Like so many other HGTV-lovin' folks out there, we are completely infatuated with the Gaines family. I remember the first time Justin and I watched an episode of Fixer Upper and feeling instantly connected to Chip and Joanna. Now that we've watched nearly every episode that's ever aired, we feel like Chip and Jo are more like our best friends despite the fact that we've never actually met them.
They'll do something on screen that instantly makes us say to one another, "That's so you," or "That's so me."
Basically, we want to be Chip and JoJo. Life goals.
My mother-in-law recently gave me "The Magnolia Story" to read after she was finished with it. She told Justin and I to both read it because she noticed a lot of parallels between their story and ours as newlyweds.
No, we aren't planning to get into the business of flipping houses and becoming huge stars on HGTV. But we are beginning our lives as a married couple and starting a business we have high hopes of success and longevity for.
Their book is a story about them: who they are, how they got to where they are now, and all the hard times and good luck they endured on their journey. Funny, inspiring and unbelievable stories of faith and hard work fill every page of every chapter.
I found myself feeling both inspired and sad when I reached the last page. Sad because it was over, but inspired because I too could see so many parallels between their lives starting out and our lives right now.
"Now that we've had some time to reflect on it, it's as if our whole lives had been preparing us for this experience. We didn't know it at the time, but it's as if the seeds had been planted long ago."
— Joanna Gaines, page xv
I always have and always will believe God's plans for our lives are much bigger and much more intricate than we could wrap our minds around. Isn't it funny how we cannot see why things are happening until we are years down the road and can look back and say "Wow, if that hadn't happened, I wouldn't be here doing what I'm doing now."
The good stuff. The hard stuff. All of it.
God's plan is why I decided to go to OSU, which led me to major in communications instead of architecture like I was planning, which is why I made friends who eventually led me to my future husband. His plan is why I took an internship with a newspaper one summer, which led me to actually working in a photography studio the owner of the paper also ran, which sparked my interest in photography. It's why I worked in the corporate world for a few years to make some valuable connections — connections I continue to work with to this day in my business. His plan is why one thing after another led me to what I'm doing now.
"It all seemed to be working out in that perfectly messy way life works when you trust God and His plans for your life rather than focusing on your own."
— Joanna Gaines, page 56
"Chip had this way of turning far-off dreams into something that seemed real and achievable in an instant. He filled me up with a confidence I'd never known. He made me believe I could actually do it. So I did."
— Joanna Gaines, page 46
When I read that line in the book, I immediately looked up and smiled because I had just read the line that so perfectly described my husband.
After Justin and I got engaged and were making plans for our lives post-wedding, I kept being drawn to the idea of starting JS Creations full-time. I didn't have the courage to say it out loud to anyone else yet, but one day we were talking about it and I told Justin, "I'm really thinking about what it would be like to do photography full-time once we're married."
I think I just needed to say it out loud so I could hear someone laugh and tell me it would never work. I have always been my biggest critic, and I think I was kind of hoping he would say, "Good joke, now let's start thinking seriously!" because then that would have given me the excuse to put it off a little longer. But then...
His immediate response was, "I have no doubt you can do it and be incredibly successful at it. Let's do it."
Oh great, I thought. Now I actually have to do it. (cue pessimistic thinking and trying to find reasons why it won't work)
And even though I was scared to death and spent day after day imagining the worst case scenario of what could happen, he was my voice of constant support. His enthusiasm and faith in my ability has never wavered. He has been my biggest cheerleader the whole time.
If it wasn't for him, I never would have had the courage to actually take the leap.
"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."
— Joanna Gaines, page 182
Do what you love, do right by people and have a little faith — things will always work out.