A Teacher of Modesty


Today I am excited to introduce you to a lady and family that I have “known” (that is, been aware of) for most of my life, yet I never see them mentioned or referred to on anyone’s blog. Their teachings and views are in line with traditional  views of femininity and biblical womanhood, but for whatever reason, the current generation doesn’t seem to have discovered them. So readers, please allow me to present a very humble Christian lady whose books have taught much to many. (Click titles for more information on the books mentioned.)

HandfordThis is Elizabeth (“Libby”) Rice Handford, pictured here with her husband Walt Handford. I’ll tell you more about her famous family tree in a moment, but for now please know that she is the author of some very direct and touching books that women today would do well to read; among them, Me? Obey Him?  and Your Clothes Say It For YouI mentioned one of these books in a recent post and it was clicked on many times. But just so you know–I do not happen to be affiliated with the Rice/Handford family nor any booksellers or publishers as of right now. I just want you to know about them because I love them! I believe you will, too.

Mrs. Handford is one of six daughters of the famous evangelist, Dr.  John R. Rice (pictured below).


He had a dynamic life story and while we may not all agree with everything he espoused, he clearly had a huge, pressing burden to win souls, and dedicated his life to it. He was the founder of Sword of the Lord, which was originally a newspaper and is now a ministry which includes a publishing house.  You can visit their website to peruse a wealth of interesting products, especially the books, which are searchable by author or subject.

The thing I love best about Elizabeth Rice Handford‘s writing is her voice. There is nothing preachy or judgmental about her. Her books read as though a very kind, loving, and very devout friend has stopped by to have a cup of coffee and share with you. Sprinkled with stories from her youth and her days as a mother raising seven children, she comes across as so warm and personable that while you may, in the end, have differing opinions about certain matters, you cannot help but respect her sincerity and her testimony. Her sharp intelligence shines through her plain-spoken style as well, just in case you’re tempted to dismiss her words as those of a Bible-belt bumpkin from another era. As strongly as I possibly can, I urge you to check out these books. They are quite inexpensive, by the way.

Mrs. Handford’s sister, Jessie Rice Sandberg, is the author of several books as well. One that I have a immense fondness for is With Love…And A Pinch of Salt. When I was nineteen or so, this book was placed as a decoration on the mantelpiece of the old Victorian house where I worked as a waitress. I picked it up and leafed through it when I was not busy, and was instantly hooked. It’s a unique book, rather like a scrapbook of odds and ends that a mother might give to a daughter as a wedding gift. I believe it was frequently given as a shower gift in its day, and it’s still full of useful, homespun information…everything from “How to Make a White Sauce” to checklists for a Christian bride, to poems and articles about family life, to reminders of small daily things to take joy in. Sadly it does not seem to be available at Sword of the Lord! However I checked Amazon and a few other places, and you should be able to locate a used copy.

Now, to check out a different limb on the Rice family tree, let’s look at Bill and Cathy Rice. (It took me years, by the way, in the days before Google, to figure out exactly how these people were related.) Dr. Bill Rice was the brother of John R. Rice, and also an evangelist. In the 1930′s, his and wife Cathy’s baby daughter was struck with spinal meningitis. While the baby survived, the illness left her deaf. Afterward, realizing how challenging it was to communicate the gospel to a deaf child, her parents then felt led to begin a ministry for the deaf. The Bill Rice Ranch is still going strong today in Murfreesboro, TN. They host FREE camps for the deaf, and camps and conferences for hearing people as well. Cathy authored a number of books about sign language and ministry to the deaf. Their website, http://www.billriceranch.org, has many helpful resources you might like to check out. billrice_founder


But she didn’t always write about the deaf. Cathy Rice was, for me, a little pebble the Lord dropped into my path when I was in high school in the 1980′s. Would you expect a regular old unchurched perm-headed 80′s teenager, the daughter of a smoking, drinking, partying divorced mother, to be eagerly lapping up a 1966 book on Christian submission? Probably not, and yet as I have gotten older, I have marveled at the many such books that found their way into my hands and formed the foundation of my beliefs. It was no coincidence! Anyway…in the school library (this would never happen today, huh?!) I ran across a book entitled The Right Way in Marriage for Women, which was part love letter to Bill Rice (not literally, I’m just saying that Cathy’s adoration for him was quite evident) and partly a guidebook for Christian wives. I believe that this same book now goes by the title of The Right Romance in Marriage, and this one is available at Sword and through Amazon. Cathy’s tone is different from that of her nieces, the Rice sisters…she’s a little more June Cleaver-ish, but I still admire this lovely book from a time when submission was more the norm instead of a radical departure.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about the Rice family and will check out the books and resources. Come back and let me know what you thought!


About these ads

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jenny Jones
    Nov 11, 2014 @ 07:04:53

    Wow, interesting story. I’ve never heard of her so thanks for sharing.


  2. tmpresser
    Nov 11, 2014 @ 11:36:32

    Thanks for sharing this post at Good Morning Mondays, very enjoyable and informative. Blessings.


  3. sharonspad1
    Nov 14, 2014 @ 11:46:30

    What a great and interesting story thanks for sharing!


  4. Chris Carter (@themomcafe)
    Nov 14, 2014 @ 13:40:38

    WOW. I absolutely love that you shared so much valuable history and information about this amazing family and all their ministries and books. What a tribute you just created to this family!!! I definitely want to go check out each and every one of these books- at least the ones I can find!!

    Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to present such a beautiful picture in full detail of what seems to be a family who’s life and experiences found purpose their place of God’s calling. It makes me wonder what other gems are out in this world doing such great work without our knowledge… or all the fame. I bet there are countless people!!


  5. The Peaceful Haven
    Nov 14, 2014 @ 14:41:01

    Thank you for taking the time to share this! I had not heard about this amazing family! I love to read and so I will definitely be checking into the books. I am so encouraged by posts about godly women and families!


  6. Beth
    Nov 14, 2014 @ 14:51:22

    I learned so much, what a great post. I actually lived in Murfreesboro for 20 years and always new of The Bill Rice Ranch…but never the history behind it!! Thank you for sharing this information!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 59 other followers

%d bloggers like this: