To be present is one of the greatest gifts that you can offer those around you, not to be consumed with the busyness of our lives, but to choose courage and stay alive to feel all that we are feeling. My Red Tent Dinner was no exception. Each woman I invited chooses to have courage and lean into the messiness of her life.

My vision for the evening was to be real, so I planned and sketched out a wild, crazy, beauty filled, untamed Christmas Party. It was unconventional to say the least. Christmas is about the crazy, it’s about the unthought-of beauty of life and messiness that Jesus brought and lived.

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I asked two questions during the evening, for the first I had my guests take a slip of paper and write one way that they wanted to be more present during this season. Afterwards we each pulled a slip from a envelope and read them out loud. No one knew who’s  they were reading but we all got to see and connect with each other in a way that allowed us to know that we had others who were with us in the midst of our hopes for this season.

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For the second I had wrapped a red ribbon around each napkin and asked each woman to think of a story that communicated where their presence was experienced and seen as a gift to those around them. Afterwards I asked them to take the red ribbon and use it to accessorize their outfit, so that for the rest of the evening any time they saw it they were reminded that their presence is a gift.

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For the rest of the evening I heard beautiful story’s of courage and truth that these women graciously shared. I felt so honored to be amongst them. Here are a few more images that I captured of the night, while still allowing me to be present in the goodness of the evening.

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I hope this season you had the opportunity to be present and live to the fullest. I hope it held beautiful moments, but if not I hope you will hold onto the goodness that your presence is always gift when its offered.

 


14086408_10153873626672939_5514401493627945146_o-1Allison Johnson resides in Phoenix as a Resident Director at Grand Canyon University. She finds beauty in simplicity and spontaneity, and in the midst of living her life in all of the messiness of being 24. She laughs loudly, dances frequently, and creates art through any and every medium. Her heart is set on living passionate adventures, filled with glorious people and places.
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