I love reading, but ever since getting pregnant with my first (now six years ago, which is so crazy that its been that long!) reading typically puts me to sleep pretty quick. Its actually kind of embarrassing because I’ll pick up a book and within 5 minutes be ready to fall asleep. In fact, I was given a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer when I was pregnant with my Evan and I would read no more than one page and just pass out asleep. So it became a running joke that if you can’t fall asleep, just pick up the Bonhoeffer book and you’re guaranteed to be out! Which (side note) I never was able to read through it all, but really wanted to learn about Bonhoeffer, so I checked out the audio book from the library and listened to it during the day which worked out really well!!

I definitely get through books a lot slower than I used to, but I still enjoy soaking them up and learning lots. Recently I picked up The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines which had been sitting on my nightstand for close to a year having borrowed it from my mom. It kept getting pushed to the side when other books jumped the line to be read. But for Christmas this last year I was gifted a copy of The Magnolia Journal, a relatively new magazine that Chip and Joanna Gaines put out. I so enjoyed reading it and was so inspired by their stories, ideas, and pictures that I quickly picked up The Magnolia Story to read, as well. And I finished the book in just a few days, which knowing my track record was mighty good time!

I loved the unassuming and authentic way they shared their stories – the good, bad, and ugly – and made me feel like I could relate to them in so many ways. It was such a neat peek into behind their TV show and what you’ve seen of them in the public eye. So this last week as I sat in a coffee shop enjoying a quiet and solitude lunch as a gift from my sweet hubby, I quickly pulled out my phone and started taking notes of all the reasons this book has stood out to me and why I know you’ll enjoy it, too!

Here’s what I came away with:

No matter what life’s circumstances are, you can always resolve to try harder and not give up on something just because its tough

Go for your dreams even if you don’t know how or what will happen with them. (This made me think of a verse in Proverbs that says “A man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps.” There’s nothing wrong with planning and going for your dreams, you’ll never know where it will lead you or how God will use your enthusiasm to pursue what desires he’s given you.)

Sometimes getting too comfortable is when you begin to let your guard down when it comes to making wise decisions and placing good boundaries. When life gets really comfortable, evaluate how you’re doing with your decision making.

Change is inspiring, don’t let it be too intimidating!

Home should be a place that everyone feels something there that they love

With our society so heavily entrenched in sharing our lives and highlight reels online, comparing ourselves to others is altogether easier than ever before. “Comparison is the thief of joy” – Teddy Roosevelt, and I never realized how much that extended to simply caring for our homes and children. We see perfect pictures of happy kids and moms and pulled together and decorated homes all the time, and it becomes a subconscious goal that our family needs to be the same. When we can focus on our own families uniquely made and perfectly messy, our hearts won’t be burdened with trying to live up to a non-existent standard.

So if you haven’t read it yet, I hope this is an encouragement to step out there and read something new! I hope it encourages you as it did me, and inspires you to seek out your dreams and trust God with them!