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    Car Shopping

    This weekend, Leanne and I decided it was finally time to trade in our old vehicle in exchange for a new one. While I absolutely love the thrill of driving a new vehicle, I could certainly pass on the whole shopping and negotiation experience.

    In the process of this whole thing, I went to three different dealers, and I heard some of the same lines from each of the dealers… “Are you ready to make a deal today?” “If we get this for you, is it a deal?” “We’re no pressure here at [so and so dealership].” “I guarantee that you’ll get this best deal here at [so and so dealership].” Do they have these salespeople trained well or what.

    We did end up getting a new vehicle, and we said goodbye to our mini-van of six years.

    One of the biggest highlights of this whole thing was a bit of parenting delight. The kids were with us for 3 hours at one dealership in the morning and 4 hours at another dealership in the afternoon. They were unbelievable. We received comments at both dealerships that they had never seen kids so quiet and well behaved. This was true! Hopefully, we won’t be doing this again for a while.

    Until the next post….

    Pray Without Ceasing

    Today was not necessary the most fun day in the world. I started today knowing that I was heading for a big meeting at one of my projects – a meeting where heads could role. Before I went to bed last night, I prayed that God would allow this potentially volatile meeting to go well and to be effective in bringing closure and completeness to this project.

    Well, this morning, I entered the meeting and left three hours later with a significantly sized do-to-list. Was I feeling a bit overwhelmed? Perhaps. But there really wasn’t any yelling or screaming at this meeting.

    Upon reflecting on this during my ride home from the office, I realized that God had answered my prayers. I believe the meeting was extremely constructive and positive towards moving closer to finishing this challenging and interesting project. What a cool perspective. Now, I have to get back to work tomorrow….

    Until the next post….

    Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

    This line from Forest Gump puts my day today in perspective.

    This morning, I started the day with a four mile run and a bowl of Life cereal. My day started out like a cup of hot chocolate – not too bad.

    I came home tonight after a “rough” day at work, a day where life seemed kind of like a chocolate stuffed with Exlax.

    Tonight; however, things turned around as I was treated to a rousing game of LIFE with my two wonderful kids. Despite being the games loser, I had a great time just spending time with two people who could care less about how much I can help them with their project. This was a great way to top off my day – more like a chocolate covered caramel.
    If you haven’t had the chance lately, take time to play a game with your family or friend.

    Until the next post….

    Duct, Duct, Goose

    Sometimes, I feel a little bit like Tim “The Toolman” Taylor

    Last night, I arrived home from work to hear that it was a little warm upstairs. I ran down to the breaker to make sure a breaker hadn’t tripped; I went outside to make sure the condenser was running; I went upstairs to feel for cold air at the diffusers; and I poked my head up in the attic to see if anything looked funny. Besides, a few of the diffusers not blowing any air, everything seemed alright. The space just seemed warm.

    Being in the engineering field (specifically in the HVAC controls field), you’d figure I’d get right down to it and get it fixed. Not so fast, I went downstairs, ate dinner, played a game with the kids, put them to bed, watched some TV; meanwhile, my brain is spinning. What could be causing this heat?

    I decided to poke my head up in the attic one last time before hitting the sack at 10PM. It was then that I noticed that an entire branch of the ductwork had buckled and separated. Should I fix it now or wait until tonight? You guessed it. After dragging my tools up stairs, dodging the rafters, sweating off a few pounds, and putting my carpentry and HVAC skills to work, I finally came down from the attic at 11PM to a cooler upstairs. Oh what fun…

    Until the next post (or Jon “The Toolman” incident)….

    Helping out at Camp

    Yesterday, I attended two training sessions. The first was for our church’s Kids’ Camp Adventure Island – kind of like a vacation bible school on steroids for kids 4 years old through 5th grade. The second was for our church’s Stretch Get Out of the Box Camp – a night time camp for middle school students.

    I’m excited to be involved in both of these camps. For one, I know that I will have a real blast playing with the kids. Secondly, it’s awesome to be involved in activities that really help to make an eternal difference in our community. And finally, I love the chance to connect with other adults who are getting outside the box to help out.

    I think the other things that is cool about these events is that it gives me a chance to give back. I was extremely blessed to experience all kinds of bible schools, summer camps, youth retreats, etc. thanks to wonderful volunteers like Ray and Joann Rivera, Dave and Nora Kennedy, Ken and Kathy Shumate, Bill and Elaine McFarland, and Pete and Janice Dearstyne (just to name a few).

    I’ll let you know how it goes….

    Until the next post….

    D.C. Talk

    Last week, our family took a mini-vacation to Washington D.C. We had an unbelievable time exploring the capital together.

    One of the highlights was a visit to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. This memorial which was built in 1997 bases tribute to FDR and his actions throughout his four presidential terms.

    Throughout the memorial there were FDR quotes carved into the walls. Here are a few that I thought I would share for you to ponder:

    “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

    “We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.”

    How is America living up to this today? How are you and I living up to this today?

    More on our trip to DC to come….

    Until the next post….

    Let’s Get It Started – Time To Stretch

    Stretched LOGO Header

    Well, this is the start of it all… Time to get my stretch on.

    I’ve been contemplating doing the blog thing for some time.  You might be wondering where the “Stretched” thing comes from.  For starters, when I was in high school at Rancocas Valley Regional High School, I was short – 5’6″ to start my junior year.  Since then, I’ve grown to almost 6’6″.  Many of my friends started calling me Stretch.

    On a more recent basis, I often feel “stretched” by all the things going on around me – career, marriage, parenting, church, running, reading, friendships, extended family, relationship with God, etc. (in no particular order).  My hope is that this blog will provide an opportunity to express some of my “stretch marks” and to possibly hear your thoughts as well.

    So here we go….

    Until the next posting….

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