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Marie’s Reading Reviews: The Magnolia Story

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What if your plans for your life aren’t God’s plans? Joanna and Chip Gaines explore this idea in their memoir, The Magnolia Story. Although the book is mainly told from Joanna’s perspective, Chip “chips” in with his own comments on the events. The book begins with Joanna meeting Chip for the first time and then moves through their married life to the television show to building the silos and their media “empire.”

Joanna couldn’t wrap her mind around Chip, who was adventurous and impulsive. In their early relationship and early married years, they flipped houses and often had very little income. The lack of stability through Joanna off balance, forcing her to grow. She said that Chip upset her often in the early years as she would redesign one house and settle, only to be sent to live in another project. Yet, through it all, she felt like her ideas were validated by Chip.

Chip would approve Joanna’s “crazy” ideas, and he encouraged her to design her first house, as well as open up her first shop. He showed her how to dream and then how to make her dreams a reality, not caring the cost of the upheaval. His adventurous spirit is exactly what Joanna needed to get out of her box and blossom into the woman she is today.

Here’s a quote that describes that perfectly:

“I mean, is there anyone who could possibly imagine that the way to get to your life’s calling would be to marry a guy who showed up an hour and a half late to your first date and then let that man talk you into opening your own small business in the first year of marriage? But guess what? It all seemed to be working out in the perfectly messy way life works when you trust in God and his plans for your life rather than focusing on your own.”-Magnolia Story

This great nugget of wisdom about God’s plans for your life isn’t the only thing you’ll find within the pages of Magnolia Story. You will also find lessons in letting go of your perfectionism, pursuing what you love no matter what, and trusting God in the midst of great financial crisis.

Joanna is the first one to point out that her life with Chip was a whole lot of trial and error, trusting that the opportunities God brought were ones that would be a success with his Hand. Even the television show itself seemed like it wouldn’t work as both Joanna and Chip didn’t believe that someone would be interested in their work. Yet, God blessed them as they blessed others. They built homes for many people that wanted something different, and they paid their workers even when they could’ve kept the money for themselves. They truly pursue life to the fullest, and it’s evident in the pages of their memoir.

Their words placed an ache in my heart to follow what they have done. They pursued what they loved to do and I want to do the same. That is why I pursue writing, even when it seems like time slips away and my fingers can’t run across the keyboard. I want to do what Joanna encourages in the closing pages:

“We both hope, with all of our hearts, that the people who read this book and watch our show and come to see what we’re working on in Waco will take a chance to go after their dreams too….Go and find what it is that inspire 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 [of God].”

What are you waiting for? I know I’ll make the leap as soon as I’ve built the bridge.


I am an Amazon affiliate and that means if you buy this book with the link provided above, I will receive partial profit from the book. However, I do not recommend books that I do not like, and all the money I earn is so that I can continue to write what I love. Thank you for your support.



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