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I may have been a little late to the Fixer Upper frenzy, but I have absolutely fallen in love with the Gaines. The biggest question most fans have is whether the people they see on the TV show are the real deal. They appear to be a solid couple with real family values and a determination to do the right thing. My curiosity got the best of me, so I was grateful when a friend let me borrow her copy of The Magnolia Story. After finishing, I’ve felt even more impressed with who they are and how they have chosen to grow from their journey’s experiences.
In this 182-page quick read Chip and Joanna share their story in a unique and individual way. I could immediately hear their voices in my head as Joanna spoke in one font and Chip in an entirely different one. (Small caps really fits his personality.) Their written word echoes much of the same type of banter and fun that they exhibit on the show. So much so that I felt convinced of their authenticity and heart.
The story begins with how they unsuspectingly were chosen to film the pilot for HGTV, and then takes the reader back in time to when they met and how they fell in love. They each have a chapter that shares details from their childhood and growing up years that specifically relates to how they have been shaped into the people they are today. The later chapters quickly bring us up to speed on how they arrived at the opening scene in Chapter 1.
The underlying message of The Magnolia Story is that no one is exempt from the growing pains of life. The one thing we do have control over is how we react and choose to handle those growing pains. I felt inspired by Chip and Joanna’s gumption, determination, and drive. They have clung to each other rather than allow trials to tear them apart; and, as a result, their value of family, friends, and God have a greater priority than the “things” that fame would expect.
and well worth the read.
I’ve shared some of my favorite quotes from the book below:
“Surviving or Thriving” p. 148
“Life is never predictable. Life is never really manageable. If your mindset is always, ‘I’m just surviving,’ it seems to me that would wind up being your mindset for the rest of your life. You’d get stuck in it.
“I finally flipped the switch in my mind. I said, “I have to choose to thrive, even in the pain. Even when it’s tough.
“The miracle of that breakthrough moment for me was that I didn’t really let our situation get to me. I didn’t wallow in it. I didn’t allow it to dictate my happiness.
“I made a choice, when the next glass of milk was spilled, to choose a thriving response rather than a surviving one. And I made that choice when another gigantic bill landed in our mailbox. “Was I just going to survive this? Or was I going to get with my husband and think this through so we could overcome it together and thrive?”
“Heeding the Call” p. 168
“I always thought that ‘thriving’ would come when everything was perfect, and what I learned is that it’s actually down in the mess that things get good.
“It was such a blessing to find myself thriving in the middle of the pain. Unless you find a way to do that, there’s always going to be this fake illusion that once you get there – wherever ‘there’ is for you – you’ll be happy. But that’s just not life. If you can’t find happiness in the ugliness, you’re not going to find it in the beauty either.”
Gaines, Chip and Joanna with Mark Dagostino. The Magnolia Story. HarperCollins Christian Publishing: Nashville, Tennessee (2016).
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Will you allow life to teach you or defeat you