Ice Breaker – Easter

April 18, 2014 — 4 Comments

Each week on The Stretched Blog, I ask an ice breaker question. The questions are designed to help us get to know each other here in The Stretched Community. I’ll provide my answer to the question here in the post, and then you can leave your response in the comments. While you’re in the comments section, see how others answered the ice breaker question.

(I’m always looking for Ice Breaker question ideas.  If you have an idea, send me an email at jon@jonstolpe.com.  If I use your question, I’ll give you credit and share your links.)

Question:  What is one of your favorite things about Easter?

My Answer:  Besides the obvious spiritual answer, I like black jelly beans.  I don’t eat jelly beans very often, but Easter often provides the excuse or opportunity to eat at least a few black jelly beans (and marshmallow peeps).

There are several other things I really enjoy about the Easter season.  For me, Easter signals the official start of spring.  Easter means brunch or dinner with family and friends.  It means Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.  It means a sunrise service.

And Easter is a reminder of the ultimate gift I’ve been given.

Happy Easter!

Answer this week’s ice breaker question by leaving a comment. I look forward to reading your response! (As always, feel free to share links.) And keep STRETCHING!

Also don’t forget to sign up for the Stretched newsletter.  Check out this post to find out how to sign up.  Subscribers will get a special deal on the upcoming release of On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field.


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4 more days until the release of On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field!

 

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Perhaps nothing helps us make the movement from our little selves to a larger world than remembering God in gratitude. Such a perspective puts God in view in all of life, not just in the moments we set aside for worship or spiritual disciplines. Not just in the moments when life seems easy. 

Henri Nouwen

In the picture above, it looks like I’m holding a giant pencil.  In reality, it’s the Washington Monument held by my strategically placed hands.

Perspective is an interesting thing.  We all come at life looking at things from a slightly different perspective.

In the world today, people seem to be convinced that perspective drives truth.  Or better said, “Truth is based on my perspective.  If you don’t see life from my perspective, you’re wrong.”

Absolute truth has essentially been thrown out the window, because today’s “truth” is based on our own perspectives.

There is something wrong with this when taken too far.  If you think I can hold the Washington Monument between my two hands because of the picture above, you would be wrong.  You don’t see the whole picture.  I think this is true for many aspects of life especially in today’s culture.

The only way to truly have the correct perspective is to keep searching for the truth.

Readers could argue that this is my perspective, but I’m convinced that absolute truth comes from a perspective build on God and His Word.

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 

John 8:31-32

What’s your perspective on truth?


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5 more days until the release of On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field!

It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure. 

Ernie Harwell

Today, our family says goodbye to Cody.

If you remember from a year ago, our family welcomed Cody to our family.  To read about his entry into our family, you can click here.

Cody joined our family when he was seven weeks old.  He was a tiny light-yellow fur-ball.  We knew he would be only joining our family for a short time.  He had a purpose, and we were assigned a role in helping him prepare for his purpose.

Cody is a Seeing Eye Puppy.  He was bred for the purpose of helping blind or visually impaired people.  Our assignment has been to help him grow through his early puppy stages.  We were responsible for getting him acclimated to the public.  And we were supposed to teach him basic commands like sit, rest, and down.

We’ve taken him to New York City, to our local Target, to the library, to church, on a bus, and on a train.

It hasn’t always been easy.  He has chewed a couple of window sills.  He left a couple of pee stains.  And his yellow hair is dispersed throughout our house.

Today, Cody heads to Morristown, NJ where he will begin the next phase of his journey.  He will go through a medical exam.  He will be placed with a trainer.  He will learn all the essentials for guiding someone who cannot see.  And if all goes well, Cody will be matched with a blind person.  And Cody will become a guide and friend for someone special.

Saying goodbye is bitter-sweet.  It’s tough to say goodbye to our four-legged friend who has certainly captured our hearts.  And it’s exciting to know that Cody may have the opportunity to change someone’s life forever.

Cody’s departure is a reminder that there are several things we can learn about goodbyes.

Five Things To Know About Goodbyes

  1. Goodbyes are part of life.  We all have to say goodbye.
  2. Goodbyes stretch us.  A goodbye can teach us many things.
  3. Goodbyes are not always fun.  It’s not always easy to say goodbye.  Sometimes goodbyes hurt.  And sometimes goodbyes make us sad.
  4. Goodbyes provide an opportunity for new beginnings.  Goodbyes often open the door to new adventures.
  5. Goodbyes don’t have to be the end.  Even if we won’t see someone again, we will always have memories.

What have you learned through your goodbye experiences?  How have you been stretched by the farewells of your life?


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6 more days until the release of On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field!

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April 22, 2014

On Track is a fantastic, quick read!  The stories are inspiring, the lessons life changing and the motivation undeniable!  Jon will have you hooked from the very first page!  The only challenge to reading this book is wanting to stop to apply its principles in your life immediately!  I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to get or keep their life On Track!”

Mark Sieverkropp, entrepreneur, speaker, author of Project:  Success (www.sieverkropp.com)

In one week, On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field will be officially released.  Initially, On Track will be available on Amazon as an eBook and in paperback.

This week, I’m spending time writing guest posts, doing podcast interviews, and answering questions about the book.  If you are interested in joining the On Track Launch Team, it’s not too late.  I am looking for people who are interested in reviewing the book on Amazon and on their blog.  I’m looking for people who will promote the book via their social media channels.  I’m open for podcast interview opportunities and other creative ways to get the word out about On Track.  If you have an idea and want to help out with the launch, send me an email at jon@jonstolpe.com, so we can connect.

How are you being stretched to get part of your life on track?

 

 

I spent most of the day on Saturday at the track helping out at the 7th Annual Viking Track & Field Invitational hosted by my daughter’s track team.  The day was absolutely beautiful and perfect for a track meet.

I was recruited to help out with checking in runners and handing out lane assignments before each of the races.  With twenty-five teams participating, it was a pretty busy job.  I had a great time working with the other “clerks” who had also volunteered in an effort to support their kids and the track team.

A minor mix-up happened at the end of the day that resulted in a relay team being assigned a heat and lane that didn’t necessarily match up with their seeding time.  The coach of the team came over to express his frustration with the situation, and I initially jumped in to explain what may have happened.

Eventually, I sent the coach to the officials tent at the finishing line.  I did not hear from the coach again, but our team’s track coach came over to find out what have happened at check in.  I told the coach how I made a mistake checking in the team after the team was late in checking in for the race.  I took partial blame for the problem, but I pushed it back at the team for failing to check in on time.  After I explained the story, our coach said something like, “That was our fault.  We screwed up.”

The coach didn’t push blame on the other team.  He took responsibility.  And he moved on.

What a great example!

So often when confronted with a problem, we seek to shift blame.  We don’t want to take responsibility.  We are typically looking to blame someone else.  We say things like, “I didn’t check them in correctly, BUT they were late checking in.”

It’s time we took responsibility.  We must learn to take the BUT out of our responses.  My story should have simply been, “I didn’t check them in correctly.”  Period.  No BUT….

I should have apologized to the coach and sent him to the officials tent (the officials were the only ones who could change the lane assignments).  Mistakes happen.  We need to take responsibility for our mistakes.  And we need to move on.

Hopefully, this didn’t ruin the day for the coach and his team.  It was a beautiful day for a track meet, and the rest of the meet seemed to go very well.

Do you struggle with shifting blame?  How can you take responsibility today?  What suggestions do you have for taking the BUT out of your responses?

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8 more days until the release of On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field!

 

 

Each week on The Stretched Blog, I ask an ice breaker question. The questions are designed to help us get to know each other here in The Stretched Community. I’ll provide my answer to the question here in the post, and then you can leave your response in the comments. While you’re in the comments section, see how others answered the ice breaker question.

(I’m always looking for Ice Breaker question ideas.  If you have an idea, send me an email at jon@jonstolpe.com.  If I use your question, I’ll give you credit and share your links.)

Question:  If you had a time machine, what year would you go to – past or future?

My Answer:  The idea of time travel has always intrigued me.  I’m not looking to rush things, and I don’t want to live in the past.  Picking a year is pretty tough.  Just for the fun of it, I think it might be interesting to go back to 1990.  This is the year I graduated from high school.  I would be more intentional in spending time with my parents, my brothers, and my grandparents.  At this stage in my life, I had no idea how the years would move my family geographically apart.

Answer this week’s ice breaker question by leaving a comment. I look forward to reading your response! (As always, feel free to share links.) And keep STRETCHING!

Also don’t forget to sign up for the Stretched newsletter.  Check out this post to find out how to sign up.  Subscribers will get a special deal on the upcoming release of On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field.

Enjoy the Journey

April 10, 2014 — 13 Comments

Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it. 

Greg Anderson

Last night, I posted a picture of the proof copy of my new book, On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field.

It came in the mail yesterday.  Actually, I received four copies.

Part of the self publishing process includes an opportunity to review an actual copy of your book before it goes public.  Honestly, I’m not sure I knew this was part of the experience until recently.

Writing a book has brought about a lot of new experiences.  I am doing my best to enjoy each aspect of this journey.  Believe me, I’m looking forward to the actual book being complete and available to the public, but there is so much that happens along the way.  I don’t want to miss it.

Most of life is the same way.

We have goals.  We have dreams.  We have targets.

One day, we’ll get there.  We’ll reach our dreams.  We’ll achieve many of our desires.  We may also miss out on reaching some of our targets and goals.

But there is a lot that happens between now and the achievement of our dreams.  These happenings aren’t meant to be missed.  They are meant to be experienced and enjoyed.  To quote Billy Joel (sorry David), “This is the time to remember, ’cause it will not last forever.”

Enjoy the journey!

What’s happening on the journey to your dream?  How are you making the most of the experience?

I arrived home tonight to find the prof copy of my first book, On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field! Pretty exciting!

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.  Michael Jordan

Last night after dinner, I recruited my wife and my son to join me outside to cleanup one of our flower beds.  We gathered our tools from the shed – a wheelbarrow, a rake, a hedge trimmer, a straight-edged shovel, and three pairs of gloves.  Then we proceeded to the flower bed by our driveway.  We started by picking up the remains of last years flowers.  Then we raked up all the leaves that were left from the fall.  Finally, we cut a new straight edge between the flower bed and the grass in the front lawn.  It took a little time, but I was amazed at how quickly it went with three of us working on it together.

Have you heard the expression – many hands make light work?

This was obvious yesterday as we worked together and cleaned up the flower bed in about half an hour.

I confess that I am not always good at asking for help.  I go about tasks on my own.  The job goes much slower.  It doesn’t always get done as well.  And I miss out on the company of others.

We must learn to ask for others help.

We must learn to let others join us in our journey.

Last night, I was blessed with time with my family and a clean flower bed.  I’m glad I asked for help.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.  Ecclesiastes 4:12

What are you trying to do these days?  What are you trying to accomplish all by yourself?

How might it help to ask for someone’s help?  Who do you need to ask for help?

No Regrets

April 8, 2014 — 14 Comments

“Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.”  C.S. Lewis

What do you regret?

We’ve all done things we regret.

To get you thinking, here are four different kinds of regrets.

  • Foot in the mouth regrets.  I can’t tell you how many things I’ve said something I regret.  It’s not that I like the taste of show leather.  It’s just that I don’t always think before I speak.
  • Lack of words or action regrets.  How many times have I kept my mouth shut when I should have spoken up?  This happens when I don’t speak up or stand up for someone or something when I could have made a difference.
  • Bearer of bad news regrets.  This is typically started with a phrase like, “I regret to inform you that….”  This is a regret that we are in a position of responsibility to share difficult news.
  • Regrets from sinfulness or poor decisions.  We’ve all done something that’s wrong.  We’ve lied.  We’ve stolen something.  We’ve cut someone down physically or verbally.  When we come to the realization that we did something wrong, we are left with regret, embarrassment, and the consequences of our actions.

We’re all human.  We all deal with regret.

Dwelling on our regrets leaves us in a position of hopelessness.  When we stay in the land of regrets, we fail to grow, we get depressed, and we demonstrate a lack of faith in God.

I don’t know what you have in your past.  I don’t know what you’ve done (or not done) that leaves you with regret.

It’s time to move forward.  You need to know that God still loves you – even when you mess up.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39

How do you move forward after doing something you regret?