And The Winner Is…

IMG_3352

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…

IMG_3188

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.

IMG_3328(1)

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

20180803_141417

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!

 

IMG_3291

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!

IMG_4745

 

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

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

%d bloggers like this: