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.

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!

bowling for 56’rs & bears

Kim and I (and a handful of splendiferous leaders!) took a pile of 5th and 6th graders bowling tonight. To help 5th graders transition into our youth ministry, we started Club56, a once-a-month gathering of students who have finished 5th and 6th grade.

Tonight was bowling, and some of those young’ns can flat out sling the rock! I didn’t bowl much, but I’m pretty sure that the leader guys who did got their collective booties kicked by some 5th grade bowlers. I was the loudest cheerleader in the alley, whooping it up for every pin that toppled, every strike rolled.

Next month we’re tackling DelGrosso’s Amusement Park. August will find us diving into a pool party to try to beat the heat. Interestingly, Kim chose the 17th of each month for our meetings, just because she liked having it on the same day of each month!

We had a blast tonight! There were several students who’d never met us, plus a good number of rising 6th graders who’ve been on our radar for years. It was a great way to break the ice and get the ball rolling (pun intended!)

sidenote: on our way home from the bowling alley we passed the Stadium, complete with the newly installed Nittany Lions signs lighting up the night. As we turned onto Orchard Road, approaching the houses near Puddintown, we spotted what we thought was a large black dog shuffling beside the road. Turned out to be a BEAR! I wanted to take a pic, but Kim was too freaked out to stop. I love living in central PA.
Nittany Lion sign Bears Will Kill You

the start of a No Bummer Summer

A little falling rain didn’t dampen our spirits tonight as Calvary’s youth ministry got the summer kicked off in style! Intern Jake and his trusty sidekick Collin created a 100′ slip & slide plus a couple of other messy/wet games (which may have included a dunk in the pond!) to get the ball rolling. Meanwhile there was a fire roaring, s’mores s’moring, and some serious sand volleyball action taking place around the barn.

We split the students into 3 groups to cut down on the waiting time for the wet games. Someone pulled the local weather radar up on their phone (that capability should amaze us, btw) and we realized that a thunderstorm was headed our way, so we pushed the groups through the games and got every back to the fire ring for a hot dog or s’more just as the lightning started.

True to our theme, that was No Bummer! We simply moved everybody into the lower area of the Barn, did a little talk/announcement/thanks for coming, and we hung out for the last few minutes until parents arrived.

Our leaders did a great job of connecting with students today. Lots of the students who attend regularly invited friends to come with them tonight, and several new students joined us. The rain and lightning…we just looked at it like it was God’s fancy light show, just for us!

This is going to be a No Bummer Summer!

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not a bad day at all

As we wolfed down our dinner tonight Josie was in a particularly good mood. Turns out that it was contagious, and Team Sublett is going to bed feeling pretty swell.

Josie’s rugby season is over, but the team got together today for a practice–just for fun! It didn’t hurt that the coach offered to take them all to Dairy Queen after practice!

Lilly’s dear friend Avery is in town for the first time in 3 years, so they’re having a sleepover, which means they’ll likely be up all night.

Levi’s all jacked up excited because tomorrow is his last official day of high school. Of course, he’s working feverishly on some Spanish homework tonight. His teacher is going to make him go to class next week if he doesn’t get it done and turned in tomorrow!

Tomorrow is Sadie’s 13th birthday, so she spent some time baking cupcakes for her classmates! She’s pretty excited to turn 13, because that means she can officially get a gmail account, which will allow her to change the background on her Chromebook and download apps! What a goober!

The middle school kids performed their Cabaret for the middle school today, and Isaac was one of the featured singers. He got asked to do an encore performance of MaNaMaNa! He’s a hoot, and his schoolmates love him. Sadie got to sing as well, and Annabelle was part of the tech crew.

Kim started off the day with a bang, meeting 11 high school girls for her weekly breakfast at Waffle Shop! She also made lasagna for 2 moms with new babies (I love me some babies!)

The highlight of my day was spending about an hour with 3 of my leadership guys talking about what God was teaching us as we read through the first 7 Psalms. We’re going to be studying the Psalms all summer with our youth group, so we decided to read 7 a week as part of our lifegroup/leadership team.

All in all, that’s a win for Team Sublett. How was your day?IMG_0898 IMG_0900 IMG_1096 IMG_1308

set lasers to stun

Oh my goodness, what a night! We spent most of this past semester working through a fabulous study about the story of the Bible, starting with Creation, wrapping up with the beginning of the church.  It’s been about 16 weeks (counting breaks and some city-wide worship nights) of goodness.

I thought we’d mix it up tonight.

So my friends Doug and Dave rolled in town with a few games up their sleeve. And by games, I mean BattleTag and a 30′ Bungee Run! We set up a battlefield in the worship room, complete with boxes to hide behind, blacklights, a fog machine, and a strobe light! And the 30′ Bungee Run just barely fit in the fellowship hall.

We had some friends from Park Forest Baptist join us for most of the night, and what a night it was! We had people laughing and playing and mingling all over the building. Kids were challenging leaders on the bungee run. Folks were forming alliances and blasting their friends in the laser tag arena.

Some students didn’t make it tonight, including all of my own middle schoolers.  They had a big concert at the school tonight, as did one of my high school daughters. Yeah, May is kind of crazy like that for a lot of people.

But the students who came tonight had a blast. We owe a great big thanks to Doug and Dave, and I hope that we can find more ways to play together this summer. Thanks, too, to the leaders who helped make tonight possible.

disc golf adventures

I had a blast with my middle school kids (my personal kids, that is) today at the disc golf course out at Harvest Fields.  This might be one of the best-kept secrets in the valley!

As the school day ended I shot them an email asking if they’d be up for a little adventure. They were, indeed, so I scooted over to the school to pick them up, then headed back to Harvest Fields for a little disc golfage.

The wind started whipping just about the time we hit the parking lot, and the sky was threatening rain.  We had a limited window of opportunity due to one of a thousand school band/choir/whatever concerts this week month. So with limited explanation, Annabelle, Isaac, Sadie, and I hit the links.

The first throws went fairly well, but Isaac’s second went a little haywire. It sailed high, got caught by the wind, banked hard to the left, and splashed into the pond! He looked at me, asking, “What do we do now?” I laughed and told him to go get it!
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Fortunately the water only got up to his armpits and he was able to snag the disc with his toes and we were back in business. (HT to @Brodiesmith21 for the fav of the tweet!)

The course is a beautiful one, winding up the hillside, through the woods, past several ponds, meandering around some of the most picturesque property in Happy Valley. Since our time was limited, we only played the first 5 holes, out & back. We didn’t really keep score, though we did count the number of throws for each hole. We just didn’t tally them up. It didn’t really matter who won. The goal was to have a good time and spend some time together playing. So we all won!

I don’t know how competitive we’d be, but I’d take my disc golf team against yours any day! If you want to play, give me a shout.
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CityServe was a blast!

Once a year Calvary decides to cancel our weekend worship services, pick up our rakes and shovels and paintbrushes, and go serve our neighbors.  It’s really a humongous undertaking.  It’s also one of the highlights of the year.

This year we decided to throw an overnight party for the youth group Saturday, which would lead us to serving together Sunday.  So while Kim and I were out celebrating the nuptials of our dear friends Adam and Ginger, Kevin and Amy Sliman were getting things going back at the home base.

Our leaders are tremendous and stupendous.  When Kim and I arrived, things were sailing along smoothly!  We got everyone divvied up into vehicles just in time to make the 10pm showing of God’s Not Dead.  If you haven’t seen it, you ought to.  I’m generally skeptical of “Christian movies” due to the overwhelming Cheese Factor.  But this movie was pretty good, and sparked some good conversation among us.  We didn’t like everything about it, but it was a win.

Sunday morning found Mark Horn and his lovely wife Melissa in the kitchen, breaking a lot of eggs and whipping up pancakes for us.  What a blessing, and a great start to our day!

We sent a few middle school girls off with a couple of ladies to work on another project in town while the rest of us traveled out to PA Furnace to visit our friend Sherry.  She’s a single mom of 2 kids, battling cancer, and she was blown away by the sheer number of teenagers who invaded the yard!  There were lots of opportunities for us to serve, and Sherry was so grateful.  I had the opportunity to visit with her for about 30 minutes after most everyone headed back to town.  She was almost in tears as we talked, and she wanted everyone to know how much this meant to her.

I love the fact that we are part of a church that puts a premium on serving, that values the input and investment of teenagers, that realizes that if we don’t live what we believe, then we don’t really believe it.

Props to the 34 students and 15 leaders who served with us this weekend.
I love your guts!
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the charlie few see

When it’s just us in the room, Charlie is a ham.  He gets silly and goofy and cuts up like crazy.  But when other folks are around, our little dude tends to get shy. We’re working hard to make sure that he isn’t rude, but he definitely holds back.

Tonight at the supper table (burgers and tater tots, ftw) Sadie had the great idea to toss a tater tot into the air, catching it in her mouth.  Or at least trying to catch it.  Paisley (the dog) was there to clean up the miss.  Levi was next, followed by Kim.  Charlie saw the toss&catch and noticed our reaction, and took things to a whole ‘nother level.

I wish like crazy that we’d gotten this on video.

Charlie ripped off a piece of his hamburger bun, got this wild look in his eyes, and started moving his arms up and down like he was throwing the bun into the air.  Then after four or five gyrations he shoved the bite into his mouth, just like he’d mastered the toss&catch.

We were almost crying from laughing so hard.

At the end of the day, we had a blast at supper, saw our hidden side of Charlie, and the dog was the ultimate winner!

striking the set

Children of Eden has come to a close, and with the final bow, Levi is ever so near the end of his high school thespian career.  It’s been wonderful, full of great friends, beautiful performances, and life lessons.  Being part of this troupe has provided a sense of community and belonging, opportunities to learn and stretch and grow, chances to serve and lead, and a group of friends who have come to be more like family than mere classmates.

I have enjoyed getting to know parents and their children, hearing their stories, learning about the things that matter to them.  Kim and I have made some great friends in the belly of Bravo (the Thespians booster club.)  We’ve been blessed to watch children blossom into young men and women, maturing with each passing season into young adults capable of bringing an audience to its feet–or to tears–with their talents.

We’ve laughed at the goofiness of high school shenanigans, sympathized with the broken hearts that accompany the occasional “showmance,” and encouraged our kids to work through the drama that lives outside the drama.  We’ve survived the late nights of homework after a long rehearsal, tech week, and the Green Room/Cast Party/Strike the Set…

We are grateful for the teachers who go way above and beyond to inspire, train, mold, and encourage our fledgling theatricals, who have seen the potential and called our kids to dig deep.  We are blessed to be part of this community of families who have shared rides, worked concessions, hugged our sweaty kids (still in stage makeup) and celebrated like they were their own.

We have loved our time as part of the State High Thespians, and our lives are richer for the experience.  And with the stable of dramatics that we’re raising, it looks like we’ll be working the concession table for years to come.
Levi, Boompa, Pappy photo 2 Levi & Sean Levi & Lilly HSM guys at CoE