Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sweet Encouragement


Some stories aren’t always happy…but that doesn’t make them any less sweet…perhaps it makes them even sweeter…

This is just a little story, but a story that shows the beautiful character of a beautiful young man…

The Dow Ostlund Family {the Ostlund Family, late 1950s}

My parents’ families were friends for years…they lived near each other, attended church together, enjoyed each others’ company from time to time…

Rudger & LaPriel Smith Family {the Smith Family, early 1950s}

One night, two years before my parents were married, the two families got together for an fun evening.  Clayn  (my future father) was away from home at the time, but my dad’s older brother Grant was there, as was my mom’s younger sister, Judy…this is their little story…


Judy was blind.  She had been since she was 3 years old.  Not only was she blind, but cancer was very present in the sweet little girl as well.  None of this stopped her.  She was filled with the joy of living—and a lot of sass and imagination…

…Grant knew this.  He was much older than Judy—about 22 years old at this time—a strong, handsome young man…but most of all, a kind one.  The type that, even though he was popular with all and could dance with anyone he chose, would always ask the “wallflowers” to dance, took the time to write loving letters to his grandmothers…cherished his parents…that kind of young man.

Grant's Missionary portrait, 1956  1_edited-1 {Grant, aged 20-21 in this photo}

And the kind of young man that would take the time to encourage a 6-year-old girl.

Judy could play the piano, but this night, when her parents asked her to play for the Smith family, she refused…

“I CAN’T play the piano”, she said… “I’m a horse—horses don’t play the piano!”

DSC08177_edited-1 {charming, vintage Bakelite pin…image found online.  This is something Judy would have loved…}

Without hesitation, Grant said kindly, “I knew a horse that could play the piano…but he was a special horse—not an ordinary horse like you.”

Judy thought for a second, then snorted, shook her ponytail, and trotted across the room like a horse…straight to the piano, where she proceeded to play her memorized pieces for the families.

Judy at the piano 1950s_edited-1 {Judy playing her songs at the piano…the very same piano that we play in my house today…}

Just a little thing, but a cherished memory to hold on to…

You see, Grant was killed in an auto accident the very next day.   Judy would only live one year longer…

DSC08171_edited-1 {a new page made this week for my family storybook…simple and sweet, just like they were…}

A sad story, a sweet story…a story of encouragement to play—not just the piano, but to have fun in life…and encourage others to do the same.

See you soon with something new…



  1. Thank you for sharing such a heart-warming story. I love how you share your family stories in little vignettes...many with a point or "ah-ha" moment. Very effective and very moving.

  2. what a bitter sweet story. so sad that two precious lives were sooo short. But you know they are probably close heavenly friends! He probably was right there to greet her when she arrived. How lucky that you know these stories about your family and are able to share them in such an artistic and talented way.
    have a great weekend Julie!

  3. I loved your story both the bitter and the sweet.
    You are an amazing story teller thanks for sharing your memories!!


  4. Oh Julie, I think your sad and sweet story gives me the chills...just a beautiful moment in life. :)

  5. That is such a special story that I feel so privileged to have shared with you.
    I believe that Grant, being such a special person possibly went on ahead in order to be there for Judy....

    You have such a talent for writing Julie. I really enjoy my visits and can't wait for the next post :D

  6. Perfect---kaos-123

  7. wow, what a touching story Julie. I love the way you have presented it to us. I love reading all of your family stories. I find them so very amazing and interesting. I hope you never run out of things to share with us. I love the page you have created as well. xxoo

  8. Oh Julie, what a touching story and beautiful tribute page for your scrapbook.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  9. A truly beautiful story and you are so talented with making the scrap book pages. I need to put away my sewing in my craft room someday and get out the scrap books to work on as you inspire me so.

  10. This story made me a little teary today - what sweet people they both were!!
    I hope you have a relaxing weekend with your girls!!

  11. What a beautiful post! SO sweet .
    Hugs & have a pretty day!

  12. This story is tragic
    and YET BEAUTIFUL..all at the same time.
    It made me want to sit and think of these two people...whose lives were very much intwined
    and meaningful

    and to think you have this very piano in your home. How truly wonderful is that.

  13. OMG. Please, please, work on this post so that it could be made into a published story. This is an absolutely touching story and beautifully written, with just enough detail left out to make the reader just love these two people for the pure souls they may have I am really impressed with their story, and you dear one...thank you for your kind words to me and your visit. Oh blogging is so special!!! Anita

  14. I agree with Anita, this story should be published. "Guideposts" magazine would surely be interested! Check them out and see if you can submit.

    I had chills when I was reading your true story. Such an uplifting story of kindness and love! Wonderful!
    Thank you Julie!

  15. Amazing how just the right words at the right time can change things in an instant. Though a small gesture at that time,the kindness of a gentle man and a playful little girl still echos for generations! Thank you for inspiring us with your family's enduring legacy. It may have started out a small thing. But their loving kindness never ends!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I love, love, love to hear from you!

  16. what a sweet story... you never know when you are entertaining angels :)
    thank you so much for sharing... those two blessed people were sent for a purpose.. to show kindness... and love... and im sure the lives they have touched... were truly ones that will always remember them.
    big hugs have a great sunday :)
    lynn l

  17. What a beautiful and touching story. One that will now live on for your family for years to come.

    Wishing you a wonderful week.

  18. Oh yes..what a sweet story my friend. I am always so happy that i have come to visit you..I always leave with a little smile on my face. May your week be blessed! xoxoxo

  19. Beautiful story so beautifully told. I have never heard this one before. Your blog is so amazing Jules. It teaches us so much about family that we would never have known otherwise. I love your creativity mixed with beautiful information about those we love.
    Love you dear sister.