Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas 2013

Well, Christmas has come and gone. It was a great holiday, as it usually is.



We spent Christmas Eve morning at my parents' house. We had a delicious casserole for breakfast and had fun visiting and opening gifts.

Little JCrew loved the SpiderMan plane from Uncle Kyle and the The motorcyle man and dog from Aunt Kerry.


If he is missing the man or dog, we go on a hunt til we find them.



Mr. Brigglesworth enjoyed his car trailer from Uncle Kyle and his race car from Aunt Kerry.


He has a thing for wheels!



Mimi and Poppa gave a construction truck that you take apart and a See and Say with farm animals. And the boys got the 'Cars' DVD. We didn't have that one and the boys loved it!

The rest of the day was relaxing.

The following morning, the boys slept in a little. Little JCrew was up first, so he and I started baking our birthday cake for Jesus.



This year he could actually help.



The previous years I've just posed him for pictures. He helped me mix and pour the batter into the pan.

It was a delicious cake.


Once Mr. Brigglesworth and Mr. JCrew woke up, we had our cinnamon rolls and read our Christmas story.

It was then present time!



Octonauts are a big hit in this house, and that was their main present.


Little JCrew really enjoys playing with little people.


Mr. Brigglesworth enjoyed the box it came in.



The boys got play-doh (What was I thinking?)



And Mr. JCrew made a "Man" out of it.



For lunch we went over to Aunt Kelsey's house. She got engaged!!! Her fiance's parents were over at her house and it was a great time.



The older cousins brought over their big toys and shared with the little cousins.


Little JCrew loved it. Even tried mowing Mr. JCrew and Mr. Brigglesworth over.



He gave the four wheeler a try.



And he even tried driving his brother around. But his legs were too short.



Nana and Boppa gave the boys an animal dancing game. It looks fun!


And they also gave the boys some precious books with our pictures in them.


Thank you, Nana and Boppa!

It was a great, great week spending time with family. I've already taken down my Christmas decorations. I didn't wait long to do that. But I will miss the boys messing with the Nativity scene.


Little JCrew liked to move all the figures to one side. I'd rearranged them and he'd always move them again. I think we will but heads when he's older. Two organizers in the house!


Hopefully we can work as a team. We have Mr. Brigglesworth to deal with and he likes to destroy things.


At least he's a cutie while doing it!



Oh, and I forgot to mention that Mr. JCrew's little brother also got engaged. He and Morgan are getting married on Tuesday! They will share our anniversary date! I wish them well on their new adventure in life. Two people becoming ONE is the greatest thing.

The Jenson's

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. May 2014 be the best year yet!

Monday, December 23, 2013

LOVE

I grew up in a Christian home. I went to church Sunday morning and night, sang in the choir, played handbells, played in the orchestra, went to Wednesday night supper, participated in Sunday School and youth group. My life was about God; I believed in Him.

My personality was not one that questioned facts. I accepted the Truth and it made sense to me. I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior when I was seven. This age had meaning to me and I was so excited to be leading my life with Jesus by my side. During the last 24 years I have lived as a Christian, I have had many “hot-flashes.” Those are what I call the moments when you are on fire and in love with the Lord and you want to share it with everyone! Every sinner goes through their cycles of messing up. But then we repent and ask for forgiveness and we shout from the mountain tops how awesome our God is! He forgives us and welcomes us back each time we have strayed away from Him.

The time in between the hot-flashes are when I have been a lukewarm Christian. I always loved people and knew the truth, but I was never a disciple. I didn’t want to offend anyone with my beliefs. I didn’t want to make them or myself uncomfortable. They knew I was Christian and I knew they were not, but I never shared with them why I love Jesus. Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends. They do not want to be rejected.

Now I am experiencing the biggest “hot-flash” I have ever had! I don't want to call it a hot-flash because I don't want it to end. I can honestly say I have put God-first in my life and I have never been happier. I want everyone to experience this PEACE. I am not afraid of rejection. That is something that has always held me back. We are not here for ourselves. What an awful world that would be. A world where we live this “alright life” then you die and that’s the end. But there is more, so much more! -- A kingdom with our Creator that LOVES you so dearly. I choose to live the life He has called me to, because it is far better than life without Him.
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Love is a hot topic now-a-days. The sermon this past week was all about love. We need to love our God and our neighbors. We need to love the sinners. It is meant for you to love God more than your spouse and more than your parents. It is in that order. I admit, my heart kind of hurt when Mr. JCrew always said he loved God more than me… but now I understand. (He didn’t say it to my face in a mean way, but just a list in the order of who he loved.) Loving God more than anyone, gives you the ability to love everyone; even the ones that are tough to love.

In today’s world, everyone wants everyone to love each other. Non-Christians want Christians to love them without pointing the finger at their sins. I’m concerned that our modern America idea of God’s love is very different than what is portrayed in the Bible. Love? Yes, absolutely. Compromise the Truth? Never. Jesus dying on the cross means nothing if we water down the definition of sin. It’s the ugliness of sin that we repent from. There are times that people speak the truth in a not so loving way; I don’t condone them. Jesus said we will be hated, just like He was. He died for me and while I love the sinner (before Christ I was one) I’ll never love the sinner more than I love Jesus. He never asked me to.
  
Jesus is a lover but he never stepped away from the Truth to love someone. He would not deny the commands of our Father or sugar coat them in any way. He called people out on their sins. He loved them and wanted them to change.

No matter what your sin is, all sins are equal. It is a black and white topic. Lying to someone is just as bad as murder. Sounds harsh, but the Gospel is offensive. Not one of us should judge another human being for what he or she chooses to do or not to do in this life. We all fall short of God’s Glory, hence forth why His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, came to save us. We are called above all commands to Love one another. There are times when people will be offended by what someone says when they reference God’s Word. There are times when I read and study God’s Word and I am offended, and this is because we all fall short of His Glory. The problem today is this: there are more folks who want the watered down, feel good teaching of Joel Osteen because he just doesn’t want to offend anyone. The word of God on the other hand convicts/offends EVERYONE of us in our hearts for our daily sins and choices that each of us make, but by HIS Grace through His son, Jesus Christ, we can ask and receive His forgiveness. None of us should ever verbally attack another person because of their choices that don’t appear to line up with God’s word, simply because, we all make choices everyday that don’t line up with God’s word. We’re all imperfect, but it also doesn’t mean that it is okay for the sake of humanity to water down God’s word to make everyone feel good, as well.
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How do I disciple if I don’t speak of God’s word? If I say that I feel homosexuality is a sin, I am not loving? Love without the truth (Jesus loved but ALWAYS spoke the truth) is not the Gospel. It is just love. Truth without love is just truth. Again, not the gospel of Jesus. How do we as a society have our cake and eat it too?

“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”

“But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
-          John 8:3-11

I don’t read that as Jesus letting the woman go away thinking that her life was the way He planned it for her. He loved on her and then he used the opportunity to speak truth into her life. He told her to leave her life of sin. Are we wrong to speak the truth especially when asked? Because all I see of disciples are truth speakers willing to be beheaded and imprisoned rather than stay silent or veer from the truth. And they rarely engaged people for a length of time before sharing the Truth. It was their job.

I want to be a disciple! Sin is our enemy; not people. We cannot judge or condemn people, but we are to offer Grace to the broken sinner. Christians should never be afraid to expose the wound of any soul. Because we do so out of LOVE. Should we love people straight to hell? We do if we don’t deliver the Truth. It’s uncomfortable. It is. But since when are we called to be comfortable?

We are able to offer Grace because we are sinners ourselves! God gives us the power to forgive when we think it is impossible. When we forgive, we want to show the broken how awesome life is when you put Jesus first! Something comes over you that you cannot explain. It is a wonderful PEACE.
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We are not going to hell if we acknowledge our sins and repent of them. And if you are seeking God with your whole heart and asking for forgiveness, you will want to quit that sin and ask Him to help take away your desires for it. If we repent and continue to sin, we are not actually sorry we are hurting God, we are just scared of going to hell and living a lukewarm life.

I don’t want anyone to suffer, and I know not everyone is going to come to know the Lord. He says the path is narrow and few will find it. But I do want to try, for others' sakes, and to do what I was put on this earth for.

“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in Heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my father in Heaven.” Matthew 10:32-33

“Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” – 1 John 2:6

That verse above, from 1 John, causes an uproar. Those that have not repented of their sins do not see us as being Christ-like when we point out the sin. They see us as not showing them love. We are pointing out their faults. I hate when my faults are pointed out to me. Mr. JCrew tells me I’m a neat-freak and I should spend more time with the kids and less time at work. Those are some of my many faults! I do want things picked up and tidy before I leave the house. And I do spend less time with the kids because I am at work or doing chores. It was hurtful to realize there may be truth behind his claims. I didn’t want to be equated as being a bad mom! So, I changed. I don’t tidy up the house. I only work my 40-hours a week. I make sure I engage with the kids every second I am with them. And guess what? I appreciated Mr. JCrew pointing out my faults. I am now enjoying the little moments with my children and they aren’t the only ones benefiting.
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The lukewarm Christians and non-believers want us to care about this suffering world more than we care about our Christian rights. I have not picked one thing to narrow down on nor am I ignoring the suffering world. I am out there making sure there is fresh water to drink, education and opportunities to hear about God. But you can’t re-direct my attention so that I forget about you. I can help third-world countries and help my brother/sister at the same time.

Loving as Christ loved is not what people think of as “love.” The world wants us to love them as they are. We do. You are uniquely made! But Jesus didn’t just love the sinner. He loved them and wanted them to change.

This is the beginning of my journey as a disciple. I’m not going to go around pointing out every body’s sins. Don’t worry. I have plenty of my own and Mr. JCrew and I are good at keeping after each other. But I am not going to accept a sin that I know is not the Truth. I cannot. It is my goal to continue to love you. Even if you have said hurtful things. God gave me the strength to forgive you. I love you and want what is best for you. You are loved beyond what you can imagine!




Toddler Busy Board

I don't know how long I can keep it up, but I'd like to try to go as long as I can. That is, making the boys their Christmas present.

We have a three-gift rule we follow for the kids. Each kid gets three gifts. Just as the Wise Men brought three gifts for Jesus.

Last year I made the boys a Lego / Train Table. It is a hit! The boys ask to play trains all. the. time. Because Mr. Brigglesworth is so young, we haven't flipped it over to play Legos yet. But, I've got the Lego collection started and am just waiting!!

So, this year I made a Busy Board for the Boys Christmas present.


All I had to buy was the hardware at the home improvement store.


I cut a board from the left over I had when making Little JCrew's twin beds.


I just laid out all my pieces so that I knew how big I needed it.



I then used the paint I used on my front door to paint the piece of wood.

I tried to get a variety of the types of latches.



Ones that used a wide range of motion.



My favorite is the window sash lock.



The cabinet keyed lock is one of Little JCrew's favorites. The only thing I have left to do, is use a ribbon to attach the key to the board. The boys haven't figured out that the key can come out. But once they do, if that key is not attached, we will lose it!


I showed it to the boys to get these pictures.


It's close enough to the holiday, but I'll still keep it in the closet until Christmas Day.


I'm so glad they like it.


My mom says I'm teaching them how to get into things and I will be in trouble soon. Ha! I'm already in trouble with the two of them together, how much more can there be?



I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas with their family and friends.

Friday, December 20, 2013

December 2013 Update

I owe you a quick update....

All is good here at the home-front. Dad came home a week ago and is improving every day.

Little JCrew had pajama Day at school. They had pancakes for lunch and lots of fun.



Later that night he played tug of war with Kates. When she is on a carpeted surface, she can win.



When she's on the tile or wood floor, she fights, but is pulled around by Little JCrew. When she wins the tug-of-war, Little JCrew gets very upset.



Mr. Brigglesworth is a ham. We knew that early on. He smiles at us all the time. He's just a happy baby.



He's learned a couple words recently; one being "uh-oh." He likes saying it so much, that he creates opportunities to say it.



I admit, it's cute.

These kids ... we just laugh all day long!

A quick update: All that potty-training we attempted at the beginning of this year was not a waste!! This morning I left Little JCrew undressed from the waist down while I was getting ready. I knew I could trust him but I had no idea he would come around the corner and tell me he had to use the potty! I asked him if he needed to use the potty and he said, "Yes!" And he did. We were already going to start the training up again over the Christmas holiday. I guess he heard our plans and took the initiative. Go, Little JCrew!



I hope you have a great weekend!


Monday, December 16, 2013

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

I jumped on the train, a little late, but I’m on it!



I saw this idea many years ago and said I would do it when my kids were old enough. I could have done it last year, but I was still a sleep-deprived new momma and had no energy.

It wasn’t that hard. Maybe took me thirty minutes TOTAL!



I bought a yard of green felt in the fabric department and then got felt pieces in the craft department. Although, I just saw at Target last Friday that they have a felt tree in a box already ready to hang. It was $10, but they had a 50% off coupon. 

My fabric was 37 inches wide and I made an executive decision the tree would be four feet tall.



I’m a symmetrical gal and my shapes need to be near perfect. My tree would have four tiers (each 12 inches) and the top tier would be 12 inches wide. I then was looking for how wide the middle two layers needed to be. I wanted them to evenly and gradually get bigger.



I used a Magna Doodle from the toy basket to write my fancy calculations. Mr. JCrew jumped in and our brains work so differently. We both got the same answer, but we went around the pole in opposite directions.

I didn’t mean to, but my edges came out “edgey.” Went perfect with the look of branches on the tree.



I used a puzzle piece to cut out the ornaments, and a plate to get a curved line for the garland.

I then used Commmand Strips of Velcro to get the tree on to the wall. The boys LOVE it.



Little JCrew lined up most of the ornaments. My little organizer, melts my heart.



Mr. Brigglesworth loved it, too. I’m doing a daily count of the ornaments to make sure the little guy doesn’t make off with them and throw them away. (He is so good, too good, at throwing things away.)


Actually, I'm not having to watch Mr. Brigglesworth as much as I'm having to watch Kates! She pulls those ornaments right off. Her favorite are the green candycanes. If it's low, she just goes up to the tree and bites it off.



We already have a little tree the boys can’t touch, but now they have their own that they can mess up all day.

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