Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Slideshow Maturity

I could not have been prouder this weekend. Friday night was one of the greatest evenings I can remember in a long time. It won’t sound like much to you guys, but it was amazing. My son had all of his family over and gave us an amazing “Mexican Slide Show” from his recent trip with his daddy to a mission work trip to San Felipe Mexico.

He has seen me give one several times now on my trip to Uganda. He is also infatuated with cameras. So while we were there, he was constantly swiping my digital camera and snapping the weirdest, most random, and often incredibly cool and artistic shots. One night he said “Dad when we get back can I give everyone a slide show like you”? I thought it was cute and agreed and simply filed it away. But in his little heart and mind, a dream was born!

This last Friday it came to fruition. We worked hard to set it all up. We made all his favorite snack foods and everyone came over at 7. I was really not sure how he would do. He can get pretty shy at times. I was not going to be surprised if he started but got too shy and/or embarrassed quickly and walked away from it. I was expecting to have to help him and even possibly finish it for him.

Boy was I WRONG! He was amazing. He stood up with full confidence and just bloomed into a preacher in front of our eyes! “Let me start with a few questions about tonight” he said first (questions meaning “clarifying purpose statements of course :). “I want to show you pictures from my trip to Mexico to build houses and our trip to Six Flags. After that we have several snacks and you can all eat whatever you want and just hang out. Then if you want Dad can show you Africa pictures”…..and with that he was off. Looking at me with the eyes of a grown boy he said, “Go Dad” and the show was off.

Jude was amazing. In fact he was nothing short of brilliant! We couldn’t believe it. My jaw was dropped. He was so well versed in the story with each picture. He was so excited and animated. "This was just a fantastic place” he would say. Or “this was me carrying trusses. They build roofs”. His Mom and I had tears just streaming down our faces. It was as if we were literally watching him grow up in front of our eyes. I wasn’t even sure whose child I was watching.

I could not have been any prouder. He was amazing. The crowd of adoring friends was blown away! He finished and thanked everyone for coming. I still cannot believe it. It was one of those precious times you wished you could save in a time capsule. I will NEVER forget it. I wish I could have taped it, but I am not sure video could have captured the feeling of such an energetic and emotionally charged air.

I wonder what more our kids are capable of that we underestimate? I am so excited about the worlds and churches they will be building. I cannot wait to see what they do to this world.

GREAT JOB Jude………I am so glad to have taken you on that trip. I will never forget it my little man. Your Dad is a babbling crying ball of pride.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Softball Spirituality

We have a little softball team here at church. Last year was our 1st outing in a LONG time. It did not go so well. While we had good athletes, we had never played together and it …well let’s just say we got used to not winning. This year however, it has been a different story altogether! We are really good! With a year under our belts and a few new players, we are in 1st place! In fact, going into last night’s game, we had yet to taste defeat!

So, last night we set out to face Westminster Presbyterian. They are good. They have some real power hitters. But, we are the better team. It was a great game. We had some bad calls by the ump and I was struggling to throw strikes. And our fielding was unusually sloppy; still we made big plays and scored runs. It truly was a great game.

It went back and forth and down to the wire. In the end though, the score was 17-15, and we were on the short end of that stick! Yes, the mighty West Main has fallen!  One of the things I love most about this team is how we don’t take ourselves very seriously. None of us have any grand delusions about athletic greatness. So, when we’ve lost in the past, then big deal….it is only church softball.

Last night was no different, but I gotta’ tell you. It was MUCH harder to act that way after we had been tasting victory lately. It actually hurt a little. I was surprised at that feeling inside. I did NOT like losing! I guess that when you get used to something, regardless of what attitude you think you have, it is not very easy to see a different result. This is simply human nature.

I would imagine this to be especially true when it comes to matters of victory and defeat. We all like to win. So, if we ever have the blessing to do so, and do so a lot……it is NOT a good feeling to lose. And I imagine we will play like we are on fire next week, to get that winning feeling back! We will play for pride. Heck…..we WIN, not lose…so we are going to try our very hardest, and give our best efforts to get back to where we know we can be.

I pray that as children of God, we act the same way in our spiritual lives. As cliché as it sounds, we are on THE supreme winning team! We have the victory. It is locked up. And as such, we should be used to victory. So, when defeat comes…..when Satan sneaks in those occasional upsets. How will we choose to act? Like the winners that the blood of Christ makes us? When we lose and see our “teammates” lose…….it should bother us!!! It should hurt, and we should double our efforts to make sure it does not happen again. This is my challenge to myself and all of us…….don’t give up at defeat…but double your efforts. You know your potential and you know your team is better. Give it the best you have!

So…….look out Stronghold Softball. Next Thursday night….W. Main will be fired up!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Songs for my kids

So....I want to collect songs for my kids. By that, I mean songs that are just BEAUTIFUL to dedicate to kids. So, I need your help loyal readers. Will you please go to comments and leave the songs and artist and whether it is for a girl, boy or either. Here are my faves:

A Song for Sleeping- Stone Temple Pilots (trust me...its gorgeous)
Beautiful Boy- John Lennon

Father and Daughter- Paul Simon
Little Willow- Paul McCartney

so guys.......PLEASE share your insight with me! :)

Friends are friends forever...

Two Sundays ago was a special day for us here. We got to visit with some very special friends. The Cash family was driving through on their “American tour” from Uganda. So, they stopped in Medford to see us and visit our church! It was awesome. In Uganda I fell deeply in love with Jeff, Cheryl,
Kinley, Alex, Isaac, and Silas. They are such a great family. Jeff is the most loyal and persevering servant I’ve ever met! He is fearless in his faith. What can I even say about Cheryl? The sweetest, most giving, encouraging, wise, amazing woman!! And throw into the mix four of the sweetest, most unassuming, unselfish, beautiful little creations of God….and you have the Cash family!
I knew, at least I hoped that I’d made friends for life. But, I did not expect to see them again for a LONG time! So when Jeff emailed me I was overjoyed! So they altered their plans to visit Medford, see my family and share with our church what God’s doing in Ft. Portal. It was a real blessing to the folks at W. Main. The teens really enjoyed the morning class. Many of them are still talking about it. Jeff shared his story of how he was called into missions, and he and Cheryl answered some questions!
For morning services it was a busy day at church. So the family patiently sat through a VERY long morning service! Afterwards we all went to eat at Roadhouse grill. I pray it was delicious to them. It was no Mountains of the Moon, but it’ll have to do! :) So we had a long lunch just eating and talking. Jess fell in love with them too. It really meant a lot to meet these folks she’d heard so much about! She has said that Cheryl and her could be the best of friends! After lunch the4y came to our house. The kids all played with power rangers and on the trampoline, and we adults fought off sleep and just visited.
That evening Jeff shared with the whole congregation. I still have not stopped hearing about what a blessing it was and just how much people wished he could’ve just “kept on preaching”.
I praise God to know such amazing people. I pray for them constantly. I pray for their work in a land riddled with dishonesty and darkness. I pray for their patience. I pray for their health and safety. I pray for their precious kids. I pray for their hearts and souls. And I pray a huge thanks they took the time to stop by and say hello.
Friends are amazing, and it truly is a small world in Jesus.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My Girl......

Hello loyal readers. I hope all 3 of you forgive my delayed posting. Life has been a little busy. I would like to introduce you to my gorgeous, brand new little baby!
Hadassah Josette "Haddie" Pannell was born 6/08/08 at 8:08. She was TINY for a Pannell baby, just tipping the scales at 7lbs 1oz. And was a mere 20 inches long. She is perfectly gorgeous. She makes the cutest squeaks when being held (and she LOVES being held). She has already started sucking her thumb, which is just so cute! Thanks for all the prayers the past nine months. It was a grueling run for my amazing wife. As always, she is my hero! Once again she birthed her all natural in the water. I will write more on the experience later. Just know...Jessie is toughest person I know!

Please visit and click "see our babies". We would LOVE you all to sign her baby book! here