Hello, and welcome to my guest post. Many thanks to Carol for inviting me to share with you my new book, Aging Gracefully with the 23rd Psalm. This was not one of those “written-in-one-sitting” books. I actually started working on it quite a few years ago. It has taken many twists and turns from the Easter Sunday when I decided to stop thinking about the book I wanted to write and to just start writing. At that time, I didn’t realize that it would take me years to finally say what I wanted to say the way I wanted to say it—and the way a publisher would accept it.
One of the reasons my writing process took so long is because when I first approached an agent about the book idea, all she told me was “No one wants to read another book about the Twenty-third Psalm.” That one statement was enough to make me shelve my manuscript for a long, long time. I worked on other material that turned out to be my first book, The Spiritual Fitness Check-up for the 50-something Woman. But, my heart wouldn’t let me ignore the psalm that began with the life-enriching words, “The Lord is my shepherd.”
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me say a little about the author—me. I grew up in the steel mill regions of Pennsylvania. My mother was a church pianist, as was her mother before her; so, I was next in line! I majored in music in college and taught public school music for two years, but I always wanted to write more than sing or play the piano. I moved out of my home area when the steel industry slowed down in the 1970’s. After living in several states, I settled in Georgia. I worked for a while for a cultural arts program that sent me out to interview and record aging musicians and craftspeople in the deep south. I had to write their biographies and submit articles about them. That awakened my interest in older adults and aging and reawakened my interest in writing. I pursued an academic career in gerontology research. As my own aging progressed, I wanted to write about the role our relationship with God plays as we move through the stages of our lives.
When I returned to my manuscript, I decided to ignore what the agent told me and see what God thought about my book idea. I realized the time away from the manuscript allowed me to come at it from a fresh perspective. As I read through Psalm 23 once more, all my ideas seemed to coalesce. It was all there—just about every emotion and circumstance women encounter or cope with as we age. Each verse of the psalm contained a theme about aging. I dove back into the writing, sensing that my new energy was God’s way of saying, ”Go for it!”
The aging themes I “discovered” in the verses of Psalm 23 include: facing forks in the road; making fresh starts; resolving past conflicts; coping with social, personal, and physical changes that come as we age; navigating through emotional transitions; processing loss and grief; and end-of-life planning. I devote a chapter to each theme, using biblical examples, vignettes from my personal experiences, and—what I believe is the most important part of the book—a Takeaway Message from each psalm verse, discussion questions for individual or group use, and a journaling exercise to help the reader do some of her own writing and reflecting on her aging journey.
Although I target a 50+ female audience, men and younger persons also may find the book useful and inspirational as they watch their years come and go. I invite anyone who wants to age gracefully (full of God’s grace) to read Aging Gracefully with the 23rd Psalm. May it be a blessing to you no matter what your age.
Sharon is a class of ’69 Baby Boomer, a native of Pennsylvania, and now resident of Georgia. The daughter of church musicians, she first worked as a music teacher and then turned her interests to writing about and working with older adults.A recently retired gerontology professor, Sharon now writes inspirational books and articles for 50+ women.
Anaiah Press: http://www.anaiahpress.com/Aging.html
Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bhYrlNeH44
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