Friday, March 26, 2010

First Flights and Time in New Orleans

Founder Becca, Sales Director Katrina and Production Manager Tracey have just returned from a visit to New Orleans. While there, Becca and the women spoke at St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian and Trinity Episcopal. For Tracey (pictured on right), though, the trip was extra special as this was her first time flying. We asked her for her thoughts after arriving in New Orleans. "I was scared but it was an amazing experience," Tracey responded. She then followed with, "but now I've just got to make it back!"

Photo Credit: Becca Stevens

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tasha's Tale

Tasha is the youngest of 11 children. Her mother passed away when Tasha was 13. Tasha remembers being unable to process this tragedy with her siblings, who were busy with their own lives, or her father, who lived across the street with his new family. It was this event that she feels was a catalyst to men who introduced drugs into her life.

At 16, Tasha found herself pregnant. By 19 she had three children and was selling marijuana for money; and by 26 she had smoked crack for the first time and was hooked. During her addiction her kids moved in with various family members, she lost her apartment and ended up on the streets with her boyfriend.

Over the years Tasha moved back and forth between Knoxville and Nashville. At various times she would try recovery, but nothing worked. Tasha's niece, who had gone through the Magdalene program, put Tasha's name on the waiting list for a bed at Magdalene. After five years, and more stints in jail, a spot opened up for Tasha.

First, she went to the safe house for three months and entered Magdalene in October 2008. She began working at Thistle Farms in February 2009.

Tasha says, “I thank God and Becca for this program. I never thought I would be at this point. I wanted my life back. I promised God that by the time I turn 40, I’d be off drugs and have a good husband. I don’t have the husband yet, but that’s ok, because this year I will turn 40 in June and be two years clean in July!”

Tasha has been writing to a woman in prison from the Find Your Way Home Prison Tour. She says that the correspondence has been inspiring to her. To that woman and to new women in the program, she says, “I can open up and tell them, ‘once you give this a chance, you realize you are in the right place.’ I know I couldn’t handle this life without putting my spiritual life first.”

Photos and story by Carolyn Snell

Sunday, March 14, 2010


On March 5th, Becca Stevens was honored by MIHOW (Maternal Infant Health Worker) last Friday for her role in mentoring women in the community.

The MIHOW Program’s mission is to stimulate the birth and growth of low-cost, parent-to-parent interventions that improve health and child development for low-income families. Using local women as its primary staff, MIHOW is a partnership between the Vanderbilt University Center for Health Services (CHS) and community-based organizations in five states: Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

These local women — mothers who are trusted locally for their energy, integrity, compassion, and commitment to their community — visit pregnant women and families with young children up to three years of age in their home to promote healthy living and self-sufficiency.

The program gives awards to three outstanding woman mentors each year. Pictured above are (L-R): Tonya Elkins, MIHOW Director; Reverend Becca Stevens; Laura Faber, Mistress of Ceremonies.

photo by Patti Walters
story by Carolyn Snell

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday's Meditation: Our Own Recovery

From Just For Today: "Recovery, as another saying goes, is an inside job."

Heard in the circle: "I'm grateful to NA and the Magdalene program for my freedom, but I've learned freedom isn't free. There is work and constant maintenance that has to be done."

Monday, March 8, 2010

Memphis Home Party Feature

In January, we made a trip to Memphis, TN as part of the Find Your Way Home Prison Tour. Our first stop during the weekend trip was at the home of The Rev. Deacon Audrey Gonzalez, who invited us to share stories of hope with her friends and family. Lesley Young, from RSVP Memphis, was on hand to snap some pictures of the evening. If you live in Memphis, grab a copy of the March issue today! Otherwise, you can check out the piece on page 49 HERE. Thanks again to all those who came to the party, our lovely hostess and a great photographer!

Interested in helping Magdalene/Thistle Farms and having fun at the same time? Consider hosting a home party! All you have to provide is: a place (for about an hour), some light snacks, and several of your friends. We supply the speaker (one of our Magdalene women), the invitations, our fabulous body and bath products for hands-on sampling, as well as goods-to-go from our ever-expanding Thistle Farms line.

Magdalene women are available to speak in person at home parties in the Middle Tennessee area. Away from the Nashville area? We can arrange a satellite party for you by sending a video, product samples, and order forms. For more information on Thistle Farms parties, please email Carole at, or call 615.298.1140.

Story by Carolyn Snell

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wednesday's Meditation: Relapse

From Just For Today: "If we're contemplating a relapse, we should think our using through to the bitter ends. There is no doubt that we have periods of darkness in our recovery. No matter how badly we may feel in our recovery, a relapse is never the answer. Together, we find recovery."

Heard in the circle: "After looking back from where I've been, my worst day clean is still my brightest."

Come join Thistle Farms each Wednesday morning for meditation and stay to volunteer if you can. We are located at 104 Belle Meade Blvd. (behind St. George's Church) and meditation starts at 9:00am sharp. Please email Stacye at to confirm your attendance. You can also receive information regarding other volunteer opportunities by emailing Stacye with your request to be added to our volunteer e-newsletter list and by visiting the "Thistle Farms & Magdalene Volunteers" Facebook page.