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I recently read Chip and Joanna Gaines’ The Magnolia Story.  I loved the book. I love every story that births something from the bare dirt into something so much more. What I love most about these stories is that they are fought for.

Those of you who have read their story know Joanna Gaines was a Communications Major. She is literally a self-made designer, but her ‘making’ came from her own set of challenges and a whole lot of support. But as much as I love their story and others like it, there is something about the sheer ambition of others that can make me feel like I am failing at life.

If I’m not careful, I can read a story like theirs and wonder why I’m not more like Joanna and my husband isn’t more like Chip.

I have to remind myself that we are not Chip and Joanna Gaines. We are the Kerseys: a military family, living in subpar base housing. This ‘home’ will be our home for a minute, and then it won’t. I can attempt to give it the ‘staying’ farmhouse feel, but ultimately this home won’t ever stick to my bones the way those classic simple homes do. There is a difference between simple and subpar. Simple invites you to stay a while. Subpar asks you why you’re still here. I don’t want to discourage or even complain. I am thankful for every house that opens its doors to our family and invites us to make memories and beauty in it. But still, it isn’t our home.

In times like these, I have to dig out of the covers I’ve buried myself in and remember I am part of a charming story currently being written, too. There is potential in our story and it can be just as ambitious and beautiful.

Nevertheless, even though I must be careful in comparing myself to the Gaines, I do think there are great lessons to be learned.

In my opinion, these are the strengths of the Gaines story that we all have the potential to write:

Take Risks

In every story worth writing, there is a time for bravery; a time to courageously face all that has been and look forward to what can be. There is a time to take a baby step, and then a bigger step, and before you know it, to take giant leaps toward that dream that you keep trying to silence.


Just because a door closes doesn’t mean it should remain shut. Grab that sucker and swing it wide. Don’t give up on your dream so easily. Doors are meant to be opened.

In the wise council of Joanna Gaines, “Even locked doors can be unlocked in time.”

Try, Try, Try Again

If at first you don’t succeed – stop trying. Heck no! If at first you don’t succeed- try, try, try again. It’s the failing forward that plants you firmly in the foundation of your success. So many of us fall and start to make a bed in that wet concrete foundation instead of planting our feet firmly on it once it’s dried.


Nothing clarifies purpose like giving it a go. You’ll never know unless you try. What’s the worse thing that could happen? Even if you try and fail, there is still a lesson learned moving forward.

Confidence Building

The trying gives you wings. Somewhere between the dream and the reality, you actually start to believe you can do it. I recently heard a Bill Johnson message in which he shared, “I am living in the dreams of yesterday, but I have more dreams and this will never do!”

I may have mentioned it in an earlier post, but my absolute favorite person to quote is Eleanor Roosevelt:

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”


This is the achievement of something desired, promised or predicted. In the profitable words of Joanna Gaines:

“Sometimes when something is meant to be, it’s meant to be. It had nothing to do with how I advertised, and it certainly didn’t have anything to do with me being some kind of amazing designer or having a reputation, because I wasn’t any kind of designer at all, and no one knew who I was. I just knew what I liked, and I trusted other people might like it too. And I was where I was supposed to be. I’d listened to my own intuition and let God guide me toward the plan he had for me all along.”

     So dear friends, let us dream, but when we do, may we be audacious enough to dream big.

Photo credit Luke Ellis Craven-735992 Unsplash