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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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…
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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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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…

careful what you watch

We spent a glorious week in an almost-deserted OCNJ last week thanks to the generosity of some friends. Other than a Wednesday trip into NYC we literally hung out together all week with nothing much planned. There were a couple of days we didn’t even get out of our pajamas.

But Charlie discovered the magic of Danny MacAskill.

There’s a moment (3:10) in the film when Danny hops off his moving bike over a pencil, landing smoothly on his bike and riding away. We watched that (and other similar videos) repeatedly.

Charlie tried to re-create that moment tonight in our living room.

I was sitting on the couch holding Jase with my feet propped on the table in front of me. Charlie had been wheeling around the loop (living room, dining room, kitchen, hallway, repeat) on his little plastic car. You really should see this kid powerslide through turns. He learned how to drift on his own. Anyway, I saw that he was eyeing the “tunnel” under my legs. He’s been known to shoot through the tunnel. But this time he had something different in mind.

He scooted toward me with all the juice a 3 year old can muster. Just as the nose of the car entered the tunnel, he took flight. He flung himself up and over my legs, hoping that the car would slide through and he’d land on it and roll away, just like Danny. But his push came at the expense of the car’s momentum, and the car slid backwards, away from his hoped-for landing zone. It didn’t matter too much in the end, as he never really cleared my legs. He landed with his midsection hung up around my knees. He looked disappointed, as though he really thought he could pull it off.

Jase and I giggled at the little man’s daredevilry. I want to foster that kind of risk taking attitude in my kids. I’ve started telling Charlie that we’re Adventure guys, and we’re supposed to do adventure things. Who knows what they’ll end up doing…

my good for nothing family

Today was yet another snow day here in Happy Valley. Our Super Bowl party was affected by the impending snowfall. Honestly, I think the snow missed us, but the icy conditions created the day off.

As I was thinking about what I’d write tonight, I found myself wishing that I had something spectacular or immensely cute to share. And there were a few moments today, don’t get me wrong. Charlie got a little hoppy frog game in the mail from Boompa and Pappy, which we played for a good while. Jase sat on the bed with me tonight playing a very simple game of catch (I’d toss the ball into his belly; he’d grab it and hand it back in my general direction.)

But for the most part, our day was nothing special. We ate together, played some games of Settlers and Mario Kart/Mario Baseball, read books, did homework/youth ministry work, and whiled the day away together.

As I reviewed the day in my mind, it dawned on me–this is what life is about. Family, spending time together, not doing anything special or fancy, but enjoying life together, loving each other, laughing and playing together. It’s pretty simple.

Family is good, even when there’s nothing going on.

I’d post some pics from the day, but I was having too much fun living the moments that I didn’t take any. I thought about it, truly I did. But I put the phone back in my pocket so I wouldn’t miss Charlie hopping the frog into the pond or Isaac crushing another homerun off me.

Team Sublett snow days

I don’t know if Team Sublett’s normal is much like yours. I mean, we’re talking about a family that has adopted the slogan “Weird is good” as our family motto.

But the past few snowy days have helped us develop a family rhythm that seems to be working. We’ve enjoyed the freshly fallen snow, and it’s given us the opportunity to spend some good time together.

Over the past 2 days we’ve been sledding twice, shoveled a ton of snow (maybe literally), played umpteen games of Settlers of Catan (Cities and Knights is the fav, but it’s harder for some of us who don’t speak English as our first language), listened to hours of 80s music, and checked the Snow Day Calculator more times than I can count.

Here are a few of my observations:

  • Charlie would stay outside playing in the snow all day. He never complains of being cold or wet, and always ALWAYS is ready for another ride down the hill.
  • Annabelle and Sadie are fighting to be Charlie’s favorite. I think Annabelle is winning. She’s really persistent.
  • Isaac is learning to play Settlers. Josie downloaded the app to practice. Levi started great this morning but flamed out when everybody turned on him.
  • We like 80s music. A lot. Even the Chinese kids know songs to request.
  • It’s a lot easier to shovel the driveway before people drive over and pack the snow down. I’m ready to be done with the shoveling for a while.
  • Everybody would be happy with another snow day tomorrow.

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I almost got inked, and I lost to Charlie

I had a pretty interesting day.

I’m meeting regularly with the young men who lead our student ministry, doing a little coaching and encouraging. Today I visited one of the guys at his lab. AC works with squids–tiny little squidies. That job takes him to Hawaii several times a year. Yeah, it stinks to be him.

While I was meeting with AC, the snow doomed tonight’s XStream. Since we didn’t meet tonight, I gave the leaders the option of getting together to play some board games. I thought I’d get some practice in, playing a quick game of Candy Land with Charlie before supper.
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He beat me. Totally serious. It wasn’t a “dad tanked the game” win, either. He just flat out whupped me.

Several folks from Team XStream got together tonight for a few hours. We ended up playing Apples to Apples and being silly for most of the night. I love this group of leaders. In addition to being goofy, they love Jesus and teenagers. I’m looking forward to seeing what God does in us this semester!
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highlights of the day

Wow, so much goodness happened today. It’s hard to select a highlight, so here are a few:

Kim went out to breakfast with a friend who was in town for Leadership Advance. That meant I got to stay home and fix breakfast for Charlie. He and I ate omelets and played until Kim came home to take Jase to get some 6-month-baby shots.

A bunch of the folks from Team XStream loaded the van and headed to Millheim. We drank coffee and ate sammies at the Inglebean before walking over to visit Brandon’s cats (Carl and Carl Jr.) I love hanging out with the folks who are shaping the lives of Calvary’s teens. Our team is growing, and it’s good.
Team XStream at Inglebean

Tonight was Lilly’s winter concert at State High. This concert featured the Cecilian Singers (11-12th grade ladies), OMA (Only Men Aloud 11-12th grade men) and the Chamber Singers. As expected, the music was phenomenal, and Mr Drafall once again selected a number of pieces that find the origin in Scripture. I love listening to his choirs perform. It’s almost like going to worship!

After the concert, we hung out in the lobby with a few families that we’ve grown to know and love over the years of shared theatre/choir experiences. It was fun to laugh and catch up with them. Two of the other parents were celebrating birthdays today, and Kim’s birthday is tomorrow. I think we missed an opportunity to go out and celebrate, but I don’t know that the day could have handled much more excitement…

pulling the bacon out of the fire

XStream hit the road over the weekend. We took our students to Cedar Point for a day of play, then had church in our hotel before making the return trip home. It was a wildly successful trip on so many levels:

  • lots of students (many newbies!) went with us
  • a team of new leaders got to spend extended time with students
  • a bus driver meant I didn’t have to drive
  • Cedar Point = killer coasters
  • I got to talk about what it means for us to let Jesus bust our rut and routine
  • Sara Banker ran all of the admin details, which is a huge blessing!

The trip wasn’t without drama, though. Thursday morning I found out that we didn’t have the bus that I thought we had arranged. Sara called Fullington. While we were riding coasters Sara texted me to tell me that the hotel took our deposit but didn’t hold our rooms. Sara found us another hotel, for less money, with a pool deck for us to have a worship service.

It was one of the craziest behind-the-scenes retreats I’ve ever had, but we rolled with the punches, and Sara literally pulled the bacon out of the fire. I don’t even know that many of the students or leaders would have known that there was anything out of the ordinary going on if I hadn’t told them.

I like the way XStream is shaping up! (photos courtesy of Kevin Sliman)
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