The Magnolia Story

I listened to The Magnolia Story for the first time a few months ago, and decided I needed a second listen before I could give it the attention it deserved in a blog post.

This book, to put it simply, changed my life. It’s changed the way I think about things, the way I hope for things, and the way I look at my future.

I fell in love with the show Fixer Upper a few months before the book came out (thank you Netflix) and was utterly in love with Chip and Joanna, their family, and their outlook on life. After finishing some other books, and finding myself with an Audible credit, I decided to listen to The Magnolia Story.

In this book, Chip and Joanna tell the story of their lives, pieces of their childhood and family stories, how they met and fell in love, and their journey to becoming two insanely popular reality TV personalities.

Now, people always say “You have to be looking for fame and fortune to agree to going on a TV show. Those people on reality TV aren’t real, they’re not genuine, and they’re probably not that nice.” But I have to believe that Chip and Joanna are absolutely everything they say they are. Real people who talk about fights they got in, their financial hardships, silly mistakes they made, who happened to end up on TV even though they have never had a TV in their home (and still don’t!)

They represent what I can only hope to be like one day, genuine people in the middle of whatever life has handed them, praising God while they enjoy their lives, and work hard with whatever opportunities they are handed.

I first listened to this book when Randy and I were making some decisions, when I’d been feeling lost in my purpose and path, and when I wasn’t, as Joanna talks about, “thriving” but simply “surviving.”

There were so many passages of the book that made me weep. It was like there were words written right for my heart and situation, they were everything I needed to hear and recognize and believe.

None of it was new philosophy or things that I hadn’t ever heard before, but the way the story unfolded and the conviction behind the words made all the difference. The way they were written, the timing with which I listened to each chapter, all of it lead to me feeling like I could be a different, better person thanks to a book.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“Don’t quit, and don’t give up. The reward is just around the corner. And in times of doubt or times of joy, listen for that still, small voice. Know that God has been there from the beginning—and he will be there until . . . The End.” 

“It was such a blessing to find myself thriving in the middle of the pain. Unless you find a way to do that, there’s always going to be this fake illusion that once you get there–wherever “there” is for you–you’ll be happy. But that’s just not life. If you can’t find happiness in the ugliness, you’re not going to find it in beauty, either.” 

“I realized that my determination to make things perfect meant I was chasing an empty obsession all day long. Nothing was ever going to be perfect the way I had envisioned it in the past. Did I want to keep spending my energy on that effort, or did I want to step out of that obsession and to enjoy my kids, maybe allowing myself to get messy right along with them in the process? I chose the latter – and that made all the difference.” 

“It’s up to us to choose contentment and thankfulness now—and to stop imagining that we have to have everything perfect before we’ll be happy.” 

“Have you ever looked at the bud of a magnolia flower? It’s a tight little pod that stays closed up for a long time on the end of its branch until one day, out of nowhere, it finally bursts open into this gigantic, gorgeous, fragrant flower that’s ten times bigger than the bud itself. It’s impossible to imagine that such a big beautiful thing could pop out of that tiny little bud. But it does.” 

“I always said, “When things come against us we can either turn on each other, or we can come together and turn on it.”

“I finally believed it was actually a beautiful thing to be unique and to be different.” 

“…sometimes second chances lead to great things.
All of my doubts, all of the things I thought I wanted out of a relationship, and many of the things I thought I wanted out of life itself turned out to be just plain wrong. Instead? That voice from our first date turned out to be the thing that was absolutely right.” 

“I came to think of God as more of a gracious friend who was accompanying me on this journey, a friend who wanted to carry my burdens and speak into my life and shape me into who I really was and who I would become.” 

“I mean, that’s life. Life is never predictable. Life is never really manageable. If your mind-set is always, “I’m just surviving”, it seems to me that would wind up being the mind-set for the rest of your life. You’d just get stuck in it.” 

“It is no easy thing to trust in God, to walk away from a career, to give it all up not knowing if you can ever get it back or even come close. But I did it. I heeded his voice, and somehow I found peace about it.” 

“Whether you are in an eight-hundred-square-foot home or living in a dream house on a lake, contentment is found on the way.” 

“I felt good about having made the decision to walk away and lock that door. It’s funny, though, looking back on it now, because one very simple concept in life never occurred to me as I was walking away:
Even locked doors can be unlocked in time.
I simply never could have imagined just how much God had in store for us, and I certainly couldn’t have dreamed just how many keys to other doors God had already placed in our hands.” 

“life is found in the glass of spilled milk and in the long, narrow hallway filled with socks and soccer balls.” 

“One thing I learned there on that beautiful front porch was if I wanted to be successful, if I wanted to do important work one day, I would have to increase my capacity. I had to learn to manage disappointment. I needed to learn how to make the most out of those “opportunities” Chip seemed to keep finding.” 

“It’s difficult to put into words, but there was something about that experience that helped me find myself. I would go home every night and write about my experiences—what I’d seen, what I’d done, and sometimes just about whatever I was thinking or feeling. And as I did that, something shifted in me. I started owning who I am, realizing that I was unique and that God had a unique purpose for me. I’d spent my whole life worrying about what people thought about me or whether I was good enough or thinking about what I should be doing instead of really digging down to find out what I wanted to do.” 

I could go on forever and ever about these quotes and pull a million more. Basically what it came down to was that reading this book opened my perspective about what happiness can mean, what I’m doing day in and day out, and about trust. This entire past year has been a giant lesson on faith and trust for me, and the fact that this book helped me grasp that concept even more is just another example of how aware Heavenly Father is of us, what speaks to us, and what we need.

So here’s to spending less time watching TV (except for new episodes of Fixer Upper, of course) and spending more time in my journal, more time in nature, more time discovering what I’m passionate about and what makes me thrive. More time on the simple things, more time with Randy, and more time with God.

Here’s to opening up that tight little magnolia bud, and blooming.

Weekend Updates

We spent the weekend hanging out in Daybreak at the Oquirrh Lake, skipping rocks and enjoying ourselves.

We spent a ton of time with family, Randy’s brother is in town for a few days so we spent lots of time laughing and hanging out with them.

I taught 2 Church lessons on Sunday, Sunday School and Relief Society, so I’m officially lessoned-out.

Randy mentioned how much he wanted to track down the ice cream truck, and even Googled how to find them. With no success. During our rock-skipping adventure, we heard the music and BOLTED up the hill to get some ice cream. A summer success story.

I took roughly one video and zero photos, so no documentation was made. And that’s just fine.

Summer Clothes Love

I’m SO excited to share this collaboration with you! I found Stay Warm In Style and I instantly became OBSESSED. I was thrilled when we decided to do a collaboration, and I may have gone a little picture happy (thanks to my cute hubby and little sister who are great photographers).

My clothes shipped really fast and the fit was perfect. I give Stay Warm In Style a total thumbs up!

I got the Boho Hollow Blouse in olive green, and it is SUPER different than most things I buy, but I’m absolutely obsessed with it. It’s really lightweight which makes it perfect for summer, and it can go into spring and fall too. It’s actually on sale right now too, so you should head over and buy it right away!

I also snagged the Moto Leggings in light grey and they are a dream! I’ve been wanting moto leggings for a while, and these ones are perfect! They have back pockets which is awesome, and they’re the cutest summer color! They are also lightweight and have adorable zippers on the side that I love. 

Yellowstone With The Family

We had a great time visiting Yellowstone with my family last weekend! We went to Kaysville on Thursday and stayed overnight, so we could get up early and leave. We woke up bright and early and said peace out to Utah! We drove with my sister Bethany in our car to Idaho Falls, where my aunt lives. I really love driving through Idaho, it has so many memories and awesome things, and beautiful nature. We got to IF and went to Smitty’s, one of our very very favorite places to eat. We all had pancakes and breakfast food and laughed and chatted. Randy and I left our car at my aunt’s house, and we were off to Yellowstone! 
We jammed to music and laughed and slept in the car, until we reached West Yellowstone. It was POURING rain and we rushed our things inside, grabbed rain jackets, and went to the park! We drove through and saw the beautiful forests and meadows, but we hadn’t seen any animals yet! We were starting to get worried! We got to Old Faithful and got onto the boardwalk just as it went off, which was lucky. We wandered around and had fun, then back on the road. We started seeing tons of animals, elk and deer and buffalo, as we drove to the Lake Hotel. This hotel is seriously one of my favorite places in the WORLD. It’s right on the edge of the Yellowstone Lake, surrounded by pine trees. When you walk in it’s like you’ve been transported back to the 1920’s. There was a string quartert playing and everyone is down in the front rooms playing games and listening to the music. One of my favorite movies is called “Somewhere in Time” and the Lake Hotel looks EXACTLY like the hotel that’s the main location during that movie. It just sings to my soul.
We saw a lot of animals all up close and personal, had a bite to eat, saw a ton more animals since the rain had stopped. Then we saw the most amazing thing. Up on a ridge there was a mama bear and two cubs, in the middle of the valley were elk, and near the river were four WOLVES. We haven’t ever seen wolves at Yellowstone because they haven’t been there for years, and it was SO cool to see them! 
We drove through the twilight and saw a ton more animals, then back to the hotel where we all crashed HARD.
Side note – I had jammed my finger on my parents’ piano that morning and my nail and finger were (and still are as I’m typing) black and swollen. I was dumb and put my wedding ring back on. Long story short, we spent part of the evening running my fingers under cold water and slathering conditioner on it to get my ring off. It was successful and my finger is healing, but a rough part of the trip for me.
The next day we woke up EARLY and got right in the car to get to the park. We saw SO MANY ANIMALS this day! We had baby buffalo and big buffalo right next to our car, mooing at us (do buffalo moo?) We saw baby elk running around with their moms, we went and saw Tower Falls and drove through a valley where we saw the CUTEST baby black bear cub right next to our car, and a bunch of mountain goats or sheep. This was HUGE for my family because we’ve been going to Yellowstone and have NEVER seen them. My grandpa saw them a long time ago, but not once have I ever seen them. I was beginning to think they were fake! But we saw a bunch right next to the car, and it was amazing.
We ate lunch in Mammoth and saw the hot pots there, saw the cute little town, and more. 
We kept driving through, having the BEST time with the family, getting out at different spots like the Lower Falls, Artists Point, and the Grand Canyon. We got to our hotel in Grant Village and had some dinner (some of our food was amazing, others not so much). We went for a walk and saw the sunset before we hit the hay.
Our last day at Yellowstone we drove to the Lake Hotel for breakfast (delicious and again, my favorite place!) We then went to Fishing Bridge and the water was insanely high and cold, which was crazy! We drove around and saw a few animals and stopped at a few geysers before heading back to Idaho Falls. We celebrated Father’s Day with some Papa Murphy’s Pizza my cute aunt had purchased the day before, and then we were back to reality. 
We had such a good time with my family, and can’t wait to get back to Yellowstone! It was so awesome to be in nature and to just have some time to breathe and relax. We needed it!

Woods, Father’s Day, and a Special Delivery

We’ve been pretty busy this weekend, we went to Yellowstone with my family and we’ll be posting a whole thing on that soon!

But, we also escaped to the woods to snap a few photos, and I need to give my dad a shout-out for Father’s Day!

My dad is absolutely amazing. He has overcome some difficult things in his life, and is all the stronger for it. He is so kind, loving, has an amazing testimony of the Gospel and taught us all to have one too. He has always provided for our family, has taught me so much about working hard and also enjoying the work you do. He answers my millions of questions about “adulting” and during all my time growing up, never failed to come to a performance or buy another doll that my sisters or I wanted. He showed me what to look for in someone I would marry, and loves my husband like his own son, which I love seeing. Happy Father’s Day to the man who made me who I am, I love you dad!

I also recently got the SPLASH VOXBOX from Influenster and I’m LOVING it! Last night I immediately ate the Mike & Ike Zours, SO GOOD. Randy loved them too, just watch my Instagram story hahaha. I tried the Maybelline Liquid Lipstick which I actually loved, and I don’t wear lip color that often. It stayed OVERNIGHT while I slept and didn’t stain anything. I’m a fan! I then put on the Tree Hut Charcoal Mask while we watched some TV (it was an amazing mask, totally recommend). I’m excited to try the rest of the stuff from the box!

Summer So Far

With our trip to Japan and then posting a MILLION times about it, I have gotten off my schedule! So here’s just a couple updates:

We filmed this cool video with all our travel tips and tricks, so check it out!

This summer we have:

Gone on a picnic
Seen Wonder Woman at the Drive In (SUCH A GOOD MOVIE)
Had “mega-bad” in our living room to beat the heat
Taken a ton of photos
Had some awesome Church lessons
Made a few trips to the Baked Bear and Culver’s
Tried new recipes (pineapple chicken was BOMB)
Spent time with our friends and family
Worked (Maddy)
Gone to school (Randy)
FaceTimed or visited with our nieces and nephew
Gone to the temple
Listened to lots of vinyl records
Gone on lots of walks

We are having the best summer so far, and now that things are calmed down a tiny bit, I’m going to get back to regular posting schedules!

Family Updates

Crazy things have been going on in my family!

Here’s a couple updates:

1. We added a niece to our family! She came while we were in Japan which was a bummer, but we got to meet her and we just love her! Her name is Charlotte and she’s just a doll.

2. My brother graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School! We couldn’t be more proud and happy for him, his wife, and their little family! We are so excited for them to move to Utah for the summer before my brother takes the California bar!

3. My law school graduate brother and his wife added a baby to their family! Just a few days after he graduated from law school (and just a few days after all the family who were visiting went home) our first nephew decided to make an appearance! His name is Thomas and he was a whopping 9 pounds, 15 ounces, and is just a joy. Our niece Candace is so excited to be a big sister and we can’t wait to meet Thomas soon!

4. Randy got into the Business Program and made the Dean’s List last semester! He is doing great and is loving his classes. I’m still working and enjoying that and my freelance work, and we are so excited that summer is here! We’ve been heading to parks, taking pictures, having picnics, and loving the warm weather.

Happy Birthday Liv – Life Lately

Happy birthday to my darling sister Olivia! She is finally 20 years old (no longer a teenage bride!) and we had so much fun celebrating with her! The day before her birthday we got to get sushi and go shopping with her, and then after her birthday our family all got together for a BBQ and games. We had such a blast! Liv is so optimistic and fun, she’s an absolute joy to spend time with. We love you Liv!

Celebrating 2 Year

Randy and I love celebrating, getting presents for each other, and writing sweet notes, and our 2nd anniversary was no exception.

We slept in a bit, and I walked out and saw this BEAUTIFUL present all ready for me outside. It was like Christmas! I have been wanting a felt board for a while (basic white girl) and am in love with the one Randy got. It matches our home perfectly and I love that it’s different than most!

Randy opened a gift of new shoes to wear to school, and then headed off. I worked from home and had a million fires to put out, so I was pretty busy. I had to go into the office for some meetings but once I was done, Randy was home from school!

Randy opened his other gift which was a record player, and we had so much fun setting it up. We reminisced while he did homework and I worked, then we got all ready to go to dinner.

We went to Market Street Grill and had an absolute blast! Afterwards we went and shopped for records and books and Randy gave me a beautiful engraved necklace that has our wedding date on it.

It was a wonderful anniversary and I love celebrating our love!