Mary Elizabeth Shepherd, age 94 1/2  (all pictures by Marylin Warner)

Mary Elizabeth Shepherd now, age 94 1/2 (all pictures by Marylin Warner)

The Shepherd family, 1962

The Shepherd family, 1962

Earlier pictures of Mary

Mary, 1938 and 1988

Dear Mom,

In 1980, you wrote “In God We Trust,” typed a final copy on your manual Remington typewriter, and entered it in an Easter contest. It didn’t win. In fact, one judge wrote on your returned entry that the poem was supposed to be about Easter.  I remember you studying the poem and saying you thought that was exactly what it was about.

I agreed then, Mom, and I still do. And deep inside, I think I’m probably not the only one.

Good job, Mom. Now we’ll share it with our friends.   Love, Marylin

"In God We Trust" by Mary Elizabeth Shepherd, 1980

“In God We Trust” by Mary Elizabeth Shepherd, 1980



Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren, writing

58 responses to “A QUIET, STEADY FAITH

  1. Reminds me of my mum. And yes, that is definitely an Easter poem

  2. I think so, too. Thanks for the confirmation.

  3. This is Easter ; the entire post from the beautiful photo with your mother and the Easter lilies to the loving hand in the poem which seems to guide your hand as you honour your mother.

  4. Such wonderful pictures through the years, I love seeing them! And the poem speaks, residing so long and so beautifully on fragile paper, returning us to the sentiment of the moment. Your mother wrote a fine Easter poem. The judge had eaten too many chocolate bunnies to appreciate it, then went out and kicked some kittens, proving your mom’s point. It isn’t how that judge reacted, though, it is that your mom showed you the steps to setting forth an idea, despite what others might say or do that is important…and that is Easter-like, too. We are blessed to have such great moms! Happy Easter to you and yours! Cheers!

    • I’m still laughing at your description of the judge, K.
      You’re right; in this one poem my mother did show me the steps and following through in spite of what others say. She was my role model in many ways, but especially for surviving the writing life!
      Happy Easter to you, too.

  5. A lovely poem which would also be appropriate for any parents with sons or daughters in the forces; heartfelt.

  6. Dear Marylin, Your mother with her lily! How beautiful, and what a good poem and letter. Love to you both and family, Ellen

    • I’ve been following all of your Easter poems and art, Ellen. They’re lovely, and I’m always amazed how you can say so much in so few words. Love to you and your family, too.

  7. So lovely to honor your mother by posting her poem. May you all have a peaceful Easter.

  8. ryoko861

    I guess they were looking for Peter Cottontail and dying eggs. It’s all in perception. THEY are the ones that missed the point.

    • And you know, I remember her sitting there, studying the comment and looking again and again at her poem. Then she finally sighed and came to the conclusion that her poem was exactly an Easter poem, at least to her. No anger or frustration…just her own certainty.

      • ryoko861

        As long as she knew it was an Easter poem, that’s all that mattered. She knew she had done a great piece.

  9. Thanks for sharing your Mom’s Easter poem – definitely all about Easter. I feel sorry for the judge who didn’t get it.

    • Sometimes judges in writing contests are exhausted, I guess, or overwhelmed with the stack waiting to be read. But I remember the hard penciled message–almost angry–followed by !!!.
      Thanks, Rod.

  10. Oh Marilyn this brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful! Easter blessings, Robyn

  11. Jim

    A perfect Easter message. A perfect memory of Mary.

    • Thanks, sweetie. I wish she could remember the poem and read and understand these comments now. Okay, so when I get frustrated about rejection slips, remind me of Mom and her Easter poem, okay?

  12. molly

    I love this poem of Grandma’s! Thank you for sharing. Now that you have “reminded” me of it I think I will use it as part of my Sunday School lesson tomorrow! Thank you !

  13. It’s obvious that the judge was looking for the bunny part of Easter, like so many do today. It’s good to know that one day she’s going to be crowned as a winner by The Judge.

  14. A beautiful poem. I am glad you have shared it with us xx

  15. What a beautiful poem, and such beautiful photos too 🙂

    Happy Easter 🙂

  16. Amy

    Thank you so much for sharing it with us, Marylin! Darla said so beautifully…

  17. I know. Darla was right on target, wasn’t she?
    Oh, but I wish my mother could understand Darla’s comment, and all the nice things that have been written.

  18. It is very inspiring and I agree – it sounds like an Easter Poem to me. And I too agree with Darla – she always has a beautiful way to expressing her thoughts.

  19. Marylin, that is definitely a lovely Easter poem! 🙂

    Easter Blessings ~ Wendy

  20. Hi Marylin,
    I was blown away by your mom’s heartfelt poem. I cried happy tears.
    And I can’t believe she’s 94 in that photo! I thought she only looked about 80-years-young!
    I enjoyed the other family photos as well.
    Have a Blessed and Happy Easter. 🙂

    • Thanks, Tracy. Mom does look younger than her years. Unfortunately, the dementia has erased much of what is going on for her now. I’ve told her how so many people think her poem was a beautiful Easter poem, but she just kind of smiles and says, “Oh, that’s nice.”

  21. dianabletter

    Marylin, Your Mom looks beautiful in the most recent photo and I love the other photos (especially the funky glasses!) Her poem is beautiful and transcends one specific religion to embrace a wonderful spirituality and trust . Thank you for sharing it!

    • Ah, yes, those glasses certainly were the style for awhile. But they never took away from her sparkling eyes!
      Her poem really does a wonderful spirituality and trust, Diana. Thank you.

      • How wonderful that you have a copy of the poem. So often the papers get tossed out. (Now I’m sitting here thinking about my glasses; and what my children/grandchildren might be going to say about them someday). Happy Easter to you!

      • Oh, I know, Tracy. Daughters (and granddaughters) think our styles of eyeglasses, clothing, haircuts, etc. are a hoot! For just a moment they’re smiling at my mom’s glasses, but I know I’m next on their giggle list!

  22. A lovely Easter poem Marylin…a blessed Easter to you and your family.

  23. The ultimate sacrifice … made for us so that we may have eternal life. Clearly, the judges missed the call on this one. Your Mom’s poem is beautiful.

    • That was the spiritual lesson my mother lived by–the ultimate sacrifice– and she treasured the gift and passed on the awe and respect to us.
      And the writing lesson for me, Judy, was that judges make their best call, yet we can’t give up on something we’ve written because they didn’t get it, or like it, or thought something else was better.

  24. Your mother is so beautiful!

  25. Dear Marilyn, You certainly are not the only one. I loved this poignant Easter poem, it brought tears to me eyes. Belated Happy Easter to you and Mom. Blessings, Viv

  26. juliabarrett

    Look at you, girl! 53 comments! What a moving poem, and so honest. I’m Jewish yet I agree with your mother – I’d never have the strength or will to sacrifice my child. I’ve often thought of that when it comes to the story of Abraham and Issac. Of course God asked the father because the mother would have said – not on your life!
    I think it’s a great Easter poem!

    • I think you’re very right, Julia. And I can imagine the scene you would write if God had ordered the mother to sacrifice her child. Hands on hips, arched eyebrows followed by a scowl and head shaking: “Man, you must be delusional if you think I’m going to do that. And take heed: you touch my kid and I don’t care if you are God. You and I will have very serious issues.”
      My mother would be pleased that you two agree on this!

  27. I am a Hindu and have little knowledge of the Christendom. Yet, I daresay, that is a seminal Easter poem. And she is a stunning, undulating beauty across the oceans of time.

  28. Wonderful the gifts we have from our mother’s that can carry us on. This is a great poem of faith.

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