Deborah is an accomplished seamstress at My Cup of Tea. Meticulous stitching and eye-catching patterns characterize Deborah’s masterpieces. Tea cozies, aprons, tea towels and her latest creation, hot and cold therapy wraps, were perfected through years of training that began in the seventh grade and continued three hours per day through high school.
“When I was in high school, I wanted to be a fashion designer,” says Deborah, “But life’s changes brought me to a standstill.”
Deborah’s greatest challenge began in 2010 when she was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder. Three years later as her health deteriorated, she was told by a doctor that she was never walk again.
“Ma’am, no disrespect to you,” Deborah said upon receiving the news from the doctor, “but I don’t know what God you serve. My God never said I won’t walk again.”
With that faith and determination, Deborah progressed from lying on her back to sitting in a wheelchair to walking with a walker and then a cane. Today, her sewing room is on the second floor of the My Cup of Tea house, and she climbs the steep staircase multiple times per day.
During the rehabilitation process, Deborah would walk the block with her walker, which took two hours. One day while walking past the House at Semmes and Carnes, a woman invited her inside. It wasn’t long until Deborah considered the House her home and the people inside her family.
“This is my home, a safe haven that gave me my life back,” she says. “When I get down, I come here, and it gives me a sense of peace.
Despite the weight of the struggles she has endured, Deborah believes My Cup of Tea changed her life. But for the purpose she has at My Cup of Tea, Deborah believes she would still be sitting on her porch in a wheelchair listening to people talk about her.
“By not being judged [at My Cup of Tea] it gave me hope. People look at you when you are down, and they judge you by what you’re going through,” she says.
Deborah has a heart for the Orange Mound community and believes My Cup of Tea can play an important role in improving the neighborhood. The authentic relationships and support she has received through My Cup of Tea are possible across Orange Mound, Deborah believes if people come together.
“We as a people need to come together to learn how to love and reach out and help one another. That’s what we are called to do. My hope and my dreams are that we will one day come together as one.”