Bartos family, Berries, Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Squicciarini family

fall is here

{two} Weeks at a glance:

  • celebrated Simchat Torah by reading the entire Torah in one evening {1 hour, 3 mins!} with our wonderful community! {for a fantastic review, check out this post}
  • continued Passion & Purity with Mary and the Matthews Bible study with my Matthews ladies {!}
  • attended a bachelorette party for Julianna {BY MYSELF!! – Greg was home with the berry}, hosted by Christine & Mary at the “Squicciarini Urban Farm + Theater” …watched Father of the Bride & enjoyed my first cup of hot cocoa this season {yay for winter!}
  • made my annual visit to Matthews Historic Cemetery for my grandmother’s yahrzeit, along with Mums + the girls… there is a beautiful prayer in the siddur that we read at the gravesite, followed by teatime back at home. It was emotional to bring Sophia for the first time, almost as if I were introducing her… and I have been thinking about expanding our yahrzeit tradition as there are more grandchildren, over the next few years.
  • relaxing Erev Shabbat dinner at The Residence with my family, Ana Sochia, Jonathan Upham, Johnnie May, his daughter Gabby, and Jennie Gonzalez {I brought Giada’s mushroom crostada, always a hit}
  • Sophia’s first “kid” activity!!! My baby went with a group of Bella Torah children -without me!- to christen Josh & Julianna’s new {empty} apartment with a visit {I was told she listened respectfully to Uncle Joshua’s Bible teaching and behaved herself quite well}
  • helped friends & family move Josh & Julianna into their apartment + Isaac into his new townhouse, complete with two mezuzah-hangings afterward…
  • hosted a SURPRISE lingerie shower for Julianna on Rosh Chodesh Heshvan… a huge thank-you to Angela Voskuil & Rachel Allison for helping me put the party together! We nibbled on strawberries & Godiva truffles, sipped chocolate wine, opened {gorgeous!} gifts, and played a fabulous game of lingerie Taboo… so much fun!
  • visited Ana Sochia for cinnamon tea + Irish oatmeal and a fascinating story about her life
  • escorted by my dashing husband to Julianna’s rehearsal –> dinner… first down to Rock Hill to see the stunning wedding venue {Brakefield at Riverwalk} and then on to Georges Brasserie in Southpark for an absolutely delicious dinner of fresh trout! {Amelia Perez was kind enough to berrysit all evening for us}
  • visited Bartoast {Greg’s parents} for brunch with Aunt Julie & Uncle Jim… I brought Aran Goyoaga’s delicious toasted muesli, and we had a delightful time catching up + a walk in the neighborhood
  • dropped in on the CCMC birthday party to see my dear friend Jackie, meet her daughter & grandson, swap baby clothes, and show off my beautiful Sophia {grin}… also had the chance to meet Greg’s new business associate, Eric Fransen
  • yet to come: wedding week!


faith, Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Thoughts

shavuot 5771

Tonight starts a festival, a Biblically commanded celebration, traditionally recognizing the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Men of Torah has a fantastic article about the history/customs of this holiday, as does Bereans Online in their eNews archive.

To the community of faith worldwide: Chag Sameach Shavuot! To Bella Torah and especially the beloved friends we will rejoice with: May Adonai establish your steps as you delight in His Way, and may you always have bread from our King {Psalm 37.23-25, Ruth 1}. To my darling husband: Chag Sameach, sweetheart. It fills my heart with joy to spend this holiday with you. Blessed is the Holy One Who has not left us without a Redeemer, and until the day we say “Baruch haba b’shem Adonai” may He sustain us with life and nourishment through His great mercy {Ruth 4.14-15}.


Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Squicciarini family

eleventh week of married life

11 weeks… SO CLOSE to 3 months! We are celebrating the 3-month anniversary by hanging up our mezuzah on June 6, with a bunch of friends and family.

Monday night we went out to dinner at Brixx in Blakeney, since they’ve just started serving gluten-free pizza! It was delicious and I would enjoy going back sometime! We met Chris Russell & Brenna Robinson, a young couple about to get married on June 11. After dinner they took us back to their new apartment in Ballantyne {coincidentally one of the apartments we had looked at ourselves}, where we met their well-trained German Shepherd.

Tuesday I finally got curtains for our living room, which are not quite hung up yet, but close. Christine advised me to avoid overly-vivid curtain colors and instead stick with airy neutrals. Now I’m anxious to see how they look on the windows! Noticed our home seems to be lacking in power tools.

Wednesday I made “cheesecake” {from goat-cheese mango puree} for Christine’s birthday dessert, one of Mark Bittman’s incredible recipes. I found a copy of his Kitchen Express cookbook at the eBay marketplace for $3, and it’s been great! Not all of his recipes are kosher, but for the most part they’re easy, healthy, and yummy.

Thursday Greg worked late at Quail Hollow, and I had an evening to myself, spent making new genealogy files + playing with my trial subscription. I like being in my home. I could spend hours rearranging the bookcase or reorganizing the pantry. Is that a good thing??

Friday I made my first gluten-free bread! I used the Sandwich Bread recipe from Elana’s Pantry. It was really good! I’m slowly stocking my own pantry with the variety of flours + other random ingredients {arrowroot powder, xanthan gum} for gluten-free baking. We went to The Residence for alfresco Erev Shabbat dinner with two honored guests: the eminent author of Bereans Online + my distinguished uncle from Rochester, NY. What a treat!

Saturday we were invited for Shabbat lunch with Ken & Adriana Vermillion, a family recently relocated from Chicago to Charlotte. Adriana is a sweet hostesses – she has a gift of making people feel welcome and cared for. Ken is highly intellectual – any conversation with him is educational. We’re grateful for the invitation and enjoyed the time with our friends!

Today… well, today is 91 degrees. So far I’ve responsibly shopped the LOFT sale, cleaned my house, made a menu for next week, and prepared to head out this evening.


faith, Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Squicciarini family, Thoughts

tenth week of married life

Greg and I had our first picnic this week! I met him at the Matthews Library, and we ate apple risotto in a scenic outdoor gazebo. We had a long talk Monday night about making sure we plan “recreation” for ourselves: enjoyable yet responsible activities that will always be something to look forward to. This week was easy: we had two birthday parties to attend! A good friend of ours had a party at his home Monday night, and my sister Christine put together a fantastic group to celebrate her 20th birthday at The Cowfish on Thursday.

Other highlights this week: a phone call from my grandfather last Sunday; a new Real Simple magazine; smoked salmon + avocado + cream cheese sushi; a killer workout Wednesday with my mom; and as usual an incredible Bible study Friday morning {Galatians from Bereans Online}!

Just got a new book {thank you, Robinsons!} called “Buried Treasure: Secrets For Living From the Lord’s Language” by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, and read a section today that perfectly expresses what I was trying to say in my recent post about leaving & cleaving!

When a woman marries, her relationship with her own family undergoes a real change in a way that is not the same for men. Perhaps the widespread tradition of a girl taking the name of her new family reflects the fundamental truth that upon marriage, a woman breaks some subtle bond with her own family. While she certainly should retain very strong spiritual bonds with her own family, there ought to be a healthy transfer of some emotional allegiance. This can be hard for both her and her own original family. It is likely to be a difficult transition for any young wife, and it demands considerable sensitivity on the part of her husband. Done correctly, it leads to happy marriages as well as to retaining wonderfully joyful relationships with her parents and siblings. […] Accomplishing this transfer will take most of the first year of marriage.

Interesting! And a note for siblings:

The relationship between a sister and her brother, or between two sisters, changes after a girl’s marriage in a way that the relationship between two brothers does not. While he can count on her loyalty and devotion until her marriage, a brother would be wise to recognize that after his sister’s marriage, her priority becomes her husband.

So far the book has had some neat insights, and I’m looking forward to the rest! Unlike The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, which was a big disappointment. We’ll save that for another time.

My wonderful husband worked 13 hours today, and I drove up to Southpark to see him for about 15 minutes this afternoon. Baruch HaShem for his diligence, an inspiration to me. Still settling into this role, acknowledging that my time is not my own. I’ve noticed the 50/50 split is pretty tempting {“I did the dishes last night. And the night before. It’s definitely your turn…”} without an accurate understanding of what my role in marriage is all about.


Greg & Morgan, Married Life, Squicciarini family, Thoughts

lesson on patience & gratitude

lessons learned recently:

Funny story about my phone: it was a little slow to respond when Greg called me last week, not allowing me to pick up the call. So I got frustrated, and hit the phone, which completely broke the screen.

Lesson 1: the LED screen on a Samsung Epic is pretty fragile

Just kidding…

Lesson 1: Be patient

a) don’t allow momentary frustration to turn into a foolish action; b) show respect and value for my possessions.

Did get the phone repaired, and through a miracle, it didn’t cost us anything, but the hassle and anxiety over this whole mess will certainly help me pause {and take a deep breath} next time I’m feeling impatient.

Also! I used to take internet access for granted! It was like… air. Absolutely impossible to live without. Now we’re living without it, though only a few feet away, and doing just fine. There’s been a few other things I was initially shocked not to have at my fingertips, but quickly realized they weren’t “essential” after all. Plus, when I think about how I used to waste time on the internet, I’m grateful that it’s not a distraction now.

Lesson 2: Be grateful

a) think about needs vs. wants; b) be productive and resourceful with my time.


Engagement, Greg & Morgan, Squicciarini family, Thoughts

5770 in review

5770 {2009-10} has been one of the most momentous years of my life. Since last Rosh HaShanah

Gregory Bartos met me, swept me off my feet, and asked me to marry him… so the second half of this year was spent making wedding plans and counting down the days until March 6, 2011.

Here’s a thought… next fall, I will celebrate Rosh HaShanah with my husband {B”H}.

I enter this new year with a heart overflowing in thankfulness to the Holy One, Blessed is He, and excitement for what lies ahead of us.