I love football …
Not in the rumble, tumble tomboy kind of way — although I’ve always wished I was ‘that girl.’ I deeply want to be the gal that watches each touchdown and celebrates each victory while wearing a smoking hot trendy jersey. I want to know the ins and outs of each play and get an autograph from the ripped guy at the airport making approximately 2.4 million annually (I’m sorry, was that 2.4 million? Ahem…).
Nope. I love football, but I rarely even watch the game.
I am not completely oblivious to the sport. Terms like touchdown, touchback, and end zone aren’t new to my vocabulary. I even know what most of the terms mean. I’ve never mistakenly said “home run” when it’s a touchdown (that would be embarrassing and my husband would never allow it).
But the second those NFL theme songs play eagerly in the background of our living room (like a countdown to awesomeness), the lights go dim and my cookbooks come out.
I always intend to watch the big game every. single. time., but instead, every Sunday, I am promptly transported to the kitchen where chili, chicken wings, and cinnamon rolls are longing to be created, jealous they’re not yet a part of the celebration!
Don’t even get me started on the smorgasbord that is our Super Bowl Sunday, which at times is (shamefully) serving only a table of four. Who really needs that many options for consumption? It’s a bit like the scene from the movie Signs. The aliens are on the verge of taking over Mel Gibson’s home, but the family comes together to pick their favorite meal, dine together, and reminisce about the best moments in life.
For me, football allows us to focus on something good in the world while bringing friends and family together for far too much food and some Southern hospitality. It’s a reminder. It’s the first breath of fall and the calm before the winter storms.
Yep, I am that girl.
Ironically, it’s one of the first ways in which Texas is beginning to feel like home (minus the snow). Texans love their football and chow, and I deeply appreciate this about them.
Finding Someone Who Shares My Perspective …
I am currently reading a phenomenal book – Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. This book is fantastic! Go buy it today. Buy five of them. Because if you’re anything like me, you find a book you love and just keep giving it away, so you can share it with the world, as you should. You can’t keep life-changing books to yourself, it’s selfish. Books are meant to be shared like chocolate, coffee, and a good night’s sleep.
One of the things I intensely appreciate about Shauna’s book is her love of food. She takes time to explain the food she creates for those she loves with great precision. She gives sweet reminders of why it means so much to gather at the table. With each tantalizing detail, I want to dine in.
Her book is primarily about heartache, pain, change, and discomfort, but she couples that with warm meals and conversation and how that has helped her through both good and bad times. She communicates in a way that makes me want to crash her dinner parties and then immediately go sit on the porch, alone, broadening my perspective — stomach full, heart happy.
When I first started reading Bittersweet, I teared up daily at the similarity of our lives. I found myself grumpy at first, hashing out my fear of change alongside her, one muffin at a time. I wanted to simultaneously hug her and shake her in a mad dash to the final chapter to see how she reconciled so much change with any bit of resilience and grace.
The Food Connection …
One of the main ways she both masked and ministered through pain was via food. Shauna didn’t do this in an unhealthy sort of way, but rather in a healthy way, working through the pain and privilege of life. She hosted, served, and savored delicious meals, elbow to elbow through vibrant conversations of love and familiarity.
THIS is my love language.
I speak food.
I am not a foodie per se, but good conversation packed with flavor I can get behind that (as can my boy, as seen in the image below)!
A New Season …
As fall and football shift me to another season, my heart begins to shift. I’ve long prided myself on this mindset of falling forward (aka a painful 2 X 4 lesson to the head) knowing winter is imminent, but spring is always on the horizon. For some reason, my heart always finds more peace in the falls and winters of life where harsh breezes and unexpected snowfalls dwell. My heart doesn’t know what to do with a spring in my step and summer in my peripheral view. Peripheral view is a part of vision that occurs outside the very center of gaze, and my very center of gaze is often more focused on the painful parts of the fall. But I find great peace in the coming winter storms.
While working through these grand analogies and illusions (or quite possibly delusions), I spring to my kitchen and begin my very own Great British Baking Show (compliments of every Gooseberry Patch cookbook I own). I increase the volume of the NFL theme songs, surround myself with people, or at least memories of people I love, and feed my soul while feeding family and friends.
… and for the first time in months I’m home.
Thank you Shauna Niequist for the precious reminder that home is where you hash out inner turmoil one delectable dish and summer vacation at a time.
And thank you NFL for lulling me into a familiar song that makes anywhere feel like home again.