About the Author

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also best-selling author of "A Confident Heart" and the familiar voice of a friend to women around the world as the former Proverbs 31 Ministries' radio co-host for ten years. Renee is a mom of three Joshua (25), Andrew (22) and...

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  1. Renee,
    I struggle with being in the here and now. Especially at Christmas my mind churns ahead of me on my “to do” list to make Christmas happen. Tonight I need to prep the French toast casserole for tomorrow’s Christmas brunch and then….tomorrow I need to…little notes scribbled on my calendar so I don’t forget anything for the perfect Christmas. By jumping ahead, I lose the here and now. I think God would say, “Will you stop already?” The truth is I don’t need to pull off Christmas. It will come on its own. I also need the reminder to take time to encourage those around me and let them know just what makes them so special. The long and the short is – I needed this! Thank you and ((hugs)) back to you. May you have a blessed and joyous Christmas and thank you for this gift!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Me too, Bev. God knew just what I would need today when He had me write this post. 🙂 Here’s to slowing and being… right where we are, savoring the moments we’re in and the people we’re with. Merry Christmas!

  2. I nailed the imperfect Christmas making shortbread cookies last night, the recipe called for only the egg yolk, no egg white, and when I separated them, I put in the egg white and by the time I realized my mistake, it was too late, so goodbye cookie dough, ugh!

    I wrote a little poem to my family yesterday afternoon after wrapping presents and making a different batch of cookies that succeeded.

    Twas the Rush Before Christmas

    The presents are piling up under the tree
    There is nothing in your stockings
    But soon there will be
    I’m trying to bake cookies
    The kitchen’s a mess
    I hope I get it all done
    Since it’s almost Christmas!

    Our most enjoyable time this Christmas week was going to see the new Star Wars Movie, my husband and I went on our first date to see The Return of the Jedi in July, 1983.

    But my favorite is going to the Christmas Eve service at church later this afternoon. I love it when everyone is forced to slow down and take that needed pause and focus on Jesus together as a church family.

    Merry Christmas!

    • Love the poem!! What a great way to respond to the cookie dough debacle. 🙂 Merry Christmas. May it be merry and bright and filled with lots more laughs and loads of great memories with your family!

  3. Beautiful reminders, Renee! Can’t wait to give my family time, laughter & encouragement this season! Merry Christmas, Kim Stewart

  4. Renee, thank you for the reminder to be “in” on this Christmas. Yesterday my imperfect pecan praline candies turned out to be perfect pecan caramels that I dared to share with family and friends. They were a hit! Funny how things work out in spite of our “perfect” expectations. Merry Christmas!

    • Oooh I wish I could have some of those pecan caramel candies!! I dont think imperfect is possible with butter, caramel, sugar and pecans! Yum! I love when the things we do don’t go perfectly but end up turning out even better than we planned. Merry Christmas!

  5. Merry Christmas Renee and thank you for this! I know that I spend much of my time with friends and family not fully present because my mind is elsewhere, usually on my seemingly endless to do list. Thank you for the reminder that memories are created when we are present. Blessings to you and your family.

    • Thanks Sheryl for sharing. It’s so easy to be distracted by our to-dos and miss the sweet blessings of what we have right in front of us. Praying we are all able to be more full “present” this Christmas than ever before. Merry Christmas!

  6. Keeping you and your family in prayers as you mourn your brother, and thank you for your very real outlook on this. Blessings to you this Christmas.

  7. So sorry for your loss Theresa and so appreciate your sharing because it’s times like these that really do help us let go of the little things and focus on what matters most. I’m praying for you and your family today. May the gift of Immanuel – full of comfort and peace be so near to each of you.

  8. These three things are so much more important than our material gifts. Thank you, Renee. Also for all your encouraging posts this past year. May God fill your heart with His love, peace, and joy this Christmas and in the New Year!

  9. Thanks Renee! These are such good reminders for Christmas and every Holiday or get-together. Just being together with family is “perfect” enough.
    Have a wonderful Christmas!

  10. I too, strive for what I think would be a perfect Christmas, and I end up sad and disappointed when things don’t work out. So, thanks to your encouraging post, tomorrow I will try and spend more time with the people around me rather than running around trying to clean up after them all day.

  11. Renee,
    It is so hard to slow down during advent/Christmas season. We want to do everything, be everywhere, etc. The only gift our family needs is us–being there in the moment. This is a somewhat somber Christmas for me. Got news my aging dad’s mental status is changing and he needs to move from assisted living. Also dealing with his financial information and paperwork! Will try to enjoy my hubby’s family and rest some!
    Have a blessed Christmas!

  12. I should have cancelled my need for a perfect Christmas this year! I was left feeling let down and more like I’d catered a dinner than actually enjoyed a holiday with family and friends. But when I look at it not in that moment, it WAS good, it was blessed, it blessed others. That makes me glad. btw, Renee, I love your son’s sweet comment about your laughter.