Laugh It Up! with Candace Payne + Giveaway

I remember getting a text from my friend and assistant Lindsey one day in May of last year. She wanted to know if I’d seen the Chewbacca mask lady who made a video in her car while in the Kohl’s parking lot. I had no idea what she was talking about. As of today, over 140 million people have viewed the video she was referring to of Candace Payne, aka Chewbacca Mom exhibiting pure joy with that Star Wars themed mask.

Today, Candace is a fellow author at my publisher Zondervan and she just released her book, Laugh It Up! Embrace Freedom and Experience Defiant Joy. She is spreading a little bit of her joy around by guest posting here and giving away five copies to my readers. Now, here is Candace!


Laugh It Up by Candace Payne

I honestly believe the lessons I learned in the anonymous years of being a stay-at-home mom shaped the “suddenly” moment of becoming Chewbacca Mom.

I’ve never felt more pressure and stress than the night I walked the red carpet at the Country Music Television awards. And not by the kind you might naturally assume. I have one word to summarize it all. SPANX. I had no need of Spanx ever before in the thirty-seven years I’d spent on this planet.

That night was one of the most surreal moments of my life. I enjoyed the evening like it was my last, soaking in every conversation with celebrities and artists between commercial breaks. I didn’t want the night or the experience to end.

With my family at work and school, I flew home the next morning and walked into an empty house with lights off. However, I also walked into an unmistakable smell.

The culprit was throw up found in my ornery pug Opal’s dog crate.

So this was my grand welcome-back-to-reality party right on the heels of the most surreal night in the history of the life of Candace Payne.

Red carpet to dog vomit, y’all. Just like that.

It was then I asked myself the question most of us frequently ask ourselves: Who am I?

Isn’t it funny how often we find our identity in what we do or achieve in our greatest moments? When we describe ourselves, we report in snapshots of our best moments, hoping that the sum of them will become who we truly are.

Even when we don’t describe ourselves to anyone else, we tend to struggle internally with our identities being wrapped up with what we do instead of who we are. The problem with such thinking is that we begin to believe that we find our worth in what we do day to day instead of who we are at the core of our being. Effortlessly, this can and will more than likely lead to discontent or prideful thinking.

We forget that what we do with our days (glamorous or not) is already an extension of what we value.

I long to have integrity and a heart that chooses love over arguing, complaining, and blame. I try with every effort to cultivate the kind of character I aspire to and ground my worth in that, rather than letting my worth be defined by my opportunities.

Inward character trumps outward opportunity every time, and I want to cultivate the kind of character I can be proud of whether I’m backstage, center stage, or when no one is looking at all.

Joy knows this so well. She lives in every moment fully content. I am not suggesting Joy doesn’t aspire to great moments and highlights that would “ooh and awe” the crowds. I am suggesting, though, that she also aims to live in the moments that get thrown on the cutting room floor. Joy knows that the secret of being content is found in being fully satisfied with who you are when no one is looking, no matter what role you are living.

Whether you’re backstage, center stage, or whatevs, claim your identity and get comfortable in it, and let this lead you to Joy.



Congrats Michelle Vasquez, Dianna Vanhemert, Phyllis Wiley, Christina M. White, Robin (november 16, 2017 at 9:29 pm). You each won a copy of Candace’s book. Please check your email and reply with your mailing address and our publisher will get it to you asap.

Candace is giving away five copies of Laugh It Up! to my readers. Comment below and let us know what area of life you are looking to experience defiant joy in. U.S. Addresses only please. Winners will be announced here on Monday, November 20. **if you are reading this on email, click here to enter.

Laugh It Up by Candace Payne


Candace Payne is a viral sensation whose Facebook Live video of trying on a Chewbacca Mask became the most-viewed Facebook Live video to date. Candace recently released her first book, Laugh It Up! telling the rest of the story behind the woman in the mask. Like most of us, Candace Payne has often felt overlooked, undervalued, and insignificant. But she has also discovered the secrets to unshakable joy that no circumstance can take away. Candace lives in Texas with her husband, two children, and ornery pug. Connect with Candace online at

Be sure to check out Candace’s Laugh It Up Illustrated Faith Bible Journaling kit.


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  • As much as I need joy in areas in my life, a particular group of my coworkers need it more. I work at and an elementary school in Sonoma County, recently ravaged by wildfires. Our office staff was already facing unbelievable personal challenges: one was diagnosed with breast cancer at the start of the school year, one had lost her mom just months before and one was recently widowed. When the fires hit, our principal lost her home and all of their possessions. In the face of all of these personal tragedies, they had to put aside their personal grief and put on a happy face each day for the children, many of whom had lost their homes and possessions. This year more than ever, these six ladies deserve a way to heal and find joy in their lives. I would love to honor them with this book as a way to feed their soul and help their journies of recovery.