Monday, September 5, 2011

Guardian Angels

I don’t remember when it started, but my family has had this tradition for a very L-O-N-G time…

When we are leaving for a vacation by car—or when a family member is leaving to head back home—we pick a perfect rosebud and place it on the dashboard of the car for good luck and safety on the road.

All around the country…wherever little branches of our family are…this is what we do.

In the early morning of the day we left for our trip to my parents’ house in June, I picked one such rose—slightly opened, and extremely fragrant—to see us safely on our way (along with a heavy dose of  prayer, of course!)

We’ll leave the rose on the dashboard for a while…



{The sweet angelic image for my card can be found on Crafty Secrets’ “Little Blessings” Creative Scraps.  The beautiful printed paper is from their new “Creating with Vintage Patterns” CD}


Just a few days after our arrival in Utah, we headed south for northern Arizona—a big family reunion to attend…

We stopped along the way for a break near the little town of Beaver.  Nothing very remarkable about Beaver, except for the fact that in that little place is a spot I’ve always wanted to visit…

Louisa B. Pratt with granddaughter Ida Francis Hunt

My fourth great-grandmother, Louisa lived a great part of her later life in this little town…it was here that her granddaughter (pictured above with her), my 2nd great-grandmother, Ida, would come to spend time with her…

…and it was here that she passed away and is buried.

Louisa Barnes Pratt_edited-1 {Louisa Barnes Pratt, 1850’s}

Louisa is very special to me.  She inspires me.  The words she left for me in her journal come into my mind when I need them most.  She has helped me get through some pretty tough times…and I expect she always will…

She was a woman with a great sense of humor…a woman of great faith…a woman of great courage…a woman of great wisdom…and I love her.


To me, she has always been one of my guardian angels.  No wings…no harp…just a loving guardian of those she has reason to be concerned for…her family.

 Louisa Barnes Pratt

Being the only cemetery in the town, we knew we would find her here…

As soon as we parked the car, I picked a direction and headed out into the grassy plots…and walked right to her grave.


This is not her original headstone…we were to find later that weekend that the original had been badly broken and had been replaced some time ago…


We sat on the ground around her…told her we loved her….I told our girls some of my favorite stories about her…and then it was time to go……………..


As the others walked away, I needed just another minute or two with Louisa by myself…


Shoes removed, I wanted to feel just a little bit  closer to this amazing woman…



As I headed back toward the car, I regretted not having any flowers to leave on this too-long neglected grave…

…and then I remembered….

I ran to the car, took the perfectly dried rose from our home off of the dashboard, and ran back to Louisa…


…a humble offering, to be sure…but one from home.  One given with love.


During the rest of our trip, I often looked at the place where our travel rose always rested, now left bare...

I like to think that I traded the rose for something much better…our very own, very watchful, very loving guardian angel…

Vintage Angel



  1. Oh Julie, this really is my favorite post of yours yet!... lovely Louisa, your guardian angel for sure... and how wonderful you walked right to her grave, and told your children stories about her... I also love that you spent quiet moments alone with her.. and I just knew you were going to write that you left her the pretty rose from your home... I would have done the very same thing... much love to you, Louisa sounds like such a beautiful lady inside and out... xoxo Julie Marie

  2. Just arrived at you blog. Oh my, do I love your art and creative mind! I'll be watching this blog closely, thank you for giving us so much of your time and mind.
    Hugs from Marina

    Please visit my kreative Blog too and enjoy!

  3. What a sweet story and lucky to share your memories with your family.
    Enjoy your weekend!!
    Suzann ~xoxo~

  4. Hi Julie,

    What a lovely memory you have had and have now added to. I really like sweet people like you, we definitely need meet, I always try to have good, honest, sweet people in my life. Life is so much more bearable when you've got friends like you.......stress levels just wash away.

    Here's to the future when we can play with crafts together.


  5. Hi Julie I just found your blog and I love it. What a sweet story about your 4 great grandmother Lousia. I love stories like that. Her pictures are beautiful. I am your newest follower hope you will stop by and visit me at my blog.

  6. Oh Julie, the rose was used for two sweet purposes! I love that tradition. A sweet and endearing one indeed. Love ya, Maryjane

  7. Hi Julie,
    I always enjoy your wonderful family stories. So heartwarming. I love your adorable card too. I just ordered the CD. I can't wait to get it! :)
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  8. What a sweet story, Julie . . . loved this post! My great-grandmother's last name was Pratt, too.

  9. I just discovered your blog- I love it!!!
    This was such a wonderful post!!!
    I love how your family places a rose on the dashboard of the car before a trip for good luck & safe travels.
    Very moving post!!!!

  10. Julie, I alwayes love visiting-with or without comments- but this post is such a special and beautiful one ,you made us readers, also feel the love and beauty in what happened on this lovely graveplace.
    Hugs to you.

  11. Another beautiful post Julie. I love all the stories you share with us about your family and reading about your own family and the traditions you keep. We always pray before we go anywhere as well. I always feel much better if we do. Love your newest creation as always. You are a true talent. Love and hugs from a cool but sunny England! xxoo

  12. the way you can tell the stories of your heartfelt! What a great tradition using the rose on the dashboard. Have a beautiful weekend!

  13. Gosh Julie... you are such a remarkable woman. I dont know why really, but this post brought some tears to my eyes. I love the connection and the love you have for your ansestors long passed. family that you never got to meet that you know so much about. I know I say it everytime I leave a comment here, but your future generations will be so lucky to have so much information about their ansestors!
    OH, and I love the rose idea! you are a special person Julie!
    I hope you have a great weekend.

  14. What a beuatiful post, and so wonderful to be able to connect with such long ago members of your family :D


    I have so many pictures of my grandmother, great grandmother, uncles...and my cousin even has a picture of my grandfather being held by a relative of the BOURBON line from Spain...I gotta get that photo!!!!

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR WELL WISHES....and best wishes to your DAUGHTER IN HER TEACHING CAREER! Lots of work...woooooo! LOTS and lots, but the kids are the best part.

    ENJOY! Anita

  16. LOVELY post Julie, magical and heart-warming. That is a tradition that I may have to implement too......
    Have a wonderful Sunday.
    Karen @ Lavender and Lovage

  17. Julie I love this story it's just beautiful and you had me hanging on there and the rose at the end was so sweet. Thanks for sharing. Nan

  18. What a lovely story Julie and it just made me think how important it is to write down our thoughts and hopes - they are the link to our past and will mean so such to members of our family in the future. Louisa sounds like a very special lady.

  19. There you go again, Julie -- bringing tears to my eyes with your wonderful memories and stories. The thought of you running back with the dried rose to place on the grave of your very great grandmother, and the way you've tied this story together from beginning to end, is just beautiful and magical. I'm telling you girl, you should write a book -- filled with your family history, stories, journal writings, cards and photos. I'd be first in line to buy it. Have a great new week. :) Best wishes, Tammy

  20. Okay, this one brought tears to my eyes. I have had the opportunity in the last couple of years to visit some gravesites of some of my ancestors, and get to know them better through journals and writings. I have also had the amazing opportunity to take some of those names to the Temple. I love your post so much! Yes, that is Julie Harward in the picture. Her daughter is married to my son, and they are a wonderful little family. Having just given birth insisted on not having any pictures of herself in any of those pictures, because she knows that her mom and I are avid bloggers! lol Take care and have a wonderful Sabbath. I am home today, because I contracted a bug from all those grandkids.

  21. What a lovely story, and I loved your tradition with the rose. Beautiful.

    Have a great week.

    Hugs Bente

  22. YOU are our rose, Julie. Love the photo of your girls sitting very comfortably on Louisa's grave site. Even more, the one with your little painted toes on the head stone.

  23. Oh gosh, Julie, what a beautiful story...and such an amazing family tradition about the rose on the dashboard...Sending big (((hugs))) your way and oh my goodness, I'm so glad that the storm went a different way!!

  24. I just love to read the touching tales of your family...then and now. You have an amazing way of bringing them to life through your words and pictures. You honor them in so many ways.

  25. Julie,
    You touch my heart to the very core, my friend. Thank you for sharing of yourself so deeply and sincerely.

  26. Julie, I am impressed by you on so many levels. Your love of family, history and the wonderful tradition of the rose. You should have a family crest made with the rose in it. The thought of having a journal just thrills me for you! How wonderful to have that with you.

    I found a trip diary my grandmother Lilly wrote on a family trip once but that's really all I have. I too have found inspiration from my grandmother Lilly, thus, Lilly's Lace. She would sew, garden, quilt and many things I wish I had paid more attention to. I miss her so much, and regret not spending more time with her. Thank you for your post, I will always check back with you! xoxo-cindy

  27. Julie, this is such a beautiful post, filled with wonderful sentiment and love.

  28. Julie, this was such a beautiful post, it brought tears to my eyes. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!!
    hugs~~~ Daphne

  29. Julie, what a precious story! I love that you stood barefoot on Louisa's grave to feel closer to her! And what a charming tradition to place the rose on the dash... & you left it with her. Great post my friend! I miss you stopping by. Come see me! Are you glad to have the girls back in school? More time to yourself? HUGS!

  30. Aloha Julie,
    What a wonderful tradition your family has started! I always enjoy your post, this one is no exception; just pulls at the heartstrings.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  31. Julie you really have a gift for sharing stories!

  32. Julie
    what a beautiful tribute and tradition! I always love reading your stories you share here and of course about your ancestors. Have a wonderful week!

  33. Oh my how sweet are you! What a lovely make my heart sing my friend. Hugs to you. xoxox

  34. Julie what a lovely vacation to share with your daughters. You keep all your loved ones ever present for them and for us as well. What a gift you are! Elizabeth

  35. Long time no visit I know Julie, but the eyes are behaving today so thought I would have a little blog hop.

    It is always so inspirational coming here and this post does not dissapoint, lovely to read adn thank you for sharing.

    B x

  36. Loving the idea
    that someone from
    the past could
    encourage future
    generations with
    beautiful, Julie,
    and I can feel how
    much that connection
    has meant to you.
    xx Suzanne

  37. Julie, I had tears in my eyes reading this about Louisa. You have the most beautiful family. Twyla

  38. Such a beautiful post. I think you struck a chord here, judging from all the lovely comments. I've always loved roses, and will now be placing one on my dashboard - many thanks!

  39. Beautiful card, love the sweet image and great border with buttons. Your story to go with it is very sweet too :)