My Visit with Chip and Joanna Gaines last week

My Visit with Chip and Joanna Gaines last week

“If you are more fortunate than others, it is better to build a longer table than a taller fence.”


This past week I saw a new vision of this quote up close and personal through the lives of Chip and Joanna Gaines, America’s sweethearts of HGTV’s show, Fixer Upper. My sister, her daughter, and I visited the duo and their town, Waco, Texas – now a destination of more than a million people a year. Of course, tuning into the show we see the hard work and devotion they both pour into transforming a house in shambles to a home filled with beauty. The immense amount of time and love they have given their clients and community has ripple effects throughout Waco and even central Texas. They have leveraged their influence not for themselves but for their city and community. Chip and Joanna readily encourage any visitor to frequent the natural beauty of their city and other businesses in town.


Upwards of 20,000 people per week visit their property known as the Silos. This endeavor is the size of a city block and located in the heart of downtown Waco. Joanna’s retail home décor store, Magnolia Market, is housed there as well as Silos Baking Co., a darling confectionary store selling cupcakes and other baked goods. Ten independent food trucks are spread out on the property to satisfy anyone’s taste preferences. But more than these shops, it is an amazing communal space where people gather around white picnic tables and relax on a turf lawn.


Our experience this past week was extraordinary. Everyone at the Silos had a smile. Everyone was friendly. Everyone had a story of how far they had come and why they were there. No one was in a hurry. It was as though the pace of life had come to a halt. Conversations amongst strangers were common. Toddlers were playing with teenagers. Grandmas were swinging in wooden swings with grandchildren. Husbands were shopping with their wives!


The few minutes we had to spend with Chip and Joanna were wonderful and exactly what you might expect. In the words of my niece, “Joanna is even more gorgeous in person.” Just like on the show, Chip’s personality is larger than life. He directed the conversation and was inquisitive about us and our visit. The discussion reflected their hearts perfectly. “How are you doing? How has your visit been? What are you doing today? Are you having a good time?” They took time to listen and care about us…little ol’ us. They weren’t looking over our shoulders for someone more important. They wanted to be with us.


“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” Proverbs 11:24-25


They gave freely to us.


They listened to us.


Their longer table was set for us.


What comes to mind when you ponder these words? What do you envision?


I often wonder what it looks like to create a beautiful place and space for my family, friends, and neighbors. How do I build this right where I live? A longer table for me is not just a bunch of homes sharing common streets but a community of people desiring to care well for one another.


Don’t we all long for this to be true of where we live? It is all about sharing life with others, not building taller fences. It is taking steps to sit with others, inquire of their lives, and share time together. It is about listening. It is about caring. It is about love.


“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples.” John 13:35


Will you join me in setting a longer table?


The team has assembled practical tips to care for neighbors right here at Take a look! Please share your ideas to care for those who live on your street.


Joan Parsons, with three sons (21, 20, and 17 years old) and one girl (15), is thankful for her large capacity washer and Publix. She loves Mountain Dew, dance parties in the kitchen when all her kids are home, and laughing about anything. She remains bewildered with God’s indescribable and constant love for her in the midst of heartaches and plain normal days.
1 Comment
  1. I love this story of Chip and Joanna, as I read it; all I can think of is setting up a local family kids friendly cozy coffee and petite cakes and cookies shop where I can build longer tables that will also allow me to reach my community- I need help with making that perfect setting

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