Today was so surreal - I'm not sure I can even begin to capture all the emotions I'm feeling.
(Even though this post is dated 4-29-16 for chronological purposes, I am only now writing this post on January 22, 2017!!!)
I am still so overwhelmed with the way God prepares, inspires, orchestrates, and opens doors. And blown away by all He did to make this day happen. I couldn't have made it happen. I've been struggling with chronic health issues in recent years, and in no way whatsoever could I have physically or mentally made any of this happen. But God did.... And so beautifully, wildly, kindly and generously....
First, He gave me the opportunity to attend the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show back in 2014. It was there that I had the chance to hear Jean Wells speak and then view her quilts outdoors in the most beautiful setting you could ever imagine, in chronological order. It indeed was a very pivotal part of my journey.
He then gave me the inspiration to hang my entire quilt collection on my cousin's family barn last summer, as well as giving my cousin John the willing heart and body to make sure that it happened.
As a result of that venture, He didn't lead me to just any quilt shop, but to The Old Country Store where owners Dean & Jan Mast and a whole team of wonderful staff embraced me and allowed me to run with the idea that there was value for an unknown local woman to showcase her personal quilt collection.
He purposely prompted me to hang on almost every single quilt that I've stitched in the past 25 years, even numbering them right from the start in 1996, so that I would have them to display at this trunk show as well as ones to come.
And, He directed me to quit my full-time job three years ago so that I would have more time to take care of my health and devote even more time to quilting.
I wasn't feeling well at all today, but God showed up in powerful ways. (Sometimes I'm convinced that God is more fully glorified on the days that I am less.) He gave me the words and energy to get through the day. And it was such a gift - it was amazing to be able to share my quilt collection with two sold-out seatings of 40 guests each. The attendees were so eager to view my quilts and hear what I had to say about them, as well as hearing my passion for quilting. Several aunts, an uncle and a cousin traveled a distance to be there. A number of friends I hadn't seen in ages made the effort to come. Several friends brought their mothers as an early Mothers' Day outing. Some newer friends were present as well. A number of people who really aren't that into quilting came because they know how much it means to me. And a whole host of loyal customers of The Old Country Store came because of its reputation for outstanding events.
Here's a few pictures to capture the essence of the day:
The day before, I loaded up 40 plus quilts, my quilt hoop on a stand, a special chair, my Featherweight, and a whole host of other quilt-related items to display around the room. My dear friend Lori met me at the store and helped haul all my things up to the second floor event space in the misty spring rain.
We viewed my quilts collection in chronological order, including some antique and vintage family quilts.
I never cease to be fascinated by the evolution of a quilter's skills and style!!
Staff members and friends were so kind in holding and folding,
and then arranging the quilts around the room so guests could get a closer look:
My cousin loaned me his Broken Star quilt for the day - the one I had made for him back in 1996, back when I was foolish enough to part with my quilts. :) I still miss it!!
It meant the world to me that a variety of friends came from near and far, some surprising me with their presence.
And that they then cheerfully folded up my quilts and loaded them back in the car for me.
I continue to be filled with gratitude and in awe....