I don’t know about you, but I had a stellar Father’s Day. All the kids were home. We went to church together Sunday morning.
The kids Kim bought me some new shirts & shorts for the summer, and we spent some good time talking and sharing stories after a nice lunch.
I got to talk to my dad for a little while, and Kim spent some time on the phone with her dad. We’re grateful for the men God has placed in our lives. They’ve taught us so much, and their fingerprints are all over our lives.
The Spikes are back in town, and I’m serving as their chaplain again. They had a home game on Father’s Day, so after chapel a bunch of us from XStream went to the game. I got to hang out with most of my kids for at least part of the game!
I preached at some of the Calvary locations this weekend. They recorded Saturday night at the Table. If you want to listen, here’s a link. By the time I got to the second sermon Sunday morning I was having trouble remembering if I’d already told a story or asked a question…But overall I was pleased with the sermon.
But by far–BY FAR–the daddest thing that I’ve ever heard of took place this morning. My buddy and local youth pastor delivered his own baby at his house! He and his wife have been expecting the arrival of little girl #2 any day now, and so the birth didn’t surprise me. But the fact that she delivered at home, and that HE DELIVERED THE BABY–How does that even happen. Much respect, sir, much respect. That’s the daddest thing ever, and more than a little crazy.
I don’t know how long it’ll last, but I’m going to hold on to this as long as possible.
Charlie wants to go with me everywhere I go. Today that meant riding out to Spring Mills to pick up the truck, hanging out at Josie’s end of the year rugby picnic, then immediately over to the church building for another round of worship team rehearsal.
The truck is back on the road and running well. Last week my buddy Andy and I replaced the brakes and rotors, but I got something misaligned, and the right brake was squealing. So the good folks at Bierlein Automotive tweaked it and threw on two new tires to make it all road-worthy.
The picnic was a blast. We got to hang out with some of the fabulous rugby parents while the girls chattered about the season. Charlie was more interested in playing in the creek and on the playground. But can you blame him? He’s got the soul of an Adventure Guy growing inside him, and I want to feed that.
Since he handled last week’s worship team rehearsal so well, I thought we’d try it again. He was a trooper. He spent about 30 minutes chasing a wiffle ball around the room, swinging righty and lefty (mostly lefty!) and driving the ball the length of the room. It was pretty fun to watch. He was even able to connect with a couple of Happy Gilmore swings, running as he approached the ball and swinging as he ran.
He’s asking me to spend some time with him tomorrow having an adventure. I’m not sure that I can pass that up! We may have to find a little trail or creek to play in…
I’ve been the chaplain for the State College Spikes since they moved to town in 2006. It’s been a source of great joy and entertainment over the years. We’ve seen a lot of baseball, met a lot of great guys, and made some good friends.
This year they did something new: they won it all!
I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these young men. We only had 4 regular season home Sunday games, which meant we only had 4 chapels. But we made up for things by getting together often for breakfasts at the Waffle Shop.
If the statistics hold true, some of these guys will be out of baseball within the next few years. They know that. But for a good many of them, they have a faith that will outlast their baseball career. They are men of character and integrity. They play this game that we love with a burning passion, but it doesn’t define them. They find their identity in Jesus, not in the box score.
They are bringing a great big trophy back to Happy Valley, and they deserve to celebrate their accomplishment. But some of them have discovered that there is more to finishing well than the box score can report.
My positivity was tested today. We got a sunny afternoon, and the grass was in need of a trim. I like cutting the grass. Because so much of my job is difficult to measure (how do you gauge discipleship and spiritual growth?) I find that I enjoy things that give me immediate feedback and allow me to track my progress. So I find that cutting grass and even painting (rooms, not portraits) are great forms of occupational therapy for me. I know how long I’ve been working, can see how much remains to be done, and can even get a feel for how much longer I’ll have to work before I’m done.
But today didn’t turn out like I expected. I figured the mower would give me troubles. My neighbor Mike had to help me get it running last week. He thinks I need a new battery. But I thought I might be able to use that battery charger and sneak one last mow out of that battery. So while I let the battery get a little extra juice I thought I’d run the string trimmer around the edges of the house and yard.
The little engine that couldn’t wouldn’t cooperate. It would cough and start, but any time I gave it any gas the engine would sputter and die. 0 for 1 in the engine department. So I turned my attention to the riding mower.
I went back and forth between the 2 non-compliant yard machines for about an hour. I tugged and pulled and cajoled and coaxed and prayed and finally walked away positive.
Positively mad. Positive that I need a class in small engine maintenance. Positive that I wanted to throw a string trimmer at a riding mower today.
I did make the most of it, however. Isaac and I headed to the backyard to play a little catch in the afternoon sun.
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.
I have a buddy named Ben. He’s a pastor, too, and we played baseball together in college. Lest that sound more impressive than it is, we went to a really small Bible college, and we weren’t very good at baseball (but our pre-game prayers were slammin’!) That being said, Ben was a pretty good pitcher. I think I remember him tossing a no-hitter while we were at Toccoa Falls College.
Every spring I can count on Ben to send me a message via FB like this:
Ben and I share a love for the Pittsburgh Pirates. I grew up watching the Braves play on the Superstation, and I still root for the Braves (as does my oldest son). But serving as the chaplain for the Buccos minor league team here in State College has triggered a shift in my loyalties. I’ve prayed with and over years of young men as they play their way through Happy Valley. Last year the Spikes renewed their affiliation with the St Louis Cardinals, another fine organization. But I’ve got several young men still in the Pirates system, and I hope to check in on them this weekend.
It’s funny, I suppose, that I lived half of my life one state away from Spring Training and never got there. This weekend I’ll hop a plane, fly down to Pirate City, and spend a day in the sun with my father in law. You won’t find a bigger or better informed Pirate fan than him. Should be a blast.
The last time the Buccos (Pittsburgh Pirates) were in the playoffs was a long time ago. And now they face off against the St. Louis Cardinals. I’ve got some tension to live in here.
More than 23 years ago I married into a western PA family. Like most of the great things in my life, I had no idea what I was getting into. I fell in love with a beautiful big-haired girl who said “yinz” and came from a long line of Pittsburgh sports fanatics. Growing up watching in Georgia and watching TBS I was a die-hard Braves fan, even through the Bob Horner/Dale Murphy (and Rufino Linares/Biff Pocoroba) era. Kim can still tell you who started for the 79 Pirates. On the night of Sid Bream’s historic run & slide I did the dance of joy in my living room alone, shouting silently into the night. We had some stuff to work through.
21 years ago Barry Bonds was a skinny, fast, strong ballplayer–before his head was awarded its own zipcode. I rooted for Kim’s Buccos when they didn’t play the Braves, but I still pulled for my Bravos. They had an impressive string of 14 consecutive playoff runs. But at some point in our recent history, I became a Bucs fan. There hasn’t been much to get excited about over the past 20 years. Sub-par baseball, lackluster performances, losing seasons and losing good ballplayers to other organizations have been the norm. I’ve been the Chaplain for our local minor league baseball team for the past 7 seasons. The team was affiliated with the Pirates for 5 of those years. I got to know many of the players in the pipeline, and I truly became a fan, invested in the journey of the men who wear the black and gold.
But the other 2 years we’ve been a member of the Cardinals’ organization, including this past year. I had to switch gears and get my mind around the fact that I’m speaking into the lives of Cardinal players now. And I want to root for the guys I get to know.
But now that the Bucs are facing the Cards in the National League Division Series, and knowing that they could very well be playing the Braves in the next round…
I guess I have a choice:
Option A: no matter which team wins (unless it’s the Dodgers) I come out on the winning side. Levi is a huge Braves fan, while Isaac is a Buccos man at heart.
Option B: no matter which team wins (including the Dodgers) other guys I love and root for are done for the year.
I think I’ll go with Option A. I like winning. But I’ll be wearing black and gold and a Pirates ball-cap for the foreseeable future.
Here’s the a different outcome