What Chip & Joanna Taught me About Loving my Neighbors

What Chip & Joanna Taught me About Loving my Neighbors

Honey, we’re going to Waco! 

I’m not exactly the Twitter Queen. In fact, I do my 40+-year-old best just to keep up with social media, but I know I lag behind. My four teenagers remind me of this frequently. I even text with one finger. One! This provides great hilarity in my home.

So, to think of ME entering a Twitter contest is funny to say the least. But that’s exactly what I did recently when one of the hosts of HGTV’s Fixer Upper home renovation show, Chip Gaines, announced the contest on his Twitter page. (Coincidentally, this is my FAVORITE show on television. Just saying.) The weekly winners would receive Magnolia Market T-shirts from Joanna Gaines’ charming home store and get a chance to win the season-ending grand prize. The grand prize was a trip to Waco, Texas, to watch the airing of Fixer Upper alongside Chip and Joanna.

IMG_8136Now some of you, like me, might be asking, “What is Twitter anyway?”  I wish I had a good explanation. Twitter could be considered a man’s world because “tweets” are limited to 140 characters. Characters. Not words, ladies! This makes any “tweet” feel like an exercise in extreme restraint.

I quickly got creative finding ways around the 140-character limit. Contest questions ranged from “Send me your best picture of a goat or almost goat” to “Why are you a fan of Fixer Upper?” I entered every week. I spent far too much time on this endeavor!

Sometimes, Chip would “favorite” my tweets. You would have thought I’d won the lottery! I took a screen shot every time he “favorited” my tweet. The teens in my home thought it was cool, too. Teens. Dear people.

tweetAfter eight weeks of these silly submissions, Chip and Joanna chose me to be one of the grand-prize winners! What?? Me? A trip to Waco? I cannot express in 140 characters how excited I was!

If you’re a fan of the show, you know the immense privilege my husband and I were given. Chip and Joanna have hearts of gold. They value one another and give honor to each other and those around them. They have four young children, to whom they are tender and attentive. They are mindful of investing in the community, and they are committed to bettering Waco and its local artisans.

Their desire for excellence in all they do proves who they are and Whose they are. 

My first impression of Joanna was that she is even prettier in person. She is lovely. And Chip? His smile can light up any room … and any life. They are a beautiful couple inside and out. When we were with them, I honestly thought they would meet us and politely scoot off to the side to do more “important” things. Nothing could have been further from the truth! They took a genuine interest in us and made us feel loved. Yep, they are the real deal on and off camera.

IMG_7685Impacting the people and community right where they live is of great importance to them. Their light is shining bright, and it shows. This is what draws me to them and their story. Their desire to be an influence for Christ is obvious. And how are they doing this?

One house at a time. One family at a time. 

You and I will probably never have nationwide influence like Chip and Joanna Gaines. But our journeys can be similar! What does it look like for us to be Light right where we live? One house at a time? One family at a time?

What are we known for in our spheres of influence? In our neighborhoods? What are the impressions we leave with our communities?

I’m asking myself this week … 

  • Do people feel valued when I am in a conversation with them?
  • Do I listen with genuine concern?
  • Am I tender and attentive toward those around me?
  • Am I “giving” and “bettering” my community?

I’m amazed that a silly Twitter contest could teach me so much about impacting my community for the cause of Christ. Only God could have come up with that tweet!

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Joan Parsons, pictured here with husband Drew and Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper, is a Neighborhood Bible Study leader and mother of four.






  1. Great story. Congratulations and thanks for your insight into what you learned.

  2. Man! I am soooo jealous! I would have given my eye teeth to have spent that kind of time with them! Well….that would have been looking a little ugly! Great job Joan – you are so personable and funny!

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