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!

the daddest thing ever

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!
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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.

the start of an XStream summer

School’s out for the summer. We’re looking forward to a summer of playing hard, growing closer together, and living the life God has called us to live. Kim’s got a list of things that she hopes we accomplish as a family, everything from weekly chores to playing games together to taking a walk with her every day. This is going to be a good summer.

We have 5 high school kids now. 3 rising 9th graders and 2 seniors. This could be a wild summer.

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We kicked off the summer for the youth group tonight with a big night of outside games. We had a huge slip ‘n slide, some water balloon games (yay), a dumb flour-in-socks game that may have left bruises (boo, my idea), and a messy food crawl. All of the messy & wet came before a quick dip in the pond and a hasty retreat to the firepit for s’mores and hotdogs. Ali and Jake did a great job of organizing and mobilizing us tonight, and the rest of Team XStream was stellar in our first night out at Harvest Fields. They did a great job, that is, right up to the point they conspired to clobber me with a pie to the face! Jake distracted me while Ali slipped in behind me with 2 plates full of whipped cream!

That’s never happened before, in all my years as a youth pastor. This is going to be a great summer!

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when you break an egg

The other day Kim came home with groceries–ALL the groceries! Our cupboards were nearly bare, so she was stocking up against the oncoming summer invasion of hungry teenagers. She said her cart was so full it was like playing a game to see where she could fit the last few items.

The last item out of the van was the eggses. They are especially precious to me. I start every morning with a delicious and predictable 4-egg, meat, and cheese omelet. I’m pretty simple and boring like that.

As Kim walked in holding the last shopping bag at arm’s length, I noticed a familiar slimy substance oozing from the bag. Much to my dismay, the carton of eggs decided to commit egg-icide, taking a dive onto the driveway. 11 of the 18 contributors to my morning repast were broken, lost, wasted.

I was a little irked. Maybe more than a little. Irked. Miffed.

Then Kim went all “Kim” on me. Ever the optimist, she separated the whole eggs from the broken and began to pool the shattered eggs into a bowl. A few minutes later she had several frying pans buttered up and was cranking out the beginnings of some delicious omelets. Toss some meat and cheese on those little egg flats, add a little heat and some hot sauce, and breakfast is ready!

I love the fact that my wife is an overcomer. She continually sees things from the positive. Whether it’s breakfast or something much bigger in life, Kim is good at reminding me that a few broken eggs isn’t the end of breakfast. There’s always a shot at redeeming the moment. It may not look like what we expect, but all things can turn out for the good.

guess who got a new job?!

This girl! Say hello to the newest employee of State College’s landmark restaurant The Tavern!

Josie job

Josie applied at a few places around town, but hadn’t heard from them. So when our friend Ali suggested that she apply at The Tavern, Josie jumped at the chance. Ali (who used to work at the Tavern) talked to one of the managers, then took Josie down to meet him. At the end of the interview, Josie had a job bussing tables! She’s set to start in July.

She’s never done anything like this, so I’m interested to see how she handles a new role and new responsibilities. She’s not afraid of hard work and she learns systems and structures pretty easily, so I think she’s going to do well.

I wish you could have seen the look on her face when she told me she got the job–absolutely beaming! And it’s all the more sweet to know that she’s working at mom and dad’s favorite date spot!

You go, Josie girl! I’m proud of you!

a little love for Sadie

Sadie got a year older over the weekend. Somewhere in the mix of theater, concerts, final presentations, church stuff, and the general craziness that develops in a house of 10 people, 3 cats, 1 dog, 2 rabbits, and somewhere between 1 and 3 goldfish we managed to sit everyone down for a time to celebrate the gift that is Sadie.

While she dove into her presents Saturday night after the final high school thespian show, after church Sunday morning the fam gathered around the lunch table to talk about some of the good things that we see in the youngest daughter. It’s always fun to listen to the brothers and sisters share some of the glimpses they get. They often see a different side of her.

This was a bit of a breakout year for Sadie. She is growing into a young lady, and she’s maturing all around. She had a big role in her school musical, and her musical ability is growing with every passing season. She’s clearly the most artistic among our kids, and her creativity with paint and color is fun to see developing. In fact, her creativity shows up in the kitchen (she’s a heck of a baker), the toy-room (if we had one), and the occasional hand/arm (doodling with sharpies?). She’s good with the little brothers, and has been one of Levi’s best buddies for years. She’s into comics, and she reads more books than almost anyone in the house. She’s an includer who wants all of her friends to get along, but she also appreciates one on one time with friends. I can see leadership potential in her, and I am excited to watch her grow up over the next few years.

Happy birthday, Sadie. You’re growing into a remarkable young lady.

Here’s a clip from tonight’s concert at Esber Hall on PSU’s campus. Sadie and Isaac are standing next to each other.

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oh but he’s at a fun stage

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 think we’re ready for summer

What a weekend! We did some gardening and pruning, played on the trampoline, watched one of the black cats (I can’t tell them apart) play with a little snake, practiced a wedding, helped lead worship, performed a wedding, and spent a day playing in and around the pond. We capped things off with our girls’ middle school orchestra concert. Whew! I’m ready for another weekend.

We’re a few weeks behind our normal schedule for getting the yard into shape and planting some things in the garden, so we took advantage of the beautiful weather to get some plants in the ground. That’s typically how we spend the Mother’s Day weekend, but we were sick/busy (sick of being busy?) The rototiller that I borrowed wouldn’t start, so I got Charlie and Isaac on the job!

Kim and I got cleaned up for Saturday evening’s wedding rehearsal. Our dear friends Artur and Laura asked me to perform their ceremony, which was an honor. It was a beautiful weekend for a wedding, and they are such a precious couple. We’re excited to send them off into life as husband and wife.

Monday found us out at Harvest Fields, just like usual for Memorial Day. We played around in the pond, grilled some hotdogs, and feasted on my buddy Andy’s doughnuts made over the fire! That might just become a new tradition for us. By the time we got home, Jase was slapstick-silly! And as you can see, the hair on those boys just begs to reach for the sky!

Tonight’s middle school orchestra concert was a sweet reward for a day at work. I don’t know many youth pastors who enjoy a middle school orchestra/band/choir concert, but the students in our district can flat out bring it.

Any way you slice it, I think Team Sublett is ready for the summer.

 

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my shadow Charlie

Charlie has been my little sidekick for some time now, so it didn’t surprise me that he wanted to tag along to worship team rehearsal tonight. He’s pretty quick to jump in the truck to ride along for any and all errands, picking up kids from rehearsals, or impromptu trips to the store.

But I wasn’t sure how he’d do at the church while I spent a couple of hours setting up, rehearsing, and tearing down. That’s kind of a long time to an almost-4 year old boy, especially close to bedtime.

I shouldn’t have worried. He crushed it. Plus he got to chase a dog around the worship room, entertain a baby, and work on his worship dance moves.

I should’ve snapped a picture, but I was too busy laughing at him. I love that kid…

sometimes you get a little dirt on you

Every Tuesday Charlie gets to hang out with his buddy Jack. Jack comes over to the house and they do guy stuff. At this point in his life, that mostly looks like playing with trucks in the flowerbed dirt, chasing the cats around the yard, throwing sticks into the bushes, bouncing on the trampoline, and trying to figure out how to make the swings work.

I hope that things don’t really change that much for him. And yet I hope they do.

Guys–most guys, most dads I talk to–walk a more solitary road than we should. I know that’s a generalization, but it stands up. Friends are often hard to come by, and I think it stems from our level of sharing. Ladies seem to be quicker to open up, to go deeper, to share how they’re feeling. Some of us guys don’t even know how we’re feeling, even when we’re feeling what we’re feeling. It’s not easy to talk about your feelings if you don’t know what you’re feeling.

But I’m hoping we can turn that tide. God uses people to shape us, to help us grow spiritually. But that only works when we can share about how we’re doing, when we can be vulnerable and get real with others.

Guys are pretty good at hanging out to watch the game, fix the car, or grill the burgers. We have to learn how to get from casual conversation down to the stuff that matters.

That means that sometimes you’ve got to be willing to get down into the dirt of life. Good stuff grows in good soil…
Charlie dirtThis is Charlie after hanging out with Jack today. Charlie claims that Paisley (our one-eyed wonder dog) “digged up dirt and throwed it on” his face. I think it’s a good look for him. Adventure guys get dirty together.