Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Are You Ready?

It’s a holiday weekend. Are you prepared? Do you have your Easter basket cleaned out and ready for the Easter Bunny to fill up again? Do you have your new Easter dress and Easter shoes? And what about your Easter bonnet? Is it all spruced up and ready to go?

Me, either. I won’t be buying an Easter bonnet (I’m not sure where they come from) I doubt if I’ll have a new dress or shoes or a basket, old or new. But I’m ready for Easter. I love that holiday!

What a beautiful celebration. The day our Lord rose from the grave.

My favorite Easter song used to be, “Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my savior, waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord. Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph for his foes. He arose the victor from the dark domain and He lives forever with His saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah!!! Christ arose!”

We’ll be celebrating birthdays this Easter. Three of us had birthdays in April–BB and G-Man (happy birthday, darlin!) and me. So for our birthday dinner and to celebrate Easter, we’re having steak.

I know you’re supposed to have ham on Easter (I don’t know why. If anybody knows the reason for that tradition, please let me know!) but I’m not very good at following “rules.” For Christmas we have prime rib instead of turkey. At Thanksgiving we have ham and turkey. (See? I can follow tradition once in a while.)  And for Easter, we usually have smoked ribs. This year, it’s steak.

Great Steak

Heat up the grill, salt and pepper the steaks, toss them on the heat to sear (to keep juices in) but not long enough to burn, then move them away from the flame to cook. Cooking time depends on how thick your steaks are and how well done you like them. (Ever notice how a lot of cooking depends on how much of something you have?)   

How good your steak is depends on two things–the quality of the meat you start with (Ribeye is my favorite. Also, we raise our own beef.) and NOT overcooking.

Baked potatoes will be on our table. Who doesn’t know how to bake a potato?

Baked Potatoes

Wash well, dry, rub on a little vegetable oil and toss into the oven at 425 for an hour or until tender when you poke it with a fork. Serve with butter, sour cream, chives, bacon bits, grated cheese and whatever you enjoy.

#1 Son usually brings deviled eggs to our get togethers. (Perfect food for that boy to make–deviled. 😉 ) I’m not really sure where deviled eggs get their name. I used to think it was because the best thing to do with the devil is to bite him and send him on his way, but that’s probably wrong. 

When I worked in Wayne’s Grocery Store (back in high school) we sold something called Deviled Ham. I haven’t eaten it, but I think it has to do with the additional ingredients added to the minced ham.

Hey, Wiki knows!

The term “deviled” dates back to the 19th century, referring to the use of particularly hot spices in cooking. Contemporary versions of deviled eggs tend to include a wider range of seasonings and added foods, such as garlic, horseradish, wasabi, cheese, chutney, capers, salsa, hot sauce, mushrooms, spinach, sour cream, caviar, smoked salmon or other seafood, and sardines and may not therefore always be spicy.

The term “deviled,” in reference to food, was in use in the 18th century, with the first known print reference appearing in 1786. In the 19th century, it came to be used most often with spicy or zesty food, including eggs prepared with mustard, pepper or other ingredients stuffed in the yolk cavity.

devilled eggs

Image by freakgirl via Flickr


Deviled Eggs

Hard boil a dozen eggs (or more, depending on the number of guests you’ll have and how much they like them.) Peel the eggs. (Peeling is the hardest part.) Cut them in half from the pointy end to the round end, remove yolks to a separate bowl. Mash the yolks. Add Miracle Whip, mustard and sweet relish. Sometimes I add a little sweet pickle juice.  (How much of everything you add depends on how much yolk mash you have. This is a taste and add recipe.) Mix well. Then put the yolk mixture back in the egg halves, either with a spoon or if you want pretty ones, use a pastry bag with a big star tip on it. A little sweet paprika sprinkled on top makes them very pretty but doesn’t change the flavor much.   

How will you celebrate Easter? Will you go to church? Even if you haven’t darkened the doors lately, I promise you’ll be welcome. I wouldn’t begin to tell you which church to attend–as long as God is there, you’ll be in the right place.

Will you have ham or do you enjoy the less traditional? Will your “big deal meal” be dinner out, noon at home or brunch with loved ones?

Will your entire family be there? In spirit, I hope, if they aren’t able to make it to your home. I think all my kids and their sweeties will make it home. I’m planning on it! And if for some reason they can’t, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for next year.

How about you? Are you having only family or are you inviting someone who doesn’t have family nearby to share it with?

Whatever you do, and whomever you share Easter, enjoy.



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He is Risen! He is Risen! He is Risen!




Do you know ? Are you aware that Jesus is alive? The creator of the universe loves you as if you were an only child, no matter who you are or what you’ve done. He loves you and wants you to be His.


From the Mouths of Babes

Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey

Image via Wikipedia

Sunday morning was Palm Sunday–the day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, cheered by crowds of people waving palm leaves and even throwing their cloaks in the road to soften his path.

Our church here in C-Town does a great job of celebrating Palm Sunday. Every year the children come into church, waving palm branches and cheering. I’m not positive all the little ones (if they’re big enough to walk, they get to participate) understand why they do the palm waving, but the adults understand.

Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week.

I’m still going through the Bible. I’m in Matthew and reading about–you guessed it–Holy Week.

A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” 

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” 

“Hosanna in the highest!”  Matt. 21: 8 & 9

I asked a four year old buddy of mine, “Why do we celebrate Easter?”

He didn’t miss a beat. “To get candy!”

Worded that question wrong. LOL. “So, what’s Easter about?”

“It’th when Jethuth died for our thinth.” My buddy has a slight lisp.

“And then what happened?” Gotta give the right cues.

“He roth from the dead.” He shrugged as if to say, everybody knows that.

Don’t you love it when kids answer as if they were there?

And talking about kids, another little friend of mine (this one’s seven) made her confession of faith Sunday and was baptized into Christ. She’s the cutest little thing with blond hair and big eyes and no bigger than a minute.

I’m not quoting this, because I didn’t write all the words down, but this is pretty much it: The Preach (aka: Little Bit’s dad)–Why did you come forward?

Little Bit: I want to give my heart to Jesus and be forgiven!

Beautiful, pure, unadulterated faith–only children come by it naturally.

“He said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'” Matt. 18:3

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Have you heard Cannons? It’s a Christian song that we sang for the first time in church Sunday. I love the words. Love the music. Love experiencing the emotions it brings out.

But I can’t figure out how to post it to my blog. 😦 I don’t even know what’s wrong. I’ve posted music here before, and all I want to do is share.


Okay. Next best thing I can do. (Stop laughing. I don’t have any grade school children here to help me.)

Click here, and somehow you’ll get where you need to go. I think. If not, do a search for Cannons. Youtube will help you, and you’ll enjoy it! (Probably.)


Diamond T

Uncle Frank donated this cool old truck–a Diamond T–to the Mannford Museum. I’ve never seen the truck, but according to Dad, the tires are solid rubber. (Sounds expensive, but you’d never have a flat!) I think the spokes might be wooden.

If my sons are reading this, no, I didn’t drive it when I was a kid. LOL. The subject of this truck came up the other day at lunch.

“The hood ornament disappeared about as soon as it got to the museum and they turned their backs.” Makes me wonder what it looked like.

“We got that truck when we bought that shallow (five-hundred-foot) well from Lee Lunsford. He drilled it with that truck.”

An oil well, only five hundred feet deep? I knew North East Oklahoma was shallow hole country, but five hundred feet???

How’d they drill it with a truck? According to those close to me, “They used it as a power source to run the draw works and the walking beam (part of the drilliing mechanism) on an old cable tool rig.”

This is a picture of a cable tool rig that Marilyn Harvison Conrad posted on Facebook. (Thanks, Marilyn!) You can’t see much about it, but rather than rotating, a cable tool bit beats its way into the ground. And rather than have a string of drill pipe, the tools are on the end of a cable. It takes longer to drill with a cable tool than with a rotary.(In case you’re wondering, 1929 was before my dad was born.) 

The truck was also used to pump the well, so when the family bought the land and  the well, Diamond T came with it. One of those shallow-hole wells is still producing. Pretty good, after all these years!

Dad and Uncle Paul were hoeing corn on the Back Forty, about a half mile away, (as the crow flies) when Lee shot the well.

These are Ruby and Ray Spess’s boys–a few years later. 🙂 Dad, the youngest, is on the left (real men wear pink!) Uncle Paul, the middle boy, is in the middle, and Uncle Frank, who donated the truck, is on the right.  

The younger two brothers were working hard, hacking at those weeds, when all of a sudden, oil flew up into the sky and they heard a loud BOOM! The guys were probably still in their teens, and being normal, I figure they stopped and leaned on their hoes to discuss it. Before much time had passed another BOOM! Whoosh!

Back then, when they shot wells, they didn’t pack the and just let the oil go where it would. We know better than to do that these days, but then no one thought it was important.

See that board in front of the steering wheel? That’s the dash. Now I know why they called it a dash BOARD. Who knew? 🙂

I showed G Man a picture of the old truck (these were taken by Larry Lawrence. Thanks for letting me use them, Larry!) and he said, “Is that the old truck that was on the Back Forty?”

That’s the one.

This story was all new to me. Sometimes I’m amazed by how much I don’t know. Maybe by posting things like this, I can keep them from being lost in time.

Fingers crossed.


A New York WGT

From Susan: This is an email forward given to me by a life-long friend. Being Terminally Curious, I have to wonder who these people are. 🙂

It was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the Starbucks shop on 51st Street and Broadway, just a skip up from Times Square . Early November weather in New York City holds only the slightest hint of the bitter chill of late December and January, but it’s enough to send the masses crowding indoors to vie for available space and warmth.

For a musician, it’s the most lucrative Starbucks location in the world, I’m told, and consequently, the tips can be substantial if you play your tunes right. Apparently, we were striking all the right chords that night, because our basket was almost overflowing.

It was a fun, low-pressure gig – I was playing keyboard and singing backup for my friend who also added rhythm with an arsenal of percussion instruments. We mostly did pop songs from the ’40s to the ’90s with a few original tunes thrown in. During our emotional rendition of the classic, “If You Don’t Know Me by Now,” I noticed a lady sitting in one of the lounge chairs across from me. She was swaying to the beat and singing along.

After the tune was over, she approached me. “I apologize for singing along on that song. Did it bother you?” she asked. “No,” I replied.. “We love it when the audience joins in. Would you like to sing up front on the next selection?”

To my delight, she accepted my invitation.. “You choose,” I said. “What are you in the mood to sing?”

“Well. …. do you know any hymns?”

Hymns? This woman didn’t know who she was dealing with. I cut my teeth on hymns. Before I was even born, I was going to church. I gave our guest singer a knowing look. “Name one.”

“Oh, I don’t know. There are so many good ones. You pick one.”

“Okay,” I replied. “How about ‘His Eye is on the Sparrow’?”

My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her eyes on mine again and said, “Yeah. Let’s do that one.” She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her jacket and faced the center of the shop. With my two-bar setup, she began to sing.

Why should I be discouraged? Why should the shadows come?

The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling noises of the cappuccino machine ceased as the employees stopped what they were doing to listen. The song rose to its conclusion.

I sing because I’m happy; I sing because I’m free. For His eye is on the sparrow And I know He watches me.

When the last note was sung, the applause crescendoed to a deafening roar that would have rivaled a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. Embarrassed, the woman tried to shout over the din, “Oh, y’all go back to your coffee! I didn’t come in here to do a concert! I just came in here to get somethin’ to drink, just like you!” But the ovation continued..

I embraced my new friend. “You, my dear, have made my whole year! That was beautiful!”

“Well, it’s funny that you picked that particular hymn,” she said.

“Why is that?”

“Well . ..” she hesitated again, “that was my daughter’s favorite song.”

“Really!” I exclaimed.

“Yes,” she said, and then grabbed my hands. By this time, the applause had subsided and it was business as usual.. “She was 16. She died of a brain tumor last week.”

I said the first thing that found its way through my stunned silence. “Are you going to be okay?”

She smiled through tear-filled eyes and squeezed my hands. “I’m gonna be okay. I’ve just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing his songs, and everything’s gonna be just fine.” She picked up her bag, gave me her card, and then she was gone.

Was it just a coincidence that we happened to be singing in that particular coffee shop on that particular November night? Coincidence that this wonderful lady just happened to walk into that particular shop? Coincidence that of all the hymns to choose from, I just happened to pick the very hymn that was the favorite of her daughter, who had died just the week before? I refuse to believe it.

God has been arranging encounters in human history since the beginning of time, and it’s no stretch for me to imagine that God could reach into a coffee shop in midtown Manhattan and turn an ordinary gig into a revival. It was a great reminder that if we keep trusting God and singing the songs, everything’s gonna be okay.

The next time you feel like GOD can’t use YOU, just remember…
Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
John the Baptist ate bugs
Peter denied Christ
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
Zaccheus was too small
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer…
AND Lazarus was dead!

No more excuses now!! God can use you to your full potential. Besides you aren’t the message, you are just the messenger.



If It’s the 15th, It Must Be SSMT

Actually, it’s the 16th, but who’s counting? LOL.

Did you notice there’s a new verse at the top? I changed the he’s to she’s in it, just to make it a tiny bit more personal. (I’m praying God won’t mind.)

Ever wonder why someone would bother to memorize the Holy Scripts when there’s several Bibles in most households and even if you forget to pack yours, there’s usually one in every hotel, motel and hospital room? (Yes, I have one on my Kindle if you were wondering.)

Here’s why–when I need it, I rarely have my Bible at hand. I’m usually out somewhere, or at work where my Bible doesn’t have a concordance and I can’t get where I’m going because I don’t use it as often as the one at home. But if I’ve saved the verse in my mind, if I know it by heart, I can remember it and use it.

I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You. Psalm 119:11 NIV.

If you haven’t read that passage lately, look it up. There’s some real truths there we need to know. It tells how to live a life of righteousness, even in a world such as exists today.

As far as I know, Psalm 119 is the longest psalm in the Bible. And because of its length, it’s always been a little daunting for me. But taken little by little, it’s full of such beauty and truth.

17-Do good to your servant, and I will live; I will obey your word.

24-Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.

41-May your unfailing love come to me, O Lord, your salvation according to your promise

64-The earth is filled with your love, O Lord; teach me your decrees.

72-The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. 

89-Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

114-You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.

 So that’s why I’m memorizing scriptures. Not that I’m really good at it. I can remember it as long as I’m working on it, but I’m not sure I can remember it a week or two later.

One I do remember is Numbers 6:24-26–The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

That’s my prayer for you this morning, my friend. The Lord bless and keep you and cause His face to shine on you. And give you peace.