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people + places | eats + things
For this week and next, we’re going a few miles north of the Classic City for Meatetarian Eats: Nashville edition.
At the end of March, for my 30th birthday, I was given the gift of a trip to Nashville, Tennessee!
Upon finding out where I were going, my mother inundated me with a list of places to go and eat and do. We made it to most of them, actually, but there were a few that will require a return visit. Which I am totally OK with.
Being the planner that I am, I took my mom’s list of must-eats to map out our itinerary. Like for real. We had this on a color-coded, numbered Google map.
After a failed attempt at visiting Loveless Café, which is so dang popular there was more than an hour’s wait, and Burger King for supper at the Opry Mills mall, I was determined not to miss out on any more food souvenirs! We were GOING to make it to the rest on my list.
people down the street next to it. This was no hidden gem. It was a very well-known sparkling topaz gem and every non-Nashvillian in Nashville was on that sidewalk. My stomach was growling, but I was not giving in. We were waiting this out.
Standing in a line like that made me wonder what I was in for. What did the place look like inside?! How tall are these stacks of pancakes?! What is cinnamon cream sauce and why do I want a bottle of it?? Can I get a latte?
The anticipation was insane! I, truth be told, still do not know what it is about Pancake Pantry that has it as a must-eat place! Is this what it is like to be a sheeple?? To blindly go stand in a line for a restaurant that your mother said was good, without doing any further research about the restaurant, its history or barely glance at the menu before plugging the address into the GPS??
Forty-seven minutes after our arrival, we were finally swept inside. I’ve heard my mother talk this place up since I was a kid, and I was … a little let down. It’s kind of plain. It’s kind of homey. It’s a big open room with tables and (thank goodness) booths with cream-colored tabletops and wood accents. I would hazard a guess that nothing much changed since it opened in 1961. Our waitress did not seem to care that it was our first time. In case y’all can’t tell by the usual length of these posts, I can chatter a. lot. She was not having it, and I felt a little judged for asking if they had iced coffee drinks: “It’s coffee and it has ice in it.”
When my stack arrived, it was bittersweet. I’m not talking about how my tastebuds reacted to the Santa Fe pancakes, but rather, how my eyes reacted. Call me a snob, but I got it in my head that all of these ingredients (the green chiles, bacon, cheese) would be chopped up and blended into the batter, then tossed on the griddle. Not so: it looked more as though the cornmeal batter was put on the griddle, flipped once, then big strips of bacon, some cheese and a few chiles were sprinkled on top.
cream. I normally don’t like sour cream, but WOW! With these, sour cream made the cornmeal cakes melt in my mouth and it became a very smooth bite.
Our waitress did recommend adding, believe it or not, the cinnamon cream and syrup to these pancakes. Y’all know I am all about mixing sweet and savory anyway, so I dove right in. When your pancakes arrive, the syrup arrives in a hot bottle and the cinnamon cream chilled. That one is less viscous than syrup and neither are as sweet as say, a Crackerbarrel maple syrup. They work together to minimize the kick from the chiles.
Blame it on my dancing at the Opry the night before, but I was so hungry I ate all three of these. And they are not small pancakes!
Pancake Pantry is one I’ll wait in line again for. And also possibly show up at 5 a.m. for. I say this entirely because I want to try the buckwheat pancakes. Or maybe the Georgia peach pancakes. There's also a stack called Chocolate Sin ...
Anyone up for joining me on my return trip? :D They let you take bottles of cinnamon cream home.
Sounds like how any good Southerner would order her hashbrowns at WaHo, doesn’t it? Well sheesh, now I’m hungry and it’s not even a #MeatetarianEats post!
Tonight I’m not writing about food. Instead, what I mean by scattered, smothered and covered is — and y’all get ready, because I don’t think I saw this one coming either — spiritually scattered, smothered and covered by the grace of a higher power. Now before y’all go and scatter yourselves because I’m writing a little church-y today, let me assure you I’m not going to try to convert you to anything. OK? OK.
I did recently start attending Cornerstone Church in Athens, Georgia, and though my reasons for doing so are mine alone, I will share that it’s been a really good experience thus far. I am a firm believer that an individual’s relationship with the higher power they believe in, if they believe in a higher power, doesn’t necessarily need to take place within the confines of a specific building with a steeple. That being said, it is nice to be in that environment once or twice a week.
I relate that back to my skincare + cosmetics business, and perhaps that’s why I needed it. In my company, we have two large business events and smaller weekly or bi-weekly local business meetings. Your success as a beauty consultant doesn’t require you to attend any of those, but when everyone is sobusy and there are so many distractions, it’s easy to re-enter life after the big events and forget everything you were so driven to do. Those more regular, smaller meetings to me are just as important as the big ones, because they remind me what I am working for. They keep me in the zone, so to speak.
Right now my unit doesn’t have weekly meetings, and it is very easy to allow myself to get off-track. When I get off-track, I get moody and anxious and stressed and snappy. Combined with a season of life in which I am responsible for every penny I earn, it’s even more stressful when I am off-track! I feel this is why I was led to seeking an environment where I am reminded of what my purpose is.
This Sunday the lead pastor at Cornerstone discussed the Biblical book of Hosea, who was a minor prophet. At the time Hosea reportedly lived, the region known as Israel was in a bit of disrepair: people were worshipping idols, leading lives that were pretty shady, and God reached out to Hosea and told him that Hosea will now lead a life metaphoric of that of the process he’s about to undertake with Israel to wake them up. You’ll have to read the book and draw your own conclusions, but here’s what was spoken to me through the service and the subsequent reading in my own time afterward.
Step 1: Scatter.
Yep. You see where this is going already, doncha!
Before there’s any kind of spiritual awakening … I needed a reason to have a spiritual awakening. My life had to go all sorts of kerfluffle. Looking back, there’s been quite a few times of “scatter” since I began to realize what I ultimately desire and am ultimately appointed to do. There were breakups of relationships. There were difficulties in job settings. There were opportunities for me to seek better, higher, more! But I managed to um, usually not do any of those things. I would start to do them, then be tempted or distracted away.
Step 2: Smother.
So your life’s a shambles. You are THE definition of hot mess express and someone can just go ahead and order tickets to your sh*tshow, right? I definitely feel that way a lot, especially recently. One step forward, two steps back. I had (thankfully I can now use the past tense here!) a number of days where I was smothered in those feelings of anxiety and stress and lack that I mentioned before, because I was so scattered and all over the place. And so far from what I know I am supposed to be doing!
Step 3: Cover.
This step is interactive. It requires you to pull your weight. Pastor Scott, talking on Sunday, mentioned that God’s love is forever if you choose to seek it. We do have free choice, but DANG if those first couple steps aren’t encouraging me to change my course!
If you’re cool hanging out in step two, feeling a little woeful and sorry for yourself and victimhood-y, hoping someone or something will come into your path and lift you out of your misery, that is your choice. Or say, maybe you’re not feeling like a victim, but perhaps you work your tail to the bone and are fiercely independent and think you can do it all by yourself, so you shut everything else out and become so caught up in busyness you forget why you’re busy in the first place … and then get overwhelmed and start questioning what the heck is happening. (Hi, hello, it’s me.)
But if you decide to sit down and have a little meeting with yourself about all those feelings and stress, and if you do believe in a higher power, there’s a chance you’ll be inclined to do what I did, which is finally accept that ol’ saying “I’m doing this FOR myself, but not BY myself.” When you do that, God does a little happy dance and suddenly he’s hanging out as your new partner. Covering you in love, in acceptance, in guidance. Like a therapist, but always there and it doesn’t matter whether or not your insurance covers it. Which is great, because mine does not!
Y’all. It took me a LOOONG time to get here, and “here” is not the end point. I’ve got a lot more ground to cover. My smother phase lasted entirely too long because I rejected and resisted the concept that I needed a God-filled environment like Cornerstone. But the more weighty all the negativity got, and the more I seemed to dig myself deeper into a mental hole, the more I realized what I needed was a BIG change. A shock to my system.
I’m as shocked as anyone that I decided to peep into a church setting. I’m grateful I listened to those little guiding whispers though, telling me to stop being stubborn and do what is right for my mental health, spiritual health and business health. Are you also feeling scattered or smothered? Overwhelmed, stressed, anxious and depressed? Then perhaps it’s time you explored options to shock your system, too.