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From Fitzgerald to Reagan, Letters of Fatherly Advice from Some of History’s Greatest Public Dads

June 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Family

“The secret of success is concentrating interest in life… interest in the small things of nature… In other words to be fully awake to everything.”

With Father’s Day around the corner, let’s take a moment to pay heed to some of the wisest, most heart-warming advice from history’s famous dads. Gathered here are five timeless favorites, further perpetuating my well-documented love of the art of letter-writing.


In a 1933 letter to his 11-year-old daughter Scottie, F. Scott Fitzgerald produced this poignant and wise list of things to worry, not worry, and think about, found in the altogether excellent F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters:

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage
Worry about Cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship
Worry about…

Things not to worry about:

Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions

Things to think about:

What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:

(a) Scholarship
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?

Your affectionate Dad


RONALD REAGANDays before 26-year-old Michael Reagan’s wedding in June of 1971, would-be U.S. President Ronald Reagan sent him this thoughtful and strikingly honest letter of marital advice, found in Reagan: A Life In Letters:

Dear Mike:

Enclosed is the item I mentioned (with which goes a torn up IOU). I could stop here but I won’t.

You’ve heard all the jokes that have been rousted around by all the “unhappy marrieds” and cynics. Now, in case no one has suggested it, there is another viewpoint. You have entered into the most meaningful relationship there is in all human life. It can be whatever you decide to make it.

Some men feel their masculinity can only be proven if they play out in their own life all the locker-room stories, smugly confident that what a wife doesn’t know won’t hurt her. The truth is, somehow, way down inside, without her ever finding lipstick on the collar or catching a man in the flimsy excuse of where he was till three A.M., a wife does know, and with that knowing, some of the magic of this relationship disappears. There are more men griping about marriage who kicked the whole thing away themselves than there can ever be wives deserving of blame. There is an old law of physics that you can only get out of a thing as much as you put in it. The man who puts into the marriage only half of what he owns will get that out. Sure, there will be moments when you will see someone or think back to an earlier time and you will be challenged to see if you can still make the grade, but let me tell you how really great is the challenge of proving your masculinity and charm with one woman for the rest of your life. Any man can find a twerp here and there who will go along with cheating, and it doesn’t take all that much manhood. It does take quite a man to remain attractive and to be loved by a woman who has heard him snore, seen him unshaven, tended him while he was sick and washed his dirty underwear. Do that and keep her still feeling a warm glow and you will know some very beautiful music. If you truly love a girl, you shouldn’t ever want her to feel, when she sees you greet a secretary or a girl you both know, that humiliation of wondering if she was someone who caused you to be late coming home, nor should you want any other woman to be able to meet your wife and know she was smiling behind her eyes as she looked at her, the woman you love, remembering this was the woman you rejected even momentarily for her favors.

Mike, you know better than many what an unhappy home is and what it can do to others. Now you have a chance to make it come out the way it should. There is no greater happiness for a man than approaching a door at the end of a day knowing someone on the other side of that door is waiting for the sound of his footsteps.



P.S. You’ll never get in trouble if you say “I love you” at least once a day.


Nobel laureate John Steinbeck was a prolific and eloquent letter-writer, as the magnificent Steinbeck: A Life in Letters reveals. Among his correspondence is this beautiful response to his eldest son Thom’s 1958 letter, in which the teenage boy confesses to have fallen desperately in love with a girl named Susan while at boarding school. Steinbeck’s words of wisdom — tender, optimistic, timeless, infinitely sagacious — should be etched onto the heart and mind of every living, breathing human being.

Dear Thom:

We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.

First — if you are in love — that’s a good thing — that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.

Second — There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.

You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply — of course it isn’t puppy love.

But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it — and that I can tell you.

Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.

The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.

If you love someone — there is no possible harm in saying so — only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.

Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.

It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another — but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.

Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.

We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.

And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.




The Secret to Learning Anything: Albert Einstein’s Advice to His Son

 “That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes.”

In 1915, aged thirty-six, Einstein was living in wartorn Berlin, while his estranged wife, Mileva, and their two sons, Hans Albert Einstein and Eduard “Tete” Einstein, lived in comparatively safe Vienna. On November 4 of that year, having just completed the two-page masterpiece that would catapult him into international celebrity and historical glory, his theory of general relativity, Einstein sent 11-year-old Hans Albert the following letter, found in Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children (public library)

My dear Albert,

Yesterday I received your dear letter and was very happy with it. I was already afraid you wouldn’t write to me at all any more. You told me when I was in Zurich, that it is awkward for you when I come to Zurich. Therefore I think it is better if we get together in a different place, where nobody will interfere with our comfort. I will in any case urge that each year we spend a whole month together, so that you see that you have a father who is fond of you and who loves you. You can also learn many good and beautiful things from me, something another cannot as easily offer you. What I have achieved through such a lot of strenuous work shall not only be there for strangers but especially for my own boys. These days I have completed one of the most beautiful works of my life, when you are bigger, I will tell you about it.

I am very pleased that you find joy with the piano. This and carpentry are in my opinion for your age the best pursuits, better even than school. Because those are things which fit a young person such as you very well. Mainly play the things on the piano which please you, even if the teacher does not assign those. That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes. I am sometimes so wrapped up in my work that I forget about the noon meal. . . .

Be with Tete kissed by your


Regards to Mama.

Regards to Mama

Maria Popova
By Maria Popova

The Best Summer Party Ideas

June 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Family
Make your own Twister and other classic games to play outside. So, so fun.

See more here on Design Sponge.

A summer classic. Add your own little spins for a BBQ your guests won’t forget any time soon.

See more here on Celebrations.

Pick a super hot day and plan on getting wet with a few fun water games.

See more here on HWTM.

If you were to tell me that ice cream parties are the best attended, I would not be surprised at all.

See more here on Oh Happy Day.

Sure Cinco de Mayo has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a fiesta! I love all the details of this party.

See more here on 100 Layer Cake-let.

I have always wanted to throw a backyard movie party. This sign would be the perfect touch.

See more here on Oh Happy Day.

How fun would this be? Have it in your backyard with plenty of glow sticks.

See more here on Kara’s Party Ideas.

When I was in college my roommates and I would get a party together and head out to the middle of nowhere for a little stargazing bash. Very romance inducing.

A summer staple! Serve snow cones of every flavor and have plenty of adorable snow cone decorations. Plenty.

See more here on Creature Comforts.

I love the idea of having a party dedicated to hot dogs. Have every thinkable topping and then some and let people create their masterpieces!

See more here on Noble Pig.

If you are lucky enough to have a pool, you must have a pool party. You must!

See more here on Catch My Party.

If you don’t have a sleepover, campout, or anything else camp-related, you have to have s’mores. It’s required.

See more here on Dukes and Duchesses.

If having a themed party is too much to handle, or if low-key is just more your style, try throwing a simple outdoor gathering. These lights would be all the decorations you would need. So rad.

Image found via Perpetually Engaged.

Read more from Melanie on You Are My Fave. Join Melanie on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

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Should I be Content with my Singleness?

June 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Advice and Tips
singlenessI am 33 and single. I have wanted to be married for as long as I can remember. As I’ve struggled to come to terms with the prospect of lifelong singleness, I’ve joined the chorus of others who desire marriage who ask, “If God wants me to be single, why hasn’t he taken away my desire for marriage?”Some would answer the question by saying that God allows this desire to persist because he does, in fact, want me to be married. They suggest that if I adjust my idea of the kind of man I could marry or if I date online, God will give me a husband. This may not be bad advice, though I don’t believe that any initiative or lack of initiative on my part is thwarting God’s good plan for my life.In fact, it’s possible that God may intend for my heart to continue to desire marriage without intending to satisfy that desire.

Picture of Desolation

Throughout the Scriptures, we find pictures of a bride without a bridegroom. In the biblical world, there’s no such thing as a self-centered, Sex in the City single lifestyle. A bride without a bridegroom is a picture of desolation. Take Ruth. Naomi rightly discerned that there was no future in ancient Israel for a widowed Moabitess. God ultimately provided a husband for Ruth, but until he did, her life was one of poverty and shame. web whois . Likewise, in the strange story of Jephthah’s daughter (Judges 11), who was put to death because of her father’s ill-considered vow, she and her friends wept, not over the fact that she would die, but that she would die a virgin.

I give thanks that my lot is not what it would have been for an unmarried woman in ancient times. I can work and support myself. I can own property. expired domains . ask question I don’t have to depend upon children to financially support me in old age.

Yet there is still sadness in the thought that I will never give birth and never know the love of a husband. There is still shame in a society that asks “What’s wrong with you?” if you never pair up with another person. whois In spite of the fact that these aspects of singleness are painful, I believe God has purpose in that pain.

When the Bridegroom Comes

There’s another picture in the Bible of a bride without a bridegroom. Those around her who see her plight judge her forsaken. That bride was Israel. In exile, she was as desolate as a woman without a husband or children. what is dns server what is a cloud But the prophet Isaiah prophesied a hopeful future for Israel:

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,

and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,

until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,

and her salvation as a burning torch.

The nations shall see your righteousness,

and all the kings your glory,

and you shall be called by a new name

that the mouth of the LORD will give.

You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD,

and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

You shall no more be termed Forsaken,

and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,

but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,

and your land Married;

for the LORD delights in you,

and your land shall be married.

For as a young man marries a young woman,

so shall your sons marry you,

and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,

so shall your God rejoice over you. (Isaiah 62:1-5)

This prophecy portrays God’s return of favor to Israel as the coming of a longed-for bridegroom. Even as it was partially fulfilled by Israel’s return from exile, the prophecy was ultimately fulfilled in the coming of Jesus, who referred to himself as the bridegroom.

If God ever gives me a husband, I will live out this picture of rejoicing in the long-awaited bridegroom. We’ll have a wedding feast, which will foreshadow the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19). The purpose in my season of singleness will be obvious to everyone who shares in my rejoicing; it was to make the consummation all the sweeter.

But what if I never marry? Do I fail as a picture of the gospel? Not at all. Instead, I will live and die as a portrait of what the church is meant to be now. Jesus forewarned that there would be a time between his ascension and his return, a time of waiting on the promised bridegroom:

Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to [Jesus], “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. (Mark 2:18-20)

As a single Christian living by God’s commands, I do not have a sex life. While most of us don’t view this abstinence as a fast, we should. By God’s grace, I will fast from sex until he brings me a bridegroom. Cieoaga I will also fast from a lot of other comforts that come with marriage (along with the attendant trials). And if I die without breaking this fast, I will die in the company of the faithful ones described in Hebrews 11, of whom we read, “And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:39-40).

Holy Discontentment

If you are a Christian who desires marriage, the chances are good that someone has quoted to you Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” People have used this verse to assure me that if marriage is the desire of my heart then God has a husband planned for me.

Upon closer reading, it is apparent that this verse does not mean God will give me everything I’ve asked for in prayer. This is a conditional promise. In order to receive the desires of my heart, I must delight myself in the Lord. If I am delighting myself in the Lord, what is the desire of my heart? He is.

While this verse may not promise an earthly end to my singleness, it does give me hope for joy in the Lord. Does this mean that I should be content with my singleness? I would answer that while I may never be content with my singleness, I can know God’s joy in my singleness. I can give thanks for it. I can use it to bless others. But I’m not going to waste time feeling guilty that I still desire marriage. web archive In fact, I’m going to view this unfulfilled desire as a parable of the holy discontentment we should feel until Christ returns.

The Bible tells us that we are aliens and strangers in this world. A single person knows what it feels like to live as an odd man out in a couple’s world. Why not glorify God by acknowledging that alienation while asking him to make you less at home in the world? Why not live a chaste life with the knowledge that you are embodying God’s will for his church as we fast and wait for our Bridegroom? Why not continue to pray for a spouse, even as you join in the words of the Spirit and the Bride who cry, “Come, Lord Jesus, come!”

Betsy Childs

Betsy Childs is the web and publications editor of Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama.


How to Master the Fine Art of Small Talk

June 1st, 2014 | 1 Comment | Posted in Advice and Tips
Note from Ashley: I think these tips are also useful for those sometimes-awkward church lobby conversations with new comers or people you only sort of know. How to Master the Fine Art of Small TalkSmall talk gets a bad reputation. To avoid this allegedly meaningless drivel, people skip networking events. Or, almost as bad, they attend, but talk to the three people they already know.This is shortsighted, says Debra Fine, author of The Fine Art of Small Talk. “Small talk is the appetizer for any relationship,” she says, and people like to do business with those with whom they’ve established common ground. “A good networker is looking to foster relationships and build a community never knowing how that contact can help now or in the future. My motto is ‘every conversation is an opportunity for success.’” Here’s how to do small talk better:1. LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS.

While you can hope for the best, don’t expect too much from any given chat. If you come to cocktail hour hoping for nothing more than a good restaurant or book recommendation, you can relax and enjoy yourself, and be pleasantly surprised by anything else that happens. Relaxed people are, incidentally, more enjoyable for others to be around too.


“I never approach a meeting, an industry function, or a networking event without at least three things to talk about,” says Fine. “When is the worst time to come up with something to talk about? When you have nothing to talk about!” In particular, she practices a solid answer to “How are you?” or “How are things?” so she doesn’t respond with an “unhelpful one word answer” that forces a conversation partner to do much of the work.


While questions are generally good, leading with one carries risk. You might ask about the one topic the person doesn’t want to cover: “How’s work?” results in “They just announced huge layoffs” or, more likely, an evasive answer and awkward silence. Some people might view asking a direct question at the start of a conversation as rude.

Instead, volunteer something positive about a topic that’s potentially common ground, so the person can choose to reciprocate. “Our host said she just got back from California” lets the person talk about the host, vacations, business she’s done in California, a time she visited California, etc.


Most people like to talk about themselves, so asking questions is a good way to follow up once you’ve established a safe topic. Avoid close-ended questions (“Did you go on Space Mountain?” could be answered “No”) and instead ask about favorite memories. That lets people tell their best stories.

If you’re in a conversation with someone who’s particularly hard to engage, try the old interview trick of giving people two options: “Did you rent a car in Amsterdam or take the train?” If one option is correct, people will elaborate on it (“We rented a car, but we had to special order a minivan. Hertz didn’t just have one at the airport…”) or if neither is, people are quick to correct a faulty impression (“Actually, we traveled the whole country by bicycle”). The correction then offers multiple follow-on possibilities.


You can extricate yourself (“I need to go say hello to my old client”) or you can introduce your conversation partner to someone (“Would you like to meet her?”) but there may be nowhere else to go. So good conversationalists also know how to shift. If she’s been talking about work, Fine likes to ask “What keeps you busy outside of work?”

If you’ve established general biographical info, she recommends letting the person show you her best self with “What has the highlight of your year been so far?” Who knows, it might be a highlight you’re interested too, and the person goes from small talk partner to honest-to-goodness friend.

Laura Vanderkam is a nationally recognized writer who questions the status quo and helps her readers rediscover their true passions and beliefs in pursuit of more meaningful lives. She is the author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast (Portfolio, August 27, 2013), and 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think (Portfolio, 2010). She blogs at

She is the author of All The Money In The World: What The Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending (Portfolio, March 1, 2012), 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think (Portfolio, 2010), and Grindhopping: Build a Rewarding Career Without Paying Your Dues (McGraw-Hill, 2007).

‘Lunchbox Dad’

June 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in For Kids
Lunchbox DadNot only does Beau Coffron make nutritious, kid-movie themed lunches for his two children each week, he also puts instructions for each meal on his website,, so other parents can do the same. Lunchbox Dad, you are a true hero of brown bag food… ask question us know if you try one of these creative lunches. We’d love to see pics!

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Lecrae: Finding a Father In God

June 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Videos

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A new initiative from CHRI that supports and distributes Contemporary Christian Music

June 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Music
CCMsource - screenshotCCMSource is a new digital music distributor and publisher providing fair access to world-wide distribution on multi-digital platforms for independent contemporary Christian music artists.  CCMSource wants to provide a music source for everyone seeking a personal relationship with God through a personal relationship with creators of the music that connects them.

Whether you are a new or an already published artist,  CCMSource will ensure that your music is available digitally on over 100 digital stores around the world.  The work process is very simple using our platform.  When your application is approved you will receive a login access to our content platform where you will have complete control of your catalogue.  You can upload your music, select the date of release, select exclusive stores, upload your cover art, videos, etc.

CCMSource will provide quarterly reports of all your sales by song, and by album, for each market around the world.

For more information, go to

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