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…


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Memories of Home

image  {image found online}

My Boyhood Home

The home of my boyhood, the place of my birth

It is dearer to me then all others on earth

Its charms are still with me wherever I roam

I’ll never forget my own boyhood home.

image {Julia Ellis Hills Johnson, my 4th great-grandmother}

My dear loving mother, she watched o’er my youth

And taught me the lessons of honor and truth.

Her voice, in my fancy, in accents so low

Is whispering to me wherever I go.

image {Ezekiel Johnson, my 4th great-grandfather}

The voice of my father still sounds in my ear’;

The laugh of my brothers and sisters so dear.

The cow bell’s jingle; the old dinner horn.

The crow of the cock to awake us each morn.

image {image found online}

The hoot of the owl, the lone whip-poor-will

At evening we heard from the woodland and hill,

They still ring in my ears tho long years have past

Since I saw the dear home of my infancy last.

image {image found online}

Altho many a mile have I wandered away,

My body grown feeble, my hair turning gray;

Yet the happy scenes linger; I dream of them yet;

The home of my boyhood I’ll never forget.


image {“Family Life on the Frontier”, painting by Caleb Bingham, c. 1845}

How happy I was to find this beautifully evocative poem…written by Joel H. Johnson, son of my 4th great-grandparents, Ezekiel and Julia Ellis Hills Johnson, of his fond memories of the childhood home the family lived in during the years 1814 through 1833 in New York…

A family I knew not much about until recently—a nice, long family biography found online and devoured by me—is helping me get to know these people that are part of my life…

image {image found online}

Thank-you, Joel, for leaving me this wonderful window into your childhood home…


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Through a Distant Window…

DSC08093_edited-1 {on both these pieces, I used lace and seam binding at the top to represent the windows I was imagining…}

Hello, my friends!

Just a quick post today…the beginning of another busy, wonderful weekend…

…a couple of projects just for fun.  Both simple, both without a lot of extra adornment…I wanted to let the photos and beautiful vintage paper prints do the talking…

DSC08088_edited-1 {beautiful vintage prints found on Crafty Secrets’ “Creating with Vintage Illustrations” CD used on both pieces}

As I worked on these, I kept thinking how like looking through a window to the past they were…two unknown women, one an elegant flapper…

DSC08082_edited-1 {both vintage photos found on Pinterest}

…one a lovely maid…


…both in the middle of their  busy lives…we’re just catching a brief moment of them…

DSC08098_edited-1 {close-up of one of the Crafty Secrets’ prints…such lovely detail on these!}

As I finished the pieces, I realized how much they were reminding me of my favorite of all favorite shows right now… “Downton Abbey”…have you been as swept up in it all as I have?!?

Downton Abbey. Brought to the US by PBS Masterpiece Theater.

Elegant ladies (one a bit of a flapper!) and lovely, busy maids {and plenty of handsome men!}…all going about their lives, and we get to catch a brief bit of them each Sunday night…

…and I’m absolutely smitten with them all. 

DSC08083_edited-1 {can you believe this beautiful pearl brooch is just an image from the CD?!}

See you soon with something new…