Thursday, September 8, 2011

Our Little House, and theirs

    Years ago, I started reading the “Little House” books with my oldest daughter.  We read a couple together but then, she was so enthralled with them, and I was too busy to read them fast enough for her, she finished the rest of the books on her own.  I, too, enjoyed them thoroughly and so finished reading them on my own as well.  As I read the true stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life,  I could not believe all the hardships her poor family endured.   They built a life for themselves in Kansas with a nice little house and a beautiful piece of land only to be kicked out after a  year of back-breaking work, because the land belonged to the Indians.  They went north and settled again, starting over to build everything they had left behind in Kansas.  They built another house, planted more crops, and made a new home for themselves.  Then grasshoppers came and ate their crops.  All their hard work was undone and they had no choice but to start over again.  They dealt with fires, blizzards, illness, loss, more blizzards, and more blizzards.  They did not ever have a truly successful year of farming.  They never got to really enjoy the fruits of all their labors.  There was always something to take away their rewards, or ruin their work, or destroy their plans.  Always.  Yet they never gave up, they never lost heart, they never felt sorry for themselves.  It was pretty amazing really.  They walked around feeling blessed despite the hardships and difficulties of pioneer life. 
    Tim and I are not farmers.  We have never built anything with our own hands or moved with our family to a whole new place.  But today, I find myself thinking about the Ingalls family and feeling a lot like I can relate to them.
      Our house has been a challenge since the day we moved in ten years ago.  We have had problems with the air conditioning, plumbing, air conditioning, electrical system, and air conditioning.  We have replaced doors, carpeting, duct work, windows, the roof, and the air conditioning.  Every time we make a list of things we’d like to do in our house- things like re-paint the family room, buy a new kitchen table, upgrade the cabinets, get a new fence in the backyard, etc…   something else goes wrong and we pour more money into the house without ever really getting ahead.  The maintenance is killing us.  We can barely keep up, and yet things keep going wrong.  Last weekend, Tim spent his Labor Day working on the house.  Tuesday evening, I put our dinner into the microwave expecting it to be hot and delicious in just 25 minutes.  40 minutes later, our potatoes were still crunchy.  They hadn't cooked at all.  The microwave was clearly broken.  This morning, I noticed the air conditioner did not seem to be kicking on.  I checked the thermostat, and went outside to check the unit.  Everything seemed to be fine but there was no air coming through the vents.  None at all.  This is the fourth or fifth year we have had problems with the air conditioner that we just replaced 6 years ago.  As I held my hand in front of the vent that no cool air was shooting from this morning, I felt my spirits sink into a state of deep depression and self-pity over the whole thing.  But then, (maybe it's message from God?) the old Little House stories popped into my head.  I feel like the Ingalls, trying so hard to get ahead, trying so hard to do the right things for our family and make a nice safe home for our children, only to be hit with bad luck at every turn.  The Ingalls learned to persevere despite their struggles.  They appreciated the gifts of family and friends and the opportunity to start over when things went wrong.  Like the ideas of embracing my suffering, praising God in all things, and finding joy in even my challenges, I am just not there yet.  But God sure does keep giving me opportunities to try to get there…..


  1. Love the Little House series.

    If you are ever in Missouri, you must try and make it to Mansfield...home to Laura and Almanzo. It is lovingly preserved. My daughter loved it. We already want to go back.

    Prayers for you to persevere...even during these lean and trying times.


  2. Valerie- It is my daughter's dream to go to Laura's house! We tried to work it in the last time we were in St. Louis, but it is just far enough away and we always have so many people to see and so much to do right in St.L., that we haven't been able to do it yet. Maybe next time....
    Thanks so much for stopping by and for your prayers.

    God Bless, Kari

  3. Beautiful! It is through our perseverance and faith in God we can get through anything. Wishing you many blessings that things resolve themselves :) I will put reading the Little house series on my bucket list :)

  4. Conservamom- Thank you for your kind words. When I put my focus on Christ, perseverance is so much easier, but when I let myself get caught up in the little stresses of life it can be so hard. I was having one of those days but things are looking better already!
    Oh, and definitely check out the books. Maybe you can share them with your beautiful little girls some day! :)



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