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…

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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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.

winning the busy war

I like being busy. Check that–I like being productive, being fruitful. Too often I settle for being busy. Sometimes I wonder if I’m quietly trading one for the other. Am I fooling myself into thinking that busy will lead to productive? Or that I’ll at least convince people that I’m headed towards fruitful if I’m busy…

If I know you like I think I do (and you know I do, don’t I?), you’ve got a lot on your plate. You’re working hard for the man, running kids to ball games, rehearsals, and part-time jobs, “helping” with those 4th grade science fair projects, puttering around in yard, waiting on the repair guy, trying to get the van fixed…you’d like to take a vacation, but you’d come home tired from all the vacationing!

As summer approaches, I’m spending some time thinking through all the things I want to do, all the things I want accomplish. I’m more excited about my role at Calvary than I have ever been, and I don’t imagine the pace slowing down. I’ve also come to realize that the work is truly never going to be done until Jesus returns–literally.

Instead of bemoaning our busy-ness and comparing schedules to see who wins the “oh man, I’m busy” award, I’m proposing that we take a more proactive approach. This excerpt from Reggie McNeal’s book Practicing Greatness landed in my inbox today. It’s just what I needed to read.
Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 11.41.32 PMSo my short list involves getting out into the wilderness more, and spending more time playing in the backyard with my kids. Work and all the rest of the stuff will still be there. I only have so many days with my kids.

Who’s with me? Charlie’s a mean bocce player!
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turns out I’m positive…

Positivity. I have it. I don’t know if it’s always been present. If so, it lay dormant for a good portion of my adult life.

But listening to some folks dripping with negativity today, I realized that I am generally a positive person. I wanted to counter every negative thing spoken. I had to restrain myself from challenging every down-in-the-mouth comment.

When my outlook on life is positive, most days are pretty good. Today was a good day.

  • I worked hard on some pretty tedious detail-oriented youth ministry stuff for most of the day.
  • Around 1pm I shut down the work mode and spent some time reading the Bible, praying, and worshiping.
  • This afternoon I kicked-off a new round of kayak instruction with my buddy Andy. He and I are teaching some kids from a local high school how to paddle!
  • After a quick supper with the fam, most of Team XStream (our adult volunteers for youth ministry) showed up for a time of planning and praying. I love this team, and believe that we’re going to see God move in our town this year!

There was a time in my life when I would have said that Kim was an optimist, and I was a realist. That was my snarky way of being pessimistic. But God did a work of transformation in my heart, and now I’m a full-blown optimist.

Bring on the rainbows and unicorns.

off to a good start

Last weekend Kim and I took most of our adult volunteers away for a weekend to pray and plan, to train and build relationships. We believe that the heart of every good ministry is a great team, and we’ve got the makings of a great team working with us! Krislund was a great retreat venue. We got to play/think/strategize/teamify on their Initiatives course, experience some of the vertical adventures of their high ropes course, and spend a solid weekend with some high-capacity leaders. We prayed a lot, talked about ministry priorities and strategies, and enjoyed worshiping together. A fire pit gave us a great setting for some late-night chats, and some real bonding happened!
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We kicked off the new XStream year tonight, moving back to Calvary’s building. Some of our friends from 242 (Grace Prep/Stepping Stones/Centre Church) joined us for worship and prayer. Tonight was GOOD! I saw lots of new faces and some folks who were away for most of the summer, as well as most of the peeps who hung out with us at the Barn all summer long. After a good time of worship, I led students through a prayer exercise–ask them about it! I called it the Five Fingers of Prayer.
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We’ve got a great year of ministry ahead of us, and we seem to be building momentum. From a dynamite team to some enthusiasm among students to building relationships and rapport with parents…I believe that God wants to do something special in Happy Valley this year, and that it’s got something to do with teenagers. I can hardly wait to see what develops.

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!