“Here are the values that I stand for… honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated, and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values.” – Ellen DeGeneres
Our values, too. Especially compassion.
Compassion is what binds us together, not in pity, but as human beings who have learned how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future. Nelson Mandela said that.
We are a small candle studio in an old mill in a town with empty manufacturing buildings long since closed.
We provide living wage jobs to women refugees who have relocated from places of conflict to the U.S. through federal programs.
We don’t mind where they are from or what religion they practice.
For the past seven years, these new Americans and their families have enriched our lives in countless ways. We are proud and fortunate to work side-by-side with them.
We support Muslim women in Iraq, helping them perfect candle-making skills and earn a livelihood. We’ve shared meals, embraced their husbands and friends, and exchanged photos of our kids. We’ve told stories and laughed at each others’ jokes. We are equally frightened of terror and saddened by violence.
We are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and agnostic.
We all want the same thing… a safe place to live, enough food on the table, healthcare when needed, education for our children. Everyone seeks a brighter future for their loved ones.
As we look around and engage in the world, we feel a lot of things. Sometimes fear, often joy, occasionally sadness. But the strongest emotion is compassion.
Albert Schweitzer said “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”
That includes refugees.
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In the spirit of Women’s History Month, our thoughts are drawn to the many women who contribute to society in a myriad of ways while expecting nothing in return. They are hidden from view. Yet these women are transforming communities and making a positive difference in the world. They are unsung heroines.
March is about celebrating women… something we’re pretty excited about. There is so much to appreciate, so many barriers yet to topple, and so many amazing women to recognize for their accomplishments.
Ah, Valentine’s Day. Every year we look forward to it, but here’s the thing. Ever since Eve Ensler started One Billion Rising as part of her V-Day movement to end violence against women and girls, we’ve felt conflicted about this holiday.