Book Review: “Laugh It Up!” by Candace Payne

Candace Payne - Laugh It Up! Book Review

First of all, let me just say that if you’re looking for something authentic, real, vulnerable, deep, life-impacting, and funny as all get-out, then you found the motherload! You can pre-order it right here, right now: http://amzn.to/2z4pKo7.

You’ll laugh! ? You’ll cry! ? You’ll crave tacos! ?

Oh my goodness, y’all. This book. This. Book! Whew!

Chewbacca Mom Made Us Laugh

Most of us first discovered  Candace Payne on Facebook. She was streaming the unboxing of a personal purchase with her friends and family via Facebook Live: a Chewbacca mask that makes Wookie sounds when the mouth is opened.

“You go, girl!” is what I thought as she explained this mask was her birthday present, and she would not be sharing it with her children. (This is something all mommas understand—we do NOT share the “precious” with little humans who break things.)

In case you missed it, or you want to laugh again, here is the video that catapulted Candace Payne to fame as “Chewbacca Mom.”

Candace didn’t spend hundreds of dollars in online seminars on how to build a tribe or sell a webinar course. She simply went live on Facebook sharing her authentic, unbridled, defiant joy with her friends and family, and the entire world responded.

Viral Video Creates Instant Celebrity 

The opportunities that have come her way as a result of the most-watched-ever Facebook Live video have not been squandered: They have been cherished, stewarded, and leveraged for maximum impact.

She has toured Facebook headquarters; been presented with a Chewbacca Mom action figure at Hasbro headquarters; met Peter Mayhew, the actor who played Chewbacca in the Star Wars movies; enjoyed an all-expense paid trip to Disney World with her family; appeared on a variety of TV shows from Good Morning America to the Late Show with James Corden (including Carpool Karaoke with Director JJ Abrams). Oh my gosh…watch the carpool karaoke & try to get through it without laughing. It. Cannot. Be. Done.

Who Is This Woman & Why Is She So Joyful? 

When I learned Candace had written a book and was building her launch team, I kinda begged to be on it. I may have offered tacos. ???

Being part of the team not only provided me the opportunity to read the book before it’s published (Nov. 7th is THE DAY), but it also gave me the chance to interact with Candace numerous times in a private group via live video chats.

Over the last couple of months reading the book, listening to Candace explain her purpose for writing it, and experiencing first-hand her heart for people, I’ve become convinced this book was written for a higher purpose than a good laugh—although you WILL most definitely laugh!

The real purpose behind Laugh It Up! is to offer the reader HOPE.

I think most people will start reading this book out of pure curiosity: Who is the woman behind the mask? How could she laugh for 3 minutes straight? Was she always this way?

What will keep them reading is much deeper than that. The real question behind the curiosity is this: Can I experience this type of joy, too?

In Laugh It Up!, Candace shares the challenges she’s overcome in her life—homelessness, sexual abuse, bullying, marital conflict, body image issues, cyber bullying—and how in spite of all the trials and tribulations, she found a way to live life with defiant joy.

I never want to magnify my struggles compared with yours. I only offer my experiences and the journey I have traveled to embrace freedom and live with defiant joy.” (p. 85)

joy
I may have colored the chapter concept drawing. ?

Each chapter features illustrations hand-drawn by Candace for a purpose. She is an artist, and if you examine the symbolism in the illustration, you’ll see where you’re headed. It’s like a sneak preview. Here are a few of the chapter concepts:

  • Joy is a fighter.
  • Joy likes to play.
  • Joy stays the course.
  • When Comparison calls, Joy doesn’t answer.
  • Joy evicts shame.
  • Joy shakes off the haters.

Candace explains:

Those aren’t concepts that I just kinda came up with. They’re from my faith! They’re from the depths of who I am…from my faith! When I say something like ‘Joy evicts shame,’ there’s actually stuff that I’ve read in the Bible that supports that…and has shaped that in me.” (Facebook Live)

By personifying emotions (e.g., Joy, Hope, Contentment, Shame, Fear, etc.), the author paints word pictures to point out proactive steps for a joy-full life despite external circumstances.

Well-Written, Deeply Profound & Laugh-out-Loud Funny!

Beneath the surface of her personal stories and hysterical commentary, you will find a cheerful life coach challenging you and cheering you on to make the changes you need to make in order to live a joy-full life. Here are just a few nuggets of wisdom I highlighted in my copy:

No matter the trial or triumph, I find it’s easier to silence the calls of Comparison when we are content with our lives. Contentment is the antidote to Comparison.” (p. 54)

Don’t relent for one second in your fight for Joy. Either you allow the sum of your darkest memories and mistakes to occupy your thoughts, or you allow Joy to have the remote control and remind you that you are seen, valued, and loved.” (p. 73)

Live authentically with the grace to know risks are where bridges of joy are forged over many waters of disappointments, regrets, failures, and lists of can’ts.” (p. 155)

Candace is the real deal. She is vulnerable, authentic, and courageous—three of the attributes I value most in life. She’s also hilarious!!! I laughed out loud so many times while I read her commentary on life’s unpredictable adventures, I surprised myself. But I don’t want to ruin those moments for you. Read it. You’ll laugh. I guarantee it!
 
So, if you have not guessed by now, I definitely recommend Laugh It Up! for anyone who needs a good laugh, is curious about “Chewbacca Mom,” and enjoys tacos.
But more importantly, I STRONGLY recommend this book to anyone who is yearning for Joy and Contentment; needing to evict Shame and Fear; and searching for Hope in this life. This book is your G.P.S. for getting there.
⚡ BREAKING NEWS: Candace has also created a video-driven 6-week study to accompany her book. It’s entitled “Defiant Joy” and will be released soon. AND she’s already writing book #2. Candace Payne is here to stay, and I’m so glad!!!
Click here to order: Laugh It Up!: Embrace Freedom and Experience Defiant Joy by Candace Payne

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

3 Pivotal Words. Could You Say Them?

3 Pivotal Words

I’m so excited to introduce you to my dear friend, Kendall Wolz. I first became aware of Kendall and her blog “Brave Girl, Speak” last year while preparing for the annual fundraising gala for Triad Ladder of Hope where she was the featured guest speaker. I’ve invited Kendall to share her most recent blog post here in an effort to equip you to help—not hurt—any child who reaches out to you with a disclosure of abuse. 

3 Pivotal Words. Could You Say Them?

Guest Post by Blogger Kendall Wolz

We can all say three words, right? Seems pretty simple. What if I tell you these three words could be the most arduous words you may need to say? What if I say these three words could mean the difference between hope and despair, security and endangerment, and possibly even life and death? Could you still say them even if they may wreak havoc on life as you know it?

When the pain and distress of facing my abuser each day at home outweighed my fear of his threats, I made my first disclosure of the abuse. I wonder how often this is true. When the pain is so great and the threats no longer seem to be the worst thing that can happen, how often is that the point that disclosures occur? It makes sense. I can remember thinking that if my abuser killed me (as his threat implied) at least I would be free. It felt like I had absolutely nothing to lose when I wrote that letter in the fifth grade.

I remember that day (although I don’t know the date) as clear as yesterday. My abuser and I had been in an argument over something likely trivial, but it was the breaking point. It just could not get any worse in my child mind. I went to my room and scribbled a letter that began with an apology before detailing incidents of abuse. I delivered the letter to an adult in my life. In that moment, it felt like I was putting my life in someone else’s hands.

Could you say 3 words

Unfortunately, for the person who received the letter, it was just too hard to believe that someone like my abuser could actually be an abuser, and the things I wrote simply could not be true. Therefore, no action was taken to end the abuse. My abuser later learned of my disclosure. Instead of hurting or killing me or my loved ones, my abuser learned that he had total control of me. Because now, I had said something, but no one believed me (abusers often warn that this will happen).

In that moment following my disclosure, the only three words I needed to hear were, “I believe you.”

I. Believe. You.

So, here’s what happens when the words “I believe you” do not follow a disclosure. I learned my abuser was right… in so many ways. I learned the abusive acts were not bad or wrong, they must be normal because no one said otherwise. I learned my abuser was right, no one would believe me. I learned my abuser was right, this is what I was made for and what I was supposed to do.

I don’t write this post to blame or bash people who don’t or haven’t immediately acted on an abuse disclosure. I have forgiven the person who received my first letter and have a relationship with that person to this day.

I write this post to challenge you to commit to the response a child needs even when those three words take every ounce of strength in you to voice.

Take this journey with me. It is not going to be easy. It will be uncomfortable. It may be the most difficult thing you do today.

Imagine receiving a letter from a child that your best friend or your sibling or husband or child’s coach or pastor has been abusing said child. Take a moment and imagine that that.

I know it’s incredibly hard. It is not something anyone wants to imagine. It is something we usually believe will never happen or could not happen.

Then decide, in that moment, what words, if any, are going to flow from your mouth.

Will you question the child’s truthfulness? Will you say, “No way, he/she could never do such as thing.” Will you push the letter away and say tell someone else? Will you say, “If this is true, then…” Will you begin digging into the who, what, when, where, how, and why?

I have made a commitment to myself (and I hope you will too), that if I ever encounter such a situation, the three words from my mouth will be “I believe you.”

It is my belief that if a child has trusted me enough and/or has reached a place of seeing no other way out it is my responsibility to believe them in that moment. I know a lot can happen in the days, weeks, months, and years after disclosure, but in that moment, I am going to fight for that child with every ounce of my being.


Kendall WolzKendall Wolz is the Assistant Director at Baptist Friendship House in New Orleans, LA. Having earned a B.S. in Psychology from the University of New Orleans, she is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Counseling at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Kendall is passionate about helping women and children impacted by human trafficking and childhood sexual abuse. Kendall has chosen to redeem her own history of being sexually abused by helping others to be brave as well.  The impact of her experiences continues to embolden and protect others through her work and her new blog “Brave Girl, Speak” (www.notjustalist.wordpress.com).

“Being Brave Is Hard”

Being Brave Is Hard

Being Brave Is Hard
by Laura Zielke

God doesn’t always ask us to do the easy things.
Sometimes He asks us to do the hard things.
I mean HARD. Really hard!
Something we could NEVER do under our own strength.
Something we would never do without HIS prodding.
Something requiring EVERY OUNCE of courage we have (plus more).
It will be UNCOMFORTABLE.
CHALLENGING.
DARING.
TOO BIG.
And it will have serious CONSEQUENCES.
Consequences we CANNOT control.
Consequences which may
—or may not—
be in our favor.
It’s almost TOO MUCH to ask.

But then, the choice IS ours, isn’t it?
We have FREEDOM of choice.

We could choose to OBEY.
To be BRAVE.
To let God take care of any CONSEQUENCES.
Because it’s not about us, is it?

OR

We could choose to SHUT DOWN.
Close our eyes. Plug our ears.
Sing “fa la la la la” until it all goes away.
Because,
in the end,
it’s all about us, isn’t it?
Our comfort.
Our strength.
Our reputations.

Bottom line:
It’s a choice.

Oh, LORD.
Make me strong!
Make me HEAR your voice.
Help me KNOW it’s YOU,
not I,
who is calling me to this
difficult task.

Help me rely on YOUR strength.
Guide me by YOUR Spirit.
Give me words to speak–
only YOUR words to speak.
Keep ME out of it.

And somehow…
Some way…
Make YOUR will known.

Even if it means people think differently about me.
Even if the consequences are unfavorable.
Place YOUR words in my heart, and light them on fire.
Let them burn in my soul until I have garnered
the strength to speak them.
Out loud.
To deliver YOUR message to the recipients.
And let me leave NOTHING out.
Let me speak every word.
And then let me walk away in peace.
For I have done what was required of me.
And I answer only to YOU.

Amen.

“But if I say, ‘I will not mention his word
or speak anymore in his name,’
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot.”
Jeremiah 20:9