This time of year I hear so many people saying they don’t need anything, but I do love the idea of giving someone a gift that helps another person in return.  Please take a look at these organizations I will be spotlighting over the next few days and the incredible work they are doing–you will be amazed at the quality of their products that you actually want to give as gifts.  And knowing you are helping someone else change her life makes it all the sweeter.  Stay tuned for more Gifts that Give!Thistle Farms / Shared Trade MarketplaceBody Butter (8 oz) by Thistle Farms

Thistle Farms is located here in Nashville, but you can buy their products online or in Whole Foods (as well as other shops and boutiques).  They sell over 30 high quality products including soaps, soy candles, lip balm, bath products, and handmade paper just to name a few.  They even have a natural insect repellent! Thistle Farms is a business that employs residents and graduates of the residential program, Magdalene.  These women are survivors of trafficking, addiction, and prostitution and they find love and healing in this 2 year residential program.  (By the way, Magdalene has an 80% success rate, which is pretty incredible!)  Their model has proven that love truly heals.

Lip Smoothie by Thistle Farms

Working at Thistle Farms is not only “therapeutic” for the women but it offers them a place to start over, build confidence, to be trusted and to earn money.  Many women have a hand in the production–from pouring the candle or lip balm to attaching the labels, to putting in boxes, to stacking on shelves, to operating the cash register.  Every time you purchase a product you are assisting these women in their new life, free of trafficking, addition and prostitution in an environment where they are not owned by someone but are loved and valued.  One woman said, “they don’t ask ‘what have you done’ but ‘what has happened to you’ when you walk in the door,” a display of love that breaks down the walls for healing to begin.

Scott and I first heard about Thistle Farms a year ago when Kelly Clarkson hosted and performed a benefit concert for 4 charities in the Nashville area.  Kelly ClarksonWe were impressed to find out about their business model and what they were doing for women in the area.  I was excited to find their products at a local shop and see the quality of their production.  A couple of weeks ago, I got to hear a few of the ladies share their stories of recovery and how the business was run, and I was blown away again at the transformation of these women’s lives and how simply buying a candle, soap, body butter, stationary, etc. can impact them forever!  I can’t say it enough–you will actually WANT to buy the products when you compare them to others on the market. My favorite are the candles–soy candles that are residue free. Candle by Thistle Farms

I love the symbolism of the thistle as explained on their website.

WHY THE THISTLE?

“Thistles grow on the streets and alleys where the women of Thistle Farms have walked. Considered weeds, thistles have a deep root that can shoot through concrete and survive drought. In spite of their prickly appearance, their royal and soft purple center makes the thistle a mysterious and gorgeous flower. Being a Thistle Farmer means the world is our farm and that we choose to love all creation.”  One of the women explained the thistle to us–no matter what kind of conditions or how hard the thistle is beaten down, you cannot kill it.  I am sure at some point in our lives we all have felt like a thistle just trying to survive.  Many of these women have been beaten down for years, and I am so thankful there is a place for these women to gain courage, healing and community to transform their lives.

Thistle Farms runs a successful program and business, and they offer training for other people to learn how their model works.  Thistle Farms is reaching and impacting so many women, not just here in Nashville!

I beg you to check out all of the products; buy one for you and a friend, and if you are in Nashville eat at the Thistle Stop Cafe or shop in their store here.  You can see from the reviews that the quality is top-notch, and the prices are hard to beat for teacher’s gifts, stocking stuffers, or for yourself!

http://thistlefarms.org/

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