Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Candace Jackson

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Candace Jackson

Being an army wife is challenging enough, now add four children and a goal to obtain a second degree. Meet Warrior Woman Wednesday Candace Jackson!

Candace was all too familiar with the role of being a military wife because she was raised by one. Her father was in the Air Force which meant a lot of moving and not identifying one place as home.

"I was blessed to come from two blended families so I was able to spend time in different states through multiple stages of my life," Candace said.

During high school she cheered on the varsity squad and sang in the chamber choir. Candace received a cheerleading scholarship to college, but after the one semester decided that it wasn’t for her.

"I needed more in my life so I joined the U.S. Army,"Candace said. "I was the only daughter from my dad and I wanted to prove that I could take on the huge task of serving our country!"

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Candace Jackson
20-year-old Candace standing with her dad after graduating from basic training in the Army.
As a 20-year-old, Candace felt the Army changed her life and gave her the opportunity to find out about herself. While discovering herself Candace also discovered love. A few months into the service she met her now-husband, Nathan. Three months later Nathan and Candace were wed!

"It’s true what they say, when you know you’ve found the one you just know and you don’t want to spend another minute without them by your side," Candace said.

In 2011, Candace and Nathan welcomed their first baby, Colbie, into their family. Colbie found herself a big sister to her baby brother, Brantley, in 2012. Candace realized it was time to leave the Army and focus on her family. She began her life as a stay home mom and found it at times overwhelming. Candace said she fell into a lot of self doubt and stopped caring about her own health.

"I had to find myself again which is when I started finding my happiness and confidence in the gym during my husband’s deployment," Candace said. "I had to learn how to be my own confidant for a while and seek acceptance and happiness with myself. "

Her involvement with fitness didn't only impact her physically but also mentally. While driven by her fitness motivation, Candace decided she needed to go back to school and finish what she started years ago.

Despite Nathan being deployed overseas, Candace had the drive to not only be a full-time student but also a loving mother for her two kids at home.

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Candace Jackson
Photo courtesy of Chrystele Fleury
Candace reunited with Nathan as he returns for his homecoming from deployment.
Shortly after her husband's homecoming, the Jacksons were surprised to announce baby Allie would be joining their family. Due to major health complications, Candace was hospitalized and Allie was born at 34 weeks. It was a blessing Allie wasn't affected and remained completely healthy throughout the entire process.

"I want to show others that no matter the obstacles there is a way to overcome it," Candace said. "There is always a fight left in you, you just have to dig deeper and pull it out."

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Candace Jackson

The recovery was a speed bump, but Candace remained driven and optimistic. She continued work on her health but had to take a break. During her semester off, Candace started to reason maybe she shouldn't go back. She quickly discarded the idea when she thought of her children and went on to receive her associates in nutritional sciences from the University of Alaska.

"Looking at my kids though, I knew I needed to go back to finish my final year because I saw the confusion on their face when I said I wasn’t going to school," Candace said. "It made me realize that everything I do is watched by little eyes and I wanted them to see me succeed and finish what I had started."

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Candace Jackson
Candace graduates with an Associates in nutritional sciences from the University of Alaska.
Candace said they watch her every day: while they're at the park and she's working out, during daily prayers, as she studies, and everything else. She wants her children to follow her example by living their lives fully and with loving hearts. I try my best to give everyone in the world the love and kindness they rightfully deserve.

The Jacksons are continuing to watch their family grow in Tennessee with baby number four to join them in September. Next fall will also be when Candace graduates with her bachelor's degree in human movement from Austin Peay State University. Ultimately, her career goal is to be a fitness director for the Army community health and wellness center.

"This journey the past couple of years has made me realize that we need to take care of ourselves and help those around us to make better decisions and generate positivity wherever we go," Candace smiled.

Warrior Woman Wednesday: Candace Jackson
Photo courtesy of Macie May
The Jackson Family
Q&A with Candace Jackson
1. What motivates you to succeed?
I have three major motivations to succeed. Colbie, Brantley, and Allie. My children give me all the motivation that I need just by looking at their sweet faces. I know that when I succeed they see all the hard work that I have done and it gives them a sense of direction and purpose in their own lives.

2. Who inspires you? 
My biggest inspiration comes from the empowering women that I am surrounded by. It is an amazing feeling to reach out and have strong willed women there to support you no matter what. In the military, we move every couple of years and this has given me the opportunity to meet so many incredible women all over the world.

3. Your biggest achievement? 

My biggest achievement has been graduating college as a unconventional student. I had decided to join the military and have a family before ever finishing school. This was quite the struggle with three kids and constantly moving and switching universities. When I graduated in 2016, I was over the moon ecstatic!

4. Goals for the future? 
Currently, I am about to finish up another degree in Health and Human Performance for Human Movement. I plan on becoming a fitness director to facilitate healthy lifestyles for all ages.

5. What advice would you give to others?
The best advice that I could ever give to someone is to never give up and always choose confidence.

6. What do you do for fun? 
I really enjoy bargain hunting! It is a thrill to go out and find the best deals on every spectrum ranging from home decor, clothes and then foods. Flea markets are my favorite because there is always a diamond that just needs a little TLC.

7. Favorite quote or Bible verse? 
“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” -Isaiah 58:11


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