Viewing entries tagged
Thistle Farms

Love Beyond Borders: 7 Calls to Action

Love Beyond Borders: 7 Calls to Action

I recently traveled with a group of Thistle Farmers to the border towns of Mc Allen, Brownsville and Harlingen TX. We visited nonprofits and foundations, talked with judges and local families and led an all-day workshop for community leaders. What I learned there has prompted me to think about how the Thistle Farms Global community might work to effect change for more just solutions to the current crisis on our southern border.

Shaking The Dust Off

Shaking The Dust Off

The red dusty dirt invites pilgrims like me to experience at a cellular level the truth that we are simply dust.  I am dust, rich as this land.  I am dust, buoyant as the particulars soaring through the air on an African breeze.  Thank God for the witness of fellow dirt lovers in Rwanda that have taught me this week that being dust is a gift.

Traveling With Friends

Traveling With Friends

Together we will continue to author a story of love from the fields with a fairly simple plot: buy the oils, love the land, sustain the farmers, heal the world. We need all the great Thistle Friends to help this field flourish. With that, all I have is love and gratitude for friendship today.

How to Live More Generously

How to Live More Generously

I don’t know about you, but this question of how to live more generously rises up in me every so often. It has never gone away. Sometimes it manifests itself in judging others on their generosity or creates a long list in me about why I need to worry about having enough money. I think the disciples were cautioned to travel light because then they would always need each other and be a bit vulnerable.

Learning to Weave in Rwanda

Learning to Weave in Rwanda

It’s #justiceenterprise.

The story of healing has value and I believe still that love is a viable business model. This is one of our big questions over the next week to explore.

Listen like you are falling in love

Listen like you are falling in love

This week i invite you to listen again to the story of a friend or coworker or family member. Listen like you are falling in love. Listen like your job is not to fix or change it, just witness to the story they are sharing. Listen like you will hold their story deep in your heart and be their story bearer.  

Guideposts 2018

Guideposts 2018

Grateful to Guideposts for this great three-minute interview. Look for us in the November issue and feel free to share with your friends.

The Power of Love

The Power of Love

As we continue to contemplate the meanings of power together, don't underestimate the power of love in your life or its ability to heal the world.

Love,

Becca

Guest Blog: What Does Hope Look Like?

Guest Blog: What Does Hope Look Like?

Enjoy this guest blog from one of my best friends and co-workers, Frannie Kieschnick, about what hope looked like, rising in the midst of the refugee camp where she helped launch one of our newest projects Love Welcomes.

Love,

Becca

A New Emancipation Proclamation

A New Emancipation Proclamation

Recently, I have kept returning to the idea of Emancipation. My hope for sexual assault survivors, who are willing to speak their truth amidst their pain and hard work, is that there is healing. Not just for themselves, but for this culture that would still rather keep the secrets of abusers than hear the cry of those assaulted.  

#ChurchToo: Reflections on Willow Creek

#ChurchToo: Reflections on Willow Creek

I applaud the women who break up dysfunctional communities with the ploughshare of truth. I applaud communities which speak out about sexual abuse within sacred walls. And I respect the guts it takes for survivors to say, “#metoo.”  The hallowed and hard ground of abuse within the church requires us all to begin a complicated and delicate walk towards healing. Abuse survivors who come forward need allies. They need spaces to speak the truth – where the only question is “tell me what happened to you.” Women’s stories, like those revealed at Willow Creek and like mine, can transform brokenness into compassion. They can transform blame for victims into support for survivors. 

“The Woman I Am Today:” A Guest Blog

“The Woman I Am Today:” A Guest Blog

Kristin McWilliams, a talented organizer, leader, wife and mom, reflects in the following blog on her first year as an Executive Assistant to me at Thistle Farms. Read on to learn about why she sees it as a gift and how the work on the #thistleroad helps save lives. 

Love, Becca

God Will Make Time: Love Heals Stress

God Will Make Time: Love Heals Stress

We will always be busy, but if we have our eyes on the long-term goal of being faithful and the short-term goal of making time for God, everything else will fall into place. 

Love Heals, Chapter 13

Mini-Blog from the Road: Delayed...& All is Well

Mini-Blog from the Road: Delayed...& All is Well

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Recently, I was sitting in the airport, and the departure board flashed the saddest word of all:
"Delayed." Nothing else in my day was delayed but the flight. Not the speech, the board meeting or my son's game I was hoping to catch. So I found myself officially in a bad mood. The irritation caused by that word coursed through my blood stream and transformed into stress, then irritation, then self loathing! "Why do I feel so bitchy?"

As I was trying to get my feelings out & reflect, I had a thought about what it meant that I was typing into my phone to tell the people waiting the whole plan has gone to hell. This feeling and snippy texts are not who I am or how I want to live. I want to be peaceful and kind.

So I told myself to hear the word "delay" differently. I set about to reinterpret the words "flight delayed" to mean "free time to practice a bit of yoga and breath." I didn't know if I could do it, but I was determined.

"Flight delayed"...Breath in and Stretch right...

"Flight delayed"...Breath out and stretch left...

"Flight delayed"...Breath in and bend back...

"Flight delayed" ...Breath out and touch my toes...

I made myself repeat and repeat this until I was no longer glued to the monitors, no longer hating airlines, no longer feeling so lonely that I could cry if i let myself.

"Flight delayed"...All is well, All is well, All is well.

Easter 2018: The Peace That Passes Understanding

Easter 2018: The Peace That Passes Understanding

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb...
— John 20:1
Peace Flags at Benton Chapel for Easter 

Peace Flags at Benton Chapel for Easter 

While it was still dark, I walked into St. Augustine’s Chapel Ash Wednesday. “A Peace that Passes Understanding” was the communal reflection for the Lenten season, and so I wanted to begin Ash Wednesday in silence before the first folks arrived for ashes at 7. All of a sudden I was jolted as I heard yelling in the fellowship hall. Two young men who participate in the overnight young adult homeless program at our chapel were in an argument that was escalating quickly. Within seconds, one of the young men picked up a big baptismal bowl sitting on the altar and hurled it into the wall smashing it. Tables were overturned and chairs were launched. In the few minutes it took to separate them and regain peace, everyone in the chapel was visibly shaken. a small glimpse into what must be experienced by groups following the wake of sudden violence was opened up a crack. 

That disturbing outburst was a reminder of how fragile peace can be. It was a powerful lesson in how the violence of poverty, racism, trauma, mental health, and fear are poised to tear through any of the false walls we believe peace builds to shield us from the truth. Peace does pass our understanding. Our fragile and finite minds cannot grasp the depth and hope of peace that keeps our hearts in the knowledge and love of God. The peace that passes our understanding isn’t an idealistic quiet mountaintop setting; it is the peace in the midst of a wilderness of tables overturned in the temple, of disciples bearing crosses, and in the midst of loving in the face of violence and oppression. The peace that passes our understanding is a proclamation of faith as we strive for justice grounded in love. The peace that passes our understanding is what carries us through the wilderness with courage, humility, and direction.  

The only writing I have from my father, who was an episcopal priest and died when I was five, speaks powerfully about such a peace. The writing is simply a tiny slip of paper that fell out of his prayer book that my mom gave me at my ordination. On that piece of paper are written the words, “In the shadow of his cross may your soul find rest.” In other words, while in the midst of our struggle, may you find peace. My father’s words remind me that the great peace of Easter begins on Good Friday—in the shadow of the cross.

It was in the shadow of the cross where the disciples witness Jesus’s faith and forgiveness. There must have been a deep peace that surpassed her understanding that grounded Mary Magdalene and John to face the uncertainty, fear, and potential violence. While she was still living in the shadow of the cross that Easter morning, she was steady enough to gather the herbs and begin the journey. She headed out prepared to anoint a dead body, not because she thought he was risen. But in the face of injustice, oppression, violence, she was willing to confront the soldiers with her meager offering to anoint the body.  

The story of the Resurrection begins with the words, “While it was still dark….” The shadows of the cross were long as the sun was just rising on Jerusalem that Sabbath as Mary heads out with grief guiding her to the body. And that single act of faithfulness is enough to carry her with a peace that passes understanding to the source of love.

The peace that passes understanding leads her through despair, leads her to brush aside fear, and to hold onto love. The shadows of the Crucifixion became the grounding of a deep peace that changed the world. And that story is powerful enough to unravel all the upheaval, violence, and fear that keep us from experiencing peace. 

It sustains Mary through meeting angels and feeling the earth shake. It catches her when she falls at the feet of love resurrected. That peace is strong enough for all of that--to lead her to be the first preacher and to offer generations to proclaim peace in our own times of struggle.  

During this season, I have glimpsed at such peace that underlies the story of Easter—that peace is our deepest truth. A couple of weeks ago I spoke at a large healthcare company conference about resiliency and women’s leadership. When I finished speaking, I invited two of the powerful women graduates of Thistle Farms to join me on stage and talk about what gives them strength and how they experience healing. We were sitting on three, big oversized chairs with individual mikes like a living room. As the first graduate spoke, tears began to pour down her face. I did not know it at the time, but she was going through a difficult personal tragedy. 

To the executives and overachieving workforce, she said, “I have no words right now, but I know I need to show up and keep the faith.”  She described how in the midst of the chaos she was in, she could trust herself and the community and keep going. Her strength, her tears, her faithfulness were the living embodiment of how we can live into this deep and abiding peace. She was the truth that when we can walk and live in peace, we can have a clearer memory, more strength, and the freedom to weep. There was such grace and truth in her witness, that the executives sitting in that room wept with her. They recognized themselves in her, and she showed them how in the midst of life that can be unfair, hard, and frightening, peace can give us courage. She, like Magdalene herself, invites us to the truth of peace, the strength of peace, and the freedom of peace, even if we don’t understand it. 

Today is the day to proclaim peace as a statement of faith. We don’t have to wait for the mountaintop. We can proclaim it in the valley. We don’t have to wait to proclaim it in the courtroom. We can proclaim it on the streets. We don’t have to wait until the paths are straight. We can proclaim meandering it in the desert.  

That peace, offered by the Prince of Peace, even in the face of trauma, broken hearts, and shattered baptismal bowls, is enough to keep us going. We are sons and daughters of peace. Peace has been etched on prayer cloths for centuries across the world and in our hearts. We are surrounded by peace and given it as the first sign of the Holy Spirit who breathes it into us. That is the ancient hope that carries us to love. The Easter story preaches to each of us that when we keep believing in peace, it carries us beyond grief. The stone has rolled, the shroud has fallen and we are free. We can proclaim peace with all those we love who have died and live on in love and the memory of God. Peace carries us through the wilderness to the garden. All we grieve is still a part of us and all our hopes are not in vain. It’s not hard to imagine Magdalene, graduates of Thistle Farms, you, me, or a young man that smashes a primal element in the sanctuary—searching for peace with such longing that we search for life in a tomb.  With just a glimpse of love’s fragile truth we can proclaim peace in the shadow of our crosses and live into the hope fashioned on the first morning of creation. We can be at peace in the truth that love lives. Such deep peace allows us to make our song at our own Easter morning, “Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.”