a little late, but worth the wait

My lovely wife celebrated a birthday a few days ago. She’s had some memorable ones.

6 years ago we were in China, adopting Annabelle. Somehow the hotel manager learned that it was Kim’s birthday, and we were pleasantly surprised by a knock at the door. Room service delivered the most beautiful little birthday cake to honor Kim.

26 years ago Kim and I were in college. A group of us made the trek down I-75 to Atlanta to eat at a super fancy restaurant called The Olive Garden. Someone stole our umbrella while we were eating, so the kind employees sent us home with full bellies and a brand new umbrella! That’s hospitaliano!

This year her birthday got lost in the mix of church stuff, kids’ schedules, and babies. In order to set things aright, the kids and I are making dinner for her next Monday. We’ll do family night and keep mom out of the kitchen.

Enjoy these pics from 1990. We were blissfully in love, had been dating for less than a year, and were planning a wedding for about 5 months later.
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Say hello to Suzanna Joy!


We weren’t looking for another baby to adopt, but God brought her into our lives and we have agreed to become her adoptive family. She was born a few days before we expected her, but she’s a beauty! She’s got the cutest little rosebud lips, and I’ve already had to take care of her long fingernails. She’s doing well, and we couldn’t be more excited.

She made her debut 9/1/15 at 8:42, weighing in at 8 pounds 14 ounces, 20 inches long. We were hoping she’d have red hair, but we’re happy that she’s not bald like some of the other Sublett babies! We think we’re going to call her Suzu, or maybe Zuzu.

We sure would appreciate your prayers as we adjust to life with another little Sublett under our wings. It’s A Wonderful Life!

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almost like starting over

It seems surreal, but we knew this day was coming. The same week that we sent 5 big kids off to State High–2 seniors and 3 freshmen!–we also sent got Charlie started with a little pre-school action, courtesy of the fine folks at Grace Lutheran.
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He’s a sharp little guy who is totally ready for the world of academia! He’s been excited about starting school for a while, and I’m sure that this is going to be a great experience for him. He’s already made a few new friends, and his teachers are wonderful.

A few years ago we thought we were out of the “diaper bag and car seat” stage. We were past the nighttime feedings and done with the days of looking down in a meeting to discover a big glop of baby spit on my shoulder.

But we knew that the Lord was leading us back into this stage of life. Yes, we’re not as young as we used to be. We’ve already done the math. We know how old we’ll be at their graduation. I don’t care if you ask which one is my grandkid. Just point out my kids when they walk across the stage if I can’t see or hear by that time!

It’s been a little crazier than usual around the Sublett Ranch. This week. Stay tuned for a pretty big announcement later today.

I should listen to my wife

Yesterday was great on so many levels!

Our staff got to celebrate our friends Lois and Curt. They’ve been around Calvary for more than a decade, serving and creating art and loving people and basically being family. They’re moving to Louisville this weekend to start the next chapter of their lives. We’ll miss them.

Last night was our monthly Team XStream (youth ministry staff) meeting. These folks have grown closer and are experiencing God moving in our lives. It’s always good to share our stories with each other, to pray and encourage/challenge each other. These leaders set the tone for where Calvary’s youth ministry is headed.  We’re in good hands!

And Charlie’s birthday party was a great success! Lots of friends came out to celebrate with us, and the PLAY GYM AT HARVEST FIELDS WAS OPEN! Kids has a blast, just like all of Kim’s parties. The decorations were cute, and Sadie got to be creative with the cake. She also made a sweet pinata that looked like a safety cone!

The only glitch in the whole shebang was mine. The last thing Kim asked me was we were leaving the house was, “Do you have enough gas for the grill?” I smugly assured her that my grill was fully equipped to handle my gassy needs. You’d think that by now I’d know to listen to her intuition. Halfway through the grilling I ran out of gas and had to call my friend Jake to swing by my house to grab another tank. Good grief, Charlie Brown…
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happy birthday Charlie

4 years ago you stepped into our lives, into our world. We were pretty comfortable as a family with lots of big kids. You took us back into the world of diapers and bottles and car seats and baby bags. You also opened up a world of healing and discovery and nurture for us. We hadn’t planned to adopt a baby, but the Lord brought us together, making us family. And we can’t imagine life without you!

You’re incredibly bright and catch on to things so quickly. Somehow you know directions to places, and often point out places we’ve been as we pass them. You are better at your dad at Mario Kart, much to his chagrin. You wake up smiling and happy every morning. You’re brave in almost every situation, but spider webs might be your kryptonite! You have a great and vivid imagination. It’s been fun watching your older brothers and sisters play with you, and you turn it around as you engage your little brother. You love to sing worship team songs and pop hits from the 80s, so you’re a chip off the old block.

I don’t know if you were trying to be funny or not, but here’s a classic line from this past vacation. You were wearing an orange shirt that had the words “Beach Bum” on it. You promptly started calling it your “Water Butt” shirt! You crack us up all the time.

You’re my little adventure partner, and I can’t wait to explore this great wild world with you. Happy birthday Charlie!
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vacation recap

Well, it went a little like this:

  • We didn’t pull out of Happy Valley when we thought we would (the crack of noon) meant a arrival time at my parents’ house of almost 3 am. That’s late, even for us.
  • Pulled hamstring (see pic 1) on the first day on the lake, first time in the water, first run on skis in years. Let the record show that even with the hammy, I skied two full laps around that dang lake. Decidedly determined? Stupidly stubborn? Hard to tell them apart.
  • We got to celebrate Jase’s 1st birthday with my mom, dad, and Maw Maw. That was pretty sweet.
  • I took the big kids tubing down the Lower Green River, which was a blast. The float took a lot longer than I expected, but we had a great day on the water.
  • The flu bug landed that night. Sadie, me, my mom, dad, and Maw Maw spent most of the night tossing our cookies. It would stay with us through our travel day to the beach. Charlie blew minor chunks in the van, and Lilly heave-ho’d after dinner in the parking lot of the pizza place!
  • The night wasn’t a total loss, as Jase learned how to drink ice water!

  • My brother and his awesome family joined us for the first part of the beach stay. We spent a nice day at the beach, though we were pretty much on shark-lookout all the time we were in the water.
  • We alternated between beach days and bum days. But every day was low-key, low-stress. There’s not too much to do where we stayed, but that’s what we were after.
  • One night while we were watching Bride & Prejudice (a Bollywood blockbuster, Romeo & Juliet set in the early 2000’s in India!) there arose the biggest thunder/lightning storm I’ve ever seen. Lilly was filming it on her phone, and happened to catch a bolt as it hit a house near us. 5 fire trucks and 2 emergency response vehicles rolled out to answer the alarms from the house, but there was no fire. The neighbor lady across the street from the house did, however, go into labor!
  • The lack of touristy spots is one of the draws for us. There are a couple of those cheap surf shops (Nothing over $9.99…except for the stuff that is…) that we walked through a couple of times.
  • We had a pile of time to spend laughing and talking, playing games…We got to spend some good family time reading and talking about the Bible. We had a family worship time Sunday morning and listened to Pastor Dan’s sermon online. It was a great message about living worry-free, in the What If…series.
  • We missed Levi, who stayed home to work. He actually picked up a second job while we were gone! And the house was pretty much intact when we arrived!

All in all, it was a great vacation. We got away long enough to decompress, didn’t try to shove too much adventure into the trip, and made some good memories. We missed Levi something fierce, and wished we had packed Settlers of Catan. We are incredibly grateful for our friends who let us stay in their house. Their generosity is inspiring and amazing.

How was your vacation?

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starting small is good

Team Sublett has been trying to get a little healthier. We’re eating cleaner, cutting back on screen time (some days! Dang that Mario Kart), and mixing in a little exercise. It’s been good, but I’ve had to learn to deal with some facts.

If you know me, you know that I’m either all in or all out. I’m either going to run every dang day, as hard as I can for as long as I can, or I’m not going to run at all. I can be a little intense when it comes to some things. That usually doesn’t play out too well when it comes to getting the family outside to exercise.

So I’m trying to dial it back, learning to take baby steps, and realizing that I’ve got to set a positive tone and find a level that’s going to engage my family. Or I’ll be working out by myself.

So tonight after supper we headed outside for about 30 minutes of shoulder exercies, did some jumping jacks to get our hearts beating faster, then took a brisk walk around the neighborhood.

And you know what? Nobody got too pooped to party, everybody could do the exercises, and we laughed a lot! I think that’s a win! Even if the picture is a little blurry…

adventure is where you find it

Charlie and I are adventure guys. That’s how I’ve been describing us to him for the past 6 months or so. I use that terminology when I’m talking about taking walks in the woods, climbing big mountains, or helping out around the house. I want him to look at life as an adventure to be lived, and I figure I’d better start laying that foundation.

A few weeks ago I read an article about microadventures. You can read that article here. I found myself nodding my head (yes!) as I read, inspired and more than ready to embrace the adventures that lie within my everyday reach.

So today on our way to pick up Sadie from her Shakespeare Camp (shows are a week away!) Charlie and I left the house 15 minutes early. We just beat the 4:30 closing time of Lion Surplus, Penn State’s clearinghouse for electronics, office furniture, and interesting odds and ends. We spent a glorious 15 minutes roaming around, gawking at size 17 football cleats, 20 old kayak paddles, and piles of old computer parts.

As if rewarding our adventurosity, one of the worker men gave Charlie a creamsicle as we made our way out the door. He thought it was great–until it melted all over his hand…and shorts…and car seat. He’s a mess, but he’s growing an adventurer’s heart.

Life is supposed to be an adventure. You might not be able to get away to the Grand Canyon–or even the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania–but you can live the adventurous life. Find adventure in the familiar.
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25 years ago

Kim and I had the opportunity to get away for the weekend to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Some friends were exceedingly and abundantly generous with the loan of an apartment in downtown Lancaster, and we spent the weekend walking around the city. It’s a wonderful downtown, filled with artsy eateries and quaint little shops. It rained most of the day Saturday, but we didn’t mind. Other than church trips, I can’t remember the last time that Kim and I got away just the two of us. (That’s probably not good.) We had a great weekend of talking and reminiscing and dreaming together of what the next 25 years might bring.

Our lives look drastically different than what we might have expected coming out of high school. By the time we were finishing college, I think we had some idea about what our lives might hold, but there have been some radical and surprising turns along the way.

The bottom line for me is that I am more in love with Kim now than I was 25 years ago. Way back then I was as much in love as I knew to be; I just didn’t know a whole lot. We’ve lived a lot of life over the past 25 years. We have a much deeper understanding of what love means, and how much sacrifice and commitment a healthy marriage takes. I’ve also learned to laugh more, especially at myself! God has used Kim to help me grow in innumerable ways. Of course, I am all too aware of the areas I still need help and grace.

My heart still leaps when Kim walks into the room. If I’m on stage speaking or leading worship, I know exactly where she is. I am absolutely certain that everything goes better when she’s in the mix–from our lifegroup to the largest worship gatherings I’ve been part of. She is a great mom, an incredible intuitive counselor, a mentor who brings grace and wisdom to every conversation. She’s beautiful and kind and fun, and she is the glue that holds our family together.

I can’t imagine what my life would look like without her. I am a man truly blessed.
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sweetFrog for the win

We wrapped up Sports Camp tonight. There’s always a closing ceremony that involves each sport group leading a song from the week–with accompanying motions! It’s fun to see big high school/college guys leading motions with the littlest 4 year olds. The leaders who run the camp do an excellent job of from start to finish, and every camper seemed to have a great week. We are truly blessed to have great folks who jump in to lead this camp every year, and every year it runs a little smoother, and is a little better.

The camp director gave all the volunteers a gift card to sweetFrog, which was a pleasant surprise. DId you know that (according to their website) The F.R.O.G. in sweetFrog stands for Fully Rely On God, and we show that by being a good neighbor everywhere we move into. Through local partnerships, fundraisers, and much more, our stores become part of the fabric that wraps their communities. That’s pretty, um, sweet, isn’t it? We didn’t waste any time with those gift cards–we drove there right after camp closed.

When we walked into the store we immediately spotted the bright orange shirts from camp. There were already a couple of other families closing the day with a little sweetness. More folks trickled in as we made our way through the line. By the end of the night I’ll guess that 20 camp shirts showed up at sweetFrog.

We had an excellent first trip to sweetFrog. Charlie had a simple chocolate with chocolate shavings, but he’s already got plans for his next visit–peanut butter and chocolate!