Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Ecclesiastes 7:8New International Version (NIV)
The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
    and patience is better than pride.

I stumbled across this verse a few years ago, and really struggled to understand it. The end of a matter is better than the beginning, what...? I'm not sure about that. Shouldn't starting be celebrated more? I mean, it is hard to take on a new hobby. You have to learn everything from scratch! Or what about that new exercise routine you've got for the new year? Getting started in something new is super hard!

As I started questioning and wrestling with this verse, the more and more it began make sense to me.

The end of a matter is better than its beginning.

Or another translation lists it like this:
Finishing is better than starting.
    Patience is better than pride.

Finishing is better than starting. I'm not sure about you, but as a 20-something, I don't know that I've actually "finished" very many things. Or maybe I should say, finished many things of value. This concept that the finish line is so much more special, is a little bit surprising to me.

Except recently.

We bought a short sale home in the summer of 2012 because at that time, homes were in surplus and apartments were scarce. We've always known this was not our dream home (or dream location), so it's always been in the back of our mind to move. Fast forward almost 5 years later, and we've decided this summer is the time to sell.

Boy, let me tell you, finishing is definitely more honorable than starting. These past few weeks have been so mentally tough for me. And that's why Ecclesiastes 7:8 keeps coming to mind. I've made it my personal mantra to #FinishStrong.

The reason it's been so tough is that we've had to finish small projects we either never got to, or finish  items that were incomplete. Touch up paint for scuffs and dents throughout the years. Kitchen backsplash install, that should have been done at the time of countertops two years ago. Replacing the doorbell that stopped working eight months ago. Installing a new bath vessel sink to replace the one that cracked after a year. Caulking. Staining. Cleaning. Replacing. And the list goes on and on. So yes, let me tell you, finishing is better than starting.

These jobs aren't the glamorous ones, like new granite counters. They aren't super fun where we get to work together and have no deadline or timetable. It's been tough. But I know that finishing this house the way we want to, is the honorable way to pass it along for someone else.

And just when I think I'm done, and the finish line is so close, the realtor comes in and talks about staging.

Oy vay! Here we go. But I must remember, finishing is better than starting, and patience is better than pride. God is growing resilience in me, along with patience. I'm becoming stronger than I ever thought I could be, and being given faith each day to accomplish the tasks at hand.

Whatever you're in the midst of, I hope this verse challenges you as well as encourages. Know that whatever God asks of you to stick with and finish to the end, He will give you sufficient energy to complete. His love and energy, and patience never run out.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Magnolia Story Book Review

Title and Author: The Magnolia Story, Chip & Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino

Release Date: October 2016

Page Length: 208 pages

How I got the Book: local library

Shop Online: Goodreads Amazon ChristianBook.com

DescriptionThe Magnolia Story is the first book from Chip and Joanna, offering their fans a detailed look at their life together. From the very first renovation project they ever tackled together, to the project that nearly cost them everything; from the childhood memories that shaped them, to the twists and turns that led them to the life they share on the farm today.

They both attended Baylor University in Waco. However, their paths did not cross until Chip checked his car into the local Firestone tire shop where Joanna worked behind the counter. Even back then Chip was a serial entrepreneur who, among other things, ran a lawn care company, sold fireworks, and flipped houses. Soon they were married and living in their first fixer upper. Four children and countless renovations later, Joanna garners the attention of a television producer who notices her work on a blog one day.

My Thoughts:

I'll be honest, I wasn't sure about this book at first. After being a loyal Fixer Upper show watcher for years, and actually visiting Waco (that's a story for another time!), I was starting to get a tad tired of the HGTV power couple. However, I put their book on hold at my local library months ago (I was like #50 on the holds list- good grief!) and it actually became available last week.

Oh. My. Gosh. I could not put this book down, it was that good. I knew I wanted to blog about it and share my thoughts with you all. So, here we go!

When I picked up the book at the library, I was surprised at how small it was. The book is just shy of 200 pages. There are also some really sweet family photos throughout the years in the middle of the book. Too cute!

The book starts with the story of how Chip and Joanna met, and shares snippets of their dating years, engagement, early marriage, babies, right up through present day with the TV show. Most of the stories are centered around the Magnolia business and various projects they took on, but through those stories of up's and down's, you get a very real look into who they are as people. This is what I absolutely enjoyed the most about this book. I felt like they were real people, and not just talking heads on a glamorized TV show.

Joanna shares about the real struggles they faced- with their business, as parents, even her as a designer. Which was so freeing for me to discover. What we see on TV today, is years and years of growth and maturity in them. Joanna wasn't an amazing dream designer in her 20's, so I shouldn't feel pressure to be that way myself, at age 28.

I loved the chapter where Jo describes the moment she realized home design shouldn't be perfect, fussy, or staged. Your home design should fit with where you're at in life right now. Amen, sister! That helped me take in a breath of fresh air, and accept where I'm at in my life, which is still discovering my style. What inspires me, what is just clutter, and what will stick around with me for a life time.


A really great, quick read that tells the story of two people who had the tenacity to follow their dreams. I could totally relate to their stories as a young married couple, especially the times where money was tight (or impossible), and the times they moved from house to house. It felt very authentic and personal. This book really encouraged me (and came at the perfect time too), as we look to sell our house and move onto another fixer upper (more on that soon!). If Joanna can tackle a new house, so can I! I hope you'll take a chance on this book, I know I'm glad I did!

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