Lessons from Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls Wilder Books

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“She thought to herself, “This is now.” She was glad that the cozy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago”. ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

I’ve always admired Laura Ingalls Wilder. She was born in 1867 and died in 1957. Over the span of her life, covered wagons became automobiles, lantern light became electricity, and outhouses led to indoor plumbing! 

I grew up on her books and to this day she remains one of my favorite authors. Growing up Mom read us “Farmer Boy”, we had little house days on Spring break, and ate dinner by lantern light. We even spent a year camping out in the Living Room listening to the audiobooks each night before falling asleep. I’ve read nearly every article or book I can find on her. I’ve even read a few of her daughter’s books too.

I LOVE the way she wrote. I have no definite source to back me up on this but I’d venture to say that the reason she’s so descriptive in her writing is because of Mary’s blindness. Describing the world for Mary led to her being able to so vividly describe her world for generations of readers. And that vivid description not only takes you where she walked, lets you feel what she felt and so much more, it’s also historical. Showing you what life was like for farmers and homesteaders during that time.

It shows the hard work and the sweet reward of the hard work it took to simply live.

If you wanted something you HAD to work for it. You often made do with what you had or simply went without. There were no automatic dishwashers, or washers and dyers. Everything was done by hand. If the weather wasn’t great that particular year or some unforeseen circumstance (like maybe a swarm of crows destroyed your corn crop), you suffered.

But one of the things I’ve admired the most about Laura Ingalls Wilder is that she took her normal everyday life and made it almost magical.

I’ve been able to read a copy of <a href="http://Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener sponsored nofollow”>”Pioneer Girl”. The book that Laura wrote that became the basis of the little house novels. And honestly, it was interesting. While the Little House books that we know and love are truly BASED on a true story there were a lot of changes. For instance, the Ingalls were never as isolated as the books make it sound. Nellie Olsen was an acquaintance of Lauara’s and the character in the books is based on several bullies Laura encountered. A few of the details throughout the books were altered. Sometimes making the story less harsh than the reality or to emphasize a specific theme or aspect to the story. You’ll even find that some stories are left out altogether.

The Ingalls family like many others at that time had their fair share of struggles and hardships. Life wasn’t easy. But yet, millions of readers across generations find hope, warmth, love, laughter, and a deep connection to family reading her novels.

I’ve always wanted to see and capture the “magic” of my normal everyday life.

It’s mundane. Nearly every day it’s the same thing. Laura’s life was mundane too. The same struggles, the same routine; day in and day out. And yet, she found the adventure, she found the magic in the little moments. The warm firelight, the music, the comfort of family. Amist the struggle she found the joy. Sleigh bells, a simple Christmas, sledding with friends, or a long buggy ride.

She had, at times more than enough to complain about. And yet, she focused on the good. The blessings that abounded. Laura Ingalls Wilder faced her share of hard times and with the help of God and her family, she made it through. She wrote down her story to share it with Rose and was encouraged to pursue publication.

She never expected her books to touch generations of readers or that Laura Ingalls Wilder would become a household name. That the simple life of a Prarie Girl would inspire multiple novels, and a T.V. show. Or that a little girl in Ohio who grew up and now writes about her life on a blog hoping to somehow encourage a new generation of people to find the joy and the magic of a mundane life all because “Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs”…

Until next time,

Bailey Sue

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