I have always loved good stories…all types of good stories; stories about people rising up from the ashes, people overcoming obstacles. My favorite type of stories is the romantic ones, ones with the God factor involved is the extra bonus that puts it over the top for me.

Maybe you are a fan of the TV Show, Fixer Upper, like I am. Maybe you also have been following the journey of Chip and Joanna Gaines. I love HGTV and this is one of my favorite shows on the network.

This past Christmas season, my hubby and I fulfilled a lifelong dream of going to New York City together. Having the opportunity of walking through the STRAND book store in New York City was one of the items on my bucket list. They are known for being the store of “18 miles of books.” It was a super experience for a book lover such as me. The Magnolia Story was one of my many purchases that day. I actually just finished reading it too on January 2nd to be exact. I’m telling you THIS book and story was an excellent selection for the start of a brand new year. Their story encouraged my heart and helped to feed the fires of my own dreams and all I aspire to be and do. THANK YOU Chip and Joanna!!

Several words and thoughts struck me in all the good ways. Their book contained many, many take-a-ways!

*I just love how Chip seemed happiest around Joanna and that they seemed to give each other energy! THIS IS A HUGE factor to keep in mind for you single folks. I learned this the hard way during my single mom years. You could tell where I was in my healing journey by who I chose to hang around with or who I even wanted to try and be with as a boyfriend. Waiting for God’s best for me involved NOT SETTLING, but to WAIT for GOD’S BEST for me. It was hard being patient (okay, I wasn’t always patient). Waiting was worth it! Every single year I had to wait…all well worth it! The man God selected for me, Scott, was a perfect match for me. We were not perfect individuals, but we both complemented each other and made each other better. We were better together and this is the most important thing. That is what you should pray for and wait for! As Chip and Joanna will attest too, they never say to each other or themselves “I need a break from you.” (p. 19)

*ROOTS played in important factor for the couple. I like that! I too have come to understand the value of knowing ones roots and realizing the value of family and community. The romantic in me just LOVED how Chip proposed. (p. 21)

*I got all teary-eyed learning of Chip’s beautiful conversation he had with his father. His dad supported Chip’s baseball dreams. He was all in since Chip was a young boy. So, when Chip came to the realization that his life purpose was taking him down a different path, he was a little nervous about letting his father know.

“I just remember vividly, for the first time in my life, really knowing in my heart of hearts that my dad loved me no matter what. It wasn’t tied to baseball. It wasn’t tied to something I did or didn’t do. It was just an awesome feeling to realize that.

This was beautiful. I’m wondering if there are some of you that can relate with me on this…father/daughter or father/son heart stuff. I am a type A, first-born and performing well was how I had always received affirmation. Those A’s on the report card did well for me. Our family was not so good at the emotional conversations or communication methods. To be loved no matter who we were or what we did is what we all crave for, isn’t? For me, the biggest a-ha moment with God was when HE LOVED ME FIRST, KEPT LOVING ME EVEN IN THE MIDST OF MY MAJOR FAILURES, AND NEVER LEFT ME. I am very happy for Chip that he had that moment with his dad. That moment was priceless and is what it is all about in our relationships. I know food for thought for me will be for me to take a fresh look at how I interact with those I am in relationship to. Am I saying by my words or actions that they are loved by me? No matter what? Hmmmm….(p.105)

*I totally got it when Joanna talked about how she was inspired by her new home and her new community that God hooked her and Chip up with. God loves to bring us to places that inspire us to be all that we can be. He loves to bring those Heaven on Earth moments into our lives and into our hearts. “Just looking out from our new front porch provided me with all sorts of inspiration. And inside our home, I let my inspiration run wild.” I LOVE this! I get it! My first ever experience with feeling like I was in heaven was when I received free tickets during my single mom years to attend the Palm Beach Jewelry, Art, and Antique show. I had never seen such works of art or such beauty. I remember Joel Osteen talking about this too. He would dream and pray about their future home, together with his wife, Victoria, by actually seeing a home. I have also read from several books the importance of dreaming and working in places that inspire us, places that help us see and feel the possibilities for our own lives. God hooked Chip and Joanna up in this. He knew what He was bringing into their lives and what He wanted to do for them. God is a God of love and beauty. He is the creator of it all, so it makes perfect sense He would desire to inspire each of our hearts in ways that encourage us to inspire people around us and help us to make an impact by using our own unique and individual gifts and talents. (p.115)

*It was super cool to learn how my heart is similar with the Gaines’ hearts, our mutual love, admiration, and respect for all things old, in their specific case, old houses and everything in old houses.

“The reality is that old houses that were built a hundred years ago were built by actual craftsmen, people who were the best in the world at what they did. The little nuances in the woodwork, the framing of the doors, the built-in nooks, the windows—all had been done by smart, talented people…”

One of my dreams is to live in a house by the ocean in a historic community and a historic home with a beautiful story. There’s just something about being in a space where your eyes continually take in beauty for your heart. I wholeheartedly agree with Joanna’s sentiments, “I think there’s something about things from the past that just calls to us, that triggers a kind of longing.” It is a deep longing for me. How refreshing to know that I am not crazy or weird in how I feel about houses I see or furniture or old books! I am not alone! (p.116)

*Profound life principle lived out by this couple and one they share with us readers as it relates to following ones dreams and not giving up, no matter how hard things get. Important lessons; “Doing the right thing when it came to how we treated others” and even when you are at your lowest, do not walk away or fall apart, for you may never make it around the corner to see the blessings awaiting you there. (p.141)

*A parenting a-ha moment for Joanna spoke to me about life in general too. She had been focusing on the wrong things and she realized that she HAD A CHOICE TO MAKE. The choice she did make MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE. Her determination to make things perfect meant she was chasing an empty obsession…WOW! I know for myself, I have to daily remind myself that perfection is a myth. God actually shows up in our MESSES and then He even decides to USE US IN OUR MESSES or in the MIDST OF OUR GROWING UP AND OUT OF THEM. So we should all relax. Show up. Be the best we can in each moment. (p.144)

*Joanna’s thoughts on surviving or thriving were powerful! I personally had to face this very same conclusion…did I just want to survive daily or thrive? Life brings tough stuff. If we are just in survival mode, we may be hit by something that finally takes us down, but if we are in a daily thriving mode, we will persist through difficulties and come out to the other side, better and stronger with much wisdom gleaned. She made a “mental shift” and things changed for her instantly with her attitude and this snowballed in positive ways for her. “I have to choose to thrive, even in the pain. Even when it’s tough.” It is always going to be your decision or my decision in any single circumstance. This applies to any situation or in any relationship. (p.147-148)

*God will always provide what you need and will have made preparations for your life before things occur. God hooked this beautiful couple and their family up with the perfect home, a home that would be their “sanctuary.” Wait till you read about this miraculous blessing and how God brought it all about! (p.167)

*Valuable truths were gleaned by Joanna during a Devine appointment, as I call them, where God put on her heart to visit a woman who was going through cancer treatments. This woman chose to find the joy in the midst of her suffering. Her home reflected BEAUTY AND LIFE. She was INTENTIONAL about CELEBRATING this season of life with her children. “…It’s up to us to choose contentment and thankfulness now.” (p.170)

*Their parting words are all underlined in my book. This book and their words came to my heart in PERFECT TIMING. God knows just when you or I need special encouragement. You see, there are times when our dreams seem to be too big for our current life circumstances, the gap to wide from the here and now to the vision of what we feel and believe to be within our hearts. The waiting period can get very discouraging.

“…The key to everything Chip and I have learned in our life together so far seems to be pretty simple: Go and find what it is that inspires you, go and find what it is that you love, and go do that until it hurts. Don’t quit, and don’t give up. The reward is just around the corner. And in times of doubt or times of joy, listen for that still, small voice. Know that God has been there from the beginning—and he will be there until…”(p.182)

Thank you, Chip and Joanna, for sharing your story. It was important to do so. Your words encouraged me in the most perfect way. Thank you. I know too that your book will touch many other hearts besides mine. God continue to bless you both and your family in tremendous ways! Your lives are a beautiful example and you are making a difference in our world today.

You can visit their website at

Their book can be purchased where I love purchasing all of my reads, Barnes & Noble, and/or you can purchase this book directly from their website.

I produced a BOOK TALK on The Magnolia Story that you may find on;

Happy New Year!


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