Join the Stretched Community
All-Time Popular Posts
The next semester of the Stretched Men Group is getting ready to start, and men are getting ready to STRETCH their marriages, their parenting, their careers, their faith, and their lives.
You don’t want to miss the opportunity to be part of the Stretched Men Group!
The Stretched Men Group provides a safe, transforming environment to help men like you take steps forward. Here are some of the ways the group has helped other men:
One man started praying for his ex-wife.
One man started taking his family back to church.
One man changed jobs.
One man had a tough conversation with his wife that transformed his relationship.
One man had a difficult conversation with his co-worker that led to a job change.
One man tackled a pornography addiction.
One man started reading his Bible on a daily basis.
One man reached out to his estranged sons.
One man took his marriage and sex-life to a whole new level.
If you’re looking to STRETCH and experience this kind of change in your life, you should join the next semester of the Stretched Men Group. For more information, go to www.stretchedmengroup.com. Once you are there, you can request a FREE, no pressure informational call with me to see if the Stretched Men Group is right for you.
Don’t wait too long, the spots will fill up fast.
Later today, I’ll be dropping my daughter off for the start of her junior year of college, and my wife and I will be entering the empty nest. (Last week, we dropped our son off for his freshman year of college.) While I’m sad to say goodbye to my kids knowing their return home will never quite be the same, I’m extremely excited by this next step in our journey together.
Many people talk about the empty nest with negativity. People imply that life is almost over when the kids leave the house. Or people wonder out loud about how spouses will handle each other without the barrier and distraction of children.
The empty nest doesn’t have to be a scary thing. In fact, there are things you can do today to better prepare yourself for the empty nest.
When you take these steps, you too can enter the empty nest with enthusiasm, hope, and excitement. Don’t wait for the kids to say goodbye, take action today to get ready for the empty nest!
Tonight, Leanne and I start the next class of Dynamic Marriage at our church (Christ’s Church of the Valley). This will be the second time we get to facilitate this nine week class for couples who want to make their marriages better.
Dynamic Marriage is a nine-week class that walks couples through an intentional program designed to deepen communication, to educate about each other’s needs and how to meet them, and to take marriages from surviving to thriving. The curriculum produced by Marriage Dynamics Institute is based on His Needs, Her Needs by Willard F. Harley Jr.
Here’s what some of the couples from our first class have to say about the class:
Marriage requires effort, intentional actions, and the support of others.
Leanne and I have watched and wept as we’ve seen a few marriages around us collapse. On the other hand, we’ve been so blessed to see many of the marriages around us thrive. And we’ve also witnessed the simple survival of many marriages.
We celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary this summer. We’ve had our ups and a few downs. We’ve felt distance at times, and we’ve felt amazing intimacy in our marriage.
What we’ve learned is building a dynamic marriage – a marriage that grows, evolves with life, and thrives – takes work.
Early this summer, we traveled to New Jersey to become certified facilitators for the Dynamic Marriage class associated with Marriage Dynamics Institute. The weekend training was intense and powerful.
This week (actually tomorrow), we will be starting our first Dynamic Marriage class. The class is 9 weeks long, and it will take participants through and intentional path toward building a stronger marriage. Twelve couples have signed up for the class (a full class) which means thirteen couples (including Leanne and I) will have the opportunity to significantly impact their marriages.
We’d love your prayers for the couples in this class and for us as we facilitate.
If you’re interested in participating in a future Dynamic Marriage class, let me know. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I realize it’s been a while (almost a month) since my last post. I’m not ignoring you. I’ve just had a lot going on in my life.
I’ve officially been in my new job for one month as the Branch Solutions Operations Manager. Have you ever tried to drink water from a fire hose? Me neither. But I get the impression that it’s like being in a new job like this. Every day is non-stop. By Thursday, I’m exhausted. And by Friday, I’m definitely ready for the weekend. Despite these feelings of exhaustion, I am loving what I get to do on a daily basis. My department finished June with a record month. I’m so thankful for my team!
A couple of weekends ago, Leanne and I attended facilitator training for Dynamic Marriage. We will be facilitating our first class in the fall at Christ’s Church of the Valley. The weekend did so much to reaffirm our marriage and to confirm our calling to help other couples strengthen their marriages. The 9-week class we will be leading is based on Willard Harley’s book, His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage. If you have a great marriage, a good marriage, or a just okay marriage, this class is for you!
I’ve been diligently working on my next book, Rooftop Reflections: Missional Thoughts of an Ordinary Guy in an Extraordinary Place. I finished the manuscript last week, and I’m working to finalize the cover with a graphic designer. I hope to release the book this summer. The book has already received several glowing endorsements. Here is one of them:
“Jon’s stories from Guatemala will inspire, move, and motivate you to consider how you can expand your horizons and serve others more deeply. I loved this heartfelt book and know you’ll love it as well. If you’re not careful, it just might change your life!”
Kent Sanders, writer, musician, creative coach, and professor. Author of The Artist’s Suitcase (kentsanders.net)
Finally, my blog, Jon Stolpe Stretched, celebrated a significant milestone this week. 10 years ago this week, the blog started. The blog experience has STRETCHED me in more ways than I can imagine. I’ve learned a lot of incredible things through my blog, and I’ve met some unbelievable people. 10 years is a start. I look forward to the years ahead as I continue to share life’s STRETCH marks and as I hopefully STRETCH you. Thanks for joining me on this journey.
We have a wonderful 13-year-old black Labrador retriever named Iso. Today, he bit me, and it was all my fault.
Let me explain before you go calling for his disposal.
Iso celebrated New Year’s by getting sick. Sunday, I woke up to a mess in the mud room. Thankfully, it could easily be cleaned up. Unfortunately, this was repeated several times Sunday and Monday while our family was either sleeping or away from the house unable to let him outside to take care of himself.
Finally on Monday morning, Leanne called the veterinarian who provided us with a week’s worth of two oral medications and some sort of canine probiotic for his food. In order to give Iso his oral medication, I have to physically open his jaw, insert the pills down his throat, and quickly close his mouth to make sure the pills go down.
This morning while I was giving him his medication, Iso clamped down on my left thumb while I was giving him his medication. I’m sure he didn’t mean to hurt me. (If you’ve ever met Iso, you know he wouldn’t hurt anyone.) He just didn’t like the presence of my hand down his throat.
I quickly realized he had punctured my skin in two places, so I washed up the wound, put on a couple of band-aids, and headed out the door to work.
The who incident made me think of this video that went viral a few years ago.
Charlie’s brother put his own finger in his brother’s mouth and then wondered why Charlie bit his finger.
We live in a culture of blame – of passing the buck. We find ourselves in a troubling situation, and we look for someone besides ourselves to take responsibility for the problems we face.
Iso bit my finger, because I had my hand in his mouth. It was all my fault.
As a husband and a father, it’s time for us to take responsibility for our failures. Believe me, I fail all the time. It’s time to put an end to passing the buck to our spouses, our children, our pets, and others around us.
It’s time to recognize our failings and find ways to overcome them in the future by taking responsibility for our actions, by learning, and by making the necessary changes in our lives.
The next time I give Iso his medication, I’ll find another way to make sure I don’t leave my hands in his mouth.
As men, we chase so many pursuits. We want to climb the ladder at work as fast as possible. We want to be the best athlete we can be. We want to have the best things – the nicest car, the biggest house, the greenest lawn. We over-involve ourselves in a variety of hobbies. And we put so much attention on our favorite sports teams.
I’m not saying that any of these things are wrong, but I think our focus is often misguided.
If you were to create a list of your priorities and the way you spend your time, where would your wife and kids fit into the list?
If your marriage and your kids aren’t near the top of your list, it’s time for you reconsider your schedule and your priorities.
Last week, I announced the new Stretched Men Group website (www.stretchedmengroup.com), and I opened up sign-ups for first three-month mastermind in 2017. For more information about the group, click here.
The Stretched Men Group is designed to help you understand your current list of priorities, to help you establish your desired list of priorities, and to help you create action steps required to get you from where you are to where you want to be.
The Stretched Men Group is also designed to help you find the accountability you need to make sure your good intentions become a reality.
Your wife and kids need this from you!
Do you feel as though life is rushing by and your opportunities for influence are slipping away?
Does it seems like your parenting journey, your marriage, and your life is a blur as the calendar pages change at rapid pace?
Do you think it’s too late to be the dad, the husband, the leader, or the man you want to be?
You are not alone!
Today, I’m excited to announce the launch of the Stretched Men Group and the new website that goes with this paid mastermind.
The Stretched Men Group is designed to help you take the next step in your journey to becoming the man you were meant to be. Through valuable teaching, customized coaching, and essential conversation with other men, you will be challenged and held accountable to take the next step as you go through the next three months with the men in this group and me.
For more information on the Stretched Men Group, click here.
Also, if you know a man who needs to take the next step, I’d love to connect with him. Let him know about the group and send him to the site, so he can sign up.
Sunday, I introduced the Thanksgiving Tablecloth Tradition. This is a tradition our family started 15 years ago, and it has helped ensure we intentionally reflect on God’s provision in our lives over the past year. To read more about the tradition, click here.
This week, I’ll be sharing the things I’ll be writing on the tablecloth this year. (Yesterday, I shared the first thing I’ll be writing on the tablecloth.)
This year, Leanne and I celebrated our 20th Anniversary. I’m thankful for this milestone. We were in Guatemala for our actual anniversary, and we took time to celebrate a few weeks early by getting away for a week in Vermont while our kids were in Michigan for CIY.
I’m thankful for our weekly date nights. Monday nights we get away for an hour or two, and it’s a great time to reconnect.
I’m thankful for our trip to Vermont. We had so many opportunities to be refreshed and renewed. Through this adventure.
And I’m thankful for the move towards the “empty nest”. Our daughter started college in August, and our son is only two years behind her. We are not trying to push them out, but we are looking forward to time together – just the two of us. It’s exciting to prepare for this stage of our married lives.
I’m thankful for Leanne’s recent teaching opportunities. She finished teaching at Trinity Country Nursery School in May, and she has been substitute teaching at four of the school districts in our area. Leanne is an amazing teacher, and it’s exciting to see her moving back towards full-time public school teaching.
And finally, I’m thankful for the downsizing process that has begun at our house. I’m excited about the freedom that will come as we go through this process.
Stay tuned for Day Three of my Thanksgiving Tablecloth Tradition reflections.
Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp. Psalm 147:7
I came back from Guatemala almost six weeks ago with a cough I picked up at the end of our trip. A week after our trip, I figured the cough would go away as I began to feel better. Unfortunately, my cough has persisted.
Finally, I made a visit to the doctor’s office on Monday evening. The doctor prescribed an antibiotic and an over-the-counter cough medication. Next week, I’ll return to the doctor’s office for a follow-up checkup to make sure the cough goes away.
I don’t go to the doctor’s office very often. Thankfully, I’m generally very healthy. But honestly, I tend to try to beat whatever illness I’m fighting with rest, time, and home remedies.
In this case, it was time to get some help.
Men often do a terrible job when it comes to asking for help. We don’t like to ask for directions, and we typically don’t want to appear weak by asking for anyone’s help.
We’ll drive around lost for an hour if it means we don’t have to stop to ask for directions.
Does this sound like you?
It’s great to be independent, but we need people in our lives who will push us forward, who will give us a hand when we need help, and who will hold us accountable to take action on things we’ve been avoiding.
Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Next week, I’m launching the Stretch Man Mastermind. This is an opportunity to get the help you need.
The idea for a mastermind group was developed in part based on a conversations I’ve had with men who have approached me about mentoring them.
“No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.”
― Napoleon Hill,
This is humbling – to say the least. It’s also a bit overwhelming. (How do I find time to meet with these guys who want my attention?)
After a lot of prayer, thought, and conversations with other men and my family, I’ve decided to launch a three-month, on-line paid mastermind group for men starting next week.
The group is made of men who want to intentionally “stretch” their marriages, their parenting, and their manhood. The group is meeting on-line (via Zoom) every other week. After our initial kick-off/get-to-know you meeting, the bi-weekly meetings will consist of a 15-20 minute teaching time where I will share with the group. After that, we will rotate a hot seat from week to week. On the hot seat, one guy will bring up an issue or question in which he needs help, and the group will discus the issue/question/topic with the purpose of helping each man STRETCH. (The hot seat time will typically last 30-45 minutes each week.)
I’m looking forward to the community and accountability that will come out of this group.
Most men are missing this kind of man-to-man interaction in their lives. And I believe this mastermind will raise the bar for each of the men in the group. I still have a couple of open spots in the group, and I’d love to fill them before next week.
If this sounds like something you need in your life or if you simply want to learn more, please contact me so we can schedule a phone conversation. Leave a comment below or fill out the form below. Let’s connect. I’d love to talk with you!