Kelli and I have had what I’d call a frustrating experience with planning the retreat when Bonnie Hunter is coming in August.

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People are not patient.  People think we know WAY more than we do about their personal lives.  People think we don’t have things going on in our lives beyond the retreat…not everyone but some people sure do.

Here’s some of the things that have happened…..

People have been calling our phones.  I don’t know how they have gotten out numbers but we have had people calling our homes.  For me, it’s while I am working and have childcare kids here.  I’m sure the lady thought I was rude but when kids are here…they are my priority.  One time when a call came in we were out on a girls day.  We were having private family time and we got a call.  Here’s the kicker…the person had email earlier in the week TWICE.  I had answered the emails.  Still they called our personal phone because they thought for some reason that that their ticket into the retreat was talking to me personally.

We have gotten emails from people who were mad at us because we didn’t send info to the person’s friend on the same day we emailed their information because they were planning on riding together.  How can we know who might be riding together?  We don’t know who is and who isn’t friends.  This has happened LOTS!

We have gotten emails from people mad because their desired location was full.

We have gotten second and third emails from people mad because the email they sent earlier in the same day wasn’t answered yet.

We’ve gotten emails from people who asked the retreat owner to “get them in”.  Dropping her name telling us they should get in because they shopped at the quilt shop adjacent to the retreat center.

We have had people who have accusingly said that we sent information to someone they thought was on the list after them.  These people quoted they day they first inquired about the retreat…

We have gotten emails from a quilt guild wanting us to “rent” Bonnie out while she was here and have her go present one night to their guild.

We have had other strange guild related emails….

After sending emails that weren’t answered immediately people have then sent messages us on Facebook too.  The problem with that.  On Facebook their name is “Jane Doe”.  Their email is sent by “BobandJane”.  We have no idea they are the same person so our work is doubled because both messages have to be answered.

These are mostly people who don’t read the blog and don’t know us….yet we are supposed to drop everything for them simply because they want to see Bonnie.

Here are some things we would like everyone to know.

We know some are anxious about the retreat.  We know that some want answers so you can plan.  We know that some of you have to plan travel and feel you need to know the information.  We know some of you want to come with your friends.  We know that it’s frustrating when some feel like they are left out.  We know that some of you want to collect fabric.  (Can you believe a year ago we people asking what quilts we were featuring at the retreat so that they could start cutting out their projects…HONEST)

We also want you to know this…
We are human.
We have jobs…full time jobs-plus some.
We want to please as many people as we can and want this to be an enjoyable experience for all.

In our balance of working together, Kelli is the organizer.  I am not.  She has taken on the brunt of the emails.  She has taken on the email sending and record keeping.  She has been keeping the count.

In the mists of these last few days Kalissa needed help.  Carver is sick.  We have had an ice storm here.  Kelli’s husband had to drive Kelli to work.  He dropped her off.  She worked a 12 hour shift only to find others couldn’t get into work.  She worked another 4 hours.  She tried to sleep at work and couldn’t.  She was up after a few hours and was back working again…another shift.  Her Hubby picked her up.  She went to sleep and now as you are reading this she came to my house to finish watching my childcare kids so that I could attend a funeral.  From here she’s going to Kalissa’s to help her-then to bed only to wake early and make a 2 1/2 hour drive to take her nursing boards test.  All of these things are WAY more import to us than the retreat.

As you can see….we have other priorities right now.  Kelli knows her inbox is full but at this point, there is nothing she can do about it.  Life is happening.

One of our VERY favorite parts of the whole experience so far has come from one of the nicest gals I know…Ana Sweet…Ana had attended the retreat last time so she had first opportunity to come to this retreat.  Ana sent us a message that said, ” I would love to come but will let someone else who has not taken Bonnie’s classes get a chance. It was a blast.”  That’s exactly what we did.  We found someone who hadn’t seen Bonnie before come.

Thanks Ana for being a ray of sunshine!!

Right now, this is how Kelli and I feel…..
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People this is simply a quilting retreat.  It is not worth loosing your integrity over.  Be polite.  Be kind.  Be patient.  Be understanding.  We’re not trying to hurt anyone.  We’re not trying to exclude anyone.  Grant us the privacy and understanding we deserve.

All of this planning and emailing takes time.  Some people don’t respond right away.  Who knew a quilting retreat would be stressful to plan?  Last time was interesting but this time it’s been really bad.  We keep telling ourselves…just a few more days…just a few more days.

42 thoughts on “Latest.”

  1. Wow! Sorry this has been your experience, because I would imagine it is diminishing your joy in setting this up. The level of self-importance in people can be down-right astonishing. Hope life and this planning smooth out for you soon.

  2. You’ve made it clear how you feel and you’ve described how people are treating you. For your sake, I hope everyone thoughtfully considers how to conduct themselves going forward. And no, I’m not about to ask there is an opening for this retreat. I don’t have the money to travel beyond the end of the driveway but I have computer access so I can enjoy your wonderful stories about life and quilting. Thank you, Jo, for sharing your world with me.

  3. Dealing with the public is difficult most of the time. 31 years at the IRS gave me a lot of experience with all kinds of people. Bonnie Hunter has heard it all too. Every year I see a similar post from her about the mystery quilt and good grief she had a lot to deal with trying to send out books and rulers. She has tried everything to answer questions ahead of time and still has to deal with the “problem public”.

    Love your blog and you did clearly lay out the difficulties of setting up a retreat and what can come up in a normal family.

    However, just keep in mind the fantastic group of people that love to follow your blog and quilting and family life. We support you.

    ps thanks for the compliment. I got a long arm this year and am going to go to a retreat for that and the MQX show in Springfield. This will be the year of machine quilting instead of making more tops.

  4. I’m sorry to hear the retreat is causing you & Kelli so much stress. I can only hope that people will be more reasonable & that you and Kelli will be able to enjoy the retreat days instead of just being glad to have them over.

  5. I’m so sorry you are going through this. I know of people who have quit hosting quilting retreats because it just isn’t worth the hassle.

  6. I would like to say that I’m shocked by the rudeness you have experienced, but sadly I am not. I hope those who have been impatient will take stock of their behavior and act nice going forward. Wishing Kelli the best on her boards!

  7. Love you guys and your blog! I love how you share life…all of it! Your priorities are absolutely spot on! This reminds me of that old saying…you can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time! You can only do your best! I hope people back off!

  8. You’ve stated your position very well and you are 100% in the right. I doubt I would be as nice as you. I’d probably tell the people who keep calling and emailing that they drop further down the list with every contact they make.

    I wish you the best with your retreat and I hope you get a reprieve from the pushy, thoughtless people who seem to forget (or don’t care) that you have a family, a full-time job, and a life outside of quilting. Good luck!

  9. You have your priorities in order, strangers don’t. Take a deep breath, say a prayer, and then do the next thing which may be making a cup of tea, sitting down, and closing your eyes for a few minutes. I enjoy you blog posts and appreciate how much of you and your family you share with us plus the quilting.

  10. Catherine Stiele

    I attended your last retreat with a friend for four days, two with Bonnie Hunter. It was wonderful, this time I gave up my spot so someone else could enjoy a retreat. How many quilts do people expect to make. What happened to being nice and sharing. I learned that in kindergarten many years ago. Hang in there Jo and Kelli, this to will pass. Sending love!

  11. I could cry reading this… people can be so mean spirited… the antithesis of Bonnie. All you can do is do your best once life allows you the freedom to organize.

  12. I was very lucky to see Bonnie Hunter in Springfield MO. I was able to attend the trunk show. I was thrilled, my friend signed me up as a visitor. The cost was $10.00 . Yes I would of loved to do the class. But very thankful… and happy.

    Thanks for all you do.

  13. These certain people who demand such attention will definitely make you and Kelli think twice before planning another retreat. So very sorry.

  14. I am sorry that these quilters have been so rude and awful to you and your daughter, if They read your blog, they should know your lives have been going at full speed for quite awhile. They need to take a deep breath and let you girls handle it and it will get done. Quilters are on most part patient people , these that are being bad, need to step back and give you a chance. If you don’t get them in, then I say you are not losing anyone, but gaining those who give you the chance to get it set up right for others.

  15. So sorry this is happening. All people are impatient. It helps to make sure you have plenty of free time around the planning stages and give yourself lots of time to plan things. They always take more than you think they will! When unexpected things happen, find someone else to help relieve some of the burden. Also there is a way to manage expectations. If you say, “we’ll let you know next week – or xx date – then they know they have to wait until then. But you do have to deliver on that date or you will have lots of calls again.

  16. Thank you for all you do! I may never see Bonnie in person, I may never meet you in person, but I feel knowing you girls through your social media is enough for me! Quilting is only part of my life and yours, may you be granted a less stressful 2017 once the classes and participants are set.

  17. So sorry you are having such a hard time with some people. I’m sure most of them have no idea how much work you and Kelli have put into organizing this retreat and trying to insure everyone has a good time! They would never take on that kind of a task themselves. It’s only a small minority who feel the louder they are the sooner they will get what they want. Try to remember the many fans you have who support you and enjoy reading about you and your family! Reading your posts every morning and evening are a delightful part of my day. Thank you for all you do!

  18. It is so said that people think that it is okay to be rude! Hope this does not make you decide to never have another retreat! Your retreat is not something I would be able to attend, but for those who can I know that it is a real treat to get to meet you and your girls in person!

  19. Bless your heart, Jo. I am so sorry you and your family are experiencing this kind of behavior from people. Unfortunately, the “problem public”, will always be with us.
    You all hang in there!

  20. Gracious, bless your hearts! I hope that everyone pulls on their patience pants and takes a deep breath. You and Kelli have definitely taken the high road and I hope that others will do the same.

  21. I work in a middle school, so I deal with the self-focused mind daily. It astounds me that so many adults have sunk to this level of instant self-gratification. Please know that if there is anything I can do to help, I would be happy to. I hope those people read this post and recognize themselves and their bad behavior in it, but sadly, most people do not understand they are the problem. Here’s to some stress-relieving sewing in your immediate future, I hope.

  22. I’m sorry the impatience of people is making your week miserable. I think you’ve gone above and beyond taking the time to right all of this.

    Take a deep breath and take care of you and your family. Your priorities are in the right place. Hugs to you and yours.

    People… patient and kind.

  23. So sorry you are dealing with all of this. It does remind this jr high teacher why she retired when she did. I sent a couple of emails today, but just ignore them I am heading to Post Office tomorrow because we live too far apart. Hopefully, you can relax and get a good nights sleep.

  24. I am so sorry for what you are going through with the retreat……one of the letters was right about the disrespect and being rude…this is so not who Bonnie is or you and Kelli….I so appreciate all the planning and work that goes into a retreatI I am sad that you had to go through this with Carver sick and dealing with extra hours at work and dealing with the horrible ice storm we had…

  25. Wow. Just wow. I think the crazy self centered rude people need to be on the ” might cause problems do not allow to attend list”. I just don’t get people like that. I’ve been to a few retreats and there are always a few overly demanding people. I’m sorry they are invading your life.

  26. so – i have ten friends who want to come….. and we need seats near a window…… and because there’s ten of us we will get a discount, right? And, oh, we are all left handed, so we need left handed irons.. you have those, don’t you? (yes, just trying to make you laugh – )
    ….. from someone who once volunteered to plan a retreat… did it successfully… and someone said “next year I know a different location you might like to consider” – to which I said – you consider it – you run it… I have had my turn ! It’s a LOT of work. Hang in there!

  27. As a former college professor, I know how it is to have impatient people who do not read the rules. It’s quite frustrating, so I feel for you. Enails they’d send at 6 am and again at 7 when I hadn’t responded, etc. The word is out that there is a retreat with Bonnie Hunter and of course everyone wants in. The reality is, there is only so much space.

    You have your priorities straight. As you said, you have jobs and lives and family and situations like the ice storm to deal with. You’re doing a great job of giving people attention in the time available and taking it from there. Big hugs to you!

  28. Sorry to read that you are having to deal with such selfish inconsiderate people. They should be ashamed of themselves! My advice: if you get phone calls at home say ” Sorry, you appear to have the wrong number”. Only reply to emails as that was in the rules you set down. Answer those in the order in which they were sent. Good luck!

  29. This blogpost hurts my heart to read. Some people are so rude and insensitive. To actually phone you at home is totally unacceptable. Obviously, your personal life becomes before anything else and people should appreciate this. I agree with all your responses. However, there was a comment in regard to Ana which said “Ana had attended the retreat last time so she had first opportunity to come to this retreat”. As time with Bonnie, Kelli and yourself is so in demand, it might be worth thinking about give people who have never had the chance before to have first opportunity. That’s how my retreat organisers used to deal with their yearly retreats and it worked quite well. Hope things work out to be not to stressful for you and the family. Love to you and the girls and Carver, of course.

  30. Isn’t it odd, usually Quilters are the most giving, generous people. But looking beyond their behavior is that they really really love YOU, KELLI and BONNIE.

    Wishing the best of luck for Kelli, I know she will pass.

  31. Wow! All that commotion to go to a retreat?!! People need to relax. If they get in, they get in, if not, life goes on. They kind of sound like Packer fans to me. (Trust me, I know, I married one.)

    You keep your priorities where you have them, Jo. Good luck to Kelli:)

  32. Oh, my goodness, the rudeness is incredible in these folks. I want very much to come myself, but won’t even consider contacting you about it, because I know from personal experience how much planning and effort goes into these things and how much you have to put up with to get retreats ready. My day will come when I get to meet you both, until then I will be very content to “attend via my armchair and computer”. Sending a hug, and blessings to you all for your hard work and dedication.

  33. Angela Bartleman

    I am so very sorry :-( I am ashamed to admit I was one of those who sent more than one email and a Facebook message. I do understand life happens. I had no idea all this was going on and in no way intended to cause you further stress with my over exuberance. My goal was a selfish one as I have been very much looking forward to an opportunity to partake in a Bonnie Hunter retreat. But people are so much more important. You are right to be upset and I want to sincerely apologize for contributing to your stress.

    With Much Regret,

    Angela Bartleman

    1. No worries. We really aren’t mad. We were just pleading for a little patience as we were in over our head. It’s sometimes hard when we jump into things and don’t have a complete plan….part of the fault is our own. We were full put have now gotten a few cancellations so are working our way through filling those too. The hardest part will be over soon.

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