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TODAY is the day!

Rooftop Reflections is officially available on for all the world to see, purchase, and review.

I’m truly praying this book will have an impact on readers which will hopefully result in having an impact on churches, communities, and the world.

This process of writing and launching this book has taken me down a wonderful journey – a journey which has confirmed to me that we are meant to be part of something EXTRAORDINARY.  Too many of us are stuck in the ordinary (or at least the perception of ordinary).  I know, because this was my story.  It all changed when a young youth pastor at my church invited me to go to Guatemala in 2012 with him and a bunch of high school students.  I was the guy working in corporate America trying to keep these running smoothly for my family and my life in general.

To steal a phrase from Jeff Goins, Guatemala WRECKED me.  In fact, it flipped my world upside down and caused me to look at things differently – in an EXTRAORDINARY way.

Purchase your copy of Rooftop Reflections – Missional Thoughts of an Ordinary Guy in an Extraordinary Place TODAY by clicking HERE.

For more information about the book, I’d encourage you to go to the book website at

The most anxious time was during launch, just because that is so dramatic.

Sally Ride

ONE MONTH FROM TODAY, my upcoming book (Rooftop Reflections) officially releases.
The book is ready to go, but there is still work to do before I can release the book to the world.
This is where I could really use your help.

In today’s world, a successful book release requires the support of a lot of people.  Gaining traffic and traction for a book launch happens when people talk about the book and share it with their friends, family, and colleagues.  It happens when people introduce the book and the author to other people with influence.

Rooftop Reflections is all about encouraging readers to move from the ordinary to find the extraordinary in their lives.  The book shares my story and passion for Guatemala, and it challenges readers to find ways to serve their neighbors around the world and right next door.

Today, I am officially starting the Rooftop Reflections Launch Team.  If you think you can help, I’d love to invite you to join the team.

When you join the launch team, you get…

When you sign up for the Rooftop Reflections Launch Team, you’ll get a pre-release PDF version of the book, and you’ll get access to the Rooftop Reflections Launch Team Facebook Group.  In addition, you’ll get updates on the book release.

When you join the launch team, you agree to help…

In exchange for joining the Rooftop Reflections Launch Team, I’m asking you to post a review for the book over at  I’m also asking you to promote the book and share your ideas for making the book launch a BIG SUCCESS.

To sign up for the Rooftop Reflections Launch Team, go over to the book website at and hit the link to Join the Team.

(If you know someone who is a perfect fit for the launch team, please pass this along to them and encourage them to sign up TODAY.)

Thanks in advance for you help!



The Monday after Thanksgiving has become a big day for shoppers.  Last year, shoppers purchased nearly $2.7 Billion on-line on Cyber Monday.  Cyber Monday was created by marketers to lure shoppers like you and me into purchasing on-line.  Shoppers are enticed with “deals”, discounts, and the allure of avoiding the chaos of in-store shopping.

I don’t know about you, but my family has found it much easier to shop on-line.  We get the things we want and need for the holidays without the pressure of the in-store experience.

Since it’s Cyber Monday and I know you are looking for that perfect gift for that special someone, I thought I should remind you of a gift that everyone wants and needs:

My book, On Track: Life Lessons from the Track & Field is available on-line at for less than $3.00.  This is the perfect stocking-stuffer or gift for anyone.

Here’s what several reviewers had to say about On Track:

It would be very easy for someone to read the title of this short book and think, “I only watch track every four years during the Olympics…this book isn’t for me.” The author does indeed talk about track and field, mostly at the high school level and in a very light and approachable way. But what this book really does is remind the reader that we all are surrounded in our everyday lives with little things that can help us grow, comfort us, or even kick us in the pants. We just need to be paying attention.

The beauty in this book is the way in which the author sees lessons in the little things, like the way sprinters set up their starting blocks. You do not need to be a fan of track and field to appreciate these observations. I believe that the author is more hoping to arm the reader with a few tools to look for lessons in their own everyday events that are relevant to their lives. Intentional or not, the book certainly did this for me. “On Track” then ties these observations back to recognizable verses of scripture. Much as the author hopes we’ll draw on our own memorable stories in our lives, he provides these memorable scripture passages for us to draw on as well.

I wouldn’t read this book expecting to learn much about track and field. That’s not really the point. This is a great little book to have on hand for those times that you find life getting off track (pun very much intended). It is a quick read that I will be returning to from time to time to get back On Track.  Brian S. Willem

This book is an easy read and well thought out. Jon writes life lessons in parallel with track and field events, he leads us from the starting blocks to the finish line. Whether you know track and field or not, this book is an inspiring work and leaves me wanting to read more and more of Jon’s writing. Bravo for leading the pack on your first book Jon!! Chris Vonada

Such a great read! Jon does a great job relating track and field concepts to our lives in this book. Whether coming out of the starting blocks, overcoming obstacles, or finishing strong, he incorporates stories from his own life and his kids’ lives and connects those with things that we face every day.

As a former hurdler and runner, I could especially identify with his stories and challenges and it took me back to my track days. On Track is a great book for anyone who wants to grow, be stretched, and be encouraged in their role at home, work, and in daily life. I highly recommend it. Great job Jon!  Shawn Washburn

Love that Jon incorporates his faith into his passions in life – into his family, his running, his job. On Track demonstrates how learning good, strong habits and practices are a life learning not just compartmentalized into a sport. Great read for the whole family, and would be great as a small group discussion guide. Good job, Jon! Looking forward to lots more from this new author.  Diane Karchner

Jon takes us on a journey with his love of God and his love of running. There are many lessons of life molding these two loves together. You really get a sense of Jon’s dedication to living life to the fullest and enjoying the gifts God has equipped each of us.  S. Young

Jon offers a tidy little book, a parable if you will, comparing life to running at a track meet. Readers will enjoy sharing the author’s personal experiences and will find the extra boost they are looking for to get their life back on track. An easy, enjoyable and worthwhile read.  Matt Appling

In this book, Jon does a fantastic job of teaching both about track and field (for those who are too familiar) and about life. Several key factors from the starting blocks to the finish line help to show you how to keep your life “On Track”.  Joshua Rivers

Go on-line and order your copy of On Track TODAY.

(If you’d like an autographed copy, reach out to me to discuss details.)

Do you shop on-line?  What’s the best deal you have ever found on-line?

ICE BREAKER mandatory reading

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

Joseph Addison

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  If I use your question, I’ll give you credit and share your links.)

Question:  If you could choose one book as a mandatory read for all high school students, which book would you choose?

My Answer:  At first thought, I would say the Bible, but I’m not sure that would be effective.  Many of the books I HAD to read in high school tortured me.  And I don’t want the Bible to be seen in this way.  For this reason, I would select a book with short chapter and stories that kept readers attention.  If I could choose one book as a mandatory read for all high school students, I would choose Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff.  I think Goff does a great job keeping the attention of readers.  His writing is easy to understand, and he motivates readers to do something worthwhile with their lives.

To read my review of Love Does, click here.

Also, I had the opportunity to hear Bob Goff speak earlier this year.  Click here to read my notes.

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!

summer reading list

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  If I use your question, I’ll give you credit and share your links.)

Question:  What’s on your summer reading list?

My Answer:  I reviewed two books this week – Talk Like TED and The Disciplined Leader.  I’m also reading Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill, The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do by Jeff Goins, and Bleachers by John Grisham.  If the weather is decent tomorrow, I’m hoping to be on the beach reading a few pages in Ocean Grove, NJ.  (I have several other books on my nightstand or in my book pile that may get some attention as well as the summer moves along.)

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!


The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.

Oprah Winfrey


Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the release of my book, On Track: Life Lessons from the Track & Field.

I’ve learned a lot through the process of writing and self-publishing my first book.  The book hasn’t become a best seller yet, but it has brought me rich experiences.  This is a reason to celebrate.

When was the last time you stopped to celebrate?

In the pursuit of stretch, we sometimes forget to stop and celebrate the good things in our life.

In honor of this week’s milestone, I’d like to invite you to celebrate with me.  For the next week starting TODAY, I have reduced the price on the Kindle version of On Track: Life Lessons from the Track & Field to 99 cents.

Please pass the world along, so others can join in the celebration.

Click HERE to go to Amazon to get the eBook.

How would your world be different if you made the decision to celebrate more often?  How has celebration made a difference in your life?

What does it mean to be rich and how do you get there?

I’m reading two books in the early part of this year that are forcing me to think about this question.  The first book is Redefine Rich: A New Perspective on the Good Life by Matt Ham.  I’ll share more about this book in the coming weeks.  If you want to hear some of my early thoughts on this topic, go to my blog post from September 29th by clicking here and then go listen to my podcast interview with Matt.

The second book is Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to Be Happy and Successful in Life by Tom Corley.  I received this book from one of my blog world friends, Matt McWilliams, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to read the book.  I wish I had read this book when I was a teenager, but I think it’s a book worth reading whether you are young or older.  And while the subtitle seems to point to parents, I think this book is a valuable resource whether or not you are a parent.

This book is not written from a religious perspective.  Rich Kids uses an easy-to-read story to provide practical tips for developing habits that will lead you to a rich life.  It would be easy to think this is only meant for those who want to have monetary wealth, but I think the principles and habits suggested in this book are great tools for anyone who want to live life to the fullest.

Here are a few of the things I captured as I was reading Rich Kids:

  • “Learn as many new skills as you can when you’re young.”  Keep learning.  Keep growing.  Keep stretching!
  • “You can’t be successful in life if you don’t have a passion for what you do for a living, and you can only find your passion in life by pursuing creative activities.”  Life is too short to live without passion.  So many people fail to find and follow their passion.  I don’t want to waste my life.
  • “Success is not easy.  Success takes time, persistence, passion, and an obsessiveness that borders on fanaticism.  Successful people are fanatics.  They are obsessed.  They understand that success is a process.”  Get rich quick schemes don’t work in the long run.
  • “When you find your main purpose in life you stop worrying about the ‘how.’  The ‘why’ is all that matters.  The ‘why’ is your main purpose.  Once you find your ‘why,’ the ‘how’ magically appears.”
  • “Success takes time.  Realizing your goals in life just takes time.  Life is a marathon.”  In a culture of “I want it now,” we have to remember that good things come to those who are patient.
  • “Having a mentor in life is like someone depositing millions and millions of dollars into your bank account.  Mentoring is critical to success.”  Who is you mentor?
  • “You can’t become successful if you’re always blaming others for your circumstances.”  Many don’t want to hear this one.
  • “Always focus on the other person and resist that human tendency to put yourself first.”
  • “Life is all about rising above your self-interest and getting into the habit of treating the other person as important.”
  • “Wherever you go, carry around a notepad, and when you meet anyone you want to get to know, don’t be afraid to ask them their birthday.”
  • “Making the effort to remember someone’s name tells them that they are important to you.”
  • “Parents need to lead by example.”
  • “Start by making a point to find something to be grateful for each day.”
  • “Always be grateful for the smallest things in life as well as the big stuff.”

These are just a few of the things that stood out to me as I read this book.  Having a “rich” life starts by making choices and taking actions that lead us down the right path.  Rich Kids will get you started down the right path.

What is one habit you have implemented that helps you have a “rich” life?  What is one habit you need to implement to have a “rich” life?

(Please note:  I received a copy of Rich Kids for free as part of a giveaway from Matt McWilliams.  I was not required to provide a favorable review.  I truly believe this book can be a helpful reminder to any reader in helping them to take steps to become successful – at work, in the community, at church, and at home.

Also to note:  There are affiliate links in this post.  Should you purchase Rich Kids or Redefine Rich by clicking one of these links, I receive a small percentage of the purchase.  These funds are used to support The Stretched Blog and to extend ministry and missions to Guatemala.  Thank you!)

“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”
Bob Goff, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World

This coming Sunday, my church is hosting a guest speaker, and I am pretty excited.

I love the pastors at my church and what they bring to my church week after week.  Sometimes, they need a break, and they look for someone to fill in.  The leadership and worship planning teams did an unbelievable job planning for Justice Day at my church this Sunday.  I’m not sure how they did it, but they arranged to have author, speaker, lawyer, and founder of Restore International, Bob Goff, in to speak at all three services at my church this Sunday, January 11, 2015.

I came across Bob a few years ago when friends in the blogging world introduced me to his book, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World.  The book itself tells the story of Bob and his whimsical pursuit to live out God’s love in every day life.  Love Does is one of the best books I have read in the past five years.  You can read the review I wrote about the book by clicking here (and you can get your own copy of the book by clicking on the link below).

If you happen to be in and around the Philadelphia area this Sunday, I would encourage you to find some friends and come up to Christ’s Church of the Valley in Royersford, PA.  Service times are 9:00AM, 10:15AM, and 11:30AM.  Hope to see you there!

Have you read Love Does?  If you could ask Bob Goff any question, what would it be?

jonstolpe 300x200

Here are the highlights from November 2014.  Thanks to everyone who read along and commented.  Your readership and participation in the daily discussions are what make The Stretched Community.  Thank you!

It was another record-breaking month!

Overall, traffic was up from October (10.73%).  Traffic was up 142.42% compared to a year ago.  The top 10 posts included posts from 2014 and one from 2012 (the number one post).  Again, most of the posts were from late September and early October.  There was one post from February.  If you missed any of these posts, I hope you’ll go and check them out now by clicking below.  The post with the most engagement was one that didn’t make the top 10 list below – Ice Breaker – Ask Me Anything.

Top 10 Posts:

    1. Ice Breaker – Giving Thanks At Thanksgiving  November 16, 2012 (1092)
    2. 5 Things To Remember When We Say Or Do Something Stupid  February 12, 2014 (305)
    3. September 2014 – Top Posts and Commenters PLUS BOOK GIVEAWAY  October 1, 2014 (279)
    4. October 2014 – Top Posts and Commenters PLUS BOOK GIVEAWAY  November 1, 2014 (276)
    5. No Excuses!  October 2, 2014 (258)
    6. Ice Breaker – Homecoming  October 3, 2014 (250)
    7. Experience The Supernatural  September 29, 2014 (238)
    8. Redefine Rich  September 29, 2014 (237)
    9. Knowing God So We Can Make Him Known  October 9, 2014 (232)
    10. A Tribute To Grandma  October 8, 2014 (214)

Top 10 Commenters:

As promised at the beginning of the month, I have randomly chosen someone from the top commenters list to receive a copy of  On Track: Life Lessons from the Track & Field by ME!  The winner of this book is…(drum roll)…Larry Carter.  Congrats to Larry!

For the month of December, I’ll be giving away another copy of On Track: Life Lessons from the Track & Field by ME! This month, the winner will be chosen randomly from the top 10 commenters.

Thanks to each and everyone for reading and for commenting.  I’m looking forward to December with The Stretched Community!  The month of December will include more STRETCHING posts.  More than likely, I will continue to focus on having a mission mindset in many of the upcoming posts, and I’ll be mixing in some Christmas related posts as well.

If you’re interested in guest posting here, leave a comment to connect with me.

How was your month?  If you’re a blogger share a link to your top post in the comments?  What was your favorite Stretched post this month?  How were you STRETCHED in November?

In case you’re interested, here are a few other interesting stats about November (based on Google Analytics):

  • Users – Increased 55.70%
  • Sessions – Increased 8.63%
  • Pageviews – Increased 7.45%
  • Pages Per Session – Decreased 1.39%
  • Average Session Duration – Decreased 26.23%
  • Bounce Rate – Increased 1.20%
  • New Sessions – Increased 10.78%

On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field is now available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.  Click the link below to get your copy today.

Looking for a great gift or stocking stuffer idea?  Pick up your copy of On Track TODAY!

As a reminder, I am offering a FREE pdf copy of the interior of the book to subscribers of The Stretched Newsletter.  Head over to the main page of the blog and sign up on the right hand menu bar to get your copy today for FREE!


As I mentioned yesterday, our family Thanksgiving tradition includes tracing our hand prints onto a white tablecloth.  In each of our fingers, we write down something for which we are thankful.  This week, I’m taking time to share something I’ll be writing on the tablecloth this year.  I’m hoping you’ll contribute to the conversation by leaving something for which you are thankful for each day.

Here is the second thing I’ll be writing down this year:

On Track

On Track: Life Lessons from the Track & Field is the name of the book I self-published in April this year.  The book was a project in that it helped me learn more about the writing and self-publishing process, but it was more than just a project or experiment.  It truly became something for which I am very proud.

I’m thankful for the many people who contributed to my project.  There are too many to list here, but there are a few that deserve special mention.  I’m thankful for John Noonan who graciously lent his design talent to create a book cover that captures the essence of my book.  I’m thankful for Anita Comfort who utilized her English experience to edit my book.  I’m thankful for Matt McWilliams, Rob Shepherd, Diane KarchnerDan Erickson, and Mark Sieverkropp who read my book ahead of time and offered generous endorsements.  I’m thankful for the people who reviewed the book on Amazon.  These people (and many others) contributed to making the book release process as enjoyable as possible.

I’m thankful for the many people who have purchased the book or given it away for others to read.  I wrote this book for me, but I also wrote it for other people.  And I’m honored that people would take time to read my book.

I’m thankful for writing in general.  As I indicated in the introduction to the book, I haven’t always enjoyed writing, but it has become a part of me through the book, through my blog, and through the writing community I have joined in the past several years.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to stretch and express myself in ways I would not typically explore.

I’m thankful for the hope this book project represents for future personal writing dreams.

What is one thing you would put on your thankful list this year?  Why?