Celebration--our Secret Weapon

But once again, look at our faces. Joy is no less real. Celebration is our secret weapon. We celebrate the daily experience of seeing first-hand the resilience of refugees and the gifts they bring to our community. We celebrate a mission that is needed now more than ever. We celebrate a model of job training that is increasingly relevant. And we celebrate you, a growing team of partners who love and support what we are doing.

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#Teamgranola: Where mission meets your every day:

We’ve reached the heart of the giving season and like many of you, I sometimes have my laptop open while I’m finishing off the evening with Stephen Colbert, surfing for a gift that might have a special meaning. There are some cool things out there. Did you know that Boney M once put out a Christmas album? I wonder if I can locate an LP. And Amazon even has a Nic Cage throw pillow. In suede! Wow.

But if you’re looking for a meaningful gift, I do want to remind you about #teamgranola.

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Keith CooperComment
The Real Problem at our Southern Border

I first left home as a 6-year-old to attend boarding school at a beach town in Vietnam. I have memories of things like tear gas. I have one memory in particular of all of us kids from my boarding school standing outside where the breeze was strongest, against our chain-link fence, looking out at the brilliant ocean which was like a sheet of tinfoil in the sun, crying because of the gas. I distinctly remember NOT being sad—I remember it as an adventure. Sure it hurt. It was also very exciting.

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Coffee

My family was laughing at me last night at dinner. I was telling them about the first ever roasting of Beautiful Day Ethiopian Yirgacheffe heirloom coffee. Maybe I was a little enthusiastic. Maybe I was acting as if roasting coffee was something new under the sun.

“We knew it would come to this,” they said.

Oh well. You can pick your friends.

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Keith CooperComment
What Are You Afraid Of?

One thing I’ve learned about myself is that, probably because I grew up in a war, I tend to have an air-raid siren going off in my head. Sometimes it’s in the distance, other times not. Sometimes it fixates on the most trivial of things. We don’t always get to choose what’s in our heads. Maybe we don’t choose what we’re afraid of either.

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Anchored

A second, more slow-motion shock was the flood. A siren sounded before we left our Airbnb. By noon we were barefoot with rolled up pant legs and joking about getting “the real Venice experience.” But that wasn’t the end of it. The following morning there were heavy rains and wind and a much longer siren that meant most of the city could flood.

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Voice

That was back in July and I've been chewing on this ever since. I’m pretty sure I intended to answer his question by complaining about how busy I am, how many hats I need to wear. These things are true and I say them all the time. Saying I lost my voice instead provoked me to think about what’s happening to or in me. Beautiful Day works with marginalized people who, for the most part, are hidden and voiceless—most obviously because they don’t speak English and don’t yet understand much about American culture…

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An Invitation: Our first Annie Award

We are proud to presenting our first Granola for Good Award to IRIS (Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services) an organization that has been serving refugees in New Haven, Connecticut.

This award is the brainchild of our own board member Sandra Enos and it is made in memory of Anne Dombrofski, who many of you will remember was Beautiful Day’s first Director of Strategic Partnerships and before that the Director of Development at IRIS.

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Keith CooperComment
On Worry, Birds, Lovers on this Last Day of our May Appeal

This one has a beautiful bird who neither sows or reaps or writes grants or makes granola or handles HR or IT.  She’s openly vulnerable, glorious, somehow protecting or maybe just celebrating the lovers in their red refuge. (Egg? or nest? or—I know I read things into Chagall in part because he was a refugee. I’m taking it as that place of creative safety that so many refugees, and all of us who resonate with their experience, long for in our souls.)

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Kitchen (not so) Confidential

First, a bit of background: I’m very new to Beautiful Day, joining the organization in late March after many (many) years in the for-profit world. Within my first few days with Beautiful Day, I had the opportunity to spend a shift in the kitchen, working with the trainees as they made our granola. I had no idea what to expect, but looked forward to the opportunity. I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you about that night.

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Chuck LyndsComment
Refugee Valentines for Washington, Take 2

As many of you know, these are dark days for refugee resettlement. The Trump administration has capped admissions at 45,000—a historically rock-bottom number—and even this number is misleadingly high. Resettlement agencies are already experiencing significant budget cuts, and several dozen will be closing in the coming months.

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Keith CooperComment
Apple Pear Crisp with Granola Topping

This is an easy recipe, not too sweet, that showcases the tartness of the apples and fully-ripened Anjou pears. Beautiful Day granolas make this especially easy to assemble. It is a dessert that showcases the fruit, the grains, the dried fruits, and nuts. 

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Keith CooperComment
Building an upside-down company

Thank you for being our customers and partners in mission. Thanks for making it possible to do things like hire Iman to do exactly what he is best at. We’d love your (tax-deductible) donation during this season so we can continue to train refugees (23 this year) and employ some like Iman. 

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Keith CooperComment
Excerpted from an address to Episcopal Charities

Many of us gathered here are inspired by the metaphor that a community functions as a body: made up of individuals yet creating a whole. If this is true, then we can't really know who we are unless we are thankful for those—the other body parts—around us.  A hand can’t ever be a foot; but it will be a happier, more humble, more curious, more effective and real hand when it begins to depend on that foot.  So that’s the invitation.  The warning is that if we ever participate in marginalizing other people—or start thinking we don’t need them—then we distort both our sense of ourselves and our sense of humanity.

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Surprisingly amicable self-interview Part 2: Barnett Newman, a blue chicken, the future of resettlement, and #Teamgranola.

I feel dark sometimes, but I don’t feel paranoid.  Beautiful Day is a tiny outpost on the periphery of the refugee galaxy and the US resettlement system, so nobody is out to get us, but we’ll need to be vigilant.  Our mission is going to be harder and harder to sustain if only because there will be fewer and fewer refugees arriving in the US, and thus in Providence. Meanwhile, the world population of refugees is growing rapidly.

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