Friday, December 31, 2021

Happy New Year's Eve!!

 

Happy New Year’s Eve!

New Year’s Day is right around the corner.  Can you believe it’s going to be 2022?  Dating myself a bit, but I remember the 80s like they were a couple of years ago.  Wow, huh? 

Funny side note, in the 80s I had high hair and high heels. I was so much taller than my 5’2.  Don’t imagine it.  It was not as fashionable as I thought it was - after looking at old pictures.

Well, I digress.  Let’s take a moment and reflect on 2021 like many others this week, and then think about 2022. 

2021 was not what I expected.  But then again, neither was 2020, right?

365 days just flew by.  That equals 8,760 hours.  What did you do with your hours? For me, 2021 was filled with new challenges and blessings all wrapped up in a year.  There were great highs visiting family and a new grandbaby.  Participating in United Marriage Encounter and watching marriages flourish in a 48-hour Weekend.  That never gets old and blesses Carl and me more than I can express.

Oh, and the release of the new book, Holy Echoes with God.  That was a God event that I can’t take any credit for.

There were also great lows as friends and family member suffered.  We trudged daily to keep the business afloat.  Some days were better than others.  Trying not to stress with the many changes in staff and the economy.

At the end of the day, I can say we have much to learn still, but I am grateful for another year to push forward with God’s grace and mercy.


Then in a flash, here comes 2022. 




A blank slate is coming your way in hours.


What are your thoughts?  Past and future?


Part of me wants to start a list of what to do for 2022.  Sorry, it is a habit and a hard one to break.  Instead, I sat today and reflected on what God has done in 2021.  I want to be grateful for what He has done in my life.  Then I can look forward to what He will do in 2022.

Sit with me a moment.  Think back through the months of 2021.  What can you thank Him for today?

I am not going to make any grand resolutions for 2022.  I am going to press in more with Jesus.  I am going to take it one day at a time.  I am not going to put myself down if I miss a day.  I am going to pick myself back up and press in once again. That is the gift of mercy and grace in my life.  I can be thankful for those every day.

I know that He knows the beginning from the end, so 2022 will not be a surprise for my heavenly Father.  I excitedly wait to see what He will do in my life, our family, our business, our ministry…

Stand with me and thank Him for 2021, and for what He is preparing to do in 2022!


Revelation 1:8 (NIV)

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Revelation 22:13 (NIV)

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Deuteronomy 4:29 (NIV)

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.


Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas!

 


 Merry Christmas!  We have talked all week about this day! 

We have been looking forward to celebrating the birth of our Savior.  Reminding ourselves all week why this day is so significant.  Trying to prioritize our thoughts as the chaos of the days go by.

How exciting is this day!  We can relive the event that supersedes all events!  The birth of the one who would save us.  We did nothing to deserve it.  But God set it in motion centuries before Christ arrived in the manger.

You may be excited to share Christmas with family and friends today.  You may have a bit of anxiety for the same reasons.  Either way, at the end of the day when the presents are all opened and the meals are eaten, then what?

What do you have to look forward to then?  The next holiday?  The next family event?

What if I told you that we can get excited tomorrow anticipating something else? 

Even Bigger…

Do I have your curiosity...?

Sit with me for a moment.

What did Jesus say right before he left the earth?  In John 14:3 He said:

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

The book of Revelations share the coming of Christ again and establishing His kingdom on earth.  Restoring Eden, and living with God, face to face.  Walking on streets of gold.  Eating from never ending crops.  No more night, because God will be our light.

How exciting it that?

Are you ready if He comes today?

If not, now is the time to make your decision.

Now is the time to accept Christ into your heart, before it is too late.

 

Come celebrate with me as we get ready together…

We have so much to look forward to!

Come Lord Jesus Come…

 

Revelation 22:20-21

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas Eve thoughts...

 


Merry Christmas Eve!

Let’s step back in time for a minute… Remember when you were a child the night before Christmas?  The magical feeling that something big was coming?  The butterflies in your stomach anticipating opening gifts in the morning?  Trying to sleep, but tossing and turning, wishing the night would quickly pass? 

Fast forward to the time when your children were that age.  The lights are lit on the tree and the glow of the lights reflected in the room…  The quiet before the craziness in the morning as an adult.  We could almost ‘feel’ the excitement in the air.  I couldn’t wait to see their faces when they opened gifts.  I had one child who loved ANYTHING he opened.  Excitedly he would rip the paper and shout, “I GOT SOCKS!”  His brother was not as excited about any footwear.  Joey, however, LOVED Christmas and anything he received.

Now think about the first Christmas Eve.  No one knew about the moment on earth except for Mary and Joseph.  Even they didn’t know the magnitude of the event they were going to be a part of.

But God knew.  The heavenly angels knew.  Imagine the anticipation of that moment the night before?  Imagine the awe.  I can’t wrap my head around the magnitude of the moment.  But God could.  He gave us our feelings.  Without sounding irreverent or ever assuming how God feels, I am sure there were many emotions. 

Think about it. 

You know your child will be born the following day. 

That child will change history as everyone knows it.  You ordained it. 

The Holiness of the moment…

Pause and reflect today on that moment…

Praise Him for this moment and His love for you today…


Merry Christmas Eve...  see you tomorrow! <><


Luke 2: 4-5

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

John 3:16-17

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

 

 

 Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Christmas Peace...

 


Merry Christmas Eve Eve!  Today let's talk about Peace

I am sure you have noticed a theme here the last two days.  Going in the spirit of full disclosure, you will see may feel oneness of feeling on this one today as well.

The word Peace is defined on Google as: the freedom from quarrels and disagreement, the absence of war or other hostilities, or an agreement or a treaty to end hostilities.  It sounds simple enough right?

Then the holidays come.  So many families have strife that can take away Peace of mind.  If you wonder today that you are the only one experiencing this.  Trust me, you are not alone.  Let me take you through my last 12 hours.

I woke up at 2AM by a puppy who had intestinal distress.  As my husband ushered both dogs outside, I woke up to the mess.  My loving husband cleaned up the mess.  

I have to say that is true love.  Just saying. 

Then at 4AM I received a text from one of our adult kids having a meltdown over the snow and travel.  Then just as the alarm rang, the phone started ringing with customers who needed assistance.

After we got up and ready for the day, I thought it would settle a bit.  I worked with the team to get the days schedule in place and next thing I knew my phone alarm went off.  It was five minutes before my doctor appointment, and I was 35 minutes away.  

Mental note, set the alarm for 30 minutes instead of 10…

I hurried out the door and thanked the doctor’s office profusely as they let me come in late.  Driving back from the appointment, I felt awesome.  My neck and sinuses were so happy.  I pulled into my driveway to find a huge rut to the side where a truck couldn’t find his way to our barn for a delivery.  So many things I could say here about driving, markers locating where to go, snow tracks to follow… but I won’t.

So here we are talking about Peace.  

I read an awesome devotional before getting out of bed this morning that stated:

When we’re struggling to find Peace in the middle of our circumstances, sometimes the best thing we can do is to acknowledge God is with us and thank Him for the gift of His presence.

I didn’t realize how much it would relate to my day until I reflected on the last 12 hours.  Peace was the furthest thing from my heart.  However re-reading the devotional, I realized that I can’t do this in my own strength.  I need His presence and power to have His Peace. 

It doen't change my circumstances.  It changes me.

I am human.  I get frustrated with circumstances around me that I have no control over.  I have feelings that are not always Christlike. 

However, I can step into His presence.  I can reach His Peace by leaning in.  Like I mentioned the other day.  Be Still…  Then rejoice for the things I do have.  Then comes His Peace.

I pray that you will feel His Peace over the next few days as you continue this holiday journey.


See you tomorrow! <><


Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NIV)

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

John 14:27 (NIV)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.


Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Christmas Joy...

 


Merry 3 Days before Christmas!  Are you feeling the JOY today? 

As Christmas gets closer, you may feel excited looking forward to a loved one, or a friend opening a gift. 

However, some of us may have so many things on their plate that it dims that joyful feeling.  Maybe you are like me, Christmastime brings stress due to things out of my control.  It is hard to find joy in times of stress.  In the hustle and bustle of the days before Christmas, our joy may feel closer to the bottom of our stack of things to do. 

Still, in the busyness of life, have we forgotten the first gift?  That gift which will give us lasting Joy? 

True Joy.

As I mentioned yesterday, we need to take a breath, and be still.  The second part is today.  We need to refocus our thoughts and seek True Joy.  How do we do that?  One way is by re-prioritizing our expectations.

I do this often.  Maybe you can relate?  I set unrealistic expectations that come from social media, watching a Christmas special, hearing from others how they spent the holidays together as a family.  There are so many ways.

I want the ‘perfect holiday’ so badly I lose focus on what was truly important.  Having family around and a table filled with food is nice.  But in the end, there is no perfect family, or perfect event.  My expectations are unrealistic.  I want everyone together under the same roof.  To get along.  To appreciate each other and the gifts and meals we fixed.  My focus was not where it belonged.  I needed to refocus on Him and the true meaning of Joy. 

True Joy comes from knowing God sent His son to the earth to save us…

True Joy comes from knowing what Jesus did for us on the cross…

True Joy comes from being still and listening to His voice, not my own…

At the end of our days, it will only be us, and our Heavenly Father.  Nothing else will matter.  No one else will matter.  Nothing is more important that our relationship with Him.

Take a minute to reflect on that statement.  Seek True Joy.  Let everything else fade away for the moment.  That is how it will be in the end.  Take stock today, to seek His face, and you will find True Joy.

 

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Christmas Calm...

 

Looking at the picture above, I sometimes wonder if I can have calm, joy, 

or peace during this season.  There are so many things that distract me during 

this time of the year.  Work, shopping, family tension, wrapping gifts are just a few…


The next few days I wanted to send out a quick note to share some thoughts, and 

hopefully in the process bring you a bit of calm, joy, and peace for the moment.


Sit with me a moment and take a deep breath and be still…


When is the last time you were completely still?  Personally, it is very hard for me.

I am a type A personality that loves to find more things to do to fill the space and 

time continuum each day.  In that process, I often forget to take a moment and 

just breathe. 


Can you relate? 


When my Heavenly Father gently reminds me during those times of chaos, I 

suddenly realize I needed the calm more than I thought I did. 

I received my first tattoo, and probably my last lol, in 2020 when things were 

upside down.  The tattoo is very simple.  It just states - be still.


It is my daily reminder to sit at the feet of Jesus, like Mary did, and be still. 

Listen to His voice.  Tune out everything else.


Remember what He did for you… 


Remember He has still got this… 


Remember that He is not surprised by what just happened or what is going to 

happen…


Remember that all can be calm, even for a moment, because we know 

how the book ends...


Take a moment and breath…

Be Still…


Psalms 46:10 (NIV)

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, 

I will be exalted in the earth.”


Exodus 14:14 (NIV)

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

 

See you tomorrow.. <3


Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.


Friday, December 3, 2021

Praying for Family & Reconciliation...

 


How many times have you been frustrated with God not answering a prayer?  It may be a noble prayer, or even a selfless prayer, but it still goes unanswered.  I don’t know if you can relate to my frustration, but if so, have a seat and come closer to hear my latest story…

I sometimes get frustrated with God when He doesn’t answer my prayers right away.  I know, it is answered in one of three ways, yes, no, or wait.  I can understand yes or no, well most times.  It is the Wait one I have an issue with. 

When I became a Christian, I naively thought God would speak to me every day and give me His will for my life along with answering all of my prayers on a daily basis.  I know, na├»ve, but that is how I thought at the time.

He did answer some of my prayers quickly but often it was more of a patience and waiting period.  I have very little patience, and hate to wait in lines, while driving, or any other place that takes time away from my schedule. 



Over the years I have learned that I wasn’t going to win the battle of wills against God.  My prayers have become more seasoned, and I pray for His will, no matter what, no matter how long, no matter if.  Those are the hardest.  They are exceptionally hard when it comes to prayers for my family.

I have been praying for our kids for many years.  For their salvation for some.  For a prodigal or more.  For His wisdom as they enter this world on their own.  The hardest prayers are for those who are not speaking to us.  My heart breaks daily for some of our grown children who have taken their own paths and decided we were not able to join them.  My prayers for these are especially intense as I pray, if I am to never see them again, that He reaches them for me and brings them to Him.  Their walk with our Heavenly Father is more important than their reconciliation to me...as painful as that is.

Reconciliation is not always the answer to my prayers.  Even though I try hard in my own strength to ‘fix’ things.  God reminds me that this is an imperfect world, and free choice is the path they must take.  I receive a tiny glimpse of what my Heavenly Father must feel when His people go astray.  The heartache is so deep for our grown children, I can’t even imagine the heartache for humanity as a whole. 

Thanks for listening and keep praying for those kids of yours.  He does hear all of them.  It is up to them to make the choices, but He can bring others into their lives to gently persuade them where we are not able to. 

Standing in prayer with you today…



Psalms 69:8 (NIV)

I am a foreigner to my own family, a stranger to my own mother’s children;

Matthew 18:12

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?

Luke 18:6-8

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”


Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Cake Stories Part 4 - Gingerbread Houses

 


As we get closer to Christmas, I have one more cake story for you here.  Actually, a house story, gingerbread houses to be exact.   My mother made homemade gingerbread houses as well as cakes to sell for extra funds during my youth.  Each time we created these warm yummy deserts, it would be an experience of smells and tastes.  No two houses were ever alike.  That is what made them fun.  There was no ‘cookie cutter’ home.  No play on puns there…




So, when my mom handed down all the cake bins, the gingerbread recipe, and cut out forms were included.  I started down the road creating different cakes and then gingerbread houses for Christmas.  It became a tradition for our home when the kids were little and then grew into a small business for Christmas gifts since funds were short.  The holidays would begin with a flurry of baking the forms for each house.  The smell of gingerbread permeated throughout the house.  Christmas music was playing even though the Thanksgiving items were not securely put away yet.




The kids would gather around the houses as I decorated each one and added an upside-down ice cream cone decorated green for the trees and vanilla wafers for a small fence.  The yards were decorated with marshmallow snowmen and multicolored candies covered the entire house.  I would bake a few extra gingerbread men for the houses and any stray child that wanted to sample the goods.  Between the warm gingerbread and the candy in the house, each child was captivated by the process because they knew they might receive some of the extras left behind.

I began selling the houses to friends and neighbors for the holidays.  Then the process intensified, and a local restaurant wanted different sized gingerbread houses to sell to their customers for the holidays.  That was exciting and gave me the creative license to make new sizes and shapes for each customer. However, the small hobby became a distribution center as the customers from the restaurants wanted multiple houses and asked if I would ship them out of the state.  Sure, why not right?

Each year I would start earlier and earlier to get ahead of the orders and the process until one year I spent more time making and decorating houses than my own home.  I needed to stop even though it was financially working.  It was taking too much time away from my family and my home.

So one last year I let everyone know and packed away all my supplies for good.  It was a sad day, but everyone understood.  I only brought the supplies out for family times together from that point on.

Before my mom passed, we carried out all the supplies once again, and made a bunch of gingerbread houses so the new family and extended kids could be a part of the process.  Everyone loved the moment and once again gingerbread and candy permeated the air along with Christmas music, of course. 




Each year we make less gingerbread houses, but each time I bring out the supplies it brings me right back to when mom and I were in the kitchen.  We made it happen no matter how much room we had.  When I smell gingerbread during the holidays it reminds me of the many experiences I shared with my mother, customers, and my family.  Happy times and a bit of craziness here and there, but so worth it.

What are your family traditions that took a turn or you still do each year?

Proverbs 31:15 (NIV)

She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.


Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.


What I learned from fasting

  I know this is a strange topic after Thanksgiving and going into the Christmas season but hang with me for a minute.   In less than 30 day...