A Visit to Thistle Farms

This blog was originally a guest post on BonJoy‘s website on Sept. 25, 2015. BonJoy is “the little box of good” – a subscription box that features fashion + beauty + living goods from brands who support employment and restoration for women who are survivors of, or at-risk for, trafficking and exploitation. Be sure to follow them on Facebook or Twitter

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Way back in February, I had the opportunity to visit Thistle Stop Café, a coffee shop in the heart of Nashville, TN dedicated to empowering women. Having been involved in the anti-trafficking movement here in Boston and hearing about Thistle Farms for quite some time, it was a long-awaited visit.

Upon walking through the doors, I felt like I was being welcomed into someone’s home. From the beautiful old wood floors, the teacup chandeliers, the flowers on each table, and the lovingly mismatched china, hospitality and healing whispered in each detail. The women behind the counter weren’t just cheery because of that famous Southern charm, but they welcomed each customer with love.

In the corner, a large wall was filled with body products, teas, and merchandise. I grabbed up as much as I could fit in my bag – perfect products to have on hand as gifts throughout the year!

My favorite purchase was their Tuscan Earth Room Spray. I’m storing it in my toddler’s bedroom. I’ve always been leery of spraying chemicals in there, but knowing it’s all natural and made of essential oils puts my mind at ease. Plus, it neutralizes the all-too-familiar smells us moms deal with on a daily basis. Double bonus – it can be 20 degrees here in Boston, but it sure smells like the warm, sun-kissed Italian countryside.

Thistle Farms and Thistle Stop Cafe promote their slogan of “Love Heals” by employing residents and graduates of Magdalene, a residential program for survivors of trafficking. From every cup of coffee to every jar of lotion, lives are being transformed by love. Proceeds support their residential program, and products are made by both residents and graduates of the program.

Thistle Farms was recently featured on the documentary “A Path Appears” as an organization that gives hope to those seeking solutions for women’s issues. If you haven’t already watched it, I’d highly recommend it.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed with numbers and the despair associated with human trafficking, but “A Path Appears” strives to show that there are things WE can do to make a difference. And by partnering with Thistle Farms is one way to make a difference in the life of a woman who has overcome the unthinkable.

In fact, you can shop their store right here. Be sure to add them to your Christmas shopping repertoire!

#loveheals

Beach Reading List of 2015

First real "family vacation" last fall lent to some good reading time. Do not be deceived - this is not my everyday!

First real “family vacation” last fall lent to some good reading time. Do not be deceived – this is not my everyday!

Ok, I’ll be honest – it’s more of a “pray to God that nap time lasts 2 hours” reading list. You know – #lifewithatoddler

But seriously, these books have challenged me in my faith, allowed me to escape to a different world, and helped me see this big world in a new, fresh way.

If you are on the hunt for a good book to dive into this summer, here are some recommendations…

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion

If you know you can only tackle one book this summer, grab this one. Father G invites you into his world on the streets of Los Angeles and in the life of his homies. Have your tissues ready and be prepared to have your heart stretched beyond comfortable limits – to a place of compassion that Jesus exemplified.

Snake Oil: The Art of Healing and Truth-Telling

Author Becca Stevens is a personal hero – having founded Magdalene, a residential program in Nashville for survivors of human trafficking, and Thistle Farms, the social enterprise birthed out of that business. Many friends have gotten into essential oils as a way to bring healing to their families – I’d highly recommend reading this book if that’s you!

Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together

Another book to have your tissues handy for! And don’t read it on the plane without being prepared to sob uncontrollably next to a stranger #reallife

This book will change your life and your perspective of people different than yourself. What would happen if you were able to look beyond differences and find a lifelong friend in someone who’s story is completely different than yours? Maybe initiating that first conversation will be the best decision you ever made.

Enrique’s Journey

I first read this book nearly 10 years ago. But it’s relevance is even more critical today, as our nation has had to recently confront the issue of minors crossing the US-Mexican border. The author traveled alongside the main character, Enrique, as he searches for his mother who left their native Honduras to work in the United States. She does an amazing job in remaining neutral, yet your heart breaks at the big systems and personal decisions that effect this family.

 

What book would you recommend?