Going Beyond Memes



If you’re like me, you’re sick of seeing these cups.  You’re sick of the “controversy” surrounding them and the blog posts and memes pushing back against the ridiculous notion that Starbucks having plain holiday cups is a war on Christmas. All of these memes and blog posts remind us that helping and giving this holiday season is more important, and more Christ-like, than bitching about cups.  There’s a problem with these reminders, though.  Clicking like or share on Facebook or retweeting lets us off way too easily.  In an instant, we are able to declare to the world that we are morally superior to people trolling Christmas because we get it.  And that’s the end of it.  Now we can dust off our hands and begin updating our wish lists. 


But, of course, it doesn’t and shouldn’t end there.  If you are a Christian, Jesus calls you to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit those who are in jail.  Other faiths call for the same.  Those without faith in the supernatural are called by their conscience and faith in humanity to do what is good and right.  Simply put, if you’re able, you should be helping your fellow man.  So let’s all make sure that this holiday season, and beyond, we don’t just post memes about how helping others is more important than the design of Starbucks’ holiday cups, but that we actually DO something to make a difference. You can donate to Toys for Tots, to food pantries, and other charities which allow us to help on a continual basis, like World Vision.  You can volunteer in a soup kitchen or shelter or anything on the front lines that puts you face to face with those in need.  You can help the animals with whom we share this earth, giving one of them a loving home or helping them to find one.  You can choose gifts this year which are ethically sourced, like fair-trade chocolate, or that give back to the people in the organizations who make them.  You can choose not to avoid eye contact of the person sitting by the road with signs asking for help, ignoring lame excuses like, They’ll probably just use it to buy drugs.  If you’re like me and never have cash on hand, you could do what my friend Sarah does and keep a supply of food in her car, which she hands to those standing by the road.  You can take the time to ask what the person outside of Target, the grocery store, or Starbucks needs and go get it for them.  Imagine how that could make a plain red cup reveal the joyous giving of Christmas.

Blackberry mojito lemonade tea


Normally I’m not a huge fan of the Arnold Palmer, iced tea mixed with lemonade. But I became slightly obsessed after trying the blackberry mojito lemonade tea at Starbucks. Sweet blackberries, tempered with the sourness of lemonade, all grounded by the earthiness of tea. And just for an extra kick to make this drink unforgettable, a light, natural mint flavor suddenly appears, leaving your mouth refreshed and tingling.

After having a couple of them, I decided that I could make my own at home. I had made flavored lemonades before, so I knew it would be simple. All it would require is some muddling and the right balance of flavors. I feel like this was a great success. I’m also happy to tell you that it’s quite a lovely cocktail with some vodka mixed in. I know fall is coming but it’s still hot here, (94 with a feels like of 101 today.) So this drink is still perfectly lovely for the time of year.

Blackberry mojito lemonade tea

24 oz by weight blackberries
1/2 – 1 cup fresh mint
64 oz lemonade (I used Santa Cruz organic lemonade)
1 1/2 – 2 cups brewed mild-flavored tea, cooled (I used English Breakfast)

Bring 12-16 oz of water to a boil, (8 oz per tea bag.) Once water has reached a rolling boil, turn off the heat and submerge the tea bags in the water. Allow tea bags to steep for approximately 10 minutes. Remove tea bags and allow the tea to cool to room temperature.

In a large pitcher, muddle together the blackberries and mint. (You can use a large spoon or, in my case, I used a mallet. *shrug* It works.)

Add lemonade and tea to the muddled mixture. Stir and refrigerate for two hours. The longer you allow the ingredients to hang out with one another, the better flavor you’ll have.

Pour drink mixture through a fine mesh sieve before serving.