Coffee Fest and Rob Bell



Date nights don’t happen nearly as often as they should. At this point in our lives we have two girls (one of which is an infant) and they keep us busy. Balancing work and family seems like a farfetched myth. But every so often the stars align and we are able to get away for a couple of hours.

Our most recent date night consisted on attending two events (one chosen by each of us.)

For me: We joined the Columbus Underground and attended Coffee Fest

Coffee is not just a boost of caffeine in my life; Coffee is a lifestyle.

I’m well aware of the addiction I harbor toward this brewed beverage, but I have no plans of sobriety any time soon. I live on this stuff and I absolutely loved joining other coffee fanatics in my city for this fun event. It was held at the Ohio Village, an old-fashioned, model village behind the Ohio Historical Society.

Local brewers set up stands throughout the venue and provided samples of their best coffees for those in attendance. When we entered the festival we were given a ceramic mug that served as our cup throughout the event so that they minimized trash and kept the environment of the day clean and green.

My favorite coffee that I sampled was the Ethiopian blend from Hemisphere Coffee Roasters.

After several cups of amazing coffee we visited the Food Trucks on site and enjoyed  Mikey’s Late Night Slice’s famous pizzas.


For Him: We attended Rob Bell’s Holy Shift Talk

Ever since Rob Bell launched his career my husband has enjoyed his work. He is a Christian author and speaker who now lives in Los Angeles, California.

Although much of his work is considered to be a bit liberal for the Christian crowd my husband has continued to support Rob Bell and his ministry. I’ve read some of his early works and I have seen almost all of his Nooma videos. It’s easy for people to form an opinion about him and protests are a regular occurrence at his speaking engagements, but overall I enjoyed listening to him and found objection to none of the elements he spoke about in this talk. It was a call to Christians to regard the holiness in the everyday and mundane events of life.

Per usual, we laughed, cried, and felt goosebumps as he revealed seven ways that he has encountered God’s holiness in his own life.


The Ameri Brit Mom


Canada Stole My Coffee Dates


The past few weeks have been tough.

We said “See You Soon” to my youngest sister as she set off to study a year abroad in St. Catherine, Ontario. No one could blame her for accepting a FREE opportunity to pursue her master’s degree while also getting the experience of teaching at the university level. However, that doesn’t make it any easier.

Thank God for the technology age! Since her departure we’ve been able to stay in contact via FaceTime and social media, but nothing will replace our usual weekend coffee dates that I’ve grown accustomed to over the years.

We both share a passion for reading, writing, and coffee. Each week we would catch up on life and good books while warm mugs and rich aromas fueled our conversations. We’d show up and forget about the stresses in our lives as this habit became a time we both looked forward to every week.

Our coffee dates look very different now.

I’m eager to make a few migrations northward over the next year. It’s been several years since I visited the Niagara region, but from what I remember it is beautiful. She is blessed with the opportunity to live only miles from the beautiful landscapes of the falls. I cannot wait to reunite soon and drink coffee while the mist dances around us. All will be right in the world when we can talk about authors and essays and recollect all the months of missed time.

If you track with me over the next year I hope to keep you informed about my travels to St. Catherine. Canada truly is a beautiful place. It’s a perfect destination for an Ameri-Brit family like mine because the *culture is a true assimilation of American and British tradition.

I’m learning alongside her.

I’m learning to embrace a new chapter. I’m learning to branch out. I’m learning to break free of the things holding me back. And I’m learning that even though you place six hours and a couple Great Lakes between us that sisters will continue to have a bond that cannot be broken.

The Ameri Brit Mom

*I am also learning from my sister that “Canadian Culture” doesn’t actually exist. The Multicultural Act has aimed at dissolving a “Canadian Identity” in order to place value on immigration.

Is Fair Trade a Spiritual Issue?


While attending church this week in England I was personally challenged by the idea that our consumption has direct impact on the lives of thousands. The speaker went through examples of interactions most people have over the course of the day and how everything connects us to the world beyond our local market. For example, when you eat breakfast you are supporting farmers, factories, and workers worldwide. When you go to work you are in direct or indirect contact with clients, suppliers, adults, children, or any variation of that list. Every decision we make for ourselves no matter how small has an influence on the life of others.

So how does that relate to our spirituality?

In Psalm 33:5 the author states, “The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the Earth is full of his unfailing love.”

I won’t pretend to have much knowledge about fair trade. I have found the website for the Fairtrade Foundation to be helpful, but to be honest I never really thought much about the impact being a fair trade consumer can have on the world around me. By choosing to support small farms with our shopping we give farmers a voice in their market. The business world is focused on large brands and companies that receive large profits and in many cases their workers face harsh conditions and minimal pay.

I’ve never really looked at grocery shopping in this way. But one way I can contribute to the marginalized is to pay the extra fee to choose fair trade products whenever necessary. And why should I do this? Because God calls us to care for the poor, sick, injured, and those too weak to stand up for themselves. With the knowledge about fair trade options I cannot in good conscience continue to support businesses who treat their employees as less than the value they deserve. The right choice is always one that speaks love and hope. Giving small farms an opportunity to thrive is doing my part to foster justice in business.

I know it isn’t always possible, and there are times when we prefer products put out by the tycoons, but the more you investigate the issue the more disgusted you will become with the practices of some well known companies.

Once our eyes are opened to this kind of suffering in the world we can’t stand by and do nothing.

I am challenging myself this week to find one way that I can adjust my habits to support fair trade. For me, that starts with coffee–something I consume on a daily basis and one of the most abused markets for farmers. I plan to spend time researching coffee brands that I tend to purchase and make informed decisions moving forward about where and how to get my coffee fix. I know that research will really open my eyes and if you have insight into the coffee market specifically please feel free to offer your experiences. As time goes on I plan to expand my fair trade choices.

The treatment and livelihood of others rests in my choices. What costs me a little can save others so much.

Anyone else out there passionate about fair trade?

The Ameri Brit Mom

English Costa


In America, you can hardly go three city blocks without encountering a Starbucks Cafe. Although Starbucks is present in England it’s prevalence is much less than that of Costa. Every year that’s one thing I look forward to–a warm mocha (pronounced mock-uh in the UK) topped with cream and drizzled with cocoa. Nothing beats the English chill and rain like a paper to-go cup of warm coffee.

My husband is from the small town of Eastleigh. It is a borough to the city of Southampton. The population is over 125,000. There are three Costas. Two are located in the town center and one is nestled on the outskirts of the main town, but near some large shops.

As I begin to pack my suitcase for my journey back to America I am saddened by the thought that I may not have another Costa coffee until next year. It’s been a great month of memories, excitement, and Costa!!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Afternoon Tea In a Posh Hotel

This year my lovely in-laws booked a Cream Tea/Coffee reservation for my husband and I for my birthday. Just before our departure for England I received an email invitation from my English family. This couldn’t be a more perfect birthday gift for me, the coffee lover.


We set out on June 16 for the quaint town of Lyndhurst. It’s one of those picturesque British towns that you see depicted on postcards or old movies. Because the city is nestled in the heart of the New Forest (a national park) it is also a large tourist stop. The streets are lined with cafes, pubs, and small shops. The skyline is filled with patriotic bunting (the triangular British or celebratory flags.)


We arrived a bit early so we took the time to tread about the cobble stone pavements. Stopping into a few shops we embraced the tourist role in the town. Just before our reserved time we made our way up a steep hill to The Crown Hotel.

Once checked in for our afternoon tea we were escorted to a small library room in the hotel. Almost immediately a tall waiter with a thick French accent took our drink orders. I broke the rules of a traditional tea by ordering a coffee, but in the end I was quite pleased with my choice. The coffee in England is generally stronger than the stuff I’m used to back home. I added a dab of cream and a sheave of sugar and a perfect cup of coffee was concocted. My husband was my date for the tea and being the natural born Brit that he is he ordered a black tea.


After our first cups were finished the waiter brought out a tray of assorted treats. We were served several type of sandwiches, small chocolates, pastries, scones, and cakes. Being as each treat was small you wouldn’t think that this would fill us up, but we were so full by the time we finished the tray that we decided a dinner would not be necessary that evening. Everything was lovely (except the salmon sandwiches because neither of us prefer to eat salmon.)


I can now tick a new item off of my to-do list. A posh afternoon tea was a remarkable time. Nothing beats a good coffee in a serene setting with the company of my husband. If you ever find yourself in the south of England I highly recommend an afternoon tea at The Crown Hotel in Lyndhurst.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Five Minute Friday: Morning

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Morning. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

*This is a short fictional piece, but very much based on my morning coffee routines.*

“Can I help you?” A tall and skinny barista asked with a plastered smile across her face. No one is ever that happy at seven A.M. I thought to myself. I’m not always as cynical as the time between waking and receiving my morning coffee.

“Yes, I’ll take a large pour over.” I said without making eye contact with the woman taking my order. The rustling in my purse to find my wallet kept me from feeling that awkward obligation to force a smile in return  to the barista’s.

“Any cream or sugar?” The barista asked as she punched a code into the register.

“No.” I scoffed a bit in my response I must admit. After all, it was seven A.M. which is the time before cream and sugar should reasonably be consumed.

“That will be $3.95.” The barista explained as if I hadn’t already known the cost of my usual drink. We exchanged my small plastic card and upon it’s return to my hand the girl whose name, Lysa, I had just noticed from her name tag pointed to the end of the counter where I would soon unite with my  coffee.

I scooted my way toward the pick up station. There were others in line ahead of me so I took my phone from my purse and began to surf social media. I was careful not to invite others to speak to me as my small talk abilities didn’t really kick in until after my first cup of the day. After finger flicking through the latest gossip on my phone for a few minutes my ears were met with the sound of Lysa, the barista, calling out my name.

“Brittany, your pour over is ready.”

I threw my phone back into the front pocket of my bag and reached my hand across the counter. The warmth of the paper cup brought the morning’s first flicker of life to my body. The smell of the coffee was wafting through the small hole in the lid of the cup. As the smell entangled my nostrils I felt my negativity melting away. I took a small sip careful not to burn my lips or mouth. And after the ammunition of one perfectly crafted drink of coffee I mustered up the energy to speak.

“Thank you.” I spoke as I turned to leave the small shop. You can’t beat a good cup of coffee in the morning to get your day started off right.


Rise and Shine

Welcome to my very own Creative Writing Month where each day of the month I am focusing on a topic and spending fifteen minutes reflecting and writing as inspired by the topic. For more information about why and how check out my post, Writing Down the Bones.

*This weekend I spent some time away at the annual FCA Fall Retreat which I organize along with other local FCA Leaders and volunteers. Due to my lack of wifi I will be posting twice today to get caught up. 

Today’s topic: Write about your morning routine. Create a story surrounding these ideas.

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At eight o’clock this morning I awoke to mumbles and groans. My three year old daughter was groggy and shouting, “Mommy, my belly hurts.”

I rushed to her aid, swept her into my arms, and quickly carried her to the bathroom where she could get sick without ruining bed sheets or carpet. I absolutely hate when my daughter is sick. She loses all of her energy and personality and is overcome by a zombie-like coma.

After a dramatic beginning to the morning she took up residence on the couch. I granted her request to watch some of her favorite cartoons on Netflix and after providing her with some light foods and water I began my usual morning routine beside her on the couch.

It’s funny to say routine, because I don’t get the luxury of starting my day the same way twice. However, if I did have control over how each day started there would be a couple of things I would be sure to do each day. For one, I’d start each day with a pot of coffee. Not a cup, but a pot. And in a perfect  world no one would speak to me and I’d have no responsibilities until the entire pot was gone. However, this world is not perfect and that has happened twice in my life. I do have coffee at some point just about every morning.

Next, I have some quiet Bible Study and prayer time. The best days include some type of Bible Study even if it is only five minutes. I like to go through studies from apps like First5 and SheReadsTruth. Neither of these take too long, but are really well-written, relate-able, and life-changing.

After my Bible Study time I login to my AmeriBritMom site and check all emails. I reply to emails, send some out, and then check out my WordPress feed where I am able to communicate with my fellow writers and find inspiration. After catching up with those people I follow regularly I begin working on whatever post I plan to release for the day. That could be one I started a few days ago which just needs edited or on some days when I am less organized I have about thirty minutes to write, edit, and produce my post.

Once my coffee, Bible Study, and blogging are done I am free to live my day. I find that when my mornings contain all three of these activities that I am more energized and I find purpose in each day more clearly. When I don’t get those first few minutes to myself in the way I described I can be off my game and tend to be more emotional those days. Being a mom has taught me that every morning may not look exactly the same, but if I can try to fit each of these items into the first hours of my day I can be successful and OWN the day.

So as I sit on the couch beside my ill daughter I am able to work my way through these aspects of my morning routine today all while rubbing her back and passing her a water bottle every few minutes when she requests it. Fluids have been helping to return my daughter to her natural state. She’s keeping her eyes open again instead of just sleeping the day away. So I will check this last item off of my morning routine list and enjoy my day with my beautiful baby girl whose health is getting better by the minute.

I Remember…

Welcome to my very own Creative Writing Month where each day of the month I am focusing on a topic and spending fifteen minutes reflecting and writing as inspired by the topic. For more information about why and how check out my post, Writing Down the Bones.

Today’s topic: I Remember… I’ve tried my hand at free verse poetry. I oftentimes steer clear of poetry, but occasionally I dabble in the art. Here is my memoir, free-verse poem.

Frozen Mochas and Fudge Doughnuts

I remember the birth of my coffee addiction.

I was around nine or ten.

The frozen mochas stored in their glass containers,

Held in the freezer,

Thawed and served with chocolate fudgies.

The cement ramp leading to your home.

The creaking stairs announcing my arrival,

As I wound my way up to the second floor apartment.

I remember the joy on your face when you welcomed me in.

The way your place felt like home.

Photographs of the ones you loved strewn throughout the immaculate rooms.

The excitement as you led me into the kitchen.

And atop a bright colored place mat sat a ceramic plate;

A doughnut all for me,

And a frozen mocha.

This is where I go when I taste the cold espresso today.

My mind takes me back to those visits.

How precious are those memories: my great-grandmother, frozen mochas, and fudge doughnuts.

Escape to a Local Coffee Shop

Since I began my writing journey over ten months ago I’ve developed some habits and discovered some favorite locations for writing. After a couple of months it became obvious that if I was going to work on an extended project (like the novel I am currently working on) then it would be imperative to find a location outside of the home where I could escape on a regular basis. I was in need of a writing venue where I wasn’t distracted by dirty floors or piles of clothes that needed to be washed. Naturally, my need for a writing hub led me to my favorite locally owned coffee shop, Scioto Valley Coffee.


Scioto Valley Coffee is a small-town coffee shop nestled on the outskirts of my hometown between a traffic light and railroad tracks. The view from the front window is rather scenic and has been helpful in the formation of some ideas in my novel. For the past couple of months I’ve spent my Saturday mornings in the shop typing away while sipping a Scioto Valley Mocha. Something about the mocha is fuel for my writing. I can walk in with absolutely no clue what to write that day and leave after two hours having drafted over fifteen pages.

The atmosphere lends itself well to creativity. One thing that is important when seeking out a regular writing location is the ability that you have as a writer to truly focus on the job at hand: writing. If the music is too loud or the decorations too in-your-face it becomes easy to lose momentum and waste time daydreaming or focusing elsewhere. Scioto Valley is not a distracted environment. During my many trips to the coffee shop I’ve had pleasant encounters with the baristas and been able to quickly get into my writing once I’ve found a seat. The tables and chairs are comfortable and conducive to writing. My table of choice is a high-top in front of the large front window. The location and luxury of the seats may seem trivial, but if you are going to spend extended time working anywhere you want to know that the furniture is not going to be detrimental to the task.

One more thing that stands out to me about Scioto Valley is the staff. Each time I’ve gone in to Scioto Valley the staff has been kind and even some of them have learned my order due to my predictability. They kindly bring me an ice water after I’ve finished my mocha. Otherwise, I’m left alone to get to work and that’s something I appreciate. It’s difficult to write in a proper restaurant because the waitresses quite often break the train of thought to check in on me. Also, in a restaurant the waitresses also like to see quick turnover of tables in order to make tips. At Scioto Valley I have never gotten the impression that my lingering presence has been a nuisance to the staff and I appreciate that.

So whether or not you write in Circleville, Ohio, like I do it is important to find a place you can go to outside of the home to write. It’s okay to write occasionally at home, but there are times where a trip to write away from home is necessary. Changing the scenery is a great motivation during writer’s block and can be inspirational for details in your writing.

If you are ever in the area I recommend Scioto Valley Coffee, and of course the Scioto Valley Mocha.

Carving Out Time For Me


Lately I’ve been surrounded with several motivating resources: my husband, friends, family, the blogs I follow and the book I’m reading, The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst. One thing these people have all been encouraging me to pursue is my passion for writing. These are people who have seen some of my best pieces and still continue to believe in my abilities. However, I know that my writing is more than my ability it is God’s gift. When I write he is there with me giving me the words. He’s behind every idea and word that goes from my mind to my fingers to your screen.

Since I was eighteen I have had the dream of one day publishing a novel. I’ve let year after year slip by without making progress toward that goal. The years wrap up and I think to myself, “Next year I’ll make it happen” only to make no more progress than before. I’ve even gotten to points in my life where I get so busy that I don’t even write at all.

But this year has been different. So far in 2015 I have written six chapters of a novel. I’ve taken time to blog daily to practice my skills and then set aside longer duration and intentional time to work on my novel. I read a chapter yesterday in The Best Yes entitled, “Overwhelmed Schedule Underwhelmed Soul.” In this chapter the author talks about how we all have a calling that we are neglecting. For me, it has been writing. In order to achieve that calling we have to be intentional with our time. That means saying “no” to activities that are not absolutely necessary in your life in order to have time remaining each week to carve out for yourself. This should be intentional time spent pursuing your calling.

Yesterday I carved out time for myself. I woke up before my husband and daughter and ventured out to a local coffee shop for two hours. I sat at a table in the coffee shop and I worked on my novel for that entire time. In two hours I produced ten pages to finish up my sixth chapter. I felt so accomplished. That amount of writing could have taken me months according to my old writing plan. I also felt energized all day because I began my day by doing something I had neglected for so long.

So I’ve decided to make this a weekly thing. I’ve taken my planner and blocked out two hours a week for me to escape to a coffee shop and just write. My husband has agreed to allow for this time and so it’s set in stone.

My husband has been reading The Best Yes as well. We’ve had a discussion as a family about not adding things to our schedule just because we don’t want to say “no”. We set our priorities with family and ministry. Things have been extremely busy and so as we usher in a new school year we have both committed to saying “no” to things that do not directly correlate with those priorities. If it is not something that will help us grow as a family or related to our areas of ministry then we have resolved to leave it off our schedule.

I know that those priorities will still keep us busy, but I’m hoping this new school year will at least be more focused than my schedule has been in the past. I’m really looking forward to my weekly coffee shop trips and for making progress on writing.

What are you neglecting that you should be carving time out for?