On a weekend visit to a home improvement superstore with my husband, I proclaimed I was “drunk on the smell of lumber and possibility.” I love home improvement stores, I love the smell, the energy, and the endless possibilities. I love projects and the idea that with work you can create something new, something better.

Like many, many people I also love the HGTV show Fixer Upper. In general, I’m an HGTV watcher, it is my go-to channel when I’m in charge of the remote. My son will even choose to watch reno shows over cartoons. We enjoy a little demolition and transformation. But, my all time favorite such show is Fixer Upper. The husband and wife team of Chip and Joanna Gaines make me look forward to Tuesday nights.

Initially, I was partial to the show for a few reasons. I’ve always loved being in the country and romanticized farms – so their farmhouse setting wooed me. In college, I was an interior design major (for a while – detoured by expense, not lack of interest) and still dream of what that career might’ve been like – so the topic intrigued me. And ever since I’ve known my husband I’ve wanted to own a business together – so their partnership appealed to me.

Of course, the designs are lovely and the makeovers impressive, but the stars of the show are exactly that, the stars of the show. Chip and Joanna Gaines are my couple crush. Seriously. The way they treat each other is how all couples should treat one another. They not only build beautiful homes, they build each other up. They respect one another in such a distinctive way.

This past Christmas my husband and son gave me a copy of The Magnolia Story, which tells the story of Chip and Joanna. I knew I would like the book because I truly enjoy them. This past weekend I settled in on the couch and finished the book. I was not disappointed. It was a good read written in alternating perspectives from each of them. As expected it provided some fun stories of Chip’s crazy antics and backstory of how they met and fell in love. What I didn’t anticipate was how it would make me really think.

Sometimes it is easy to look back at some event in our lives and see how things worked out for the best. There may have been a struggle and the future was in doubt, but in the end, it all came together. Some people attribute that to luck or fate and others like The Gaines give all the credit to God’s plan. If you watch the show you likely marvel at their success. It certainly looks like they “have it all.” It wasn’t always that way. Through each struggle they faced they placed their trust in God and He showed up in big amazing ways that just can’t be credited to chance. As I read, I found myself saying “wow” out loud.

I couldn’t help but wonder if I’ve fully placed my faith in God’s plan the way that they have? What if more of us did that? God’s plans for us are bigger than those we can conjure ourselves.

There were a couple other standout thoughts:

Joanna wrote about thriving as opposed to surviving. We all have the choice to thrive right where we are. She made a mental shift the thrive even when things were hard. That whole be happy with enough, more isn’t the answer thing. It never gets old and is always good advice.

Chip wrote about deciding in college that he wanted every day to be like Saturday. Not in the sense that Saturday was a lazy day, not that at all actually. Rather that you could work really hard at something, still enjoy it, and be rewarded for it.

I liked the show before I read the book. I adored Chip and Joanna before I read the book. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is how much I respect the choices they’ve made to get where they are. It is a message worthy of reading regardless of if you watch the show or not, after all, they have a hit tv show and don’t own a television!

A good reminder that the same excitement I feel at the home improvement store when that feeling of endless possibility surges through my veins is available through faith.


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Get your copy of The Magnolia Story.