Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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Fling into Spring

The celestial sphere, celestial equator, celes...

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Know what happened this weekend? Spring hit!

Here’s what has to say about Spring:

At the start of spring—the vernal equinox—day and night are each approximately 12 hours long (with the actual time of equal day and night, in the Northern Hemisphere, occurring a few days before the vernal equinox). The Sun crosses the celestial equator going northward; it rises exactly due east and sets exactly due west.

Just like the birds fly north in spring, some things happen to me every year. Other than the calendar, here’s how I can tell it’s spring:

  • I clean up my garden. (Finally!)
  • I start my annual spring diet. (Not to be confused with my annual summer, fall and/or winter diets.) 
  • I’m excited (and completely amazed) when my perennials start growing.  
  • I buy every gardening magazine I can get my hands on and read the words right off the page.
  • I dream big dreams about what I want my gardens to look like.
  • My energy never matches the size of my imagination.

To be honest, I’m a little intimidated when it’s time to start yardwork. There’s always so much to do, I look at it all and think, “Where do I start?”

After trimming back all the stuff I should have whacked last fall, I can at least breathe a little easier. And after that I take one little piece at a time and when I get that one started, I move on to the next.

And it usually works.

Columbine. Grows under a tree and is completely beautiful!

I love blue flowers. They’re hard to find, but oh, so beautiful!

So, anything happen in your life when spring lands on you?



In Remembrance

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin photographed by Neil Arm...

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You are on the moon. A thousand new things to see and touch and experience. A thousand things to worry about. Everything, in fact, because no on has ever before walked where you are. 

Emotions of every kind slam into you–Cautious fear of a mistake, excitement and awe of what you’re seeing and doing. Amazement zinging through you because you’re standing in a place where only a handful of people will ever go.

You are blessed.

What would you do? Would your mind only be on the business at hand or would childhood stories of green cheese flicker back to wring a grin from you? Would romantic old moon songs float in your head? 

Would you have the presence of mind to praise God for his creations? That he’s given enough people enough knowledge to create the vehicle to get you there? And (hopefully) take you home.

(This is an article by Eric Metaxas)(I ripped it off borrowed it from Sharon Frazier’s Facebook Notes.)

Communion on the Moon: July 20th, 1969  

Forty years ago two human beings changed history by walking on the surface of the moon. But what happened before Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong exited the Lunar Module is perhaps even more amazing, if only because so few people know about it.

“I’m talking about the fact that Buzz Aldrin took communion on the surface of the moon. Some months after his return, he wrote about it in Guideposts magazine. And a few years ago I had the privilege of meeting him myself. I asked him about it & he confirmed the story to me, & I wrote about in my book Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (But Were Afraid to Ask).

The background to the story is that Aldrin was an elder at his Presbyterian Church in Texas during this period in his life, and knowing that he would soon be doing something unprecedented in human history, he felt he should mark the occasion somehow, and he asked his minister to help him.

And so the minister consecrated a communion wafer and a small vial of communion wine. And Buzz Aldrin took them with him out of the Earth’s orbit and on to the surface of the moon. He and Armstrong had only been on the lunar surface for a few minutes when Aldrin made the following public statement: “This is the LM pilot. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.” He then ended radio communication and there, on the silent surface of the moon, 250,000 miles from home, he read a verse from the Gospel of John, and he took communion.

Here is his own account of what happened: “In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup.
Then I read the scripture, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit.. Apart from me you can do nothing.

I had intended to read my communion passage back to earth, but at the last minute [they] had requested that I not do this. NASA was already embroiled in a legal battle with Madelyn Murray O’Hare, the celebrated opponent of religion, over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas. I agreed reluctantly. I ate the tiny Host & swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence & spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility . It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, & the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements. And of course, it’s interesting to think that some of the first words spoken on the moon were the words of Jesus Christ, who made the Earth & the moon – and Who, in the immortal words of Dante, is Himself the “Love that moves the Sun and other stars.”


Gotta Try This!

Smothered Snake.

Okay, it’s not really snake. It’s round steak.

Not to be confused with Switzerland Steak. (That’s what Brother J called Swiss Steak.)   

One of my kids didn’t just like Smothered Steak, he loved it. If I said, “What do you want for sup–” he’d interrupt, “Smothered Steak!”

He usually requested it at least once a week. Naturally, I had to tease him a little, so I called it “Smothered Snake”. LOL. 

Here’s what you need:

Heavy oven-proof skillet (cast iron)
2-3 T oil (I like Canola)
round steak
2-3 cans Mushroom Soup

This is one of those recipes you can easily adjust for more or fewer people.

Heat oil in pan. Salt and pepper steak on each side. (To taste.) Brown the steak the hot oil. Two or three minutes. Or four or five. Whatever it takes to make it, well, browned. 😉

Turn off the fire but leave the skillet on the burner.

(Here’s the part that makes it yummy good.) Take the steak out of the pan. Pour the soup in the pan and stir until you get all the yummy-stuck-to-the-bottom-of-the-pan goodies incorporated in the soup. (It usually turns from that light soup color to a richer color.)

Return the steak to the pan with the soup and make sure it’s covered on all sides. (In other words, smothered.)

Put in the oven at 375 degrees for an hour and serve.

The soup turns into a gravy-ish substance that’s delicious on rice or potatoes or bread or just scooped up with your spoon and enjoyed.

 If you’ve ever put cold steak in a pan and poured mushroom soup on top, then baked, try it this way just once.  And let me know if you can tell the difference.

If you’re looking for more great recipes, check out . Marilyn’s are great!!!

 Also check out  Today’s her Foodie Friday and she has some darn good food!


♣♣♣Happy St. Patrick’s Day♣♣♣

I’ve always been just a little envious of G-Man and the boys. Because they were born Shays, we knew they were Irish. And how cool is that?


May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
and all your heart might desire.


But in the last year or two, I learned Great Grandma Mitchell’s mother (or grandmother. I forget) was Irish.

Please don’t tell me that McCrackin is a Scottish name. I can’t help it if it should have been O’Crackin. It isn’t. It’s McCrackin and Ireland. Maybe the family got lost and settled on the wrong side of a line. (Which could also mean I come by being directionally challenged naturally.) 

According to Wikipedia (don’t you love Wiki?)

Saint Patrick’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig) is a religious holiday celebrated internationally on 17 March. It is named after Saint Patrick (c. AD 387–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland. It is observed by the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland),[1] the Eastern Orthodox Church and Lutherans. Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official feast day in the early 17th century, and has gradually become a celebration of Irish culture in general.[2]

Being Irish {evil grin} here’s what I know–

  • The Chicago River is dyed green today. (Oklahoma has that beat. Our lagoons are already green!)
  • People drink green beer today. (Since beer tastes like skunk juice, it should be ick-colored all the time.)
  • Kids (and brave adults) wearing green pinch anyone who isn’t wearing the prescribed color today. (Has to be showing!)
  • If you catch a leprechaun, you get his pot of gold–or is it three wishes?  

The following is from

  • St. Patrick was born in 385 AD somewhere along the west coast of Britain, possibly in the Welsh town of Banwen. At age 16, he was captured and sold into slavery to a sheep farmer. He escaped when he was 22 and spent the next 12 years in a monastery. In his 30s he returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary. He died at Saul in 461 AD and is buried at Downpatrick.
  • Legend says that each leaf of the clover means something: the first is for hope, the second for faith, the third for love and the fourth for luck.


    Knock! Knock! Who’s there?
    Irish who?
    Irish you a happy St. Patrick’s Day


    How will you celebrate SPD? Bake a green cake for dinner? Dye your hair green? Have a green milk shake?



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Wow. It’s March 15th already. Time is whizzing past, isn’t it?

If it’s the 15th, it must be SSMT day. Yay! This time I decided I needed something easy but something I can bury deep in my heart. Psalm 119:10 just filled that bill.

I seek you with all my heart, do not let me stray from your commands. Psalm 119:10.

Don’t let me stray from your commands. Keep me obeying you, believing you, skating down the path you chose for me. Why? Because I know when I do, everything in my life will work for my good. Not my glory, my good, YOUR glory.

But (BUT!!!) my part is to be seeking Him with all my heart. He must be first in my life. Wow. Before my family, friends, my job, writing or walking or anything in this world  in my life, I’m gonna seek God.

I’ve had people tell me God is so wonderful (and He is!) that’s easy for them to always put Him first. The ugly truth is, it’s not that easy for me.

Life, which has the skin on, hits me in the face and makes my heart is ache or I’m running late or someone at work is sniping at me (sniff) it can be hard to put Him first.  

Is God first? Of course. He is eternal. He created the universe, the world and me. He gives me everything good in life. He is, was, will always be, has to be, first. But to live my life seeking Him first 100% of the time? Hm.

Maybe that’s why Psalm 119:10 is there.

What’s your verse today?  


Forever Friend

Do you have a forever friend? One of those people who has known you forever (from preschool through junior high and beyond) who knows your secrets, where all the bodies are buried and loves you anyway?

One of mine was in C-Town over the weekend and I got to spend some time with her on Friday. Instead of going to lunch together, we walked. And talked. LOL.

My Friend is retired (because of health reasons) but still walks nine to ten miles every day. We talked about old times, caught up on what everyone’s family is doing and the trips she’s taken.

I told her about the horrors of my recent “unmentionables” buying trip and she told me about doing all her shopping with her husband driving her. (ie–You need to shop for another pair of shoes???)

Know the best thing about My Friend? She inspires me. Even though her life is a bit of a struggle, she hasn’t slowed down much at all. And when she decides to do something, she goes after it all the way.

And she succeeds!

My Friend has accomplished several things in her life, and right now she’s doing those dog trial things where you train your hound to run up and over teeter-totters, on balance beams, through tunnels and that kind of thing. And, no surprise, her little dog is a regular winner.

While we were together, she received a call from a man she’d worked with over the years who needed to talk to her. His company had downsized him out of a job and he was searching for another. As I listened, she made small comments and suggestions about how he should go about it. She gave him ideas about things she’d learned so he could use them when applying.

My Friend gave away the knowledge she’d accumulated from her years in the business and at the end of the conversation told the man to be sure to use her as a reference, and gave him an open invitation to stay with her and her husband anytime he was in her area.

Remember the phrase, better to give than receive? She’s living it.

And I am inspired.

Friends are so important in our lives. Someone loves me, no matter how upset another person is with me. My friend is praying for me, and I’m praying for her. She’s a kindred soul I can depend on, no matter what.

While telling you about her, I kept thinking– 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. I Cor 13:4-8

Read it again, and when you read the word love, think  a friend. After all, what is friendship except love between friends? My Friend not only understands that scripture, she epitomizes it.

Do you have someone in your life who’s a Forever Friend? Doesn’t the time you get to spend with them (and remembering them) seem to be extra sweet?