Thursday, January 13, 2011

Seeing Clearly…



Hello, dear friends!

Oh, what a beautiful day it is today!  The sun is shining, the birds are hopping and chirping outside my kitchen window…if it wasn’t sooo cold outside, you’d think it was spring!

Yesterday morning, I was absolutely enchanted by a bunch of sweet baby birdies just outside my window in my climbing rose bush…the bush seemingly alive with all these little things…I tried to capture them on film as they played and sang…but it just didn’t work!

But, it inspired one of my projects for the day…


Another page for my heritage album…capturing just a moment…sweet birdies reminding me of another songbird that I love…

Estella Stapley

My great-grandmother, Estella…a woman blessed with a beautiful voice and a beautiful soul…

Orley Glenn & Estella Stapley younger

I felt bad cutting her sweetheart out of the picture, but this particular image of her seemed just perfect for my page…


The beautiful Deco-style lady in the window comes from a new image available soon from Crafty Secrets’ on their “Designing with Vintage” CD…


…and one of Emily Dickinson’s lovely poems…”The Robin”…


A sweet little song to go with my page…remembered by my mother.  I think I’ll write it on the back…Estella used to sing this, as did her daughter Velda and my mother Karen…

“Birdy with the yellow bill

Hopped up on my windowsill,

Cocked his shiny eye and said,

     ‘Ain’t you ‘shamed you sleepyhead?’”

I think maybe tomorrow morning, I’ll be waking my girls up this way….(do you think a couple of teenagers would appreciate that very much?!)

Another project with the Vintage Valentine Kit from Vintage Street Market…as I looked through the packet, trying to come up with an idea, this happy little vintage Valentine…


…reminded me of someone I was never able to meet…

Her sweet expression and blond curls reminded me of my mother’s little sister, Judy…

Judith Lynn Ostlund, Fall 1954, 3.5 yrs old

…and what a surprise when I opened that lovely little vintage Valentine to read the sentiment inside…


…an adorable little poem…and it was signed by…


Born in 1951, a child for “whom we had been longing for quite a few years”, wrote her mother Velda.  Much younger than my mother and her brother, Glenn…a prayer answered, and a joy added to their family.

Karen & baby sister Judy Ostlund, Oct. 1951 (My mother, Karen with Judy)

However, just before she was  3 years old, they began to be concerned about her eyes… “Nothing to worry about”, assured their doctor.

After some time, and continued worries, a specialist was consulted…cancer in her eyes…and blindness.

A nightmare period of time for the family…long trips to specialists…surgeries, x-rays…the removal of one eye.

Yet, the family remained faithful, happy even…Life was meant to be enjoyed…family time was precious.

FAM_110_12_01--Ostlunds, 1955

  Even without her sight, Judy was filled with joy.  She loved everything around her—especially nature and animals.  She loved nothing more than cradling a baby chick or a puppy in her arms…feeling their soft feather or fur…memorizing each little detail…so that she could “see” them…and her family tried very hard to give her every opportunity for these experiences…

DSC00588_edited-1 (All items on layout, except photo of Judy, are part of Vintage Street Market’s “Vintage Valentine Kit")

Much wiser than her years, she loved “observing” people in her way…

”A laugh”, she said, “is like the ripple of a stream when you are really happy; but when you’re not, it sounds just like the wind blowing through a dry cornfield.”


“Trying to get someone to do something he doesn’t really want to do, is just like trying to pull bricks out of a wall with nothing but your bare fingers!”


“People say I’m blind, but they can only see to the wall…I can see to the ocean if I want to!”


A life so sweet…but not meant to last long.  Here for just seven short years…but how many things did she teach her family? And what an inspiration to me—so many years later--to really SEE the things around me…

Judith Lynn Ostlund portrait, June 1958

I will take more time today to watch the birdies outside my window…I will marvel at the sunrise and the sunset even more than I already do. 

When I pick up my daughters from school today, I will gaze at their freckles and pay attention to the sun highlighting all the different colors in their beautiful, long hair.  I will look more deeply into my husband’s kind blue eyes…


Thank-you, my sweet Aunt Judy, for reminding me to see things a little more clearly today.




  1. Hi Julie, tears in my eyes as I read your beautiful tribute to Judy... how precious she left your family with so many wonderful blessings in her little short life here on earth...xoxo Julie Marie

  2. what a bittersweet story about little judy. what a precious little girl!
    so beautifully written, julie.

    sending blue skies your way.

  3. Such a beautiful post Julie!
    Hugs Hanne

  4. What a loving tribute to your Aunt Judy. ..."People say I'm blind...I can see all the way to the ocean if I want to". Priceless! You have such a wonderful way with words Julie. Your heritage pages are so respectful and the love you feel for your family can be easily felt by your readers. Thanks you for sharing these personal memories and reminding us to stop and see the beauty of every day.

  5. Oh Julie, you've made me cry. Judy sounds like a wonderful little girl, what a beautiful tribute.

  6. how unusual that the little card was signed by Judy.
    What a nice message.
    Thank you
    Cari B.

  7. Thanks for sharing about two very beautiful ladies...very tender! :D

  8. I adore your blog more and more with each new post! Thank you for the inspiration! Xoxoxo

  9. Hi Julie,

    What a beautiful, sentimental posting. The name Estella caught my attention...that was my maternal grandmothers first name. Estella LeSuere Wakefield, and I've always been enchanted with it. Thank you for sharing such precious memories with us all. Have a wonderful rest of the week.


  10. Julie,
    I am sitting here with tears streaming.....what a loving tribute to a loved one......:)

  11. she was so wise for her age. she was a beautiful girl. sweet card.

  12. What inspirational and wise words from someone so young. What a wonderful tribute to her.


  13. Hi Julie,
    What a heartfelt story. What a blessing she must have been and continue to be in their lives. This was a great post. I think the Lord knew you needed that old Valentine.

  14. Julie,
    That was such a beautiful post. Judy was a gift to her family, though she had such a short life. What I always find so amazing is the way your family passes on all of these beautiful stories. Each person is remembered so well. It really gives each one the gift of immortality for their story always lives on.

    We are at Stanford now. We just got here yesterday and Jud had a day of procedures. This weekend we are going up north to see friends. We'll come back for some more scans and then we are going to Mesa for ten days. Then back to Stanford and five days of radiation. Quite exhausting! We hope he will be able to get to the point where he can have surgery. Then we will need to decide whether he is to have it here or Minneapolis. Advantages of both. That would make for a very long stay. Perhaps even moving down for a couple of months. I do hope we can get together when things settle down a bit. Right now they are pretty chaotic!

    Big hugs,

  15. Good morning sweet Julie! What a beautiful post. And you are right, my poem sort of does reflect your very thoughts on this day. Lovely indeed! Judy was such an introspective young lady. How marvelous that she remains such an inspiration to this day. Truly each life has purpose and meaning. When we see and hear, the message is clear. Best wishes to you for another beautiful day. Blessings, Tammy

  16. hi Julie, wonderful tribute to your aunt Judy! such a short but obviously precious life.. and how sweet that even in never meeting you, she has left a spark to make your life sweeter today!

  17. Such sweet, heartfelt tributes to your family members lovingly displayed on your beautiful pages. Thank you for sharing, Julie!

  18. I got all choked up as I read about your sweet Aunt Judy. You always write such touching posts, Julie. She was wise way beyond her young years....Your pages are so, sooo beautiful!!! Have a really lovely day today, Sweetie! xoxo Paulette :D

  19. What a lovely, bittersweet post. You brought me to tears with your story of your Aunt Judy. I always enjoy reading about your family history.

  20. this is such a lovely moving most

    thank your for sharing your stories and beautiful work with us

    warmest hugs

    millie xxx

  21. Oh Julie, what a precious post! Pulled at my heart~strings. LOVE the card!!!!!


  22. Oh wow, Julie,
    These are all exquisite!!!! Your work is beyond comprehension...I love it all!!!!

  23. Julie, what a lovely layout to honor Judy.....the vintage card and her photo and all the other touches on the layout make up a gorgeous tribute! How inspiring to read your words, inspired by the grace and wisdom of a little girl from long ago, and inspired by your artwork and ability to take lessons from your past and apply them to today.
    Thanks so much for sharing. Be blessed.

  24. Wow that gave me chills when you read the name on the card, and what beautiful inspiration, the love from family is priceless. I do love your creation it looks perfect oxox, Diane

  25. Your projects are always so lovely and what a truly moving story about your Aunt Judy. Even though she was very young when she died, clearly she was very wise and brought so much love into the world during her short time on earth! I'm sure the card which bears her name is her way of saying, I'm still here watching over all of you!


  26. Angels live among us for such a short time, but their memory lasts a lifetime. What a beautiful tribute to such a beautiful little girl. Thank you again for sharing your wonderful family with us. Elizabeth

  27. Your aunt was born the same year as me.
    amazing what she SAW without being able to see.

    we miss out on a lot of things because we don't open our hearts and minds to the things around us. we don't take advantage of all our senses.

    we certainly have not little birdies around here right now...other then ravens and crows....they don't want to fluff their little feathers here until the Freeze leaves a little.
    I am so tired of winter already.

  28. What a sweet tribute to your family. Julie, you always express your love for those close to you in such memorable ways. I wish I had your talents with words and crafts. What beautiful creations you make!!
    Hugs to a dear person.
    Ladybug Creek

  29. Sometimes people live to be 90 and never inspire anyone. Sounds like your Aunt Judy is an inspiration even though her life was so short. Beautiful post, Julie. Mimi

  30. Judy was taken far to young from her family, but was well beyond her years but what joy she must have brought to everyone she met.
    Two darling pieces from you Julie, you are so inspiring as well!

  31. Yep. I AM SOBBING!! As always your posts are full of talent and feeling. They are wonderful to read, and touch the heart. This one included a great lesson as well!

  32. Beautiful projects as ever Julie and those are some big thoughts for a seven year old - what a special girl your Judy must have been and what a lovely way to pay tribute to her. Enjoy your weekend!

  33. Julie, what a hauntingly
    sweet story.....Such a
    wise soul for such a young
    girl. What a terrible loss
    for your mom's family, but
    like you said, she truly
    blessed them with her gift
    of SEEING. I always love
    the magical way you weave
    your family history with your
    crafting business....It certainly
    shows how you work from the
    heart. Big hugs, today, from me!
    xx Suzanne

  34. Hi Julie,
    I have to say that the story about your aunt is so amazing...Can you believe what she said about seeing a wall vs. seeing a beach? She was blessed with a beautiful spirit of life.

    By they way, I've always thought your profile pic is gorgeous! It looks like a modeling picture!

  35. You my friend always amaze me..your posts are always filled with so much love. All I can say is what an amazing family you have...your Aunt's story was truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing with us over and over again your amazing family...I wish I knew more about mine.

    Thank you for your sweet comments made my day!!!
    Weekend hugs.

  36. julie i am always inspired by the sweet stories you share- this is a beautiful post. such a short life, but what a sweet blessing to each of us who have read this story- something i'm sure each of us will keep in our hearts for a very long time.

  37. That's quite an amazing story, Julie. Always love to soak up your family sweetness!
    Have a wonderful weekend, stay cozy and warm, my friend xxx

  38. WOW. Cancer of the eyes....but you know, people like this are an inspiration who dare to fight back....not even cancer can destroy the spirit and the WILL to SEE!!!! Julie, this was stunning. Praise God and thank YOU for such true wonder and thank you for visiting kind.

    Have a lovely and perfect day!!!! Anita

  39. Thanks for stopping by... I had never thought of eye cancer before... especially not in children... what beautiful memories you all have of such a golden child.... her words were indeed wise and inspirational!

  40. What an interesting and inspiring story! Thanks for sharing it with us. A wise little girl was she.

  41. Hi Julie, what a wonderful tribute to your Aunt Judy, I had tears in my eyes as I was reading this.... Judy was truly an inspiration to others, and thank you for sharing this with us!!!
    Blessings~~~ Daphne