Category Archives for "new experiences"

All Things New – January 31, 2015

Too often we let the world pass us by.  We fall into the trap of the same-old, same-old.  We fail to notice what is new right around us.

I don’t want this to be the case for me, and I don’t want it to be the case for you either.

With this in mind, here are some of the NEW things I experienced this week:

  • Speak Pipe
    • Take a look at the blog, and you may notice something new.  I added Speak Pipe which means you can now leave me a voice mail.  I’d love to hear what you have to say.  Perhaps, you’ll even answer today’s question by leaving me a voice mail message.  Just hit “Send Voicemail” on the right side of the screen.

  • Life Redesigned Podcast with Lily Kreitinger
    • I’ve only listened to one episode so far of this brand new podcast.  Lily has been a friend for a while now.  I believe we met virtually through Chris LoCurto’s blog several years ago.  She is just getting her podcast off the ground, and I’m sure she would love a visit from you.  She’s also a fantastic designer and life plan coach.  Click here to get to her podcast page.

  • Daddy Press
    • Last weekend, I had the honor and privilege of writing an article for a new on-line magazine for Dads.  Stop by and read my article – 5 Ideas For Teaching Our Sons – then check out the rest of the magazine.

These are just a few of the NEW things I experienced this week.  Now it’s your turn!

What NEW thing did you experience this week?

A New Start For The Stretched Blog

Today marks a new beginning for The Stretched Blog.  We have officially moved to our own domain.  I’m excited for the new opportunities that will open up as a result of this move.  PLEASE!  PLEASE!  PLEASE, join the Stretched Community by subscribing (over on your right).  Also, don’t forget to add the new site to your blog reader.  Both these steps will ensure that you continue to receive the same ‘great’ content that goes up almost every day.  Also, pass this new link along to your friends and family.  I love meeting new people through the blog world, and I’m excited to share the Stretched Community with others.

Thanks again for Stretching along with me!

What’s new with you?

Thoughts From Seeing Mary Poppins On Broadway

Last week during our New York City adventure, we visited the New Amsterdam Theater to see the Disney musical, Mary Poppins.  Our Broadway evening  actually began in the afternoon when we lined up in the middle of Times Square to purchase discounted show tickets at the TKTS kiosk.  As we waited in line we decided to pursue tickets for Mary Poppins or Sister Act.  When we reached the end of the line, the Mary Poppins tickets were available at a better price, so we went with this show.

When we arrived at the theater later that evening, we discovered that our seats were up near the back of the balcony in one of the biggest theaters in the theater district.  Nevertheless, we were happy to be there seeing a Broadway show with our kids.

As the show began, we quickly learned that we were in for a treat as we experienced sets and props that were amazing and actors that did an amazing job with the songs we all grew up listening to that were part of the original movie.  My favorite songs were Step In Time and Supercalifragilisticexpaladocious (did I spell that correctly?).  You couldn’t help but tap your feet and clap your hands as the dancing and hand jiving continued on the stage.

For me, the story as played out in the musical emphasized the importance of taking time for family.  In the musical, Mr. Banks discovers that his focus on his career and wealth have clouded his focus on what’s more important – his family.  By the end of the musical, Mr. Banks finds a balance between work and family.  I was inspired by this part of the story.  I generally believe that I keep my family first, but there’s no question that there are times when my focus on work and other things can overshadow things that should have a higher priority in my life.

And so…I left New York City seeing a great show and being reminded of a great lesson.

What’s got your focus right now?  Are your priorities in the right order?

Have you ever seen a show on Broadway?  Share your experience.

The 9/11 Memorial

Our first stop during our visit to New York City last week was to Ground Zero and the recently opened 9/11 Memorial.  The memorial is located on the grounds of the World Trade Center twin towers that were destroyed when terrorists crashed two planes into the buildings on September 11, 2001.  The memorial consists of two pools located in the footprints of the original towers.  The names of the victims of 9/11 along with those who died in a previous terrorist plot in 1993 are inscribed in stone and are located at the perimeters of each of these pools.

It was a moving experience to visit this memorial.  As we looked at the names and observed the water falling into the 30 foot deep pools, we noticed a family who had just found the name of a loved one on the perimeter stones.  See this family shed a few tears as they rubbed their fingers against the engraved name brought a reality to our visit that I hadn’t expected.  I didn’t know anyone who was killed on September 11th, but I remember the surreal feeling of watching the normally busy skies around Allentown, PA suddenly become quiet.  I remember catching news reports as I went to lunch with some fellow construction workers and as I drove home that day.  It hardly seemed possible.

Seeing the site of the World Trade Center Towers reminded me of these events, but it also brought some positive thoughts and feelings as well.  As we prepared to leave the memorial and head up to Midtown, I had a feeling of hope as we walked by the construction sites of many new buildings that are going up around the 9/11 Memorial.  I was reminded that good can come out of such tragedy.  And I was inspired by the challenge to re-discover unity.

Where have you been that has stirred a variety of emotional responses?  What was your response?

A Quick Marathon Update

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ll provide a more detailed update when I get home, but I thought you might enjoy hearing that I did receive the 12 inch fork finisher’s medal for finishing today’s Thanksgiving Marathon! I finished the very hilly trail course in a time of 4 hours 1 minute. I can’t complain.

Hope you’re doing well today. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

(My 1st post from my Blackberry.)

Tomorrow Is Marathon Day

Tomorrow I’m running the Thanksgiving Marathon. I’m ready. I’m excited. And yes, I’m a little nervous. Training for marathon is a long process. I started training back in May or June. It has taken a lot of time and a lot of hard work to get to this point. I’ve logged miles on local streets and trails. I’ve run on trails in Canada. I’ve run the streets of Cape Cod, and I’ve run around Gifford Pinchot State Park. I’ve even run on the boardwalk along the New Jersey shore. I’ve run in the rain, in the heat, in the light, in the dark, and in the freezing cold. I’ve run when I wanted to and when I didn’t want to run. Tomorrow’s race will be the longest run of my training season. And as tough as it sounds, I”m picturing it more as a celebration of the journey. I don’t know for sure what tomorrow has in store, but I’m thankful for this chance to remember that life is a journey and a marathon – it’s not a sprint. Life takes work, and it’s not always easy. So tomorrow I’ll celebrate running, and I’ll celebrate life.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3

What have you worked hard for in your life? How has life been like a marathon for you? What keeps you going when you don’t feel like you can keep going?

Cradles to Crayons

Last night, we took our H.O.P.E. group to West Conshohocken to the Cradles to Crayons Philadelphia warehouse.  Here we gathered clothing for clothing packs for boys and girls of various sizes.  And then we put together complete packages of clothing, toys, books, coats, boots, shoes, and even birthday presents for kids.  Cradles to Crayons serves five counties in the Philadelphia area.  They collect clothing and toys – mostly used, but still in good shape.  They sort and clean the donated items, and then they utilize their volunteers to get the donations ready to go back out the door.

I didn’t know what to fully expect when we walked in the door, and it took a few minutes to get up to speed on what was really going on.  But I left with a deeper appreciation for Cradles to Crayons and their mission.  This was a perfect activity for our service group as we could work together and help make a difference for some kids in our area.  If your family, your company, or your group is looking for a way to serve in a practical way, I would definitely recommend checking out Cradles to Crayons.  They would be overjoyed to have your help sorting and cleaning donations or in just dropping off some donations.

How and where have you served recently?


This Saturday, we had a blast at our house – the first ever ChiliFest!  We invited several couples over with the idea that they would bring over their own chili to share with the rest of the guests.  We provided drinks, salad, dessert, and corn bread.  It was so fun to get together with couples who represented a hodgepodge of our friendships from the area.  There were friends from our neighborhood, friends from our old neighborhood, and friends from our church.  We enjoyed White Chicken Chili, Taco Chili, Buffalo Chicken Chili, Spicy Green Pork Chili, Pork/Beef/Beer Chili, and Traditional Tex-Mex Chili.  As we enjoyed the Chili, guests voted for their favorite chili’s in six different categories:  Most Unique Chili, Most Delicious Chili, Most Spicy Chili, Most Likely to Serve at Home Chili, Most Colorful Chili, and Best Overall Chili.  The winners of each category took home a unique bottle of hot sauce.

Besides the great food, we enjoyed great times with friends.  It was neat to see people from our friendship circles interacting with people they had never met before.  When we bought our house six years ago, we planned to use our home as a place to welcome our friends and neighbors – to bring connection and community to those around us.  Saturday’s ChiliFest was a great reminder for us!  I can’t wait until the next get together at our house.

What fun ideas do you have for fun in-home gatherings?

It’s Official – I Signed Up For A Marathon

Last week, I mentioned that I was toying around with the idea of running a marathon in the near future.  On Saturday, I signed up for The Thanksgiving Marathon that takes place on Thanksgiving morning in the Bronx, NYC, NY.  So naturally, I kept up with my running over the weekend to stay on track for being ready for this target race.

Saturday, I ran 5 quick and easy miles on the beloved Perkiomen Trail.  It felt good!  And it was beautiful to run on a section of the trail that I haven’t been on for a while.  And then Sunday morning before church, I ran 18.7 miles (again on the Perkiomen Trail).  Overall, the run went very well.  I definitely ran more quickly than I should have, but it felt fine up until the last two or three miles.  I think I’ll need a day or two for my legs to recover from this run.  Going up and down stairs isn’t meant to be such a challenge.  My legs better recover soon though, so I can get back to training for the upcoming marathon.

So our family is starting to plan our trip to NYC.  We’ll miss seeing members of our extended family over the Thanksgiving holiday, but I’m sure we’ll have many new exciting memories as we embark on this adventure.

What are your plans for Thanksgiving?  Do you have any fun, crazy, or interesting traditions?

Marathon? I’m Thinking About It

If you’ve been following along for a couple of months, you may have realized that I’ve been running lately.  In September, I ran the first ever Perk Trail Half Marathon – A Race To Remember (by myself).  The past couple of months, I’ve had the privilege of running with a couple of friends as they’ve pumped out a couple of their longer training runs in preparation for their marathons.  One of my good friends just ran his first marathon last weekend, The Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, PA.  And another friend is getting ready to run his first marathon in a week or so, The St. Louis Marathon.  Running with these guys has made me realize that another marathon may not be so far off for me.  I’ve run over 17 miles and still felt great (or as good as can be expected after running 17 miles).  So why not consider a marathon myself?  That’s a great question.  So…I started looking around for a marathon to run either in late fall or early spring or maybe both.

I could run the first ever Bucks County Marathon on November 20th.  This one looks attractive, because it’s relatively close to home, it’s a certified course, and it’s all trail.  I’m just not sure I want to pay the entry fee to be part of this inaugural race.  Also, I’ve already run a marathon in Pennsylvania.  If I’m every going to run one in each state, I don’t want to waste my marathon effort running a second marathon in the same state.

I could run the Rehoboth Beach Marathon on December 10th.  This would be in Delaware, so it would be a different state than my previous two marathons.  It looks like a well established race on a certified course.  It’s a possibility.

I could run the Ocean Drive Marathon in New Jersey.  This March 25th race starts in Cape May, NJ and ends in See Isle, NJ.  This point to point race could be pretty scenic as it runs 26 miles up the Jersey coast.  I have to wonder what this winds are like on this course.  This could definitely be a possibility for the spring.

As I was doing my research, I came across a unique marathon possibility.  The Thanksgiving Marathon on November 24th takes place in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, New York City, New York.  The race isn’t certified, but I don’t think that matters to me.  The race doesn’t have any aid stations, but I could carry my own water and food.  The race doesn’t come with any fancy T-shirts or running expo.  But the race is FREE!  You just sign-up, show-up, and run.  For finishers of this race which takes place Thanksgiving morning, a 12 inch engraved fork is your reward along with the satisfaction of knowing you earned the calories that you will consume for this year’s Thanksgiving Day meal.  I haven’t signed up yet, but I’m definitely thinking that this may be the one.

What do you think?  Anyone interested in joining me?  Are there any other marathons that I should consider?

Goals like this are great for keeping us focused and moving forward.  But it doesn’t have to be a marathon or hiking up Mt. Everest or swimming across the Gulf of Mexico.  I’ve been inspired by many who are pursuing their own C25K goal (Coach To 5K).  Whatever it is, set a goal.  Go after it.  You can do it!

So what’s one of your goals?  What are you doing to pursue it?