"When I had my first child, a little girl, I was so grateful. Tears of joy just rolled from my eyes. I had always wanted a girl first so I could dress her up and make her all pretty. By the time she was two, she was trained and in preschool. She was always so smart. In the 7th grade, she took a test and was promoted straight to the 9th grade. She's almost 34 now and studying to be a lawyer at the University of Memphis."
"I try to be strong for my children, to be a better parent, and to give them the things that I didn't have. I want them to be able to say, in a good way, with pride: 'I am who I am because of my mom.'"
"Who is the most important person in your life?"
"Do they have to be human?"
"It can be anybody."
"Well then, my Savior Jesus Christ is the most important person to me. I guess he was human once too though. (*laughs*) He makes my life worth living because of his mercy, kindness, forgiveness, truth, love, and patience. He puts up with a lot."
"I've been in the U.S. for five years. Living in a new country, speaking English, and interacting with new friends is challenging. I took some college classes before but had to take time off for personal reasons. I'll be starting back to school in January. Right now, I'm looking for a job."
"I'm primarily a photographer, but I also fuse dichroic glass pendants. Because my wife is blind, she couldn't appreciate the colors or patterns on the smooth kind, no matter how much I described them to her. So I started fusing at lower temperatures. I wanted the glass to retain its texture so that she could feel the pieces and have an idea of what they look like."
Daniel Frederick is the Artist-In-Residence at Caritas Village (2509 Harvard Avenue) for 2014. His photography website is http://lightmywayphotography.com
"My toughest struggle has always been finishing things in life. It seems like I always start something and then quit. For example, I'm working on getting my GED now, and it's really hard. This is my fifth time to try. I get frustrated with the math part, I feel overwhelmed and mad, and I don't want to come back. But I'm not going to quit this time. I have a lot of positive reasons to keep trying."
Shartea is taking GED classes through Hopeworks, a non-profit organization serving the under-resourced in the Memphis area. Hopeworks strives to "break the cycle of crime, addiction, and generational poverty" through education, counseling, and career training.
"My family life was so rough when I was a kid that I would run away into the woods and just try to live on my own, eating acorns and anything else I could find. Sometimes I would jump out of trees or into the creek. Basically I was trying to either survive or to kill myself.
"Most of my life I went the wrong way. But God worked on me even before I knew I needed him. Three days ago, the Lord Jesus Christ became so real to me that I could no longer deny him or I would be denying my sanity. He broke the bonds of my addiction to drugs and alcohol. Today I am free."
"I don't have any transportation of my own, so I'm at the mercy of public transportation or paying someone to take me places. Because of that, I haven't been able to do everything I would like to, but I haven't let that hindrance slow me down. I just thank God for what he allows me to do.
"I love asking God to send me a chariot. Whatever he sends is all right. I was walking to the bus stop on a Sunday after church - and on Sundays, the bus runs slow - when a neighbor pulled up to me and said, 'Where are you going?' I told her, and she took me there. Another time, I was shopping at Sam's and so tired. I saw a pastor, and he gave me a ride home. That was my chariot that day."
"My great-grandmother, who was born in the late 1800's, died before I was born, but we had a lot of her quilts in our home as I was growing up. I learned needlework and embroidery from my aunt, but it wasn't until my daughter came along that I learned how to sew and then later how to quilt. I really enjoy it. It's a spiritual discipline for me: the cutting and sewing and being creative. I love to do it for people, but I do it for myself too. I love working with bright, vivid colors and seeing how they go together. It takes about six months to complete a quilt top, depending on the size and intricacy of the pattern.
"When someone requests a quilt for an occasion such as a wedding, anniversary, birth of a child, or a birthday, I like to sit down and talk with the person and make the decisions together. It's all very personal. No two quilts are alike.
"Through quilting, I feel connected to my great-grandmother and to so many of the women of the previous generation on both my mother's and my father's sides of the family. They all sewed or did some kind of handwork. Eventually, I will pass my great-grandmother's quilts down to my own children." [NOTE: One of Great-Grandmother's quilts is pictured below on the left, black border.)
Besides being an accomplished quilter, Stephanie Patton is the Pastor at Oakland Presbyterian Church. Her quilt, The Waters of Baptism (pictured in the vertical photo above, shades of purple and blue), is her favorite because of its connection to her pastoral work.
Stephanie studio, Piece 'N Quiet, is located at the Art Factory at 777 Cox, Memphis, TN (near Central BBQ on Central Avenue). She can be contacted through the Palladio Group.
"My great-grandchildren are 4 months, 2 years, 4 years, and 5 years old, and they're a part of me. I lived to see them, but my wife didn't. When they call me 'Grandpa', I love it. They're adorable. I take them to the park, take them everywhere I can. They are my heart."