Bartos family, State Park Project

fort fisher & carolina beach

The hardest state parks for us to reach are on the coast. In fact, we are planning to take an overnight trip in July to reach a few of the farthest ones, since it is just not possible to daytrip out there (the Outer Banks are about 6-7 hours from Charlotte). We seized the chance, while spending a few days in North Myrtle Beach, to drive up the coast and visit two parks just south of Wilmington. Since we were vacationing with Greg’s parents, we invited them to come along – our first state park “guests!” (even more so since they are South Carolina residents!)

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Bartos family, State Park Project

lumber river & lake waccamaw

Over the last few years we’ve started a fun tradition of spending Memorial Day with Greg’s parents at the Wyndham resort in North Myrtle Beach! When we studied the state park map, we noticed that we could easily visit two parks on the drive to Myrtle Beach in May. This past weekend was our first time adding a park stop to a pre-existing trip.

Sunday morning we headed out, with all of our day trip supplies plus everything we need for a few days at the beach. I did a lot of packing and prep the week before, so Saturday night and Sunday morning felt exactly like every other hiking trip we’ve done. We drove two hours and stopped at Lumber River State Park in Orrum. As you may have already guessed (Orrum?), this park is in the middle of nowhere. We passed miles of farmland and an occasional homestead after turning off Hwy 74. The temperature in Orrum was already in the 90’s at 10am!

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navigating interfeminine relationships: the hair stylist

The typical hair salon provides a unique relational dynamic. At a highlight or other color service, two women who may not be more than acquaintances may chat for hours like good friends. A massage is usually much quieter, while a manicurist or esthetician’s work is much shorter.

I recently had this type of experience with an entirely new hair stylist. When I walked in, her rainbow colored pixie cut and obvious number of tattoos set the stage for a very interesting conversation.

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Bartos family, State Park Project

morrow mountain / mother’s day

Did I ever think I’d be the kind of mom who went on a canoe trip for mother’s day? Absolutely not! But here I am today, and I’m loving it.

Having a fun family time and checking a park off our list sounded like the perfect way to celebrate mother’s day this year. I picked Lake James, which looked like the Nordstrom of state parks, and carefully watched the weather report all week, waiting for it to turn into a beautiful sunny day. Around Thursday, I gave up on Lake James and started looking for other options. We ended up with Morrow Mountain, one of the closest parks to Charlotte, where the forecast was better but still mildly terrible.

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fixing our eyes on Yeshua (from different directions)

I signed up for a women’s retreat this year, with a local messianic group. I loved the idea of spending a weekend praising God and studying the Bible with a group of like-minded women.

The retreat is a very well-planned event. It’s held at a beautiful conference center, tucked into the NC mountains, and the time is neatly organized into meals, sessions, and small group study. It was an amazing privilege to worship God through song and dance with more than 100 other women!

That said, I do have differences with the theology of this group, and their teachings + practice made me, as a Torah-observant believer, slightly uncomfortable at times. For example, the ladies had a havdalah service right after dinner on Shabbat, but I believe that we don’t tell God when Shabbat is over – He tells us, using a huge fiery orb. In this case, one person’s freedom in Yeshua is another person’s disregard for God’s holy Torah. How do we address – specifically with our children – those who use the messianic label but do not view the Torah as a covenant obligation?

Since the retreat, I’ve been wondering how theology affects friendship. In any relationship, I think it’s possible to stay on common ground and generally avoid conflict. I have several good friends at this congregation and hope to keep it that way!


Bartos family, State Park Project

jordan lake

Jordan Lake State Recreation Area was on the schedule for this weekend. There are at least 8 parks in (or through) the greater Raleigh area, and this was our last one. Goodbye Raleigh! Even though I’ve always thought Charlotte should be the state capital, Raleigh is a very nice place too and we’ve enjoyed driving through there several times this year.

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Bartos family, State Park Project

william b. umstead & medoc mountain

Ever since we started the State Park project, Medoc Mountain has been our nemesis. Located in a remote section of the state, frustratingly far from any highway except Hwy 95 (ew), and a solid 4 hours from Charlotte, we just didn’t see a good way to get out there and visit without spending the entire day in the car. Recently we took another look at the map and decided to try leapfrogging through the Raleigh-Durham area, then going out to Medoc Mountain, and stopping through Raleigh again for dinner to break our drive home. This plan sounded like it might work.

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