Thursday, August 2, 2012

I wish.

I wish it were socially acceptable to walk up to complete strangers in public places and (for no other reason than that you happen to like the look of them and have a feeling they may be a kindred spirit) tell them hello and you'd like to be friends if that's okay.

I think that would be nice. I'm feeling rather opposed to unspoken social norms at the moment. I really just miss my dearest friends.



ps. Anyone know what movie (or technically, book) that image is from?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What we're reading | Kisses from Katie

This book made me cry. Sob, actually. Literally tears streaming down my face as Rene looked over at me across his schoolwork on the table with a sympathetic, questioning smile.

This book brought many of those moments to our home and local coffee shops in the two days it took me to read it. It also made me want to move to Uganda. Or Romania. Anywhere I can take care of babies and adopt twenty-some children and just love them and hold them and teach them about Jesus.

Because really, this is not a book about Katie Davis. It's not really about Uganda or her amazing story or her fourteen (yes, 14!) adopted daughters. This is a book about Jesus.

Katie, her ministry, her Ugandan family, her stories... they are all woven together and thoroughly drenched through with the rich, beautiful, incredible story of God's love and purpose for us. It's a genuine example of what walking with Jesus and loving others looks like.

Now, I realize that not many of us can quit our lives and move to a third world country. But we can all love people. We can exemplify the heart of Jesus to those around us. We can meet their needs. We can show mercy and pursue justice. Wherever you are. Right now.

That is what this book is about and what it will encourage you to do.

I would highly recommend reading it.

You can find more of Katie's writing on her blog and learn more about what she does in Uganda through Amazima Ministries.



Sunday, July 29, 2012

Keep an Open Heart

If we just miss the place we once called home, we will never build one here.

If we only wish for dear, old friends, we will never make new ones.

If we spend all our time searching for the familiar, nothing will ever become familiar.

These are a few things we have learned by leaving everything we know and love. I believe the concepts are finally sinking in. It makes sense. But it is not easy. When you fill your life to the brim with love and beauty and warmth and comfort, it is not easy to start over. It's only natural to miss that place and those people. We begin to believe that all we have is the missing. We fill our hearts with it. And we close ourselves off to anything new because we are afraid and we know that the new will not feel like the old familiar fit.

And that is how we keep ourselves from being happy and from doing good. With closed hearts.

I've heard a lot of people express the importance of keeping an open mind. But I don't think that's nearly as important as keeping an open heart. It is not my mind that allows me to be moved by compassion, to be understanding, to love others. It is my heart.

Today as I walked home through the city, after breakfast with dear new friends who will become old familiar ones, I realized my heart was opening up a little more to this new life. I didn't see it happening and its sort of scary. An open heart is a risky thing to carry with you. But it is so, so worth it.



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why we're here.

In the now almost-seven months we've been here, in the eight months we've had this blog, we've never really shared about what brought us out here. About why we're here.

Yes, Rene got a job. And though those are harder to come by these days, a job in and of itself wouldn't have lured us away from all we've ever known and all those we love. It's much more than that. It had to be.

See, we really didn't want to move across the country. Not at first. But God made it pretty clear that He was the one lining things up. We didn't do a thing. Just obeyed. So here we are.

And this video does an amazing job of showing what we are so privileged to be a part of. Take a look...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Happy six months!

Jess and I have now lived in PA for 6 months. I let out a deep sigh as I typed that last sentence up.
Half a year in a different world. Half a year away from friends and family. Half a year away from the life I once knew and found oh so comfortable and familiar. To be honest, a big part of me still misses my old life; I don't really know why. I just do.

But believe me when I say that these last six months have been blessed. Here are some things to show you what has happened in the last six months.

We found a place to live (and made it our home).

We adopted Atticus (our wonderful bundle of joy, who's not so much a kitten any more).

We became official Pennsylvanians (& have drivers licenses to prove it!)

We got renters insurance (which was on the "do to" list for a while).

We learned to cook (me more than Jess, and I'm still significantly improving).

We became better friends with each other.

We met people who we think we'll be best friends with (both Jess and I).

We planted our first garden (we'll see what happens).

We learned to endure the weather changing (believe it or not, seasons are difficult to get use to).

We learned to appreciate different types of people (diversity is huge out here, just not in a racial way).

We learned who the Amish are.

We learned who the Mennonite are.

We learned who the Brethren are.

We've met generational locals (people who have lived here for 4+ generations).

We've met people who are just as new (and just as foreign) as us.

We discovered Tomato Pie Café, Chestnut Hill Café, Splits & Giggles, On Orange, and Central Market.

We've learned some of the local lingo. For example...

Shore = Beach

Tunes = Songs

Putzin Around = Messing Around

Out'n the lights = Turn off the lights

We've seen endless forests, electrical storms, thunder storms, snow, leaves changing color, hills, and big rivers.

Jess and I have learned to be the "new people". And I believe that's an incredibly great lesson to learn. Now I know how a new person feels (and how to love them) when they get immersed into a new location (and new culture).

We both have changed; in some cases changed a lot. But they're good changes. Hopefully we'll be able to share more of them here as time goes on.


Friday, June 8, 2012

oh hey internet

You're still here.

I'm glad. Because we have been completely failing as bloggers lately. Completely.

But hey, life takes priority. And I'm pretty sure no one cried because of my lack of updates. And it's okay to blog as little and sporadically as we wish because it's our blog, after all. Okay, enough of my excuses. We're trying to be better bloggers again. Here's what we have been up to…

I (Jess) flew to California for a hectic but wonderful weekend of family time and mostly work.

I shot this wedding….

 With this hilarious bridal party…

And this awesome second photographer

And also shot an engagement session for this gorgeous couple…


And then I came home to lovely, warm, sunny Lancaster and our billion degree apartment that has no a/c unit. (We have since remedied that and I'm not baking as I edit any longer. Huzzah!) 

And I came home to my amazing husband who… guess what he did while I was away? It has to do with his secret identity. This will explain….

I didn't know I was married to Batman either.

In all seriousness through, it feels good to be back home. It also feels good to call Pennsylvania home and really mean it. I missed waking up to this every morning…



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What are you afraid of?

God asked me that question this week. And the answer, well, it was illuminating. Here's a bit of background… Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. always. I wanted to paint, draw, anything that involved creating something. As long as I can remember, I've always felt that it's what I was made to do somehow. In more recent years, I've even had complete strangers pray for me and prophesy about how God would use me as an artist somehow, through painting specifically.

Now ask me how often I paint these days…  Probably once or twice every few months. yes, months.

(Ouch. I hate answering that question. It reminds me of exactly what I'm sharing with you today.)

You're probably thinking "Okay, crazy Jess, why are you not spending any time at all doing the thing you love most and you know you were made to do?"

I am afraid. 

I'm afraid of not being good enough. of failing. I'm afraid of making art that doesn't live up to my own expectations. I'm afraid of not being as good as this artist or that artist. I am so afraid. And I've allowed it to paralyze me.

I've known this for a while, but as of late God has been revealing to me just what this fear means. It doesn't come from humility or insecurity. It comes from pride and self reliance. I am too proud to even allow for the chance that I will fail. And in doing so, I am completely relying on me and not at all on God's provision and direction.

Some big changes are in order. Some of the outward sort. But mostly the heart-transplant sort of changes are needed. I need God to step in, rid me of my pride, and show me again how to trust Him. even when I am afraid.

It may not be painting for you, but we all have something. Something that we have allowed fear and pride to keep us from doing. Something that we have grasped too tightly in our own hands. We are all learning to trust.

What are you afraid of? 



Thursday, May 10, 2012

a twitter link up

One of my favorite things about blogging is the community. Even though our little blog, small as it is and sporadically as I post, I've met some incredibly sweet people who are constantly there sharing their support, encouragement, and inspiration. connecting with those awesome bloggers on twitter is one of the best ways to keep up on that connection. So today, I'm participating in our dear friend Laura's Twitter link up! It's a fun way to make some new blogging friends and keep in touch. Here's how it works...
Meet & Tweet Twitter HOP!

Your host:
This week's co-hosts are:
Kristine @ The Foley Fam
Samantha @ The Peanuts Gang
Hailey @ Baby Baker Love

The Rules

1. Mandatory you follow your hosts
{They are the first 7 in the linky.}

2. Follow at least 5 new people via Twitter
{Or more! Introduce yourself... Its a great way to make new friends!}

3. Spread the word!
{The more the merrier! Grab a button and add it to your blog, 
Tweet or Facebook about the link up.}

Our Reflection

<div align="center"><a href="" title="Our Reflection"><img src="" alt="Our Reflection" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

One lucky link up person will WIN a FREE
solo guest post on Our Reflection blog!

Drum roll please....
Last weeks Meet & Tweet winner is Kim from The Sassy Life

Please link up your Twitter account, not your blog.
Want to be a future co-host? Email Laura at

ps. Heard about the Elevate Blog Conference?

The Elevate Blog Conference was designed to provide an opportunity for bloggers to meet together in an uplifting environment to get to know each other, build relationships and be inspired to take their blogs and businesses to the next level.  The day will be spent hearing from speakers, attending workshops, networking, working on a service project, crafting and enjoying one another's company.  
Lunch and dinner will be provided as well as all crafting supplies. We are blessed to be working with The Shine Project to assemble school supply kits for local elementary schools in Orange County as well as Arizona. We would appreciate any donations that you would like to bring and contribute, but it is not mandatory. If you would like to gather items from friends, family or local businesses to bring that would be wonderful. If you are unable to attend, but would like to donate items to the service project please contact us via email.  We are looking for items such as: glue sticks, markers, pencils, pens, erasers, scissors, crayons, colored pencils, highlighters, & pencil boxes.

When: June 9, 2012
Where: Huntington Beach, CA
Want more details? Click HERE or email ElevateBlogConference{at}

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

what we're reading | Radical

Radical is an absolutely great book! It totally woke me up and challenged me to rethink why I did things. This is a book that challenges Christians to be disciples of Jesus, not just people who want to be part of a cultural club. When I first read this book, It changed my life in so many positive ways. God definitely used it to wake me to my laziness and my desire for a comfortable christian life.

The only negative thing I see in this book, is that it has the potential to make someone (like me) feel as though Christianity calls for a holy lifestyle that means radical abandonment of everything not "Christian".

Before I knew it, I quit television, gaming, movies, Facebook, laughing, etc. anything that I thought was part of culture and not part of God's culture.

I wanted to be set apart. But in doing so, I put myself in a position where I could no longer relate to world around me, even the Christian world; I was pretty much a monk for a few months. 
But I was failing at giving up my life to God in these areas. And I was failing at being able to connect to the lost through a relatable lifestyle. 

Through those mistakes though, God brought me around and I began to learn the balance. I'm learning how to live out the gospel as it is in the Bible, while still connecting with people in genuine ways and living & participating in our world and culture. 

With that being said, this is still one of the best, and most inspiring, challenging books both Jess and I have ever read. It caused us to rethink our motives and purposes in life. It reminded us that the words and life of Jesus often don't line up with the "American dream" or the comfortable, easy version of Christianity that we tend to fall into sometimes. If you want a deeper relationship with Jesus, this is an amazing book to read. 


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Preparing for your marriage... not just your wedding.

This past weekend we were invited to share a little bit of our story as a married couple at "Save the Date" (LCBC's class for engaged/dating couples).

We talked about how we met and got engaged. Our first year of marriage. Trusting God through the difficulties we experienced that year. And our move to PA. It was a really neat opportunity. And it was something that I wish we had when we were engaged.

The night posed some interesting questions in my mind. The biggest one...

If I had prepared as much for our marriage as I did for our wedding, how would that had changed things? 

Now, before I go on... I love my husband and I love our marriage. I would not change a thing about our life and experiences together (including our wedding). However, we have also learned a lot of things the hard way. We had some tough conversations after we got married that would have been a lot better to have before we got married. I think we both realize now that, had we taken more time to focus on the being married rather than the getting married, our marriage would have been even better from the start than it was.

So, to you dating & engaged ones... how about you? Are you taking the time to prepare for your marriage? or just your wedding?

It's so easy to get caught up in all the planning and the pretty that we can forget to do the work necessary to have a solid foundation in our relationship with our husband/wife. Or maybe we don't know how to prepare for our marriages.

We're no experts now (just one year-ish later), but here's some ways that have helped us invest in our relationship and that we wish we'd applied more purposefully back in the day...

Find mentors. Find a couple whose marriage you admire and respect, and spend time with them. Lots. Let them rub off on you. Let them show you what a healthy, thriving relationship looks like. Find newlyweds and couples celebrating their ten, twenty, thirty-year anniversaries. Talk to them and get advice on how to handle life together any stage.

Talk to each other. Talk about the tough stuff and the silly stuff. About how you'll manage your finances and who will do the dishes and take out the trash. About what kind of pets you want and how many kids you want and where you want to live and work. Know those things going into it.

And most importantly... pray. Pray for your marriage. Pray for each other. Pray together and individually. When you're both on the same path, seeking Jesus, communication becomes way easier and way more meaningful. You're able to be more patient, more loving, and more understanding with one another. It makes an incredible difference.

If you're engaged or married... what did you do before getting married or what do you do now to prepare for/invest in your marriage?



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

I love my mom. She's where I get my fondness for tea and tendency towards sarcastic humor. She introduced me to Star Treck and Star wars & legos and model airplanes and sports. And she loved me anyway when I played with Barbies instead. Most importantly, she raised me to love Jesus and to love people. She still shows us how to do both.

Happy Birthday Mommy. We love you!

Here are a couple flashbacks for you all…

Monday, April 30, 2012

On fitting in and why my hair's pink

I spontaneously went a little hair-dye-happy this weekend and this was the end result. What say you? Can I pull off the pink? But anyway... more on that in a moment. 

First, I want to share with you about something that Rene and I have been talking about a lot recently. See, coming from about as far west as you can go to about as far east as you can go on one continent, we've experienced some changes. I would call it a culture shock. 

California is a place full of variety and individuality. Sure, you have your conservatives and your business people... but you also have that man in Santa Cruz who spends his days promenading the streets in a pink tutu and parasol. And then there's a million and a half sorts in between. If you're from CA, or any of the west coast states for that matter, I'm sure you know what I mean. 

Not to say that Pennsylvania doesn't have it's variety of people. It does. But it's such a different type of variety and such a different range of lifestyles than what we've always known. 

I've always felt like a piece of the personality puzzle that made life so interesting, nestled perfectly into my proper little place. California just fit

And we've yet to find our fit here in Pennsylvania. There are so many aspects of our lifestyles that are foreign here. Part of it has to do with allowing ourselves the time it takes to get settled and find our place. But I think there's another part to it. Because Lancaster, PA is not California. It is very, VERY different. And we will not just fit in with the majority naturally. It takes a little more work. 

So with all of that rambling... what does staying true to ourselves look like in a place that's so foreign in so many ways? 

Both of our reactions seem to lean towards not conforming to the different culture here. In fact, I think we sort of did the opposite. Hence the pink hair...

So there are my thoughts for you. And here's my pink ombre hair.

How would you remain yourself in a place and culture so different?



Friday, April 27, 2012

But also do.

It’s really easy to say and say a lot. That one phrase that pops up when you don’t know what else to say and the conversation gets real.

“I’ll be praying for you.”

And we pray for them. And then that’s all.

Someone tells us you about a rough patch in their life and sometimes that’s the default response… prayer. And it absolutely should be. I’m not questioning the need for or effectiveness of prayer. We should bring our issues and the issues of others before God and ask Him to act. But then what?

I think that so often, we can pray for God to do something all day long and still be entirely oblivious to the fact that we might be the way he wants to do it.

“If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking daily food, and you say to them ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things the need for the body, what good is that?” 
James 2:15-16

What good is it if we pray for God to do the very thing that we are capable of doing but still don’t do? 

…If we pray that God would provide for someone struggling financially, but don’t help them ourselves? If we pray that God would free someone from loneliness and depression, but don’t take the time to befriend and encourage them? If we pray that God would show His love to someone, but we never love them? What good is that?

Pray, yes. But also do.



Thursday, April 26, 2012

In the Meantime

"In the Meantime" is a song Rene wrote with his friend and coworker Michael Ferrari for LCBC and I'm really excited that I get to share it with you guys today. I'm a proud wife.

Below are the lyrics. We'd love to hear your thoughts.

In the morning 
In the evening 
In my doubting 
In my believing

In my winning 

In my losing 
I'm still choosing 
To believe in mean time  

Where I wander 

Wherever I roam 
Wherever you are 
Is where I'll make my home in the meantime  

Keep these eyes up 

Keep this head straight 
Life is like a game of hurry up and wait 
There's nothing I can do 
Except believe in you 
I don't know how you do it 
But you always pull me through  

In my waiting 
In my leaving 
In my asking 
In my receiving

Though I wonder 

What you're doing 
I'm still choosing 
To believe in the meantime  

Whatever eyes see 
Whatever hands can hold 
I'm trying to believe 
You see and hold my soul in the meantime

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

hello Baltimore

Also on Easter weekend, we went to Baltimore. Specifically, the Inner Harbor. Home to the Baltimore aquarium. Dragon-shaped paddle boats. The coolest Barne's and Noble store in the world. And about a bazillion tourists.  
We had an amazing dinner at this Italian place called Brio just across from the harbor. I'm pretty sure that the raspberry cheesecake we had for desert is one of the top ten things I've ever tasted.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Surprise

Some of our good friends from California told us they'd be sending us a gift for Easter and that we should be home Saturday morning to sign for the package. 

Well, the "package" that was going to be "delivered" turned out to be them. At our front door. In Pennsylvania. 


For the weekend. 

They are Crazy. And the only one's we know who could pull of a scheme like this. 

Here's a little preview of our reaction Saturday morning...

...We may have been a tad surprised. Just a little.This was the first time we've had friends/family from CA here in Lancaster. And it was wonderful. A weekend full of great conversation, laughs, and hugs. They even got to come to a few of the Easter gatherings at LCBC and see Rene play. 

Hernandez family... no matter how well or long we've known you, your generosity, spontaneity, and genuine love for others still never ceases to surprise us. Thank you for the best possible Easter we could have had here in PA. We love you guys. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Everyday Theologian

What comes to mind when you hear the word theology?

Is the thought, or emotional response, positive or negative? 

I know for some us, moving past our connotations to the word theology and getting to the concept of theology can be challenging. For one reason or another, theology either scares us or makes us want to check-out mentally. That was my experience with it, and maybe yours too. 

In my mind theology was nothing more than the deep conversation (or debate) about something spiritual or God-related. A concept, I thought, that was irrelevant to my life; even my Christian life. I thought knowing that Jesus came to die for my sins was enough to help me live the Christian life. I've been discovering though, that if I want to "get better" at doing the Christian life (or even know what it means to live the Christians life), I simply need to know more. Think about how this concept works in other venues.

If I want to lost weight, I need to learn (or study) how, so that I can apply it and lose weight. If I want to play the piano, I need learn (or study) to learn how to play. You're most likely going to school to learn (or study) how to do something or be something. What's my point? We study & learn because that knowledge hopefully will help us do something (either new, or to improve-upon). 

As Christians, we are called to be like Christ. That's an incredibly difficult thing to do if we have no idea who Jesus was while He was on earth, what He stood for, or what His words mean. The same goes for loving God & loving others. Those tasks are going to be difficult to complete if I know nothing else aside from the fact I'm "somehow" supposed to do them. 

How would you respond If your friend came up to you and asked "Hey, could do something for me?" but said nothing else after that? Wouldn't that leave you a little directionless? Wouldn't you respond with something like, "Yeah sure, what? or wherewhenhowwhy?" When we ask those questions, we are seeking-out more information in order to respond to our friends request to go do something. Otherwise, completing our friends request will be a guessing game, and we'll most likely not do what he or she wanted us to do. It's no different with God. 

God has called us to respond; to be set apart, to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. He's called us to love others as we love ourselves. He's called us to influence our world and culture, without falling for some of it's destructive patterns. If we want to obey God and live according to His standards, we need to ask questions and actually think about what He means when He speaks to us through the Bible. Otherwise doing the Christian life is a guessing game, and we're risking not doing what God has actually called us to do.

But being a theologian isn't something reserved for only those who enjoy reading history, greek or hebrew. There are those who consciously learn about God, but I would say there are even more of those who sub-consciously learn about God. The reality is we (Christians and non-Christians) are constantly being bombarded with questions, perspectives, insights, experiences, and reasons relating to, and about, God. What I want to point out is that these theological influences come from many avenues: songs, movies, television, tweets, posts, articles, books, etc. all of these avenues have the potential to shape how we view God in some way. 

Here's are some examples. You saw a movie with "gods," and so you connect the character of God with that of Zeus or Poseidon from Wrath of the Titans. You hear a song that mentions failing love, which could influence how you read "God's love never fails." You miraculously found a parking spot at the store, and someone you're with mentions God's blessing you. Through some avenue (books, media, conversation) you learn about starving children around the world and you hear the question "how could God allow that?" 

Because our theology is constantly, sub-conciously influenced, my hope and challenge for you is to consciously be getting accurate theology. Why do so many people have a different (and at times inaccurate) view of God? Because their theology only consists of their own experiences and influences. Where does good theology come from? A careful study of the Bible (to read out of the Bible, not read-into the Bible). Someone with good, accurate theology, is able to obey and follow God much closer, than someone who doesn't. Theology isn't just some foreign language or distant concept, it's what influences how we view God, and how we live out the Christian life.

(This post was originally written for LCBC's Saturate Blog. Check it out here )


Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I love hummingbirds. 
But then again, have you ever met a soul who doesn't love hummingbirds? didn't think so.
They're fascinating and beautiful. And one of my favorite bands wrote a song called hummingbird. Give it a listen and enjoy this gem of a moment I caught at last weekend's wedding. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

living faithfully

Have you ever read the stories of martyrs and soldiers, of those who have sacrificed their life for the good of others or the sake of the Gospel, and wondered if you would do the same? If in their shoes, would you make that choice, that same sacrifice?

Maybe it’s easy to say we would, from our comfortable lives that know no risk or danger. Or maybe we’re honest with ourselves, knowing full well that we would lack the courage needed. Or maybe we couldn’t answer that wonder at all.

But regardless of the answer, I would venture to say that we all hope to be there. We all want to believe that we would do the right thing. Put others before ourselves. Be the hero. Live courageously and faithfully.

It seems like the sort of thing we can only conjecture about, because most of us will never face the circumstances to test us in those ways. But I don’t think it is. I think that by claiming we’ll never face such a test, we miss out on a beautiful opportunity.

Living faithfully has very little to do with our circumstances, and absolutely everything to do with our hearts.

If our hearts our in a place of humility, selflessness, and faithfulness, our actions will follow. No matter the risk (or lack thereof).

In the words of Jesus, “He who is faithful in the little things is also faithful in the great things…” Luke 16:10

If we live faithfully right now, in the smallest aspects of our lives, we will respond faithfully should those big tests ever come. It starts with the small things though. The ones we can do right now. Today. That’s the beautiful opportunity.

For me… it means spending less time entertaining myself, and giving more of my time to people. It means staying up and listening to someone’s hurt when I’d rather go to sleep. It means keeping our home clean and beautiful so that we can open it to friends and strangers. It means putting our money where our hearts should be.

It means a lot of things that are sometimes difficult to do, but are infinitely worth doing because they shape our hearts to look more like the heart of Jesus: a heart that loves unconditionally.
What does practicing faithful living look like in your life? What are your “little things”?



Saturday, April 14, 2012

hello again

Hello again.

I'm sorry we've been away from our little blog for so long. Between being sick, working, and a very eventful easter weekend, we haven't had much time to keep on with the updates.

But the good news is, we'll be back on Monday.

With fun stories and lots of thoughts. Photos from Easter weekend and a trip to Baltimore. And soon a post from my best friend who just got back from a trip to Prague! I'm excited for that one. Her photos are almost as gorgeous as her writing and I can't wait to show off both.

I'm happy to be back.



Saturday, March 31, 2012

Life Lately

Life lately via instagram-captured moments. 

Late night drives and cuddly Atticus. Coffee and studies. Hunger Games and fun nails. 

Ps. For those of you wondering about the nail art,  I'm nowhere near talented enough to paint script like that on my nails. They're peel and stick on polish ones and I found them at target.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Going Greener | the Coffee Edition

Now, neither of us are coffee connoisseurs by any stretch. But we love coffee culture. a lot. We love the environment. The people. The freedom to sit and read and talk and people watch. We live across the street from a coffee shop now. We spend a great deal of time (and money) there. Also, I am probably way more guilty of this than Rene. But I digress. We like coffee.

We also like trees. We love this gorgeous earth God's given us and we know how easy it is to forget to take care of it. In fact, we usually don't do a very good job of that. So... you probably see where I'm going with this...

Here are a few tips on going just a bit greener and taking better care of the planet when it comes to your coffee (or tea) consumption.

1) Get it for here. 

Most coffee shops (Starbucks included) will give you your drink in a real life mug. Then when you're done, they wash them and use them again like in normal restaurants. Crazy eh? It's true. So if you're not in a hurry, ask for a mug! You won't be creating any unnecessary paper waste and you'll feel extra comforted and cozy with a real mug in your hands. promise.

2) Re-use your paper cups. 

When I do get paper cups to go, I take them home, give them a quick rinse, and use them again when we make our own coffee before leaving the house. It's easy and saves me both the use of another paper cup and an extra coffee purchase. It may seem like a small thing, but if you only re-use your cups once each, it will cut your paper cup waste down by half!

3) Make it at home & go organic. 

We have a Keurig at home. And we love it. But however you make your coffee, by the cup or the pot, it's definitely worth it to make it at home. Both for your wallet and for the planet. We recently started getting fair trade, organic K-cups for our Keurig and they're wonderful. What you buy may seem like a small thing, but you as a consumer say a lot with your purchase. Buying "fair trade" means you're getting coffee that supports environmental sustainability through organic practices that reduce or eliminate the use of harmful toxic agrochemicals, pesticides and other chemical additives. You can read more about it here

So there you have it. Just some small, easy ways to make less trash and support a healthier earth. and still enjoy your coffee.