Gwen Smith Blog, Giveaways 347 Comments

HAPPY FRIDAY! Today I’m excited to introduce you to my friends RHONDA RHEA and BETH DUEWEL. Both of these women are witty, relatable, and fuhhhn-neeee! And they are the kind of girls that you meet and want to hang out with. They know how to be real and aren’t afraid to get vulnerable … to break conversations down to the things that really matter.

I love both Rhonda and Beth, and I’m confident you will too. Here’s an excerpt from their new book, Fix Her UpperHope and Laughter Through a God Renovated Life!


We heard a story not long ago about a woman who had worn herself to a frazzle working on her home renovation. It had been a long, hard process, but Dinah (not her real name) was finally finished! She was getting ready to do some serious woot-wooting. Some of the paint on her new baseboards had gotten scuffed up in the last few reno tasks, though, so she was giving it all its final touchups. She was on the phone with a girlfriend as she painted that last little spot on that last piece of trim. Woot-woot! Dinah raised her glass of iced tea for a pseudo toast to herself and took a big, celebratory drink.

Except it wasn’t her iced tea. She had taken a giant swig from her jar of touchup paint. Yuh oh. While “Chantilly White Number 987” doesn’t sound at all tasty, it seems it’s not even as tasty as it sounds. Dinah’s friend on the other end of the line got to hear her colossal spit-take. It was one impressive pa-too-ey! It’s a shame no one keeps records of such things, because Dinah’s certainly might’ve been an award-winning spew. It was solid gold in both distance and density. Great coverage. Ironically, doing her “finish painting” meant she was suddenly not at all finished.

Our faith finishing and refinishing is ongoing too. It doesn’t always have to be that frustrating, of course, and even though it’s ongoing, it doesn’t have to feel quite so unfinished. Mostly because of Jesus’ finished work of salvation for us on the cross. Our goal in this life, though, is to become more and more like Christ. In that sense, we never entirely put the lid back on that touchup paint and walk away “finished.” We’re redeemed gloriously and immediately when we give Jesus our hearts, yes. Our future is forever changed from hell and eternal separation from Him, to living forever in His presence in a place where there will be no sin, no sadness, no suffering. But even after that most magnificent transformation, the continuing renovation is a lifelong process here on Earth. Although we no longer have to live under the penalty of sin, our fleshly nature is still part of our makeup and must be battled. The Holy Spirit empowers the battle. He inspires and enables this continuing renovation.

It’s never about becoming a fix-yourself-upper. It’s all about allowing the Lord, who renovates so perfectly, to do a makeover from the inside out.

It’s important for us to be reminded regularly that we have a choice. We can choose to lean on Him, trust Him, and invite those inner renovations. Or we can choose to hinder and thwart, squirm, and balk. Some days we choose well. Some days we make a spewy mess. But there is grace for every pa-too-ey. And the goal remains to continually move toward becoming more like Jesus.

Romans 12:1-2 holds a key for persisting in the glorious renovation process the Lord longs for us to experience. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (ESV).

Will we give Him all?

Will we allow our minds to be transformed—renovated, restored, refreshed, refurbished, revived, renewed, and reclaimed—feeding our minds God’s truth?

Sometimes renovation is hard. It’s dirty and dusty. Sometimes we spew a little paint. There are blisters and sore muscles and sometimes a hammer to a thumb. Sometimes it smarts when God does a renovation work in us. Leaving behind our old ways and our fleshly wants can be difficult and painful and messy. But it’s the path to life the way it’s meant to be lived. With joy and peace and purpose built right in.

In a home redo, we all long to see the “before and after,” right? It’s incredibly gratifying to see the old “ick” become the new “ah.” Spiritually, we’ve encountered the “before,” for sure. We were hopeless in sin and ick. How infinitely more gratifying it is to be completely dazzled at the spiritual “after”—when we see our heavenly Father do a transforming work in our spirit. It’s beautiful! Mindboggling! It’s over-the-top “ah”! And as glorious as every “after” might be, there’s always another. His work in us is ongoing. We get a before and after, and after, and after, ever-after. Woot-wooting evermore!

Adapted from Fix-Her-Upper: Hope and Laughter through a God-Renovated Life (Bold Vision Books, 2017)

Congratulations to our winners-
TC and Diana P!

To qualify for the drawing, you need to do is one simple thing: LEAVE A COMMENT to win by CLICKING HERE.

That’s it! Once you comment below, your name will be entered into the random drawing. Be sure to tell your friends so they can sign up too. The drawing will take place on Monday, November 6th, so don’t delay! {Contest is limited to US readers only.}


Beth Duewel is a writer, speaker and blogger at She is a freelance writer for magazines and compilations books and has been a regular contributor to P31 women’s magazine for many years. Beth is also a certified drug and alcohol counselor. She lives in Ashland, Ohio, where she is happily married to Jerry Duewel. They have three grown children.

Rhonda Rhea is a humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLife, Leading Hearts and many more. She is the author of 11 nonfiction books and also coauthors fiction with her daughter, Kaley Rhea. Their new romantic comedy, Turtles in the Road, has just released. Rhonda has two more books contracted and coming soon. She is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and lives in the St. Louis area with her pastor-hubs, Richie Rhea. They have five grown children and two grandbabies.


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Comments 347

  1. God has asked me to lead a ladies life group – and I question everyday if I’m the right one??? And amazed that each day He ‘drops’ nuggets into my email from different places that speak to this group. We are using “Broken into Beautiful” as a starting point – but I love the points in this “Fix her Up” too. Thank you.

  2. Wow! I think I am still a work in process. With the before pics, there are work-in-progress pics …still working on getting the after pics. God works in His time not ours and sometimes, I want to rush those after pictures but He tells me to be patient.

  3. It sounds like a wonderful book since I definitely need a complete Renovation! God is working on me but it’s a long and continual process. I’m a work in progress but need a real Fix-Her-Upper!

  4. The book sounds amazing and I would love to read it! I know a few friends that would beg me to pass it on to them also, lol.

  5. The intro was very fun. God’s doing some “not so fun” renovation right now, the book could be a good companion to His work.

    1. So sorry to hear you’re in the midst of something not-so-fun. Praying the Lord brings fruit and comfort and wisdom and guidance–and an extra measure of grace. Even some fun! Bless you!

    1. Isn’t is awesome to know we have a God who loves us while we are in process? We are His handiwork-this takes all the pressure off. We can rest while He molds and shapes our lives. Thank you for this great reminder! Blessings to you, Alicia!

  6. Always a work in progress. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of Fix HER Upper: Hope and Laughter Through a God Renovated Life!!

  7. This sounds like a book that I definitely need to read. It reminds me of a dog that I love “Unfinished” by Mandisa. Thank you for the blessing.

  8. Thanks for the chance at this giveaway! It is so kind to share a FREE copy of any written work but its especially nice if one can share God’s hope and joy with a reader and its’ FREE! 🙂 Thank you for being writers who love Him.

    1. No.Thank you, Diane. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. Isn’t it amazing that God uses our flaws to reflect His perfection? What an awesome God we serve. Big hugs!

  9. O Rhonda…..I miss talking with you so much. One would think that all my problems would be sorted out and solved at my age. Not true. The biggest problems I have ever faced are in front of me now. God certainly needs to fix me up…. And prepare me for what is coming. I’d love to win your book. But more, I ask for your prayers. Love ya!

    1. How fun it would be to just toss everything aside and have a girlfriend chat with you over some toasted ravioli. Thanks for commenting, sweet friend. Love you more!

      Father, I ask that you would grant Diana wisdom, strength, comfort, stamina, peace–absolutely everything she needs, according to Your riches in glory, by Christ Jesus.

  10. O Rhonda…..I miss talking with you so much. One would think that all my problems would be sorted out and solved at my age. Not true. The biggest problems I have ever faced are in front of me now. God certainly needs to fix me up…. And prepare me for what is coming. I’d love to win your book. But more, I ask for your prayers. Love ya!

  11. Sounds like a great book! As a young about to 70 year old, I am always under renovation! Love the Lord! great idea for a book!!! Best of wishes for you!!

  12. Emma, we will be praying for you today and throughout this very difficult week. God restores those broken pieces that only He can mend. Please let us know how we may continue to lift you up through prayer.
    With love,

  13. I think Nadine’s granddaughter should get the book. My 16 year-old son completed suicide 20 years ago. Know how that grandma may be feeling. I am dealing with different extreme issue now and wish I could stay focused on Jesus. Please pray for me Monday Nov 6. It looks it will be an extremely hard day. Thank you

    1. Emma, I’m so, SO very sorry for your loss.
      Father, we ask that you would comfort, heal, grant peace–meet Emma’s every need according to Your riches in glory, by Christ Jesus even now. I ask that You would comfort as no one and nothing else can. Lord, I ask that You would make Your loving presence wholly tangible to Emma on November 6. May she feel Your love–maybe like never before. In the powerful and loving name of Jesus.

  14. My granddaughter has just turned her life over to Jesus after trying to commit suicide. I am looking for all the best books for her to read to keep her on a Jesus path. She told me so far every book I’ve sent her she can’t put down. Financially she and I can’t really afford to be buying books. But I will do anything to get her books that will keep her looking to God. I’d be grateful if she could receive your book. Thank you 🙏🏽 God Bless you both.

    1. Thank you, Nadine. I am praying for her right now. And what an awesome grandmother you are! Tell her she has many praying for her. Love and hugs to your whole family. And keep pointing her to Jesus. Hugs and blessings!

  15. I can so connect with this analogy. Seems i’m always touching up —me my home, etc.
    thank you for this opportunity to win the book.

    1. When I first read your comment, I could’ve sworn it said “mustache” book. LOL! I’m not saying I couldn’t write that book ::clearing throat::–but I’m not NOT saying that either, heh heh heh. #TWEEZEtheday

  16. God bless all of you for the wisdom you pass on to all of us! It always sounds so easy when I read these wonderful tips but, as we all know, not so easy when we step out into the real world. Thank you for your encouragement in seeing God’s will in our lives and His forgiveness when we don’t quite make it. Shalom.

    1. Not easy for ANY of us, girlfriend. In fact, downright impossible. Empowered by the indwelling presence of an all-powerful God though? Whole different story. Oh man, how thankful I am for His grace that covers my “not-enough-ness” and His empowering in all my “can’t” places. Thanks for commenting, Connie! Biggest blessings to you!

  17. I know that it will be a wonderful book and it will educate me on a lot of things. I thank God for you. You are such an inspiration to be and I know to so many others.
    Have a wonderful month. I love you !!!

  18. Well, I am spiritually passed the Flip or Flog stage in my life. Now I am in the “Fixer Up” stage. LOL

    Would love to read the book.

  19. Renovation always takes longer than expected, costs more than you had budgeted for or bargained for, and usually has you making some difficult decisions. However, the the “finished” product is most often better than you could ever dream. We must allow Him to be our demo-man and our primary designer and finisher.

  20. Love love love the comment,” It’s not about becoming a fix-yourself upper!!!!”. That is boo-coo brilliant! Please add me to the chance to win your book!

  21. Looks like a great book! I am in the middle of living with cancer that can not be removed but I know that God is in control of all things! This would inspire me more than ever! Thanks for the give away!

    1. Kathy, thanks so much. So very sorry about the struggle you’re enduring. Father, I ask that You would grant healing and comfort–meet every need for Kathy even now. In the name of Jesus.

  22. This goes right along with where I am this morning – to stop resisting the Lord as He tries to do His work inside of me !!! Thank you!

  23. Oh WOW! Thoroughly enjoyed the excerpt; can’t wait to read the rest! It is so hard to remember that I am a work in progress and the moment that I reach completeness, I will be outa here and home where I belong!

    1. You are a brave person, Mary. I love it when people don’t just type a platitude or nicety here or there, but instead get real. I think it’s at those real places God becomes that much more real to us too. And I absolutely LOVE that your desire is to be dazzled by God. I mean, I really, really love it.
      Heavenly Father, would You please *dazzle* Mary? This very day, even? Would You give her a glimpse of Your glory? Overwhelm her with Your love and grace? Oh Lord, may she be surprised–bowled over–by the wonder that is You.

  24. Right about now I am that run down old house in much need of the Lord’s renovations. From what I am reading this book might just be the answered prayer I have been asking for. Need to be renewed and transformed again…..continually….Lord please restore me back to who you want me to be.

    1. I’m a work in progress right along with you, girlfriend.

      And Lord, I ask right now that You would answer Virginia’s prayer and restore. Show her Your grace BIG-TIME, would You, Lord?

    2. Virginia, your comment reminds me of the C.S. Lewis quote I shared in our recent Fix-Her-Upper Event: “You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” God wants to do so much more than fix us. And He loves us too much to leave us as-is. Lord, thank You for Virginia’s soft heart and willingness to made into a palace. You know our potential through You–to be Your mansions in the making. You offer so much more than we could ever hope or dream of. Thank You. Father, we praise You for what you are doing in Virginia’s life. -Amen

  25. I love freebies!!!
    The renovation is easy thanks to Christ. The staying is the hard part. Thankfully Christ is always there to fix us.

    1. Vonnie, I am praying for you right now, and want to encourage you with this verse, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. God is our great help. we can rest when we place our hope and future on His firm foundation. He holds the blueprint. We will continue to pray for you, Vonnie. Blessings to you, my friend.

  26. I’ve been struggling trying to follow Christ and turn my will and life over to Him. From what I read so far, it looks like this book will give necessary fuel to my fire.

    1. Thanks so much, Kimberly. I’m going to pray today that God will give you a nice, fresh breath of His GRACE. Oh how glad I am that we don’t have to be perfect! Because…GRACE. Praying you’ll be able to rest right smack-dab in the middle of that grace, and that He will turn your struggle into peace. 🙂 Appreciate your comment, big-time!

  27. I am so ready for God to renovate me from the inside out because I am not doing so well by myself.

    God bless you!

  28. Great analogy! It especially caught my attention as I am on a girls weekend in the Chicago area with my bestie. She is in the throws of a renovation right now of an old farm house. I took her away for a break:) I also learned a new southern term “it smarts”. I’m a Chicagoite living in N.C.

    1. Great idea- a weekend away with fix-her-upper friends. Like a great escape for those who like to renovate. It can be exhausting. And are redoes ever done? Just wondering. Have the best time ever!

  29. I recently turned 43 and am dealing with multiple crises. I am the dictionary definition of frazzled. This book sounds like a good read.

    1. So sorry about the multiple crises, Cheri.

      Father, I pray You will be Cheri’s strength right now, and that You will hold her up in every frazzle-dy place. I thank You, Lord, that You are, in fact, the expert unfrazzler and the gracious God of the frazzled.

      Praying, girlfriend, that He will cause you to feel dazzling even in the frazzling. 🙂

    2. Father, We thank You for the work you are already doing in Cheri’s life. Help her to hold on to hope during this demo-and trust that after this tattered-before comes the transformed-after. -Amen

  30. Even when you think everything is finished, there’s always one more thing that needs fixin’! Thankful God is always with me when “the next thing ” comes up in my life!

    1. I so get this, Shelia. We just started to update the redo from the outdated undone. Meaning: there’s always one more thing that needs fixed. I’m so glad God is the Author and Finisher of my faith, He completes me. Shew!

  31. What a fantastic read..Even if I don’t win a copy, I am going to be purchasing more than one copy as I am thinking this book needs to be read by many & Christmas is just around the corner. Thanks so much for sharing
    God Bless

    1. Amy, here’s hoping you win-but if you don’t-here’s hoping you still get to read and pass Fix-Her-Upper along. I am rooting for you, and praying for you. God knows your full potential, and He is good to help you reach it! Dream Big! Pray Big!

  32. Thank you so much for the morning encouragement as I know God is doing some renovation in my heart at this time. My marriage has been on the market for two years yet God has taught my husband & I that we don’t have to foreclose! There is hope and we are rebuilding instead of selling out! Thank you Jesus!

    1. Praising Jesus with you, Lisa. Gut and redoes are never easy, but they have eternal equity. Thank you for being real and sharing this struggle. Praying and praising, girlfriend.

  33. This is how it is in life sometimes, we mean to say one thing but say something we didn’t mean to say then wish we could spew out the right words and fix the mess. God is forgivng and understanding but the person isn’t always so-so but anyways, loved the story.

  34. What a fantastic reminder that His work in us I’d never done. There is always something that needs a touch up or a complete renovation in our lives. Thank you!

  35. Would love to win this book. Have been looking for a good devotional. Thanks for the blessing of giving away 2 free books. God bless you. Have a great day!

  36. Your excerpt of the book gave me a morning laugh that I needed. I look forward to reading this book. I’m a renovation in progress!

  37. Thank you for sharing! I would LOVE a copy of Fix Her Upper! As well, it looks like a great book to gift to my 4 daughters and a future daughter-in-law.

  38. I Love, Love, Love sharing your studies! I am on thr tail end of my cancer treatments and this study falls right in place with that end of my life!

    💘 Victoria

    1. I know God can help you through this transformation of heart. Our dilapidated heart can be His glorious after. Ever-after. Praying for you as God renovates in amazing, and perfect ways as you listen to His call. blessings to you, TC

  39. LOL – I love it. This sounds like the perfect book to fit my crazy life. Having been a single parent now for almost 16 years with this year being the year my youngest left for college – I am now wondering how I need to “fix-up” my life. I work a lot to fill the void; if I had to guess – but do love my job.
    Look forward to reading this book.

    1. Thank you, April. Girl, you deserve a giant pat on the back. And some chocolate. You did it! Raising kids as a single mom that many years could not have been easy. Congrats and blessings! And then some more “new season” kinds of blessings too!

    2. April, when my youngest went off to college, God opened the door to this book. Your mama heart will so get the chapter, “Tiny House-Big Love.” Thank you for your kind words, and praying God gives you His perfect makeover. Mama hugs!

  40. Will we give Him all?
    Will we allow our minds to be transformed—renovated, restored, refreshed, refurbished, revived, renewed, and reclaimed—feeding our minds God’s truth?

  41. Looks like a perfect book to add to my bookshelf and to gift to a friend. Thank you for sharing the excerpt and the chance to win.

  42. I have just finished up a Bible study of Luke. This aligns perfectly with that study. The way we respond to situations is key to knowing if we are allowing Jesus to display His character in us by allowing spiritual growth, developing Christlike character, and a strong faith. I loved the visualization in your passage!

  43. I can relate! This is the 3rd move for me in 3 years. Each p[ace requires some fixing up. Each move has demonstrated the importance of reliance upon Him & my need for fixing up from within.

  44. Perfect for me. I am constantly trying to fix her or him by demonstrating God’s love & grace- the same He has shown to me. I just want to extend it! And I think we have all taken a swig of pa-too-ey at one time or another. Intro to book is super exciting! God is good!

  45. God blessed me this morning bye bringing me to this email. He is always fixing me up and it was good to know He is with others too! It was a fun read and I look forward to reading more

    1. That is a great sign. We hope you see the Master Designer all over it. And under it. And through it. May God refresh your life in places only He can. Blessings to you, Gloria!

  46. I am sure God looks at me as a long term fix her upper and shakes his head with every bump in the road I encounter. I am blessed and fortunate that he never gives up on me. He is always beside me to help me over the bumps and I am forever grateful.

    1. Danna, I promise that if you belong to Christ, God only sees His righteousness when He looks at you. And if He shakes His head, it’s really more of a pleasant, “that’s my girl” kind of head-shake. 🙂 Praising the God who has really BIG grace for every one of those bumps. Girl. I hit those too. And I’m forever grateful right alongside you. Thanks so much for sharing!

  47. I really enjoyed reading what’s in the book. I have been struggling with myself for some time. I’m not sure if it’s just things that have happen within the serious of months or seasons like I’ve been calling them,but, I can’t help but feel it’s me and I need to change things within myself. I can’t wait to read this book.

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Sharon. Ya know what my fave part of this whole topic is? The fact that we don’t have to do the fixing. The Lord does it. Whew! Celebrating His grace for every season and praying for you right now, that the season you’re entering will be your most fruitful ever!

  48. The books worth reading are Godly books. It’s difficult to see the good in relationships sometimes, whether in a home, in a friend or with the special someone in our life. Praying The Lord will continue to guide our steps is where we may place our hopes. Positive thinking with the help of scripture leads to better days.

  49. thankful that God’s work is on-going in our lives. I am going through a transformation time and seeking God to do wonders in my heart. Fix-it-upper would be a great help to me during this time. I enjoyed the humor of this selection, along with the biblical application.

  50. Oh, so true! I am a continuous “Work in Progress” but so grateful not to be in the “Condemned” condition I use to be. God proves faithful and merciful time & time again. Being loved & adopted by Him are the greatest gifts I have ever been given. (Thank you for the chance to win a copy of this book.)


  52. Such a good analogy to my life as I am a fixer upper in the truest form of old houses! I had to laugh. No more true words were spoken tho about letting the Lord do the ‘fixing’ on us.

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