One year ago yesterday, I shared my very first blog post on this site. I actually bought this laptop for the sole purpose of starting this blog.
It wasn’t the first time I had written on the internet; I had a Tumblr account that I piddled with once-upon-a-time. But, when this site was born last February, it was different.
I’d been pulled in a direction that led me to write again, but this time, it’d be different. I had recently made the decision to leave my career to stay at home and be a mom. I felt God telling me to be patient and not to worry, but to slow down. I knew I’d have to find ways to make money from home and did a little bit of research on making money through blogging. But that wasn’t what was important to me. I was eager to walk in my truth and tell my story.
I felt called to put my creative gifts and love for communication and passion for inspiring others to the test, creating the ultimate trifecta. Writing gave me life and fulfillment and sprinkled pure joy in my days. (I pray it always will.)
What may come as a surprise, however, is that when I get the urge to write, it stops me in my tracks. My blog post ideas l i t e r a l l y come out of nowhere, and I usually have to stop what I am doing and go write. And the not-so-cool part about it is: I can’t stand writing from my phone or tablet. It MUST be on a laptop or something with keys. That I can aggressively and quickly bang (ask my new co-workers/roommates or darling husband, they will attest to my annoyingly loud typing. Bless them all for their tolerance.) But my point is, I have to get to my computer, dial up my diffuser and get busy. I’m not much of a mobile blogger much at all. Ever, really.
But y’all. I can’t help it. I just get moved to say stuff. All the feels. ALL THE JOY.
When I opened my laptop to pull up WordPress to write this post tonight, I noticed a folder on my desktop that I created a few months ago: “Things That Move Me”.
I only saved one thing in it…
This quote says so much about my journey last year. There was so much uncertainty and many faith-based decisions. I had no idea when I started this blog what it’d lead to. I just figured I’d inconsistently write when I felt the urge. I wrote each post from the heart and was sincerely moved by each opportunity to share my journey with a friend or stranger.
Writing became my safe space. My release. My peace.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think that 2,220 people would view my site 3,288 times in 27 countries all over the world in just one year. Goodness gracious, am I grateful.
I’m deeply touched for each blink of an eye that my words sit between. I appreciate each kind remark and comment. It’s been an honor to share my heart with you.
To think about all that’s happened since this blog began brings me back to grace, and gratitude, and awestruck wonder. God’s led me into deeper waters. I never want to feel like I’ve arrived, but I sure do long for more.
If there is one thing I know for sure, it’s that this time of year is just not my best. I battle darkness during this season each year of my life. I’m certain lots of us do. I’m thankful that things like writing and hot yoga and coffee and worship music bring me back to life on tough days.
Here is to Spring being around the corner. But for now, may we ride the wave of this season together and keep our eyes on what we can’t see. There’s beauty there.
Do you know what the word epiphany means? Lots of us have heard it. Used it. But do you r e a l l y know? It’s an experience of sudden and striking realization. When you figure something out, almost always out of thin air, and the thought comes to you that allows you to finally piece together the puzzle.
Was the cup half full? Or was it half empty?
It doesn’t really matter, because the cup was refillable…
It had been 309 days. That’s how long I lasted as a stay-at-home-Mom.
I started this post on December 5th and it hasn’t been touched since then. I started writing it the night before I went back to work as I laid in bed. I fell asleep without finishing it. Since then, I’ve often thought about what I would write when I picked it back up again.
And in my mind, I honestly didn’t have a strong pull for what direction this post should even go next. Should I write about how incredible my new job is? How it was the first job posting I read on that cold Sunday November afternoon (just days after deciding to go back to work) and when I read through the job description, I felt deep in my bones that it was meant for me? And how I got so excited about getting called for an interview, that I took my kids for ice cream before dinner?
Or should I write about the guilt part? The part about feeling invisible on many of my days as a SAHM, or the part about feeling guilty for feeling like I need to be seen in the first place?
The reason why I was hung up on finishing this blog post was because the part I was meant to tell in this story hadn’t happened yet…
As I rocked Everly to sleep tonight, in our favorite spot in the house, I started to cry. I could hear her tiny snore and closed my eyes as I rested my lips on the top of her head. The smell of her fresh bath, the limp weight of her sleeping body against my chest. I didn’t want to put her down.
It was tonight that I became overwhelmed with gratitude for the days I had with her. For all the afternoons we had together as we walked to school to pick up Sadler from Kindergarten.
For all the musical story times in the park we got to attend with Mr. Pete, and for all the fun Costco trips, eating samples and smiling at strangers.
It was tonight that I realized how much more engaged I’ve felt with my girls since I went back to work. I felt it the very first night; I remember that first night vividly. I couldn’t stop smiling. I remember noticing that I looked more at the details of their faces.
It was tonight that I recalled the moment I had my epiphany, and how I’d come to realize that my time home with my girls gave them more quantity time with me, but certainly not more quality time. I had allowed myself to become a martyr to my home, my chores, my expectations as a wife, my role as a mother. I wasn’t happy, and I was in denial about it.
It was tonight that I realized how grateful I am for every experience I had last year. For every bit of perspective that was gained. For every book that was read. For every new person that I met. For every old friend that I reconnected with, and for every (sometimes) long winded phone conversation. For e v e r y s i n g l e minute I shared with my children. For every essential oil class I taught. For MOPS. For it all –I am, and will forever be grateful.
It was tonight that I smiled when I thought to myself, “I love my new job.” I am grateful for the wonderful people I work with and for the deep level of engagement each of my co-workers pours into in their roles. I love the energy in our office and that everyone has a good sense of humor. I love that I’m connected again with my property management family, and that I’ve met so many kind people on our site teams and in our corporate office. And although its been less than sixty days, I feel like I’ve worked there for months.
It was tonight that I acknowledged the rhythm that my husband and I seem to have found. The parenting balance that seems to feel a little gentler, a little more predictable, a little more whole.
It was tonight that I acknowledged never to take another day for granted, and that something as simple as a lunch break with adults five days a week can make you feel like a real human again.
There really is so much I could say about this new chapter in my story, and how the pages even turned to this point in the first place. If you had told me a mere season ago that I’d be back at work by year end, I would have probably rolled my eyes, and maybe even debated with you.
I will forever remember 2017 as the year I “woke up”. The year I grew closer to God and slowed down. The year I deepened in spirit and the veil was lifted. The year that I came alive to the awareness of what it means to truly be in your life path and followed my spiritual GPS. The year I gained wisdom of the power of the spoken word, learned the critical importance of gratitude, meditation, and how to better take care of my body.
And, most importantly, it was the year I had the privilege of being at home with my children. To be a Mama. To be a part of their every day, from start to finish. Every good day, every bad day. Every new experience, every memory, every adventure. We had an incredible year together and it’s one I will remember for the rest of my life.
My heart is full tonight.
I’ve got all the feels.
I chose joy then, and there isn’t a doubt I still do. Every day.
You didn’t like to make a big deal about your birthday. Looking back now, I realize that’s only because you never made things much about yourself in the first place.
I’ve needed to look into your eyes a lot of times lately. Looking there always kept me honest. Your eyes were soft and they cradled me. You wept behind your glasses as you’d take in my words.
We’d sit for hours around that table; you’d fidget with your leftover lunch napkin, rolling and twirling it through your hands. But you’d never take your eyes off me. Sometimes you’d close them, but I know now you were only trying to take my pain away.
There’s a picture of you in our house that I tend to go to when I need you. You were young, holding a guitar, in the middle of a field. And you almost smiled. You didn’t like to smile for pictures, and you didn’t play the guitar as far as I know. That’s what makes this picture so amazing. Someone captured you out of your comfort zone, a place you didn’t go often.
But that picture, it saves me. Something about it allows me to connect with you unlike the others. To have known you at such a young age in your life, at a time when you were so wild and free and innocent. I imagine what you did on the day you took this picture. Who was behind the camera? And what you did after you posed for this one photo?
You were the safest space I ever knew. I’d give anything to be around that table with you again and to share just one more tomato sandwich, one more bowl of vegetable soup, play one more hand of Uno, wrap one more Christmas present, send one more sympathy card, or hold your precious hands just once more.
You saved me. And you still do.
I’m so grateful you got a wild hair that day and decided to pose for this picture, and I’m so glad you were born. I’m sending you the biggest “wowee” kiss in heaven today and appreciate you staying with me over the years. I feel you here, and I like it.
Happy birthday, Mama Dot. I love you a bushel and a peck.
This has been my view lately. It’s what I see when I look out the back window of my house. In front of this window sits a tall kitchen table with lots of chairs. It’s where I sit (and stand) a lot of the day. It’s where I work.
It was February 1st of this year, and it was the very first day that I was at home in my “new life”. On this day, I recall thinking to myself…”I’m never going to think or say the words: I have to go to work again today/tomorrow…“. I even recall telling my husband about this thought I had. I told him that I was going to make it my goal to never utter those words again. I recall him smirking and saying, “OK babe.” In my heart, these words meant so much more to me than they may seem to you reading them now, or to my husband when he heard them initially. I had felt a shift within myself and knew that I was going to find a way to contribute to our family without ever working outside of the home again.
It was merely a few days later, I was standing in the laundry room listening to my thoughts race back and forth in my head between ideas I’d pondered on ways to work from home. My heart was heavy. I’d been praying about it. Reid and I had been fighting about it. Quitting my job – my CAREER in property management that had provided so many blessings for us over the last decade – was a BIG DEAL. And while my heart may have felt that there was a plan, putting that plan into motion seemed like a more daunting task than I had realized.
But as I stood there, and continued to pull each piece of clothing out of the dryer one-by-one, it was as if the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “Candice, turn your head to the left”.
On the countertop to my left sat my wooden box of essential oils. Our families wellness cabinet. My reliable emotional health regimen. My daily go-to for at least 5 different reasons for myself or someone in this house.
I remember throwing my head back and literally laughing out loud when this happened. “Really, Lord?!” I cried! Something that had been right at my fingertips every. single. day. for the last two years was now the vehicle to bring income to my family.
What does the word “work” really mean to us anyway? The way I see it, we work to make money. Right?!
So, what if I could make money a non-traditional way? A way in which I never had to “go to work” again, or at least it would never feel that way. And then I read a story about a man:
There once was a man who hauled buckets of water for a living. His job was to haul water every day from the nearest water source, back to his village. Because everyone needed water, he always sold out. If he wanted to make more money, he simply hauled more buckets of water.
After many years of hauling these buckets of water, the man grew tired. Then he had an idea and inspiration! He decided to use his spare time to build a pipeline, so that eventually he could be free of hauling buckets of water, yet still provide water to the people of his village. So, he worked very hard over the next few years to build his pipeline.
The day the man turned on his water spigot, everything changed. He had successfully created an unlimited supply of water for the villagers and himself, resulting in an abundant financial pipeline.
I never knew anything about network marketing. Like most people, I had my own narrow thoughts about what it really was and how it really worked. Prior to this year, I didn’t really care to know about it. I had used the products for the last couple of years and found myself sharing with friends and loved ones naturally. However, I never had an interest in the business side of the company. I then read one book and that was all it took for me to see the vision.
It also hasn’t taken me very long to see that the business venture I’ve launched into is really a personal development company disguised as an essential oil company.
Over the last ninety days, I have grown exponentially as a person.
I have found support in some incredible people who are walking this same journey with me.
I have had the beautiful pleasure of helping other people get started on this very same journey. While their pace may be different or their approach unique to my own, the journey is theirs – and I get to be a part in helping them reach their goals.
I have found a way to utilize all of the business skills I acquired and sharpened over the past decade in order to propel my business forward.
Reading this book opened my eyes to living on purpose and gave me a powerful inspiring approach to managing all of the goals in my life and has made them more attainable and the reward seem more gratifying.
I’ve also learned that at an early age, we give ourselves limiting beliefs on what we should do and feel and think and say. By doing this, we have fears that we may never breakthrough. Reading this book has been an eye-opening way to change this mindset altogether for me personally, and has taught me to face my fears head on and then to watch them dissipate.
I have taken a deep dive in, head first and will never look back.
If you find yourself feeling as if you are just going through the motions in your life, you probably are.
If you stare at the ceiling at night thinking that there has got to be a better way to live life, there definitely is.
We were all put on this Earth to do something more than just pay bills.
Life is meant to be LIVED. We should not have to haul buckets for hours upon days upon weeks upon years.
Time is not something meant to hold us captive by all that we “have to do”. Time is actually in abundance if you can learn to shift your mindset about what’s actually important to you. Only then will you see that time is a gift, not a limitation.
I look forward to life now more so than ever. I truly welcome each day as a new gift from God and am so thankful to be able to carry out the plans He has in store for me. My heart remains full so that I may pour into others.
I went from working 40-50 hours a week outside of the home to working about 15 hours per week inside the home and am on a path to replace the income I once earned by the Fall of this year. This opportunity has proved itself to be very real and for once in my life, there is no stress associated with my “job”. It feels weird even calling what I do now a “job” because it just doesn’t feel like work. It just doesn’t.
I don’t sell essential oils. I share and educate others.
I don’t have essential oil parties. I teach essential oil classes.
This is not my hobby. This is my business.
I’m busy building a pipeline for my family so that someday, the mental shift will have come full circle — and we can pack up and vacation for three weeks if we feel like it. And we won’t have any debt left to pay. And we won’t feel like prisoners of time to the demands of the institutionalized world we feel so vacuumed into today.
I have a personal goal to lead a team of 1,000 people to take charge of their own health and wellness. I will achieve this goal by teaching anyone I can about the endless benefits these gifts of the Earth offer.
Who do you know that can help me reach this goal?…
Since this journey began, I’ve noticed things. I’ve felt shifts within my being that have moved me to tears, brought me to my knees and made me laugh until I’ve ached. Some of the things I have noticed about my daughters and my husband and myself are things that never caught my attention before — it wasn’t there to give. I was here, but I wasn’t here. I saw them, but I didn’t see. Being home for the last two months has slowed me down. The stirring has stopped just enough that I am able to notice things that were always there before, just not deserving of my time in my “busy life”. I’ve found a way to stay still and calm (for the most part) and present.
I’ve noticed a tender, undenying compassion in Sadler that led her to cry — actually sob outloud — during a Disney movie. The movie was Brave, and it was the scene where Merida is reunited with her mother. I came into the room to check on her when I heard her sobbing. When I saw her sitting there on her beanbag looking up, my heart immediately swelled. Her eyes connected with mine and she smiled just a little as tears slid over her little cheeks and onto the floor. I held her head on my chest and kissed her forehead and I cried, too. I knew at that moment that she had compassion and it brought joy to my heart. Partly because I realized that my girl had a gift, and partly because I actually watched it happen.
I’ve learned that Sadler likes to take her tiny toys apart, only so she can see how they were made and challenge herself to put them back together. I’ve watched her develop patience with herself and her sister and the dog. She has become more aware of what she has to do to keep her stuff “safe” from their impromptu takings.
I’ve learned that Everly is more observant than we realized and she mimics her sister’s every move. There isn’t a soul she has encountered that doesn’t earn her whole smile, as she truly does draw in everyone she meets. Her energy is strong and she is going to need much protection as she grows up innocently.
I’ve noticed an ebb and flow in my marriage that brings both peace and calamity, all in sometimes what seems to be the same wave. I’ve learned that silence wins arguments and that being louder doesn’t make you right. Marriage is a team effort and both teammates have to be willing to give 100% all of the time, not 50% each most of the time.
I’ve discovered that cooking dinner early in the afternoon so that it’s ready when Reid gets home from work makes a big difference in our evening. We have time for walks in the neighborhood and playing in the backyard and I’ve learned that we need these moments in our life. It’s the little things that reset us to what’s important in the middle of it all.
I’ve learned that cleaning my house is easier to do in small doses, rather than try to tackle all at once. Monday and Friday are laundry days. I fill in Tuesday thru Thursday with something different each day: floors, bathrooms, dusting, windows, etc.. It has made for an easier approach for sure and I feel less overwhelmed with trying to do it all every day.
I’ve remained determined to show respect to my husband continually, because I’ve accepted that he needs my reminder of this all of the time. I’ve discovered that love and respect reciprocate one another in very natural ways if you just let them.
I’ve taken time each morning to devote my heart and my thoughts to God. I was given a daily devotional book in January for my birthday (by a person in my life I hold very dear to my heart). I started reading it right away and quickly caught up to the day the book was given to me and I haven’t missed a day since. I find relevance in the author’s daily thoughts to my own journey and am receptive to the message the scripture provides. Sometimes this may only be a two-minute window that I have to share with God as I read, but I make sure to make time for those two minutes. I just don’t feel that my day is the same without it. It sets the tone for my heart for the remainder of the day and reminds me where my I should place my focus.
I’ve launched a business! Who knew that something that has literally been right under my nose for two years would be a vessel for financial freedom, a way to share my unwavering passion for natural solutions, and a way to use the skills I developed and sharpened while in my decade-long property management career?! I certainly didn’t, but here is what happened: I was standing in the laundry room in early January, and my heart was heavy. How can I make money from home so that I can help contribute to our family and lifestyle? I had created profiles on UpWork to dive into freelance consulting opportunities or entry level writing gigs. I had bagged up everything I could find to sell on MICIT or at a yard sale for quick cash. But as I was standing there at this very moment in the laundry room, I remember, it was as if the Lord said, “Look to your left…” and there it was. Etched into the wooden box that contained my arsenal of essential oils, our go-to for when we feel under the weather and cleaning products and cooking and emotional health and first aid…the words were there. And I literally laughed out loud! doTERRA. It was my answer. And God has already shown that it was a smart realization, yet one I could have never realized sooner than now. This was my time. I’ve found my place and I’ve only just begun. I’ve helped family and friends get essential oils into their homes. I have had the time to spend teaching others how to use essential oils and have shared oils with strangers. My heart has remained full along the way, which is how I know I’m exactly where I need to be. Excited for what is to come just isn’t a good enough way to describe it. I am euphoric.
As Spring is upon us and the Dogwoods are blooming and we all find ourselves feeling a little more alive, I am thankful for all that the last couple of months have provided me. I never dreamed of a life where I could blog in the afternoon on a Tuesday while my baby girl naps, all the windows open in my house as the afternoon breeze reminds me to be still. I am expanding in abundance and love and success each day as I inspire others around me to do the same. I choose joy.
It was Friday the 13th in January of this year. I had just returned from a four-day business trip that was full of energy and life and motivation. It was actually a leadership conference, and considering I had just joined the company a few months prior in November, I was eager to get to know my co-workers and fellow industry folk from around the country. So the trip was something to look forward to, yet I dreaded getting on the plane. I felt guilty for being excited about having alone time/being away from my kids and husband. I felt sad for leaving them. I was looking forward to making new connections with people within my company that shared in my daily struggles (often) and successes (not as often unfortunately). While I was there, I asked strategic questions to find out more about the work/life balance others had and what they loved about coming to work each day. I noticed a pattern: the people in my company were amazing. They are hard-working and dedicated and tenacious and driven and inspiring. And I met a lot of incredible people, some of whom made flattering comments about my potential and what I could bring to the property and organization, just based off having watched me work for a few short weeks..it was very nice to hear to say the least and I left feeling appreciated.
However, I woke up that Friday morning filled with one of the worst feelings I’ve felt in my 35 years. I physically ached, my stomach hurt, I was puking. I dreaded going to work. I managed to get myself and the girls ready and get out of the house. As I backed my car out of the driveway my eyes welled up with tears. When I got to Sadler’s daycare I remember feeling angry. I barely spoke to anyone, signed her in at the front desk and got back in my car. As I drove to Everly’s daycare I started to feel increasingly worse and dreaded even walking into a familiar place such as her school in a few short minutes. I got out of my car, saw a fellow mommy/dear friend and my heart swelled in anticipation of a simple hug. I cried on her shoulder and my crying suddenly turned to sobbing. I could tell she was afraid of what was happening and not quite sure of what to say. My explanations were frantic; broken sentences and heavy breathing seemed to last forever. I took Everly into her classroom and looked at one of the teachers, “I hate my job”, the tears streamed down my face. My body physically ached as I hugged the daycare workers and my sweet friend, kissed Everly goodbye and drove home. I crawled into bed and cried harder than ever before. With the force of a Mack truck barreling down a midnight highway, I became overwhelmed with an urge I had felt before. An urge that only six months prior had swept me off my feet; an urge that led Reid and I to a place of unfamiliarity, but we seemed to find peace with things. We accepted that I wasn’t happy in my career and we agreed that I could and should hang my property management hat on the hook for the time being. I was being called to stay at home with my children, and felt in my heart that a work-from-home situation was more conducive to the life I wanted to live. However, an opportunity with another company presented itself and things began to appear as if perhaps there was a lifeline to the happiness within my career as a manager. I was excited about my new boss, loved the people-centric culture that my new company had to offer and even saw a future for myself within their executive leadership team. But on this Friday the 13th none of that seemed to matter. I found myself feeling that very same feeling that had knocked me over six months before. I picked up my phone and without fear of judgment I vulnerably texted my boss to tell her I wouldn’t be in the office, that I was having a rough time; I openly shared with her my current state of darkness and despair. I had nothing to lose and knew everything was actually only to be gained from that point forward.
The next few days were not much better physically, while mentally I felt a great sense relief. I managed to push through the weekend and as luck would have it, my birthday was the following Monday. An outpouring of love from friends and family on my “halfway to 70” birthday made the healing process that much sweeter and definitely much easier. I knew what I had to do, and the very next day I resigned from my position. My boss was devastated and tried to talk me out of it. Higher ups within the company called to try and talk me out of it. But they wholeheartedly respected my decision and I left no bridges burned in my departure.
I don’t have a solid plan, and I can honestly say the whole gamut of emotion has played part in my world lately. There’s been fear but hope, sadness but joy, uncertainty but clarity… But I have faith in God, and I firmly know that where I was wasn’t where I needed to be. Money can be made in plenty of ways and property managers are a dime a dozen. While I may have been successful in my career and am grateful for all that it provided for both me personally and for my family monetarily, life is far too precious and certainly not long enough to do anything that steals your joy.
Thanks to two very important ladies in my life, I know these two things to be true:
Ability and desire are not the same thing.
You can’t give from an empty vessel.
Life started for us this week, I just know it.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. “