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  • Writer's pictureLisa Blair Fratzke


Updated: May 3, 2020

I’m starting to notice that some of the best things in life are homegrown.

When I was little, I would peek over our kitchen countertop while my mom was rolling out cookies near Christmas time. These were my favorite kind of cookies… cut out cookies. And, they smelled so fresh and delicious… like almond and vanilla and Christmas.

They came in all shapes and sizes. There were white snowmen with hats, miniature and gigantic Christmas trees, stars and bells. The snowmen were my favorite. I usually ate them one limb at a time. Those cookies always beat out anything that a store had to offer or that I didn’t see made by hand with love.

That, I think, is the definition of homegrown. Handmade with love and happily shared with anyone who walks in through the front door.

I think these kinds of things are still at the heart of what we are looking for today.

On the way home from Hawaii a couple of months ago… James and I were looking to distract ourselves with a few hours of entertainment on the plane. We saw that there were episodes of a show we never watched but had heard a lot about: “Fixer Upper.”

So, we tuned in to watch Chip and Joanna Gaines transform an old house and the tentative dreams of a hopeful couple into something new and real, into a place that exuded warmth and handcrafted thoughtfulness.

Little by little, they created a space that folks could call home.

Such a simple task… yet, difficult to accomplish today.


In a world that invites us to be restless wanderers instead of happy builders, creating something that is homegrown is a radical notion.

It requires courage and commitment to make that kind of investment of time, care and heart.

It’s risky. What if you build it… and people don’t come? What if it doesn’t succeed? What if you invite everyone, shouting “welcome” from the rooftops, and all you hear back is the echo of your own voice?

That could happen, certainly… the world may not come. But, the people who love you will, and you will have something beautiful and homegrown to share with those nearest and dearest to you.

And, that’s something isn’t it?


Ever since watching "Fixer Upper" with Chip and Joanna Gaines, I have been learning more about them. I’ve been stalking their Instagram accounts, website and have now read all of their books. Here’s what I’ve learned in the two months since I’ve been on this curiosity mission to learn why their recipe for homegrown success is so darn appealing.

They love their family and they love what they do. It’s as simple as that. Of course, there is a heck of a lot of hard work and talent behind the scenes. While that may be required for success, it is not the key.

Their number one priority is each other, their kids and putting their passion to work. This requires risk, hard work and sometimes making very difficult choices to make it happen.

They started at home first. Their first fixer upper was their first house, and they grew from there. They continued to stay committed to Waco, Texas and the community they live in. They continued to stay committed to their priorities and values and serving the work well.

They welcomed the world into their homes, and person by person, the world came to enjoy their homegrown business.

Chip and Joanna aren’t the first to grow a business like this, nor will they be the last. In fact, I would dare say that some of the most successful works of art, products and businesses are built on a homegrown notion that became a phenomenon.

And yet… there is this voice in our heads that says we can’t build something wonderful in our own backyard, that we need to climb to the highest mountain or reach every corner of the world in order to truly grow something great.

What if we didn’t? What if we stayed exactly where we are, made a homegrown idea as great as possible… and invited the world to join us?

What would happen next?

I don’t know. But, I’m interested in finding out.


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