Immune Boosting Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Being a natural nut has turned me into something of a forager. My husband's family has a cabin in a picturesque woodland located in Summit County, Utah, and the Summer always provides an abundance of wild elderberries. During our visits this past year, I carried my baby on my back and a little metal pail which I filled with hundreds of these tiny berry powerhouses. I was introduced to these berries roughly three years ago, by my father in law, and I had yet to learn how amazing they were. I learned a great deal more about them in school, including the fact that they are incredible for the immune system. A few months later, while doing some research for work, I discovered that their powerful antioxidant properties may benefit the macula and lessen the risk of age-related macular degeneration. So if you have access to an abundance of these little berries, you better snatch them up!

My goal was to take a little bit of my harvest every day to strengthen my immune system and gear me up for winter. This syrup is taken just like a cough syrup, but is so much more enjoyable. If you don't have access to fresh elderberries, you can buy them dehydrated from most health food stores and it will have the exact same affect. The foraging is just pure, added fun!

Ingredients:

1/2 C dehydrated elderberries or 1 C fresh elderberries

3 cinnamon sticks

6 cloves

1 tsp fresh grated ginger

1 C raw honey (if you want to give this to kids under 1 year of age, use pure maple syrup)

2 C water

In a medium sauce pan, add elderberries, water, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and ginger, then bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a low boil and cover until the mixture is reduced to half. Once mixture is reduced, strain liquid from the elderberries and pour liquid into a mason jar and mix with raw honey or maple. Store in the fridge and take a tablespoon everyday for 2 weeks.

By taking this syrup everyday for 2 weeks, you will be tastefully boosting your immune system with powerful antioxidants and raw honey that will act as a natural antibacterial with antibiotic properties. Get back to nature and get making this perfect blend of natural, medicinal syrup.


Photos for Foundation c/o Skye Amanda Photography

Kyli is studying to be a holistic practitioner and is a certified wellness coach. her love for health blossomed when she was diagnosed with crohn's disease at age 12 and has really taken off the last 4 years as she's studied food and the relationship it has with our bodies. she is currently a stay at home mom, health blogger, and working toward her phd in natural medicine. visit www.cleaneatingisthenewpink.com to find out more.

The Appearance of Wildflowers

Last Spring I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a women’s conference hosted by my church. Every year, women from all over the world gather to be inspired, encouraged, challenged, and uplifted over the course of two-and-a-half days filled with music, world-renowned communicators, prayer, and a bit of pampering! To say it was a surreal experience would be an extreme understatement. I definitely left feeling inspired, encouraged, and uplifted, but also found myself challenged in a surprising area: my wardrobe. 

The conference took place in London – one of the fashion capitals of the world - and had countless fashionable, stunning, put-together Londoners in attendance, along with countless stunning, fashionable, put-together women from around the globe. I don’t know if I have ever been surrounded by so many beautiful people. Prior to the weekend, I had packed my suitcase with carefully selected garments, along with options just in case (I’m a notorious over-packer). After the first evening I immediately regretted all of my wardrobe choices. There was no way I could compete with the Glamazon runway models I found myself surrounded by! 

Day two arrived along with renewed anxieties about my appearance. I wasn’t thin enough/tall enough/ petite enough/ fashionable enough/ flawless enough. My clothes were frumpy and ill fitting and everyone was judging me, obviously. I reluctantly pulled on my clothing, distractedly adjusting them, feeling like a stranger in my own body, completely discontent with how I was presenting myself to the world. 

The morning session began and as the music started and I began to take focus off myself, it hit me. An overwhelming revelation. A moment that shifted my perspective. I felt the Holy Spirit say to me “When you focus so much on your outer appearance, you distract yourself from the things I have for you. Don’t sell yourself short by thinking so small – look beyond appearances and you will open yourself up to some amazing experiences that you otherwise would have missed. Don’t worry so much. Trust me.” 

I felt like I had been hit in the face. Such a small shift in perspective made me realize how selfish my thinking can be. I spend so much time worrying about myself, how I feel, how I fit in, that I can forget to look beyond myself and see the amazing things God has put before me. I decided in that moment I would not sell myself short by spending so much time worrying about something as trivial as my outfit. I made a commitment to look outward and take my eyes off my insecurities. 

Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.
— Matthew 6:28-33 | The Message

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think paying attention to fashion is a bad thing, nor do I think wanting to express myself uniquely through my clothing should be frowned upon. Rather, when the joy I find in these things is overshadowed by comparing myself to others, or by becoming too distracted by my insecurities, I need to take time to reevaluate my focus. 

So, from one fashion-loving girl to another: let’s not get so caught up on the shoes we’re wearing, what clothes are hanging in our closet, or how our appearance compares to someone else’s that we miss the beautiful wildflowers God puts on display, right in front of us.


Article submitted by Carley Lee. Please visit her website, Life Style Story, and social channels:

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The Breath: Pt. 1

Before you continue reading, I want you to take a long, slow, deep breath... Go.

Feel better? 

I’d bet that you do. That is because the majority of humans are living their lives not breathing. When I say you’re not breathing, I mean that you never think about it, and therefore your autonomic system is doing just what it needs to do to keep you alive. “The breath is the only system in our body that can be controlled consciously OR subconsciously.” When we leave the task up to the automatic responses in the body without much thought, the results are shallow breathing, which will produce the minimum amount of oxygen our body requires to survive. It never fully clears the lungs and heart of carbon dioxide and other debris, which can lead to or exasperate a host of health issues (like asthma, anxiety, trouble focusing, chronic fatigue, and more). When we take control of our breathing we increase our oxygen intake, detox our blood, lungs, diaphragm and heart, and as an added bonus we start living more fully in the present. 

Unconscious breathing has been likened unto “Sleepwalking through life”. That is because you are giving your subconscious mind complete control. This results in a loss of control (or agency) of your thought patterns as well. You will notice as you begin to practice conscious breathing exercises, you will be more aware of the thoughts that surface which will give you the power to choose if you’d like to continue thinking those thoughts or if you want to start making changes. 

The breath is the bridge between the physical and spiritual bodies. The two can only work together if there is the breath. When there is no breath, the spiritual body will separate from the physical body. More breath will result in a stronger presence of your spiritual body giving us power over our “natural man” tendencies. 

So now that you know you’d like to start breathing more in your life, you need to know HOW to do it. There are three chambers in the core of your body which the breath can fill. You’re lower stomach, or diaphragm, your chest/lung area, and your upper back between your shoulders. When you take a deep breath it’s important you completely fill each of these chambers. As a good practice it helps to lie down and focus on breathing into each chamber individually for several breaths before moving onto the next one.

Begin with your lower stomach. Place your hands there so you can feel the rise and fall of your abdomen. Breathe into just the lower stomach for about 30 seconds. Next, do the same with your chest- only filling the chest with air, put your hands there so you can feel the rise and fall. Lastly, your upper back. This is the most difficult to breathe into individually, but you can do it!

Once you have discovered all these chambers, you can begin filling them all together with one, long and slow, deep breath. Fill the chambers up in the same order you practiced discovering them: 

* Picture the flow of air filling your lower stomach until it has to continue onto filling your lungs and as you begin to feel like you can’t take any more air in, fill that upper chamber at the top of your back, behind your shoulders. 

*Once you’ve taken this great breath, don’t push it out suddenly and forcefully! Hold it in for just a few seconds, then s l o w l y release the air in the same order you filled up, releasing from your diaphragm, then your chest, and lastly your upper back. 

*Just as you thought you couldn’t take in any more air before you filled your upper back, I want you to force more air out. Push it all out until you feel you need to hunch your shoulders over, then hold it for just another second. 

THAT’S IT! One complete breath. This should have taken you at least 10 seconds. While this seems superfluous at the beginning, the more you add this kind of breathing into your day, the better you will feel! Try making a goal to do deep, controlled breathing while you drive, or while you are sitting at the computer. Just a few minutes a day can make a great impact on your life. 

Refrences: Meditation as Medicine by Dharma Singh Khalsa and Cameron Stauth | Awake! As in Ancient Days by Felice Austin


Photos for Foundation c/o Skye Amanda Photography

Chablis is a military wife, mother of four, and nutrition enthusiast. She is constantly learning ways to better not only her own wellbeing, but that of her family. Chablis is a Step and Zumba instructor and she also practices Kundalini Yoga and daily meditation. Being a military wife has taught her resilience and faith as well as made her an expert cross-country mover.

How To Talk About Grief

At some point or another, we all lose someone close to us. It’s a part of life that can feel like an emotional rollercoaster. In these ups and downs, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Loss is something we’ve all experienced—to different degrees, of course, because no situation is exactly the same.

Communication, both verbally and nonverbally, is the key to coping with this kind of grief. It may sound easy, but in the moment, you’ll find that it’s hard to know just where to start. Here are a few ways to start the conversation with someone who has lost a loved one::

“I’m so sorry for your loss.”

It’s simple, and it’s true. Sometimes, the most direct statements make the most impact. You don’t need to say anything elaborate or deep. In most instances, the best thing you can do is show up and express your heartfelt condolences.

“I brought you dinner.”

Pick up a pizza, or bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Whatever the menu, your thoughtful gesture will go a very long way. There’s something about a warm meal that brings people together and opens the channels for communication.

“Can I give you a hug?”

When asked directly, very few people turn down a hug. It’s one of the easiest ways to express just how much you care. Plus, science has proven that hugging can help to reduce negative feelings like stress, fear and anxiety.

“Do you want to talk?”

Listening is just as important as speaking. If they initially answer with a no, give your question some time to soak. Be it a few days or a matter of minutes—they’ll eventually start to share exactly what’s on their mind. Sit back, and let them have the floor.

“I’m here for you.”

Loss and loneliness go hand in hand. The best thing you can do is to let them know you’re there as a friend. Send an occasional text, swing by with dinner or simply wait in the wings. When they call, make sure you’re the first to answer.


Photos for Foundation c/o Lori Romney Photography

Aubry studied communications in college and has since made a career of it. By trade, she is a social media and digital marketing consultant. In her time off, she enjoys a good DIY and dreams to perfect the art of baking. Aubry is also the creator of finding beautiful truth, a blog that highlights everyday life, travel, style, and all things delicious. Visit www.findingbeautifultruth.com to learn more.

The Stripped Project

It is time for honesty and transparency in social media. Let's stop defining beauty by a lack of flaws and start defining it by feeling comfortable and confident within them. We all have flaws; physical, mental, and emotional. As a result, we all have something uniquely beautiful to offer the world. We have enough women feeling inadequate, we need more women who feel comfortable being real and relatable on social media. Women who are not afraid of imperfection.

This is why I started The Stripped Project. I wanted to take women that we traditionally see as perfect and flawless on social media, and strip them down to their natural and honest selves. The Stripped Project is a compilation of raw portraits featuring lifestyle bloggers with no makeup and no retouching. As a photographer, I often find that what my subject considers to be her biggest flaw is actually her most beautiful and defining attribute. With these photographs, I want women to see themselves as I see them; authentic and captivating, with a beauty that is uniquely their own.

I think it’s an important message about inner beauty that’s not talked about enough, especially on social media. The trouble with outward beauty is it never ends. There’s always something more you can do to be ‘perfect’. And the essence of inner beauty is coming to the realization that ‘I Am Enough’... and resting in that.
— Karla Reed, Instagram Blogger @karlareed
The project embodied something in which I really believe. We women need to show others our real sides. We need to show others, so we can celebrate reality.
— Athelia Woolley Lesueur, Shabby Apple Founder & CEO

Women struggle every day with their self worth and body image. We are all striving for an ideal that is unobtainable. From celebrities and their perceived perfection in movies and magazines to the sweeping popularity of lifestyle bloggers, the expectations for perfection have been taken to a whole new level. We are now comparing ourselves to everyday women; bloggers who appear to live lives that are somehow perfect and beautiful. I wanted to show what is really underneath all that makeup, by taking photos that are real and raw.

The more authentic and relatable we can be on social media, the more we can inspire and empower others to feel confident, beautiful, and comfortable in their own skin. Ultimately, I hope to show women that there is more to beauty than physical attributes. Being candid and genuine is the most beautiful thing, of all.


Article and images submitted by Jordan Zobrist

Jordan is a photographer with no professional training who stumbled upon her passion a little later in life. For Jordan, photography is all about capturing the full mind, body, and spirit of another individual in one single image. A moment that is beautiful, magical, and emotional all on its own, without any fabrication. In the end, photography makes her feel like a creator fulfilling her purpose. 

Learn more about Jordan and The Stripped Project by visiting www.thestrippedproject.com

Creating RAW Purpose

Believe it or not, you are intensely important, and just because life hasn't worked out for you up until now, does not mean your future can't be transcendental. After all, that's why you were created... to be transcendental (of or relating to a spiritual or nonphysical realm). There is a powerful force in the heavens that created you as insurmountable inertia set forth into the expanding cosmos.

Every creature, every creatively created creature ([CREATE]: late middle English; 'form out of nothing', used of a divine or supernatural being; from Latin creat- 'produced', from the verb create), is made for a purpose- a divine purpose ([PURPOSE}: from Latin proponere, 'put or set forth' and Old French poser 'to place'). It is through discovering this divine purpose we connect to why we are here. Just as our divine creator creates/ produces, we too become divine and perfectly transcendental by producing our own divine purpose.

To begin this possibility, it is important to understand the divine creator's definition of each of us; every human creature is compromised of Heart, Might, Mind, and Strength. We cultivate these to fulfill the measure of our creation. This 'measure' entails two parts: our Inner Purpose and our Outer Purpose. Our Inner Purpose engulfs the heart, mind, and strength, which equate to our soul (to clarify, the spirit= heart + mind). Whilst developing heart, mind, and strength into this so-called 'ship', 'might' then becomes the 'wake' we create with this ship, thus- outer purpose.

Heart: Desire

Mind: Understanding

Strength: Ability

Might: Influence

Consider the eloquent words of John Taylor:

[Man] stands erect on the earth in the likeness of his great Creator; beautifully constructed in all his parts, with a body possessing all the functions necessary for the wants of humanity; standing, not only by right, but by adaptability, beauty, symmetry, and glory, at the head of all creation; possessing also mental powers and the capacity of reflection upon the past, with capabilities to reason beyond cause and effect, and by the inductive powers of his mind, through the inspiration of the Almighty, to comprehend the magnificent laws of nature as exhibited in the works of creation: with the capacity also of using the elements and forces of nature, and of adapting them to his own special benefit; and by his powers penetrating into the deep, ascending into the heavens, rushing with mighty velocity across the earth, making use of the separate or combined forces of nature with which he is surrounded and subjugating them to his will; as, likewise, by his intelligence, he has dominion over the fishes of the sea, over the fowls of the air, and over the cattle.
— John Taylor

How then, do we take this inspiration and better produce a transcendental life in these four categories? By understanding the essence of God's intention for us, we naturally summarize the meaning of RAW philosophy. We must become more RAW.

RAW is the catalyst to helping see more clearly what our specific purpose entails. Anything RAW is simply in it's natural state, as God intended. RAW is entirely wholesome and is its most authentic true form. By taking a step back and examining every RAW creature created in its authentic state has the set forth ability to create as God intended- Life with Life. For example, consider a humble apple in its RAW state: as God intended it to be eaten, in its whole and true form. An apple also creates more apples; life with life.

Every creation on this earth has the ability to create. More specifically, as we are made in the like image of the Divine Creator, we also have the ability not only to create but to become divine creators! This entails that we are spectacularly creative as to our specific purpose. 

This life is simply a training, as we are God's in training... embryonic Gods if you will. As children of God, we "did not originate from a chaotic mass of matter, moving or inert, but came forth possessing, in an embryonic state, all the faculties and powers of a God." - John Taylor

The more RAW we are, the faster we can excel and grow into our transcendental future.

It is evident from the scriptures that the Lord wants us to use the raw materials He has so abundantly blessed us with.
— L. Tom Perry

RAW Heart: Pure, Love, Charity, Vulnerability, Courage, Trust, Humility, Contrite, Repentance, Meek, Faith, Personality

RAW Mind: Enlightened, Clean, Aware, Ready, Wise, True Belief Systems, Strategies for Achieving Desires, Reading Others and Their Intentions, Presence, Vocabulary, Conscious Thought

RAW Strength: Health, Body Renewal, Service, Repentance, Obedience, "Your body is the instrument of your mind and [the] foundation of your character.", Conscious Expression

RAW Might: Service, Power, Administer Relief, Attend to the Needs of Others, Potential, Accomplishments.

Come join me in the journey towards creating RAW Purpose.


Photos for Foundation c/o Skye Amanda Photography

Emily Shay is a certified Master Herbalist and has been a Wellness Counselor for 5 years. She enjoys being a full time mother and wife. While her baby sleeps she loves illustrating, writing on her blog, and making a dent in her stack of books. Emily is a Latter-Day Saint (Mormon) and is striving to align her mission with God's will. She hopes to ignite a worldwide Rawvolution in helping people create RAW purpose. You can follow her on her blog- LadyRaw.com

Finding Peace On The Trail

There is a distinct time I remember of when I was a young girl. My father had made me upset and, in typical childhood fashion, I decided to run away from home. I made it as far as the old maple tree in our front yard. I climbed the tree, and sat there quietly in my own thoughts. Peace came over me, and I calmed down enough to return home.

When I reached my mid-twenties, I found myself broken and tired, not feeling like I fit the mold. I was upset with my life, and those closest to me felt it. Despite the fact that I had done everything I wanted, I still wasn't satisfied. Around that same time, my husband and I had a friend visit us from Switzerland. She told us about all of her outdoor adventures- hiking, camping, and sailing- they sounded magical. While she was visiting, we took her to Zion National Park, which is just a few hours from our home. Even though we had been there before, this visit to the park was different from our other visits. While we were on a short hike, our friend taught us to see the beauty around us and feel a peace we never thought was possible. On that hike, I fell in love with the wilderness. I found more than just beauty and peace, I found myself.

From that point on, we were hooked. We spent every weekend outdoors, finding peace and refocusing. We started with short, local, well-known trails populated with other people. Then, we progressed to more difficult, unfamiliar trails where we rarely saw other people. Over a period of nine months, we hiked over two-hundred miles. We hiked whenever we could. We discovered beautiful wild flowers, breath-taking scenery, and steep mountains. For us, it was like taking a vacation every single weekend.

Nature taught us lessons along the way. It taught us about our limitations and our capabilities. We started out afraid to leave a paved path or climb up a short boulder. Over time, however, we learned to go on less-trodden paths and scale mountains. We learned to not compare ourselves to others. We would see others hiking and doing better than us. At first, this discouraged us. Then, we heard the phrase "hike your own hike" while listening to the radio one day. This simple, yet impactful, phrase has become our motto for both hiking and life. Another invaluable lesson we learned from nature was how to love in a way we didn't know was possible. When we started our hiking adventures, our hearts and souls were broken, and we didn't know how to fix them. Going into the wild taught us that, though we may be flawed, we can love. Our bodies were strengthened and our souls were healed.

Every time I go into nature, I think about this quote from John Muir,

Keep close to Nature’s heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
— John Muir

Take some time to get into nature. You never know what you might learn. Find a quiet trail and listen to your spirit. You just might feel your troubles being washed away.


Article and Photography c/o Lizzie Justice. Please visit her website, Quiet Trails, and social channels:

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