Thursday, September 10, 2009

Louisa Bingham Lee

So I’m still working on how to balance my time with this motherhood thing, but when the opportunity arises, I want to keep writing here. I recently finished Arrington’s Mothers of the Prophets, and have been impressed with the diversity of these women. One of my favorites was Louisa Bingham Lee.

Louisa Bingham Lee was a hard-working Idaho woman. When she was eight, her mother became an invalid, and her father was frequently away for business, so managing the household became her responsibility. She’d rush home over recess to start cooking and check on her mother, and did housework over her lunch break. She did all her family’s sewing, even when her feet barely reached the pedals. In her adult life, she married Samuel Marion Lee, raised six children, served in a variety of church capacities, nursed and midwifed, and was a highly efficient housekeeper. When she died in 1959, she had (without telling her family) already paid for and arranged her funeral.

The thing that I admire most about Louisa is her ability to respond to spiritual promptings. Her response to these promptings either saved the lives or prevented serious injury of her children on many occasions, especially for the rather accident-prone Harold. There are countless examples of her efforts. When Harold spilled lye over his head, she immediately grabbed him, kicked open a jar of pickles, and poured the vinegar over his face to neutralize the lye. On another occasion, she followed a prompting to push Harold out a doorway just before lightning struck there. Another time, when Harold was a teenager, she felt prompted to send her husband out to look for Harold, and he found that Harold had been thrown from his horse into a freezing stream. And when 17-year-old Harold had a deadly case of pneumonia, she devotedly nursed him and prayed over him. After his recovery, she responded to praise for her efforts by stating, “Oh, but I didn’t save his life. The Lord did. He just expects us to do everything we can to help!” (I love her go-do-it attitude here).

Louisa certainly had her quirks. The one that cracks me up the most is that despite all her pragmatism and grit, Louisa wanted a girl so badly that she styled 4-year-old Harold’s hair into wavy black ringlets that reached below his shoulders. Harold was mocked so badly for by the neighborhood boys and his own father that he took matters into his own hands and started snipping them himself, forcing Louisa to give him a proper boy’s haircut (which she shed tears over). She also liked to dress her boys in suits with Lord Fauntleroy ruffles, much to their chagrin. But she was a woman of faith that actively served the Lord and her fellow man.

Sources:
Mothers of the Prophets, by Leonard Arrington, Susan Arrington Madsen, Emily Madsen Jones
Louisa Bingham Lee: Sacrifice and Spirit, by Jaynann Morgan Payne

4 comments:

Jen said...

Yay! So excited to see this post...keep writing Erin!

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