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    Blog — Values

    How do you say “thanks”?

    How do you say “thanks”?

    It is the most wonderful time of the year. People are together as the weather calls for unity. Why? Because it is cold and there is nothing better than being cozy inside with the ones you love and appreciate. We are in the season of giving and loving. It seems this time of the year we value our family and friends more with our actions and words than any other time of the year due to the natural state of thanksgiving and Christmas. Covid put a dent into those plans in 2020 but as things loosen up a little here and there, we can be more present with the people we love. 

    Here are a few ways you can show up and show your gratitude to family and friends this season. 

    • Create something memorable for someone you care about. Holding onto something that was personally made always brings joy to someone's soul. It’s the thought that counts, the effort put into a gift just for them. 
    • Cook a meal for them, there is nothing more hands-on than someone taking the time to cook a meal to fuel the body. Even if it’s full of carbs, it’ll fuel their love for your efforts to make something that is tasty. 
    • Write a note with some intentional details on how you view them. Receiving some kind of affirmation always is a peace that reminds someone they are seen and cherished. Use your words to captivate just how valuable they are to you. 
    • Come up with a way to get some pictures taken with your family or friends. Photos are worth a thousand words and those photos can be held onto for ages. A short time of taking pictures communicates to someone special that you want to create memories you can look at for a lifetime. 

    Whatever you may do, do it with love. Show up for the people you are thankful for and simply spend time with them. 

    There are tons of ways you can communicate to someone that you are thankful for them. Please share some creative ways you plan to do that for people this holiday season. 

    Core Value: Kindness

    Core Value: Kindness

    “Kindness is the light that dissolves all walls between souls, families and nations.”

    This week we are spotlighting one of our core values that we have here at The Elderberry Co. Not only do we practice these core values with one another but with our customers as well! 

    Let’s talk about Kindness. What does that look like to you? Have you ever experienced an act of kindness from someone that you will forever remember? You never know what somebody is going through. That is something that we truly hold onto here at work. We can all go about our day, with our task list in hand, focused. But we always remember to stop and have conversation with one another. Whether that looks like giving support, simply listening, or giving advice on how to make something better. Sometimes it means helping our team members with their own task list when there is a lot on their plate. 

    Kindness comes in many forms. Small acts of kindness are just as important as the big ones! Usually when you hear about kindness, it is a story about someone showing kindness to others. What about showing kindness to ourselves as well? How we talk and treat ourselves is a reflection of how we approach others. It’s about extending the same intentions to ourselves too. So a sweet little reminder to show yourself kindness and others as well. 

    At the end of the day, we are all in this together! 

    How could you extend kindness to someone today? It can be a family member, friend or even a stranger. Remember everyone has a story and you never know how powerful your words and actions can be. You never know who you could be saving by one simple act of kindness.

    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

    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.
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    • 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!