Posts Tagged ‘vicki’

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Christmas, Travel, and Rest

December 8, 2013

It is so very hard to fight through the commercialization and the sentimentality to find something I can call Christmas spirit. This year, as I near 175,000 miles of travel, pass 90 nights in hotels, and for the first time welcome back both kids from college, I’m drawn to the role of travel and rest in the Christmas story. The journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the pilgrimage of the Magi, the flight into Egypt, the witness of the shepherds … that’s a lot of travel. Yet all these paths lead to peace: an infant son arrives, glad tidings abound, the world slows down and the sun finally reverses its southern trek in the sky. In the stillness of a cold winter’s night, the darkness is overcome.

Yesterday slowly filled me with the Christmas spirit. Not because of shopping or wrapping or music, though there was a bit of each. It’s because I got to spend the day with people I love. My in-laws spent Friday night with us after visiting with one of their sons and his family in Durham. We spent the morning chatting over coffee. Then I read and relaxed for a while before Vicki and I headed to see our dear friends Mark and Betsy, who have been mentors to us both. Their home was filled with Christmas, and it filled us–not just the treats and wassail, but also their kindness and curiosity. Vicki worked with Betsy for years at Duke, and it was from Betsy that Vicki’s commitment to service learning took root. Mark saved my Christian faith, introducing me to Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, Richard Rohr, Robin Meyers, et al. When I met Mark I had essentially stopped thinking of myself as a Christian. Now I think of myself as a progressive, contemplative Christian. Thus the appreciation I felt in their home was just a reflection of the thankfulness I feel every time I see Mark.

After a bit of shopping for a wedding shower gift, it was a very special date night with the person who is most special of all to me. Vicki and I celebrated (the day, the season, our friends, our marriage, our family, our many blessings? sure, all of those) at one of our favorite restaurants, Provence. We’ve had a couple of anniversary dinners there, and this time, thanks to the gift of yet another dear friend, Maria, we were finally celebrating our empty nest–a week before the kids return to fill it for a few weeks! We topped the evening with latest installment of one of our favorite movie series, Before Midnight. Yes, Vicki and I love movies filled with a couple’s dialog. And there’s something precious about checking in with Jesse and Celine every nine years–how are they doing? How are we doing? Damn, we are doing absolutely great.

A full day, but not a stressful one. A day of rest from the road, from work, from the to-do lists of the holidays. A day to find peace in the darkness.

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A New Job for Vicki!

September 2, 2008

Today Vicki started work at the Robertson Scholars program, in which a small group of Duke and UNC students earn full scholarships to study at both universities. They live for a semester away from their "home" campus, they spend summers in overseas studies and service learning work, and they have to take a certain number of courses on their "non-home" campus.

The program has been around long enough now that they want to do some evaluation of its impact on the fellows, the universities, and the communities where the fellows work, and this will be the heart of Vicki's work this year. It's a great step for her at this stage in her career–today marks her 18th anniversary as a Duke employee. I wish her good luck in the position, and congratulate the Robertson Scholars for landing such a great employee!

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Welcome, Lucas Daniel Bartosik!

August 12, 2008

On July 30th I went to Bull McCabe's pub in Durham to play trivia with my brother-in-law Rick, his date Michelle, my brother-in-law Don, and his wife Quincy. Quincy was pregnant and due on August 16th, so I named our trivia team "And Baby Makes Six." Less than 24 hours after leaving the pub, our sixth-man was with us: Quincy gave birth to Lucas Daniel Bartosik!

Vicki has seen Lucas many times since he was born, taking the kids with her too while I traveled, but Saturday it was finally my turn. Vick and I were in Durham to celebrate our anniversary at Parizade, which is why she is wearing that gorgeous black dress. I got to feed Lucas his first bottle, and he showed his appreciation with a cascade of gas. It brought back great memories of my kids (the feeding, not the gas…!). Lucas, his parents, and his half-brother Josh are all doing great. Welcome, Lucas!

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