If you’re new to Roots and Reise (and perhaps, wondering, what in the world is “Reise”?), let me share with you my mission here…
“I want to connect the old [ROOTS] with the new [REISE] (German for travel or journey, pronounced RISE-UH) to help make our present more beautiful, more compassionate, and more purpose-filled.”
I wholeheartedly believe in this vision and want to remain focused on it in the posts I craft. (Of course, there may be exceptions!) And while I write a lot about my faith, local favorites, travel and family life, who says we can’t have some fun along the way, too?
So, with that: I have an announcement. I’m actually pretty stoked about it. Starting today, and at the end of each month, I’m going to come to you with my Four Somethings.
It’s simple: I’ll be sharing with you Something Loved, Something Said, Something Learned, Something Read. Four things that have stuck with me, made me think, simmered in my soul, or introduced joy and fun in the past month. And I’ll be linking up with other bloggers who will also be sharing their Four Somethings #sharefoursomethings.
What I like about this in conjunction with Roots and Reise is that these Four Somethings are very much the here and now “Reise” of my life. The things that are new, yet impactful, that will likely stick with me beyond this current month, and potentially become a part of my life-long journey. Dots to be connected in my greater story. And maybe they’ll speak to you and you can try them out, too, my fellow dot-connectors.
So here it goes: the first installment of Share Four Somethings…
If you’ve been around here very long, you probably know that Jay and I grew up in Texas. It’s where we went to college and where we met. But in the 10.5 years we’ve been married, we’ve lived mostly outside of Texas, far away from our native food of choice: Tex-Mex. So everywhere we live, we have the almighty quest for “How we will fill our cravings for good tacos, chips, salsa, and guac?” (I grew up eating Ninfa’s almost every Friday night, so my standard is high.) We’ve managed to find decent restaurant options to fill our cravings outside of the Lone Star State (yes, even in Frankfurt, Germany!) but it’s never quite the same. So, we’ve also honed our homemade taco game. Which finally brings me to this month’s Something Loved: Organic Uncooked Flour Tortillas by Tortilla Fresca.
I found them in the refrigerated section at my local Costco here in Michigan. You heat up a skillet pan to medium heat, you throw in a tortilla for 30 seconds on each side, and that… is… it. These are life-changing. I’m not kidding. Because when you live outside of the land that is overflowing with all things Tex-Mex wonderful, what you soon will find, is that the key to a good taco is a good tortilla. And when you can’t go around the corner to buy tortillas that are handmade in front of you by a sweet lady, this is the closest thing you can get to that. As long as they are available to us, we will forever make homemade tacos with these tortillas. This is a BIG dot on our family’s food journey.
I could write an ode to these tortillas (maybe in a future post!) but alas, we still have three more Somethings to go. (*By the way, I have a little bonus gift for you at the end of this post… one of our other secrets to delicious homemade tacos.)
I’ve taken on a new role recently: co-Troop Cookie Manager. My daughter is a Girl Scout Daisy and I’m actually enjoying “managing” all things cookie for her troop. It’s been fun to learn something new (I’m a nerd for learning how things work behind the scenes!) and a great opportunity to get know the other Daisies and their families.
Well, as a part of selling cookies, each girl had the opportunity to create her own Cookie Website, and if desired, make a personal video for her customers. A sales pitch, if you will, from a pint-sized saleswoman. This video-creating experience highlighted to me two things that I already know about my daughter but showcased them in a new forum: (1) she’s got some natural businesswoman in her and (2) she possesses some serious theatrical potential. Hence, this video was a hoot. She emphasized for about 45 seconds why you “haaaave to try” the S’mores cookies (“they are sooo good”). But for this month’s Something Said, what has absolutely stuck with me and tickled me is when, with full dramatic hand motions, she declared to her customers… “We would be delighted to serve you guys.” Totally unprompted, unscripted, straight from her sweet little creative, entrepreneurial spirit. I have replayed that moment on my inner film reel over and over again and it makes me laugh every… single… time. (while simultaneously feeling a great sense of pride and joy in my girl’s budding personality!)
Ok, on to the Number 3 Something…
As I referenced earlier this month, one of my 2018 Hoped-For Destinations is fitness. I’ve already made some good progress towards this goal: (a) I joined a gym (shout out to my local Planet Fitness!), (b) I developed a workout plan with the trainer, and (c) I’ve actually gone to the gym consistently for two weeks now. (Baby steps, people, baby steps.) Something I am loving that I am also learning from while also hittin’ the gym (yes, some great-multi-tasking there!) is listening to podcasts. It’s been a great way to use that elliptical time to fill my mind and soul with life-giving new ideas. My favorites currently are Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love and Tsh Oxenreider’s The Simple Show, both of which I can easily pull up on Spotify. The most profound Something Learned came from Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love of Girlfriends Eps. 3… an interview with Shasta Nelson about what it looks like to make friendships as adults. And the idea that sometimes as adults, we actually still have a lot to learn about friendships, even though we think we should have had it figured out by the time we got our high school diplomas.
Jay and I have talked many times over the years about how it can be hard to make new friends as adults (I’m talking, real, deep, friendships). For us, two specific challenges in this arena have been (1) transitioning from child-free relationships to what it looks like to hang out with friends once kids are in the picture. And (2) the fact that we have moved three times and each time, we’ve had to almost completely start over, navigating what it looks like to go from new faces, to acquaintances, to becoming actual friends. Anyways, all that to say, this podcast episode with Shasta Nelson was like an answer to many questions and prayers over the years of “how do we make new friends as adults?”. One of the most profound things in the episode was her definition of friendship:
“Any relationship between two people where they both feel seen, in a safe and satisfying way.”
As she expanded on this, it gave such a beautiful framework for considering everything friendship… what it is… and what it isn’t. I look forward to embracing this framework and the principles that follow as we seek to become more rooted in our new friendships in Michigan, while also continuing to learn how to keep and enjoy long-distance friendships from other seasons of life.
And finally, Number Four…
Back in October, along with a small group of women from my neighborhood that gathers weekly, I started reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. This month, I finally finished the book and wow, it’s incredible. The subtitle is that it’s “a dare to live fully right where you are”. As you read Ann’s deep, story-telling reflections about her everyday as a farmer’s wife and mom to six, the anxiety and pain she has experienced in her life, and her desire for finding more joy and intimacy with God, you can’t help but me moved. She chronicles her own journey of starting to write out one thousand gifts… looking for things that are beautiful in the present or past… that perhaps you might normally overlook. Yet, when you truly stop to see them and make note of them on a consistent basis, you start to experience Eucharisteo. She explains,
“Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning ‘joy’.”
Ann goes on to detail how in seeing and writing down the gifts, big and small, around her, that deep joy was found at the table of thanksgiving. And along with that, grace for herself and others, which is freeing and creates greater intimacy with God. This book, for me, has encouraged me to recognize in a new way the transformative power of giving thanks in all things… and the Gift that it returns to both you and those around you.
Well, that’s it, my Four Somethings for January. Thanks for reading through my ramblings on the things that have brought joy and new beauty in my everyday this month. I’d love to hear one of your Four Somethings, so feel free to share it below or on the Roots and Reise Facebook page.
*Oh, and that bonus I mentioned! About five years ago, I started searching for a homemade taco seasoning… one less pre-packaged food to buy, and, also, something that we can make no matter where we live in the world. This is it plus you need to add ½ tbsp of flour. Depending on your spice level, you may want to cut the chili powder (we usually do about half). We cook up a pound of ground beef, drain the fat, add the seasoning and 2/3 cup of water, and simmer down for about 10ish minutes. We love it and it totally outshines those yellow grocery store packages of taco seasoning. It would also be great with shredded chicken or ground turkey. You’re welcome.