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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Out With The Old, In With The New


At the beginning of this year, I decided to do one thing per week that is bothering me. Whether it is to clear space in my closet or take a new course to learn something new, I want to move forward this year instead of merely treading water— trying to survive. I hate when I adapt the barely-get-by mindset. Not only does it affect me, but it also affects everyone around me. It makes me feel bad and causes me to act in ways that I don’t want to act. 

Ever since I made the declaration to myself, I have acted on it. I’ve realized as long as we hold onto the old, we can’t welcome the new into our lives. Especially when the old things take up our space. My phone wouldn't work properly because it was out of space. I had tried all sorts of ways to fix it, but nothing worked. When I decided, however, to delete the old off of it, I suddenly acquired plenty of space for the new things to be added. It’s the same way with my closets, drawers, and cabinets. Most are just clutter anyway. When I started going through them, however, I realized that I had forgotten about half of the stuff inside them and the other half was not serving me in any way. It was just taking up space in my life.

It’s the same way with our thoughts. As long as we hold onto our old thought patterns, then we can’t welcome new ones. In the same way, I examined each piece of clothing in my closet, I am examining my thoughts and asking myself these questions:

  1. Does this help me right now in my life?
  2. Does this limit me or inspire me?
  3. Am I reacting with faith or fear?

When I break down my thoughts and only react with faith, then it brings more peace into my life. However, our fears don’t just disappear. They rear their ugliness in my life all the time. Last night before I went to bed, I decided to journal about my fears. With the first word, tears were falling from my eyes. I continued writing and crying for several minutes. When I finished writing them down, I asked God to help me overcome them. This morning, nothing on my list seems as devastating as it did last night. When we acknowledge our problems and become willing in our hearts to work on them, then I believe God will provide the way. Most often times we just need to turn our worries and fears over to Him and trust Him to help us deal with each one. Worrying about tomorrow’s troubles only takes away today’s peace. 

Love and blessings, 


Candida 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New Year, New Opportunities

It’s always exciting for me to start a new year. I love the opportunity to start over—with a new journal, the new list of goals, and as a new person. When the old year comes to an end, I am not the same person as I was when I started the year. In many ways, I’ve grown and changed and experienced so much more. Every obstacle and challenge has prepared me for the new year. Therefore, I want to do my part and do everything in my power to live the best life possible. 

I feel the best way for me to ringing in the new year is with prayer. I need God's guidance to be able to do what He wants me to do. The fact that I am alive means I still have a purpose. God is not finished with me yet, so I want to make sure that I am on the right course. When I evaluated my life in 2017, I was disappointed with myself. While I made progress in some areas of my life, I still know in my heart that I could have done better. Why? Because I did not give my all.

My focus word for 2018 is...success. My definition of success is showing up every day and giving my best effort—while doing the things that God wants me to do. I want to go to bed every night knowing that I gave everything that I had to give to that day. I want to know that I lived well, loved unconditionally, and used the gifts God gave me to make a difference in some life, in some way. I want to receive every day as a precious gift. I want to plan and use the most of it. I want to live intentionally, and take the time to love and be loved—instead of just aimlessly drifting through my day. I want to write more and share more of my life with you. 

At the end of this year, as I sit down to review my goals, I want to know that I gave my best effort toward accomplishing each one. The outcome isn’t as important to me as the effort. Because I know true success is when God blesses my efforts with His will. That’s when I can shine my light on Him and when I feel the most joy and peace in my heart. 

Do you have a word to focus on this year? I’d love to hear it and why you chose it. 

Happy New Year!


Candida

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Taking Inventory


For years, I worked in retail. Every year we would always do an inventory to see how things were going. I always hated it. We had to count everything: the bigs things as well as the little things. At the end of the inventory, the problems were often found in the little things. We didn’t fail to notice the big things, but surprisingly enough the little things were often overlooked or miscounted. This morning, as I was getting ready, I thought about how we often miss the little things in our own lives as well. We pray for the big moments in our lives and give them the time and attention they need, but we often fail to notice the little things that creep into our daily lives. 

One bite of sugar doesn’t really affect us, but if we take just one bite all throughout the day then it adds up. If I slump in my seat while I’m working it doesn’t really affect me at the moment, but if I do it day after day, then I start noticing pain in neck and shoulders. If I snooze today instead of getting up early to exercise, watch TV instead of reading a book to help me, and eat foods to harm my body instead of healing it, then it might not affect me today, but it compounds over time. Then one day, I’ll wake up in pain, completely discouraged with my life—wondering how in the world I ended up in that shape. 

So today I am taking inventory of my life. While it is hard to look beneath the surface and be completely honest with ourselves, it is so necessary. I want to live an inspired life. I want to make a difference in the world and do work that matters. As my head hits the pillow each night I want to know that I lived fully that day, I loved unconditionally, and I did something that mattered. 

In order for me to achieve this, I have to be intentional about my day and life. I can’t allow the little things to stand in my way and get me off track. The Bible tells us to watch and pray. I believe we need to take inventory of our lives daily, and see if the devil has derailed us in any way. The only we can overcome our problems is if we acknowledge them, develop a plan to overcome them, and then take action daily. When we follow these three steps then we can learn to overcome our circumstances—before the little things turn into great big things.

Love and blessings, 


Candida

Friday, December 15, 2017

God Blesses Our Efforts


God wants a relationship with us. He wants to lead us and guide us along our life and He wants for us to live every day with purpose. Sometimes, however, we get confused about His role in our lives. God will not allow us to use Him or to take advantage of His grace and mercy. We can’t just live however we choose to live and expect God to bless us—according to our will. That’s not how it works.

For many years, I used prayer as a way to tell God what I wanted and then expected Him to give it to me. Now, however, I have learned to ask for His guidance. Then when God instructs me on what to do, I do it. That’s how my body healed. I didn’t just pray for healing, but I did everything that I could do to acquire it. I changed my diet, changed my lifestyle, reduced my stress, and exercised regularly. Then when I did everything in my power, God blessed my efforts. 

We can’t acquire more knowledge without reading our Bibles. We can’t obtain wisdom without hardships. When we bow our heads, show up every day, and pray for strength and guidance, then God will walk with us. He won’t do everything for us, but He will show us how to do things for ourselves.

If everything came natural and easy for us, then we wouldn't need God nor be appreciative of the blessings when they come into our lives. When things are hard, but we still manage to overcome them, then the blessing becomes greater to us because we attach a greater importance to it. 

For example, running is my nemesis. It is so incredibly hard for me because of the instability in my foot and pelvis. When I’m able to do it despite the hardships and challenges, then I feel so accomplished and strong. The enemy tries to defeat me every day. He continuously places snares in my way. He wants me to just give up and accept defeat—without even trying. God, however, wants me to give my life everything that I have to give. When I reach the end of my physical, emotional, and mental strength, then God will take over. My problem, however, is that I usually give up, when I still have so much left to give. I don’t persevere to the end of my strength. I quit and then expect God to just do it for me. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. 

When we have a desire in our hearts to do something, then we need to do everything in our power to obtain the object of our desire. After all, God is the one who places the desire in our hearts. Each one has a purpose and will benefit our lives in some way. Sometimes we don’t always understand our desires. I certainly don’t understand my desire to run, when it is so physically challenging for my body, but I trust God to teach me through the process. Faith is taking the first step when we are unsure about the journey that awaits us.  One day I’m sure I will look back on the whole experience with a new understanding and be in owe of my Lord. He knows what we need when we don’t. We just have to trust Him. 

Yesterday, He blessed me to do something that I have never been able to do. I was able to run/walk six miles. While I wasn’t able to run the whole time, I pushed myself. And when I reached the end of my strength, I walked for a while. I didn’t just give up, but I completed the six miles—even though it was challenging. This morning my body is sore, but I have a victory that the enemy can’t take from me. Despite my circumstances, I was able to do something that I’ve never done before, and accomplish my goal. 

As I was trying to decide whether or not to do it yesterday, I had a thought that helped me to make up my mind. I would rather look back on an experience and know with absolute certainty that I couldn’t do it than to always wonder what would have happened if I had only tried. 

Love and blessings, 


Candida

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

What It's Like to Live With Scars

It’s hard to explain something that we've never experienced. We can research things and think we have an understanding of them, but until we have actually experienced them, we can’t even begin to understand the true feelings and emotions. When I first started writing, I heard over and over from other writers—write what you know. That’s why I try to write with sincere authenticity. It is my heart’s desire to give others a glimpse of my life and what it’s really like to live with scars. In doing so, I also reveal the mindset that it takes to overcome our circumstances. Most of the time, when I go beyond the surface, I write with tears. When I can feel it as I write it, then others can feel it when they read it. 

Most portrayals of scars are negative. Society can’t fathom that anyone would be able to accept and even be thankful for their scars. They try to portray differences as a grave sin and the person who bears the scars as a monster. That type of judgment breaks my heart. 

So let me tell you my story….

My mom may have struggled with my birth and my scars, but she never let me know that she was struggling. I attended public school, had friends (that I made on my own), and was forced to adapt to the school. No one gave me any extra help. My mom wouldn’t allow it. She knew I was capable of doing it all, therefore she forced me and the school to look beyond my scars and uncover my full potential. I was NEVER the special child or the different child—I was always just Candida. While there were a few kids who were mean to me, the majority of them loved and accepted me right away, and never even asked me what happened to me.  

Unconditional love drives out all shame. My family loves me unconditionally, therefore there is no shame. To insinuate that shame would be associated, just because a child or sibling is different, is heartbreaking, to say the least. My husband didn’t marry me because he felt sorry for me. He married me because he loves me. Every day he tells me that I am beautiful, and he makes me feel beautiful. Pity or shame has no part in our lives. In fact, he never even mentioned my scars before he married me. To date, he has never brought up the subject. My children follow in their daddy’s footsteps. They have never asked me about my scars. It just doesn’t matter.

Regardless of what some might think, I love and accept myself, as well as my scars. I am grateful that God blessed me to live. The enemy attacked me in the womb and my God intervened and blessed me to live.  Nothing is missing in my life. I am alive to love and be loved. I have everything that I need and sometimes my heart overflows with the abundance of it all. 

As long as people just focus on my scars, then they will never truly see me. Whenever I notice someone staring at me now, I just give them my best smile—the one that reaches my eyes and portrays kindness—and hope that they can see a little glimpse of God through me and my life. In God’s eyes, we are all the same. He loves us all unconditionally. And that is how He wants us to love others. As long as we look for the differences in others and constantly point them out, then we will never be able to see the person beyond the scars. 


If given the choice, I would not trade my scars. They have taught me so much about overcoming, perseverance, strength, compassion, and the love of God. These scars have given me wisdom that I wouldn’t have obtained otherwise; as well as a closer relationship with God. I have met people I wouldn’t have otherwise met, and developed immediate bonds with strangers through our experiences of pain. The hardships my scars cause me is not worthy to be compared to the joy. 

Love and blessings, 

Candida

Saturday, December 9, 2017

4 Steps to Stop Drifting


Are you drifting through life? Or do you live every day with purpose and intention? It’s so incredibly easy to find ourselves on the path of drifting. Getting off course doesn’t happen all at once. It’s little small steps, off of the path to our best life, that gets us in trouble. Missing one Sunday of a church, snoozing one morning, eating one day of bad food, smoking one cigarette, trying drugs one time, and taking just one step in the wrong direction can totally change the course of our lives. When we finally realize what is happening to us, we are miles away from where we want to be—with no map to get to where we want to be.

Have you ever had a day totally get away from you? So many times, while I’m getting ready for bed, I wonder, where did this day go? What did I do today that made a difference in my life and the lives of others? What did I accomplish? If I don’t know, then there’s a good chance I spent my whole day drifting. Now it’s totally different if I intend to spend the day resting, lounging in my pajamas while reading a book. Because I planned the rest day. It’s living unintentionally that causes me heartache. 

I don’t want to reach the end of my life one day and realize that I drifted my whole life and never accomplished my dreams. In order to prevent this from happening to me, I’ve realized that I have to be intentional about my life. The enemy would love for me to spend my days on social media, watching TV, or ignoring my heart’s desires. When I’m constantly distracted, then I can’t serve God the way that I want and need to. Most things are fine in moderation, we just have to be sure that we are moderating our time and attention. 

  1. If I want to reach my goals, then I have to be intentional about how I spend my days. Every day I have to live with purpose and avoid the busyness trap. Busyness is not the same as being productive. I could spend the whole day being busy and never really accomplish anything. The key is to schedule my days and make a list of at least three things that need to be completed that day, in order to move me closer to my dreams.
  2. The art of mastering self-discipline is crucial to accomplishing my dreams. In order to feel my absolute best, then I need to do the following things: get enough sleep, get up at the same time each morning, stop snoozing, eat healthy nutritious food, exercise, spend time with God, have a positive mental attitude, and focus on doing work that matters. Since writing feeds my soul, I need to spend time writing every single day. 
  3. Nurture the relationships that are important to me. When I start my day praying, reading my Bible, and meditating, then I develop a closer relationship with God. He eases my worries and helps me to establish my thoughts in Him. Spending time with my husband and children are also important. A few years ago, I realized that I could have all the success in the world, but if I destroyed my relationships with those most important to me in the process, then it wouldn’t truly be a successful, joyous life. So I am learning to establish a time to work as well as a time to play and enjoy my family. When I’m intentional about spending more time with my loved ones, then I find the time to make it happen. Also when I’m spending time with my loved ones, I put my phone down and enjoy the moment. 
  4. Get rid of the relationships, habits, and environmental factors that are self-destructing. Procrastination is one of the biggest factors that cause me stress. Waiting until the last minute is a recipe for disaster. So is spending excess time with people who bring us down. 


When we take the necessary steps toward our goals and living our best life, then we will be able to eliminate most of the traps that derail our journey. Every day we just need to be conscious of our life and how we are living. Doing this will help us to accomplish more, become healthier, and have better relationships. We only get this one life—let’s make it extraordinary. 

Love and blessings, 

Candida

Friday, December 8, 2017

Breaking the Cycle


Sometimes we forget that we have a choice. This is our life. While circumstances might try to derail us or even destroy us, at the end of the day no one can take away the way we chose to see our lives. Ultimately, with every thought and action, we declare whether or not we are a victim of our circumstances or an overcomer of them.

Perspective is a beautiful gift. Especially when we ask God to give us the right lens upon which to view our lives. For so long, I wasted precious time crying over something that I could not change. When I changed my thoughts about the situation, however, my situation changed. Every day is a new canvas for us to paint the picture we wish to see in the world. We can be consumed with the evil and heartaches of the world, or we can choose to see the joy and love. It’s all around us. Whatever we focus on will manifest in our lives. 

We don’t have to wait for great things to happen in our lives to be happy. Right now, we can choose to see our situation with different eyes and a new understanding. When I am struggling with something, I like to ask God to help me see the situation as it is—not how I have chosen to see it. Most often our brains automatically jump to the worst-case scenario. It takes practice for us to learn to examine our thoughts and discard the lies. Once we replace the lies with the truth, then we are able to see the bigger picture.

Journaling helps me to see things with a different perspective. Just getting our thoughts on paper will help us to see them truthfully. When they are just in our head, then the devil has a way of magnifying them. Usually, by the time I write my problem out in detail, my feelings about the situation has already changed.

Most of the things I worry about never actually happen anyway. It is just problems that I create in my mind. I have a special talent for turning one little thought into a tragedy within minutes. Especially if I feed the fear and worry in my mind. To stop the tragedy from occurring in my mind, I tell myself that I will allow myself to worry about the problem when it actually happens—and not before then. When I recognize what I am doing, then I am able to stop it. 

We can’t change the past nor the future with worry. It is a waste of energy. Sometimes just stopping my thought pattern also helps. When I notice the repetitive thoughts going crazy in my mind, then I can stop it by reminding myself that I am worrying. Then I occupy my mind with something else. Scriptures are very comforting. When I meditate on a promise from my Lord, then my troubles don’t seem as overwhelming. 

John 14:27 (KJV)
27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Love and blessings, 

Candida

Author shares message through Zippy the zebra