New Beginnings



Chip and Joanna Gaines are the husband-wife stars of HGTV’s hit series Fixer Upper.

Chip, whose entrepreneurial DNA has led him to launch at least a dozen small businesses over the years in Waco, Texas, does the “grunt work” of renovating older houses.  Joanna is the creative mastermind who does the decorating.

Their romance got off to what can only be described as an unlikely start.

Joanna worked in her father’s auto shop in Waco.  She even starred in its local TV commercials.  Chip began to make it a habit of dropping by.  His friends started to joke that his car certainly seemed to need frequent brake jobs.

When they finally sat down to talk, something clicked.  Could Chip pick her up for dinner sometime?  Sure, she replied.

He arrived 75 minutes late for their first date.

By the time he stood at her front door, Joanna wanted to have nothing to do with such an irresponsible, thoughtless person.  She ordered her roommates not to let him in.  They did anyways.  There stood Chip – with a shaved head.

All the way around, it was not a great look.

It tuned out that Chip had run a razor over his head to express solidarity with a friend undergoing chemo.

Maybe this guy wasn’t such a jerk after all.

Joanna soon discovered that Chip was impulsive, unorthodox, and outrageously big-hearted.  She, on the other hand, is calm, diligent, and organized.  They were perfect for each other.

After four children and four years in the national spotlight, they are TV stars who don’t even own a TV.  They watch episodes of Fixer Upper only when on the road or invited to the homes of friends.

“It’s truly only because a fiercely faithful, brave and bold husband pushed me to pursue my dream that it ever came to be,” Joanna reflects.  She describes her specialty as “making old things new and seeing the potential in every project – no matter how hopeless it may seem in the beginning.”

That speaks to the name they have chosen for all of their home renovation enterprises:  Magnolia.

As Joanna points out, magnolia trees have astonishingly compact flower buds.  They seem plain, ordinary, and tightly bound.

But when the time is right, they explode into bloom – approximately 30 times larger than the original bud.

Likewise, Jesus speaks of the Palestinian mustard plant, whose seeds are so small they are easily overlooked.  Yet when rooted in good soil, a single seed can grow into a plant that towers high enough to accommodate perching birds.

Big things have small beginnings.
Abandoned houses can become beautiful again.
Weary hearts, when drenched in hope, can once again find a reason to sing.

As Chip and Joanna themselves are quick to point out, God is the original and best Fixer Upper.

— Authored by Glenn McDonald

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