life, the friends

Local Coffee

I was in the kitchen all morning and noon cooking for the friends: steaming rice and broccoli, poaching salmon and baking turkey, basil and blueberry cookies.

At 1:30 I received a text from my daughter: “I’m going to Royal Oak after work, do you want to go with me?”


I still had another batch of cookies to go in the oven when she arrived home half an hour later.

And I was about to get a head start on dinner for us humans.

But I put the unbaked dough in the downstairs fridge and decided dinner prep would have to wait.

“It’s a beautiful day and I need to get out of the house,” I said, as we got into my car. “Besides, I don’t want to get all Grey Gardens.”

Which would be easy to do.

Me and my beagle.

Our destination was Rail & Anchor to get decor for her brand new therapy office.

It was a perfect day: sunny with a few puffy clouds scattered about, 73 degrees with just the right amount of breeze.

So afterward we walked a couple of blocks to Atomic Coffee to get, you know, coffee.

I studied the menu board as we approached the counter.

“What’s a Mexican Mocha? Chocolate and cayenne?”

“Yes,” replied the pleasant young man behind the cash register, “that’s exactly what it is.”

Tough choice between that and the lavender latte.

“The Mexican mocha is sweeter,” the young cashier offered.

“It doesn’t have to be,” the equally young and pleasant barista chimed in, small cup in his hand.

“Since you want a small, the espresso will be more prominant so it won’t be as sweet.”

“Okay, that sounds good, and cut back on the syrup a little, too.”


Atomic has a cool ceiling.

After a short wait the barista placed my cup on the counter.  “Taste it. If it’s too sweet I can remake it.”

“I’m sure it will be just fine,” I smiled.

“It would be no trouble to make it again,” he smiled back.

I took a sip.

“It’s good. And pretty.”

He smiled again. “Thanks.”


The view as I sipped my just-right brew.

I love it when cafes, restaurants and coffee shops roll up their windows like big garage doors so you can sit inside and still be kinda’ outside.

While I enjoyed the street view, the barista chatted with my daughter about Rail & Anchor while he made her iced s’more latte.  He noticed her bag.

Local coffee is always better.


Traveling Light

A friend shared something kind of interesting yesterday morning: Researchers asked a sampling of people what three words they most wanted to hear. The most common response was, “I love you.”  The second most common response was, “I forgive you.” The third, “Dinner is ready.”

Those 3 phrases sum up the gospel:

John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…”

Luke 23:34: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

John 21:12: “Come and have breakfast.”

Later in the day my daughter and I were discussing her aversion to the word doctrine. Aware that there is nothing wrong with doctrine per se – it’s just a set of beliefs – she supposed the thing that makes it aversive is the way we Christians bog down our beliefs.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

My honey vanilla latte, her toasted coconut latte and sustenance.

She told me what her friend’s professor said about doctrine: “I used to try to carry all the church’s doctrine the way you would carry all your grocery bags into the house at the same time. But I kept dropping some.  Now I carry very few bags. Like three.”

Three is enough.

Bag 1: God loves us.

Inside the bag: He stepped into our mess of a world to show us what He’s really like.
He’s actively redeeming and restoring His creation.

Bag 2: God forgives us.

Inside the bag: The cross and three words: “It is finished.”

Bag 3: God has prepared a place for us.

Inside the bag: Our daily bread and an invitation to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

I love that Jesus prepared breakfast for His friends after He was resurrected.  You’d think after such a glorious feat He’d do something a little more regal.

But nope.

He made them breakfast.

I’ve been teaching the Bible these last two years via an international Bible study. Next year they’ll be studying the book of Romans. And I’m not going to teach.  I don’t want to bog kids down with a heavy load of doctrine. I just want to carry three light bags.

Dinner is ready.


Food, Michigan

It Was a Good Day

I went Christmas shopping with my daughter yesterday.

First stop was Blaze for a couple of “Build Your Own” individual pizzas.


Like mother, like daughter.

Except for the sprinkling of parmesan and the red onions on mine, our toppings choices were identical.

We know what’s good.

We patiently waited while they made more pesto, so the manager gave us our fountain drinks for free.

It was a good day.

When you live in a sprawling metropolis, you almost NEVER run into anyone you know. That’s bad and good. But yesterday, while we were eating our pizza, my daughter said, “That looks like Alex.”

“Alex who?”

“You know, Alex – my cousin, your nephew…”

She has two friends named Alex so how was I supposed to know.

I turned to look and saw that he was next in line to pay. So I grabbed my wallet, walked up behind him and said, “Put your credit card away, I’m buying your lunch.”

That was fun.

And it made the cashier smile.

I didn’t even know Alex worked in that town. Does that make me a bad aunt?

After lunch we walked over to Rail & Anchor, where I found a really groovy stocking stuffer for the hub. Finding groovy stocking stuffers feels so good.


So does finding a groovy store.


We went next door to Scout. After we looked around a bit, I ditched my daughter so I could buy her something. One of the clerks noticed what I was doing and smiled. The young man who rang me up put the naked item in a large, handled bag.

“I ditched my daughter so I could buy this for her,” I said.

He smiled and nodded but didn’t get the hint.

“So could you put some tissue paper over it or something in case she glances into the bag?”


“You have to be sneaky at Christmas.”

The female clerk smiled again.

Eliciting smiles feels really good, too.

I met back up with my daughter in a store across the street.


Where I found a delightful item that I plan to send to a fellow blogger. So don’t ask me what it is.

We HAD to stop in Gayle’s Chocolates because, come on, it’s GAYLE’S, before ending the day at Atomic Coffee for a chai latte and a bananas foster latte.


I learned, too late, that the owner mashes his own bananas, mixes them with brown sugar and makes his own syrup. I took a sip of my daughter’s and it was not at all too sweet. It was barely sweet at all.

Next time I’m definitely ordering that.

Wood-fired pizza, free pop, running into my nephew, groovy gifts, a dark chocolate/Grand Marnier truffle (which I plan to enjoy tonight), a chai latte and spending the afternoon with my girl.

It was a good day.