Earlier this year, we had the pleasure of meeting a lively and beautiful group from Cedar House, a recovery community in Abilene, Kansas. One unique aspect of Thistle Farms Global is that we have both a local and international connection to women survivor leaders. This spring, we collaborated with Cedar House for our special limited edition Lily Gift Set. Each package contains a canna lily bulb straight from their gardens. When you plant these bulbs, think of the growing movement around the world for women’s economic freedom.
Read more about Cedar House's recovery community below--
Stories that begin in alcoholism and drug addiction only rarely have happy endings. But in Abilene, Kansas, a small group of mostly women is working to make those happy endings a little less rare. At the center of the story is Cedar House, a recovery house for women that takes its mission from a simple yet powerful quote:
For the women at Cedar House in Abilene, Kansas, that simple but powerful quote is a part of everything they do. Since it opened in May 2014, the six-bed long-term recovery house has been home to 12 women. Most have come from inpatient treatment programs across Kansas, and they arrive newly clean and sober, with very little earth to give them stability.
The Cedar House program helps with that: Household chores, shared cooking, exercise classes, spirituality study, volunteer duties with local organizations, 12-step meetings, jobs… In a word, routine.
“They come to us needing to take care of legal, health and family issues from the get-go,” says Cedar House founder Patti O’Malley. “We want them to have jobs, that’s important. But even more important is the work they are doing on themselves, learning to live sober, learning to be responsible, discovering who they are.”
That’s when finding their wings can begin.
Turns out, much of the search happens happen in the work the residents tackle at home. Working with the Wichita Food Bank, two of the women pick up a monthly stock of groceries — provided at deeply discounted prices — to stock the Cedar House food pantry, and then are in charge of distributing those groceries to about 35 families in the Abilene area.
“They are so appreciative,” one of the residents says. “It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself when you do something good to help people who really need it.”
Groceries from the pantry are supplemented by fresh produce from the adjoining small garden, also tended by the Cedar House residents. The produce that doesn’t end up on their own dinner table or in the food pantry now goes to a stall in the Abilene Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning, where it’s sold alongside the Bee Friendly fresh farm products, dried flower arrangements, mason bee habitats and other simple products created by the Cedar House residents. “We’ve grown from a lemonade stand to the Farmers’ Market to having our products in small shops in Abilene and Concordia,” O’Malley says. And in the process, the women have discovered their own creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.
Or, you might say, they have discovered their own wings.