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    Blog — entrepreneur

    Figuring Out Fatherhood - Part 2 By Michael Watson AKA Mr. Elderberry

    Figuring Out Fatherhood - Part 2 By Michael Watson AKA Mr. Elderberry

    Last week, we chatted about Relationships and Integrity in Part 1 of Figuring Out Fatherhood. Catch up on Part 1 HERE. This week we conclude our blog with the final two gifts we can give our children in our journey of fatherhood: Teaching and Experiences.


    TEACHING

    This is the gift that will lead our grown children to adopt the lessons learned from us or to run in the opposite direction. “Great dads gift their children with a kind of upright teaching that prepares them to meet the challenges of life and walk in their God-ordained purpose. Doing this well necessitates vision and intentionality” (Loritts, pg. 91). As a follower of Jesus, I believe that God has gifted us the opportunity of stewarding His children, with the ultimate goal of pointing them back to Him as their true father and to launch them into this world prepared to pursue and live out the calling He has placed on their lives. 


    But there is the practical, disciplinary side of teaching as well; Where we teach our boys how to be men and our girls how to be women. Discipline is difficult, and the main reason I want to throw in the towel as a dad. It takes so much consistency and vision, knowing that putting in the hard work while they are young, will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Vision leaks and must be repeated again and again to be retained. One way that we have been able to implement some great teaching moments with our young kiddos is what we call Best, Worst & Weirdest. In the evening, usually at bedtime, we take some one-on-one time with our kiddos to talk through their day.

     

    Best: What was the best part of your day? Let’s celebrate that! 

    Worst: What was the worst part of your day? Let’s talk through it. 

    Weirdest: What was the weirdest part of your day? Let’s laugh at that!


    The age-old tactic of sandwiching the hard stuff in the middle of the good stuff plays out pretty well. But it gives us a chance to do some significant teaching while also helping our kiddos identify things throughout their day and how it made them feel. Right now, one of our short term goals is to raise teenagers who will want to talk to us about how they are feeling!  


    EXPERIENCES

    We are the architects of our kids normal. Especially in the early stages of childhood, we as the parents get to determine our kiddos experiences and and begin shaping their world view. “Great fathers place a premium on giving their children the R.I.T.E. kind of experiences over gifts. Things wear out and expire. Experiences endure, marking us forever.” (Loritts, pg. ?)


    Start with the end in mind. Picture your kids as adults. What are the things you would want them to have learned? What values would you want to instill in them? How would you want to prepare them for life on their own? Start there and work backwards. What moments and milestones over the course of their 18 years of adolescents will help to accomplish those goals? It’s easy to exchange long term resilience for short term comfort and happiness. Father with the long view in mind. An incredibly practical resource for planning out these moments and milestones is the book Family Discipleship by pastors Matt Chandler and Adam Griffin.


    The best advice Bryan gives in his book is the simple, yet often forgotten truth that “the best parenting we will ever do is from our knees. (Loritts, pg. 140) As dependent as our children are on us, we are equally dependent on our Father in heaven to accomplish anything good in the lives of our children. Fathering and failure go hand in hand. Even when we have the best intentions, we are going to fall short. Before you pick yourself back up, spend some time on your knees asking God for the strength and wisdom to try again.


    Thanks so much for joining us on this journey. Comment below with any questions or reflections that come up as you pursue fatherhood. Here's to the difficult but rewarding road ahead! 


    RESOURCES


    Books


    Podcasts


    Websites

    Figuring Out Fatherhood - Part 1 By Michael Watson AKA Mr. Elderberry

    Figuring Out Fatherhood - Part 1 By Michael Watson AKA Mr. Elderberry

    Being a dad is tough, but it is the most important job we will ever have. Not to mention the fact that the majority of us probably feel completely lost and unequipped for the role of father. For the longest time, I was told to “lead my family” but no one would tell me how! It is an ambiguous expectation and at times seems like I’ll never figure it out. Experience over time helps; we learn the “tricks of the trade” as we try and fail, and try again. But there is a turning point in fatherhood when we take a proactive approach, rather than a reactionary one. We cast a vision, we have a plan that we begin to implement and take steps forward.


    There are a ton of resources I have filtered through over my short, 6 years of being a dad, searching for the “key” to fatherhood. The most recent that has had a tangible impact on that endeavor is a book by pastor and author Bryan Loritts entitled, The Dad Difference. Drawing on his own experience of being raised by a father who took a proactive, visionary approach, Bryan unpacks four key areas that we should focus on as a father, even changing my perspective as a dad, describing them as gifts we give to our children. His main thought is based around these four gifts- How to Parent R.I.T.E.


    Relationships - Integrity - Teaching - Experiences


    RELATIONSHIPS

    Relationships take proximity. “We cannot lead effectively those we are not connected to intimately. Healthy relationships demand presence, grace, and time” (Loritts, pg. 27). Our first gift as a father is to be present in the lives of our children. But just being around isn’t enough… there has to be intentionality in our presence.


    A goal that I have set for myself is to do one intentional thing with my kiddos every single day. No tv, no phones, no interruptions. One moment every single day where they have my undivided attention. Whether that is playing a board game, jumping on the trampoline, going to the zoo, reading some books, playing make-believe in the treehouse or asking about their days at bedtime. These little moments of intentionality add up over time. The cumulative effect is a powerful thing- small actions, repeated over time, have great and lasting results! Simplicity and consistency are huge motivators for kiddos too! 


    INTEGRITY

    This gift is all about us and what our kids witness as we live our lives. “More than listening to what we say, our children will watch what we do. When actions and words become one, we call that integrity” (Loritts, pg. 62). Arguably one of the most important gifts we can give our kids is following through and doing what we say we are going to do. This is also arguably the most difficult gift because we know we are going to fail at it. The other end of integrity is admitting when we’ve failed and to ask for forgiveness. “Apologies are the voice of the humble. It takes a humble person to say sorry, to acknowledge and confess a wrong. And it is humility that becomes the lifeline to a healthy, vibrant relationship with our children” (Loritts, pg. 73). It’s our job to show our kiddos how grace works- it being extended to them and in turn, them being able to extend it to a dad humble enough to admit when he was wrong, or lost his temper and ask his children for their forgiveness.


    Try it out

    Next week we will release “Part 2” of our blog Figuring Out Fatherhood, where we will chat about Teaching and Experiences. In the meantime, try out one of the gifts listed above, either Integrity or Relationships and comment below with how it went! Also, here are some resources to help you along your journey as a father. 


    RESOURCES


    Books


    Podcasts


    Websites

    How to Make Your Own Elderberry Popsicles

    How to Make Your Own Elderberry Popsicles

    If you have been with us for a while, you might remember we used to make popsicles for our local customers and they were a fan favorite! For those of you who are new or haven’t been with us for as long, our popsicles served as a treat to make those hot summer days a little bit cooler. We get asked for the popsicles a lot, but have not found a way to make them shippable…. yet ;)

    We know our customers are always looking for ways to support their immune system and keep their families healthy! We thought it would be fun to give you some recipes over the next few blogs as a way to bring a little fun to your daily dose of Elderberry Syrup! Whether that’s through popsicles, drinks, smoothies, and so on, we want you to be fully confident that you are staying healthy while being able to use our syrup in different ways. 

    We have an AWESOME popsicle recipe for you to make your own popsicles with our Elderberry Syrup at home! 

    Why Popsicles? We say, why not popsicles?

    They’re a delicious treat everyone loves, ESPECIALLY kids! It’s a bonus that this recipe is a healthy one! 

    5 items to make a tasty popsicle:

    • 4 Tablespoons of The Elderberry Co. Syrup
    • 2 Tablespoons of Our local raw honey if you would like it a little more sweet
    • 1 cup of Organic Apple Juice (100%)
    • ½ cup of organic Cranberry juice (100%)
    • 1 cup of coconut water
    • Juice of 1 lemon

    Directions-

    1. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher (Makes it easier to pour) and stir well.
    2. Pour the mixture into Popsicle Molds and freeze for at least 6 hours until completely frozen. We’ve included a link to a BPA free silicone Popsicle mold from Amazon that we love! 
    3. If you are using molds, you may run warm water over the molds for 15 seconds once they are frozen. This will help to release the ice pop.
    4. Enjoy your tasty Elderberry Popsicle. 

    Let us know in the comments what recipe kind of recipe you would like to see next!

     

    As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

    https://black-elderberry.com/elderberry-ice-pops/



    Aronia Berries? Never Heard of Them...

    Aronia Berries? Never Heard of Them...

    What sets us apart from other Elderberry Syrup brands?

    This is a question we receive on a regular basis.  Now, I know we are biased, but there are several significant ways our Elderberry Syrup is above and beyond other brands out there...free shipping, no added sugar or preservatives, brewed fresh weekly and... (drum roll, please) aronia berries! Usually when I say “aronia berries”, people look at me like I have ten heads. Well, their common name is “chokeberry” and they are AMAZING.

    When I first started making syrup in my home kitchen, I only used elderberries in the recipe. I didn’t even know aronia berries existed! Then a sweet older couple at our Farmer’s Market introduced them to me and asked me to make a batch using fresh ones from their farm. I eagerly went home and researched aronia berries. Once I learned all about the benefits, there was no way I couldn’t include them in my recipe! They enhanced the flavor, made our syrup a brighter pink and added so much strength in terms of immune support!

    Aronia berries are a small, round fruit found in North America. They contain high levels of antioxidants which makes it one of the highest antioxidant content of any fruit (even elderberries)! When it comes to antioxidants, studies have shown they help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, inflammation, bacterial infections and many others. These berries also contain tons of vitamins and minerals, including zinc, magnesium, iron and vitamins C, B and K. 

    If you are looking for ways to add aronia berries into your daily routine other than our elderberry syrup, here are some helpful ideas! They can be eaten fresh or as a dried snack, make a refreshing summer smoothie, easily add them into some sweet desserts, make a delicious jam, and they can also be found in some teas, coffee and even wine! 

    Let’s break down the health benefits a little bit more here! As always, we recommend checking with your care provider when beginning any health regimen.

    • Offer overall improvement of the circulatory, respiratory, and digestive  systems
    • Help combat the growth of certain cancers
    • Support the immune system and help fight diseases and infection

    Be sure to check out some recipes below of how you can use aronia berries!

    https://smoothiefairytales.com/aronia-berry-smoothie/

    https://www.vibrantplate.com/aronia-oatmeal-crumble-bars-vegan/

    https://www.ediblewildfood.com/aronia-berry-cookies.aspx

    http://www.nonasnutritionnotes.com/aronia_berries/

    https://mummysfastandeasy.com/2019/08/16/no-bake-aronia-berry-cheesecake/

    Have you used aronia berries in a recipe that you love? Share the recipe with us, we would love to hear about it!

    Running a Small Business During the Covid-19 Pandemic

    Running a Small Business During the Covid-19 Pandemic

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve found myself daydreaming about what this time last year looked like and felt like. Exactly one year ago, most of us were told to stay home and only travel for essential reasons. I remember walking into the grocery store and the eerie feeling of everyone shopping in masks, avoiding close proximity and definitely no small talk. I also remember loving the time I had at home with my family...playing board games, movie nights, time in the backyard, and getting gobs and gobs of take out food from local small businesses. While it was an uncertain and scary time for our world, I know I wasn’t alone in feeling grateful for the “forced slowdown” and extra time with my family.

    In terms of The Elderberry Co, the pandemic skyrocketed us in sales, similarly to toilet paper. Before March 2020, we were making about 300 gallons of fresh elderberry syrup each week. Our busiest week in March 2020, we made over 1,100 gallons of elderberry syrup! It was absolutely nuts! In terms of order volume, we were averaging 4,000 orders per month….March 2020? 13,000 orders! I was mass texting all of my friends and family asking if anyone wanted to come help us fulfill orders. We had to start a night shift just to get everything done in time. All while having to social distance and take all safety protocols.

    When our community here in southern Indiana moved to only essential businesses open, our mayor contacted us directly and ensured that we were essential as a manufacturing business, especially as our products help support healthy immune systems. I felt grateful that our business was allowed to stay open; however, I felt a huge responsibility to be responsible and contribute to the solution of getting through the pandemic safely. It was a ton of pressure and a deep dive into leadership and business owning for me. 

    So here we are, one year later. Many are vaccinated, stats are improving and we are slowly finding our way back to “normal”. While our business continues to grow, we are finding a steady pace of growth and are able to do exciting things like develop new products (more on that later). As a leader, I am constantly learning how to lead and love my team well. I am thankful for all of you who support us in our mission to empower families to support their immune systems. If this blog is your introduction to our company, welcome and hello! We are so glad you are here. To stay up to date on all things elderberry, you can:

    • Subscribe to our mailing list here. A box will pop up for you to add your name and email.
    • Follow us on FB or IG
    • Join our subscription program to receive our products on a recurring basis! Click here to learn more about how to join.

    As always, thank you for supporting our small business. We are excited for what the rest of 2021 has in store for our team and are excited to grow alongside you!