Saturday, January 12, 2013


Oh man, guys. Where to start.

What is Thistle Farms? Technically speaking, it's a two-year program that supports the women of Magdalene, a program that helps women get clean and off the streets. It's a social enterprise that gives women with a criminal record an opportunity for gainful employment and a way of living in community that makes them stronger and more able to move forward in life. It's all-natural bath and body products, recycled paper journals, notepads and ornaments, and it's soon to also be a cafe and sewing studio.

But for me, Thistle Farms is Tammy: "a woman of purpose and recovery." Thistle Farms is Tisch and Rita and Doris and Jennifer and Penny and LaTisha and Christy and Anika. It's all the women who I get to see every week. It's being in the midst of women who are at their most vulnerable but who are slowly finding their strength and their way back home. For me Thistle Farms is Shawna telling me about all the great deals she's finding for her new apartment and hearing all about Gaile's grandkids who are growing up with such funny personalities. It's missing Phyllis and Beverly and Tina and hoping for Tiffany and Andrea and always praying for Jordan.

For the past year this Friday, I have been blessed and challenged beyond what I ever could have imagined working with these women, for these women. I remember the night before I had to decide where I was going to do my HOD internship, and I was pretty sure that I was going to go with an internship that wasn't Thistle Farms. It would have looked more prestigious on paper, to be sure, and I was almost set on it. But Brandon, bless his heart, looked at me and asked me when in my life I was going to get another opportunity to do something like this. I will forever be grateful for that conversation.

Whatever this job hunt and semester brings, I know that my views on God, on forgiveness, on healing, on myself have been radically changed for the better working with these women. And if you're in Nashville on a Wednesday morning at 9 AM, I encourage you to come and see what it is exactly that I'm talking about.

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