November Quote Contest, Because I’m Thankful for You

When we all gather around our tables, passing dishes and filling plates–I’m thankful.

The candles reflecting off beautiful ceramic pumpkins and seed pods and matching cloth napkins–my heart flickers too.

Some of us share out loud–one by one around the circle–after plates are cleared or simply pushed back to create room for spoken words of gratefulness. Others of us ponder those words in our hearts or write it down or find a Little House quote.

No matter how you choose to do it, just be sure you do!

When our hearts are filled with thankfulness, we begin to lose sight of the things we lack. If we focus on all that we have, we won’t have as much time to think about what we don’t have. And then we can start to look around and see the needs of others–people who need much more than we do.

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17 NASB

What a contest this month. The quotes were amazing. You all stirred gratefulness in me. Thank you for submitting and doing so through my website–what a breeze this time around. The winners are Kelsey and Carolyn for their wonderful quote from Season One, A Harvest of Friends.

“Pa harvested a crop he didn’t know he planted. He planted a Harvest of Friends.” Laura Ingalls

You know it’s funny, but I feel as though I’ve collected a harvest of friends in each one of you. You are my friends–even though I haven’t met most of you face to face and we live very different lives–I feel like I know you and I hope you feel as though you know me too.

Before November is over, let gratefulness soar and you will too!

Much love,

Wendi Lou

New Giveaway for November

Hello friends.

It’s November and I promised you another giveaway. Last time Jessie Jo and Theresa Ignizio Militello won for their awesome quotes. I’ll give you a little insider information… both of these quotes will be featured in my devotional coming out August 2019!!

This month we will do it all over again, but with a few guidelines to make it easier. I was plumb worn-out last time jumping from all different social media platforms. I’ve got kids and a puppy people, time is precious. So here’s the deal…

#1 Visit wendiloulee.com — please follow if you’d like to receive my updates and blog posts. It is not necessary to win, but I’ll love you for it! And it’s the easiest way to find out about future giveaways!

#2 The theme is Grateful and Thankful. Find a Little House quote that fills you with thankfulness or demonstrates how gratefulness was being embraced. I’ve expanded the theme because it appears to be difficult for some of you. Let’s include anything Fall… so crops, harvest, eating, or family! Think Harvest of Friends, The 100 Mile Walk, or maybe even Barn Burner!!

#3 Go to the Let’s Connect page on my site and write me a message with your submission. Some quotes speak for themselves, others need some explanations. And can you include the name of the episode? Thanks and Yes I will write back to each and every one of you!!

#4 Share this post on any and all of your social media platforms or specifically to your Little House loving family and friends. The more submissions, the more winners. I’d love to announce 1-2 quotes this time around and send you a beautiful signed photo of Baby Grace. And don’t forget to like my Facebook page–Wendi Turnbaugh as Baby Grace– it is where I interact daily with all of you!!

#5 Get your submissions in by Thanksgiving Night!!

Let’s be Grateful and Thankful this November.

Much love, Wendi Lou

 

Navigating Loneliness

Our puppy-dog Mo was gone for a night–she had a rendezvous with a handsome poodle who may have gotten a little frisky with our Berniedoodle. The kids were absolutely lost without her. Honestly, it was pathetic.

“Lonely to the core of his being” were my son’s words.

Today after school, the Mo-snuggles resumed and all is well with the world again… according to my kiddos. How in the world could one night without her bring on so much sadness?

It made me think back on my childhood. As a kid, I remember being a bit shy. But I never had to do anything or go anywhere by myself–I don’t ever remember being lonely. That was the reality of being a twin.


When we moved to Arroyo Grande, my son Tobey started at a new school. He didn’t know a single soul. Every morning we sat together on a red bench waiting for the bell to ring. Most days, he was such a brave first grader and held it together like a champ until that darn bell rang.

The tears would pool and then he’d hug me quick and tight before heading to the line outside of his classroom. I had no idea how he was feeling. My sister Brenda had always been around to keep me company. Tobey couldn’t fathom that feeling and he reminded me almost every day that school would be so much better if he had a twin.

I didn’t experience loneliness until my first day of college. It was the strangest feeling… I was alone, but completely prepared for it. I wanted to venture out on my own and I did, and then slowly an emptiness filled my soul.

It’s embarrassing to admit, but a few months went by and I found myself, nearly every weekend driving to see her. I’m not sure why we went to different colleges–I could make that trip with my eyes closed. I was lonely for my sister–too used to having her around. Kinda like my kids used to having Mo around.

Obviously my son doesn’t cry when I drop him off at the junior high school and I don’t drive to Wyoming to see my sister. The tears of first grade have paved the path to a confident young man. He learned early, what I learned later in life.

Loneliness is a huge issue–especially around the holidays. Some of us are all alone or maybe surrounded by people and yet share the same exact feelings. Christmastime brings up all kinds of memories, people we miss or have lost. Loved ones who choose not to have a relationship with us or maybe they live too far away.

The crazy thing is that we don’t get to choose our own path. You don’t decide what family you are born into or how many siblings you will have or if you get to be a twin or if the people you love will move away. But somehow most of us learn to be okay with ourselves. Navigating the loneliness we all face.

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It wasn’t until after brain surgery in 2015 that I kicked loneliness out of my heart forever. Don’t get me wrong–I still miss people and even our dog Mo when she’s away. And of course, you’ll always have moments of longing for a good conversation with a friend or your mom’s great advice.

But something changes when you’ve sensed God in a deep way. When your every breathe seems to hinge on His presence in your life. You know that He’s always with you–you are never really alone.

Wherever you are right now on the loneliness scale, look up. God is near–even when everyone else seems far away.

Wendi & Mo

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. Genesis 28:15


A Good Review… and a Bad One!

Yesterday was quite the day!

My emotions didn’t know which way to move–it made me pause and think about what I tend to do and how I can change that tendency.

It all started out just glorious. The house was quiet after taking my kids to school, I put on my yoga pants and rolled out my mat. The title of the yoga session was “Freedom & Forgiveness”… how did my online yoga instructor know?

Just a bit of backstory–I don’t do yoga, well not until recently. October 1st I decided to give it a try for a 30 day challenge. I aim to visit my mat everyday, but it doesn’t always happen. I’ve made it to Day 24 since then and I’m mighty proud of myself. This girl can’t touch her toes and Downward Dog is just about the hardest thing I can imagine. But it helps me relax and focus, and who doesn’t need more of that in a day!


So I’m cat-cowing or downward dogging and I hear my phone ring downstairs. Not a chance am I leaving my deep breathing to be greeted by a healthcare salesperson… the most common as of late. I let it go to voicemail. When I finally make my way to the kitchen, I’m pleasantly surprised at a message from a past client. He has some more upholstery work for me and mentioned he left a review on Yelp.

I must admit I haven’t been working much, with finishing my devotional and then the multiple rounds of edits my Yelp account has been ignored for months. There it was–a five-star review from my sweet chiropractor client… but wait there was another review. Not a five-star, not even a three-star. And this client was not sweet.

Friends, it wreaked me.

Within minutes, my stomach was in knots and my head started throbbing. I had completely forgotten about the great review, like it never happened. My mind went through a mess of critical thoughts about myself and the quality of my work and why was I even in business? Surely I should close shop and never sit at my sewing machine again.

The other rollercoaster part of my day was discovering my devotional on Amazon… NO WAY!! The title is set and the cover is beautiful–really you should just pause for a minute and search for Wendi Lou Lee or A Prairie Devotional on Amazon. It’s not for sale yet, only the eBook is available for preorder. But still, my name… on the cover of a book… on Amazon!

Unbelievable.

As I jumped in the shower before picking up the kiddos, I let the water pour over me. The steam clearing my all-over-the-place thoughts. Why is it that criticism stays with us far longer and deeper than positive words? I know I can’t please everyone, but for some reason I want to try. And when I fail, I’m ready to throw in the towel.

I pulled up Amazon, one more time, to take another look and then it hit me. There are going to be reviews of my devotional and chances are some people are not going to like it. And they won’t be shy about telling the world how they feel. My stories of faith are much more precious to me than some lady’s furniture. This could be a tough journey ahead.

Unless. Yes, unless.

What if I stopped trying to please everyone? What if you stopped trying to please everyone? What would our lives look like?

Day 23 of my yoga challenge sums it up perfectly–Freedom & Forgiveness. Free to be me, free to be you! Forgiving ourselves when we fail and forgiving those around us too.

Living each and every day to please the One who matters most.



The Richest Man in Walnut Grove

“What a family! It does make a man proud.” Charles Ingalls

When hard times hit, families either come together or distance themselves. Charles Ingalls was proud of his family, the kind of a family I long to have. Caroline headed for the fields to plant potatoes, Mary worked with Mrs. Whipple hemming skirts, and Laura took care of all the chores. Carrie helped too by milking the cow… well sorta.

 

Financial stress was a family problem, not something Charles had to conquer on his own. Each member sacrificed for the good of the whole, even when they could have raised a stink about going without “a little white sugar” or missing school or doing more chores than usual. Every time I watch this episode I can’t help it. Tears rush down my cheeks when Mary runs down the dirt road towards town, clutching her dollar and seventy cents. Celebrating how hard they worked, she has to tell Laura so they can add their contribution to the family “Money Jar.”

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The Lee Family 2015 – Five days before brain surgery.

I’d like to think my children would react the same way, rallying alongside Josh and I enduring unfavorable financial times or health problems or any number of life’s challenges. What was the secret that shifted their thinking? Was it that they were poor and had been through tough times before? When Nels declares that Charles Ingalls is the richest man in Walnut Grove, how does he come to that conclusion? Is it because he knows his children wouldn’t have sacrificed in the same way? And why not?

How can we influence our families to adopt the mindset of the Ingalls?

I’m sure there are many factors, but I have a hunch about one for sure. Almost every night at the dinner table we thank God for jobs and a house to live in and food to eat. We are thankful for every little thing because God has given it to us on this particular day. I think my kids, Tobey and Raegan, know these things aren’t guarantees. They are blessings. Not all blessings last forever and when the money jar gets a little empty that’s when family members step in to help in whatever way they can. Thankfulness shifts our thinking. It makes us part of a team, not a one-man mentality looking out for ourselves. When our hearts are bursting with thanks, it’s hard to be selfish.

Charles Ingalls says it best.

“I think the good Lord gives us hard times now and then, just so we appreciate the good ones.”

Be constantly thankful for the good times and when hard times hit, your family will be more likely to rally together. How have you seen this to be true? Besides thankfulness, what else creates this beautiful picture of a family sacrificing together?

 

Sharing is caring. If it blesses you, let it fly!

Wendi Lou

And The Winner Is…

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In my house quotes are always being thrown around. My husband loves to share bits of what he’s been reading with us at the dinner table and the door to my daughter’s room is covered with drawings paired with inspiring quotes. My son quotes lines from songs or movies, inserting our dog’s name Mo into various spots to make us laugh. Honestly, it is the funniest thing ever!

 

We try to fill the house with encouraging words like the painting that sits on our mantle. More than anything else, I find myself quoting dialogue from Little House on the Prairie episodes. They are so applicable to parenting and relationships and just about every typical family interaction that happens in my home.

 

Writing a devotional based on quotes from Little House on the Prairie has been a fabulous experience. The best part was watching all the episodes again, collecting quotes from all my favorite characters. Thank you my sweet friends for collecting quotes with me and sharing your favorites. I have loved reading all your entries and laughed along with you. It was a hard decision but I finally narrowed it down to two winners.

 

While all the quotes were wonderful I had to find specific quotes that would be appropriate for a devotional. That eliminated most of the quotes from Mrs. Oleson and Mr. Edwards … sorry!! I think my favorite funny quote that was shared had to be from Mr. Edwards talking about Mrs. Oleson. “She’s got a face that’d make a train take a dirt road.” Honestly I don’t remember this quote, but I’ve got to go back and watch the episode to hear it in context. Obviously I couldn’t use this quote for the devotional but it did give me quite a chuckle.

 

The two quotes I chose will both be featured in my upcoming devotional, expected to be released next summer. I’m so excited I can barely contain myself.

And the winners are…

The first quote is from my Facebook friend Jessie Jo. Congratulations!! “I wonder how much of our lives are spent worrying about things that just don’t mean anything.” I love this quote, I could repeat it to myself almost Every. Single. Day. Can’t wait for you all to read the story… it’s really powerful.

The second quote is from my Facebook friend Theresa Ignizio Militello. Yippee!!  “I’m a farmer and I love it. I’m a father and I love it. And best of all I’m married to Caroline Ingalls and I love her.” This quote is all about contentment, Charles Ingalls was a great example for all of us.

 

I will be messaging Jessie Jo and Theresa Ignizio Militello privately to send the photos out this week. Thank you all for your entries. It was so fun… I can’t help but feel that we should do it again before the devotional is released. Let me know if you would contribute to another quote contest by subscribing to my website and leaving me a message in my Let’s Connect page. Sorry if any of you missed the contest this time around, I’ll be sure to post at the beginning and end of the next quote contest… I’m thinking in November!!

Thank you dear friends and have a wonderful night!

 

Wishes Coming True…

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Wishing on a star or a weed can be a scary thing to do. If we make a wish and it never comes true, feelings of failure set in. But oh the joy when our wishing comes true, it’s worth the risk every time. I’ve been wishing for over two years and today one of my dreams came true. I am pleased to announce that Thomas Nelson will be publishing my first book … Through the Eyes of Grace: A Little House Devotional.

Thomas Nelson is hoping to release the devotional next summer and I am writing like a mad-woman to meet my deadline this September. The devotional is based on quotes from the show, gleaning wisdom from all our favorite characters from the television series Little House on the Prairie.

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I am over the moon excited and grateful that God has given me the chance to share His beautiful story of love and hope and peace through the joys and sorrows of my life. Friends, please pray for me as I write and follow the Lord’s direction to what comes next.

And I have one thing for you to do. Think of your favorite Little House quote and send it to me… maybe it will make the cut and be included in my book. Email your submission to wendiloulee@gmail.com. If your quote gets chosen an autographed picture of Baby Grace will be headed your way!

You are my family, my friends, and the fans I adore. Thank you for making one of my greatest wishes finally come true.

Love.you.  Wendi Lou

 

 

 

Baby Grace in New York

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Every so often Baby Grace gets to travel. This time around Brenda and I met in upstate New York. An outstanding living history museum in the small community of Mumford hosted us for the weekend. Our first stop was Niagara Falls, a place I’ve always wanted to visit. We saw it all, from both the US side and the Canadian side. I must say Niagara Falls is a wonder!

 

That night we checked into Genesee Country Inn, the cutest B&B of all-time. Debbie and Rich run the inn and breakfast is grand, even for a gluten-free guest like me. The next morning we were off to the museum for a tour of the grounds. Genesee Country Village & Museum is a magical place, boasting over 68 historic buildings. Interpreters dressed in 1800’s attire were scattered all over the village teaching children to dye yarn and hang linens on a clothes line. There is a tin shop, shoemaker store, and a confectionery selling old-time candies. The barn area has farm animals and we tasted farm cheese!

 

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Both Saturday and Sunday we were honored to share stories about our time on Little House. We signed autographs and posed with cute little girls wearing bonnets. We even met Mary, a 99 year-old fan who braved the heat to come meet us! What a blessing it was to meet so many beautiful hearts this last weekend.

I thank God for His amazing favor, that He would give us the opportunity to play the role of Baby Grace in a show like Little House on the Prairie. It really is unbelievable. He is so good!

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BMW

May 8th is always a hard day for me. No matter how many years go by, it’s still hard.

I once had a wise friend tell me that it was time to let the grief go. When it consumes, you are giving it too much power. And I was. The nine years after my daddy’s death, grief came in waves. Especially in the spring, with the weather warming up and the date looming on the calendar. Everything reminded me of the day he died. I tried to let the grief go, but some things can’t be hurried along. Sometimes God performs a miracle you could never do on your own.

Something happened on the operating table, back in November of 2015. As the surgeon stapled my scalp together, somehow God healed a part of my heart. The nine years of blaming myself for my daddy’s death came to an end. He gave me victory and strength to move on. It wasn’t something I worked on or talked through. It just disappeared.

It got me to thinking about grief and how it’s different for all of us. We process at faster or slower rates than others. There is no right way to grief. There is no acceptable timeline. It is precisely what it is.

The best thing for me to do is tell a story about my daddy. If you know me well or have heard me speak, you know it’s how I roll. And you may have heard this story before… Humor me.

My dad was awesome. He married my mom with three little girls under the age of six. He was the total bachelor when they got married, with a ton of man toys. Ski boats, a sports-car, a motorcycle and a catamaran cluttering up the backyard. One by one he sold them all. There wasn’t time or money with his new family.

Well one day, years later, my sister Michelle asked him if it broke his heart to sell all of his toys. His response spoke of his deep love.

“I traded them all for a BMW.”

We gave him a strange look. He didn’t have a BMW.

Then he explained that a BMW was a Brenda, Michelle, Wendi. And that it was the best thing he ever did.

 

If you are sad today because you’ve lost someone you love, don’t push the feelings back. Don’t get over it or force yourself to move on. Talk about them. Look at pictures, post your favorite family photo. Tell stories. Remember all the years you were given, all the good times.

Grief will take care of itself.

Much love, Wendi

Season One – Founder’s Day

Pie baking, wood chopping, rope jumping, and hoop rolling. Tug of war and the three legged race. It must be Founder’s Day in Walnut Grove. My children’s most requested episode, resembled the junior high track meet I attended today. It’s chaotic with all the events happening simultaneously. Without bleachers, people are standing everywhere. I could barely see my son as he sped by, placing third in the 220.

I’ve never been to a track meet. I liked it. There’s something for everyone. Short distance and long, hurdles, jumping and throwing. The first meet of the season gave off an excitement that loomed in the air. Competition has a way of igniting a fire in the eyes.

Founder’s Day was no exception. Every member of the Ingalls family hoped to win a blue ribbon that day. Ma baked, Pa chopped, Mary jumped and Laura rolled her hoop. Preparation and practice behind them, expectation can be cruel to competitors. No one in the family walked away satisfied. The only blue ribbon won happened without a single minute of practice. A silly race with bound ankles.

The sheer joy of competing together as a team usually renders such results. Laura and Ma battled against the Oleson’s, laughing the entire time. What joy when you hold things loosely, when expectations are nil.

Tobey ran a second event today. The mile. I’ll just say it wasn’t his best race but he finished. We were proud parents. To even try. To walk with his head high because he gave it all he had.

Charles says it perfectly,

“Winning isn’t everything, the important thing is competing and doing your best.”

What are you competing at these days? Is it to win or for the simple bliss of trying? There’s only one first place finisher, but running to the finish line is victory.

1 Corinthians 9:24 – Isn’t it obvious that all runners on the racetrack keep on running to win, but only one receives the victor’s prize? Yet each one of you must run the race to be victorious.  -The Passion Translation

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