7 Lessons Learned from Chip + Joanna Gaines

7 Lessons Learned from Chip + Joanna Gaines | Duluth Moms Blog{Photo credit: New Earth Natural Light Photography}

Falling in love with Chip + Joanna Gaines was a simple sell for me. From the first episode of Fixer Upper I watched, I was hooked; I loved their back and forth banter and the potential they saw in houses that others would have easily passed by. I had also heard that they didn’t own a television to watch their own show and had to travel to friends and families couches for viewing parties. Something about that made me love them more. The world was obviously caught up in a whirlwind of affection for them and they kept on living the same way they always had – with sheer intention.

I’ve become an audio book girl. Don’t get me wrong – I love nothing more than curling up with a paper book and a cozy cup of something hot BUT I’m in the middle of a season of chasing small children and audio books tend to fit into our lifestyle more often than not. I listen when I’m folding laundry, driving back and forth for preschool pick up, or on the eliptical. Books that used to take me months to find the time to get through are now soaked up in a few days or weeks. Chip + Joanna’s new book was no exception. I devoured that sweet listen in only a day or two.

The Magnolia Story is written and read by both Chip + Joanna. If you love their sweet banter on the show, you will eat up this book. They share their story of humble beginnings, hard falls, and big breaks. They tell of the story of them falling in love, and Chip carrying Joanna over the threshold of their first home that smelt like cat pee and rotten food. Mostly I was struck by all the wisdom that collected in the pages of their words. I would pause and write little tidbits down, thinking to myself, “That is so good. I don’t want to forget that.” I’ve compiled some of it here for you. Some are design strategies to keep in the back of my pocket for our next project, while others are for the story of life – to keep in my pocket for everyday living. The heartbeat behind all of them consistently rang to be this: design a life you love with the people you love and never ever stop doing the things you love.

7 lessons learned from Chip + Joanna Gaines

1. Never design a space that your whole family can’t enjoy.
This one got me. It is easier for me to create spaces in my home that are beautiful and not functional – the real challenge is making them accesible for everyone in our crew. Practically speaking, I now only buy pillows + pillow covers that zip off and I throw in the washer. Then I’m not fretting if they get nailed by a washable marker or get tiny chocolate fingerprints all over them. Our dining room table and chairs are also easy to wipe down so that any and all creations can be made around them. I don’t get anxious when the kids are running from room to room because our home is for everyone to enjoy.

7 Lessons Learned from Chip + Joanna Gaines | Duluth Moms Blog{Photo credit: New Earth Natural Light Photography}

2. A fresh coat of paint can go a long way.
Yes to this a million times. Paint is relatively cheap and it transforms a space. I’m a big fan of white so my artwork can pop on the walls. But if you feel blah in a room, go grab a gallon of new paint and watch it come alive again.

3. Even a door you think is locked forever can be reopened.
Joanna closed her Magnolia shop for a season so she could love on her babies at home. She felt like this was a locked door forever but little did she know the keys that would unlock many doors to come in her future. (Hello, Silos!) This encouraged my heart because so often it feels like we must keep all our plates spinning while raising our tiny kiddos. It gave me a sense of permission to enjoy these full but fleeting years. (This doesnt mean everyone quits their job – I still run a small business and love the creative outlet it gives me.) But I can savor without feeling like I have to accomplish every single dream of mine while breastfeeding, teaching the abc’s, and sweeping up mac ‘n cheese.

7 Lessons Learned from Chip + Joanna Gaines | Duluth Moms Blog{Photo credit: New Earth Natural Light Photography}

4. The pressure is real. But there is grace.
Technology makes everyone’s highlight reel SO very accessible. In one moment we can feel like we are totally killing it as a mama and then after scrolling through social media just a few minutes we can feel like we don’t measure up. Pinterest puts the pressure on children’s birthday parties to become practically weddings. Instagram shows off tiny squares where the clutter is shoved off the frame. And everyone is sharing their promotions and newsworthy moments on Facebook. But you mama – are doing a fantastic job. So lets rally together and promise not to compare our mountains of laundry with other’s mountain top moments. There is real life happening and real dishes on the other end of all the pretty social media. And there are always buckets of grace for us too. Keep on keeping on, friend.

5. Perfect isn’t worth chasing.
Perfect isn’t worth chasing.“I realized that my determination to make things perfect meant I was chasing an empty obsession all day long. Nothing was ever going to be perfect the way I had envisioned it in the past. Did I want to keep spending my energy on that effort, or did I want to step out of that obsession and to enjoy my kids, maybe allowing myself to get messy right along with them in the process? I chose the latter – and that made all the difference.” Joanna Gaines, The Magnolia Story


6. If you can’t find joy in the ugly, you won’t find it in the beauty either.
“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 beauty, either.” Joanna Gaines, The Magnolia Story

This is a lesson I did not learn from Joanna but it sure was a good reminder. When my Dad was facing a terminal brain cancer diagnosis and had just endured a severe stroke that caused him to lose the ability of his right side and speech, a good friend asked him “ Alright Patrick, what now?” My Dad took a white board and black marker and with his left hand he wrote out words that would forever change our families story, “I choose joy”. And making that promise to choose joy in the midst of suffering molded me into who I am today, and it makes the joy of the mundane and mountain tops that much sweeter.

7 Lessons Learned from Chip + Joanna Gaines | Duluth Moms Blog{Photo credit: New Earth Natural Light Photography}

7. Go find what it is that inspires you.
They end the book with a subtle bang that made me catch my breath. We are in the process of adopting and the journey is a bumpy road. I held these words with all the hope that they bring. I’ll let them leave you with these final words + wisdom… I hope it encourages your heart like it did mine. 

“Go and find what it is that inspires you. Go and find what it that you love. And do that. 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 . . . The End.” Joanna Gaines, The Magnolia Story

One Response to 7 Lessons Learned from Chip + Joanna Gaines

  1. Carol April 5, 2017 at 9:27 am #

    Beautiful and inspirational, Anna! I am proud to call you my granddaughter. I love you!