(Chalk art by the amazing @shopkindylparis)
If you come visit our church chances are we will invite you over for tacos.  It has become sort of our thing.  I blame Brad & Kara Noel Lawson.  When we were in the baby stages of planting Encounter, they shared with us that nearly every Sunday they meet a new family at church and invite them over to Monday night dinner.  That blew open my already burning heart for hospitality (read about our pre-taco table nights here).  We knew right then and there that if we wanted a church full of Brad & Kara Noels, it would have to begin with us.

Jason grew up with the glorious weekly taco night tradition, and his mother taught him to fry corn tortilla shells.  We occasionally made them for friends and family, but most Tuesdays you could find us at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants letting someone else do the cooking.
When we began to dream of what it would look like to fill our table each week, tacos seemed to be the only option even worth considering.

If you think about it, they are the perfect food.  Unless you are a robot, I am pretty sure you have no ethical or emotional objection to tacos.  They are fully customizable, gluten free, and just basically bring happiness to one and all.

I have a shelf in the pantry for taco staples, and everything else we need can be grabbed in a five minute grocery trip.  It's not fancy, but it is easy, and the prep has become part of my muscle memory.

Pull the meat out of the freezer, pick up sour cream, avocados, tomatoes, lettuce and Mission white corn tortillas (there is no other choice, no other brand.  Ride or die.)  Open the pantry and gather a can of beans for cheater restaurant beans, taco seasoning, and Rice-a-Roni Mexican rice (never ever Spanish, we only made that mistake once.)

 Half an hour before our new friends are coming over I start the rice and beans.  Then when the doorbell rings Jason starts making chips and shells.  Bar stools at the kitchen island are pulled out, water glasses come down from the cabinet, I start the chopping and guacamole, we share stories and ask questions.  Sometimes the kids are sent out to the trampoline or pool, sometimes they are in the other room playing the Wii.  Every time small hands walk by for handfuls of chips.  So many handfuls of chips.

This taco ritual involves everyone.  There is chopping, grabbing the arsenal of hot sauce choices, the filling different taco combinations for each kid.  All the while life is being lived. We find out how people met, what they dream about, and how they wandered into the school auditorium one Sunday.  We laugh, we cry, we make a mess, we pile the dishes in the sink.

It is by far my favorite night of the week.  It is chaotic, often noisy, and it is the good stuff.  Before we know it bedtime creeps up on us and we say our goodbyes.  Knowing that every taco shared that night is part of the story of our family's life.
During summer we joked that our family purpose statement would somehow involve tacos.  Then that joke became reality.  It became our motto.  
Love God.  Serve others. Tacos.
And it isn't even about the tacos.  It just happens to be vehicle that invites people through our door and around our table.  We hope that they leave with full tummies and hearts that feel known, encouraged and seen.

What does this have to do with Tacos & Tees? Everything.  It is everything I am and everything I love. Jesus. Family. Others. Mexican food. Sarcasm.  Whether lyrics from my favorite hymn, or my commentary on the current political mess, this is me.  And it is about so much more than tacos.

Find your thing.  Whether it is tacos, or burgers, or waffles, or take out, or a gourmet meal, make it a part of the rhythm of your life.  Seek people out.  Include them around your table.  Our breaking bread is more chips and guacamole, yet there is beauty and holiness in it.

(Huge thanks to dear friend Brittany from Sprinkled Moments for shooting my ridiculously awkward self over leftover tacos one morning.)

I want to introduce my big, scary, dream come true.  Something decades in the making, something that I have stopped and started more times than I can count.  Something that seemed equally possible impossible.  It just took someone to look me in the eyes and ask why not just try?

So try I did.  I took the files that have been hiding in a folder on my desktop.  The ones that I have been dreaming of and working on for longer than I can remember, and I did something with them.  Then I added some more.  I bought a domain.  Set up an Instagram account and Facebook page.  I ordered business cards. I did a test run.  And now I have a t-shirt company.

Is this real life?

In case you are like me, who loves a good origin story, I designed my first t-shirt my sophomore year of high school.  Eons before Photoshop and really any useful graphic programs, it was just me and whatever art supplies I had on hand.  I took my design and drove it to the local screen printer in my 1979 Volvo station wagon.  A week later I picked them up, and the Trabuco Hills High School swim team had official shirts.

Fast forward a few years, I start dating a boy, who happened to be a drummer, who's band happened to need people to man the merchandise booth.  At the time the booth was actually not a booth, just shirts piled on whatever table the venue gave them.  I enlisted the help of my mom, and together we sketched out a plan, purchased PVC pipes and built the Supertones first merch booth.  My friends and I painted the banner, because free labor is way cheaper than a sign shop. 
Pretty much every weekend you could find us here.  It still holds some of my fondest memories.
And perhaps my least fond hair color.

Since then I have steered clear of the boxed hair dye at CVS, and designed the occasional shirt for church, for adoption fundraisers, etc.  Each time I would design one, the dream in my heart would be rekindled, and then pushed away.  One of the main factors was the fact that I had yet to find a soft, durable, flattering shirt, that washed well.  I knew that if I were to pursue this dream, I could only stand behind a shirt that I would actually wear. Know that I am extraordinarily picky.  I have too many shirts that started off soft, and then pilled after a wear or two.  Or even worse the kind that when you buy them they are portrait shaped, and after one wash they are landscape.  NO.  I finally came across the brand Bella+Canvas.  With that discovery I knew that this dream could finally happen.

So here I am, a girl standing in front of you with a bunch of t-shirts, asking you to love them.
Because I really, really do.

Tomorrow I will share where the name came from, and the heart of what I plan to do with this adventure.