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Tuesday 5th September 2017

When Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan

KariAnne Wood doesn’t know it yet, but she’s my new BFF. She’s hilarious, honest, and the perfect kind of hot mess who lets you know you’re not alone. I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of her debut book, So Close to Amazing. At the risk of stating the obvious, So Close to Amazing isn’t close to amazing. It is amazing. You’ll find yourself cheering for KariAnne through every mishap―and thanking God for loving each of us as we are. You get more than a book with So Close to Amazing. You get heartfelt stories, great DIY projects, and a new BFF.

A joy to welcome KariAnne here today …

(She’s giving away a signed copy of her new book! Details below.)

When Life Doesn’t Go According To Plan
By KariAnne Wood

Raise your hand if you’ve ever watched an entire home makeover take place in under an hour on television.

At the risk of stating the obvious—it’s amazing.

The host enters the house in its underwhelming “before” stage and everyone gasps and averts their eyes and wonders if a mess like that could even be real. The rooms are run down and full of the most pitiful décor the world has ever seen. The walls are covered with comic pages that someone once used as wallpaper. The dishwasher is doubling as an herb planter, and abandoned tennis shoes are scattered throughout every room. As the camera follows the host throughout the house, the audience shudders and sighs and wonders how the space will ever be livable again.

And then?

The interior is demolished, the faux fireplace panels and cabinets and counter tops and built-ins are gone. Every comic book-covered wall is history. Then the contractors replace the drywall and add molding and new brick and kitchen cabinets and fify-five minutes into the show, the homeowners are brought into the newly renovated house. They gasp and immediately start crying, either from joy or relief that the tennis shoes are gone.

What was old is new again.




That’s how I thought it all worked. When we started the renovation on our farmhouse, I knew it would only take a month. And at the beginning—I was right. Workers descended on our house and ripped up flooring and pulled out cabinets and cut openings between rooms. Everything moved along so quickly. The second week sped by with even more changes and it looked like the light at the end of the renovation tunnel was just around the corner.

Then the third week arrived.

And nothing happened.

The weather didn’t cooperate. It rained when it should have been sunny. The countertops were on back order. There was a holiday weekend. All the reasons were valid. All the delays were unavoidable. But I watched in dismay as the timeline stretched longer and longer.

At first the delay didn’t bother me.

I laughed in the face of adversity.

But then days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. The longer the renovation took, the more frustrated I became. Frustration gave way to impatience and impatience’s second cousin, irritation. We were living in one room and trying to make the most of a difficult situation.

Two months into the renovation, I’d had enough. How much more could one family take. I’d had enough. Two months of washing dishes in the sink. Two months of eating cans of spaghetti rings. Two months of waiting and washing and waiting some more.

The never happened on the television shows.



One day the phone rang with some bad news. The sink I wanted wasn’t available. It seemed so minor—but it wasn’t. The sink was the key to the kitchen. It was like a giant game of connecting the thigh bone to the knee bone and then connecting all that to the ankle bone. The floor was waiting on the cabinets, which were waiting on the countertop, which was waiting on the sink—-which was nowhere to be found.

My frustration spilled over and I sighed with all the drama of a soap opera actress who’s just learned that her mother’s sister’s aunt’s best friend’s brother’s cousin was attempting a coup in a small island in the Pacific.

“ENOUGH!” I screamed at no one in particular. “I’ve had it. No more.”

And then I saw it—a giant stack of dirty dishes in the bathroom sink. Layer upon layer of plates and cups and bowls, covered with a film of day-old spaghetti sauce. I stared in disbelief. No one had done the dishes? Now it was my job to take care of the renovation and missing sinks and clean up around the house and do the dishes?

As if to mock me, one lone spaghetti ring slid off a plate and into the dirty water. I rolled my eyes with self-righteous indignation and marched toward the dishes with the fire of battle in my eyes.

This was it.

I was going to wash those dishes like they’d never been washed before. I ran the water, poured the soap, and started picking out spaghetti rings one by one and flinging them toward the trash can. I reached for the plate at the very top of the layer of dishes. Then, as if in slow motion, the stack toppled slightly, righted itself for a moment, and with one final wobble, came crashing down to the floor.

I tried frantically to grab the pile of dishes, and as I was reaching out to hook a mug with my pinkie when I felt my right foot slide on something. With my hands waving and my arms winding around in circles, I gasped as my legs buckled underneath me as I landed face first amid the chaos of the bathroom floor.

I slipped on a spaghetti ring.

When I was brave enough to open my eyes, I saw a scene of horror surrounding me. Shards of bowls and cups and plates littered the bathroom floor. It looked like a minitornado had spun through the room, leaving spaghetti water in its wake. I closed my eyes again and started to sob.

“Why, Lord?” I wailed. “Why is this taking so long? Why did you even bring us to this place? Why did you lead us here? Why did you choose this house for us if it’s never ever going to be finished?”

Slowly the sobs subsided, and I lay for what seemed like hours on the bathroom floor. Eventually I raised myself to my knees and winced as a piece of a dinner plate dented my elbow. I looked at the dishes and the mess, and in that moment, I wanted to gather up my family and my pride and walk out the front door.

Never to return again.

I leaned over to pick up a bowl with a crack on one side. I studied it for a moment, wondering if I should keep it as a souvenir of the day I met the bathroom floor for the first time. I turned it over in my hands, looking at it with new eyes. This bowl had been created by a master potter. The lines of the piece were beautifully and wonderfully made. Every detail, every line of the dish had been crafted with skill and purpose.

And the crack? Instead of detracting from the beauty, it merely enhanced the design.

“Just like me,” I whispered. “I’m a cracked pot. I’m full of flaws and imperfections and weaknesses. But I, too, was designed by a master craftsman. And I, too, am beautifully and wonderfully made.”


Suddenly, without warning, peace flooded my soul. I knew without a doubt that the Creator had plans for me. Just like it was written: “You, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8).

An amazing, gifted Potter had laid out his plans for my life from my very first breath.

And he knew.

He knew the timeline for the house. He knew the purpose behind our move. He knew every detail of the renovation and the location of every piece of drywall and every kitchen cabinet and every single step of our journey.

Even the ones wrapped up in spaghetti rings.



KariAnne is giving away a signed copy of So Close To Amazing.  To enter: All you have to do is comment with something you are amazing at. Bonus entries for every share on social media. Just let me know in the comments where you shared. As always, we work on the honor system.

About KariAnne

With joy and an exuberant heart for the un-finer things in life, KariAnne Wood writes the lifestyle blog Thistlewood Farms from the back porch of her farmhouse in the rolling hills of Kentucky. She followed God’s call for her heart and jumped with her family from the busy Dallas metroplex to the end of a winding country road, where she lives with her husband and four children. Her first book, So Close To Amazingcelebrates the incredible, awesome, special individual within each of us. It’s also a book for anyone who has ever mismatched her shoes or trimmed her own bangs when a professional might have been a better choice or added too much soap to the washer and watched it overflow. (Not that KariAnne Wood has ever done any of these things.)

Fans of The Magnolia Story and The Pioneer Woman will love this debut memoir from my friend KariAnne. It’s a story of transparency and honesty and recognizing that perfection is completely overemphasized and overrated. It’s about grace and learning from mistakes and rejoicing in every victory, no matter how small. Because when you find joy in the “you” God created you to be, you’ll discover the amazing that was there all along.


Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there!

Our featured writer this week is Meghan Weyerbacher. If you’re facing a mountain and praying for it to move… or if you need encouragement as you keep showing up and doing your best as you live out your calling, be sure to read these words! Find Meghan here.

To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. xo Jennifer

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  • Tammy B.

    You asked what I amazing at…..I feel lately, I am amazing at making messes. Messes in my life, and messes especially in my house. I need rest; I need more time to do things I love to do but cannot seem to fit into my schedule; I need more time to “be”. “THESE MESSES” are not where I want to be in my life, I really do want to feel blessed!

    • Oh Tammy … I’ll bet you are amazing at a lot of things. Praying you know what a treasure you are, even amidst all the mess. Sending love!

  • Cheryl Louis

    I’m good at overcomplicating life’s simplicities.

    • I’ll bet you’re good at a lot of things, Cheryl, but I totally understand the sentiment behind your statement!

  • Michelle Bills

    Hahaha, I am a woman who has worn two different shoes, more than once! I’m pretty sure this book is for me. I’m really not so sure what I’m amazing at. I am a woman who struggles with being a working mother and trying to do all the things. So that yeah, there’s no time for me; which means a few times in sleep deprivation and a dark room a choose shoes that were not matching, I’ve cut my own hair because it desperately needed cutting though I absolutely knew a professional would be the best choice, I make lunches at midnight, and I give myself a high five when my children are actually on time to school. Getting upset because I seem to be the only one in the house who can clean and do dishes; and then breaking said dishes on accident totally sounds like something I’d do. So glad to know it’s not just me!

    • Welcome to our club, Michelle! 🙂

  • Reading these words in the midst of our own little renovation project here — and there are no cameras, no predictable deadlines, and no end in sight! Thanks, KariAnne and Jennifer, for the smile that came with this great story.

    • Isn’t KariAnne a joy? She totally cracks me up … but there’s such a good lesson here, behind all the humor.

  • Angel Ward

    I feel amazing at being overwhelmed. I would love to be entered for a copy of the book! : )

    • Oh Angel. I hear you. I’ll bet you’re amazing at a lot of things, but I hear all the weariness behind your comment. Saying a quick prayer for you, my dear!

  • Brenda Williams

    Sorry to say, but, I’m amazing at wasting time. I have so little of it that when I have a bit of free time, I waste it by trying to decide which to do first? Wash the dishes, do a little sewing (fun), go check the garden for more fresh veggies, check the hen house for eggs? What to do? I find my phone and usually tritter away my valuable time. Working full time allows for little valuable free-time so I become overwhelmed when I have some time to use… for. myself!

    • Oh that dreaded phones! I get caught in the same trap. You know what I’ve been doing lately? “wasting time” by going for long walks down these country roads. I leave the phone at home. I know that I would have spent those same minutes scrolling. Instead, I go strolling! 🙂

      • Brenda Williams

        Perfect solution. I’d love to be doing that.

      • Tiffany

        I love that! I wish for country strolls! I need to focus on at least going to sit on my little chair outside even if I have to bring my things to do with me.

  • This morning, as clear as a bell, I said to myself…”you do realize you do not know everything, right?” I was talking to myself about the things I think should or shouldn’t be and how and why and when…I love your story, especially love your images, written and otherwise.

    • I had a similar conversation with myself over the weekend, Lisanne. Yes… these images from KariAnne Wood are amazing. And her book rocks!

      • Loved everything about it and loved Meghan’s piece as well.

  • hindsight is 20/20 – I’m an amazing mother.

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    You mean life doesn’t go like the tv shows?? When God continues to do His renovation work on me, I ask Him, “God will you ever be finished? What else do I have to learn and grow through?” Like your farmhouse, I feel like my life is a work in progress….sometimes it hums along right on cue and other times….the disasters you described are more the norm. Thanks for sharing! Beautiful finished product…there IS hope after all 🙂
    Bev xx

  • Tara L Ulrich

    I always get sucked in by those home remodel shows. It never fails! But the reality is that renovation takes way longer than what they show on the 55 minutes of the show. Your post made me think of one of my fave songs “Beautiful Things” by Gungor. “He makes beautiful things out of dust; out of us”

  • kwood2011

    Thank you so much for having me over here today! I am so thankful for your friendship and for your heart! You have the BEST readers. 🙂
    Happy day rock star!

    • a joy to have you here, rock star! xo

  • JeanneTakenaka

    Ahhh, KariAnne. I smiled as I read your post. When my boys were babies, I used to watch the show you described as I gave them their final feeding for the day. LOVED it. And, I often cried along with the owners. 😉

    I’m sorry your own renovation story was more . . . challenging. But, I love the beauty that came from that hard, hard moment in your bathroom. Thank. you for the hope and perspective you offer. God does help us when everything seems to have gone akimbo with my plans.

    As for what I’m amazing at? (And I asked one of my sons if I could put this): I am amazing at being a mom to the two boys God has given Hubs and me.

    Your book sounds pretty amazing, by the way.

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  • Liz

    Oh my goodness! So much truth! Thanks for bringing a powerful message from the vulnerability of your bathroom floor! Blessings!

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  • April

    I honestly am amazed that part of my family (mom, one sister and me with our families) is in flooded Houston in Harvey’s aftermath right now, even as my other sister and her family are nearly ablaze in Camas, WA with fires raining ashes on their home and dear heads.

    I am even more amazed that our Heavenly Father has a plan in place to work good out of this horror. Already I see neighbor helping neighbor in a city with too much water, and I know God’s loving arms are wrapped around us here in Houston. I can’t wait to see what miracles He works in Camas.

  • Tina Olson

    I am pretty amazing at being my husband’s help meet. I’m far from perfect, but I know that he is the one God intended for me to partner with in this life. He is big picture and I’m details. He’s calm in a crisis and I’m quaking at the knees. He is a thinker and I’m a relater. He frustrates me and I frustrate him, but we hang in there through thick and thin—-25 years in December!

  • Susan

    Just like KariAnne discovered with the crack in her pottery, I am amazed at the little and seemingly ordinary miracles that God does just to say “I love you, and everything will be okay in My hands.” I’m just amazed that the King of the universe loves me at all, and takes the time to do that.

  • Julia Dale

    Loved, loved, loved this and would love to read your amazing book! (Shared on twitter and Pinterest.)

    I am pretty amazing at balancing a full time job, 2 littles and helping my husband – by the grace of God!!

  • Tiffany

    KariAnne picked the hardest question: what are you amazing at?? I have been amazing at juggling it all (a load everyone tells me they can’t manage) & doing it despite no sleep many nights & averages of 3 hours. But after decades, I’m tired of it (& never wanted to do it all anyway) & want rest and their freedom to have fun. I’m trying to change the pace…

  • Elise Drenkow

    I’m usually pretty tough on myself about whether I’m good at something or not. It’s hard for me to accept compliments because of this. Which makes me sad because I have a new baby girl and I don’t want her to learn that from me! So I’ve been trying to be more confident and gracious to myself….and because of compliments I’ve received, I am going to say that I’m amazing at being supportive. I am a very observant person who loves close relationships, and I actively take my observations of what inspires, deflates, and scares individuals, etc. to best give advice, love, and motivation to those specific people around me. I’m proud of how I help those around me this way and they continue to seek me out because of it.

  • Char Geletka

    Thanks for sharing KariAnne’s writing Jennifer. She is a hoot! And very easy to relate to. Working on the question….. 😉 Have a blessed week!

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  • Susan

    I really want to read this book by KariAnne! I’ve been a fan from afar. Everything I do is short of amazing – so sisters unite!!! xo

  • This sounds like such a great book and one that will remind us that God has every detail of our lives planned – even the delays. Thank you for introducing a new to me author 🙂

  • lolasblest

    I feel like I am amazing at photography, capturing and sharing beauty with those in my circles.

  • lolasblest

    I shared on Pinterest, facebook and twitter.

    • Awesome! Here’s the great news. All that sharing on social media gave you a leg up in the drawing because of multiple entries. YOU WON! Please send me your mailing address. You can email it to me at jdukeslee@gmail.com. Yay for you!!!!

  • Amazing….hmmm…..now that’s a hard word to use. Oh, not for others, but for me. I hope, when the day is done and the light has dimmed, that I am amazing at loving.

    • Right? At some retreats I lead, I ask the women to turn to each other and say, “You are an amazing person.” What we all notice is this: It’s so easy to turn to someone else, say it, and BELIEVE IT. But it’s so hard to believe it about our own selves. But, you, dear Rebecca, are “fearfully and wonderfully” made! Woot!

      • Thank you so much Jennifer! You are fully known and fully loved! Sending big hugs!

  • Oh, how I long to be amazing. Even close to amazing would be awesome. Yet, I know the plans God has for me and the ways He is able to use my flaws . . . now that is amazing! Loved this!

    • Well, if I get a vote, I definitely am putting a checkmark next to the word “amazing” when it comes to my friend Deb Wolf!

  • Alyson

    Oh how I would love to win this book! But, the question is a tough one! In my own power, I have only glimmers of amazingness at certain things because consistency is an issue. I will have to go with what God has made amazing – one of the spiritual gifts He has given me is faith. He continues to grow that gift and it amazes even me all the time! Thank You Lord!

    • I love that, Alyson! I’m so glad God made you … and that He gave you a strong faith. Praising God with you.

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  • Amy

    This book sounds amazing! I can’t think of anything I am amazing at because no one is perfect! I strive to be an amazing mother, wife and friend!

    • I’m sure you are amazing at a lot of things. 🙂 Thanks for being here.

      • Amy

        You are sweet 🙂

        • xo … have a great weekend, Amy!

  • Angel1111

    I would have to say that being the oldest student in my undergrad program makes me amazing. I feel old. Too old to do this. I push myself above and beyond that of the younger crowd. This year is different. I broke my good arm. Yet I still feel alive and amazing. It’s amazing how God has helped me push through these difficulties.

    • Way to go, girl. Way to push through on the undergrad program. Cheering you on, “wonder woman.” 😉

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  • Loved reading this story. I can’t imagine dealing with a big home renovation. One advantage the TV folks have is that they’re not usually living in the house they’re renovating. And, yes, dealing with life going not according to plan is something that happens so often. I just keep having to turn it back over to God and not fret – easier to say that to do.

    What am I amazing at? Hmm. Making peanut butter chocolate chips cookies. And lasagna. 🙂 That’s a hard question because there is always someone else who can do whatever we do better. Plus drawing attention to what we do well seems unhumble. 🙂 But I enjoy writing – God has helped me improve over time though I still have a long way to go – and though I don’t consider gift-giving my primary love language, coming up with just the “right” gift is something I love to do.

    • OK … I’ll be right over. What time is supper? Love me some lasagna. 🙂

  • I’m pretty darn good at inviting complete strangers to our table. Her book sounds like so much fun. #livedit We’ve been remodeling 13 years…#stillmarried. I have a retreat series entitled: Remodeling, 101–Building a Heart Like His. In progress/process. Thanks for featuring Meg, as well – a dear, and a great writer and encourager!

    • I love the sound of that retreat! I’m sure women really connect with the theme.

  • Karrilee Aggett

    Oh I love meeting new BFFs! If YOU love, I know I will love her, too!

    What am I amazing at? Encouraging… praying… making people laugh and feel loved. I’m hoping and praying that I will be amazing at being a Mimi (any. day. now!)

    Love you, friend, and this super fun post! A MUCH needed break in all the heavy and hard!

    • OH Karrilee … you are a TOTAL encourager. One of the best out there!

      And yes … KariAnne is a blast. I met her last year when she featured The Happiness Dare on her blog. She has a tremendous following, great style, and is highly regarded in home DIY and decor blogs. In the area of DIY and decor, we are TOTAL OPPOSITES — LOL! — but we’ve become friends regardless. Our common denominator: JESUS!

  • Oh this was funny. And boy can I relate to having days like that. They used to devastate me and steal my joy and worth, but now I try and just laugh at them. Because with enough time they all turn into a funny story I end up telling to make others laugh. Because if we can’t laugh at ourselves . . .well life is a little to serious.

  • Julie Loos

    Love the story! The book sounds terrific! So glad you featured Meg, she’s spectacular 🙂

    • Meg truly is a wonder. I adore her. xo

  • Deborah Flora

    I am amazing at encouraging my friends and family!

    This book is so fun!

    • Deborah Flora

      I shared on Twitter!

    • What a great trait, Deborah!

  • PJ

    I am amazing at seeing the positive in almost any situation. Thank you for sharing some KariAnne love today!

    • I love that positive outlook!

  • Esther

    I’m an amazing listener

    • A great trait to have, Esther!

  • KariAnne your words had me! I so get this and your book looks amazing! Thanks for having her here, Jennifer — and for the feature this week, wow. I sure am thankful. You are such a blessing to me.

    I am amazing at looking for the good in a situation. 🙂

    • It was a joy to feature you, Meghan. You’re a treasured part of this community.

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These two used to argue, pull hair, wrestle, tattle, accuse the other of losing the Polly Pockets or Webkinz, swear they would never talk to each other again. EVER! I remember sitting them down so many times when they were little, reminding them that som… ift.tt/2ECpmkG pic.twitter.com/3QoSpmcCmY