All About Sidney Greenbush

Twins, twins, and more twins. That’s the number of twins on Little House on the Prairie. Carrie twins, Grace twins, and Rose twins. One of the most common questions I get is why are twins used on television anyway?

The answer is simple—child labor laws restrict the number of hours a child can work, even more so with infants and toddlers. The extra hours also allow some leeway for cranky or sick kids, and those more than necessary nap times.

The countdown to Walnut Grove continues this week with our featured cast member, Sidney Greenbush. I am very excited to join Sidney for the 45th anniversary taking place July 12-14.

On Little House on the Prairie, the character of Carrie Ingalls—played by Lindsey and Sidney Greenbush, was one of the first sets of twins being used at the time. They started with the pilot at three years of age and went straight through season eight, turning eleven years old. Virtually their entire childhood took place on a sound stage or on location at Big Sky Ranch.

When we were young, Lindsey and Sidney were our big sisters. We loved hanging out with another set of twins. They were the only others twins we knew and you wouldn’t believe the attention we would get! Double twins, double the trouble.

Of all the cast members, Sidney is definitely a real cowgirl. Sidney lives in central California where she shows, trains, breeds, and sells American quarter horses. She’s known on the pro-rodeo circuit as a barrel racing champion. That’s amazing, right?

I could learn a few things from Sidney, horses aren’t exactly my cup of tea.

I’m scared to death of the galloping animals after a boyfriend in high school took me riding on the beach. I never figured out how to make that horse listen to me. I was at its mercy, tearing down the beach after all the other horses—me holding on for dear life. Since then, I’ve kept my distance.

But Sidney, she eats, sleeps, and breathes horses. I’m thoroughly impressed.

Unfortunately, I’ve only attended a few events with Sidney—Holy Terror Days in Keystone, SD in 2009 and the 40th Cast Reunion in Walnut Grove in 2014. But I’m sure the twin questions will continue as they always do, and this year especially since our sisters are not attending the reunion.

Regardless of the time spent together, we have a special bond—all twins understand what it’s like to be a twin. Perhaps no one quite knows us the way our twin sisters do. And we wouldn’t be who we are without them. Twins have to endure the endless question, “Which twin are you?”

For Sidney and myself, we get non-stop questions from fans asking about Little House. Sidney gets… “Were you the one who … tripped on the hill, got trapped in the outhouse, and fell down the well?” For me it’s always, “Did you kiss the boy and which one of you didn’t want to eat from Pa?”

It takes real humility to share a role–not that we had a choice, but as adults it’s this part of our lives that isn’t completely our own. We can’t take credit for anything–our character is the result of two people.

And maybe that’s the best part of being a twin on television. We can’t get big in the head or make great claims. God graced us to be a twin and that gift gave us the opportunity to join the Little House cast family. What a blessing!

I’m thrilled to join my television sister, and fellow twin, Sidney Greenbush in Walnut Grove this summer!

Much Love,

Wendi

Connect with me on my website wendiloulee.com and please subscribe to automatically receive my blog posts and monthly newsletter!

Charlotte Stewart

I don’t know about you, but I can’t seem to get Walnut Grove out of my mind. My whole summer seems to be planned around the Cast Reunion on July 12-14th.

As we were driving home on Sunday after my husband’s graduation weekend, I came up with the greatest idea for the next ten weeks of blog posts—a post highlighting each Little House cast member attending.

First up is Charlotte Stewart—the lovely Miss Beadle.

Walnut Grove’s sweetest teacher welcomed Laura and Mary to school in season one and watched them grow up. The first four seasons of Little House would not have been the same without Miss Beadle and her Lemon Verbena perfume.

One of my favorite episodes with Charlotte, besides Country Girls (that I talked about in yesterday’s live video), is Four Eyes. If you remember, Mary gets glasses and loves them until Nellie and Willie start teasing her. It was Miss Beadle, and her handsome beau, who convinced Mary to wear her glasses with pride.

Not only did Charlotte play the role of Miss Beadle, but she appeared in countless other television shows and movies including Twin Peaks, Eraserhead, Tremors, Highway to Heaven, Bonanza, The Walton’s, Speedway and many more. Charlotte has even shared the screen with Elvis Presley!

She has had an extraordinary career, but we all love her most as Ms. Beadle on Little House on the Prairie.

In 2017, Charlotte wrote a memoir—Little House in the Hollywood Hills: A Bad Girl’s Guide to Becoming Miss Beadle, Mary X, and Me. You might not want to read it aloud to your elementary-age kids, but I respect how Charlotte was willing to open up about her past struggles with drugs and alcohol, and where that lifestyle led.

Charlotte is also a breast cancer survivor, who works diligently making her Beadle Bags to support women with breast cancer.

How many of you have Beadle Bags?

Rumor has it that Charlotte might be making a Baby Grace Beadle Bag… that’s if I can get my act together and send her a picture!

Every bag features a photo from Little House on the Prairie and Charlotte sews each one herself. They run for $45.00 which includes shipping and an autographed photo!

You can order your own Beadle Bag by contacting Charlotte by email directly. lottebanks@yahoo.com

I didn’t have any interactions with Charlotte on the set. By the time I started, Miss Beadle supposedly married the pig farmer and moved away. But after almost fifteen years of reunions and cast appearances, we are finally getting to know each other.

Just last month in Missouri, we stayed with the same host family. Charlotte is an amazing storyteller, and boy does she have stories. Sipping white wine on the patio, curling up on her bed sharing pictures, and supporting each other throughout the weekend cemented our growing friendship.

As I’ve said in the past, Charlotte reminds me of my grandmother. Her commanding personality, yet small stature bring back wonderful memories of my Grandma Lou. Every time I’m around Charlotte, I feel my grandmother’s presence and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

What a treat to join Charlotte Stewart in Walnut Grove this summer.

You don’t want to miss it!

Much love to you!!

Wendi Lou

It’s Not Always About Us

Memories of last weekend are still flashing before my eyes. Hanging out with the cast at the festival, visiting the museum, and the school assembly. Listening to Richard Thomas, “John Boy” from the Waltons give his State Dinner address. Signing autographs and talking with fans. I’m still posting videos on Facebook, Instagram, and youTube.

Sometimes weekends are all about us. And then there are others that aren’t about us at all. That’s when you take the focus off yourself and place it on someone else.

This morning we will all pile in the car and make the trek down to Southern California to celebrate the accomplishments of my most humble man. Two years of writing papers and presentations and the weekly video classes have finally ended. My husband is graduating with a Master’s in Organizational Leadership on Saturday… this weekend is all about HIM. He never wants it to be that way—always would rather shift the attention to someone else.

Humility is a beautiful thing to behold.

I told him that we are his fans, not just this weekend, but every single day. It’s his time to shine. He is the star this weekend. We will follow him around and meet his classmates and professors without batting an eye.

Without saying we are tired or hungry or hot… because why do graduation ceremonies always tend to be hot? He deserves our attention, deserves a weekend to be celebrated.

Who can you celebrate today? Take yourself out of focus and shine the spotlight on someone else. On someone who doesn’t generally step on the stage. Even though they are amazing!!

Much Love,

Wendi Lou

Intentionality

Cherry Blossoms are in the air… well at least they are in Marshfield, Missouri for their annual Cherry Blossom Festival this weekend.

I am honored to be among numerous guest stars from The Waltons, It’s a Wonderful Life, Andy Griffith Show… and of course Little House on the Prairie, not to mention many other famous historical figures. My fellow cast members: Alison Arngrim (Nellie), Dean Butler (Almanzo), and Charlotte Stewart (Ms. Beadle) have welcomed me into the experience of Missouri for the first time.

Yesterday we visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder Elementary School in Springfield, Missouri. The third-grade students drilled us with questions for over an hour in the library and then we visited several classrooms.

Upon arriving back to our room, my daughter Raegan—who is my traveling companion—told me that one of the students approached her after the Q&A session.

“You’re so lucky, that your mom was Baby Grace.”

And then she looked at me with her one-of-a-kind genuine smile and said, “I know I’m lucky, you’re the best—TV star or not.”

Can I tell you guys that my daughter is AMAZING! She is twelve years old and I can’t think of anyone I’d rather be hanging out with… (I can say this and not get in trouble because my husband doesn’t read my blog posts).

But it didn’t happen by chance and that’s what I want to leave with you today.

My daughter and I have always been close but since she turned twelve last November, we have entered into a year-long pact. It’s this thing my husband did with our son during his twelfth year, and now I’m doing it with Raegan.

So, what do we do? You may be asking. A few weeks before her birthday Raegan made a bucket list—we are slowing checking them off the list.

  1. I’m teaching her to cook and making a recipe book of all our favorite recipes.
  2. We have a lunch date once a month… our fav place so far is Blaze Pizza.
  3. We wanted to work on a project together. Watch out world—a girl’s devotional may be in the works.
  4. We have a monthly thrift store shopping trip—teaching her how to be frugal and still look great.
  5. And now look at this… we are attending a Little House event together. How cool that it was even on her list!

We still have to go camping and visit the waterfalls in Yosemite. We are planning an intro to make-up day and definitely a conversation about boys… (she doesn’t know how incredibly beautiful she is and it’s a good thing). She has made a summer reading list for us—filled with all her favorites. And while this summer is shaping up to be crazy, I’ve got to make time for it.

Intentionality is the secret to deep relationship.

My hope is that by the time her birthday rolls around again, we will have a stronger bond than we had before. And maybe… just maybe the teenage years will be a little kinder to me!!

Now here’s my question for you. Who are you investing in?

If you can’t think of a name in three seconds, then you might not be. Think about it, be intentional, and enjoy pouring into the next generation.

You will never regret it.

Much Love,

Wendi Lou

Oh, What Love


I’ve been talking about lies all month—how they are overtaking my planters and my mind, how they affect my relationships and how I view myself—hopefully you are sick of hearing about lies and ready to do something about them, like I am.

The only way to combat lies is with the truth. And so, this Good Friday, I challenge you to let Jesus be a beam of light for you, the truth that changes everything.

He demonstrated on the cross how false the lies really are—those lies we repeat in our minds saying we aren’t good enough or smart enough or brave enough. Oh, how we have been tricked into believing them. For far too long.

The lies aren’t true. Because of Jesus we don’t have to be good enough or smart enough or brave enough. We are enough because He said so. He loves us and accepts us completely. Even when I’m a mess.

The cross is the greatest act of love. By the One who is LOVE.

And how could He love us more.

When we accept His gift of love, the lies don’t magically disappear—at least they didn’t for me. But I am learning to stand up to the lies. To rely on God’s strength and not my own. As I replace the lies with truth, their grip is growing weaker.

The truth changes everything, and even what looks ugly—like death—is made beautiful because of His love.

Happy Easter, my friends.

As you visit with family members and search for eggs, remember that God is for you, He loves you, and He has a job for you to do!

Much Love,

Wendi Lou

The Lies I Tell Myself

Expectations.

Specifically, the expectations we put on ourselves. Expectations often give way to internal lies we put on repeat. Telling us that our expectations were not met. We failed. Again. Expectations…

Can we talk about them for a minute?

When I was elephant-sized pregnant with my son Tobey, I imagined being the best mom. Snuggling him every night before bed, reading books on the couch, and tucking cute little notes in his lunchbox. Notes covered with hearts.

Raegan was born two years later and I began to realize that I was outnumbered. Not only by children, but even more so, energy. The more I failed as a mom, the more lies I told myself.

Trying to be a “good” mom didn’t work out so well for me. Constantly taking one step forward, and then three steps back. The inner dialogue in my mind convinced me that I was NOT a good mom. Oh, I tried to be… but the lies seemed to crowd out what was really happening.

Even after a great day, I told myself that I could have done better. Or been more intentional. More loving. More understanding at naptime. The mom lie embedding deeper in my heart. “I am NOT a good mom.”

If you tell yourself a lie for long enough, it becomes the basis of who you believe yourself to be. We forget that lies are not truth. Lies don’t serve us or the people we love.

The lies I tell myself are the most powerful and destructive of all.

Lies wreak havoc on my relationships. Telling myself that my husband deserves a better wife. A better cook and housekeeper. A more successful business owner to help with the bills. My friends shouldn’t spend time with me. I’m a terrible listener. A lousy friend. My kids… don’t get me started. Now that they are teenagers the lies are screaming.

You too—do you do this?

Lies come from the great deceiver. If he can get us to believe the lies, then he has us right where he wants us. Ineffective. Self-absorbed in the most backwards way. Defeated.

Lies aren’t even true! And yet we surrender our lives over to falsehood, to a thief, robbing us as if we can’t do anything about it.

But God.

He is all we need.

He brings light and truth to the deep, dark lies.

He brings life and hope, and at the same time inspires us to be the best that we can be.

A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow!

John 10:10 TPT

Let’s clear out the lies. Reject the falsehood in our minds. Taking our relationships back we can experience fullness, with truth as the underlying foundation.

Give yourself grace. Do the best you can do and then leave it at that. Hug your kids, your spouse, your friends.

I am a good mom, no I’m a great mom!

Repeat in your mind or better yet, say it out loud.

“I am a good mom, no I’m a great mom.”… (or dad or grandparent)

“I am a loving wife.” … (or husband)

“I am an awesome friend.”

With your help God make me the best I can be.

And then hug yourself for keeping lies out of your mind. You deserve it.

Much Love,

Wendi Lou

If these words blessed your heart… set them free by sharing this post. I’d love to connect with you, so leave me a comment through the Connect Page on my website. You can also subscribe to receive my weekly blog posts and monthly newsletter.

The Weeds Have To Go

April is here, spring has sprung!

Everywhere I look buds are coming out of hiding, and bright orange poppies line my old country road. My jasmine bush, in the corner of our deck, has exploded with beautiful white flowers. The scent is sweet and light. Everything I want to be.

I have this deep desire to surround myself with spring’s beauty, but then I look down from the deck at my planters—full of weeds. Almost two feet tall, the weeds are reaching for the sweetness of the jasmine blooms. Months of drippy days, with me all cozy by the fire, has transformed itself into more of a mess than I can handle.

The weeds have to go.

It’s the same in our own lives. Before our relationships can flourish, we have to clean out the muck—the resentment, our unforgiving hearts, the lies we keep believing… the sin that so easily entangles (Hebrews 12:1).

Lies are similar to weeds, you have to clear them out if you want beauty to take root.

To put it simply—it’s a Spring Cleaning of our hearts. Like Ma sweeping the whole house with her straw broom. With a white handkerchief knotted under her loose bun.  

Clean it all. No matter how long it takes. All the dirt, weeds, and lies.

Create a new, clean heart within me. Fill me with pure thoughts and holy desires, ready to please you. May you never reject me! May you never take from me your sacred Spirit! Let my passion for life be restored, tasting joy in every breakthrough you bring to me. Hold me close to you with a willing spirit that obeys whatever you say.    

Psalm 51:10-12 TPT

A new clean heart… tasting joy in every breakthrough. That sounds like beauty.

My personal prayer, and I’m praying it for you too.

God… do your work in me. Strip away all the muck, all the trash my mind focuses on, all the lies I believe about myself and about others. Clean my heart, rid my life of useless weeds so that beauty can take root. So that poppies fill my borders, and the scent of jasmine fills my life.

Have you been believing lies, telling yourself lies, living lies?
Let’s do a little Spring Cleaning together. In our hearts, relationships, and for goodness sake… our planters!

What beautiful blooms are you hoping to uncover?

Much Love,

Wendi Lou

If these words blessed your heart… set them free and share this post. I’d love to connect with you, so leave me a comment or message through the Connect Page on my website. You can also subscribe to receive my weekly blog posts and monthly newsletter.

You Be You

Sometimes rivals are represented by teams we compete against or a person we hope to outdo. A coworker can be a rival, a prettier or more athletic girl. But perhaps the greatest battle—the greatest rival—is the one we create in our minds. The person we think everyone wants us to be. We create a false rival inside our heads, pretending to be someone else so that others will notice us. So that we feel proud of who we are. But you can’t be anything but YOU.

We imagine someone perfect, without any flaws. The person we can’t ever be. We look around and collect the greatest attributes from others and put that expectation on ourselves. Similar to Laura wanting to be pretty like her sister Mary.

To be completely honest—I haven’t watched a single minute of March Madness this year. But I have been lost in thought about the rivals in my life. I couldn’t help myself… I had to re-watch The Rivals episode from season four. Watch it and see if you identify with Charles and Laura the way I did.

For Charles, he wanted to be successful to provide for his family. Being a farmer didn’t seem like enough, he imagined becoming something more. The freighting contract sounded like success until he found himself never with the family he loved. His rival was the lie that he needed to be something other than what he truly was. Charles returns home, disappointed that he couldn’t be more than a simple farmer. But that’s all Caroline ever wanted him to be.

Laura sought after the attention of Jimmy Hill, but deep down it wasn’t about Jimmy at all. It was about liking herself. All the comparing and striving to be someone she wasn’t didn’t make anyone like her more, she was left with a few bruised apples and feeling downright foolish.

God must like Laura Ingalls a lot, and so should you… I expect you to conduct yourself like Laura Ingalls, not some poor imitation of someone else.

–Caroline Ingalls “The Rivals” Season Four

I’ve had my share of foolish moments. Times when I wanted to be anything other than who I was created to be. Even now I imagine being a better wife and mother. A more accomplished writer. A more engaging speaker. A better friend. The truth is—I can only be who I am. And when I’m fully experiencing that reality, true joy zings through me … like Laura hitting a home-run in the schoolyard.

God made each of us on purpose, the exact masterpiece He imagined. God looks at you and at me and says, “She’s perfect… He’s just what I wanted to create.”

You saw who you created me to be before I became me!
Before I’d ever seen the light of day,
the number of days you planned for me
were already recorded in your book.

Psalms 139:16 TPT

Let’s be who God created us to be. You be YOU and I’ll be me.

Much love,

Wendi Lou

If these words blessed your heart… share them with someone else! And would you leave me a comment, I’d love to connect with you. To receive my weekly blog posts or monthly newsletter, please subscribe on my website.

Rivals Becoming Friends

My husband informed me that the NCAA tournament is finally underway. He knew my blog posts for the month were about rivals, so I asked him. “Do rivals ever become friends?” He looked at me for a second–about to shake his head, then smile, “Well, maybe.”

I once had a neighbor. We were friends before my family moved into the house next door. It became clear that not every friend makes a great neighbor. Honestly, it was me who could have done better. I spent way too much time trying to prove myself, justifying my actions instead of simply accepting that we were two very different people. With tons of baggage.

The relationship between Caroline Ingalls and Harriet Oleson is no different. Well… of course Harriet does tend to stir up trouble and say things she shouldn’t, but perhaps it’s because she is more insecure than we think. Harriet’s  lifetime of disappointments and regrets have molded the way she interacts with the people of Walnut Grove. Her prejudices are built on negative experiences, just like ours are.

Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18

Harriet Oleson – The Richest Man in Walnut Grove

I love that Harriet, in her most prideful voice, recites this verse to Caroline in the episode “The Richest Man in Walnut Grove.” It demonstrates how utterly hypocritical we can be… even while quoting Scripture.

Mrs. Oleson looks down on others to feel okay about herself. We don’t see it too often, but Harriet does have a softness of heart when her defenses are down—when she puts her pride aside. It’s that place of vulnerability where we gain respect for Mrs. Oleson. When her marriage was suffering in season one’s “Family Quarrel”, Caroline helped Harriet see a new perspective to resolve the conflict and when her business was failing in the episode “Wave of the Future,” Caroline stood beside her to the end. It’s during the hard times that Harriet see Caroline in a different light.

Season 8, “Wave of the Future”

Even rivals can be lifesaving friends when given the opportunity. When we lay aside our pride and the damaging effects that it brings to our friendships, we can experience true connection.

My neighbor isn’t my neighbor anymore. Sometimes a little distance is the best recipe—like Caroline selling her eggs elsewhere for a time. My ex-neighbor and I have figured out how to stop being rivals and start becoming friends.

Do you have a rival who could be a friend, if only your ego was set aside? How could your friendships be even deeper without pride getting in the way?

Until next week, my friends. If you get tired of basketball on the screen check out a few of my favorite episodes, besides The Richest Man in Walnut Grove, from season two:

The Spring Dance, The Talking Machine, and For My Lady.

Wendi Lou

The Muddy Rivals

The first showdown over ring-around-the-rosy in the schoolyard was just the beginning. I guess it all started because Laura was willing to stand up to Nellie and her controlling nature. If fighting with Nellie was a school subject, Laura would have aced every test. They had their share of experiences to fuel the rivalry—Jason and the talking machine, Bunny and the fake paralysis, and of course making cinnamon chicken and the mud fight.

What makes for a good rival? In basketball, it usually means that both teams have a shot at winning and you never know who will come out on top. There’s also the element of longevity, a rivalry is built on years of competition. By the time of the mud fight, Laura and Nellie had clearly established themselves as rivals.

For a television series, rivalry is the recipe for success. The competition adds drama to every episode as we watch the dialogue unfold. The good girls want Laura to win and the spicy ladies are rooting for Nellie and her evil grin. The over-exaggerated Nellie reminds us of the girl in our worst nightmares. It’s unbelievable, and that makes it extremely funny.

It seems that Laura is constantly losing the battle. She’s the one getting caught, disciplined by her parents, and forced to apologize… or guilted into doing weeks of Nellie’s homework. But she’s also growing in character and compassion—even for Nellie. Laura doesn’t wish death on Nellie, just embarrassment and a ride down the hill in her wheelchair!

When I was playing high school volleyball, we had a huge rival—The Bearcats—who lived just a few towns away. The matches were intense and it always came down to the fifth deciding game. Our school mascot, The Greyhounds, chanted the famous cheer “Who Let the Dogs Out”, but honestly sometimes the cats sent us home with our tails between our legs. Other times we chased those cats up a tree, standing as proud victors!

The last game of my senior year against the Bearcats is still as fresh as can be. There was this one girl on the other team—a stud. I always dreamed of hitting a ball down the line and taking her out… not with the intention of doing any real harm, just to make myself feel better. Stronger. And maybe a superior volleyball player. Which I clearly wasn’t.

Pride does that to us, doesn’t it? At times, we want to win so that others lose. It’s not about us doing our best, but about outperforming someone else. And it doesn’t just happen on a court or field, sometimes it happens in our homes with our families or in the places we work.

Sadly, there have been seasons when my husband was my biggest rival, like me tackling him in the mud. Or times with my son Tobey, when I’m fed up with his video games and I start criticizing. If I stop and really think, it isn’t how I want to live. I want my life to be known for the way I love those around me.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.


1 Corinthians 13:4

I love the episode in season nine when Nellie comes home for a visit. “The Return of Nellie” is this beautiful expression of how Laura and Nellie are no longer trying to outdo each other. Their visit is filled with hugs and laughter about the fights of the past. The arguments don’t seem as important as they used to be.

Do you have a rival in your life right now or maybe from the past? How can you put your pride aside and live love? What if we simply worked hard at being the best we could be, celebrating when others do the same?

Stay tuned for next week’s rival… Caroline and Harriet!

Much love,

Wendi Lou

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