one of the hardest things ever

I made the trek to Danville today to be with some friends who are spending a couple of days in the hospital there. A few months ago they got the news that the baby they were expecting wasn’t going to live. He hung on all the way through birth, passing away in his parents’ arms about 95 minutes after his arrival. Mark got to tell Josiah that he loved him, that he was proud of him, and that he did a great job of fighting to spend a precious few moments with mom and dad.
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Lots of family and friends have been praying and loving this couple, and they are so strong, trusting that the Lord is going to heal and restore and help them get through this.

But this is just plain hard. Awful. Terrible. Unfathomable. Unthinkable.

We would love for you to join us as we pray for Mark and Hannah and their family. They’re doing well, but the waves of emotions will continue to roll for who knows how long, and they will need the love and support of family and friends in the days to come. The death of a child is one of the most difficult things I can imagine.

ponds aren’t just for swimmin’

We’ve been meeting at Harvest Fields all summer for XStream (Calvary’s youth group.) We meet behind the Barn, beside the pond. There’s a fire pit, and we hang around there most nights until well-past dark. And almost every week there are folks who take a swim in one of the ponds out there.

But this week–our last at the Barn, btw–2 students wanted to declare their faith in Jesus Christ, to tell their friends and families that they’ve made a decision to follow Christ, to give their lives to him, to ask him to forgive their sins and give them new life. Tonight we used that little outdoor amphitheater to baptize Isaac (my son!) and Melissa. The act of immersing them in water represents the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. It’s our faith in Christ that gives us new life, and our baptism is a public declaration of our faith and hope in Christ, our love for him.
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As their youth pastor, I celebrate young men and women who want to live for Jesus, who have reached a point in their faith where they want to declare that publicly. As his dad, I am so proud of Isaac and his decision to follow Jesus that I could just about burst!

I believe that God is doing great things in our community, and that this could be a breakthrough year for Kingdom life in Happy Valley.

it’s a little weird

Like most of our friends and family, we took the customary “First Day of School” pics today. But for the first time in a long time, Levi was conspicuously absent. He and Charlie and Jase opted to sleep in this morning rather than turn up for the photo session. So we got pics of our 2 beautiful high school girls and 3 wonderful middle school kiddos. They all look so grown up to me…
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Our summer came to a grinding halt this week. Levi has started his fall semester at Penn State. At the same time, there’s a newborn snoring in a crib next to my bed as I write this. Our family continues to expand, and I love it. Family vacation didn’t truly happen for us this summer. We opted to stay in town and host a 4th of July party, and then Jase arrived, which has been wonderful and wacky. Over the last 2 weeks I accompanied Levi and Lilly’s thespian troupe on their trip to the largest theatre festival in the world (Scotland’s Fringe Festival) while Kim took a couple of days to visit her sister and family on the other side of Pittsburgh.

All that to say that it was a different summer than we expected, but it’s been good. I am looking forward to this year on so many fronts. I believe that this is going to be a great year for our family, for our church/student ministry, and for our community.

3 years ago

Something wonderful happened for us about this time of night 3 years ago. Charlie came into the world just after 11pm, a squirming, squealing little red man. And Team Sublett has been blessed beyond belief through him.

We honestly thought we were done with babies. 2 adoptions of older kids had gone really well, and we hadn’t changed a diaper in our house for years! Then Charlie’s birthmom entered the picture, asking if we’d consider adopting him. I thought we’d be more likely to bring her into the family, help her figure out how to get on her feet and raise the little boy. But she didn’t want to parent, and thought we’d be a good family for her child.

We prayed about it, talked it over with the fam, and jumped into the mix. And I couldn’t imagine what our life would look like without him.

He’s been a gift to us, especially to Annabelle, Josie, and Isaac. Most of the children they knew growing up in China were in an orphanage, abandoned by parents who couldn’t keep them. They didn’t understand what it was like to want a child, to bring a baby into the family. We wondered if they would bond with the new addition. In no time at all he’d won them over. In fact, I began to wonder if the boy would ever learn to crawl; he never touched the ground because everyone wanted to hold him!

Charlie has been absolutely redemptive for us as a family, and it’s been fun to watch how God is moving in us through him.
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highlight of the day

Today was pretty stellar on all counts.

  • I slept in a little, which was nice.
  • I met a new youth pastor for lunch. He’s in his first full-time youth ministry job, and I love his heart for his family, his students, and the Lord.
  • I met with one of my long-time youth pastor buddies to chat about how we can partner together more. I love that, too!
  • Annabelle, Josie, and I went for a run around Harvest Fields, then cooled off in the pond before XStream. I love the fact that my kids and I get to workout together.
  • Jake “the Intern” Nold taught at XStream tonight, and did a great job. He walked us through Psalm 32 before he handed students off to the small group leaders. Then we brought everyone back to worship around the campfire. It was a good night. I love XStream, Jake, and our leaders (Team XStream).

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But do you know what the highlight was? About 20 minutes ago there was a squirmy, squawky little boy in the crib next to my bed. Kim thought he might want another ounce of formula to help him sleep. Turns out he had other plans. He’s a poop-making machine, and when I opened the diaper to change him, he decided to shift into high-production mode! I was scrambling to catch what he was making, like a one-armed soft-serve ice cream worker! After I got the little guy all cleaned up, he was wide awake and hungry.

So I snuggled him and set him up with a little bottle. Watching his eyelids get heavy as he worked on that bottle…that was my highlight of the day. Well, that and the poop machine.

a little explanation

Hey folks, if you’ve come looking for a post and pics of the recent Sublett family news, I’m sorry to say that you won’t find them here. We’re going to hold off posting anything, at least for a time. We jumped the gun a bit yesterday, and we’ve decided to wait before sharing anything further.

We are happy to talk to people in person, and we’ll share the whole story in the near future.

lather, rinse, repeat

We had a fun day downtown with Sadie’s Duct Tape Designs. She made and sold duct tape wallets, ziploc pouches, and hairbows today at ArtsFest. Annabelle was with her the whole time, while Kim and I tag-teamed the day. We got to see a lot of friends, the weather couldn’t have been better, and Sadie put a little cash in her very own duct tape wallet!

This afternoon I rounded up Isaac, Josie, Annabelle, and Sadie and headed out to Harvest Fields a little earlier than we usually would for XStream. Sadie wanted to swim, and I talked the rest of us into taking a little run through the woods before we hit the pond. To be honest, the kids were a little skeptical about a trail run. They’ve been running with me on the road, but this was through the mud, hopping over tree roots and rocks, dodging briars and swatting those pesky biting flies.

We started a little slower than I expected. There was some hesitation about running through tall weeds. And I guess running in grass does actually cause some people to lag behind. But once we got into the rhythm of the run we were ok. We covered almost 2 miles in our loop around Harvest Fields, ending at the big pond.

The water was refreshing, and I even snagged a few ZZZZZs on the big floating dock in the middle of the pond while the kids splashed around.

We got a little lathered up on our run, and the pond was just what the doctor ordered to rinse away the sweat. I wonder if the kids will go for the repeat!

we’ve caved to the call

Last night I was writing about caving. Tonight I’m writing about giving in to the call of Arts Fest, specifically the lure of cash at Kids’ Day.

Sadie is our maker-kid. It shows up in the kitchen and her bedroom and every once in a while it spills over to the dining room table. Such is the case tonight as she is scrambling to finish a zillion duct tape wallets, ziplock pouches, and hairbows.

I like a girl who has a bit of entrepreneurial spirit in her. She was sick for a couple of days, which put her a little behind schedule. I don’t know if she’ll make her quota tonight before she hits the wall. We’ll roll out to set up her little stand tomorrow morning.

While she was crafting this afternoon Josie, Isaac, and Annabelle were weeding a friend’s flowerbeds, earning a little bit of walking around money of their own. My guess is that some of that hard earned cash will find its way into the coffers of some of the kid vendors tomorrow.

When the kids got home from their landscaping, our friend told Kim that they should probably get a quick shower. Apparently they were working in the proximity of our 3-leafed nemesis, poison ivy. I swear that I react to it if I’m within 10 feet of the stupid plant. We’ll see if any of them are allergic to it soon.

If you’re downtown tomorrow, look for Sadie. If you need a duct tape wallet, she’s got you covered.

back to the mines

Saturdays have been set aside for Team Sublett family adventures lately. We’ve hiked a couple of nice little hikes, and everyone has had fun. But I gave the fam the day off this past Saturday. I spent a day with some of the up and coming leaders in our life, and I really worked them hard. There was lots of grunting, a good bit of bruising and scaping, and I’m fairly certain there was some gnashing of teeth.

I took 7 hearty young adventurers caving in one of the caves I know best–Bear Cave, near Derry, PA. I’ve spent countless hours exploring and delving deep. It’s the 6th longest cave in PA, and we covered most of it in our 3+ hour underground journey.

We crawled all the crawls we could find, sometimes inching our way on our bellies, our shoulders touching the walls on both sides, arms stretched out ahead of us so they wouldn’t wedge us in. We climbed up Suicide Pass and wiggled our way through Backbreaker Pass. We slid through the Worm Hole and over Coffin Rock. We eventually made our way back through the Keyhole, dropping down to the water that runs through the cave, slipping back to the Calcite waterfall and the effective end of the cave.

There were 5 young men, 2 young ladies, and one me. They’re all leaders or former students in our youth ministry. It was refreshing and challenging to get back underground. I got to put my cave memory to the test (I passed) and exercise some long-unused caving muscles. We chased lots of fears and phobias along the way–fear of the dark, or close spaces, of spiders and mud and getting lost…

Do you know what I liked most? Simple: seeing young men and women who are passionate about their relationship with Jesus growing in leadership. I loved the fact that I got to spend 9 hours of intense time with these folks, seeing how they react under pressure, watching them encourage and cheer each other on, listening to their stories, laughing at their jokes, observing how they truly live.

Last Saturday I took a day to get back to the mines, and I have to say I love my job!
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some XStream news


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The weatherman cooperated with us tonight for XStream, and we had a great night. A few folks showed up early so they could take advantage of the sweet ponds! Erin’s timely water-balloon games got things started, then we dove into our Summer in the Psalms study. Collin shared some thoughts from Psalm 116, and it was good! Our small groups took the conversation to the next level, allowing students to ask some of their own questions while digging into the Psalm. We wrapped up the evening with some s’mores, volleyball, and chillin’ around the campfire.

Kevin and Lilly were shutterbuggin’ the whole night, so we should have some decent pictures coming. We’ll share them with you as soon as they’re ready. In fact, we’re shooting pics of everything we do, so you can see it all.

Do you know what I loved the most? Seeing some new students being welcomed, drawn into conversation, and enjoying themselves. Good things are happening with XStream. Leaders are stepping up, ready to get after it. Students are growing in their faith and inviting their friends to come check things out. We’re gaining momentum and headed in the right direction!

Join us for an XStream Family 4th of July party
5pm at our house
We’re providing the drinks and meat. If your last name begins with A-M bring a side or salad to share; N-Z brings a dessert. 
RSVP (click here) but even if you decide to come at the last minute, we want you to join us. Directions to the Sublett house are here.

XStream updates via text: In order to keep you up to date on all the XStream happenings, we’ve added a texting plan. You may subscribe to XStream Updates by texting XStream to 95577. This will keep you in the loop for all XStream announcements, weather-induced change of plans, and impromptu get togethers! Here is the official opt-in information:
Our mobile text messages are intended for subscribers over the age of 13 and are delivered via USA short code 95577. You may receive up to 10 message(s) per month of text alerts. Message & Data Rates May Apply.
This service is available for phones with text messaging capabilities, and subscribers on AT&T, Verizon  Wireless, T-Mobile®, Sprint, Virgin Mobile USA, Cincinnati Bell, Centennial Wireless, Unicel, U.S. Cellular®, and Boost. For help, text HELP to 95577, email, or call +1 8142806388. You may stop mobile subscriptions at any time by text messaging STOP to short code 95577.