A journal turns into a published book for Christian writer
MONTGOMERY – An avid journal writer since childhood, Shirley Leonard was inspired to write her first book after she discovered some handwritten notes tucked away among her late parent’s prized possessions. These were moments written during her time taking care of her parents from her home where she grew up in the Finger Lakes along Canandaigua Lake in New York,” said Leonard who recently had her first book published.
‘With Each Passing Moment’ is a compassionate book written with humor and grace for those who are caregivers and the struggles they face. Leonard also offers some practical advice and offers some insightful readings that can be enjoyed at any given moment. Her unconditional acceptance on life is reflected in her prose and chosen bible verses that are a true “sanity saver” where the reader can “sneak a minute or two to do a little something to recharge.”
“Keeping a journal helped me see things more clearly,” notes Leonard. She said she often left notes on her parents’ pillows when she left New York to go back to Pennsylvania. “My mom saved each one and some of them are included in this book,” said Leonard. Creating a journal is one of the first bits of advice she shares with her readers. As a caregiver she reflected, “Some days will be awful. Other days, you just might amaze yourself with a light spirit that lifts burdens all around you.” Leonard and her siblings wanted to keep their parents living in their home as long as possible, and her book is the story on how they tried, sharing their victories and their failures. “The stress affected each of us in different ways,” she added. “In sharing our family’s story, we can comfort others on this road, and show them they are not alone.”
Leonard’s caregiving experience spans four decades as a pastor’s wife, including twenty years of nursing home ministry. She and her husband have owned a home for the past 30 years between Muncy and Montgomery on State Home Road. They purchased the home from Paul and Edith App. For 17 years the couple resided in a parsonage home in Millville before her husband’s retirement. It was during this time that Leonard did most of her writing for this book.
Leonard said she was inspired to write the book after she cared for her aging parents over the past five years. Her father suffered from a stroke and was diagnosed with lung cancer, while her mother was plagued with emphysema and clinical depression. “I could always see light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.
The book relates a sense of well-being giving the reader a release from emotions and feelings. It is a “devotional memoir” that reaches out to other caregivers. “Every once in awhile we need something to grab to get from one crisis to another,” Leonard said. “We need a little bit of hope to get to the next thing.”
Leonard also said she is hoping to write a second book, something more on the history and lessons she learned from living in the Muncy/Montgomery area. She is a graduate of the Christian Writer’s Guild.