Saturday, August 18, 2018

Purple Elixir

Every Saturday morning, without fail, we visit the Farmers Market.  While I wish I had the time to garden and produce my own fruits and vegetables, I believe this is the next best thing.

I love the atmosphere, the smiles on the vendors' faces and the variety of samplings we find.  Today was extra joyful because of a box of super powerful berries I spied and snatched right up with a smile.

For the past few years, I've read about the benefits of elderberries.  Last year, I considered ordering some syrup online but because I wasn't sure of the ingredients and if it was watered down, I passed.  Learning that one of my favorite vendors would have some today set me off on a mission.

Though I have never done it, I was determined to create elderberry syrup as an added way to boost our immune system this fall and winter. 

From the Medical Medium:  Elderberries contain special proteins and bioflavonoids that have the ability to destroy viruses on contact that infect cells in the body. Elderberries are also known to have the ability to significantly enhance immune function by boosting the production of cytokines in the body. In addition, they are very beneficial for bronchial and respiratory problems and can help loosen and expel congestion in the lungs.   Elderberry syrup is also rich in vitamin C and a wealth of other critical vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and many other nutrients.  Plain and simple, our ancestors knew best.

Canning has always been on my bucket list of things to learn to do.  Today, I got close and definitely spent the afternoon being productive for our health. 

Searching recipes online, I knew I needed local honey and much to my dismay that vendor did not set up at today's market.  But thanks to Facebook and some sweet friends, it was a matter of minutes before I located several other choices.

Home from the market, Tim and I sat down and began to pluck teeny berries off the bundles of branches from the box.  This was not a quick process but as my fingers turned purple and our colanders began to fill, I was prayerfully thankful to have this bounty and work to do today. 

The empty bushes were just as pretty, as the once green limbs were naturally dyed a brilliant violet hue.  I truly pondered keeping them, drying the stems out, and using in a wreath but wasn't sure how they held up.  Maybe next year...

From the box, I yielded about 8 cups of berries, which were then washed and put on the stove to boil.  About an hour later, using a cheesecloth, I strained them into a bowl ready for the final steps.  Once cool, I added raw honey and essential oils, lemon, and cinnamon, which all have antioxidant support.

Now, I have a beautiful tie-dyed cloth, several jars of goodness and the pride in knowing I've accomplished something worthwhile for my family. 

Have you ever made or tried elderberry syrup?  I'm fascinated with natural options to support our health and the power that food has to heal.  God put every little thing on this earth to help us if we only take the time to learn and listen.

Grateful.  Blessed.  And tinted purple.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Dance Like Nobody's Watching

One of our favorite pastimes this summer has been heading a few blocks downtown to hear local talent play outdoors.  The concerts are free, which is an added bonus, but we just enjoy the atmosphere for an easy and enjoyable date night.

A side street is blocked off, nestling you between brick buildings that bounce the sounds of whatever style of music is offered each Friday night. 

The crowds have been small, the only disappointment, as we wish the community would support small-town efforts more.  But then again, not having to fight a crowd and feeling like you are attending an inclusive concert is also part of what makes it special.

We almost missed this past one, forgetting as it isn't an every week event.  On the way home from the movies, I received a notification reminder so we dropped in at the last minute.  Though I'm ever the planner, there is joy to be had in an impromptu outing.

Singing along with every tune, I began people watching and noticed a curly-headed toddler enjoying the show.  He was clapping and bouncing to the beat, oblivious of his cuteness or the attention he was drawing.  His enthusiasm was infectious and I soon found myself grinning ear to ear.

A bit later, another child a few steps up began to dance.  She twirled and rocked, waved her arms and jumped around happy as can be. 

Neither of these kids paid any mind to the people around them.  They didn't care what other's opinions might be.  They didn't worry if they looked silly or wore the right shirt.  They weren't distracted by anything and were fully present.  They simply found joy IN the moment. 

It was a pleasant reminder of true joy.  Joy unharnessed by any restrictions or rules.  Joy in just being.  We could learn a lot from a child...

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