Season One – “Doctor’s Lady”

This is one of my favorite episodes, mostly because I have always felt bad for Dr. Baker. He works so hard taking care of the people of Walnut Grove, he’s a servant to say the least… getting paid with chickens and grain. There are countless episodes where the doctor is up all night with a patient. He put his dream of a family aside, to care for the town.

I love that the audience gets to see into Dr. Baker’s heart. He is more than just a doctor, he is a man with hopes and dreams outside of his occupation. His face appears to be younger, his eyes brighter after meeting Kate. A special lady can do that to a man who has been giving his whole life. It’s the first time he has hoped to have something for himself. The quote that speaks to me is this…

“For the first time in my life, I feel alive.”

I know that feeling. Do you? When you can’t stop smiling and the joy inside feels like it might burst out of your skin. Nothing can take your heart out of the clouds, it’s ready to make a home up there. It’s hard to explain if you’ve never felt this way, but if you have you know exactly what I’m talking about. Maybe it’s good news that put your heart in this overflowing pool of gratitude. Or a new opportunity or the miracle of a new life… or the miracle of a saved life.

A few years ago, I had this feeling when I opened my eyes after brain surgery. As my bed rolled out of the operating room, I emerged with a new story of God’s abundant faithfulness, of His undeserving goodness. I had energy bubbling out of me that a seven-year-old boy couldn’t match. I was loud and excited and dripping with hope. Not to mention a fair share of painkillers to ease the discomfort. But as the meds wore off, the joy did not.

Not only was I alive, but for the first time I knew that God had given me a story of His everlasting love. A story that I can’t help but share, because it is just too glorious not to. And don’t you think Jesus wants us to live this way? With this excitement for life, for the story He has given each one of us to tell.

If you aren’t feeling so alive at the moment or maybe it feels like you are in a desert place, take heart and hold on just a little bit longer. The Lord’s refreshing waters are soon to be discovered. Keep seeking His face, he will strengthen you.

And if you are riding on the clouds… thank God every chance you have and tell someone how you got there.

Waiting

Waiting, why is it so hard to do?

I’ve been waiting all month, for a call or an email with some kind of news. I was waiting to write this post, thinking I’d be able to announce the good news. I’m at this point where I could care less if it’s good news or bad news. The unknown is a frightening place to be. We don’t know how to keep living as we wait for an answer.

I have a friend who is waiting on doctors. And another who is waiting for a tumor to grow, hoping the wait will be long and slow. My teenage son can’t wait for the weekend so he can sleep in and I find myself waiting, hoping that my wildest dreams will come true.

Waiting isn’t something we do until we get what we want. It’s part of becoming what God wants us to be.  How is it that George Macdonald always hits it square on the head?

He may delay because it would not be safe to give us at once what we ask: we are not ready for it. To give ere we could truly receive, would be to destroy the very heart and hope of prayer, to cease to be our Father. The delay itself may work to bring us nearer to our help, to increase the desire, perfect the prayer, and ripen the receptive condition.- George Macdonald

So whatever you are waiting for, know that the wait is necessary. It may be the one thing that brings us closer to the God who holds all of our waiting in His hands. Keep hoping, keep praying, keep believing that it will come … even if it is in it’s own sweet time!

Wendi

Season One – “Family Quarrel”

Nels and Harriet Oleson seem to always be in some kind of disagreement, but this episode is an extreme case of how ugly marriage can be. When two people dig in their heals, won’t budge on their opinions of the other person it can be a recipe for disaster.  I love how the producers of the show aren’t afraid to face the subject of divorce head-on.

Divorce is not only heart-breaking for the two people involved, but in this case the entire town. Nellie and Willy experience the worst of it. They take Harriet’s side, maybe because children on the prairie would never go with a father over a mother.

My family has gone through divorce as well. I was too young to even know what was happening. While God brought a step-dad into my life to raise me and love me, the scars of divorce have never really healed completely. My parent’s divorce resulted in 25 years of silence with my father. Growing up I always felt sad for him, that he missed out on his daughters.

Just recently, I’ve come in contact with my dad. To be honest it’s hard and uncomfortable, of course it is…. we hardly know each other. Like the Oleson’s, we are attempting to put the past behind us and give each other grace for the future.

It encourages me in my marriage, to never stop working at it. To be humble. To be the first one to offer forgiveness and the first one to admit when I’ve been wrong. To keep loving even when I don’t feel like it. To give grace again and again. And to pray that God would protect my marriage from my selfishness.

Blessings

Blessings.

They are everywhere and they are in places that we would never imagine to find them.

 

I find them in the ocean blue sky, the waves crashing and the sound of leaves crackling underfoot. I find them in the laughter and excitement of my kiddos around the dinner table. And there they are in fabulous people as I work and as I play.

 

But blessings can also be found in the dark. Blessings appear in the heartaches of life.

 

They are the very things that bring us to the spot of surrender, to a place where we can do nothing but bend our knees.  It feels terrible in the moment. But later it proves to be the biggest blessing of all. Trust me, the light will come and you will smile bigger than you have ever smiled and laugh harder than you have ever laughed. You’ll snort you are laughing so hard!

 

Faithful readers and precious friends, thank you for journeying with me for the last two years. Your love and support have helped me recover and dream and live a fuller life than I have ever lived.

If you haven’t visited my new website, please do. And tell me what you think.

wendiloulee.com

Re-branding can be a challenge so I hope you continue to follow my journey of trusting where God is taking me. My new blog….  Little Blessings on the Prairie will encompass it all, the good times and the not-so-good times… because they are all a blessing.

You may ask why? Well that is very exciting news… the Little House Devotional I have been working on is in the very beginning stages of the publishing process. Pray for me as I begin this new chapter. And if you think someone would be encouraged by this post please share it.

 

Much love,

Wendi

 

Little Lessons on the Prairie

When my girl Raegan started Kindergarten, we began a Monday night tradition. Little House on the Prairie became a special part of our family time. An episode would play and then we would pick it apart, finding the lessons of God’s grace for us. We found ourselves relating to the stories, challenging each other to be kind, honest and faithful.

My children couldn’t wait until Season Five, when Baby Grace made her first appearance on screen. This ongoing blog takes a look at a single episode and what we can learn from the Ingalls family.  I’ve started with the first episode, hoping to make it all the way to the end.

I’ve been writing a devotional based on quotes from Little House. Have a favorite quote? Send me a message with the quote and maybe it will make the director’s cut. And please visit my new website and tell me what you think! wendiloulee.com

Minutes Counting Down

It’s July 29th. I’ve had an amazing summer with my family.  We saw Tahoe in June, the mountains covered in snow. We’ve seen a volunteer spaghetti squash plant explode out by the barn and walked Mo, our 6 month Bernedoodle, all over our little town. We’ve slept in and ran on the beach, we’ve pulled weeds and seen friends. I’ve traveled to Costa Rica, serving the people of Talamanca and learned to cook killer food, Tico style. I saw a wild sloth in the jungle, I think I could learn a thing or two about slowing down from that amazing little critter. We hugged Tobey goodbye as he took his first trip as a camper to Hume Lake.

And then I’ve been writing… and writing and writing. Not chapters, those come easy. This is the proposal, basically convincing an agent and a publisher that they should take a leap of faith and publish my book. The first plans of my self-given deadline passed in June and now August 1st is quickly approaching. There’s something about two half-grown kids at home that makes getting anything done a challenge. The hope was to submit my proposal and sample chapters to the four interested agents I met at the Mount Hermon Writer’s Conference.  I have exactly two and a half days to wrap it all up, present this dream of mine into a pretty little package.

It’s scary… and exciting all at the same time. And I second guess myself, my motives and how exactly God would want me to go about it… what’s the best way to make His name known. So thank you for letting me take a break from marketing plan ideas and my list of potential endorsers to just write what’s in my heart. And wish me luck to make my deadline this time, the minutes are counting down.

Would you do me a favor? Share with me your thoughts on the books you read. Do you find yourself more drawn to memoir or a Christian living book? Baby Grace is on the fence between these two genres, I’d love your input.

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Sabbatical… Amazing!

It’s been such a fabulous 4 months … I should have written a post but frankly I just have been enjoying myself so much that the time has slipped away.  For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about here’s the jist of it.  I left my job at Sports Warehouse in November, just in time to celebrate the one year mark of my brain surgery.  Josh, the killer man that he is, and I decided that I needed a break from all manners of work to rest and figure out what God has next for me.

So 2017 is my year to do just that and I’m off to a great start!  In January my mom moved to Texas, handing down her upholstery business to me.  It’s been great, not too much work and I’m having so much fun.  Josh was worried that acquiring a new business is the opposite of rest, but really it has been a breath of fresh air.  I’m also working on a new project … a book!  It’s so weird to say that, but I guess I need to say it louder until it doesn’t feel weird anymore.

It’s a project about weariness and how God can use it for good.  It is the inside look at my life and brain surgery and how rest is found in the baby graces all around us.  I’m getting ready to attend a writer’s conference in April, ready to learn all I can. I can’t wait to see what God will do with it.

With writing every day and walking along the beach and seeing God goodness all over the place I’ve been so busy resting.  I didn’t expect to be so exhausted, I guess rest is not about doing less but doing more in your deep places.  It’s been amazing!

You all have been such a huge support to me and I thank you so much!

Season One – "Christmas At Plum Creek"

Every Christmas we watch the two Little House Christmas episodes, it’s become a tradition.  This year we had a dear family over to watch with us, which was a real treat!  I cannot make it through this episode without longing for the simple days of Christmas.  I laugh at the Ingalls all in the mercantile, tiptoeing around trying to figure out what to get each other.  If only Christmas could be this simple right?  One store to shop, decorate the tree on Christmas Eve, shoot the turkey and make some pies.  Each member of the family, doing what they can to show the great love they have for each other, for the Ingalls it meant sacrifice and creativity and a lot of work.

Over the years we have simplified Christmas, trying to keep it true and pure in all that it should be.  But it is easy to get caught up in all the hype and gifts and internet ordering and lose sight of the ultimate reason to celebrate.  I love how Carrie gets it, spends her only penny on a present for Baby Jesus.  It’s his birthday after all!!  The innocent, searching eyes of Carrie … looking up at the star, like it’s the only thing that really matters.  God willing to come down to earth to be with us, in the most humble form because he loves us!  I never want to lose sight of this, never stop lifting my eyes up to see the star of Christmas as the one thing that it’s really all about.

Season One – "The Lord Is My Shepherd"

There is so much I could say about this episode, so many ways I could go. The direction I’m going is take is maybe because it’s been so true for me these last few months. Of all the tidbits of truth conveyed in this two part show my favorite line is from Jonathan, the angel sent to watch over Laura on the mountain. He says “Tears make things come alive again.”

When I think of tears, either seeing someone cry or crying myself, it’s usually not tears of joy. (Although I was at a wedding this last weekend where there were a lot of happy tears being shed by the groom, but that is besides the point.) The tears I usually think of are tears of pain, betrayal, loss. It’s our bodies natural way to deal with grief or disappointment or sadness. Why is it that sometimes it just feels so good to cry?  In a way it is an emptying of our hearts of all that is weighing us down or the overflow of joy that cannot be contained.

I’m a cried, it comes easy to me.  I can see a commercial or movie or any given Little House episode and get a little misty with emotion if it hits a cord in me, some reminder of a deeper issue.  The olympics are the worst … The personal stories of overcoming great obstacles get me every time. I always thought I was overly emotional, wearing my heart on my sleeve … but I think really it’s more than that. Maybe I’m dealing with my heart issues through my tears, because I refuse to actually address them myself?  I researched a little about the reasons we cry, over and over again the findings were inconclusive.  In the end, just a lot of hunches but the idea of catharsis kept coming up.  (I had to google it just to get a clear definition so I knew what they were talking about.)  It was defined as a purifying or cleansing of emotions, in a sense your bodies attempt to elevate your mood.

Sometimes tears just lead to more tears, and other times they lead to life. How can we use our tears to help us move on, move on to what is next?  This past year I’ve shed a lot of tears, more than I thought was possible. Some tears were from pain, some from being misunderstood and some because I didn’t know what else to do. Have you been there?  I know that my tears at times have not moved me forward. So this next year I’ve pledged to work hard at uncovering my deepest hurts and hardest moments.  And it will probably take yet another round of tears to face them head on.  My hope is to cleanse my heart and soul and even my memories of these hurts, so I can be in a place of fully living, alive again. What about you?

Season One – "The Award"

We all make mistakes, we all do things we wish we hadn’t done.  We hide in our shame and regret, hoping we won’t be found out. The crazy thing is that we almost always get caught.  What about the times we are tempted to make a decision that we know is wrong, but choose wisely?  This is when it’s good to be discovered, to take a deep breath knowing it was the right decision.

As a mother, I’m constantly catching my kids in the very act … I’m either proud of them or maybe a little disappointed. I have a decision to make, it is a big one because it will affect how they view themselves and their actions in the future. Caroline was such a fabulous mom … her arms wide open, running towards Mary. No words, just the total embrace of love.

This is how I picture the Father with his arms open to the prodigal son.  We’ve been going through a series called Prodigal God at church. Sounds backwards but prodigal means extravagant or excessive, usually in regards to the wayward son. But here’s the spin on it, God is the Father who is extravagant in his love, excessive in his grace for us. Ready to forgive and welcome us with open arms, running to us even. Ohh how I want that to be me with my precious kids, to have extravagant love, excessive grace. May it be so in me Lord.

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