From Prairie to Purpose – An Interview with Wendi Lou Lee

Author and speaker Wendi Lou Lee

Last December, when author Wendi Lou Lee reminded a room of writers that luck has nothing to do with success, she spoke from a place of profound experience. Cast as Baby Grace in the Little House on the Prairie television series at 6 months old, Wendi went on to portray the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Ingalls baby for four years. Now, it is Wendi’s time on the show that connects her with countless fans and provides opportunities to share her faith.

Wendi (Turnbaugh) Lee as “Baby Grace” in the Little House on the Prairie television series.
Photo Courtesy of Wendi Lou Lee

With her first book, A Prairie Devotional, Wendi touches on tender moments from the series that resonate with viewers around the world. Connecting these stories with Biblical truths and real-life applications, Wendi brings fans of the show a way to go deeper with the episodes they love. But her journey to this point was not always an easy one. As she says herself, it is only through the grace of God that she can affirm that He has a plan and a purpose, even when we don’t see it.

ATG: Let’s chat a bit about A Prairie Devotional, which was released last fall. How did that come about?

Wendi: It was only through the grace of God that it happened at all. I attended Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference with a different project in mind, the one I am working on now. I mentioned the idea for the devotional to an editor. I didn’t even have a proposal written yet – it was only an idea. She wanted samples. I told myself, “I better start rewatching Little House episodes.” 

You know, most often you have to work hard to get a book published. It is an incredibly long process. Other times, God shows up and says, “This is all Me.” It was totally a God thing.

ATG: I am thankful that God did show up. It is a great book to share with the entire family. With the devotional on the shelves, do you have another project in the works?

Wendi: I do. 

ATG: What sparked the idea for this new book?

Wendi: Really, it is the book I wanted to write before I started the Little House devotional. I’d been working on writing up a few of my own life experiences – not a chronological memoir – but stories relating to my brain surgery and stories people can relate to. Little flashes of truth. This book is about God’s outrageous love. 

ATG: I think we can all use a book like that. We often miss seeing God’s love working in our lives. You mentioned that your journey through brain surgery is the foundation for your writing right now. Do you mind sharing a bit about that period of your life?

Wendi: It was fairly recent – 2015. I’d been enduring excruciating headaches and pain so severe I couldn’t get out of bed. It took about six weeks for my doctor to order the brain scan. From the time they identified the tumor to the surgery date was only ten days.

ATG: That’s incredible! How has your life changed since the surgery?

Wendi: I am a much more confident person. Before the surgery, I had been struggling to see my purpose – God’s purpose – in my life. With the chronic pain, I had begun to feel useless. Now, I am confident that God has given me something to do. And I am not afraid to do it. He saved me for a reason. This will sound strange, but in many ways, having brain surgery was one of the best things that ever happened to me. 

ATG: With a scary diagnosis like a brain tumor, how did you initially react?

Wendi: Again, this may seem odd, but I was relieved. There was a reason for my pain. There was a way to cure it. God showed me that he loved me enough to give me a brain tumor so that I could trust him more and do all things for Him. Before the tumor and the surgery, I had been feeling forgotten by God. From the first diagnosis, I knew God was doing something, I knew it was going to change me. It is a gift to see the story God is writing in my life.

ATG: To have an eternal perspective in the midst of overwhelming circumstances…you must have many words to share about God’s faithfulness throughout your journey. Knowing that, do you have ideas for other projects, too?

Wendi: I had someone online suggest I write historical fiction, but I’m not sure that’s me. I don’t see myself coming up with storylines.

ATG: You never know just where God will take you.

Photo Courtesy of Wendi Lou Lee

Wendi: True. But I’m pretty blunt. I like honesty and truth. That’s me. I’m not sure I have a fiction story in me. Like the Prairie Devotional. I like simple, straightforward, and honest.

ATG: I think that is what I love most about the devotional. I enjoy each page and can apply the concepts in my own life. My boys, who are still school-age, get something from it, too. It is ageless and timeless. 

Wendi: My editor calls that “evergreen.” The Little House stories themselves are like that. Kids are still reading them in school. People still watch the television show. 

ATG: Your walk with God is obviously at the center of your life. What is your personal favorite devotional or Christian Living book?

Wendi: For me? Anne Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. I read that right before and after my surgery. It helped me to focus on being thankful. Of course, Experiencing God is also a great one.

ATG: Besides being a published author, you enjoy other creative activities. Can you elaborate?

Wendi: I opened an Etsy shop in January. Last year, I made little wagon ornaments and sold them to a few people. Then, at my book launch party, we created a western theme – a whole Old West Town Square. We had BB guns and gold-panning. At one table, guests could make little clothespin dolls that resembled Mary and Laura. I thought they would make cute ornaments, so I tried that. I added a Nellie ornament because you can’t have Mary and Laura without Nellie. The requests for those were enough that it made sense to open up on Etsy.

While many tune into Wendi’s Facebook Live feeds because of her time on the Little House on the Prairie television series, they connect on a deeper level to her faith and confidence in God. To know Wendi is to be touched by genuine humility and love. If you are fan of all things Little House or simply want to feel encouraged, check out A Prairie Devotional or visit wendiloulee.com to discover more about Wendi and her work. You might also enjoy browsing Wendi’s Etsy shop

Wendi will be speaking at Atascadero Bible Church in California for their Spring Women’s Conference on March 28th.

Would you like to win your own autographed copy of Wendi’s new book, A Prairie Devotional? Leave a comment on this post to enter! The contest ends March 31 at midnight. The winner will be notified by April 3.

5 thoughts on “From Prairie to Purpose – An Interview with Wendi Lou Lee

    1. Congratulations Lori! Through a random drawing on randomresults.com, you are the winner of an autographed copy of Wendi’s Prairie Devotional! Please use the contact tab to send me your mailing address.

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