HGTV, Pinterest, and the Things That Really Matter {Link-up}

hgtv and things that matter

I have a love-hate relationship with HGTV. And Pinterest. And all of those fixer-upper shows.

My husband and I moved into a fixer-upper several years ago, and while we’ve done a lot of cosmetic upgrades, there are still things I’d like to change. But life doesn’t stop for remodels and the kids don’t stop needing new shoes, so for now we pushed the pause button.

Most days I’m perfectly happy having friends over to eat in my 70’s kitchen. But every now and then, I hear those voices saying what I have to offer isn’t good enough.

It’s a dismal truth, but it’s there.

Those voices interrupted my thoughts several weeks ago when I was having a dear friend fly in to speak at our local MOPS group. She was staying overnight, and in the weeks leading up to her arrival we made some preparations to ensure she was as comfortable as possible.

I was excited to have her visit and for the chance to connect in person, since she lives several states away. That is, until I visited her home. A couple of weeks before her visit, I joined some friends at her house for a weekend retreat.

Her place was beautiful, and looked like a spread straight out of a Good Housekeeping magazine. Since her kids are grown, her floors weren’t perpetually sticky. Her windows weren’t smudged with fingerprints or dog slobber.

It short, it was perfect.

When she came north a few weeks later, her welcome was anything but perfect. As I was speeding down the highway to pick her up, the GPS drained my battery and my phone died.

I had forgotten my charger.

After finding her at the airport, I could not locate my car. We circled the parking garage on foot several times before discovering an airport car finding service.

I wish I was kidding. And yes, the service does exist.

It was like we were living an episode of Seinfeld, except I wasn’t laughing. I was worrying about my cell phone, getting home to pick up my son and making it to our MOPS meeting.

When we finally got back to my house, I realized we didn’t have time to eat the meal I had been so careful to put in the crockpot before leaving.

And in the midst of all the running around and the chaos, my friend didn’t complain. She was gracious and patient, and when we finally arrived at MOPS I realized something.

Her message was about making the most of the time we have with our kids, but the message God had for me was different.

As I sat there listening, I realized time is all we really have in this life.


We can spend it worrying about the age of our kitchen appliances or we can open our kitchens with love.

We can spend it stressing about having the perfect, Pinterest-worthy treats or we can savor the sweetness of each bite.

Yes, the details make a difference. I love a beautiful plate of food. But don’t let the details keep you from looking your guests in the eye. Don’t let them keep you from sitting down and having a conversation.

The perks of a magazine-worthy home can never replace the warmth felt within it.

I’m reminded of a poor widow the Lord asked to feed his prophet, Elijah. She and her son were about to eat their last meal, but at the word of God, she gave everything.

She gave what she had, and the Lord blessed her for it. (1 Kings 17:8-16)

God can take what we have and multiply it into much more than we could ask, think or imagine.

When I visited my friend’s home down south, it wasn’t the décor that left an impression on my heart. It was the welcome. It was the love. It was the what’s-mine-is-yours hospitality.

Those modern appliances? Well, I won’t tell you they don’t make you happy.

But I also know joy comes from a deeper place. A soul-level place. A belly laugh, strolls at sunset, tears over coffee type of place.

That’s the place I want to keep my eyes fixed on. It’s place I try to remember when the weight of this life tries to drown me in forgetfulness.


#RaRaLinkup Time!

1. Link up your inspiring & motivating post with the blue frog button below. (it will direct you to the linkup page)
2. Grab the Kelly Balarie & Friends button to display on your blog or just link back.

*Note: We will conclude our Rays in the Storm Series on Thursday. Thanks so much to all who have read, commented and contributed to a Spirit-filled series. You rock!

43 thoughts on “HGTV, Pinterest, and the Things That Really Matter {Link-up}

  1. Pingback: Lesson Learned: 5 Things to Consider When Making Decisions - Do A New Thing

  2. You speak truth, Abby! Time and presence matter. How you used your time, who you were with and whether God was invited to be part of it. I have grown kids and still don’t have an HGTV home but my favorite memories are always the times I spent with my loved ones. Thank you for hosting the linkup today!


  3. I cannot tell you how much I needed to read this today! Just this past week I was frustrated because I took the school year off to write my book, but I also had plans to do some needed fixing-up on our home. Needless to say, I didn’t get ANY of the repairs done, so I was feeling defeated. Your post was exactly the perspective-check I needed. Thank you for allowing God to use you to speak truth to others, Abby!


  4. Oh, Abby, I get your heart here. I love the message and I love that God brought the needed word of affirmation and encouragement at just the right time. I had let the fear of not enough be the reason I didn’t open my very old, not-updated, crooked and falling apart house to friends too. Then I went to visit a friend, on a in impromptu visit for a quick retreat and came home to a shiny table and a message in my heart from the Lord to enlarge this tent He has given and let the beauty that He fills it with be the decoration.

    So I did. 🙂

    Your words are reminding me again, to revisit the message He put in my heart and to continue the art of hospitality.
    Thanks so much.


  5. What a great lesson here, Abby. I used to avoid having people over because my house was never clean enough. It drove my husband crazy because he is incredibly social. I’ve finally learned exactly what you are teaching here. It’s not about cleanliness. The welcoming is everything. Thanks for this reminder!


  6. Oh Abby, what a beautiful post. The thank you left on the counter…you just sent it. It’s funny, I went home and told my husband what a warm home and wonderful family you have. And though a little crazy when it was happening , he and I had more than one laugh over the adventure you and I had in the parking lot! We’ll be talking about that one for years to come.
    Love you so much friend.


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  8. Oh Abby, you had me cracking up about the car-finding service at the airport. So good to know. I’ll be sure and call them the next time! Thanks for your wisdom here today, friend. In my line of work, our homes have never been fancy, and I often have sinking thoughts like you describe before inviting guests! I’ve learned to laugh and enjoy the love we have instead! (Once we lived in a pretty shabby apartment in the woods in Santa Cruz, California, $1,400 a month 20 years ago, real estate is SO high there. We took it without seeing it first because the demand was so high. We called it the “Shack.” One time a well-meaning friend asked me, “So what did you think the first time you laid eyes on this place?” No joke. She really asked me that!


    • Betsy, what a funny story. People say the craziest things sometimes. Owning two homes (not by choice) is definitely a hindrance for us, but I know God is using the experience to make me trust him more as a Provider. He is so good. Thanks for being here today, friend.


  9. Abby your sentence: “The perks of a magazine-worthy home can never replace the warmth felt within it.” makes me think so much of the Truth that God looks at the heart and not the outward appearance. It’s so true! We should be good stewards of what the Lord has gifted us but the most valuable gifts are not material ❤


    • Yes, Sarah! I constantly have to remind myself of that. And I’m so grateful for that aspect of God’s character. Thanks for the reminder.


  10. With over twenty years in a “fixer-upper” I share your ambivalence toward the pressure for things to be “perfect.” A long time ago I realized that if I wait for things to be perfect before following God in ways that He directs (including hospitality) I’ll never get started!


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  12. Abby-God has given me this same message so many times & in so many varied situations and I love your take on it here too! Thanks for your transparency in articulating what so many of us are feeling! Love the #RaRaLinkup!


  13. Love your heart, love these words and the Jesus that shines through. Right there with you, friend. Oh, how so many of us can relate. But golly, when this world’s treasures stand tall next to eternity, do new appliances even come close? 🙂 #goJesus


  14. I’m constantly battling time, oh my goodness. These moments are so fleeting. I have a home to care for and a million little things happening all through the day, yet there stands to brown-eyed little boys needing my full attention. I could just melt in a puddle I love them so much. God give me the wisdom to know when it’s time for me to work and when it’s time for me to just love on them! Thanks so much for this beautiful piece Abby:)


    • I hear you, Meg. One of my goals for this year was to be more present and savor the little things I often overlook. Thank so much for sharing your thoughts and your encouragement!


  15. What an insightful story you share here Abby to remind us what matters to God. It is so easy to forget that at times. The angst you share in your story reminds me of my mother when she’s preparing for a holiday gathering or celebration at her home. I don’t think it will ever be completely fixed up but the love that is shared and the memories that have been formed are irreplaceable. ‘m soI thankful for how God sees us and what matters to Him is our heart. Thanks for sharing such an honest and heartfelt post with us today. Have a wonderful week and may God continue to richly bless you in ALL your endeavors!


  16. Really beautiful truth keeping up with the Jones’ is the lie of the American dream, and the true comfort in a home is from the warmth of God. I have a feeling your home is divine! So much enjoyed this and relate!!!


  17. Pingback: When Monday Needs a Glorious Makeover - True and Faithful

  18. Pingback: Blessed are Those Who Limp | Waxing Gibbous

  19. Abby,
    Yes, I can relate. And this: “The perks of a magazine-worthy home can never replace the warmth felt within it.” Yes…what is really lasting although there is nothing wrong with having a nice home. Blessings to you 🙂


  20. Love this Abby! Beautifully written. And I laughed out loud in few places. We needed the car finding service at our airport a few years ago when we returned at 1 a.m. and our car was not where we thought we parked it. Somehow we found there was a service — and they found our car in just minutes! Also, we bought a 100-year-old fixer upper a year and half ago and still have so much to fix, refinish and furnish. We do take our friends and relatives on a tour when they come to town (many of them drive 1-2 hours to come to see us). the tour usually includes lots explanations about what we’re going to do to improve this or that and apologies for the areas that are messier than they should be when company comes. A lot of our new neighbors want to see what we’ve done to the ‘mansion’ but we keep putting that off till we get more done.


  21. What an awesome reminder! We can get so caught up in the things that don’t really matter. Thanks for sharing this and for hosting! Hope you have a wonderful week 🙂


  22. Abby, yes! I would rather see my friends with kids spending time with their families rather than keeping a perfect house.


  23. Pingback: When "I don't know" is good

  24. Oh, Abby. If it hadn’t been such a hard day, it would be funny because it does sound like a Seinfeld episode. ha. But I know it had to have been super stressful in the moment. The lesson you learned from it is a good one for all of us: “But I also know joy comes from a deeper place. A soul-level place. A belly laugh, strolls at sunset, tears over coffee type of place.” Amen.


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