Spotlight: Candyce Fulford (Candyce)By Sharon Brown (Sharon) on March 7, 2011
|Gentleness flows through her words; strength builds in her story. If I ever need peace in my often chaotic life, I truly believe I could ask Candyce and she would share hers with me. Come join me as we meet this beautiful, gentle woman: Candyce Fulford.|
I thought at first that she was ignoring me. She didn't answer my request for a Spotlight article very quickly. I didn't know Candyce well, but I'd seen her posts over the years and really enjoyed reading them. There was a certain dignity in her words, a depth of kindness that made me want to know more about the person who wrote them. I looked at her Cubits profile, and this is what is written there: "I am a mother of three daughters and the proud grandmother of seven remarkable 'grands'. Each day brings a new delight and a new adventure. God put me on this earth to love and to teach."
What follows is her story in her own words. I think you'll appreciate it.
Sharon, this has been difficult to write. Painful, in fact. It may not be the kind of Spotlight story that most people will want to read. If you decide not to include me, that will be very OK with me.
There's so much that I didn't go into .... and the 'story' sounds so very disjointed to me because of that. The plain facts are that I had a very abusive childhood, two very abusive marriages (to the same man), and still have a sense of humor and a sense of service to others. Amazing, huh? LOL!
What follows now is my terrible attempt at a Spotlight article. I really hope that you can work your magic and flesh it out so that it makes sense. I want to be honest, and I want to be helpful. If you think that my story can help others, I want to do that.
And so I wrote this right back to her: "Candyce, every story has its own beauty. This one is certainly no exception. I think those of us who have struggled up our mountains and reached the top are those who have been particularly blessed because we do have the compassion to help others. What are we here for, if not to touch the lives of others?"
Now here is the rest of her story, and I didn't change a thing.
When Sharon asked me to be in the Spotlight, I was, at first, honored. But then I wanted to run and hide somewhere. Me? In the Spotlight? I'm really no one special. I'm just a grandmother and mother who lives and acts just like any other grandmother and mother.
Within a few weeks, I felt a bit better about talking about myself and decided to go ahead with the invitation. You see, I really am painfully shy. The internet has given me the chance to have a voice, though, and to do what I've always wanted to do - help people.
I was born and grew up in New Hampshire. Married, and lived in Georgia, Germany, Alabama, and Arizona and then moved back to New Hampshire when my husband retired from the military. Of them all, I feared Arizona the most, only to find out that I absolutely LOVED it, and hated when we were transferred back to the North East!
I think that the desire to be a help to people stems from my childhood. I always wanted someone to come along and help ME out of a very painful past. When no one recognized that I needed help, I discovered stories and books about people going through great personal struggles and coming out shining at the end, always giving of themselves to others. More than my parents. More than my friends. More than my teachers. More than anything, the people in history helped me. People like Helen Keller and Clara Barton and others like them became my role models.
But I always didn't learn the lessons very well! LOL! I had a LOT of mistakes to make and from which to learn.
I grew up the oldest of six children and it seemed I was always taking care of babies! My youngest brother was born when I was twelve, and I remember that day clearly - running to school and shouting to everyone that I had a baby brother. I think that I was relieved as there had been two sisters who preceded him! So, with all of these younger brothers and sisters, I was prepared for all of the time and effort it would take when I grew up and had a family of my own.
Three months after I graduated high school I was walking down the aisle to marry my 'soldier'. Immediately we began traveling as he was assigned to different bases. Our first post was in Georgia - a far cry from the hills and chills of New Hampshire which was our childhood home! At the young age of 18 I was supposed to be a responsible, take charge, army wife! I threw myself into the task with all that I had. Did I succeed? No. I failed miserably. But, it was an exciting time!
From Georgia, where my first daughter was born, my DH received orders to Germany. It was a thrill to get on a plane and to travel to another country! I learned so much about my own strength as I struggled to learn the language, the currency, and the people. We lived there for almost four years, three of which were 'on the economy', meaning that it was in an apartment in a German town - not on a military base. We didn't have a car, and by now my second daughter had arrived, so I had to learn to juggle shopping bags, a toddler, and a baby whenever I took the train to go grocery shopping! Can you imagine?
Unfortunately, as hard as I tried to be a good wife and mother, my DH never thought I was 'good enough'. We fought constantly. Things got pretty bad. But it was another twelve years and another daughter, before I had the courage and the self-esteem I needed to be able to divorce him. This was long before all of the social services available today were around. So, once again, I had to learn by helping myself. Experience is a great teacher! And we don't always listen, do we? I certainly didn't learn! I found myself married to him again after a few years. Things weren't any better the second time around, and we divorced again, shortly before he passed away five years ago.
For the past ten years, I've been the live-in Grandma to three of my seven grandchildren. I take care of the house for my middle daughter (the one born in Germany) and my son-in-law and cook the meals and love them all to smithereens!
I work hard at keeping my self image and self esteem high by remembering where I am NOW, rather than concentrating on the past. It's a daily battle for me. I know. You are probably not going to believe a word of that, but it's so true. It was through the internet that I discovered another lady, slightly younger than I, whose life had been very similar to my own. Her name is Marla Cilley, and in 1999 she decided to that she had had enough of the chaos in her own life and began searching for a way to find peace. Her searching led her to teaching and among her 'students' was li'l ole me, who was searching for just the same peace for myself and for my girls.
Marla, AKA 'The FLYLady', has a website of her own, Flylady, where she teaches me and thousands of others to FLY (Finally Love Yourself) every day. It's that self esteem thing - you know it - the time when you beat yourself up because you answered the door in your robe and pajamas! And then you (and me) allow ourselves to beat ourselves up all day long - or, even worse, allow others to 'beat us up', emotionally. I know it happens. I was there!
Through a system of small daily changes and by building small habits one on top of another, called Baby Steps, Marla helped me find my self worth. Sure. It's housekeeping, but it's so much more than housekeeping. It's finally loving myself enough to .....
*Take what she's taught me and teach others (Homemakers Haven Cubit)
*Be a better example for my children and grandchildren
*Find satisfaction in being a community volunteer
*And to be so happy to have removed the chaos and clutter from my life.
Now take a deep breath...I'm so glad that dark part of your life is over, Candyce, do you have any hobbies, anything you do or did to keep the clouds of your life from becoming overwhelming?
I've had several hobbies throughout my life. When I was a teenager, I discovered music. This was right before the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were popular. I went a different way - folk music. I taught myself to play the guitar and soon formed a folk group that played for school functions and around the region. When I married, my DH loved Country music, so I slid over to that, playing with several local country and western bands, and even 'touring' while we were stationed in Germany. We played at a lot of Army and Air Force bases.
My hobbies today include tracing the family tree as far back as I can. I have begun 'books' for each one of my grandchildren. I know that they are not as thrilled with what I uncover as I am - you should see them roll their eyes when I talk about it. But, I believe the 'books' will be valuable to them in the future. I also like to garden, cook, and volunteer in my town. For the past two years I have been the Editor of the town's email newsletter. I'm a firm believer in communication ... and in not leaving anyone out of the fun!
Busy lady! Are your daughters as strong as you are? And did you teach them to be strong? I'm sure you did and I'll bet they think you are the strongest woman they know.
My three daughters are all strong people, although they all show their strengths very differently. The middle daughter, Anna, seemed to always be strong and very confident in herself. My youngest, Ashleigh, is 25, and is still finding herself. She's told me though that I'm the strongest person she knows, a statement which warms my heart as you can imagine. Jennifer, my oldest, has had a harder road to travel, as she and I traveled much of it together while she was growing up. Her first marriage ended early and she went through many years of learning before she found her soul-mate. They are a very, very happy couple, and build to each other's strengths.
Did I teach them to be strong? Not directly, I'm sure, as they would probably all act and react to life pretty much the same if I had given them a road map to follow, so to speak. Each observed and learned in their own way and they are each very unique people.
What one thing do you most look forward to every day?
Oh my goodness! This is the easiest question of all!!!!!!! The one thing I look forward to each day is getting up and seeing the dawn break. It's a brand new day, just waiting to be written upon, so I take a few moments every morning, before the hustle, stress, and chaos begins to just sit and enjoy the pristine nature of it all.
Thank you so very much! This story is important, and you are right; there are many who need to read it. I admire your courage, Candyce, others will too. Most of us don't make it through this life without at least a few painful struggles. I think the importance lies in how we make the journey and the lives we touch along the way. The telling of your story will no doubt touch many lives.
Friends, you can leave comments for Candyce on the threads that follow this article. Thank you, too, for joining us as we chat with Candyce.
Wishing you well, Candyce, it is so good to know you.
|chat, friends, interview, spotlight|
|I am a retired Art and Humanities teacher living in western Kentucky. I love writing and art with equal measure, but I also have a passion for nature and plants.|
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Comments and discussion:
|Subject||Thread Starter||Last Reply||Replies|
|Thankful||valleylynn||Mar 13, 2011 11:17 AM||23|
|Oh, Candyce!||TwinLakesChef||Mar 12, 2011 9:03 PM||1|