Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Christmas Greetings 2019

December 19, 2019

Dear Friends:

When we sent our Christmas letter from Paris in 1987, that yearwas our firstChristmas outside of Canada, and we sensed a strong desire to connect with friendsand family, most of whom lived 6 time zones away.  Since then, the list of recipients has grown as we have made friends around the world. This letter is a message for our 51st Christmas as a couple. From that you will deduce that the big story of 2019 was our 50th wedding anniversary.

It was a remarkable year of celebration.  In June we embarked on a three-week tour of 
Denmark, Norway and Sweden.  Denmark took us to the fascination of wonderful Copenhagen; Norway wowed us withits breathtaking fjords; Sweden gave the chance to see the homeland of our son-in-law Johan Hultqvist and to visit with his parents, Bengt and Sigurveig. Maybe the highlight was to be in Sweden on June 21, for the mid-summer celebration.This is a major holiday as Swedes celebrate the longest day of the year.  We were constantly fascinated by the late daylight as we visited these three wonderful countries. For years we have wanted to go to Australia and Sweden. Our dream to see both hasnow been fulfilled and we are so grateful.

After three weeks in Scandinavia we flew from Stockholm to Paris for a week with our friends Jean-Blaise and Jacqueline Fivaz andenjoyed  the chance to connect with friends in Paris who mean so much to us.

Later in the summer John came from Montreal for a vacation and in August we went to Prince Edward Island with Elizabeth, Johan and our granddaughters Sanna and Alma.

Our actual wedding anniversary was on September 13.  On Saturday,September 14 John and Elizabeth hosted a surprise get-together at the Montreal Citadel church building where we were able to greet friends. 

Apart from celebrating our 50 years, we keep busy with a variety of interests.  Eleanor is active on the board of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship. Glen is vice-chair of the board of Christian Direction (CDI) in Montreal. He chaired the search committee that led to the hiring of Rev. Tim Keener as the new Executive Director of CDI. Tim was the guest speaker at Montreal Citadel’s annual Community  Carol Sing held last Saturday. This event celebrated Jesus as the Saviour of the world as we shared Scripture and Christmas music in English, French, Spanish, Korean and Chinese.

Montreal Citadel, the Salvation Army congregation where we met, were married and invested so much of our lives, continues to figure prominently in our lives.  Glen continues with his day job at The Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters for Quebec. In his after-work life he relinquished leadership of the band (he now plays trombone in the band) and was replaced by a fine young Christian musician. We are concentrating on a Wednesday Bible study/Leadership training course we are doing with 12 younger potential leaders from our Montreal Citadel congregation. This experience with this fine group of people is so rewarding and exciting. We wait eagerly for the day they will fully take our places in leadership of our church. Also we are both singing in the adult choir that is led by Elizabeth.

John is busy with his Ph.D. studies and research work he is undertaking at the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Toronto. He has joined the choir at the Church of the Redeemer, the Anglican Church of which he is a member, and is thoroughly enjoying the musical and worship experience.

Elizabeth and Johan live an hour north of Montreal in Ste. Lucie des Laurentides so we see them regularly at church and at family get-together.  Elizabeth leads both the choirs at Montreal Citadel. Sanna is now 8 and Alma is 3. Their stay-overs at Grandma and Grandpa’s place are a highlight of our lives.

Life is good. We are blessed and we wish to remain grateful for the good things we have.  There are wrinkles at this stage of life - the requirement for Glen to redo his driver’s test in order to keep his driver’s permit, for example. Age and the effects of successive laser treatments arising from the consequences of 47 years as a diabetic have compromised his eyes and placed him in a re-examinable position. Fortunately he passed the driver’s test, so we breathed a collective sigh of relief.

John is coming to Montreal and we are all going to Elizabeth and Johan’s home for Christmas. Snow, clear air, a blazing fireplace, Christmas carols and the joy of three generations of our family together will be precious.

But beyond the joy of a family gathering is the wonder of EMMANUEL - God with us. The fact that the great God of creation reached out to us in the person of Jesus is the singularly most important feature that separates Christianity as a faith. We see the love of God in the face fo a child. As we watched our grand-children do their part in the Christmas presentation by the Montreal Citadel Sunday School last Sunday we couldn’t help but think of the marvelous trajectory in our family’s story since our grand-father and great-grandfather came to know Jesus. Nothing has been the same since. May the impact of the night when Jesus was born warm your hearts and thoughts this Christmas.  

Eleanor and Glen Shepherd

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Laanguage of Love

I just finished reading The 5 love languages and saved the book on my Goodreads bookshelf as Read.    I also blogged about it and you can read that at: https://twgauthors.blogspot.ca/2018/02/loves-powerful-languages-by-eleanor.html
Have you read about this?  What do you think?

Friday, December 1, 2017


 From: Google Image
My Reflections:

Perhaps it might be helpful to share with you a little of my own prayer journey, not so that you can compare your story with mine, but simply to offer one example. As I have tried to underline, for each of us our story is unique. Instead, you might find elements that are common in your story that you would like to share, or that you have questions about. Feel free to respond in the comment section of this blog and add your comments and questions. I would love to talk about them with you.

Prayer Scriptures:

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2: 42)

My Reflections:
            Like many others, I grew up in a Christian home, where prayer was very much a part of our family life. As a little child, I was taught to kneel by my bed at the end of the day repeat, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” It took a few years for me to understand what that was all about. I have noticed now that the usual format for this particular prayer goes something like this. “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. May God guard me through the night. And wake me with the morning light.” I think that is much less frightening for a child. 
From: Google Image

Prayer Scriptures:

“On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.” (Acts 16: 13)

My Reflections:

            The next part of this initial rote prayer that I learned, I liked from quite young. It was the recitation of all the family and friends. “God bless Mommy and Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa Pitcher, Grandma and Grandpa Evans, Great-Grandma Evans, all of my aunts and uncles and cousins and friends.” Then, as I grew older and learned the names of all of my aunts and uncles and cousins and new cousins were added to the family, I would add each name and the ever growing list would delay bedtime just a little bit longer. 

Prayer Scriptures:

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12: 12)

From: Google Images
My Reflections:

            Then I would finish with, “Make me a good girl. For Jesus sake. Amen.”
It is interesting that still today in my intercession, I include the names of all of those in my extended family and I have also added the names of those in my husband, Glen’s family. Those dearest to me are remembered in prayer daily.

 Prayer Scriptures:

“May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place.” (I Kings 8: 29)
“…then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause.” (I Kings 8: 45)

Your Reflections:

            What was your early experience with prayer? Did your parents teach you a rote prayer like this? Do you still use it? What elements from your early prayer experiences have you brought into your adult life?
I Knew You Would Come
Word Guild Award
Word Guild Award

Monday, September 26, 2016

Prayer – We Just Keep Walking

My Reflections:

            We need to remember that the journey of prayer is dynamic. We do not just offer our prayer to God and then forget about it. That would be like dropping it in a slot machine and waiting for the answer to drop out, without our engagement in the process. 

            Our life of prayer is constantly changing. That is why I focus on the journey of prayer. Many of the things that I have learned relate to the gift of prayer or as it is often called the gift of intercession. Even if you do not believe that you have this particular spiritual gift, I believe that every Christian will at some time face the need to intercede for someone. Those who do not have this calling as a spiritual gift, need not feel guilty or inadequate in any way because they are not like those who have been given this gift.  Their prayers can be equally effective.

Prayer Scriptures:

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21: 22)

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11: 24)

My Reflections:

            I do not know why God chose to give me the gift of prayer, but for a long time I was quite reluctant to talk to others about my life of prayer. I possibly might never have done so, had my husband not begun to refer to it from time to time. The problem was that when people heard about my extended times of prayer others would feel that in order to honour God they also had to include that particular discipline in their lives. This is not necessarily true. The wonderful thing about the life of faith is that each of us has our own unique journey with our own guide, the Holy Spirit who lives within us. He never imposes the same pattern on each of our lives, but with respect for our uniqueness, He leads us in the way that will most effectively enable us to develop into the people He desires us to be. 

Prayer Scriptures:

“I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us— yes, the many good things he has done for Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses.” (Isaiah 63: 7)

My Reflections:
            The most important element in our prayer journey, as in all parts of our development in faith, is what I call the orientation of our hearts. If our hearts are open to what the Spirit wants to teach us and to His guidance in our lives we will appreciate what He is doing and will become effective for His purposes. We will be open to trying new methods to be effective in the development of our spiritual lives that are in tune with the leading of the Spirit. We may learn them from comments from someone else, or something that we read or hear or an idea may come to us seemingly from out of the blue. 

Prayer Scriptures:

“Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary.” (Daniel 9: 17)

Your Reflections:

            Do you have any questions or comments about the uniqueness of our prayer journeys or about the concept of the orientation of our hearts? Please feel free to share them.   

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Journey of Prayer - Starting Out (What is Prayer?)

My reflections:
            There are two significant differences that we need to take into account in our journey of prayer. First of all prayer is a spiritual discipline that is essential for all Christians to practice in order to grow in their relationship with the Lord. 

            Prayer is also a gift that is given to some Christians in order to enable them to intercede for others with intentional prayer on specific topics for specific people. As with so many things in the spiritual life, there is not always a clear demarcation between these two things. 

            When I come into the Lord’s presence in the early morning for my prayer time, I do not say, “Okay during this time I am going to practice the spiritual disipline of prayer,” and then at some time suddenly switch and say, “Now I am going to start my intercession for others.” 

Prayer Scriptures:
“Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11: 1)
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,” (John 17: 20)
“They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” (Acts 1: 14)

My reflections:
            By the way, I would be grateful if you would like at any time to post your comments at the bottom of this blog, if you have questions or concerns about anything I am saying. I have lots of material on the subject, but my real desire is that this blog be a practical, learning experience for all of us. So please do not hesitate to speak up in the opportunity that the comments provide for that.

Prayer Scriptures:
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,” (Philippians 1: 9)

Your Reflections: 
          Does the concept of prayer being both a spiritual discipline and a spiritual gift make sense to you? What are your questions or concernsThe Journey of Prayer

Eleanor Shepherd, a Salvation Army officer has a repertoire of over 90 articles published in several countries. A speaker at conferences, in Canada, the USA, France, Belgium, Switzerland, South Africa, Australia, Haiti and Jamaica, her story appeared in Hot Apple Cider. Her book More Questions than Answers, explains her style of evangelism by listening.