I Wish My Family Knew That…

What a truly perfect time to be writing this one! Truly!

I’m at the very cusp of 4-0 and I could not have and, very likely, would not have made it to this point without them…they who are now a blend of both blood relative and deeply bonded friend.

The road has most definitely taken many a mountain pass but as it’s so famously said, it’s made me the very person typing this right now. A person that I, now, love very deeply, that I am proud of and that I joyfully share with those of you that read this.


I am as whole as I can be at this moment in time and I owe a great deal of that wholeness to all of the words of encouragement/love/support that I can now hear/receive and with great/sincere hope, echo back to you.

My cup is full of love, joy, peace, etc. and when it overflows, I share it with everyone that I can. When it isn’t, I lean into all of the sources that so generously share it with me and we nourish each other as best we can.

My dreams take flight now, no longer caged by my own doing. I don’t know where or how they will eventually take root and produce fruit BUT they are alive and free! I promise!

I will never, ever, give up on myself. I am the best proof I have that every amount of doing the deep work on one’s ‘self’ yields the most incredible beauty, at every single turn and though that never spares pain, it rallies around it and holds it till it passes into something that hurts a bit less.

When I was a young girl, dreaming of what my family would look like one day, I could have never pictured the one that I have received, this incredible blend of lives choosing to love/give/serve one another. I am blessed, grateful and filled with deep love for you all.


Between the Crashing of Waves

Reading is one of my absolutely favorite things to do. It’s been very eye opening over these past few years to realize how very easily I can forget how much I enjoy something in the leaving it undone.

For most of my adulthood, and probably longer if I tried to trace it, I’d spent more time being intimidated out of actually doing things than I ever did completing them. Overwhelmed by every, single, thing took lots of joy out of them. That doesn’t negate all of the things I did accomplish and enjoy, of course, it just pulls at my heart strings a little bit that I let what I thought my TBR/Read pile should look like keep me from so many worlds/characters/stories…

I can’t really say what it is about this year that makes me want to get so many grooves back but I am going to ride those waves, as far as they will take me.

Speaking of waves, I managed to read a couple of books while on vacation at the beach this past May and that felt really, really good! Thankfully, I found my reading momentum is right where I left it and ready for me to engage it at any time!!

The genre that I always want to read seaside makes me chuckle a little bit. I could let myself get swept away in (and if I’m totally honest, easily write) a super ooey gooey love story, sail the seas of adventure, or even a non-fiction account of the area but, every time, I choose to get my adrenaline pumping and my mind blown, with THILLERS.

The ocean/beach is very peaceful and I do let myself enjoy that serenity, I promise, but every moment in between, I am under the umbrella, enthusiastically turning pages.

Netlfix gave me my first introductions to Harlan Coban as they have done about 6 book adaptations now and The Woods is one of them, however, I decided I wanted to read them before I watch them, from now on, as they have all been ‘that good’.

Leave it to me to get my introduction to Colleen Hoover in her first book of this nature. My pal Jenn, at my favorite local coffee shop/used book store, told me that I wouldn’t be able to put Verity down and that when I did, I might need a little bit of time before picking up another book. She wasn’t wrong! This was the one that blew my mind, in fact, I am still not sure what really happened. If you like this particular genre, read it! It’s fantastic! I know I probably need to add more of her work to my list but I also, kind of, want to hold out to see if she will write more of these!!

***I read (and enjoyed) David Hosp last year but threw the photo in because I took it 🙂

So, that’s what I like to read beach/pool side!!

What about you??

It Feels Like Summer to Me

This is my first blog post utilizing the Hope Writers June writing prompts and OK, I already, kind of, cheated within this post by using ‘Summer’ in the title and now in the first sentence BUT here we are 🙂

Gone, at least for me, are the times when those HOT months between Spring/Fall contained anything outside of my day to day life…no breaks from school, no long vacations, no soaking in the long days of sun and fun. I guess it would be fair to say that, in my adulthood, I haven’t really ever looked forward to it.

This year, I am, however, trying to celebrate it a little bit more.

What I have found in that, is nothing short of spectacular. Oh, it’s HOT, and UGHHHHH do I dislike the heat BUT I have seen the most incredibly colorful sunsets (at almost 9pm). One evening, after a really messy storm, the entire sky was this brilliant shade of orange, peppered with purple. Another evening the orange/pink gave way to deep blue/green. I tried to capture each one with my phone camera but it simply didn’t do it justice.

Bedtime generally hits me around 9 and for the past few weeks, the sun isn’t down yet. It’s very weird to ‘try’ and go to sleep when it isn’t fully dark out and so I have drifted into this rather nice flow of reading a little bit by the fading sunlight. The book I chose fits perfectly for this as it’s contents take some time to process, so the few pages I am able to get through match perfectly the arrival of the nightsky and the back of my eyelids.

No matter what ‘shape’ I’ve been in my adulthood, I have spent it largely, fully covering up, which is absolutely miserable during those Summertime activities most look forward to and so you might also guess, I don’t generally do any of them. In the spirit of this one, though, I have gotten the most adventurous I have been in quite some time. I have swimsuits, that, yes, I do wear, shorter dresses, tank tops and several pair of shorts…although the sun seems to always forget my legs so you would never know they see it 😉 It has made the leaning in to those activities much more inviting…now, if I could just get the sun protection perfected.

While I am nowhere near ready to call it my favorite season, as it has the very tough competition of my beloved Autumn, I can say that Summer and I are becoming friends and I look forward to the rest of our time together this year!

Happy SUMMER all!!

Snow Days on the Lane

The scene captured below was the view from my porch this morning and all I could muster without leaving the warm, coziness of the living room. Part of me wanted to slip my boots on and hear the crunch of fresh fall under my feet but they had been left in the car (typical of me) and thus, probably colder than it was worth to retrieve them.

My tiny corner of the world

When I looked out and around, at the time, all was quiet, still and peaceful. No one stirred as far as I could see…it was magnificent. In a matter of minutes, my day was completely re-arranged. I pulled back my curtains to let the bright, white, sun reflected light pour in, started a cup of coffee and washed dishes while admiring more snow covered stillness framed by the kitchen window. It’s incredible to me that if I pause long enough, it looks like a storybook page.

When the dishes were done, I went to put my fitbit back on, out of habit, start some laundry and make mental note of all that I was going to “get done” today…In the brief moments it takes to fasten the clasp of that device, I realized that, today, I don’t want to be measured.

There is always something to be done and/or something I could do but hadn’t I just let the newly fallen snow and it’s stillness set the tone for my day!? Why would I want to ruin it with the haste and the counting of steps/heart rate and “zone mins” and tasks completed. Why should I ruin it!!?

I decided not to.

Now, I live and love in the middle of North Carolina, a place where we make such BIG DEAL of this kind of thing because it’s rare, beautiful and fleeting…we pause, enjoy and (most of us anyways) are overly careful because we haven’t been seasoned enough to do it any other way. If I can’t see the road, I don’t drive on it.

So, I completely changed my day even though I can already see blades of grass through it’s melting and the road beyond my quiet yard is traffic filled once again…I am choosing to let snow be ok…to let myself be still in the day, whatever else it entails.

Thankfully, a text of “what are you waiting for” brought me here but shades open or closed, nothing else about today needs to be counted, simply enjoyed.

I hope you enjoy your day too!!

Happy Saturday 🙂

Send a Flare into the Night

I have been waiting for the words for this one to come to me for a while now and though I wish they didn’t require the catalyst that they did, here I am, literally burning the midnight oil to let them have their way, because I do not set them free nearly enough.

The catalyst…well, the only real importance of it is…Jenga!!!!

The Beacon in my Night

Quicksand is the best word and visual that I can give you for the way that past few months have gone for me. Now, I don’t have personal experience with said quicksand but I know that the more you move, the more you sink and as so many movies show us, you need someone’s help to get out of it.

I had SO MUCH hope and excitement going in to my 39th year of life. The first 9 months and 9 days of 2021 had been spent diving DEEP into the rising and falling of getting to know who I really am and how I show up (and here is where I encourage YOU, no matter what age you are, to spend some time doing that). In the days leading up to my birthday weekend plans, I just knew I was going to climb up the ladder to the high dive of life, take a beautiful swan dive and swim with great enthusiasm to the next horizon.

There really is no telling how long it took me to realize that instead of the pool of crystal clear water, I landed in jello. Without full awareness, I stopped getting up to workout in the mornings (which I’d done solidly for over a year), and it wasn’t a slow fade, I just stopped. The zeal I had for my morning routine was replaced with that almost non existent yet not unfamiliar desire just to sleep. I could not wait to sleep and I couldn’t figure out why because my dreams weren’t the dreams of a dreamer, they were something else entirely.

Parts of me that thought I was well past using the scale as a measure of myself, looked once more and found it had gone up. Up…How in the name of actually figuring it out after ALL THIS TIME could that have happened!?! Shame attached itself like a led balloon and I ordered Pizza Hut for the 15th time.

Candice, what the heck is going on? I’ve asked myself this everyday for weeks.

How can THIS be my reality when I thought I was good? Great even? It’s important for me to interject here that this isn’t about weight gain (at all) but it is a part of my story, so it will find itself mentioned here a time or two.

Well, the answer has taken a long time to come to me but I did smile when it came in the form of a phrase I’d almost forgotten but found me none the less…Heavy & Light…that is life. I am going to soar with eagles, seek to lift as many of you amazing souls up as I can and I will love every, single moment of it…And then, without knowing how or why, sometimes, I’ll fall to the ground, wounded, because that is what happens when you go all in, like I do so often.

This time, I landed in quicksand…and…it has taken two months and help in the form of Jenga (please look it up if you don’t understand the reference). Whew, heavy & light indeed.

Now, it really is almost midnight and I will tell you why I posted a photo of a candle…

Tonight, after the same song came up in conversation that had called to me a week ago, I decided to have a bit of a symbolic ceremony…because, even though I really do love learning, healing, forgiving, growing, repeating…the quicksand is exhausting.

Here is the song


My jenga moment was what I needed, as tear filled as it was, to burn the ships.

Fear, that, for sure, is the thing that has to go, along with a boat load of other things (sea what I did there ;))

This year has taught me SO MUCH! This heart of mine is stronger and bigger than it ever has been AND is also not immune to the ache of vulnerable living…I don’t think I want it to be…

I DO, however, want to step into every new day, rise up from the dust, say a prayer and turn the tide…because I KNOW, OH FRIEND do I know…that who I am is NEVER wasted.

A FULL life surrounds me…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfullness, gentleness and self control are what I pray for, every morning and I get a few of those right because they are reflected in the ones who choose me…and the ones who don’t, well, as HeMan would say “Good Journey”.

As far as dancing upon the heartache? I’d prefer to dance with it, and it isn’t to be dramatic or a martyr…it’s simply because I know that it’s a part of life and OH, how I want to LIVE IT WELL!!!!

This is my flare in to the night, Dear Reader! I’m here and I am so glad you are too!


A Tale of a Dream Come True

Ever since I named this part of Wanderwood Lane, I wanted it to be filled with something really special. I’ve enjoyed tea for years…and coffee too if I am honest, but I wanted this to be a celebration of all the joy it brings me to brew and steep a giant cup up (yes, I have to admit that the true tea cups only come out when I have company).

I’ve found the perfect product to get this celebration started.

The Adaptogen Line from Teeccino

While I orignally found Teeccino a couple of years ago, I didn’t get my full immersion in it until last year.

I was doing a special fitness challenge with my fit community last year and although it wasn’t a part of the challenge, I wanted to work on my caffiene intake. You see, when I made coffee, in the past, I’d make almost a full pot and drink on it until about 10am everyday…I knew that was too much but in my mind, I couldn’t help it, I really liked the taste.

Thankfully, I remembered back to my trip to Italy a few years ago, where we prepared for the long flight by getting rid of caffiene for a few days prior. I took a look back through my photographs from the trip and found the little golden packet of Hazelnut Teeccino.

I immediately went to Amazon to see what I could get quickly. Much to my delight, they had a variety pack and that purchase was a no brainer.

I’ve spent the majority of the year letting that variety pack lead me to this love affair I now have with these products. Hazelnut started it but from there, I’ve come to enjoy the French Roast, Dandilion Dark Roast, Maca Chocolate, Vanilla Nut AND their Fall seasonal blends are AMAZING.

These blends are the best of both worlds for me because they brew rich and savory, just like coffee but don’t have the acid or caffeine that coffee does, so I can enjoy them any time of the day and completely relish it (and I sure do).

All of the teas and herbal coffees that I have tried, to date, are full of flavor all on their own, but I’ll admit I indulge a little and add my favorite non-dairy sweet cream to most of mine. I prefer mine freshly brewed/steeped hot most of the time but have also found them a delicious base for my protien shakes and smoothies too!!!

My biggest and best discovery came along with my recently approved ambassdorship last month. As I have become more aware of how stress and anxiety affect my mind/body and life, I have been doing more research on natural ways to help ease both. Enter Teeccinos mushroom adaptogen line.

I’m two tea/coffees into my experience and I have to say they are even better than anything I have tasted before and I literally smile everytime I enjoy a cup because I know that I am drinking something good for me, on many levels.

Tremella Tulsi– this was the first one I tried and the flavor combination of the chicory, Tulsi and cardamon was invigorating, like coffee with a little kick!

Tremella, the tropical mushroom reputed to promote lasting beauty, is paired with sacred Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil, the ‘Queen of Herbs’ for reducing stress in India’s Ayurvedic tradition. Blended with detox-stimulating dandelion root, experience bold, aromatic flavor with adaptogens protecting your mind & body!

Lion’s Mane Rhodoila– OHHHHHHHH MYYYYYYYYY! I really don’t know when it happened but I tried rose in my tea a long time ago and it’s one of my favorite flavor notes but I had never considered it in a coffee substitute. I am thrilled that I tried this blend second. This combination is smooth and so very soothing after a long day. The rose is strong enough to hit the nose with a delighful fragrance while lifting the cup up but not too overpowering when it hits the taste buds. I’ll be ordering more of this one for sure!

Lion’s Mane, renowned in Asia as the nerve & brain protector, is paired with Rhodiola, Siberia’s mood enhancer that helps provide balance in times of need. Blended with prebiotic chicory, experience bold, aromatic flavor with adaptogens protecting your mind & body!

In case I don’t have you fully convinced to try it yet, let me also say that in addition to being caffeine free, these blends are gluten free and prebiotic.

If you are looking for a coffee alternative or perhaps a more robust tea, this is the best I’ve found.

Try some using the discount code OWLTeaParty

Until the next pot, happy sipping!!


BE with me

Hellooooooooo dear readers!

Here we are, at long last (blame me, not LR as she is several books ahead of me) at book three of the Bridgerton series (and my favorite so far)…

Book three starts with a Masqurade ball where the Bridgerton brothers, Colin and Benedict remain amongst the highly saught after of bachelors (though, as per usual, they aren’t overly thrilled about it).

Much to his own suprise, Benedict is quite taken with a mysterious and beautiful vision in silver, who’s identity is indeed a mystery to all in attendance, including Lady Whistledown.

Behind the mask, Sophie, is also taken with Benedict Bridgerton and the two of them share an intense few hours before the stroke of midnight has Ms. Beckett bolting for the door.

Sophie doesn’t belong in high society, or at least that is what she has been told most of her life, by her cruel Stepmother who treats her exactly like she does the rest of those under her employ, except, well, she doesn’t pay Sophie.Very much like Cinderella, Sophie is only able to attend the ball with the help of the other househld staff (they adore her), who make her unrecognizable and ensure she returns before she is found out.

Love finds Benedict and Sophie in those moments at the ball but it can never be…

Benedict doesn’t know the identity of the silver gowned maiden and Sophie knows that if he did know, he’d never have her.

The years that pass find them both still unattached and often thinking of that fateful night…until one afternoon in the countryside leads them back to eachother, with only one of them knowing that who they have been longing for, for so long, is right in front of them.

What follows is the often comical story of how Benedict and Sophie end up living in that fantasy from year prior…and it doesn’t come easily.

You know by now that I am not going to give you the whole story because it is so much better to get to know it for yourself but I will tell you that this couple has the best of dynamics when it comes to a story. I really appreciate the way Julia Quinn makes her characters work at love a little bit, without completely losing who they are.

As with the other two stories so far, there is banter and playfullness that developes between the characters that keeps it very, very interesting.

This is my favorite book, so far, because Benedict is my favorite Bridgerton brother. He is a bit of an artist, the second eldest, so not as many responsibilites as the Viscount, and he’d rather be at his house in the country then in town…sign me UP!!!

Happy Reading ALL!

See you in book 3

summer lovin’

Happy August my dear readers!!!

Wait, how is it August already!?!?! Is time flying for you all too???

Right now I am wondering what one does when they are 9 days in to the month and 9 days behind on ALL the goals they set out for said month??

My solution was to brew a cup of tea and GET BUSY!!!!

Normally, I would post a photo of the master plan I have for some major productivity for the month (and I do have that photo) but being that it has no check marks on it yet, I’ll save for the end of the month and we will all see how I did.

Check marks…I can’t pinpoint when it happened and I am not sure what character trait it is exactly but I have become someone that likes to make lists, put little check boxes under each task and mark it when complete.

I have a dry erase calender on my fridge that I won’t let myself mark through until I’ve done what I need to do for the day. That hasn’t worked as well for my August writing goals and I realize as I type this that it might have if I’d put the writing tasks on the same calender (insert mind blown emojii and make a note to do that in September). Let’s just say that I do plan to get caught up this week…and that’s going to be A LOT of words…;)

In the meantime, here’s a little slideshow of a few July highlights. The word ‘freedom’ came to me in early June and with it, a ton of thoughts (that will likely make it to another blog post). It’s pretty clear from all the space here On Wanderwood Lane, at this point, that I am always open to growth, healing, more understanding and a better way to LIVE this life. In July that looked like preparing for changes in my work/life balance and spending the weekends doing things with family/friends. There has been a lot of go, go, go but I know I need to relish it so that when the rest, rest, rest happens, I’ll be full of incredible memories to mediate on.

Talk to you again VERY soon,


I’m right here

Dear Readers,

If it feels like it’s been eons since we last touched base, it has been and I beg your forgiveness but, as they say, life happens 🙂

BUT here we are, at long last, at book 2 of the Bridgerton series.

Now, we got a taste of the eldest Bridgerton, Anthony, in book one but we get the whole serving of him in The Viscount Who Loved Me.

As you may remember from our first encounter with the Viscount, he’s single, but perfectly content to refrain from mingling, at least not to settle down and start a family 😉 A rake is going to do what rake is going to do.

After the marriage of his sister Daphne, that changes. Anthony comes around to the idea of securing a wife and fulling his duty as the head of the Bridgerton family, he’s just not interested in love. His idea is to sweep a beautiful lady off her feet, be a good enough husband to a good enough wife and let that be that.

Enter Kate Sheffield, a woman as disinterested in being married off as the Viscount is in being domesticated. Kate’s distaste for the kind of man Anthony appears to be is evident from the very beginning. Her younger sister is free to entertain suitors, so long as they aren’t men about the ton, like Anthony Bridgerton, and even more so, NOT Anthony Bridgerton himself.

When the season arrives for all ladies of age to be presented to society, who do you think is first in line for the younger Ms. Sheffield??? Yep, the Viscount

What follows is an even bigger scandal than that of Daphne and Simon, if you can believe that. Kate and Anthony are both hell bent to hate each other all the while something deeper burns inside them.

A trip to the Bridgerton countryside estate changes everything. Who knew a game of Pall Mall, a thunderstorm and bee sting could change the course of the future or two families!?!?!

The Mallet of Death or as close as I could get

Julia Quinn did, that’s for sure!!

If you haven’t already, get to know the story of Anthony and Kate.

As for Renae and I, we are moving on to (my favorite from the show) Benedict Bridgerton!

Until next time, happy reading!

spring in my step

Hellllllloooooooo ALL!!!

Whew, what a glorious whirlwind the past few months have been!!!

I couldn’t think of a better day to recap the Spring than the first day of SUMMER!

Let’s see, I guessing by now that work and workouts are obvious…as both have become a necessity of my life and continue to be.

April. Cars, Waterfalls, Wine and Logging

April was the month I really exercised my photography muscles and it started with a Saturday morning visit to my buddy’s food truck for coffee and breakfast before scoping rows of cars at a local cruise in. The above pictured beauties are a few of my favorites!

The next weekend, my friend Gio and I went waterfall chasing in Bryson City, NC. We found an absolutely lovely Inn right in town that accomodated us to perfection, right down to wine and charchuatre board on the terrace in the evening. I forgot to pack my hiking shoes, which lead way to my first puchase of hiking boots (Keens) and I was not sorry about that! I’m legit now 🙂

The following weekend, I took those very same boots to help my friend Ashley clear out her newly aquired mountain property. I’m not sure if it was the boots, the healthier lifestyle or just an overall sense of confidence but I hopped in/around/all over that land, wrangling fallen trees, weed eating and even operating a chain saw as instructed. It was the most alive I’d felt in a long time and by that I mean, my mind, with all it’s anxious potential, couldn’t be bothered out there…I even tried to get it to overthink something and it didn’t…pure, sheer, solace.

The end of April held two photo shoots and they were both for my oldest friend Lancie. I was blessed enought capture her enagement and bridal portraits and they were both incredible days!

May. Golden Girls, Sunsets, Birthdays and Thrillers

Ashley, Lancie and I affectionately call ourselves The Golden Girls and the first weekend in May was spent celebrating Lancie’s upcoming nuptuals in family owned cabin off the Blue Ridge Parkway. There we dressed up, poured ourselves some wine and painted by number while, you guessed it, The Golden Girls played in the background.

I didn’t get prior permission to share the second weekend festivities but it included my buddy Jeff’s Buddy Games themed birthday party, filled with laughter, delicious food (prepared by Jeff), actual games and good fellowship.

Garden City Beach and a 7 day vacation called to me the remainder of May. It was filled with sunrises/sunsets, 20 miles of beachfront walking, lots of reading, coffee, a trip to the arcade and a giant pancake breakfast with most of the family, what R&R is made of!!!

So, June has been much the same and I forgot to upload photos for it (oops)…

It has included my Dad’s retirement party, Lancie’s wedding weekend and a camping trip in Uwharrie National Forest.

Haha, was it all as busy as it sounds!?!? YES but also so full of love and life and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.

I watch this show called Roadkill all the time and the past few seasons, at the end of every episode, are the words “Get Busy Living”…it took a few episodes for that to sink in. It isn’t always in the “busy” part of that phrase but IS all in the LIVING part of it…

Whether it’s spending every weekend coming/going/staying put, surround yourself with lots of love or loving your alone time, here, there or everywhere…ENJOY each turn around the sun/moon and pack as much living as you can in to this life!

I’ll be here (and there) doing the very same!