The Real Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura_Ingalls_WilderThe first time I learned of Laura Ingalls Wilder, I was in the fourth grade at Monterey Elementary School in Ohio. I can still picture the small library and even the very shelves where her books were kept. I would check out her books, read through the whole series and then I would start over again. Something about the free and independent spirit of her pioneer family captured my attention. I never tired of reading about Pa and Ma, Mary, Laura, Carrie and baby Grace as they traveled from Wisconsin, Indian Territory, and DeSmet, South Dakota. As soon as my girls were old enough to understand, I began reading the same stories to them. The TV show made the family more popular and the made-up episodes were fun but there was nothing better than the real stories in Laura’s written accounts.

So I was thrilled when my family traveled to Missouri a few years ago and visited Mansfield, where Laura lived with Almanzo until her death in 1957. Seeing Pa’s fiddle with my own eyes, the slates that Pa bought Mary and Laura in Plum Creek, Laura’s autograph book from her school days and more, was very meaningful to me. I bought a replica of Ma’s Shepherdess that she always kept on their mantel, a tin cup with a peppermint stick and penny…the same thing the Ingalls girls got for Christmas one year and one more thing that I will always treasure. It was a copy of bible references in Laura’s handwritting that was found in her small bible near her rocker where she sat to read. It was a blessing to me and I thought I would share. How awesome to learn how she depended on the scriptures and what great advice she had! She wrote:

In facing a crisis read 46 Psalm
When discouraged read 23 & 24 Psalm
Lonely or fearful read 27 Psalm
Planning a budget read St. Luke chapter 19
To live successfully with others read Romans chapter 12
Sick or in pain read 91 Psalm
When you travel carry with you 121 Psalm
When very weary read Matthew 11:28 & 30 and Romans 8: 31-39
When things from bad to worse 2 Timothy 3
When friends go back on you, hold to 1 Corinthians 13
For inward peace the 14th Chapter of St. John
To avoid misfortune Matthew 7: 24-27
For record of what trust in God can do Hebrews 11
If you are having to put up a fight-the end of Ephesians
When you have sinned read 1 John 3:1-21
And make Psalm 51 your prayer

It was so wonderful to see how Laura relied on God’s Word in hard situations. We know she faced many just by reading her books. She lost a baby, her home burnt down, the family lost their tree farm (their livelihood) and more. I am so glad that Laura lived her life with God walking by her side. I am so happy that I got to see this side of her….the real Laura Ingalls Wilder.

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