Family Update: In less than 4 weeks chances are very good that we will be meeting Baby #3. So this is very exciting!
On top of that I have switched to a new webhost and decided to make some changes to the blog here, and hopefully actually start using it again. I know I planned to do that earlier this year and…well you can see how that worked out. I also have some missing image files to track down for some of the older blog posts. That is on the website to do list.
The site is now also SSL secured so the data going from the webserver to your browser is encrypted with 128 bit encryption when you go to https://jeffbristow.com, https://thebristows.com, and https://jaimebristow.com.
Encryption in general has become a bit of a hobby for me the past couple of months. From using PGP for encrypted email, to using BitMessage, and even mining some BitCoins. I am far from an expert on any of it, but it is interesting to dabble around with. In conjunction with all of this I have been making a move to using Ubuntu as my main OS at home. I had always found Linux to be lacking. About 7 years ago I used Ubuntu and kept coming back to Windows. I have now been using Ubuntu for a few months almost exclusively at home. Ubuntu is easy to use now, and I like it a lot more than Windows 8. You can toss me into the Linux convert category now folks.
I am also planning to ride 300 miles again in 2014. March 1st-6th I will be joining a group of riders to raise money for Youth Ministry in Thailand. Last year we raised over $45,000 for Youth Ministry and Aid in Zambia. My personal goal this year is to raise $1,000. So, I am seeking people who will partner financially to make an eternal impact in Thailand. Please click the large Donate button below and select ‘Jeff Bristow’ in the fund category to join me in helping Youth in Thailand.
A lot of time has gone by. It is so easy to simply forget about this blog with Facebook being the primary means that I keep in contact with Friends & Family. Lots of photos and updates over on Facebook if your are friends with me.
Short Life Update:
I am the ripe old age of 34 and Jaime turned 30 this year. So, the 20’s are behind us as we continue to the move into the life of parenting. Jack is now 4 years old and Henry just turned 2. It is amazing to watch them grow and to see how different they are from each other. Each is an amazing blessing, and the challenges they provide always end up being good ways that God teaches us new things.
Jaime has also started doing professional Photography on the side. She has an amazing talent with a camera. You can check out some of her work on her website at JaimeBristowPhotography.com. You can also keep up with her Photography work on Facebook here:Â facebook.com/jaimebristowphotography
My big ‘thing’ this year is a bike ride to Key West Florida in March. a 300 mile ride. I am really looking forward to this adventure, and I am doing it to raise money for youth in Zambia. My goal is to raise $1,000 and I still have about $800 to go. If you are interested in learning more about this ride and the ministries I am raising money for you can check out their webpage here:Â http://www.youthhope.com/get-involved/endsoftheearth/Â You can also make a donation at http://give.nmsi.org/kwbrÂ (put Jeff Bristow in the notes field and they will know that the donation goes towards my $1,000 goal).
My fitness journey has been a bit of a roller coaster. I am maintaining around a 188lb weight, but have struggled to get back down to the 170lb area that I felt really good at. So, one of my goals this year is to get more serious about eating better and achieve that 170lb goal again.
If you know me, please friend me on Facebook. This blog doesn’t get updated very often, so Facebook has become the default location that I share life updates, and photos of the family.
It is time to start writing on this blog again. This blog has become terribly stale since I haven’t posted anything since 2009. Wow! It sure has been a while.
So, to catch the random lurker up to speed, here is what you have missed.
My family has grown. Jack is 2 1/2 years old and Henry was born on Dec. 30th, 2010, so he is just about 5 months old. Jack and Henry are amazing kids, and I love them more than I can even begin to share.
I have also started a New testament reading plan. It is a one year plan, so the amount of reading each day is minimal. But, I am looking forward to thinking about a shorter piece of scripture each day. And this is one of the reasons I am starting this blog back up again, to to share my thoughts as I read through the New Testament. I found that blogging through the Old Testament really helped me process what I was reading.
Last July I also started running and am still running today. I have done a number of 5K’s, and finished a half-marathon on April 6th, 2011. Running has truly changed my life. I am healthier than I have been in a long time, and I have an activity that I truly love. I am also hoping to run a full marathon by the end of this year or early next year.
The Christmas Story
About one month ago we placed a tree in our living room to remind us of something amazing. We placed a star on the top of the tree and wrapped it in lights. All of this to remind us of a time when the stars guided some wise men to a very special child. So just as these wise men were guided by the stars long ago our hearts are guided by the lights on this tree today, to see this very special child during this season. It is only a few days away from when our celebration of this child will begin, yet our celebration for this child shall also never truly end. Let me share with you the real story of Christmas.
Over 2,000 years ago a star began to shine brightly in the sky. Some Wise men from the east recognized that this star signified the coming of the greatest of Kings. So they began to follow the star, leaving their homes in search of the greatest of Kings, the King of Kings.
Mary The Faithful
At this time there was a young woman named Mary living in Galilee who was preparing to be married to Joseph, a Jewish carpenter. as Mary was tending to her chores an angel appeared to Mary and told her that she would miraculously have a baby by the power of the Holy Spirit. She would carry and give birth to this child and she would name him Jesus.
Mary was afraid and troubled by the words of the angel. not yet being married, Mary questioned the angel, “How will this be? I am not yet married to Joseph.” The angel explained that the child would be God’s own Son and, therefore, “nothing is impossible with God.” Mary was deeply humbled and blessed by this news and she believed the angel of the Lord and rejoiced in God.
Surely Mary remembered with wonder on the words found in Isaiah 7:14 foretelling this event, “The Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means â€˜God is with usâ€™).” (NLT)
Joseph The Honorable
While Mary was engaged to Joseph, she miraculously became pregnant through the Holy Spirit, as foretold to her by the angel. When Mary told Joseph she was pregnant, he was deeply saddened because he knew the child was not his own. Joseph did not believe Mary’s story of the angel and God brining her this baby. Joseph decided to divorce Mary which under Jewish law she could be put to death by stoning. But Joseph out of honor and his love for Mary decided to do so quietly so Mary would not be put through any more shame.
The night before Joseph was going to make this decision official and angel appeared to Joseph in a dream. The angel confirmed Mary’s story and assured him that marrying Mary was Gods will. The angel explained to Joseph that the baby Mary was carrying would be named Jesus and that this baby would be the Messiah, Immanuel, God with Us.
When Joseph woke from his dream, he hurried to Mary and told her what the angel had revealed to him. He then took Mary home to be his wife, in spite of the public humiliation he would face. Perhaps this noble quality is one of the reasons God chose him to be the Messiah’s earthly father.
Joseph too must have remembered the words found in Isaiah 7:14, “The Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means â€˜God is with usâ€™).” (NLT)
At this time, Caesar Augustus decreed that a census be taken, and every person in the entire Roman world had to go to his own town to register. Joseph being born in Bethlehem was required to go to Bethlehem to register with Mary. Mary and Joseph left Mary’s family and traveled a great distance to arrive in Bethlehem for the census.
Herod the Wicked
Herod was king of Judea. Herod was a wicked man filled with pride and a desire for power. He had seen the star in the sky and asked his magistrates what this star could mean. None were certain, but there were rumors that this star signified the birth of the King of the Jews. At this time the wise men from the east arrived in Judea as they had been following the star. They had learned that the star signified the birth of the king of the Jews. The wise men sought out the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and asked where the Christ was to be born. The leaders explained that the King of the Jews would be born “In Bethlehem in Judea,” referring to Micah 5:2. So the wise men began to journey towards Bethlehem to greet the King of the Jews. But before they had left Jerusalem Herod secretly met with the wise men and asked them to report back after they had found the child. Herod told the wise men that he too wanted to go and worship the child. But the truth was that Herod was plotting to kill the child.
The Savior is Born
Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem but due to the census all of Inns were too crowded. There was no place for Mary and Joseph to stay. Mary could tell she was beginning to go into labor and Joseph spotted a small stable and brought Mary to it. The stable was crude for Mary to deliver the baby, but Joseph could find nowhere else to go. When the baby was born in this stable Mary and Joseph named him Jesus as the angel had asked them. Mary wrapped Jesus in cloths and placed him in a manger in the stable in Bethlehem.
At this time out in the fields, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds who were tending their flocks of sheep by night. The angel announced that the Savior had been born in the town of David, Bethlehem. Suddenly a great host of heavenly beings appeared with the angels and began singing praises to God. As the angelic beings departed, the shepherds traveled to Bethlehem to see the Christ-child.
There they found Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus, in the stable.
The wise men arrived in Bethlehem and saw the shepherds gathering near a crude stable. they walked up to the stable and found Mary, Joseph, and a baby. They bowed and worshiped the baby because they knew that he was the King of the Jews and had learned of the prophecies that this child would fulfill. They offered treasures of gold, incense and myrrh to honor him.
The shepherds began to spread the word about this amazing child and everything the angel had said about him. They went on their way praising and glorifying God, amazed that they were able to witness the savior with their own eyes. But Mary kept quiet, treasuring their words and pondering them in her heart. It must have been beyond her ability to grasp, that sleeping in her armsâ€”the tender child she had just borneâ€”was the Savior of the world.
When the wise men left they did not return to Herod. An angel warned them that Herod was plotting to kill the baby, the savior of the world.
This baby, Jesus, is why we celebrate Christmas each year. He is why we put up a Christmas tree filled with lights. The tree reminds us of this story of a baby being born in a manger and God guiding strangers to Him through the stars. So let this tree not be about presents found below but the star standing atop that guides us to the savior.
Christmas is a celebration of Jesus birth, a birth that has forever transformed the world. Before Jesus we had no hope of being with God, because of our sin. Christmas is about celebrating how God became a baby to take on all of our sins and make us right with him. God gave us the greatest of gifts by giving us salvation through Jesus. This is why we too give gifts at this time of year, because we have received much from our savior.
When the Christmas season is over our celebration does not end, but we always look forward to the time of year where we spend time reflecting and focusing on this amazing event, God becoming a man to save each and every one of us.
This story is adapted from the following verses:
Today my son was born at 1:28pm! It is truly an exciting day, one that I will always cherish.
Click on the picture above to make it larger
There are some more pictures and updates at http://www.thebristows.com/
You are still in the womb as I write this, but you could be days away from being born. Your Mom and I anticipate seeing you for the first time very soon. The excitement of seeing you is something that is truly impossible to describe.
I want to tell you about something truly historic that has happened today. Your Mom and I have watched history unfold. We watched as America elected the first African American President! I am so grateful that you will be growing up in a society that has overcome a great deal of racism and bigotry. We have hope that this country will continue to provide opportunity for anyone, regardless of their skin color, ethnic background, or gender. Today marked a huge moment for the United States of America.
Son, I also want you to know that I truly wish I had been able to vote for the first African American President. I did cast a vote for the losing candidate, but it had nothing to do with race or ethnic background. My vote in large part was because of my concern for children who are unborn, children just like you Jack. Barack Obama is an advocate for what society is calling ‘Abortion Rights’. Essentially this gives a woman the right to kill her unborn child. Your Mom and I consider this practice of abortion to be a silent holocaust, one that is killing over a million children each year within the United States. I was unable in good conscience to cast a vote for Barack Obama, even though I wanted to be part of making this historic moment a reality, electing the first African American President. Yet, even though I did not cast a vote for Barack Obama, I am so proud to live in an America that has elected an African American to be President. And I am so grateful that your history books will have a picture in them that will look like this.
It is with much love and anticipation that I write this to you my son.