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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!Psalms 139:16 TPT
Before I’d ever seen the light of day,
the number of days you planned for me
were already recorded in your book.
Let’s be who God created us to be. You be YOU and I’ll be me.
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.
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 16:18Harriet 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.
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.
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!
Every March rolls around and the same thing happens. There’s a madness in the air I can’t ignore. My husband is constantly checking tournament scores, filling out his bracket, and filling us in on the highlights of college basketball while we eat spaghetti at the dinner table.
After almost twenty years of marriage, I have learned that it’s better to join in on the madness than try to eliminate it.
We love the NCAA tournament and all the craziness it brings into our home. I’m intrigued by the long-standing rivalries between legendary teams like UCLA vs. Arizona, Kentucky vs. Lousiville, Michigan vs. Michigan State, and of course our family favorite North Carolina vs. Duke. Last year, to my husband’s disappointment, the championship title went to Villanova. His bracket was toast after the first round!
In the spirit of the NCAA tournament, I thought it would be fun to look at the legendary rivalries on Little House on the Prairie. Each Friday in March, I’ll take a look at a prairie rivalry and how it added competition, perseverance, and humor to the series. With every rivalry comes a lesson to be learned and places to grow in character. We may even glean some wisdom for the rivalries in our own lives.
Laura and Nellie are the obvious first choice, we’ll look at this iconic rivalry next week while the tournament gets underway. For those of you who don’t enjoy basketball or the NCAA tourney, then why not watch Little House? I’ll be highlighting some unforgettable episodes for each rivalry so you will have plenty to keep you busy.
And if you have a minute, let me know what other Little House rivalries are your favorites?
After a full month of love posts, I want to talk to those of you who feel that love has been taken away. Maybe due to a broken relationship or even death.
It can be difficult to see people around you in love. Everyone seems to be enjoying the love of their families, while your heart is breaking. Whether relationally or physically, the sting of death hurts. It doesn’t matter if it’s been ten minutes or ten years, we can’t just get over it.
Our love quote contest winner hit this chord perfectly with her beautiful quote from Be My Friend – Season Four, Episode 17. This quote gives hope to those of us who have lost love. It isn’t a quote featured in A Prairie Devotional, but it could have been.
“I knew I’d never see my Grace again and my life would never be the same for I had learned what it is to love a baby—all because of a bottle that floated down a creek and into my heart. I pray that one day I’ll have a baby of my own. My very own.”–Laura Ingalls
Lori will be receiving an autographed photo of Baby Grace for her winning quote! Thank you all for the wonderful entries.
Loss is all around us. That will never change, but I’m challenged to keep loving, keep celebrating that love—even when it seems to be long gone.
Yesterday we celebrated my stepdad’s 70th birthday. He’s been gone for 12 years now. German chocolate cake with coconut-pecan frosting graced our table. I make it every year on February 28th to celebrate my dad.
His all-time favorite.
I was even tempted to light a candle. Not because I think he’ll come back from the dead to blow it out, but because candles symbolize celebration. Remembering the man who raised me and my sisters is worth celebrating. Thanking God for bringing Lanny into our lives will always be a part of this very special day!
What long-gone love are you celebrating? And how?
Keep loving. Keep celebrating.
I thought the beach would be bright and sunny. The waves crashing and the gulls flying. But instead, I got stuck in the hail for my Live Video yesterday. My theme for February is love and I thought it would be the best place to share. Usually the beach proclaims love in everything I see and hear and feel on this shoreline. The sand as numerous as His qualities, the waves He has rescued me from, and the brisk air tangling my hair–yet clearing my head.
But yesterday the waves were angry and the wind, biting. And hail. Yes you read that right… HAIL on the Central Coast! This rarely ever happens.
I got in my car and said goodbye on the video and then I realized that sometimes our expectations don’t come through. And yet, when we chase after the dreams God puts in our hearts we are always satisfied.
Thoughts of the Little House episode, “The Odyssey” flooded my mind. If you remember Dhillon is a kid who is dying of leukemia. He has one final wish—to see the Pacific Ocean. He doesn’t care what it takes or even if he dies trying to get there. He has to see it and feel the water on his skin before it’s too late.
Don’t you see Mr. Ingalls—I’m never going to get another chance. I’m running out of time.
–DhillonFrom The Odyssey – Season 5, Episode 24
Do you ever feel that way?
As if you are running out of time?
I knew another young man battling the same illness as Dhillon. He had similar resolve, a mission to accomplish before his last breath. He didn’t know when that would be, but it was soon and he believed God had some things for him to do before that day.
Listening to Clayton, we couldn’t feel sorry for him. He told thousands of people about how he was the lucky one. He knew that after death, he would see Jesus face to face. He wanted his friends to be sure they would too.
You can hear Clayton’s inspirational story here:
As I stared out at the waves thinking about Dhillon and Clayton, I thought about the question Laura asked her pa. “If you only had one month to live, what would you want to do?”
I ask this question to myself, and I ask you.
It’s a hefty question with massive implications. The way we answer changes the trajectory of our lives—or at least it should. We could choose to feel sorry for ourselves and no one would blame us, but the alternative is something breathtaking.
My mom called me the other day. She had just watched a video I posted with all the puppies, and how her little kite was flying again. If you didn’t see my video and hear the story, let me explain.
When I was in kindergarten our teacher asked us to draw the word “high.” My twin sister drew a skyscraper, just like her—strong and determined. I drew a kite, similar to my personality—playful and free. The sad part of the story is that my kite had been grounded for close to twenty-five years.
I’m not sure when it exactly started to change—my kite beginning to take flight again. Definitely after brain surgery. Writing and connecting with all of you may have something to do with it. Being my silly self and not worrying about what you might think of me is a very big deal. The question one more time.
What would I do with only one month to live?
I don’t even have to think about it, it’s as plain as a kite flying in the sky. I’d be who God created me to be. Without excuse or comparing. Without fear of rejection. In freedom and acceptance of myself and all God can do through me. To freely share and not worry that I’m being too serious or too flippant. Too churchy or pushy—heavens I hope not!! Too much or not enough. But just me. Confident to say “This is me!”
And now the question comes to you, what would you do?
One month left on this crazy planet. Your last chance to make your mark, dream your dream, shout your message.
What would it be?
When I think of this saying I imagine myself plucking petals from a white daisy. I remember back to the love interests of my past—me wondering if a boy could be trusted with my heart. That scary moment when you know you love someone, but not sure if the love will be reciprocal. With my husband, it was the same story. I knew he was the one for me, but nervous feelings kept the words “I love you” from leaving my lips.
Aside from the saying, of course I think of Little House and the last chapter of season six. This is my son’s all-time favorite episode. I think it has something to do with Nellie being put in her place by Percival—and a basket of eggs. For me, I take notice of the fact that love changes Nellie. It’s this magical transformation that happens as soon as Percival compliments her.
Love does that to people. It changes us.
But even after the change, the words don’t come easy. Honesty can be too vulnerable for most people. After realizing her true feelings for Percival, even Nellie is at a loss for words. But her father, Nels Oleson, encourages her to use the simplest phrase to bring about the most direct expression.
“Try I love you—it’s easy to say and right to the point.” –Nels Oleson
This quote is an encouragement to us all. We often don’t take the risk to share our true feelings. Some of us chicken out because of fear. Fear of rejection. Others maybe have thorns of unforgiveness—a habit of holding on to past mistakes. And for some of us, we miss the chance forever.
Don’t miss that chance.
Tell someone how you feel, how you messed up, and how you want love back in your life.
It’s won’t be easy. It takes courage. It requires patience.
But in the end, it’s always worth it.
Perhaps that person is your spouse, or your mom. Maybe it’s your sister or a friend or that wayward child who left your home years ago. Maybe it’s God.
Take a bold step—share your heart.
Stop plucking petals and start smelling the flowers.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT
With all this love in the air, I was reminded how much I love you—my readers! Without you, I can’t do the very thing I love. Writing has become a passion, but not just writing on random subjects. My passion is connecting Little House on the Prairie with our everyday lives—how we can share our stories in much the same heartbeat that Laura Ingalls Wilder shared hers.
In honor of Valentine’s Day and my appreciation for you, let’s have a giveaway in the form of a quote contest. The winning quote will win an autographed photo of Baby Grace!
This time it’s all about love.
You have until the 28th of February to submit your favorite love quote from any episode of Little House on the Prairie to my website via the Let’s Connect page. https://wendiloulee.com/lets-connect/
Make sure to include the quote, and the episode. While you’re at it, don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter.