Thursday, December 20, 2012

.and though it's been said many times, many ways.

Once upon a time, there was a girl who had a very specific Christmas Fantasy.

Her dream was that everyone she loved
would all live together in one big cabin.
On a mountain somewhere.
(I mean, we're dreaming, right? So it would have a front porch and window seats, too.)

And throughout the month of December,
they would all just, you know,
sit together (probably while cuddling) by the crackling fire,
watching the snow fall and singing Christmas carols,
laughing all the way.

Alas, instead the people the girl loves are all spread out around the country/world.

So she cajoled them all into sending her pictures of them getting ready for Christmas.

Then the girl could PRETEND she was sitting with them drinking hot chocolate
or helping them trim the Christmas tree...

(She may have told them she needed these pictures for a "collage"...
Well, she lied. They were for the blog.

Enjoy my little spread-out community.

Very grateful everyone participated and I get to pretend I am with all of you this season...

Oh, how blessed I am with the people I get to know + love!!

It's (some of) my second family and their tree!! I would like to publicly announce that Char was the FIRST PERSON to get her Christmas photo to me. I am so proud of you, Charis.
Here she and Kailey are showing off their Christmas tree, and a face on a gourd. That's how we celebrate Christmas in Maryland in the Ramsing family.
(Random phone call from their mom the other night:
Me: Hi!
Becky: (no hello) Get on Skype now! We're actually all together!! We need to do advent!!!
Oh. I. Love. Them. Can't wait to celebrate with you guys so soon.)

Sarah sent me this one titled "Christmas BaggĂ© style" of a recent evening in DC. Love that she painted her own Christmas cards. Especially love the sweet note in mine I received last week. Love you, babe.

Matt and Amy each (way to go above and beyond, guys!) sent me this pic of
Christopher and Hannah decorating their tree with their cousin, in Maryland.
And the one below it Amy called their "Christmas card reject pic". I particularly like the way Christopher is strangling the cat...
Fun fact #1: I used to live in this house! With them! It was The Best. *sigh*
Fun fact #2:  I remember vividly all three of these tall creatures as infants.
Fun fact #3: The couch Christopher is standing on once belonged to my mother. Cute.

Aw, here's the lovely Christina in her very brand new St. Louis home. She explained this was her "make shift" tree: a plant under ornaments hanging on the wall. Great ingenuity, Chris!! (PS, love your face to the sun, very Mary Oliver.)

Chris's and my third musketeer, my BFF Claire and her roommate just hangin' out with Santa in MD.

My beautiful freshman roommate Amy with her and James' tree in San Diego. Wish we were celebrating together in our little dorm room together in Smith... as 18-year-olds... um well, no, but wish we were together, Ames!!

Who is this hiding, festive fellow? Why, it's Chet in New York! Hi, Chet!!

(added 12/24) My awesome met-them-the-first-day-of-college friends Gabe and Jana sent me this picture of their lovely tree- in their new home in Madrid, Spain!! I know my favorite geologist and writer couple are a blessing to any community they are in, anywhere in the world. MISS your faces.

My beautiful friend Helen from Connecticut just arrived back to the States after six months in Bolivia! Having once arrived back to the States at Christmastime after six months in Bolivia, I am beaming her lots of extra love right now. I am so proud of this girl and lovvedd getting to spend time with her when I was in Cochabamba in July.

Mary and Wolf 's family's FOUR stockings makes me so happy. I can't wait to hold their newest addition, Miss Lyla Grace born in August, when I get home to Maryland this weekend.
Check out that big huge THREE year old Rex, hanging his ornament!!

My sweet sweet precious friends Christine and Luke in their Glen Ellyn apartment. Their matching monogrammed stockings make me smile. I miss these two terribly. Lovely tree, guys.

Bourke and his roommates having way too much fun around their Christmas tree in Seattle.
Now this is the kind of celebrating I'm talking about!!!!

My love Elise hitting up the DC Christmas scene. I also got an ornament in the mail from this beautiful girl yesterday!! It made my heart so happy. Thanks, sweet, I love you!

It's the brand-new Mrs. Emily Miner!!! With her and Javan's first tree as a married couple, in Colorado. They are a shining star of HNGR coupledom, so I would bet good money most of the decorations in that house are fair-trade made in developing countries... (am I right, Em?)

Speaking of HNGR interns, here's one of "mine" in St. Louis, with her fam. Hayley was in the Best HNGR Small Group Ever (seriously, we won the award for 2011 interns). This girl always makes me laugh.

My crazy friend Josh in Wheaton entitled this photo, "A Christmas Snow Angel". And what a lovely holiday angel he is.

My sweet roommate Heather in Alabama!!! Gorgeous tree, Heath. Heather, our beautiful roommate Christine who's off being a rock star missionary in Thailand, and I are reading our awesome advent devotional together this year. Love those girls.

More awesome HNGR interns!! Kait and Wendy and a friend rocking the WHITE HOUSE Christmas tree in DC. Very hard core.

The lovely Kari with her tree in Seattle! I am so proud of this brand new certified massage therapist (rocking her brand new super cute short hair, btw. Love it, Kar.)

Josh and Meg in Illinois, just hangin' out decorating their tree. Personally I think this photo should go on a Christmas magazine cover somewhere. Oh I miss you guys.

It's the Improv Boys!! SteveMarty, and Tim in front of the Christmas tree, showing off the matching Hardy books they all received as gifts (seriously). Oh boys.
(Total seriousness: I was SUPER nostalgic the other night wanting to go caroling and remembering when we went caroling two winters ago...)

My wonderful west-coast fam, the Qualls, cut down a tree from their very own tree farm in Idaho. I loved spending Thanksgiving with them this year! Represented in the top photo are Russ, Lisa, and about one third of their children. Following are their ever-entertaining and completely wonderful youngest three.

It's my crazy and fabulous photographer friends and world-traveling partners in crime, Tim and Asharae, with their tree in North Carolina!!
You might think Ash is just wearing that bow on her head to be silly for the picture...
but no no. She's just really stylish.
(Sign up to do a photoshoot with them and you can see for yourself!)

My housemates and dear friends Ryan and Kendra celebrating Langdon's first Christmas!!!
The bottom one is them lighting the Advent candle at church with his grandparents in Wheaton.
This baby makes me cry in joy and I can't hear enough about him, ever. (I just got off the phone with Kendra, so I mean it... I choke up in excitement when she tells me about cute things he does.)

These are the pictures that spurred the whole idea. My dear dear friend Matt and his boyfriend picked out an awesome Christmas tree in Chicago. Matt, knowing my need for connectedness to my community, emailed me these pictures a couple weeks ago and they made me SO HAPPY!
(*Clearly this is all about me and my needs. It had nothing to do with, "Matt got an awesome tree and wanted to share HIS joy." It was definitely about me.
...Okay, yes, I'm absurdly self-centered, but those of you who know Matt, and know me, and know each of our respective emotional needs, have to agree with me that most likely the decision to email me pics of the experience was at least in part for my benefit. Thank you bud.)
Fun Fact #1: That car like, represents my college experience. Oh Cally the car.
Fun Fact #2: I love this boy a lot.

And finally, my bosom friend and her new husband. With an adorable ornament... and Christmas nail polish (nice, Mayr)!). OH I love them and cannot wait to see this girl in MD TOMORROW!!!!

Well, I suppose it's only fair to close out with a Christmasy picture of me.

Here I sit, curled up in my cozy little attic house in Oregon.
Nothing I would love more than to have each of these faces sipping hot cocoa by my Christmas tree with me as I knit under my snowman quilt...

but having all of your pictures is a good second.

Thanks for participating in my holiday fun, oh beloved far-flung loved ones of mine.


Anonymous said...

This is the best thing ever. I would like to state for the record that I NEVER thought this was for a collage - I knew from that first "send me a pic of you doing Christmas-y things!" text that this blog post was inevitable.

LOVE YOU and have the merriest of merry Christmases!


Josh Blaney said...

This is wonderful. I wish that were a real place too. I'd bring the Starbucks!

Eric Muhr said...

Wondered if you were going to leave us without a picture of your tree. Then wondered how exactly you got the tree into that space. Window?

Emily said...

Eric- nope, thru the front door :-) Irene helped me carry it up. Come over and make an ornament!

Jen @ Rolling Through Looneyville said...

How wonderful is this! Would you believe I don't have a single picture of Christmas land yet? Love you!

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As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.