For home renovation expert Joanna Gaines, writing her new book, The Stories We Tell, came with a lot of self-reflection. The TV star admitted that she looked back at her life with “equal parts gratitude and exhaustion,” in the winter issue of Magnolia Journal, available on newsstands and online starting November 11. 

“I love my life, and I love my family — deeply,” she explained in the personal essay on “But some of the ways I’d gotten here, some of the qualities I’d always relied on — like being really productive, superefficient, always running at high capacity — were beginning to turn on me.” 

Joanna Gaines Felt 'Gratitude and Exhaustion’ During Career
Nick Kelley/Magnolia Journal

The Magnolia Network star got real about feeling burnt out after years of stardom. She first skyrocketed to fame on HGTV’s Fixer Upper with her husband, Chip Gaines, in 2013. 

“The past 20 years have been a heck of a ride, but I knew I couldn’t keep going the way I have,” she wrote. “It’s hard to explain how I was feeling. I was grateful beyond measure but exhausted. Loved, but feeling unworthy. Full, but running on empty. And because my world kept me busy, I could still feel the wheels of my life humming. What became harder to tell is where they should be headed.”

Joanna, 44, admitted that penning another memoir helped her recall some of the greatest memories in her life after things had “gotten blurry.” The New York Times bestselling author and her hubby created so many incredible moments together along with their five children: Drake, Ella Rose, Duke, Emmie Kay and Crew. In the end, she was grateful to “relive some of the very best chapters of my life.”

The mom of five previously got candid about another huge milestone in her life, preparing to send her eldest child, Drake, off to college next year

“In the grand scheme of heartbreaking things, this one comes with a lot of gratitude and excitement,” she revealed in an August issue of Magnolia Journal. “But still, my first child is moving away, and our family dynamic will change because of it, and that can feel like a loss of its own. I catch glimpses now of what that life will look like and wonder if — or how many times — that might bring me to the floor.”

In their two decades of marriage, the couple learned how to navigate moments where their “hearts were broken.” Joanna shared that through all of the ups and downs and big transitions they have experienced, she learned an important lesson about fortitude. 

“Whatever you might be carrying this year, this season, this very moment — remember fortitude comes to us in the inches forward,” the Magnolia Table author penned. “Not in one fell swoop or one big break. It is what we earn in the days we cling to what grounds us, in the minutes we are sweating out the last days of our own personal summers.”