Friday, August 5, 2011

I Am A Thistle Farmer: Beverly

Wrapping up our 10 Year Anniversary Celebration, watch the 10th and final spotlight on members in our community.  Here, Beverly shares her story, full of heartbreak and hope.  She is proud to say she is a Thistle Farmer and has found courage through the program and within herself.

You can see all of our videos on our YouTube

videos by Becky Fluke

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cause For A Celebration

Angie from Nashville celebrated her 27th birthday in a big way -- with a Thistle Farms home party!  Below, she shares her experience of planning the party and the evening itself.

Like many of you, I thought about throwing a Thistle Farms home party several times before. But, something always held me back. There was always a reason not to…. I’m just too busy to plan it right now. I don’t want to pressure people to feel like they need to buy things. Wouldn’t it be a better use of everyone’s time and funds just to make a cash donation? 
But somewhere in the midweeks of May just before my 27th birthday, the same thought kept creeping up: If not now, when? What could be a more perfect way to celebrate another year passed, and another year upcoming, than to gather all my friends and do something for someone else? 
After one email exchange with Thistle Farms' fabulous event coordinator: wham, bam, party-planned! In less than an hour, we had everything set: date, time, directions, and guidance on how to throw the perfect home party. It really couldn’t have been easier! 
Day of, we welcomed a few women from Magdalene and Thistle Farms an hour before party-time. They set up a beautiful product display, and we set out a few easy-peasy appetizers. Voila! Set and Ready!Shortly after, my nearest and dearest arrived and then settled in (the beauty of having a party in your living room…).  Rita, the Thistle Farms receptionist and a Magdalene participant, shared her story. It started with her account of addiction, violence, and prostitution, but ended with a beautiful testimony of restoration and hope. I looked around the room and saw my friends – who had never met this woman before – radiate with unfiltered love and acceptance. I doubt I will ever be more proud of them or love them more than in that moment.
Following Rita, Tracey shared a similar testimony. She went over each of the products on display, explained how they were made, and encouraged us to shop, shop, shop!  And, that we did!  
Each of us took turns trying lotions, smelling candles, and reading inspirational passages from the books. Many girls bought gift sets for friends who couldn’t make it or body butters and bath teas that they now couldn’t live without. One dear friend purchased scented lip balms to include in her bridesmaids gifts for her recent wedding! Others tried to think of ways to continue their new relationship with the organization: hosting the women at their office, volunteering as a GED tutor, throwing their own home parties…  
Now, let’s be honest: I know I have a pretty awesome group of friends. But I was absolutely blown away. I had no idea that they would be so into it. For weeks following, I received emails and phone calls thanking me for introducing them to Thistle Farms and asking for contact information so they could continue that relationship.  
I keep thinking about Thistle Farms' motto: “Love Heals.” And, I continue to circle around the same thought: so does community. After excuse upon excuse for not having a home party, I am so grateful to Thistle Farms for allowing us to share in their community for one night – and hopefully, many to come.

Now, dear blog readers, it’s your turn! Have you ever thought about throwing a Thistle Farms party? There are a million reasons why it’s not a good time or even a good idea. Push those excuses aside and take the plunge! You don’t need a special occasion or a specific reason. Just gather your girls and be ready to spend a night in community. You’ll be so glad you did! 
Story & Photos by Angie Stapleton

To plan your next celebration or home party, email Carole at