Wednesday, December 10, 2008

northside grill

I am pumped. The Splendid Table podcast just featured Northside Grill, which we consider to be our very own neighborhood breakfast spot (it's a three-block walk); not to mention, Kevin used to work there as a short-order cook. I can personally vouch for the potato pancakes; also, if you get to know the boss pretty well, he'll come over and heckle you about being a Jesus freak. The actual podcast raved a bit more than the website did, but here's the review, along with the obligatory freaking out about Zingerman's, of course. I love Ann Arbor.

"Great breakfasts were the discovery of the Sterns' latest foray to Ann Arbor, Michigan, home of Michael's alma mater.

At the Northside Grill it was pancakes: apple oat bran with big chunks of caramelized apples that Michael ordered with a "side" of crispy-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the inside potato pancakes! Jane says spend the extra dollar or so for real maple syrup. The coffee here is fair trade organic.

At Zingerman's Next Door, which adjoins the legendary Zingerman's Delicatessen (where there are so many good things to eat it could make you dizzy), the excellent coffee is strong and the assortment of pastries will put you in a quandary. Chocolate cherry bread is unusual and delicious and the fabulous sticky buns have cherries tucked inside instead of raisins. This is Michigan, after all.

Leave room for Jane's favorite Dobos Torte, or a piece of the flaky and perfect apple strudel."

Northside Grill
1015 Broadway Street
Ann Arbor, MI

Zingerman's Delicatessen and Zingerman's Next Door
422 Detroit Street
Ann Arbor, MI

just the two of us

Things will never be quite the same.

Lazy Friday Mornings: sleeping in, sitting around doing nothing until Kevin comes up with a plan (cause heaven knows I never will), working out with all the seniors at Washtenaw Rec Center, doing some laundry, reading at Borders (magazines for me, Tom Clancy for him)

Drives Into Work Together: timing the Wall Street shortcut perfectly, grumbling at the idiots who can’t figure out the left turn lanes on Glen, repenting, pounding fists when Kevin makes a particularly gutsy and successful maneuver, morning sports talk or BBC News Hour

Coffee at Sweetwaters: reading the newspaper, my feet up on Kevin’s legs (which take up all my foot space anyway), side comments about how much we love Ann Arbor, parking tickets, side comments about how annoying parking is in Ann Arbor

Long Road Trips: sour patch kids and reese’s pieces, energy drinks, worrying about what’s in the energy drinks, Harry Potter, cursing at the funky cruise control, tensing up at the wheel during rainstorms

Late-night Conversations with the Invisible Baby: telling her about our days, describing what life might be like for her out here, coaxing her to move around a bit, exclamations about all the resulting flailing, the difficulty in grasping that this is actually happening, dreams, fears, prayers

Sunday, December 07, 2008

in the meantime

I'm currently in that ultra-awkward waiting phase. If I let myself think about labor and delivery or the bringing home of a child to live with us permanently, I'm pretty darn scared. But generally, I am trying to keep busy. Oh, and I also pray sometimes.

Jenni recently started her own photography/design business, which is SWEET!! She came by to take some ("absolutely no cheese") preggy photos, and I am pumped about what she created. I especially like this one that she photoshopped.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

the fruits of the independent woman

Love, joy, peace, patience, etc. I know the drill. I love Jesus, and I’ve got the Spirit, so why does that list make me feel so bad? Good thing I’ve got it so firmly entrenched in my memory; there’s no need to think about what any of it really means. I’ll just spout it off when it’s important to look well-versed.

I want the fruits of the Spirit. I’m desperate for them. They are the nemeses of depression, anxiety and irritability. But when I try my best to feel them, I come up with this whole new category: tolerance, level-headedness, the ability to ignore worries, niceness, the ability to look busy, and sheer white-knuckle grit. Ah yes, the fruits of the independent woman. So delicious and nourishing, aren’t they?

They’re crap, and I’m tired of their mediocrity.

The fruits of the Spirit are fruits of the Spirit. Why do we expect ourselves to feel them independently of God’s power? Love, real agape lay-down-one’s-life-for-another love is not available to me apart from the Spirit. Real joy and peace are beyond my reach, unless He produces them in me. In every moment, I must yield to the Spirit in order to experience the emotional overhaul I desire.

So why be disappointed in myself when I fail to truly love someone? Why panic when I am stuck in anxiety? It’s not my job to feel better. It’s my job to take a second and “strive to surrender” (as my friend Erik put it so well). I can see how, in this way, life under grace might actually be a lighter burden.