Laura Ingalls Wilder; A Legacy of Hard Work and Faith

Growing up, I was a huge fan of the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. In fact, I spent a lot of my childhood either watching the television series or reading her books. I have always appreciated her words, her work ethic, and so much more. (I even happen to have one of her quotes as the header on my blog!)

Laura Ingalls grew up on the farm watching her parents work hard for their money. Laura and her siblings had their own responsibilities as well. Laura felt a deep responsibility to help her family in any way she could. In fact, according to Wikipedia, Laura was not very fond of teaching. “Laura felt the responsibility from a young age to help her family financially and wage-earning opportunities for women were very limited.” Laura received her teaching degree to help earn money for her family.

Much of Laura’s childhood was spent on the farm during very severe winters. During those severe winters, it was hard to earn any income yet alone find good sources of food. I believe, they lived on what they could during those severe winters. Yet they always found ways to get through those long hard winters.

Eventually Laura met and married Almonzo Wilder; the love of her life. There was ten years between them. Despite the age difference, they were in love and their prospects for the future seemed bright. In fact, two children were born to this union: Rose and a son (who died before being named)

During their marriage, Laura and Almonzo farmed together. After several years of drought, Laura and Almonzo were left in debt. They moved to Mansfield, Missouri where they purchased an undeveloped piece of land that was just outside of town. At this time, to earn income, they would sell fire wood for fifty cents which is what they would live on.

Financial Security came very slowly to the Wilders. The apple trees they grew did not bear fruit for seven years. Eventually Laura’s in-laws gave her and Almonzo the deed to a house they were renting which was the economic downturn that they needed. After awhile, Laura took a paid position with the local Farm Loan Association; dispensing loans to local farmers. (Talk about giving back!)

Laura and Almonzo were never wealthy until the Little House books began gaining in popularity. According to Wikipedia, “The Wilders lived independently and without financial worries until the death of Wilder’s husband at the farm in 1949 at the age of 92. Wilder remained on the farm. For the next eight years, she lived alone, looked after by a circle of neighbors and friends. She continued an active correspondence with her editors, fans, and friends during these years.” After complications from undiagnosed diabetes and cardiac issues, Laura died three days after her 90th birthday.

Years after Laura Ingalls Wilder’s death, many still read her books and watch the television series starring Melissa Gilbert. Laura’s deep work ethic has always been something that I strive for in my own life as well. As a farmer’s granddaughter, niece and daughter, I know how much work goes into preparing the land, harvesting the fields and so much more. Being a farmer is not an easy job and income depends solely on what the weather is like during that time. Something that is out of our control.

Like Laura, it is my hope and dream that my legacy will be one of hard work and earning an income by working hard for that money, but also being open to giving and sharing with those in need when I have money to spare. Laura was always willing to spare money for others especially those she loved.

“The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.” (Laura Ingalls Wilder)

(Information about Laura Ingalls Wilder was gleaned from these websites: Laura Ingalls Wilder (Wikipedia)Laura Ingalls Wilder Biography, and Laura Ingalls Wilder Documentary

Also linked up at Literary Musing Mondays

September 11, 2001; Ten Years Later

Tomorrow marks the Tenth Anniversary of the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. We all remember where we were and what we were doing on that morning just like my parent’s generation knew where they were and what they were doing when President Kennedy was assassinated.

I was at my dad’s house that morning. I had recently finished my internship in Beach ND with the Golden Valley News and the Billings County Pioneer. And after my internship, I had spent some time working/volunteering at my favorite place Camp of the Cross Ministries. And now the morning of September 11Th, I was watching “Little House on the Prairie” when it was interrupted with the news of the morning. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing on our television set. Two planes fly straight into the World Trade Centers! Another plane crashing into the Pentagon. And then the heroes of Flight 93 who took control of their plane and flew it into a field in Shanks ville PA. If it weren’t for their heroic acts, who knows where that plane would have landed/crashed? For that day and the days following, we couldn’t help but grieve with the thousands who lost family members. Would today be the darkest day that I would know or would I see more darkness?

That next fall, I found myself starting seminary. I’m not sure that the events of September 11th called me into the ministry of word and service. But I have a feeling that in its own way, it did! At seminary, I remember many of my new friends telling me where they were that morning. Many of them were in class and then at 9:30 am CST they gathered for chapel. As the events of 9-11 unfolded, they stood in the Refectory with their eyes glued to the television sets. I remember my friend A telling us that the President of the seminary came in, turned off the televisions, and said, “Lets go to chapel. Chapel is the place we need to be right now!” So very true! And so they all gathered that morning,praying for the events unfolding in our world!

Now ten years later, man and woman are still in Afghanistan and other countries continuing to fight for our freedom. Ten years later, Bin Laden is dead! The day of his death I had a hard time grasping the joy so many were experiencing. I understood their joy but couldn’t bring myself to feel that same joy. Ten years later, the children of those killed on 9-11 are showing us what it means to share God’s grace with so many others!(Did any of you hear any of them speak on the Dateline special last night or read their interviews in the recent issue of People magazine?) Ten years later, we still remember; we still remember that horrific day. Ten years later, we are grateful for the many EMS workers, firefighters, and so many others who went into those buildings to bring survivors to safety. Ten years later, I find myself promising not to forget that dark day but also promising to share God’s grace and forgiveness when it is so hard to forgive!