combination. All were beautiful and appreciated.

To each of you who commented last week – thank you. You’re all winners in my book. I was honored at how many of you said that you didn’t want the money and simply came by to wish this little blog a happy birthday. Too bad you didn’t ALL say you didn’t need the money, ’cause now I’m writing some checks!

Also, I’d like to say that I did not vote in this contest. So, if you’re annoyed that one of the following winners beat you, please go complain to each and every judge. They’ll like it.

Anyway! Without further ado! Oh. One more ado. Remember winners, based on official rule #7 – this is not a contest about giving money to X charity. You should donate regularly to the causes you believe in. I do. This particular contest is about YOU. What you’d do with the money. Please be selfish and do what you said you would, were you to win. Which you DID. Whoot (again).

Yay for the winners_edited-1

Third prize, which is $25, goes to the wonderful and amazing Chris Carter of The Mom Cafe for this hilarious comment:

Well first of all, I am “almost first” to comment, so that should give me an extra point!!
And secondly, I work tirelessly on my little ol’ blog and haven’t made but a dime and spare change, so it would really be neat to pretend I make money blogging- my mission? Reaching out and encouraging people…that is the dream I pursue. I can say I made A HUNDRED BUCKS and no one needs to know how- it’s connected to my blog someway, right? Then my dream is fulfilled: I am “legit”.
And thirdly, I think you are freaking amazing and quite frankly, all of those judges I see up there are the elite of the bunch… so just them reading this gives me goosebumps and smiles, and I’m content just being a part of this blog world with you. (I mean that- I’m not kissing up to get the money… really.)I am an email subscriber too! (YAY for one point!!! If I don’t get any points, at least I got one!! lol)

Second prize, also $25, goes to Janet Ochs, for this touching, beautiful comment:

Happy Birthday to your blog! It’s been extremely helpful to me. I do follow it regularly!
I’m not really good at the quick witted stuff. So, here’s Just Me!
Beginning with a Speech Pathologist telling me that my son’s speech delays weren’t “just” speech delays last November, this past year has been really rough for me. It’s been a year of endless tests, stress to the nth degree, ridiculous comments from “specialists” and other people in my life who just didn’t get what you cleverly refer to as the middle world – no diagnosis, somewhere in between. He doesn’t fit into a mold – he’s just – Chris. He’s smart, funny, sometimes stubborn, but definitely unique. I’ve struggled with finding the “right” school and therapies to best benefit him, how not to affect my 2 older typical daughters too much (sometimes not very well at all), running a house, etc. I have an MBA but gave up my career to be a stay at home Mom. That turned out to be so beneficial for this process. This past year has been spent in survival mode, but I have survived, largely thanks to an extremely supportive and understanding husband.
The thing is, I almost never do anything for myself these days. I often have guilt for putting myself ahead of anyone or anything, especially if I have to spend money to do it. I would use this money for me – maybe a pedicure, getting my hair done, or something like that.
I can’t say I deserve this more than anyone else. Everyone has their ups and downs. So to the people who win – you deserve it and I’m happy for you!!!

I should mention that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Janet in real life. Her son has some similarities to Tucker, she reached out, we traded some information, and then during an visit to her son’s potential new school, she heard a teacher say the name Tucker. She asked whether that was my Tucker. It was. Small world, right?

And the comment that got the very most votes was crafted by Dana, from Kiss My List. Here is her $100 answer to what she’d do with the prize money:

I deserve to win because I have made a grand total of $0.82 doing this blogging thing so far. I am meeting you IRL next month and I need the money to get a manicure and a cute outfit so you won’t be embarrassed to be seen with me. I also subscribed to your blog, which I rarely do, but you are that awesome. Also, I was showing my 12 year old your post so he could see I was judging, and he caught the words “kissing penis.” So now he thinks I read porn all day. The $100 would pay for his first therapy session.

Congratulations, winners. Please contact me to make arrangements to receive your prize money.


  • Sarah Almond - I don’t know if I’ve really had a brave moment in my life. Really. I’m a huge wuss. You are a very brave woman in my book though!

    Congratulations to all the winners! That was hard to narrow down all of those comments! 😀September 26, 2013 – 10:05 pmReplyCancel

  • Kristi Campbell - Sarah, SO hard to narrow them down. I’m actually relieved I wasn’t a judge! Thanks to you for being one!September 26, 2013 – 10:08 pmReplyCancel

  • Janine Huldie - Congrats to all your winners and will say I think I very much agree with you that trust lies at the heart of the matter in indeed being brave. So, I do think you hit the nail on the head with this one!September 26, 2013 – 10:15 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - Love your “brave” list and how you came up with it — you always make me think, which is hard to do these days.:) And congrats to the winners — I hope we judges made you proud!September 26, 2013 – 10:24 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - “Trusting is the bravest thing I’ve ever done.” That’s so true, Kristi. I almost said that loving is the bravest (and easiest) thing I’ve ever done, and that’s kind of the same thing – opening yourself up and making yourself vulnerable. But the returns are immense.

    And also – woo hoo!!! I’m excited to win something today 😉 If there’s a bar at the conference next month, I’m buying you a drink. Thank you!September 26, 2013 – 10:30 pmReplyCancel

  • Kristi Campbell - Janine,
    Thanks, friend. Yeah, trusting is pretty dang brave…
    And congrats to you for moving your blog to self hosted this week and that being your new blog’s birthday! Also WAH to making me look bad that you’re giving away more money and stuff. But whatever. I’m riding my glory.
    ;O—
    Emily,
    You judges made me Oh So Proud. Thank you.

    Dana,
    You bet your ass you’re buying me a drink. Dude, win is totally deserved. Like hugely. I loved it. I didn’t vote. Other did. Congratulations.
    September 26, 2013 – 10:33 pmReplyCancel

  • Mytwicebakedpotato - I don’t know if it is bravery, but every time I fight for my son…there is no regret. First with his adoption roller coaster and then standing up to a school system that wants him to fit in a box. That fight continues.
    Thank you for your site 🙂September 26, 2013 – 10:34 pmReplyCancel

  • Stephanie @ Mommy, for Real. - Woo-hoo to Dana! And that post- wow. I love everything you wrote about trusting yourself and the universe- that is true bravery in my book. (Also- I almost wrote about how brave it was to end my first marriage, but then I chickened out. Maybe I’ll write about it next week. ) 🙂September 26, 2013 – 10:35 pmReplyCancel

  • Kristi Campbell - My TBP,
    Yes. Fighting for your son is bravery. Every single time. Over and over and over again. That’s true bravery and beautifulness. Don’t let them put him in a box. You’re doing it right.
    —-
    Stephanie,
    Woo hoo to Dana for sure. And Janet and Chris. Thanks, you for the kind words about the bravery words. I, too, had something planned for this week and decided to save it, not wanting this week to be too heavy.
    September 26, 2013 – 10:47 pmReplyCancel

  • Chris Carter - “I’d like to thank the Academy, and my family and all my dear friends who have supported this incredible mission to make twenty bucks. I am so grateful for all your amazing love during the endless sacrifice to make the grade and I will never ever forget all those long hard days I worked tirelessly to fulfill my dream. (Tears… sniff…the applause won’t stop) No thank YOU lovely people, thank YOU!!”September 26, 2013 – 10:59 pmReplyCancel

  • Tamara - You are braver than brave. Bravest of braver of brave. Or something. So glad Dana won, but really jealous you’re meeting in real life without me and my creepy camera hanging out with you. WTH?
    The bravest thing I ever did? I dunno. Giving birth twice. Moving 3,000 miles to be with a man who had broken my heart, but I just really loved him. (it worked out, as you know)
    I had an ex whose father had ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). One night he was gasping for breath and it seemed like it might be the end, and I ran to this house, and not away from it. I liked knowing that in a real crisis, I didn’t run away. I knew it could be death or horror (and I saw my own father die when I was four) but I didn’t run away. Just TO. He survived. That night, anyway.
    Happy Friday. On that weird note.September 26, 2013 – 11:02 pmReplyCancel

  • Chris Carter - I got so caught up in my money award that I forgot to mention how beautiful your post was!!!

    I loved it. I get it. Trust. YES!!!! 🙂September 26, 2013 – 11:06 pmReplyCancel

  • Sarah | LeftBrainBuddha - Okay, I think this may be my favorite FTSF ever because I LOVE reading these posts about all the little and big brave things we have done. This is so beautiful. Yes, it’s about trusting the universe and that all will be well and that we are enough. So much wisdom here, friend. I love it!September 26, 2013 – 11:08 pmReplyCancel

  • Chris Carter - Aw SHIT. I realize I said TWENTY BUCKS when I actually won TWENTY FIVE BUCKS!!! This wine has really gotten to my head… No seriously- I am drunk. LOL (I can’t believe I am publishing this- I should have for the WIN- maybe I would have gotten the BIG money eh? HAHAHAHAHA!! I hope you’re laughing as hard as I am… cause I totally am!!)September 26, 2013 – 11:10 pmReplyCancel

  • Kristi Campbell - Ah, Chris Carter…this is when I hate my comment system… (and don’t tell me i can change it and trust me when i say that my whole theme would be drunk and fucked up if I were to try)…
    LOL. I’m laughing my ass off at all three of your comments. You’ll have to bribe me to take them down (thinking a fair price is $30 because hello profit). HA. Thanks, you. Mucho. Contact me privately when you’re sober to collect your winnings. 😉
    LOVED your answers. And your comments. And if you never come back after this, so your fault and not mine. Agreed?

    Tamara,
    You are braver than brave. I want your creepy camera hanging out with me so badly it’s not funny. I may have to bribe you to take a trip here to take the photos you take of you but of well, not me, but of Tucker. He deserves the captures you get. Every kid. Every person does.
    Ouch to four year old you. And huge hugs to that little girl, too…

    Sarah,
    Trusting the universe is HUGE, yes? Thank you so much for getting that.
    September 26, 2013 – 11:26 pmReplyCancel

  • Jessica - Beautiful post, and so true. Trusting is a very hard thing to do. And also, congrats to the winners of the contest! I loved all those entries! 🙂September 26, 2013 – 11:58 pmReplyCancel

  • Kristi Campbell - Jessica,
    Thanks so much for being a judge too!
    September 26, 2013 – 11:59 pmReplyCancel

  • JenKehl - Yea! Dana! And also, you are so right about the bravery thing. And it is a good reminder. I think all of us parents need to remember to trust ourselves. We make the decisions we make after thought, maybe too much sometimes, but we have to believe that our decisions are the best decisions for ourselves and our kids. And you my friend, you do so much to make sure you know everything you can before you make a decision. You are a trustworthy truster of trust.September 27, 2013 – 1:15 amReplyCancel

  • Considerer - WAHEY!!!! DANA! CRIS! JANET! AWESOME *dances* I loved being part of this 😀

    Your post is gorgeous. I really love it – you’re so right – trusting is very difficult. Trusting that things will turn out alright is nigh on impossible, and it’s so easy to get swamped. You’ve done amazingly and thank you so much for sharing your brave moments here 🙂 Beautifully done.September 27, 2013 – 2:06 amReplyCancel

  • clark - (large-font, alliterative nonsense words indicating excessive enthusiasm)

    and, yay for the winner-ettes!

    Kristi this is where you, sitting in the balcony box seats, look surprised and flustered as the spotlight swings to your location, stand up take a bow… applause from all standing O (… *ovation*, of course)

    Loved your FTSF… especially the thing about being in a graveyard in New Orleans! (for some of the more hypo-youthful) that totally conjures one movie scene! (Easy Rider! Easy Rider… ask Rich, he’ ll tell you).

    Congrats on writing one of the blogs that make me glad to be into this blogging thing.September 27, 2013 – 7:05 amReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - Don’t you love how mommy instincts kick in though? You did it and you’re doing it. 2600 miles away. You go girl!

    Now as for those winners – love all the responses. Dana’s ended with a coughing fit. I wasn’t ready. LOL!!September 27, 2013 – 7:10 amReplyCancel

  • Stephanie @ Life, Unexpectedly - I couldn’t agree more. Especially for a control freak (like me), trusting, or “letting go” is oftentimes the bravest thing to do, because it goes so much against our nature not to be hands on.September 27, 2013 – 7:38 amReplyCancel

  • zoe - so here’s an example of how not brave I am. I came here to find out what the finish the sentence Friday prompt was, thinking that perhaps I would participate. But now seeing what it is I’m feeling a bit chicken.September 27, 2013 – 9:46 amReplyCancel

  • Jen @ Real Life Parenting - Trusting–ourselves, others, the universe–is a very scary thing. It’s definitely brave to allow yourself to trust in the good, the future, etc.

    Nice post!!September 27, 2013 – 9:51 amReplyCancel

  • don - Yeah, you’re pretty brave and amazing and all that, but how in the world did the comment that mentioned a bionic vagina not win??

    BIONIC VAGINA for God’s sake!??September 27, 2013 – 9:54 amReplyCancel

  • Amber - Congrats to all the ladies!! Chris- you are NEVER a letdown, if I laugh anymore, I am gonna snort #PSL out of my nose, I am grateful we finally connected…September 27, 2013 – 10:06 amReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ The Golden Spoons - I love this post! Trusting is a very difficult thing to do sometimes and does take a lot of bravery. I think you “putting it all out here” on this blog is also a very brave thing and has made a difference to so many people!

    Also, congrats to all the very deserving winners! It’s times like these that I wish I was funny, but I’m just not. I am also extremely jealous of you and Dana getting to meet. I haven’t met ANY of my blogging buddies IRL and I really, really want to!!! (although I get to meet Sarah from Left Brain Buddha in a couple of weeks at SITS BBC!)September 27, 2013 – 10:10 amReplyCancel

  • don - Well, I don’t like to boast, but I suppose I’ll share this quick bit of bravery because I TOTALLY thought of this post while I did it.

    I was sitting here in my chair at work and thought I could rip out a fart, but right before I did, I wasn’t 100% sure that it wasn’t going to be a shart so I paused. But I told myself, “go ahead, Don you can do this” and went ahead and squeezed it out instead of running to the bathroom. It was all gas!! Yay me!

    Are you glad we’re pals or what!?September 27, 2013 – 11:16 amReplyCancel

  • Lanaya | Raising Reagan - Congratulations to your winners. And yes, you are brave. We all are and anyone that’s a parent has to be brave every single day for their child.
    Bravery comes in so many different forms and even though it’s hard to think of us as being brave … everyone has it in them on some level.

    ¤´¨)
    ¸.•*´
    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo
    Raising-Reagan.comSeptember 27, 2013 – 12:29 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa - I almost skipped reading your blog today because I REALLY didn’t feel like crying! Of course I read it anyway….and cried! You portrayed bravery in the most beautiful terms. And thank you for the humor at the end with the contest winners. That helped me pull myself together!September 27, 2013 – 1:46 pmReplyCancel

  • Natalie - The Cat Lady Sings - I love this. Trust DOES take bravery, because there is great risk in trusting.
    Sounds like your trust paid off. 🙂
    BTW – happy blogiversary!September 27, 2013 – 1:48 pmReplyCancel

  • Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe - Thanks for the reminder about packing up and moving (for me 1500 miles) away to start a new life. I guess I know what my post for next week will be. 😉 Ironically, that was to New Orleans, but I was never drunk in any of the cemeteries…at least not that I recall. 😉September 27, 2013 – 2:05 pmReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Trusting is brave and HARD! But it’s probably what’s at the top of what’s most important as a mama. Congratulations on your blogiversary and your trust in yourself.September 27, 2013 – 3:36 pmReplyCancel

  • Surprise Mama - Love it and as always – love your blog! Thank you for sharing it with all of us!!September 27, 2013 – 4:22 pmReplyCancel

  • Tina Morley - I gave this post a Google +1. You are brave and I love how you wrote about it. Also, happy birthday to your blog!September 27, 2013 – 5:53 pmReplyCancel

  • Debbie - As a woman in the second half of her forties, I left my husband and the easy life taking with me our two children with special needs. Now, ten years later, I still can’t believe I did it.September 27, 2013 – 5:57 pmReplyCancel

  • Deb @ Urban Moo Cow - You are brave and wonderful in so many different ways, it’s hard to count. xoSeptember 27, 2013 – 6:41 pmReplyCancel

  • Celeste - This is truly beautiful. Trust is the most frightening thing that I do. It’s SO diffcult. So yes, it is the stuff of bravery. How would we do anything at all without it?

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂September 27, 2013 – 6:44 pmReplyCancel

  • Katia - I agree. Absolutely beautiful. So perfectly put that I am actually happy I did not write an FTSF post this week, because this would have been the one I would want to write. Couldn’t agree more, it’s the little every day things that require bravery. Trusting.September 27, 2013 – 8:28 pmReplyCancel

  • Menopausal Mother - You are so brave and beautiful in so many ways….trust is a hard thing to do, but you have figured out how to let go and let live. I always knew there was a reason why I like you so much! XOSeptember 28, 2013 – 12:34 amReplyCancel

  • GirlieOnTheEdge - Kristi. Very simply, yours is a blog I would take to a desert island. (when told I could only take a few.) Yours.

    The contest thing was brilliant! Loved it!September 28, 2013 – 8:12 amReplyCancel

  • Robin (Masshole Mommy) - I think becoming a mom in general was the brevest thing I’ve ever done. It’s scary when you have your first child, right? I mean no matter how much I read up on how to do things, the fact of the matter that being responsible for another human is completely a learning process.September 28, 2013 – 9:47 amReplyCancel

  • Kate - Sounds like you have done A LOT of brave things! And I love Dana’s winning answer 🙂September 28, 2013 – 10:55 amReplyCancel

  • christine - Well, crud, I was planning on using my $100 winnings to buy a prize for the poem winner. And then Dana came along with a super funny comment (as well as about 100 other funny/touching commenters).

    Trusting is a very brave thing to do. And so, so hard sometimes.September 29, 2013 – 12:47 amReplyCancel

  • Joy @ icansaymama - Oooh, what a shame!! I missed your one year blogoversary!! 🙁

    I will get there as I will be slowly making my rounds on your older blog posts.

    As for the bravery: you put that so well! I read the caption and could not come up with anything but your post says it so perfectly! Trusting is just bravery. Absolutely.

    Miss you! xoxo I hope I can be around more regularly again!!September 29, 2013 – 11:11 amReplyCancel

  • Rachel - OMG, so before I got to the last line of your post, I was thinking, “Wow, I love that she included trust in bravery. That’s really cool.” And, then, I read your last line, which is really cool! I like this take on bravery, so, so much more than jumping out of an airplane! Thank you, friend.September 29, 2013 – 9:15 pmReplyCancel

  • Out One Ear - Awesome the trusting = bravery. And I love who won! So congrats all around!September 30, 2013 – 1:48 amReplyCancel

  • Rachel - I love this post! Thank you for sharing it on the Sunday Parenting Party Link-up. Come back tomorrow to see if you were featured. 😉October 5, 2013 – 10:12 pmReplyCancel

  • Suzanne Lucas - Beautiful post. Don’t doubt for a second that you are courageous. You’ve been through some hard times and faced them head-on — you felt fear and did it anyway. You should be proud!October 7, 2013 – 10:00 amReplyCancel

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