This week has been full. Holiday hours at Gap, applications for publishing internships, large get-togethers with high school friends. It's been full in a good, relaxing, I-have-time-for-all-of-this-in-my-life kind of way. Currently I am up north staying with my extended family. And it is wonderful. We are tucked away in my aunt and uncle's cozy home miles from town and smack dab in the center of a thousand pine trees. Here, there is quiet reading time, bonfires, much pottery, and lots of paths in the trees for walks. Also, Grandma lives here too, just down the road. We are going to Denny's with her in the morning.

I sit on the white couch in the living room with my cousin Katie and my Aunt Molly while Uncle Ron and Alex throw wood on the fire outside. Katie, who is twelve, teaches me to knit. I have grand plans for a scarf. Alex, who just started high school, throws a large piece of plywood on the firepile outside and the sparks swell up and out in a torrent and blink off into the dark. We can hear wolves howling in the distance. Before I came inside, we stuck long sticks in the embers and made our branches into torches to poke other logs and draw pictures in the air. They smoldered and produced curling strings of smoke which we used to write our names, cleverly, in the sky and gather up any flaming kindling that fell out onto the grass.

Now, I am in the living room with carrot sticks, tortilla chips, and guacamole. There is a fly, to remind us that we are out somewhere between acres of forest, flying around in the inside of the lampshade while we knit and read. I don't mind this because it sounds like the tapping of rain, and even though this is December (although a brown, snowless one so far), I can imagine a drizzle outside.

I love to be with family. It is so nice to be somewhere stowed away in the countryside with all the time in the world and a lot of people I care about. Tomorrow is still in the works - we don't like to plan too far ahead. But I am sensing a walk (must see the wild turkeys), board games by candlelight - this is a tradition - and possibly some art-making or baking.

Now I'm going to finish The Boys of My Youth and read through some of James. I keep coming across wisdom verses lately - I always wonder if God is trying to help me understand me something when this happens consecutively (See James 3:17).

Also, the bed I am in here is cozy.

Peace, Lo