Category: Breakfast Reads (page 1 of 8)

Clint Harp’s Big Gamble On Himself Paid Off Handsomely!

Clint Harp has been a staple on HGTV’s hit show “Fixer Upper” since the beginning. His part in the show has turned him into a celebrity and even lead to a deal for his very own television series. His seeming ‘luck’ at having his wildest dreams come true all stemmed from a huge leap of faith in himself. Just six years ago, Harp was in medical sales, but his real passion was building furniture. In the beginning of 2011, his desire to pursue that passion led to him quitting his six-figure job in Houston and dive in feet first. As he explains, “The only way it was going to happen is if I completely went for it.” He had two kids at the time and his wife, Kelly Harp, was a stay-at-home mom. He recalls conversations the two had where they were discussing things like bankruptcy and trying to figure out how to stretch their savings. The summer of that same year, the family moved to a small apartment in Waco so Kelly could pursue her graduate degree. Clint continued with his efforts to launch his furniture business, which was tough in an apartment. The Harps also added a third child, which added to the financial pangs they were really starting to feel. One night over dinner, friends mentioned Chip Gaines, a builder from Waco who owned Magnolia Homes. As Harp was was looking to start picking up work building furniture, he thought ​of ​a connection Gaines might know where he could rent a woodworking shop. He gave Gaines a call in December, but never heard back. A few months later, the family pulled into a gas station following an afternoon at the park. Harp recalls that he was unsure if they could even afford to fill up the tank and thinking to himself, “What did I do?” It was then that he saw a Magnolia Homes truck pull in. He approached the driver and asked if he knew owner Chip Gaines. Turns out, the driver was Gaines, and when Harp explained what he wanted to do, Gaines invited him to hang out that afternoon. The two drove around discussing Harp’s idea, and a few nights later the Harps went to the Gaines’ house for dinner. There, the Harps met Chip Gaines’ wife, Joanna, who was selling some home-decor pieces out of her home and looking to add more, including furniture. Harp ended up renting shop space on the cheap from Habitat for Humanity, a charity he’s been involved with for many years. Finally, he had someone to build furniture for, and he was feeling positive about the future of his enterprise. The good fortune was just beginning though. Within a few months, the Gaines​es​​ were approached by High Noon Entertainment about developing a television show. Harp says the whole thing seemed insane. “I met Chip at a gas station in February or March of 2012 and by October or November, we’re filming a pilot for HGTV,” he says. His regular gig as Joanna Gaines’s go-to furniture maker on the show has allowed him and Kelly to open up their own store, buy the shop building and commercial-grade tools and even add some employees. What’s more, the couple’s own series, “Wood Work,” aired on the DIY Network earlier this month. Clint typically uses recycled and reclaimed wood from old structures, fallen trees, and scrap piles to build his pieces. “There is the beauty of this idea, of something being left for dead and brought back to life,” Clint told the Austin American-Statesman. “I felt that way about myself. For me, I’m kind of reclaimed as well.” (Sources: Austin American-Statesman, Country Living)

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Duck Dynasty’s Missy Robertson to Son: “You Can’t Come Home”

This article was sent my direction the other day and it made me stop and think about “relationships”. For Michelle and I, we left home immediately after getting married and moved to Chicago. We quickly realized we had no one but each other and it truly helped us build and develop an incredibly strong relationship and deep form of communication. This made me think twice about the advise being offered up by the this Duck Dynasty mom, who has some serious words for her son Reed and his fiancée… The article below was written by Jenny Rapson, who is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and the editor of For Every Mom.

Duck Dynasty’s Missy Robertson has been married to her husband Jase for over 25 years—and in that time, she says, she’s learned a LOT about marriage. The mom of three recently posted to her blog,, reflecting on when she was a new bride. Now that her son Reed is engaged to be married, she shared with him a conversation her loving father had with her the week of her own wedding, back in 1990. She says:

…he [my dad] stopped me in the hallway of our house one day during that festive week, took me by the shoulders, faced me head on and stated, “Missy, I need to tell you something very important”, it definitely got my attention. He looked me dead in the eyes and said, “When you get married on Friday, you can’t come home.”

What? Where in the world did this come from? Maybe I didn’t hear him correctly. So, I asked him to clarify.

Again, he said, “You are not welcome to come back to this house to live after Friday night.”

At first Missy thought that seemed awfully harsh, but as she and Jase worked through the predictable problems and adjustments of early married life, she became thankful for her dad’s words. She says as a newlywed there were times that she laid in bed crying, wishing she could run back to her parents’ home and away from the responsibilities and struggles of married life, but then: “I would remember what my dad told me, and I knew I had to go talk to Jase about it.”

She says her dad’s words helped solidify her commitment to her marriage as a young bride, and that’s why she recently shared them with her son Reed and his fiancée, Brighton.

She says she told them this story of her dad’s pre-marital verbal smackdown because she wants them to understand, too, that God’s design for marriage means sticking together and working out problems with God’s help, not running home to mom and dad to fix things or escape. She cites Genesis 2:24 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

Learning from her own loving father, this loving mom says of her son and his bride-to-be:

So, not only did I tell them my memory of that awkward conversation I had with my dad all those years ago, I also took the opportunity to pass down the same information to Reed. I left them with these endearing words:

“Reed, I love you with all my heart, but once you say ‘I do’ this fall, you can’t come home. And Brighton, you’re stuck with him.”

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Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss!

Saturday Evening Post, which prompted him to pack his bags and move to New York where he ended up spending several years in advertising. His first book, ‘And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street’, was finally published in 1937 after being rejected no less than 27 times! It was with that book that Ted coined the pen name of Dr. Seuss and he went on to publish four more children’s books before the U.S. entered World War II. When the war erupted, his work became increasingly politically and socially charged, and he found an eager audience among some of the days most popular periodicals. In 1942, too old for the World War II draft, Ted served with Frank Capra’s Signal Corps, making animated training films and drawing propaganda posters for the Treasury Department and the War Production Board. Needless to say, his career as a children’s book writer was put on hold. After the war, Ted and his wife moved to La Jolla, California where he returned to writing children’s books, including such favorites as If I Ran the Zoo, Gerald McBoing Boing and Horton Hears a Who. His mainstream breakthrough came from a project he did for William Ellsworth Spaulding, however, who was at the time the director of the education division at Houghton Mifflin. In May 1954, Life magazine published a report on illiteracy among school children which concluded that children were not learning to read because their books were boring. The article prompted Spaulding to recruit Ted to write a book using the 250 words he felt were most important for first-graders to recognize. Incorporating 236 of Spaulding’s words, Ted produced The Cat in the Hat. It retained the drawing style, verse rhythms, and all the imaginative power of Geisel’s earlier works but, because of its simplified vocabulary, it could be read by beginning readers. His zany characters, fantastical places and magical use of words have endeared him to children the world over for generations now. When explaining the “logical insanity” of his work, Ted said in an interview, “If I start with a two-headed animal, I must never waiver from that concept. There must be two hats in the closet, two toothbrushes in the bathroom, and two sets of spectacles on the night table. Dr. Seuss went on to win two Academy awards, two Emmy awards, a Peabody award, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, and the Pulitzer Prize. He also has a star on the Hollywood Hall of Fame. Ted Geisel died of oral cancer at his La Jolla, California home in 1991. He had no children, saying “You have ’em; I’ll entertain ’em.”

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Happy Fat Tuesday!

Today is officially Mardi Gras, aka Fat Tuesday, with colorful celebrations taking place all around the globe. The most famous of these in the U.S. is no doubt the huge bash they hold in New Orleans, Louisiana. Other cities with famous Mardi Gras celebrations include Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Quebec City, Canada; George Town, Cayman Islands; and Mazatlan and Sinaloa, Mexico. Mardi Gras marks the end of the Carnival season, which actually has its roots in Christianity. Fat Tuesday falls the day before Ash Wednesday, which can fall anytime between February 4 and March 10, depending on the date of Easter. In Christian tradition, Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent which consists of 40 days of fasting, a mirror of the 40 days and nights Jesus Christ spent fasting in the desert. Traditionally, no parties and celebrations were held during the Lenten period and rich foods were not consumed. Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras day, was thus the last night in which observers would eat meat, dairy, fats and sugar. As those goods would likely not still be safe to eat by the time Lent ended 6 weeks later, communities would gather for a large party in order to consume all the “indulgent” food. It’s those gatherings that are believed to have evolved into the Carnival season. MardiGras is thought to have arrived in North America as a French Catholic tradition, probably brought by the Bienville brothers in the late 17th century. King Louis XIV sent the pair to defend France’s claim on US territory, which now includes the states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The history books tell us on March 2, 1699, French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville arrived at a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans, and named it “Pointe du Mardi Gras” after his men pointed out it was the eve of the festive holiday. That same night, they celebrated as part of their own Catholic practice. New Orleans was established in 1718 by Bienville and by the 1730s, Mardi Gras was celebrated openly in New Orleans, but it looked quite different than it does today, usually just consisting of neighborhood gatherings that included lots of food and dancing, with partygoers wearing costumes and masks. In the early 1740s, Louisiana’s governor, the Marquis de Vaudreuil, organized elegant society balls, which became the model for the New Orleans Mardi Gras balls of today. The parades of today came about in 1856, when a group of businessmen organized a “secret society”, aka a “krewe”, in order to throw the city’s first formal parade. The magnificent floats and all the pomp and theatrics of today’s parades are the work of the city’s many krewes, which now number around 100. Mardi Gras is such a part of the Louisiana’s heritage, it was declared a legal state holiday in 1875. From what I understand, the population of New Orleans more than doubles in the week before Mardi Gras as people from all around the world arrive to participate in the city’s giant party!

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10 Life Lessons To Consider

I’ve been lucky in life to meet some fantastic individuals and great thinkers. I sat down this past weekend and just wrote down 10 quick life lessons that were passed along my direction through the years and wanted to share. I hope you find a couple of them interesting enough to share with your family or friends. For with it’s worth I had some free time this weekend as my wife was down at my daughters sorority for “Mom’s Weekend” and my son was down in New Orleans at Mardi Gras with some fraternity buddies. I was going to go out and play some golf but the weather got bad…

The Key to Life is Moderation: There’s a great quote by Democritus that reads, “Throw moderation to the winds, and the greatest pleasures bring the greatest pains.” A lot of folks like to think of “moderation” in terms of food or spending habits, but I’ve ran across lots of people who have painted themselves into a corner because they’ve become overly obsessive about anything and everything. Can you have too much love that it will bring pain into your life or can you have too much kindness? Can you have too much faith and can you be too health-conscious? In today’s world that certainly seems to be the case as everyone becomes more obsessive compulsive. Unfortunately it’s becoming much more difficult to stay “moderate” as technology continues to rapidly change and advance our world. We simply have such an abundance of opportunities to become obsessive as everything becomes more con venient and so much more easily accessible. People now need counseling for everything because they’ve become so overly obsessed. It’s important that we work harder than ever to bring more balance to our lives.

You Can’t Be Afraid To Discard: Often times it’s how quickly you can define and discard your losers that makes you a winner. I have read that the psychological impact of losing is thought to be twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining. Hence the reason most of us are scared to try new things or afraid to throw in the towel on an existing commitment. We’v been told our whole life not to be a quitter, but I don’t agree. In fact the most successful and happiest people I’ve come across in life are the ones who are the quickest to quit what they don’t like and move on to find something that works better. I now constantly look at my investments and ask myself if I would be a buyer or invest in the same knowing what I know now. If the answer is “no” I liquidate. In the past I would sit in the losing position trying to justify my decision and continue trying to make a round hole fit into a square peg. Ironically many of my best decisions in life have come fro m my decision to discard. I met my wife, my best friend, by discarding a relationship with someone else. I created my business by discarding a different career. The list goes on and on. I’ve come to believe getting rid of the bad cards is perhaps the most important part of building a strong hand. I’ve learned to allow myself the uncomfortable luxury of changing my mind.

Disagreements Are NOT Personal Attacks: I’m not sure where life changed or how society has moved to thinking everything is a personal attack. In fact it’s tough to hire anyone these days who can take even the slightest bit of constructive criticism. Look at how personal the recent elections became, while in fact our country was founded on a difference of both religion and ideologies. Just because someone doesn’t agree with your thoughts or perspective doesn’t mean they are launching a personal attack. I’m starting to think social media is somewhat to blame as it allows people to bully without the repercussions of getting punched in the face. In addition the algorithms aggressively help to fuel the fire. If you click on one story about a particular political issue, you are soon bombarded with hundreds of articles and opinions voicing similar views. Next thing you take ownership of these thoughts without fully understanding both side of the argument. When someone comes along and challenges your new found genius and you are unable to fully or successfully rebuttal, you feel backed into a corner and come out swinging. I jsut think we need to remind ourselves it’s ok for people to disagree with our opinions and ideologies. It is clearly dividing our country and putting our kids in a very precarious situation

Love the Process: Everyone wants to win the trophy or be “the man”, but very few have the ability to grind it out and make it happen. The reason is because most don’t enjoy the everyday “process”. It’s the everyday grind and “process” that wins the prize. Everyone wanted to be Michael Jordan, Joe Montana or Tiger Woods but nobody wanted to do the work or put in the everyday grind and commitment that made them so successful. The people who get really good at basketball are those who enjoy doing dribbling and layup drills. Successful online business owners don’t just enjoy making money; they enjoy doing things like writing articles or managing ad campaigns. Everyone wants the outcome, but in order to be motivated to work towards it, day in and day out, you have to learn to get enjoyment out of the process.

Working Smart Is More Important Than Working Hard: I’m certainly not discounting the fact “working hard” is an admiral trait, but working smart and being consistent is a much more important ingredient for success. A great piece of advic e is “we are what we do consistently”. Hard work is important, but you won’t accomplish much by working hard for a while, getting exhausted and giving up. To achieve something great, you have to be able to enjoy it on a regular and consistent basis. This means you need to pace yourself; work as hard as you’re able to sustain, not so hard you get burnt out. It’s very obvious that even if you’re determined that nobody will outwork you, you still have maximum limits regarding working hours; and there’s always someone who’s willing to sleep less than you. Think about it like this, many people work hard, but only a few become really successful.

Allow Others To Help: I had an old football coach give me some worldly wisdom a few years back. He had fallen off a ladder while painting some 30-feet in the air during the summer off-season. The fall almost killed him and landed him in ICU for several weeks. When he got out of the hospital everybody in the community as well as former players and students where coming by his house to offer help and assistance. At first he was extremely frustrated because he wanted to try and start rehabilitating and doing all of the things for himself. But he was a strong Christian and learned through his belief that it wasn’t only about him. People wanted to be a part of his rehab and needed to feel like they could be of assistance and offer help. Accepting help is actually giving others the gift of being able to take action and show love to you when they might otherwise feel helpless. Letting others help you is allowing God to work through others and helping to humble our hearts. “I will bless those who bless you.” Genesis 12:3a

It’s Not A Problem Until It’s A Problem: This one is fairly self explanatory in the fact most “big problems” start as something extremely simple and of little concern. Not addressing the issue or giving it proper attention allows it to become a major problem.

Invest In Yourself: I recently asked a golf professional, who is a close friend of mine, what would be the best way to spend $300 on technology for an average golfer to improve his game. His response was, “lessons”. That answer clearly caught me by surprise as I was looking for a new driver, new golf gadget, etc… Interestingly there’s been a ton of improvements in education and ways to improve our techniques and thoughts. Unfortunately many of us overlook the obvious and fail to invest in ourselves, fail to pay a coach, or to attend a motivational conference. We will send our truck in for a tune-up or the regular oil-change, but won’t invest in the regular maintenance of ourselves. I remember Mark Cuban once saying the most important investment we can make is in ourselves. If we can keep our minds and body healthy we can continue to generate income. If we don’t take care of ourself mentally and psychically there’s a very strong chance our personal money making machine will have to be shut down for an extended period. I know many of us often get caught up in investing in our children or our businesses, but investing in ourself truly makes a difference in our life, our well-being, and our ability to thrive and perform to the best of our ability. The extent to which you invest in yourself, mind and body, not only shapes the way you interact with the outside world, it often reflects the opinion you have of yourself. Therefore your future is in large part determined by your willingness and ability to invest in yourself today.

Don’t Over-Coach: Its been said many times, “Simple almost always beats complex…” I’ve also learned that “over-coaching” denies others one of the greatest life lessons and character development opportunities available, the development of decision-making skills and learning to live with the consequences of their own decisions and actions. Even though you may have the best of intentions, by trying to dictate all that happens you aren’t letting the people you love take control and grow as independent individuals. In the sporting world “over-coaching” is perhaps one of the most common mistakes and most deadly sin. You have to know when to back away, take off the reigns and let the horse run!

Nothing Worthwhile Is Ever Easy: I heard someone once say that when people are asked late in life what are some of their most memorable moments, the general response was always something that was extremely difficult: Raising their children; Completing a marathon; Climbing a mountain; Building a business, etc… The point is it was never anything easy like buying a new car, buying a house, etc… We often get caught up in thinking we can ease our pain or comfort ourselves by buying a classic car, new watch, or new house, when in the end it’s generally the things we really struggled with and at the time found to be extremely difficult that ultimately provides the most meaning. Think about it… it’s always when we sell that house, farm or business that we sit back and think about all of the fantastic team and life building experiences and memories that were made during our struggles. Unfortunately we are in such a big hurry chasing the wrong things that we tend to miss many of them as they are passing by…

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