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The 23rd Psalm for Caregivers – Guest Post by Dr. Sharon V. King

Aging Gracefully Blog Tour Banner

 

Dr. Sharon V. King is the author of Aging Gracefully with the 23rd Psalm, a reflective study on the beloved Psalm especially for 50+ ladies. When I invited Sharon to share her thoughts with my readers, she asked if I had a special topic in mind. I said anything that fit in with my blog them of caregiving, faith, and family would be fine. I hope the thoughts she shared will be a meaningful to you as they were to me.

 First, I want to thank Linda for the opportunity to do a guest post on her blog. Caregiving is a reality for many women in their second half-century (the way I like to think about being 50 or over). My new book, Aging Gracefully with the 23rd Psalm, is a devotional offering from one 50+ lady to others of the so-called Baby Boom generation. I say so-called because Baby Boomers’ kids now have babies, so there’s yet another Baby Boom generation. Perhaps now we’ll have to refer to ourselves as “Grandbaby Boomers!”

In my book, I try to connect themes of aging to the verses of one of the best-loved of all psalms. What makes Psalm23 so universally loved is its relevance to a variety of life stages, situations, and circumstances. Caregivers certainly can find a wealth of inspiration and guidance from God’s word in Psalm 23. Although caregiving isn’t the focus of my book, I’d like to explore how some of the verses of Psalm 23 apply to caregiving.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1).The very first verse of Psalm 23 just about says it all for caregivers. “I shall not want.” Want for what? For all the mercies caregivers need: grace to live one day at time, patience with dementia-related behaviors in an aging parent, someone to help with the housekeeping. Our Good Shepherd can provide all these needs, maybe not when or how we want them, but we can trust that He knows how to provide for us.

“He restoreth my soul” (Psalm 23:3). If anyone has a soul that needs to be restored, it’s a caregiver. Burdens such as anxiety about the future; weary, sleep-interrupted nights; squeezed finances; or lack of support from other family members can make caregivers feel like their spiritual vitality has drained completely away. Sometimes not even physical rest helps. When your soul is weary, you need divine restoration—the kind only God can provide.

“Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). Comfort is a valuable commodity for caregivers. They take comfort in even the smallest offerings of support. If you have ever reached out to a caregiver with a phone call or a “thinking of you” card, you may have experienced just how thrilled the caregiver was just to know someone thought about them. Even though nothing may change in their current situation, caregivers can cling to that phone call or card as a source of tremendous comfort. You can be God’s “angel in disguise” to a caregiver, simply by stretching out your rod of comfort in the form of a friendly voice or a thoughtful greeting card.

“Thou anointest my head with oil” (Psalm 23:5). Does God have a special anointing for caregivers? I believe the words to an old hymn by Annie Johnson Flint answer that question:  “He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater. He sendeth more strength as our labors increase. To added afflictions, He addeth his mercy. To multiplied trials, He multiples peace.”

Finally, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” (Psalm 23:4). Perhaps the greatest dread for many caregivers is the knowledge that their ailing loved one may be approaching death or has already died. I recall years back when my mother was dying of cancer. The doctor phoned my father and told him we should all come to the hospital as soon as possible—to say good-bye. Although that night is an emotional blur in my mind, the one thing I recall most was the peaceful look in my mother’s eyes as her life came to a slow end. She clearly feared no evil. She knew to whom she belonged and where she was headed next. Her peacefulness brought peace to all our family, as God gently ushered us all through the valley of the shadow of death.

If you are a caregiver, or know one, use Psalm 23 as a devotional and apply its richness and beauty to your personal situation. As I urge readers of my book, try writing your own reflections about each verse of Psalm 23. Personalize it, and discover the amazing depth of grace God has provided for us in this one short but powerful piece of scripture.

You can visit me on my blog at www.yearsfullofgrace.com, and—oh yes—you’re invited to buy my book, Aging Gracefully with the 23rd Psalm. It will be released by Anaiah Press on February 17, 2015 at www.anaiahpress.com.

About the book:

Aging Gracefully coverCan we talk about getting older? With another Baby Boomer turning 60 every 7.5 seconds, the “age wave” has captured the attention of such diverse fields as financial planning, cosmetics, medicine, and—religion. How does aging affect our spirituality? Does it deepen our relationship with God, or have decades of life’s roller coaster rides left us “spiritually challenged?”  Life after 50 can be particularly challenging for women because of the personal, social, and physical changes that naturally occur as we age. A rich spiritual life can help 50+ women gain perspective about their aging process and seek God’s guidance as they encounter the changes, challenges, and opportunities of later life.

Aging Gracefully with the 23rd Psalm applies some of the best-loved verses in scripture to a reflective study of ways women can grow in grace as they grow in years. The book format provides reflections on themes of aging found in each verse of Psalm 23, such as facing forks in the road; making fresh starts; resolving past conflicts; coping with social, personal, and physical changes; navigating through emotional transitions; processing loss and grief; and end-of-life planning. Illustrations of each theme follow, using biblical examples, vignettes from the author’s personal aging journey, a Takeaway Message from each psalm verse, suggestions for group discussion topics, and a journaling exercise to help the reader write a “Prayer Memo” to the Good Shepherd of the 23rd Psalm.

About the author:

???????????????????????????????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.

Find Sharon on her website and on Twitter.

 

Book Links: Goodreads | Anaiah Press:

Buy Links: Amazon

Book Trailer: 

Click the link below for a chance to win an ebook of A Long and Winding Road:

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Released Today! Operation Tree Roper: An Eye Above by Robert A. Polk

Release Date: October 7, 2014
OPERATION TREE ROPER: AN EYE ABOVE 
By Robert Polk
Adventures, Anaiah Press
Twelve-year-old Declan Parker was only born with one eye, but all he seems to have trouble seeing in proper perspective is himself. All he wants is for kids to see him as normal before he starts a new school in the fall. To that end, he sets out to make money helping with his dad’s tree care business.

Unfortunately, when his dad lands in the hospital after a climbing accident, Declan’s surgery hopes are wrecked. His only hope remains in a neighbor girl and her uncle, a wounded army veteran. Can they help him save his dad’s business, or will Declan’s once-courageous drive turn into total despair?

Operation Tree Roper: An Eye Above is a well-crafted story about a strong, dauntless young man who redefines the value of self-reflection. Declan is a character you won’t be able to forget.

Welcome to your new favorite book…

Buy Now!

 

 

Author Bio:
Robert Polk lives in western Nebraska where he shares his love of books and the great outdoors with his wife and seven children. He is a former school counselor, business owner, and tree climbing arborist. Robert participates in his church and local community, currently serving on several non-profit boards. 

 

 
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Meet Emily Ungar, Author of Liberty Belle

Anaiah Press

Liberty Belle

LIBERTY BELLE -Author Photo. eungar (2)Emily Ungar is a graduate of Indiana University, where she majored in journalism. After living in seven different U.S. states by the time she finished college, she now lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her husband and very curious twin toddlers. When she isn’t chasing after her twin boys, Emily loves to curl up in a chaise lounge with a book in one hand and a lemon cupcake in the other. Emily loves connecting with her readers, so she welcomes you to say hi on her blog at http://www.emilyungar.com.

You can also find her on:

Twitter: @emilyungar

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/emilyungar/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/13863166-emily-ungar

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emilyungarauthor

  1. If you could tell my readers only one thing about yourself, what would you want them to know?

I moved around a lot during my childhood–all across the country, in fact. My constantly mobile childhood shaped who I am as an adult. I used to think that was bad–but now I know it’s actually a good thing. Not only did it broaden my experiences as a child, but it helped shape who I am as a writer.

  1. Who is your favorite author and why?

My favorite middle grade writer is Louis Sachar (author of HOLES and the Wayside School series). He writes with such a wonderful wit and respect for this age group. HOLES is one of those books that you can reread year after year and you still marvel at how the story is pieced together.

I also love to read women’s fiction. One of my favorite writers is Daphne du Maurier, the author of REBECCA (which was also an Alfred Hitchcock film). Her writing is beautiful without ever being flowery, and she is a master at creating psychological suspense.

 

  1. Did that author or another author influence your style, and if so, how?

 

Louis Sachar is definitely an inspiration to me, especially when writing more humorous middle grade fiction. I also love the Babysitters Club books from the 1980s and 90s.

 

  1. How did you connect with Anaiah Press?

 

Jessica Schmeidler (my editor) and I started chatting after she read a blog post I had written about a Twitter pitch contest I had entered. I ended up querying her with a different project that I hoped might be a good fit for the Adventures imprint. Jessica ended up requesting a full manuscript (which made me so excited!) and later on that month offered me a publishing contract for the book. I was so excited! I knew based on Jessica’s enthusiasm for the project that Anaiah Press was the right home for my book. A writer dreams of that editor who really connects with their work, and I feel so blessed to have found that with Jessica and with Anaiah Press.

 

  1. Was the editing process more or less difficult than you expected?

 

Here’s the funny part: I’m a professional copyeditor. I edit nonfiction projects during the day as part of my job. I knew there would be a few things that needed to be fixed. I was shocked when I received my first round of edits and saw how thorough Jessica had been with editing! The suggestions were terrific, and I learned more about style and grammar in that one round of editing than I had in many of my college classes! After we got through that one big editing round, the following rounds were a bit smoother and quicker.

 

 

  1. What advice would you give to new writers?

 

Don’t ever give up. Ever! Let me repeat that: don’t ever give up! There is a saying out there that the successful writers are the writers who just never gave up. And it’s true. Querying your writing out to editors and agents is in itself a natural-selection process for which writers are truly the most dedicated to their craft and the road to publication. While it’s okay to work on different projects and even set some aside for a time, it’s never okay to give up writing entirely. Find a mentor to coach you through those tough times when rejection letters get you down, but keep on walking down the road. Just improve a little bit with each setback. Learn something every time to give you a bigger edge the next time.

 

  1. What’s next after Liberty Belle? Can we expect further adventures for Savannah, or something else?

 

I think Savannah has quite a few tales left to tell. She’s definitely found her place at her new school, but next year Savannah will be moving with her classmates to a new middle school. Anything is possible. And bless her heart, Savannah can’t keep herself out of trouble for long.

About the book: 

On the same day she turns twelve years old, Savannah moves away from everything she’s known in sweet, sunny Georgia to preppy Washington D.C. Not only will she miss her best friends Katie and Tessa, Savannah will start a new school. She soon discovers that her schoolmates love to brag—about their clothes, their parents’ governmental connections, and even who has the in with the school authorities.

Unhappy and lonely, Savannah decides if she can’t make life better, she can at least make it sound that way. Soon she is living in the childhood home of George Washington, riding in the limo of the vice president’s daughter, and even moving into the former Luxembourg embassy.

All is well until she learns that her true friends from Georgia are coming for a visit. Now Savannah must create the life she’s been talking about in her letters—and fast! Will Savannah find herself or lose her friends?

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Smashwords

Book Links: Goodreads | Anaiah Press

Rafflecopter Giveaway: CLICK HERE to enter to win an autographed Liberty Belle poster or a Liberty Belle folder.

Release Day for Liberty Belle by Emily Ungar

 

 

Anaiah PressLiberty Belle

Blurb:

On the same day she turns twelve years old, Savannah moves away from everything she’s known in sweet, sunny Georgia to preppy Washington D.C. Not only will she miss her best friends Katie and Tessa, Savannah will start a new school. She soon discovers that her schoolmates love to brag—about their clothes, their parents’ governmental connections, and even who has the in with the school authorities.

Unhappy and lonely, Savannah decides if she can’t make life better, she can at least make it sound that way. Soon she is living in the childhood home of George Washington, riding in the limo of the vice president’s daughter, and even moving into the former Luxembourg embassy.

All is well until she learns that her true friends from Georgia are coming for a visit. Now Savannah must create the life she’s been talking about in her letters—and fast! Will Savannah find herself or lose her friends?

Contest: CLICK HERE to enter to win an autographed Liberty Belle poster or a Liberty Belle folder.

Buy Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Nobles | Smashwords

Book Links:  Goodreads | Anaiah Press

LIBERTY BELLE -Author Photo. eungar (2)

Author Bio:

Emily Ungar is a graduate of Indiana University, where she majored in journalism. After living in seven different U.S. states by the time she finished college, she now lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her husband and very curious twin toddlers. When she isn’t chasing after her twin boys, Emily loves to curl up in a chaise lounge with a book in one hand and a lemon cupcake in the other. Emily loves connecting with her readers, so she welcomes you to say hi on her blog at emilyungar.com.

 

Twitter: @emilyungar

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/emilyungar/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/13863166-emily-ungar

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emilyungarauthor

 

Meet Jennifer Novotney, Author of Winter in the Soul, and Read My Review

Winter in the Soul

Winter in the Soul, Jennifer Novotney’s debut novel, is a young adult fantasy released by Anaiah Press on July 15. I had the privilege of chatting with Jennifer about her writing and her life, and today I’m sharing our conversation with you. Be sure to read my review of her novel following the interview.

JennNovotney head shotTell my readers a little bit about who Jennifer Novotney is. I’ve been teaching English and writing for over ten years. I’m originally from Los Angeles, California, but moved to the east coast five years ago with my husband and daughter. My first publication was a poem when I was seventeen years old. I loved poetry in high school and college and always thought I’d be a poet. A few years ago, when I was teaching at Pennsylvania State University, I started writing fiction. I had my first short story publication in 2011 and never looked back. Winter in the Soul is my debut novel and I couldn’t be happier.

What’s the hardest thing about being a writer? I think one of the hardest things about being a writer is the wait time. The publication process is a slow one and sometimes, it can feel impossible to wait for a response from editors and agents. From the time a writer signs a contract to the time the book actually comes out can feel like an eternity. The writing is the easiest part about it. The wait time can be the toughest.

You said in your author interview that you wanted to inspire your readers in the way that Paulo Coelho inspired his. What would you like your readers to be inspired to do? I would like my readers to be inspired to follow their dreams, to live a meaningful life, and to never underestimate the power of a well-planned goal. To read about characters who persevere, no matter how difficult the obstacles, can be truly inspiring. I love those type of characters and I strove to create this world in Winter in the Soul.

Now that Lilika is fully developed, is she like you, like someone in your life, or is she completely different from anyone you know? Lilika is an innocent, pure soul. I’d love to say that she is like me, but I’ve had way too many life experiences for that to be true. I think I am similar to Lilika in her determination and her intense curiosity. Those are things I’m glad I’ve never lost. Lilika reminds me very much of some of my students. She is tenacious, brave, and curious. Those are traits I see in my students every day.

In your author interview, you also said that Lilika had to move past her comfort zone and that she gained by doing so. How have you moved past your comfort zone in your writing, and what, if anything, have you gained? I always thought of myself as a good writer. All my life I’ve been told that I was one. While that may have been true for academic writing, I still had work to do with my fiction writing. It’s been an interesting experience for me to work on my own writing and it definitely offers a perspective shift since I’m usually the one teaching. I have a better appreciation for my students and how flexible they are with improving their writing. That is the most valuable aspect of improving my writing that I’ve gained. I think I’m a better teacher for it.

Lilika is drawn to Winter in the Soul, that unknown, forbidden place that arouses her curiosity. Is there such a place in your life or in your writing? There is always that element of excitement to go to a place, whether literal or figurative, that is forbidden. It does arouse one’s curiosity! I think for Lilika, Winter in the Soul is intriguing because she knows her parents originated from there, but she’s not allowed to visit. I like to live beyond boundaries. If something is off limits for me, that only makes me more curious about it. Sometimes this is dangerous, but often times, it leads to growth in my life. I’m never afraid to go that extra mile to explore various facets in life and in my writing.

When you’re not reading or teaching, what do you do for fun? I love spending time with my family. I’m off for the summer with my six year old daughter and we go swimming almost every day. This is time that I treasure and I’m so happy to share these days with her. My husband and I love watching movies together. He’s a filmmaker, so we watch movies in every category you could imagine.

What’s the number one thing on your bucket list? Wow, this is one thing I haven’t thought of much because I have the type of personality where if I want to do something, I just do it. 🙂 One thing I’d love to do with my family is travel to Europe. That’s probably the one thing my husband and I talk about the most.

What’s the next step for you in your writing career? The sequel to Winter in the Soul is in the works. I’ve also just completed another young adult book.

My Review: An Entertaining Tale of Good versus Evil

Jennifer Novotney does a masterful job of describing the world she created in her debut novel, Winter In the Soul. Her rich descriptions of the sights, sounds, and smells of Spring Bloom, Summer Harvest, and Winter In the Soul give her readers a sense of being part of the story rather than simply observing it. “The sky was restless. Black and gray clouds moved at a moderate pace, exposing the dark sky and a few bright stars desperate to shine.”

This young adult fantasy takes us on a journey of discovery with Lilika as she first finds a mysterious golden locket; then, the world outside her home town of Spring Bloom; next, an engaging young man named Talon; and ultimately, her destiny. We feel her growing anxiety as she sits on the road alone, guarding the cart that carries to market both the harvest and the hopes of her friends and neighbors. When she hears the approach of someone in the surrounding darkness followed by a friendly voice, we feel her initial shock, and then we feel her relief. Throughout the story, Novotney offers a full range of experiences, from excitement to terror, from new friendship to new love, from doubt to determination.

Winter In the Soul presents an entertaining tale of good versus evil that leaves just enough questions to make us wonder how long we’ll have to wait for the sequel. I look forward to watching Jennifer Novotney’s progress as a writer and to reading what happens next to Lilika and Talon.

Anaiah Press

Now Available at:

iTunes | Amazon |  Kobo | Smashwords

Visit, Comment, and Win a Copy of A Long and Winding Road

KathyPoolerThis last stop on the blog tour is a special one. Today we’ve visiting with Kathleen Pooler at Memoir Writer’s Journey. On Tuesday I highlighted her lovely review of A Long and Winding Road, and today she is featuring my guest post titled “Five Principles I Learned in Writing My Memoir.” If you visit her site and leave a comment, you will be entered in a drawing to win an ecopy of my book. CLICK HERE

A special thank you to all the wonderful bloggers who made my blog tour a success. I will post their names in a later post, but if you’d like to see them now, CLICK HERE.

If you have read A Long and Winding Road, please consider posting your own review on Amazon, Goodreads or any of the other distributors that allow feedback.

Blessings,

Linda

A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos

Available now at:

B&N // Kobo // iTunes // Amazon // Smashwords // Google Play

 

The Blog Tour Is Winding Down

winding downThe blog tour for A Long and Winding Road: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos is coming to an end. We have a free day tomorrow, and then our last visit will be on Thursday to the website of Kathleen Pooler– “Memoir Writer’s Journey – Sharing hope one story at a time.” Kathleen will feature a guest post I wrote called “My Memoir: A Brief History.”

Kathleen has read my memoir, and she has posted a review on Amazon titled “An inspirational story of love, loss and renewal.” To read what she had to say, CLICK HERE.

If you have read A Long and Winding Road, please consider posting your own review on Amazon, Goodreads or any of the other distributors that allow feedback.

Blessings,

Linda

A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos

Available now at:

B&N // Kobo // iTunes // Amazon // Smashwords // Google Play

 

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