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Sewing and devotion to faith keep Clear Spring woman busy

December 09, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

CLEAR SPRING - Paula Myers has two passions: Sewing and her Baha'i faith.

Fortunately for her, she can practice both from her Ashton Road home.

"I started sewing when I was 10 years old," Myers said. "My mother made clothes and my grandmother, quilts. There was always the sound of a sewing machine in the house."

With that kind of expert instruction all under one roof, Myers said she learned quickly.

"The first thing I ever made was a lined wool jumper," she said. "I got an 'A' on it, but more importantly, I wore it and wore it."

After school in Westminster, Md., where she grew up, Myers got a job with a telephone company and then worked as a clerk in a drugstore for a while. Then her sewing background led her to a whole new career.

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"Dorothy McCoy, a woman I knew in Catonsville (Md.), fine-tuned my sewing," Myers said.

She then did alterations for Leggett's in Westminster while still sewing at home in her spare time.

"When I first moved to this area, I worked at a sewing shop, but found I preferred to work out of my home," Myers said. Unfortunately that home, which was in Big Pool, was destroyed by a fire on Dec. 31, 1998.

Now 51, Myers and her husband, Bob Lipella, live in a quiet, country setting outside Clear Spring. Their home is decorated with many of Myers' sewing creations, such as table runners, wall hangings and place mats.

Because of Friday's snowstorm, Myers rescheduled a Christmas craft bazaar in her home for this weekend, when she will sell her own creations and those of others.

The new hours are Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

In the weeks before Christmas, Myers has been working feverishly on pillow ornaments requested by a shop in Solomons, Md., as well as aprons and bookmarks with a holiday flair.

Throughout the year, Myers is busy with a variety of sewing projects.

While sewing keeps her hands busy, her devotion to the Baha'i faith provides a spiritual and emotional anchor that steadies the rest of her life.

"Baha'i first came into my life 27 years ago in Westminster," Myers said.

She grew up Catholic, but said she always felt there must be something more.

A family friend introduced her to the faith and after 18 months of study, she began journeying to Reisterstown, Md., to practice.

Why the big attraction? Simply put, the Baha'i faith has home and family at its core, and that appealed to Myers then and now.

The Baha'i faith began in Persia, now Iran, in the mid-1800s. It believes in one God, that all religions share a common foundation and that the Earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.

Another Baha'i teaching is that men and women are equal.

Services are held every Sunday at the Entler Hotel in Shepherdstown, W.Va. Baha'i followers from part of Western Maryland, West Virginia and Frederick, Md., often gather there for services, Myers said.

"I sing there often. And I also sing at a number of other churches," Myers said, attesting to her Baha'i belief in the validity of all religions.

Holy days are observed and firesides are held every 19 days, on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, at different locations.

Myers and Julie Gregg, friends through the Baha'i faith, actively are trying to get enough interest for Wednesday evening gatherings at Myers' home.

"People come and go, but our numbers stay about the same," Gregg said. "Jefferson County, W.Va., is sort of the hub of the Baha'i faith in this area now."

For more information on Myers' sewing, directions to her home or information on the Baha'i faith, call 301-842-3081.

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