Monday, March 28, 2011

Turn Your Heart…


A beautiful face looking up at me from the table…a face I’ve always loved, but haven’t known as much about as I should….

Mary Jane Robinson West1

I don’t have many photos of my great-great grandmother Mary Jane, but I do have snippets of her writing, letters, and her life story as carefully kept by her daughter—my great-grandmother—Mary.

Mary Jane Robinson West was born in the back of a covered wagon in 1848 as her family made it’s way west…can you imagine?!  What a dramatic beginning to an eventful life!

{image found online}

Glimmers of insight into a beautiful soul taken from a few saved letters to loved ones:


“I am sure, dear John, that we grow through trial’s losses and disappointments…Your children love and pray for you.  Everyone sends blessings, and remember, we do have many.” (Written to her husband, far away on business, on the sudden death of his brother…killed by Indians.)

{image found online}

In a letter to her father:

“I often wonder if you can appreciate each other as much as I, who have been so much away from all of you.  Our family gatherings are so beautiful—such a feeling of true love characterizes everything about them…no one could know the feelings which I experienced that (last night we were together).  They were engraved upon my heart and can never be erased…”


It’s amazing what happens when you turn your heart towards someone you’re connected to…you find and understand things that you never have before…

A sweet poem written by the new bride Mary Jane that I’d never before seen…

{image found online}

My Home
I’d have my home a bright, bright spot
Where the strife of life would be forgot.
Where hearts should grow more strong and fair,
In thoughtfulness for beauty there.

I’d have surroundings pure and bright
Flowers with all their sweet delight
And singing birds and waving trees
No home’s complete without all these.

And in this pleasant house of mine,
Love, hope and peace should ever shine.
Love in the dear hearts sheltered there
Hope and peace in the whole glad air.
                                                     --Nov. 15, 1865

I’m happy to say, from all I’ve heard and seen, she created a home just like the one she dreamed of…


So many things about a life to share…much to much for one post on one day…

A new page for my heritage scrapbook made yesterday…


Just a few elements of a life beautifully lived…wish I knew more, but so grateful for what I do know about Mary Jane…


…one thing I know for certain is that she felt the same way I do about our family…a little line found in a letter to her family towards the end of her life…

“I am anxious that my mother’s posterity may know their…duty.  I want my children and my children’ children to accept this obligation…To search honestly and generously (for their ancestors), that there will truly be not one broken line.”

DSC01916_edited-1 {close-up of copy of above letter, typed in a beautiful vintage-style font…}

I’m trying, Mary Jane…

Turn your heart towards someone you love…you will be amazed at what you will find.



{Beautiful floral images, Crafty Secrets’ new “Love Mail” Creative Scraps; seam binding and homemade rosettes colored with “Cherub Pink” and “Creme de Cocoa” Glimmer Mist; vintage key from Tim Holtz collection; vintage mother-of-pearl buttons, lace, typed sentiments}


  1. Hi Julie... what a beautiful, heartwarming post about Mary Jane... such a pretty lady!... and how blessed you are to have some little snippets of things to help you become even closer to her... her poem is beautiful!... and that is exactly how I want my home to be... what an inspiring lady!... love the heritage page you created just for her... xoxo Julie Marie

  2. I loved this post Julie...isn't it so wonderful how our hearts are tied to our ancestors and they to that! ;D

  3. Precious Julie, what a TREASURE to not only have such a beautiful photo, but the LETTERS and personal thoughts of your family! How wonderful; I have many photos but no letters from my family...I need to do something special, however, with the plethora of images of my grandmother. Thank you for stopping by today; it means so much to me that people comment! Have a magnificent weekend! Anita

  4. What a wonderful picture and information. I have been doing some genealogy searching and it is hard to find some of the history. Only have one Aunt left, rest of family is gone. Have pictures but no one to tell me who they are. My parents wrote back and forth several different times and I have those letters, makes you realize how important the written word is. Thank you for all your sharing and wonderful, creative ideas.

  5. Julie my friend, you are blessed with so many family treasures and how sweet you are to share them with us!! Another wonderful posting!!! Thanks!
    Hope you are doing well and having a wonderful weekend!!

  6. You are so blessed to have glimpses of your wonderful family through pictures and letters... What precious gifts that you have.

    Have a great weekend.

  7. That's another beautiful post, Julie! I don't think that there are a lot of people who know as much of their ancestors like you do, much less have so many pictures, letters etc. I'm sure Mary would be very proud of you that you carry on that tradition.
    Have a lovely Sunday!
    Hugs to you,

  8. What an inspiring post. I especially love her poem. She sounds an amazing woman.

  9. sometimes when I visit you I dont even know what to say. I love your postings and the heritage book you are creating. You are so very lucky to have the photos, letters and stories that you have. I loved the snippets from the letters. We do have a tendency to forget our long past ancestors. I once gave my grandmother a book I had bought for her to fill in blanks about her life and her family, but she never wrote in it!! I wish she would have. anyways.. thank you for another great post!
    happy sunday

  10. Julie, No doubt you have made Jane very proud to continue and share your family heritage.

    Born in the back of a covered wagon, Family member killed by Indians wow, what family history you have!
    have a lovely Sunday!
    Hugs Lynn

  11. This is such a beautiful post.
    Lynne M

  12. What a beautiful story of your great-great grandmother. She lived an amazing life and left behind such a rich legacy. Thank you so much for sharing her story with us.
    Cheryl at My Sister's Cottage

  13. How lovely is this my sweet friend...I love to hear stories about your family...makes me wonder about my know I have a old photo of her ...she looks just like my mom. Hugs and love today. xoxox

  14. Another beautiful page for your album and you're very lucky to have even a few letters and mementos from somebody so many generations back and from a time when lives were lived very differently! Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

  15. Dear Julie, thank you for your kind message today. Your beautiful post truly speaks to me. How amazing your family is that all those many years ago, they took the time to record their thoughts, hopes and dreams and those messages from the past have been treasured until this very moment in time. Amazing! Blessings, we do have many. I realized with my aunt's passing that tomorrow is not guaranteed. We can't wait to do what can be done today. Blessings to you and yours! Tammy

  16. Wow, Julie, what an amazing post! And so awesome that you have created art from these precious family memories--how do you make such perfect creations every time? AMAZING!

  17. Lovely post. It's nice that you're keeping your great-great grandmother's spirit alive. The snippets from her writing are beautiful. It's sad we don't have time to write real letters anymore. Who's going to be saving all those emails for future generations to learn more about us???

  18. Hi Julie,
    I so enjoyed your post! What a DEAR story of your G G Grandma who was sooo pretty (like yourself) ;-)
    I just loved her poem.
    What a great heritage scrap-page :-)
    Blessings, Linnie

  19. Julie I am blow away by this. I think you are certainly a lot like her in many ways. My great grandma was already in CA by 1848 I wonder where yours were heading was it CA?

  20. Hi Julie,
    I wrote something on my blog about art and if you get a chance, I hope you can come and see it..I'd love your feedback!

  21. Julie your so blessed to have even a small amount of history straight from your GG Grandmother and what wonderful precious letters you have. I am the first in our family to keep a journal and I often write noted for my prosperity and I think i should leave another about keeping journals so we know more I would long for journals letters etc from past family members to know more how they lived in this world. thank you for sharing and this is a lovely page you have created

    love Dawn xx

  22. Julie, I love the heritage page you made- it is beautifull,as all you do are,-dear.
    And the history of your family, so very well saved and remembered in your mind-and hands.

  23. How wonderful to have your great-great grandmother's own words, expressing her ideas and feelings! Photos are all very well, but they don't tell you about what your ancestors thought and dreamed.

    I love your scrapbooking page...

    Off to add you to my blogroll!

  24. Julie, what a wonderful way to honor such a women. The page is as beautiful as the poem.

  25. WOW! Imagine giving birth in the back of a covered wagon???!!!! Brother killed by Indians??!! Wonder what was going on around that precious little wagon the day that Mary Jane was born??

    I so love to read the stories you share about your fascinating long ago family! Having your Heritage Album full of such stories and photos certainly "ever shines" the love, hope and peace!

  26. Love your post! So heartwarming, your great grandparents story is like reading or watching a good film that's gonna live up for ages.

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  27. I love your post. So heartwarming, your great grandparents story is like reading or watching a good film that's gonna live up for ages.

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  28. What an amazing legacy you have! The last paragraph could have been written in "Little Woman". You come from a line of talented females. A whole famile of "She-ro's"!!

  29. What a beautiful post Julie. Oh how blessed you are to have these wonderful things as your legacy. I am sure your ancestors are so proud of what you are doing with them. What a beautiful page for your heritage scrapbook! wonderful, just wonderful. You never cease to amaze me with your talents and your knowledge of your family history. Love and hugs coming your way on this windy sunny afternoon! xxoo