Spirit and Spunk

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The aging woman bends over her work.  A magnifier-light helps compensate for reduced vision due to macular degeneration.  Her fingers move with surprising agility, guiding the threaded needle to convert colorful strips of fabric into a quilted pattern.

Affection for the task and sheer determination rob her arthritic joins of their debilitating potential.  She works with skills first learned as a three-year-old at her grandmother’s side–watching, copying, learning.  She now makes a fan quilt by cutting, piecing and sewing fabric wedges onto a patterned background.

In a day when quilts are digitally generated and sown together by a computer, it is refreshing to see the human touch.  Quilting has been a healing resource for her in the face of many changes and losses–two children, a husband, siblings, parents.  Life still surges through her veins, offering inspiration to others.

At the age of thirty-three she faced the reality that her third-born child was developmentally disabled with cerebral palsy.  When voices cried to “place” him in a care facility, she said “No!”  Each day brought challenges that she bravely met.  She and her husband tackled the task of founding a custodial/educational facility  for developmentally disabled adults that they called “Community of Hope.”  It lasted thirty years.

In a later stage of life, this woman faced the loss of that son, and later her daughter.  Then came her husband’s Alzheimer’s and ultimately his death.  Living in a retirement community she returned to her roots, becoming a key figure in quilting circles.  The quilt she works on today will be sold in the fall to benefit the facility where she lives.

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Oh, by the way, this woman is my mother, Mary E. Harris, who resides in Assisted Living at the Bridgewater Home.  She is a woman of spirit and spunk who will turn 105 in May!  Hopefully her quilts will endure as long as she has, maybe longer–a legacy of God’s grace and her unwavering faith.

 

 

 

 

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One thought on “Spirit and Spunk

  1. I love that she just keeps being herself…in spite of the obstacles. They just become grist for her faith mill. Quilting by touch, rather than by sight, challenges the idea that she is disabled. She always finds a way to be able;)

    Liked by 1 person

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