GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas (Christian Examiner) – The woman whose infectious joy sparked the heart of a nation expressed her joy in a different way July 4 weekend when she sang "God Bless America" before a celebration in her hometown July 3.
The all-American Candace Payne, known now as the "Chewbacca mom" whose viral video was viewed by over 81 million, has made the rounds of Facebook and Star Wars headquarters, and even has a Hasbro toy that looks like her.
People wanting to understand what makes her smile have invited her to events from east to west and north to south where she has expresssed positive and uplifting joy.
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In May, Payne told Christian Examiner in an exclusive interview that her joy comes from her faith in Jesus Christ.
"As far as the joy aspect, it is much deeper than the Chewbacca mask," Payne said. "It was fun watching it go viral and fun watching people get some joy out of it, too," but at the core of real joy is faith.
She told the Christian Examiner she had been a worship leader since she was 14, and she sang, played the guitar and wrote music.
At the Lone Stars and Stripes Celebration July 3 Payne admitted she was on stage before the largest audience ever, to sing.
And she did not falter, not once: "God Bless America!"