Category Archives for "3 thumbs up"

Marriage, Missions, and Marlins

It’s the weekend, and I just wanted to let you know about three cool things.


I posted about this at the beginning of the month, but I wanted to give you a little reminder.  What ever stage or state your marriage is in, it could always use a little extra.  Family Life has teamed up with The Stretched Blog to offer a discounted rate for Stretched readers.  Simply go to the Family Life Weekend to Remember site, and register using the group code:  STRETCHED.  This will give you a significant discount on the normal rate of this conference.  Check out my original post for more details.


Today is the last day that you can pick up a free electronic copy of a new book by Seth Barnes.  Simple go to and search for Kingdom Journeys (Kindle Edition).  The offer is gone at the end of the day today.  For a chance to win a hard copy of the book, see my post from earlier this week.  I’ll be picking a winner early next week, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to pick up a great new book.  The book itself has a missions emphasis, but it’s about so much more than missions as you and I typically think about it.


Don’t misunderstand me on this one, I’m a huge Phillies fan which would typically put me at odds with the Marlins.  But I have a very small place in my heart for the Marlins after reading about this story on the POTSC blog this week.  Check out this video, and I think you’ll see why:

Do you have anything that starts with the letter “M” that deserves a mention?

3 Thumbs Up! August 11th, 2012

It’s been a while, but here are my 3 thumbs up for this week.

Thumbs Up Number 1:  Chris Cannon Music.  I met Chris on my recent trip to Guatemala.  He was one of our team leaders who worked for AIM (Adventures in Missions).  Each night, Chris lead our team in worship up on the roof of the compound where we stayed.  For his last night in Xenacoj, Guatemala, he shared his story with our team.  Part of Chris’s story includes a song that he wrote following the death of a friend.  I’ve been listening to the song (Called Home) over and over again this week.  As Chris heads back to the United States to finish up his schooling, he will also be working on an album that he hopes to release in the coming months.  To get a taste of his music style, go to iTunes and purchase his song.  Great stuff!

Thumbs Up Number 2:  Adventures in Missions.  This was the organization that our Guatemala team worked with during our time in Xenacoj.  I was very impressed by the organization and the team of four leaders that led and served our group.  While I was there, I learned that Adventures in Missions (A.I.M.) offers trips for youth groups, families, and young adults in the United States and all around the world.  If you’re interested in pursuing a short-term trip from a week to a year, you should check out A.I.M. at

Thumbs Up Number 3:  Rob Sorbo blogs about missions every Wednesday.  It’s appropriate that I would highlight Rob and his blog this week as I focus on missions and my recent trip to Guatemala.  Rob grew up as an MK – Missionary Kid, so he has some experience to back up his writing.  Go check out Rob’s blog to see what I’m talking about.  Leave him a comment, and tell him that I sent you.

What else deserves a thumbs up this week?

3 Thumbs Up! June 30, 2012

Each week, I feature 3 things that deserve a thumbs up.  Here are my 3 Thumbs Up! for this week.

Thumbs Up Number 1:  Woodside Lodge at Spring Mountain.  A couple of weeks ago, Leanne and I went out with some good friends to this “new” restaurant in our area.  This renovated restaurant and lodge used to be known as Woodside Inn.  Several years ago, Leanne and I went to the Inn for dinner, but we weren’t all that impressed.  The newly opened Lodge was a completely different experience.  The wait staff was helpful.  The restaurant was laid out well and nicely decorated.  And the food was delicious.  If you enjoy trying local craft beers, there are several beers from around the region on tap.  We left the restaurant satisfied and excited about the prospect of coming back for more.  If you live in the Perkiomen Valley area, you should consider checking out the Woodside Lodge at Spring Mountain.

Thumbs Up Number 2:  Reading Phillies.  This week, our 4-H Seeing Eye Puppy Club ventured to the First Energy Stadium to take in a Reading Phillies game.  The Reading Phils are the Double-A Minor League affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies.  We had a wonderful experience all around.  Our seats were right along the 3rd base line (there’s not a bad seat in the whole stadium).  The food is reasonably priced.  The parking was free.  Between each half inning, there is entertainment that included vegetable racing, hot dogs being thrown into the stands, dancing tooth fairies, and many other acts.  We were also personally welcomed by a representative from the club who checked back with us a few times to make sure we were having a good experience.  On top of that, the Phillies won the game!  What more could you ask for.  If you live in the area, you should check out a game.  If you don’t live in the area, consider checking out your local minor league team.

Thumbs Up Number 3:  Life As Experienced.  This blog by Seth Caddell has become one of my new favorites.  Life As Experienced provides spiritual insights on everyday life from this self-proclaimed pastor, husband, X-Box player, and Christ follower.  Seth blog posts that appear 3 times each week or short and sweet and right to the point.  Check out Life As Experienced to see what I’m talking about.  Leave a comment, and tell Seth that I sent you.

What else deserves a thumbs up this week?


3 Thumbs Up! June 24th, 2012

This week’s 3 Thumbs Up! moved to Sunday thanks to a great guest blogging opportunity at Some Wise Guy.  If you haven’t done so already, please go over to K.C. Procter‘s blog and read my post titled, Don’t Blink!.  Meanwhile, here are my thumbs up for this week:

Thumbs Up Number 1:  Zoup!  No huge description here other than this place serves great soup and sandwiches.  Leanne and I stopped here after church today for lunch while our kids finished up practice at church.  Zoup! serves 12-15 different soups every day, and you are always welcome to try free soup samples before you make your decision.  Today, I enjoyed a shrimp and craw-fish soup with a four cheese melted sandwich.  Great stuff!  Check it out if you can find one in your area.

Thumbs Up Number 2:  The Mighty Macs.  I had heard about this movie before, but I hadn’t had an opportunity to see it until we sat down last night and found it on Netflix.  The Mighty Macs is a movie based on the true story of the Immaculata College girls basketball team from the early 1970s.  Immaculata isn’t far from where I live, so it was cool to hear about a team who played so close to home.  I’ve seen many other sports movies that probably have more grueling practice and game scenes, but the movie still provided enough drama and excitement to keep us all alert until the end.  The story represented in the movie depicts the power of perseverance and belief that anything is possible.  We could all use a little bit of that positivity from time to time.  If you’re looking for a movie that works for the entire family, you should consider checking out The Might Macs.

Thumbs Up Number 3:  The Daily Retort.  I discovered Tor Constantino‘s blog a couple of months ago after we crossed paths several times in the blog world over the past six months.  Tor is an ex-journalist, best-selling author, blogger, and speaker.  He is also a husband and father.  I appreciate how he intermixes his faith and his family with his regular blog posts.  Tor and his wife are expecting a child any day, so many of his recent posts have been related to the anticipation of their new arrival.  Go check out Tor’s blog, add The Daily Retort to your reading list, leave him a comment, and tell him I send you.

What else deserves a thumbs up this week?

3 Thumbs Up! June 16th, 2012

This week’s 3 Thumbs Up! post has a dad flair.  Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Thumbs Up Number 1: Some Wise Guy (tidbits from the trenches of fatherhood).  This is an excellent blog by K.C. Procter.  I’ve been following K.C. and his blog for a while now.  Over the past few months, he really narrowed the focus of his blog to fatherhood.  It’s been fun to see his passion and commitment to his family shine through the pages of his blog.  This week he’s featuring several guest bloggers who you may recognize.  Check out Some Wise Guy.  Stop by and leave a comment.  Tell K.C. that I sent you!

Thumbs Up Number 2:  Dad Life.  Just watch the video.  You’ll see why this deserves a thumbs up.

Thumbs Up Number 3:  Christlink.  This is a blog by my dad.  He doesn’t write on it every day, but he continues to add things through the add-on pages that you can reach via his navigation menu.  His additional pages include sermon notes, a writing workshop, thoughts on being an interim pastor, and a page he calls pilgrim path.  My dad has been a huge influence on my writing career from high school to now.  Drop by his blog and see what I’m talking about.

What else deserves a thumbs up this week?

3 Thumbs Up! June 9th, 2012

Saturday typically means 3 thumbs up around here on the Stretched blog.  Each week, I highlight three things that deserve a thumbs up.  Here are my three for this week:

Thumbs Up Number 1:  Perkiomen Carnival Fireworks.  It’s been several years since we’ve taken the kids over to the Central Perkiomen Carnival (formerly known as the Schwenksville Carnival).  But it’s rare that we miss out on the Friday fireworks that are a traditional part of this carnival.  We have the benefit of watching the fireworks from the edge of our backyard.  Last night, I picked up Hannah from her 8th grade formal dance (that’s a whole other story).  After we got home, we sat in our backyard enjoying the fireworks.  For a small town, they do a great job with these fireworks each year.  The beauty is that I don’t have to fight traffic when the shows over.  I just fold up my lawn shares and walk in the house.

Thumbs Up Number 2:  MacBook Pro.  We just picked up our MacBook Pro this week, and I honestly haven’t had a lot of time to play with it yet, but I can tell that this product deserves a thumbs up.  It’s an adjustment to mindshift from the PC world to the Mac world, but I like what I’ve seen so far.  The screen is clean, the navigation seems good (once we get used to it), and the machine itself is well-built.  It was a bit pricey compared to other laptops on the market today, but I get the impression that we won’t be disappointed.  If you have a MacBook, do you have any tips for a new user like me?

Thumbs Up Number 3:  Jumping TandemJumping Tandem is an incredible blog by Deidra (Dee) Riggs.  I recently rediscovered this blog thanks to the wonders of the internet and social media.  Dee shares her journey with amazing creativity, passion, and style through her writing.  Dee and her husband live out in the mid-west, but I have the privilege of knowing her when she was part of our church and our small group ministry several years ago.  Please check out Jumping Tandem, so you can see what I’m talking about.  This blog is definitely worth adding to your reader.  Stop by and leave a comment; tell Dee that I sent you!

What else deserves a thumbs up this week?

(Don’t forget to get in the Giveaway that I announced on Monday.  I’ll be announcing the winner next week.)

3 Thumbs Up! June 2nd, 2012

Time for another rendition of the Stretched 3 Thumbs Up!  Each week, I highlight 3 things that deserve a thumbs up.  This week is a bit of a hodgepodge which I hope you’ll enjoy.

Thumbs Up Number 1: Home Sausage Making.  Before you laugh or get too grossed out, hear me out on this one.  This book is a great resource for anyone who is adventurous enough to try making their own sausage.  There are so many great recipes in the book along with tips for making sausage.  Homemade sausage is way better than store-bought sausage.  I enjoyed homemade bratwurst over the weekend, and it was clearly better than anything you can buy already made.  Check out Home Sausage Making for a fun, new culinary experience.

Thumbs Up Number 2:  Pandora.  Pandora has become one of my favorite apps for the iPad.  Pandora is an on-line radio application that allows you to create your own radio station based on a song or artist.  Within seconds, I can listen to music that fits my mood or focus.  The application is also available for PCs and iPods (and other platforms I would imagine).  I know the local radio guys don’t like this application, but it’s worth checking out Pandora if you’re trying to listen to a certain type of music.

Thumbs Up Number 3:  Team GCC.  This is a new blog and new adventure by a group of students and alumni from Grove City College.  This team of young men is pedaling across the country with a common vision and purpose.  They started in Seattle, Washington this past week, and they’re currently making their way across the northwest.  Check out Team GCC, and follow them as they make this 4,000 mile journey.

What else deserves a thumbs up this week?

3 Thumbs Up! May 26th, 2012

Since I’m off camping this weekend, I thought it would be fun to feature a camping themed 3 Thumbs Up! post.  Each week, I highlight three things that deserve a thumbs up.

Thumbs Up Number 1:  Byron’s Dutch Oven Cooking Page.  Over the past several years, I’ve developed a love for Dutch oven cooking.  Dutch ovens are special cast iron pots that are placed in the coals of a hot fire and used to cook all kinds of food from appetizers to side dishes to entrees to desserts.  Byron’s Dutch Oven Cooking Page has become one of my favorite places to visit to discover new Dutch oven recipes.

Thumbs Up Number 2:  Cabela’s Outfitter XL Cot.  I’m a fairly big guy at 6’6″ and just over 200 pounds.  As I’ve gotten a bit older, my back hasn’t handled sleeping directly on the ground like it used to.  This cot from Cabela’s has become my biggest friend on my camping trips.  The cot gives me a more comfortable sleeping surface that is off the ground.  It also provides some great storage space for flashlights, my journal, and other small things that need to be stored by my side at night.

Thumbs Up Number 3:  The Raven Charter.  Yesterday was my brother’s birthday.  For the past several years, he has been part of a band called The Raven Charter.  TRC is home-based in the Dallas, TX area, and they’ve played at venues all over Texas.  Their brand of alternative hard-edged rock is creative and though-provoking.  Check them out here.  Also, consider picking up their music from iTunes.

What else deserves a thumbs up this week?  Share with the rest of us, so we can all learn and enjoy.

3 Thumbs Up! May 19, 2012

Time for another fun episode of 3 Thumbs Up!  Each weekend, I present three things that deserve a thumbs up (in my opinion).  This weekend provides a fun look at a blog, an iPad application, and something a little different from normal.  Here goes!

Thumbs Up! Number 1:  Jazz Music.  What?  This is way too general!  I hear you, but I couldn’t help but add this to my thumbs up after a community jazz concert last night that featured my son’s jazz band from Perkiomen Valley Middle School West along with the jazz band from Perkiomen Valley High School.  I spent a lot of time playing jazz music through junior high and high school.  Hearing the bands and seeing the fun they have together reminded me of my days of playing the saxophone in the band.  There’s something so wonderful and expressive about jazz music.  If you get a chance this weekend, find some jazz music.  Sit back, and enjoy!

Thumbs Up Number 2:  Stitcher.  Stitcher is a radio application for the iPad, iPhone, and Android.  I downloaded this FREE app from the Apple AppStore, and I haven’t been disappointed so far.  I’m currently listening to a jazz station from Pittsburgh.  Through the Sticher application you can listen to hundreds of live radio stations, or you can listen to all kinds of on demand shows.  I haven’t hooked up with any friends yet through the application, but apparently it can be used as a social media connection point as well.  Check out Stitcher to see what I’m talking about.

Thumbs Up Number 3The Scenic Route.  This is a great blog by Eileen Knowles.  According to Eileen, “The Scenic Route is one girl’s journey from bondage to freedom, from despair to hope, from fear to faith. It is my desire that those who come across this blog will be encouraged to take the scenic route too.”  Eileen writes about everyday thoughts, pains, and struggles, and she ultimately shares the hope that carries her through life’s roller coaster.  Her blog posts often remind me to stop and enjoy the journey.  Consider adding The Scenic Route to your regular reading routine.  Stop by, leave a comment, and tell Eileen that I sent you!

Now it’s your turn!  What else deserves a thumbs up this week?

3 Thumbs Up! May 12th, 2012

Time for this week’s 3 Thumbs Up! Stretched blog post. For the past several weeks I have used this post as an opportunity to highlight three things that get my thumbs up. This has become a highlight for me as it gives me a chance to support the work of others. So… here are three things that get my thumbs up this week.

Thumbs Up Number 1:  Josh Hamilton. I’m not a Texas Rangers fan despite the fact that my parents live in Dallas, TX. However, it’s hard not to appreciate the story of Josh Hamilton. He has weathered the ups and downs of drugs, alcohol, and celebrity. As recently as this past off-season, Hamilton has dealt with the demons of his past. This week, Hamilton hit four home runs in one game. I haven’t heard the interview yet, but I hear that he gave a pretty moving interview after this achievement in which he talked about his past and about his faith.  Hamilton’s story is inspiring.  He’s obviously not perfect, and I’m sure he will continue to struggle with life.  What inspires me about his story is that there is still hope and redemption and salvation.  This is a story we all need to cling to.

Thumbs Up Number 2:. Blogging Your Passion Podcast. I just stumbled across this podcast this week as I was loading new podcasts on my iPod in preparation for a long day on the road. So far, Blogging Your Passion has released two episodes in which the speakers share valuable tips on how to improve your blogging along with suggestions on how to increase traffic. I listened to both episodes on Tuesday, and I found them very informative. I’ll be back to listen to future episodes.

Thumbs Up Number 3:  Executive Pastor Online by Kevin Stone.  I’m not an executive and I’m not a pastor, but I find myself resonating and thinking through many of the things that Kevin throws up on his blog on a regular basis.  Kevin came out of the corporate world to take on the challenges of running the business side of a church (my church).  His thoughts on leadership and team development often fit in with what I’m wrestling with in my own job as an operations manager.  If you’re interested in some new leadership ideas or if you are interested in reading thoughts from a guy who wants to help other churches, I’d recommend you check out Executive Pastor Online.

And those are my three thumbs up for this week!

What have you come across this week that deserves a thumbs up?