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Thursday, September 06, 2018

Unfathomable Gifts….

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With the Summer Series in Pennsylvania over – and finally being back on my own “turf”, in my own bed – familiar sounds of washing machine, dish washer, icemaker in the fridge clunking away as it drops ice into the hopper every once in a while, all of the stress of the past month-plus (that I thought I was handling rather well) is hitting me.

In the chaos of the past several weeks, there are many things that were forgotten, overlooked, in one ear and out the other, should have written this down, assumed there would be a note, pieces falling through the cracks–

I was doing my best to hold it all together, shooting for some semblance of normalcy when the winds of far away family and the grief of Mark’s passing-to-come were shoved back and compartmentalized. 

I received several remarkable gifts in Pennsylvania – but this one thing, this one thing…I didn’t discover until I unpacked the box on Tuesday morning, after waking to the news that Mark had indeed slipped away.

A HUGE box – full of linens, blue mason jars, Hoosier jars, pottery vases – and in the bottom of the box, folded and protected inside a vintage embroidered pillow case was this quilt.

Where is the name on the box?  How can I contact the giver to thank her once again?

I remember going out to the parking lot with her, laughing at the heaviness of the box, and moving my van closer so we could move it without dropping it.

I remember her saying what was in the box, and that she hoped that these items would find a joyful place at the Inn.

Class had close to 60 students that day – it was a 5 minute parking lot run while quilters sewed, and we rushed right back in after many hugs and smiles and thank-you’s.  But it isn’t enough.

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Beautiful quilt – at the bottom of the box!

I feel rather embarrassed…mad at myself for not taking the time to take notes.  To get names and email addresses.  But when I tell you that the day was chaos, in every GOOD way that a fun retreat/workshop day for 58 students could be – maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.

But this quilt!  Oh, my goodness, this quilt!

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Close up – such fine tiny quilting stitches!

This maker was a master.

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Wow.  Just wow.

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Hello, Mary Elder Harkless!

If this quilt was made around 1900, Mary was more or less the same age as I am now…I wonder what her life was like.  Perhaps we share some of the same struggles?  And perhaps the same dreams as well.

When she made this quilt, Quiltville Inn had been already standing for close to 16 years.

Who taught her to quilt and to piece so precisely?  What other quilts did Mary make in her time?  Perhaps many utility type quilts were worn out with the using.  Perhaps this one was saved for “good.”

This is a priceless gift, and I need the wonderful woman I met in the parking lot at the American Legion in Bedford, Pennsylvania to email me so I can thank her properly.

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While photographing the quilt, the cows were on the mooooooove down by the creek!

I love watching them amidst all of that green nature.

I arrived home in Wallburg a bit past noon, and started unloading the van of everything.  There was a huge pile of mail in the front entrance hall.  I printed 80+ invoices and set in to making sense of everything that was before me, getting things out to clear my schedule so I can go to Arizona next Thursday. 

It was mindless work, and it felt good….sign a book, place it in an envelope, weigh the package, print the appropriate postage, put it in the outgoing bin.  I needed to do something.  It’s done.

Today I’m digging into String Frenzy book edits – the final round. 

The house is quiet.  I’m home alone.  There is nothing else I need to do today.

Doesn’t it amaze you that the world doesn’t just STOP when you get thrown off of your axis? 

It just keeps turning.  It just keeps going on.

And perhaps that is the encouragement we need to also keep going.


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Quiltville Quote of the Day.

My thanks for all of the nice folks who lift me every day.

Enjoy your Thursday, friends.



45 comments:

  1. Sitting in a quiet house relaxing and reflecting is so wonderful. One of my favorite times of a day. Enjoy the love and caring of those around you. The gifts you are receiving are from the hearts of others and they know you will appreciate these tokens of love. A small token of thanks for all you do for us!

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  2. I remember the same amazement of the world going on even though mine had fractured and stopped a bit after the death of my parents. Continued prayers for all of your family and your tender hearts.
    That quilt..WOW.

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  3. wanting to send comfort and encouragement and i know that weird feeling, the world just continues on without notice that you are so bereft, so hurting... love, hugs and blessings,you are weathering this big storm with such courage and grace...thank you for sharing yet another of your journeys with us. Cats in Carlsbad, CA

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  4. I remember feeling that way when my dad passed. After years of driving him to appointments in and out of hospital i was just so off balance I would look around me and everybody was moving along and I felt stuck. It passes but can still stop me in my tracks occasionally.

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  5. you might go to the Ill musuem site and type in the number and see what info it gives you usually has maker and the person that registered the quilt this is a great resource.

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  6. What a fantastic quilt. At this rate Quiltvilla is going to be its own museum of sorts. Hugs coming your way.

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    1. I agree with you Mary. Quiltville Inn is like it's own Quilts Under the Bed project.

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  7. There ya go. One foot in front of the other. That's all there is to do. Just one step and another. You are being showered with love in more ways than one. xoxox

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  8. I just read the comments and know how loved you are. The gifts for Quiltville and the kind words will help you get through the days ahead. Hugs across the miles.

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  9. The kindess of quilters was so healing to me. I suffered a heart attack in Feb. out of the blue. Some quilters mailed me fabric and warm words from far away. That helped to propel me in getting better and through cardiac rehab.

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    1. Hope your well on the road to recovery Linda....Big hugs from Australia

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  10. Love the closeup that shows the quilting.

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  11. So glad it has been labeled for the future. I received a mystery quilt with no label. My Dear Sister in law returned it to me as she emptied her home to sell after the loss of my brother last July. Such treasures the Quiltville Inn will house. Hugs and continued prayers for your peace.

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  12. Thinking of you and your family now. Keep busy it helps.

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  13. Peace, hugs and prayers to you Bonnie. We are all here for you when you need a hug, a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. You are loved by all whose paths you cross.

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  14. Bonnie, thank you for sharing your life with us, the downs as well as the ups. It helps us know we are not alone, not the only one with struggles, even when we are the only one who must get through it in it's time, as you are doing now. Sending so many hugs and prayers your way.

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  15. That the world just kept going was one of the things I found very annoying when I lost my parents. It's like you are shouting stop I need to deal with this - I can't keep going right now. But, some how you find the strength to do it. You get back to routine - a new normalcy. Hugs from Canada - Bonnie.

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  16. maybe the giver just wants to be anonymous...sometimes it's more difficult to accept gifts than to give...you have been a giver to the quilt community from day one...sometimes all we can or should do is accept gracefully in the spirit of the giving itself...

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    1. You said pretty much what I was going to. Sometimes gifts are just that—gifts with no need for thanks beyond what was offered at the time, accepted gracefully, in the spirit of love in which they were offered.

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  17. Bonnie, you always amaze me with the way you put your feelings into words, you are my inspiration! Thank you for sharing. Sending my deepest condolences, hugs and prayers to you and your loved ones.

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  18. Know that quilters around the world share your sorrow and heartbreak. The miracle of the internet has made you our dear friend and we appreciate all you give so freely to the quilting community. We send love and hugs in abundance to you and your dear family.

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  19. A very beautiful quilt, what extremely generous people there are all of whose love you very much. You
    Deserve every one of these beautiful treasures and Quiltville Inn is going to look absolutely stunning.
    Prayers love and quilty hugs
    Anne xxx

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  20. Tear fall. Hearts break. There are no words. Our continued prayers for God to grant your extended family courage, grace and comfort. You are cherished.

    Thank you for sharing your sweet memories of "painting the house" with Mark.

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  21. Lovely thoughts. What a gift you have for writing, and what a comfort it can be for you in chaos.

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  22. Bonnie,
    For some reason watching those cows on the video bought tears to my eyes. How can they just wander along when our hearts break from loosing people we love? I think that is the true gift of God...so we realize that life does go on. And that we are still living. And that somewhere, our loved ones are also watching those same cows. Hugs, love and more...

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  23. Ever grateful for the knowledge that we will see our loved ones again. And be able to hold them in our arms. May God bless and comfort you at this time. Love

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  24. Thank you for keeping your posts going throughout the stress of your brothers final weeks. It has made all of out here in the rest of the world a part of your world. May you enjoy the peace of the moment. Hugs and comfort from Australia

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  25. Hello from Michigan! Thank you so much for this blog & all you do "out there" for quilting. I love your work. My thoughts & prayers have been with you. Losing a sibling is agonizing. My sister had three types of cancer and we almost lost her prior to stemcell transplant last year. So far so good, praise God. Hopefully you can continue to rest at home, then begin to heal with your family.
    As for that quilt.....wow!!! Many generous quilters in this world. I wish more ppl would build retreat homes ....in every state. That would be very cool!

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  26. That is an amazing quilt. Just gorgeous and the quilting is outstanding. What a special gift.

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  27. Since you are a bit of a history buff, check this out.
    https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/97245811/mary-adrian-harkless

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  28. For some reason she has two memorial pages
    https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/134923638/mary-ann-harkless

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  29. I was just remembering to my sister yesterday as we passed the hospital where our dad died how I'd walked outside the hospital with my mom--a beautiful sunny day and everything was going on as always, no one else even knowing that my dad had just died. A beautiful day but such a sad day. Having all those goodies are a small distraction for you for a brief moment. Glad they're there.

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  30. To those of you who found the world a strange place while you were grieving, a big hug and a “me too.” Sometimes I think we should resume a more visible sign of mourning like in days past so that we can be reminded to be tender with those people ...and with ourselves. Claudia

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  31. Oh, Bonnie, I remember that feeling, when I would go to town after the deaths of my parents. It was almost astonishing that no one else could tell how different the world was. I was torn between an irrational instinct to shout at people, "Don't you know my mother died? Why are you laughing? Today is a terrible day!" and the sense that her death was a secret that I was guarding--that out here in the world I didn't have to confront my grief for the time it took to do my grocery shopping. (At least until I saw something she used to eat, or cook for me, or thought was too expensive to buy, at which point I was the person crying in the grocery store. Oh well.)

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  32. Oh my dear, after my mother passed after so many years of care giving, I asked myself, "what on earth am I going to do with the rest of my life?" So, my heartfelt sympathy for your loss. It will get better, but it takes a boatload of time and an ocean of tears. We love and care about you, and you and yours will remain in our prayers.

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  33. You have daily wrapped all of us in your arms...we now offer the return of that kind gift. We are all trying to lift you and your family up while you grieve. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family.

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  34. I'm sitting in my four season room this morning reading this. Reading your blog every morning has become part of my morning routine. I totally get that same feeling at times with just starting up a new business and needing to remember things that need done and wondering why I didn't jot that down has become a reality to me as well. But you know those that follow you and Love you as we all do understand just how busy you are and all that you have on your plate.

    My heart aches for you and the loss you are suffering this morning. I can almost feel it in reading your post. Sending you a big virtual hug my dear.

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  35. What amazing gift from Franklin, PA all the way to Illinois, was she in a covered wagon, wanting more land, hopes & dreams for her family, just like we all wish for ours each stitch a blessing to come. Healing & prayers to you and your family

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  36. Bonnie: You need some peace after all you have been through. Mark is no longer in pain, he is at rest. Have some good family time. I hope to get to one of your classes, when they are nearer to NY. Look after yourself. I can't wait until your Retreat Home opens.

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  37. My heart jumped at seeing the quilt label, Franklin, PA! I live 1/2 hour from there, and it's such a lovely town. Would love to find more of Ms. Harkless' work. What a treasure, and what a beautiful soul to share it with you!

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  38. Wmy words cannot match those previously sent, tender mercies and prayers to you and your family

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