Thanks for stopping by on Day 1 of my brand new blog. My plan is to post a few times a week: I'll tell you what I'm hearing, reading, and thinking faith-wise.
For my debut post: News about Billy Graham, author.
"Nearing Home: Life, Faith and Finishing Well" will focus on how to live -- and how to prepare for -- those twilight years.
Or as Graham spokesman Larry Ross told me: The book will be about "what it means to grow older with grace and how to find the guidance to finish well" in this life.
It's a subject that's real to Graham, as I reported in 2008: "As a Christian, I know how to die, Graham has told family and friends, but nobody ever taught me how to grow old."
Ross offered a preview of some of the themes in "Nearing Home":
- The time to prepare for our senior years is now -- no matter our age. While we often think of preparing financially for retirement, it's even more important to prepare spiritually and emotionally.
- If we make into old age, it's because God still has a purpose for us. Find out what it is. Moses and other biblical heroes made their mark late in life.
- Part of the joy and fulfillment in this late stage of life is discovering God's strength in sustaining us.
Mostly by coming up with the concepts and some examples himself and talking it through with staff, Ross said.
"Then one of his long-time associates helped to put it into manuscript form, drawing on those conversations as well as some of Mr. Graham's original writings and sermons on the subject," Ross said. "Then, as that was read back to him, he made significant changes. He was very involved in the process."
It's a process that took years -- it began in earnest in 2007, after Graham's wife, Ruth, died.
I also talked to Jean Ford, Graham's little sister, who lives in Charlotte.
She visited her brother three weeks ago. And she found him up to the task of authoring a book -- as long as he didn't have to do the physical writing.
"He can't see much. And he can't hear much. You have to yell at him to be heard. And he can't walk much. But his mind is very clear," she reported. "He was remarkable -- very engaging and interacting with us."
Ford said she reminded him of the times in the late-1930s and early 1940s when she used to look for his car coming down Park Road to the family dairy farm. In those days, she said, only four or five cars would drive down Park Road all day.
"I told him, 'I'd look for your car to come home.' And he told me, "That's the way I felt when you were coming to see me today,'" she said.