Ties that Bind: #SHero Quilter’s & Just Me
Hi, I’m Anna Crowe, and I get to work with Tauscha every day. Tauscha let me be a guest writer today to honor a #SHero in my life who definitely needs a shout-out. Thanks, Tauscha; and thank you, dear reader, for helping me honor this powerful woman.
Teacher to “Just Me”
When I was 10-11 years old, I was the only girl my age when I was attending children’s Sunday School. In my church, there’s age-appropriate teaching, goals, memorization, etc. similar to bat mitzvah in the Jewish faith. Instead of grouping me with the much younger kids, the leaders decided I needed my own teacher.
That teacher was Saundra Tripp.
Saundra prepared a lesson – for just me – every Sunday. Saundra made handouts and cute trinkets coordinating with the lesson – for just me – nearly every week. And Saundra invited me – just me – to her house probably once or twice per month to teach me things, and help me memorize the scriptures and passages required to earn my graduation into the older young women program (for teens).
Cookies, Cross-Stitching, and Quilts
Most of those things she taught me at her house were life skills. I got to feed the horses with her husband Keith. She showed me how to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch (“Always under-bake them,” she’d say.) She taught me to cross stitch, and she provided all the materials for all these projects so I could check off some “goals” for that graduation thing. But perhaps the most cherished skill she taught me is how to quilt.
Saundra Tripp happened to be president of a state-wide quilter’s guild.
I’ve never witnessed a better quilter, and I’ve worked with many since. She showed me how to quickly and most efficiently tie a baby quilt. (We made little quilts for several of the new babies in our congregation.) And she expertly tutored me how to hand quilt, which was a dying art even back in the late ’80s.
She always, and I mean always had a quilt on frames in her basement. I watched Saundra push that needle in-and-out and up-and-down those layers of fabric with just her thumb. She knew exactly how much pressure to give and how much consistency to pull that thread. My lines were never as even, never as expert, but it didn’t matter to her. She praised every stitch, gave gentle correction, and encouraged me to keep going.
Minister to the One
There’s a pattern in the life of the Savior, Jesus Christ, of which he always ministered to “the one.” He sought the lonely, remembered the forgotten, and blessed the unfavored throughout His ministry. I can boldly say that Saundra emulated this pattern in her life with me.
Now to be completely accurate, there were a one or two other girls my age that were also rolls for Sunday School, but they didn’t participate. I didn’t know why they didn’t come to church or any of the activities. Still, Saundra and I would make them invitations for activities, bring them cookies we had made, and walk to their houses to visit them.
Back then, I did not realize what a big thing that was. But maybe it was just normal for Saundra. It’s who she was.
Once a Quilter, Always a Quilter
In high school and college years, I had many opportunities to tie and quilt. My best friend’s mom invited me to help with an heirloom hand quilt for her oldest son’s wedding, and I made special hand quilts for my two eldest nieces before they were born. And anytime there’s a tied-quilt service project, you can bet I’m the fastest one at that frame… Thanks to Saundra!
Shortly after I was married, my mother came to me and said, “Your 2nd-Great-Grandmother, Hansine Neve Larsen made some quilt blocks that she never put together for a quilt. I’ve been holding on to them for years, but a few days ago, the thought came to me, ‘Anna needs these.’ So if I buy all the supplies, will you complete the quilt?”
Of course I said yes. It took me many years, but I finally finished the quilt before the birth of my second kid. (And yeah, I totally believe Grandma Hansine oversaw my work…) Check out the pics below! (The back of the quilt is my favorite.)
There’s no way I would have been able to do any of it without Saundra’s gentle tutelage. That quilt exists because of her.
Saundra’s Living Influence
Today I help lead group of young women who are just a few years older than I was when Saundra was my teacher. Sometimes there are four of them; sometimes there is just one.
At a summer camp a few months ago, late at night after most of the girls were in their cabins, I stood outside in the crisp night air and had a conversation with God. “How can I help these young women,” I asked Him. My mind contemplated grand tasks and projects with a degree of anxiety and worry how I’d be able to do it all.
Memories of Saundra Tripp came to my mind – not of the projects she did with me, but an image of who she was. And quiet voice whispered to me, “Be who you are and be there for them. That is enough.”
Saundra Tripp was no one else but herself when she ministered to me. Her influence has woven itself in my work and my character like a golden thread of one of her quilts. She may never know what a pattern she set in my life of service and ministering to the one…
But then again, maybe she does.
Saundra Tripp passed away last week after a long battle with Alzheimers. She was one who always seemed like she’d be there for me to go visit someday, but it won’t be in this life, and I mourn for that. However, I will go see her someday, and I’ll be thrilled to show her how my “stitches” have improved, and how I worked to bind my life to the Savior’s too.