coffee lovers who want to make a difference

Bukeye, Burundi - Dark RoastA blog post from Derek! He wrote it all himself:

The Good Coffee Company—how it tastes and how it’s sourced…the name says it all.

Actually, the name is an understatement.  Not just good, the flavour is EXCELLENT! Likewise, its positive impact on local coffee bean growers is beyond good—it’s ESSENTIAL.

Here’s what their website says:
“Our company was born out of a deep desire to impact the lives of people.  We dreamt of finding a meaningful way to connect people like you with communities in need around the world in a way that leads to hope, transformation, and deep relationships – all through delicious coffee.

We roast the coffee fresh every week in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and get it into your hands so that you can drink delicious, life-changing coffee.  From there we reinvest 25% of our profits into the coffee-growing communities through innovative projects.

Our coffee makes its way from farmers we know by name to the hands of coffee lovers who want to make a difference.”

“Coffee lovers who want to make a difference.”  In other words, people who love great coffee and love striving to meet needs of people around the globe.  Yup, that describes me.

Oh, and by the way, ethical doesn’t have to mean expensive.

I did the math for our family…we pay less for Good Coffee Co. than for the other stuff we were buying.  Yup, a dollar less per pound, actually.

Plus, because of a wonderful partnership between the Good Coffee Co. and a non-profit organization that works with preventing and responding to human trafficking called the Set Free Movement , our $1 less expensive coffee purchase sends 10% of the purchase price to support efforts in ending modern-day slavery.  It’s a natural partnership, really—ethically sourced coffee that pays local farmers 20-35% above fair-trade wages and an abolition movement.  See, when individuals and families receive a sustainable income, they become less susceptible to the wiles of would-be traffickers, because a living wage means a family gains much-needed accessibility to resources like clean water, food, education, and safe housing.  Plus, don’t underestimate how powerful are the weapons of dignity and hope when it comes to vulnerable people engaging in the fight against trafficking in their communities.

(FYI, current estimates place nearly 46 million people in some form of slavery today around the globe—people held against their will doing activities they don’t want to do.  Context: that’s more people than were enslaved throughout the entire Trans-Atlantic slave trade from Africa.  In addition to the Set Free Movement website, you can read more at www.globalslaveryindex.org.  You can also check out the last 15 years of the U.S. Government’s annual Trafficking In Persons report here www.state.gov.  But be careful, it just might open your eyes, break your heart, and cause you to change your purchasing habits as a way to decrease the size of your own slavery footprint.)

So, if you’re going to spend your cash on coffee, might you do it in a way that supports, sustains, and empowers the growers?  That’s what you do when you buy from Good Coffee Co.  Plus, when you enter the promo code SETFREE, your purchase goes to support an abolition organization at the same time.  And, you end up paying less for your coffee than you would with other coffee out there.  (But, even if it didn’t cost less, wouldn’t it still be a worthwhile sacrifice for the sake of others’ well-being around the globe?)

Here are some of your options: 1lb or 2lb bag?  Whole beans or ground?  One-time purchase or recurring automatic shipment based on your consumption?  The choices are all yours, and your product comes delivered to your mailbox.  Plus, if you spend over $50, you get free shipping (I buy two 2lb bags at a time, costs me $52).  And, remember, using the coupon code SETFREE will ensure 10% of your purchase goes directly to the Set Free Movement for their work in preventing and responding to human trafficking…and it will also give you a 10% discount on your purchase!

You and I have the privilege to support two organizations that attempt to create hope for the future among some of the world’s most vulnerable people groups by investing in local communities, providing long-term sustainability, and facilitating life-transformation.  If you love great tasting coffee and care about people, why would you not do this?

– D.

The Christian response to the Syrian refugee crisis

Facebook is filled with opinions re: what to do with Syrian refugees. What to do about ISIS. I’ve been silent. Not because I don’t care, rather, I’m not sure if I want to debate.

I look at my daughter. She will ask me questions about this time in history. Why did people take so long to act? Why were so many unwilling to help?

I think about WW2. So few were willing to risk their lives to hide Jews. And in North America, the majority were opposed to accepting Jewish refugees.

I can’t help but think that history is repeating itself. That fear is ruling the day. We all think that we would have risked our lives to hide Jews. And certainly we would have opened our borders for them as refugees. But would we have, really?

As a Christian, scripture is FULL of charges to welcome refugees. Jesus himself was a refugee! We aren’t called to a “safe” life when we decide to follow Christ. We are called to live radically. To love even when it’s risky.

I know there’s lots of factors to consider re: ISIS and Syrian refugees. And we must be wise. But at the end of the day, I want my daughter to learn in her history class that people chose love over unfounded fear. They cared for humans that they never met. They shared. They realized the truth in, “to whom much is given much will be required”.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” – 1 John 4:18.

syria refugee
A Syrian refugee child cries at the Al Zaatri refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, August 3, 2012. The Al Zaatri camp is one of many set up along the 86km (53 mile) border between Jordan and Syria under the management of the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) and with the help of local charity groups. Refugees were suffering from heat and difficult living conditions as even more people fleeing the fighting continued to pour into the camp on Friday. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed (JORDAN – Tags: SOCIETY POLITICS CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) ORG XMIT: AMM52

 

On raising my daughter to be a feminist

It’s a shame that many cringe when they hear the word feminist. People are often confused by what a person means when they say, “I’m a feminist”. The dictionary definition is such:

Feminist: advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.

You don’t have to be a female to be a feminist. I love this clip where our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau identifies as a feminist and speaks about raising his sons to be feminists. It’s a one minute clip and worth the watch: Justin Trudeau Urges Men to be Feminists

How exactly do I plan to raise my daughter to be a feminist? The question gives me pause. It certainly won’t be a one time event but an on-going process. The following are a couple examples that come to mind. It’s not an exhaustive list but its a start.

  1. I plan to always raise her in a church that supports women in leadership and ministry. Thankfully, the Free Methodist Church is such a place. (p.s. Jesus was a radical feminist, I look forward to pointing this out to her!)
  2. I hope to instill in her the ability to ask, “why?” Example: why are baby showers only for the mothers and not also for the fathers? Where does that come from? And what do I think about that for today?
  3. I plan to instill in her a voice and knowledge re: finances. If she marries one day and decides to have her husband do the finances, that’s OK. That will be out of choice rather than inability to have an opinion on financial matters.
  4. Whether she decides to work or stay home with the kids, that will be her choice. I’ll remind her that the ability to choose is empowerment. (I’d also support dad being a stay-at-home dad if that’s what they want!).
  5. I’d want her to be aware of the inequality between males and females. The unspoken & spoken expectations that are rooted in sexism. But I’d want to do so in such a way that she is informed but not bitter. Passionate about justice but not poisoned by injustice. There’s a fine line — we must do what we can, when we can. But we will also face great disappointments in how others think & operate. This discouragement can cause us to not act at all. I hope that our daughter will be a feminist who will do what she can, when she can and will also remember the wise words of Mother Teresa:

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.

 

The Best Time of Year to have a Baby

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While pregnant, I received a lot of comments re: the season of our baby’s birth. Quite a lot of people told me that Spring was their preferred time to have a baby. One mother who had four children (who were all born in different seasons) told me that Spring was by far her favourite time to welcome a little one. The following are my quick reflections of each season, I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

SUMMER: This season has the advantage of outdoor birthday parties. How fun! But you essentially miss out experiencing summer’s glory that first year. A couple of friends had summer babies and they described that time of year as “a waste” re: mat leave. We only get 2 solid months of summer in Canada, so to miss out on soaking up that time can be a real bummer.

FALL: Autumn seems like a pretty great time to have a baby. Especially in Canada if you are taking a 1 year mat leave. If you have a fall baby that means that you’ll get to enjoy having your child be 10-12 months old the following July and August (while you are still off on leave). But it also means that you have to experience being HUGE and HOT during the last trimester. Being someone who is fairly heat intolerant, I was glad that I was at my largest over winter and early spring.

SPRING: I wasn’t convinced that I’d love having a Spring baby but now that the night times/mornings are cooler, I’m glad that I did the bulk of the getting up in the night when the house was fairly warm. We all know that it’s hard to get out from under the covers when the room air temperature is so cool (before you start heating your home). And while I spent quite a few beautiful weather days inside looking out, it was nice that when the newborn fog lifted I had good weather motivating me to get outside.

WINTER: I’ve always thought that a winter baby would be nice. Based on the observations of family and friends (that life is just a blur with a newborn for the first 3 months), I liked the idea of being trapped inside during winter time when you’d rather be indoors anyways. And what’s cozier than sitting by a fire with a swaddled newborn? You could live off crockpot soups and chilis. But then there’s bundling up a newborn to go places. And cold and flu season.

My conclusion? There’s never a perfect time to have a baby. Each season has its pros and cons. We are lucky to welcome a baby any season of the year. But there’s nothing wrong with recognizing pros and cons of each season. What are your thoughts? Any experiences to share?

Hidden Gems of Prince Edward County: Milford and Little Bluff Conservation Area

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It’s summer time. Thousands of Ontarians (and even some Americans) flock to Prince Edward County to visit the Sandbanks and do some shopping in Picton’s quaint downtown. Some days the line to get into Sandbanks Provincial Park is just like the photo above. It can take forever just to get in and while you are at the beach it’s super crowded.  Maybe you’ve been to the Sandbanks before and are looking for something new to do. Or maybe you’ve got a couple of days to kill in the county and would like at least one of them to be away from the crowds and low-key. The following may be just what you’re looking for. Head to the other side of the county to discover some hidden gems!

A day in the county that doesn’t involve Sandbanks or Picton:

  1. Black River Cheese Factory in Milford. Stop in here for some cheese curds or ice cream and walk directly across the street to the Galloping Goat which is an unique gift shop in a beautiful/relaxing setting.
  2. Mariner’s Park Museum. Local maritime items & local history. My husband has been here but I have not. If you are on this side of the county anyways, it’s worth a visit.
  3. Little Bluff Conservation Area. This is a perfect place to relax. And it’s far from the crowds! Bring a lawn chair, a book, and practice your stone skipping skills. If you went on vacation to get away from it all – Little Bluff will give you just that.
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The above photos were taken in 2014 @ Little Bluff. We loved our time here! We plan to be back. My only hesitation in sharing this post is that I don’t want this hidden gem of the county to lose its tranquil state by becoming crowded with tourists. But when I find something truly beautiful, I have to share. I hope that you enjoy your time in Prince Edward County – whatever you decide to do, the county is truly wonderful.

Maternity leave: just what the doctor ordered?

Maternity leave. I’m 11 weeks in. I think it’s changing me. I think it’s changing me for the better.

I used to work 5 days a week with a 40 minute commute each way. While I like my job, now that I’m away from the office, I feel different. Lighter? Less cynical? More optimistic. While “holding someone’s hands” in their darkest hour seems to be my calling, maybe it’s harder than I realized. Maybe I miss out on being present in other areas in life.

Today I went to Walmart at 9am. Because I can. I’m on mat leave. It was so peaceful at that hour. I witnessed the staff gathering together for their morning meeting and cheering re: sale goals and new employees. Afterwards I went for a walk at the river in town. I noticed high school students gathered under the bridge for a hang out. I didn’t know this was even a meeting place in our town. I think driving to the next town for work and working full-time has disconnected me a bit from where we live. I thought I was connected to our town before but now I’m seeing things in a new light.

I’ve noticed that I’m much more at peace these days. I try to spend some time every day on my spiritual life (reading a devotion, praying, etc). While taking care of a baby can get in the way, I seem to find more time to pray. I also like to watch a motivational/educational video while feeding Isabel nearly every day. The TED talks are excellent!

These days, I seem to think of others more often and seek out ways to encourage people. This can be via text, writing a card, or arranging a visit.

It’s crazy to think that in the midst of sleep deprivation and baby tears, I feel that my spirit is being renewed and refreshed. My eyes are being opened to things I didn’t see while working full-time. Maybe I needed a “sabbatical” from work. Much to my surprise, this maternity leave may be a season that’s helping to shape me more into the person that I’m meant to be.

Where to find organic baby care products in Canada

Healthy/organic/natural baby care products are hard to come by and especially hard to shop for in Canada. I love the Environmental Working Group’s website. You can go on there and see how certain products rank re: health concerns. A zero is the lowest score that a product can get which is the best, healthiest option. After I did hours or research on what are the best products out there AND what I can get my hands on in Canada, I thought I should share this in case it may be helpful for someone else. The following are items with a score of zero by the EWG as well as where it’s cheapest to find them (keep in mind that we don’t live near a big city):

Soap: Live Clean Baby Bar of Soap (Unscented). Available on Amazon.ca or Babies R Us.

Shampoo: Earth Mama Angel Baby Shampoo & Body Wash (Naturally scented or unscented). Available on Amazon.ca

Diaper Cream: Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm. Available on Amazon.ca

Wipes: WaterWipes. Available on Amazon.ca

And I’ll add these to the list as they make me feel better about what’s in the products that’s cleaning bottles, pacifiers, toys, etc.

Dish soap: Babyganics Foaming Dish & Bottle Soap. Available at Babies R Us.

Dishwasher detergent: Seventh Generation Auto Dish Powder, Free & Clean. Available on Amazon.ca

Hope this helps! I can report back later what I think of these products. I’m excited that there ARE safer options babies in Canada.