Bartos family, State Park Project, Thoughts

stone mountain, cont’d

Another quick thought on yesterday’s hike at Stone Mountain State Park: it was hard, but we did it – and so could you!

Leading up to this hike, it felt like everything was against us. The berries had a cold earlier in the week, and the weather forecast was terrible (three straight days of snow and rain over the weekend). It really didn’t look like we would be able to get outside and hike like we wanted to, but we were determined to work on our state park goal this weekend. It’s so good to have goals, because they push us to achieve more than we ordinarily would!

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Bartos family, State Park Project

stone mountain

Back on the trails! It has been a (long) month since our last hike. We have two trips planned for March, and so far, we’re on schedule. Today’s destination was Stone Mountain state park, which is a lovely area less than 2 hours from Charlotte. It would have been a perfect chance to hike with friends (which we’ve been wanting to do) but these trips are so uncertain! Almost every week starts out with rain in the forecast for Sunday, which makes it very difficult to plan accurately. We have learned to have a few “irons in the fire” and make the final call at the last minute, normally Friday night.

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Personal, Thoughts

that’s the way the cookie crumbles

My brother is moving to Seattle.

I’m not surprised, and I’m shocked.

I guess a lifetime of the same pat answers makes it hard to imagine saying anything else. “Yes, I’m one of five.” “Four girls and a boy.” “Yes, we grew up here.” “Yes, we were all homeschooled.” “Yes, we all still live here.” Etc. Now the answers have changed. Four of us are here but my brother’s out on the west coast. I always picture the logical extreme (thanks to my dad), so what will I be saying five years from now? “Well, we don’t have much family close by. My parents are here but the rest of us are all over the country. I’ve got a sister in Texas, a brother in Oregon, a sister in Manhattan…”

It’s certainly normal for college and careers to scatter families all over the place, but until now, we were the exception.

It was more emotional than I expected to say goodbye to my brother. He means a lot to me. And while I’d selfishly rather have him and his family closer to us, this is an absolutely fantastic job opportunity for him and I’m happy to see him succeed in a field he loves.

We’ve been listening to Shabbat Vol. 1 (by Moshav) this week and I heard the perfect message for this situation. Tzet’chem v’shalom. Go in peace, Peter. We will always be here for you.


Squicciarini family, Thoughts

stephanie curcio squicciarini

March 1, almost a year ago. The scream of horror I couldn’t repress is fresh in my mind, and I can still feel the cold chill that swept past me when I heard the news. But WHY was the question, probably will always be the question. We’ve talked it through, dabbled in conspiracy theories, and resigned ourselves to never knowing what prompted a brilliant, talented woman to abruptly take her own life.

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navigating interfamilial relationships

Doesn’t it seem like there are two types of people: those that value family and those who don’t? This is not to say that some are right and some wrong, simply that some see value in a particular commodity, if you will, and others do not.

To be clear, “valuing family” does not mean loving one’s spouse and children. Family is used here, as perhaps it always should be, in the greater context. The persons representing the wealth of one’s heritage, background, traditions, and genetics. The people you didn’t choose to be in your life. Thus a woman who sees little value in family is not precluded from a happy marriage and close friendships. The difference will be in her approach to family (relatives) – the ones we “have to see” at occasional events – and the way she raises her children.

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Bartos family, State Park Project

weymouth woods, raven rock, & carver’s creek


This Sunday we tackled a cluster of state parks in the piedmont sandhills area. There are three fairly close together, about 2.5 hours east of Charlotte. Our plan to hike THREE different places all in one day worked really well, except – spoiler – it was absolutely freezing. Like actually freezing, you know, 32 degrees? The forecast had promised mid-40’s! But we survived and now have 10 stamps in our passports. 25% of our goal and it’s only February! Continue reading “weymouth woods, raven rock, & carver’s creek”

Bartos family, State Park Project

south mountains & grandfather mountain

WOW. What a trip!

We have been eyeing Grandfather Mountain for a while now and hadn’t found a good chance to visit. The weather forecast was partly sunny and mid-40’s for this weekend, so we planned to finally get out there! The mountain has several long and difficult trails, but we thought the moderate Black Rock trail looked perfect for us – only a mile long, with a ladder at the end leading up to the “Grandmother View.”

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