Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Grace Livingston Hill Biographies

Over the years Grace Livingston Hill has been one of my favorite authors. I enjoy collecting vintage copies of her books, and have now read over forty. As much as I enjoy her work, up until a couple of months ago I knew very little about this incredible author. Following a suggestion from my mom (a fellow G.L. Hill fan) I sought out a biography of Grace Livingston Hill. After discovering this list of her biographies I purchased Grace Livingston Hill: Her Story and Her Writings by Jean Karr published in 1948, a year after her death, and Grace Livingston Hill: The Life Story of One of America's Best-Loved Writer's, As Told by Her Grandson by Robert Munce published in 1986. Both biographies were informative and enjoyable to read. I would highly recommend both books to any one interested in learning about the life of Grace Livingston Hill.
 I read Grace Livingston Hill: The Life Story of One of America's Best-Loved Writer's, As Told by Her Grandson by Robert Munce first, and I am glad that I did. This biography offers a more personal look at Mrs. Hill's life. The work begins with a humorous poem Mrs. Hill wrote to her son-in-law for his birthday. I was glad to discover that G.L. Hill had a good sense humor! Robert Munce then related the story surrounding Grace's birth: she was born on Easter Sunday just two days after the assassination of President Lincoln. It was a tumultuous time in the history of our country, and for the Livingston family. G.L. Hill was an only child, raised by two wonderful Christian parents. It was a pleasure for me to catch a glimpse of what life was like in the Livingston home. There was a special closeness in the family and extended family, as they were all united in their love for Jesus.

It was fascinating to discover that G.L. Hill's mother was also a published author. I had learned some time before that her aunt Isabella Alden was a popular author, but never knew that her mother wrote as well. Both aunt and mother encouraged Grace to pursue her skills in writing, and proved wonderful, positive critics of her work.

Mr. Munce's biography shares many wonderful anecdotes of their time spent in Florida, G.L. Hill's first marriage proposal, her work at a local Christian college, how she met her husband Frank Hill and her marriage to Frank Hill. Life was often very difficult for G.L. Hill, for instance losing her husband of seven years and her father in short succession.

Munce also describes her unlikely second marriage (which was a bit of a surprise to me!), the building of her beautiful stone house and her mission work with local immigrants. I loved reading the descriptions of her house! The detailed description of the layout and decor were a real treat to the imagination.

After reading Grace Livingston Hill: The Life Story of One of America's Best-Loved Writer's, As Told by Her Grandson I wished that I could have known Grace Livingston Hill personally. She was a caring, hardworking woman with a heart to share the love of Jesus.
 Grace Livingston Hill: Her Story and Her Writings by Jean Karr focused more on Grace Livingston Hill's career and only briefly touched on her personal life. However I enjoyed reading about how some of her books were inspired. Karr's book also included full page pictures, whereas the pictures in Munce's book were smaller and harder to see.

I was interested to learn how Mrs. Hill's publishers requested that she remove religious themes from her stories, and she staunchly refused to comply with their demands. The resulting conflict forced her to switch publishers, and as a single mom I am sure that was a difficult step of faith to take! However it was inspiring to see how the Lord to care of her family and how Grace Livingston Hill put Jesus first in her writing. Later in her career she received countless letters telling her how her books had encouraged and inspired soldiers wearied and heartsick after the wars. Many were even led to salvation through her books. What a reward for her unwavering steadfastness!

Karr noted that Mrs. Hill did not go to the movies, but did enjoy listening to the radio. One of her favorite programs was the Kate Smith show. I was also interested to learn that two of Grace Livingston Hill's favorite authors were Kathleen Norris and Temple Bailey, since they happen to be two authors I also enjoy.

To close I thought I would share a couple paragraphs from Grace Livingston Hill: Her Story and Her Writings by Jean Karr.

"She (Mrs.Hill) was always busy- cooking, cleaning, tending the lawn and working in the garden, and sewing for two little girls who were growing very fast. She made all their clothing for them, and there was always the task of letting out seams and lengthening little dresses to make them last a while longer.

As Margaret and Ruth approached school age, their busy mother determined not to send them to school at once, but gave them lessons at home, in the way her parents had taught her as a child. So in between the routine duties of the household, there were classes in reading, writing, spelling, grammar, geography, history, and arithmetic. Mrs. Hill was evidently as good a teacher as she was a housekeeper. She continued to teach the two girls until Margaret was eleven years old and Ruth was eight, at which time they entered the public school." (Page 63)

"Grace Livingston Hill died at the age of eighty-two, on February 23, 1947. Her life span had begun in the troubled Civil War days immediately following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and ended during the period of international confusion and distrust that came as an aftermath of the second great World War and the discovery of the atomic bomb. It was a long way to come, from the days of the horse-and-buggy trips with her minister father to the days of atomic energy and stratoshere flights. It had been in general, a satisfying life, but the world of the 1940's was one in which she didn't feel at home, one which she willingly departed." (page 113)
I hope you have enjoyed this look at these two biographies. They are a wonderful addition to my Grace Livingston Hill book collection. I was touched and inspired by this incredible lady's talent, imagination, fortitude and love for the Lord!

Thursday, October 11, 2018


  This fall has been beautiful. The days have been remarkably warm and summer like. We have been enjoying spending as much time outside as we can, hence my absence from my blog. : ) 

The month of September was lovely! We enjoyed the bounty of our garden, which was our best harvest since living here. Adam's berry bushes really took off this year. In the picture above is just some of the elderberries he collected this fall! We have frozen the berries and look forward to making elderberry pies in the near future. Adam's blackberries, red raspberries and red currants did equally well. We have been enjoying delicious pies and jams with even greater pleasure since the fruit came from our own garden.
 This is just one day of my canning efforts. Like previous years I canned tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, soups, zucchini, pickles and several jams. If interested in any of the recipes I used, I included links in this post. In addition to canning I froze some baked goods this year. We had such an abundance of zucchini I decided to make a variety of zucchini breads and our favorite zucchini cookies to freeze. Already we have enjoyed baking a few cookies or a mini loaf of zucchini bread on a rainy weekend.
 Last month we celebrated Jemimah's fourth birthday! She is such a sweet little girl and a wonderful friend. We officially began homeschooling last month. Last year we did some Pre-K work with work books I picked up at the store. This year we are using a complete Pre-K curriculum. We are enjoying the curriculum and Jemimah looks forward to school time each morning.
 With the return of cooler weather I have resumed my habit of making a weekly batch of soup. Some may remember one of my favorite recipes that I shared quite a while back, stuffed pepper soup. Recently my mom had the brilliant idea of making cabbage roll soup, in much the same way we made our stuffed pepper soup. It is delicious, and I may like it even better than the stuffed pepper soup!
 For those who may like to try to make some themselves, here is the recipe.

Cabbage Roll Soup
  • 1 cup rice (prepare with water amount recommended)* 
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4-5 cups of shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained 
  • 1 can (14 ounces) beef broth
Prepare rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook the beef and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the shredded cabbage, spaghetti sauce, tomatoes and broth. Simmer until cabbage is fully cooked and tender. Add prepared rice; heat through.
*In my last batch I omitted the rice and added extra cabbage, it was still delicious! 
 Throughout the summer months I did very little knitting or crocheting due to the heat, but I did manage to finally complete my socks in time for the cooler weather. : ) I am so pleased with the finished results! I have begun to knit a pair of socks for Jemimah, and I suspect that they will take a lot less time, considering the size difference.
This week I have enjoyed collecting some of my scrap fabric to create a Dresden plate design for a pillow cover. I made a similar pillow cover last year, and I have wanted to make another for the other rocking chair in our living room.
 Here is a picture of the pillow I made last year, to give you an idea of how the pillow will look when finished. The design is fairly simple to sew together and I love to see so many beloved calico scraps being put to a good use.
 Speaking of fabric.... when we were out the other weekend I discovered that one of my favorite fabric shops was having a sale. I couldn't resist purchasing a couple of my favorites with aprons in mind.
Recently I added a few "autumnal themed" items to my Etsy shop.
 And of course a few new aprons!
 And to close this post I'd like to introduce our kitten Miranda. We adopted Miranda back in June and she is truly a joy! Jemimah loves her dearly, as do Adam and I. We named Miranda after one of my favorite Grace Livingston Hill characters, and she certainly is living up to her namesake's reputation for being mischievous but loving!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding; 
 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6

Little Book of Thanks- Review

It happens every autumn. As soon as the leaves begin to turn bright, beautiful colors, the year sprints ahead on fast-forward! Take a few moments out of the hustle and bustle of the season to sink into a cozy chair with your little one and thank God for everything He’s given us with Precious Moments® Little Book of Thanks.
In the sweet, enduring art style of Precious Moments, this timeless book will help your children recognize all the wonderful things God has given them! Read along, and you will remember to enjoy the simple things, like singing silly songs, jumping in a pile of leaves, and watching the seasons change. The short, rhyming verses in this classic Precious Moments book don’t take much time to read at all, and they will create memories that last forever.
Precious Moments Little Book of Thanks offers you the chance to be thankful for all that you have and for the ones with whom you get to share every precious moment.

Little Book of Thanks
By Jean Fisher

We have a couple of other seasonal Precious Moments books, so when I saw Little Book of Thanks I knew it would be the perfect addition to collection! 

Little Book of Thanks is a sturdy board book filled with charming illustrations of Precious Moments characters celebrating the simple things of life. Each page features a prayer of thanksgiving. The topics vary from family, to God's creativity in creating us, thanksgiving for laughter, healthy food- just to name a few. The prayer is then followed by a poem and Scripture verse. I was pleased to see lines from some classic autumnal poems included too.

It seems that Thanksgiving is often over looked, especially when it comes to children's books. Therefore I am pleased to have Little Book of Thanks to share with my daughter. It is a wonderful reminder to be grateful for all the many blessing God gives us each and every day, including something so simple as laughter!

The combination of the illustrations, prayers, poems and Scripture make it a special treasure that I am sure we will look forward to revisiting every autumn.

*I received a complimentary copy of Little Book of Thanks from Book Look Blogger in exchange for my honest review*