Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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You Are Worth the Time

No one has enough time anymore. I know. Even my friends who’ve retired find the stuff the “have” to get done swells to fill every moment. They still have trouble finding time to indulge in what they see as theirs.

Please watch this.


I see way more women having trouble finding time for their art than men. Wonder why that is?



Project Lydia

I got my “real” computer back last night. Wow, it’s like coming home to get my fingers back on this keyboard. Nice!

We met #1 son and DIL for dinner last night so we could get it back. While we were there, I gave DIL a little gift I bought her in Kansas. It’s a long necklace, made in African women.

You know, it really is a Small Town World, and the women who make these things are our neighbors in this SMT!

I bought my goodies from the woman in the middle of this picture. She’s a missionary to Uganda, and very interesting! (There were lots of vendors at the festival, but this is the only one I bought from.)

You can read all about it at The woman was nice, sincere and had a lot of love for the women she works with.

The women hand make jewelry, dolls, small bags woven from food packages (like Doritos and Lays) and banana leaf baskets to sell so they can support themselves.

 I bought necklaces

and a basket.

The necklace can also be worn like a multi-strand bracelet.

And the best part? They’re made from recycled paper. Magazines, mostly, I think. And they have six layers of varnish on them.

The baskets are made from banana leaves, right out of the women’s gardens, so there’s almost no overhead. The had all sizes, with the most expensive costing around $40.00. Not a bad deal!

I think I might have to do more shopping online. They really have some great stuff. Practically everything is made from recycled products. (Save the planet.) The prices are right. (Save the wallet.) AND you’re helping other women. (Save a soul.)

Don’t you love it?


The Shay Vaca

Hey, y’all! I’m back.

My man and I went to Paola, Kansas to the 22nd annual Roots Music Festival (and BBQ cook off) and we had a great time. I didn’t even know there was a Roots Festival, much less twenty-two of them!

We put our chairs next to a guy named Greg who was from Paola. He had two daughters there with him that he stayed in contact with all during both days. He also had a pair of older children who weren’t there. One in college, the other at a new job. He advised us that our chairs were safe if we wanted to leave them over night, so we did!

Going to the Fesitval was my man’s idea. Tower of Power was playing, and with them so close, he didn’t want to miss it. I had a great time, even though I’m not as into music as he is.

We heard a couple of new-to-us groups we really enjoyed. One was a group of three girls (there were guys in their band, but the girls were the stars) called Carter’s Chord.

I loved hearing these sisters and their country music. (Their parents were in Waylon Jennings band for years and years.) The youngest played keyboard, the middle played a guitar that looked as big as she was, and the oldest didn’t play anything. They all sing and write music, and they were fantastic! (I might have to buy their CD!)

Another group we really enjoyed was Tyler Bryant and Shakedown. Tyler is a young man with a great sound and a really slick presentation. He didn’t play country (for which G-Man was very grateful!) and his group was fantastic.

This is from Wikipedia:

Tyler got his first guitar at the age of 6.[5] When he was 11, he sold the dirtbike his parents had just given to him for Christmas and bought his first electric guitar, a red Epiphone Les Paul from Hollybond’s Music Store in Paris, TX. While still in elementary school, he met Roosevelt Twitty, a 63 year-old bluesman from Paris, Texas.[6] Mr. Twitty taught Tyler how to play the blues.[3] At 13, Tyler and Mr. Twitty started playing shows around Texas. This was the age that Tyler also started writing songs.

I might have to stuff one or two of his CDs into my man’s stocking this Christmas. LOL.

What struck me hardest while I listened to these kids perform was the dedication it takes to get where they are. They’re young! (Tyler just turned 20 last February. I didn’t hear the girls’ ages, but they looked very young. twenties and early thirties, maybe.

These people know what they want! They’ve worked hard to get where they are and do a wonderful job. (Catch them if you get the chance.)

And finally, we heard Tower of Power. They performed at 10:00 Saturday night, and even though we’d been able to see everyone else from our perch under a tree (it was hot out there!) we couldn’t even see the screen because of the people standing in front of us.

Good thing is, when we stood against the tree (we didn’t want to be in anyone else’s way) we had the best seat–er stand–in the place.

Tower of Power has been in existence since 1968. They have a lot of brass in the group and put on a show not to be missed. When they set up for the show, I noticed there were enough drums to fill my living room. It made us wonder of there were a pair of drummers, but only one man sat there.

And, if you’ll pardon the pun, he did a bang-up job!

The only bad part? During Tower of Power, a couple of men in front of us started dancing. (Their women just kind of smiled.) These guys must have had a little too much to drink, because they were without rhythm. They kind of flailed their elbows and shook their hienies and shuffled their feet.

I tried not to laugh, but it was too funny! And these guys didn’t care.

Of course, we didn’t only listen to music. The concerts were held in the downtown city park. There were a bunch of venders selling (even henna and spray on tattoos) and several open stores around the square.

I’ll try to share what I found with you tomorrow. I was thrilled!

So what did you do this summer that put a smile on your face? I hope you’ll share.


The Magic Has Begun!

I feel like a swimmer who’s been underwater for too long. You know that feeling? Lungs burning, muscles tiring, brain thinking only one thing–I’ve got to reach the surface!

You keep straining and kicking and pulling the water behind you. You can make it. You have to make it. You don’t have a choice except to make it or . . .

Finally, you do! You break through to the air, gasp a long, loud lungful, and boy! Is it sweet.

You might have heard that long, loud lungful come from my part of Okie-Land yesterday morning. (Late yesterday morning.)

I finally finished my portion of our contest. WOOHOO!!! (Except for actually judging, that is.)

My romance writers group is hosting a contest right now (Where the Magic Begins) and, like a glutton for punishment, I volunteered to be the judge coordinator. JC isn’t such a hard job if someone hands you all the judges. That’s rare, though.

We started this contest to help other unpublished romance writers get published. When I first started writing, I had very little contact with other writers. No critique group. Nobody to say, “You’re doing this right. You should do this better.” So I entered a contest. I knew I wouldn’t win, but I wanted feedback. I was desperate for it.

Entering a contest was a good idea, but that was the wrong contest. (A little research would have helped.) In that particular contest, there’s one judge per category. So if there’s 50 entries, that one person judges them all.

That’s too much work for one person. My entry didn’t get good scores. In fact, the woman who judged it didn’t even finish filling out the score sheet. Instead, she wrote a note that said she didn’t think I had what it takes to finish that book. (A not-too-nice way of saying it was bad.)

So when my writer’s group talked about starting a contest for unpublished writers, I was all for it.

I wanted us to be there for other writers. I wanted to be able to lend a hand–help someone else God had given the craving to write. So I helped carve out the rules.

In our contest, judges must make comments on the manuscript as well as on the score sheet, which is keyed for the specific category, telling the entrant what’s right as well as what’s wrong with their twenty-five pages.

We insist each entrant receive good advice. (I was shocked when I learned that many long-time-regularly-published authors give bad advice in hopes of discouraging those they view as competition.)

Why? I don’t know. I figure if the book I write is good enough, an editor will make a spot for it if she has to. If it’s not, I probably don’t want my name on it anyway. Ü

We have a lot of entries in our contest. (More every year.) And finding judges for it isn’t easy. (Guessing how many you’ll need is even harder.) I finally came up with a math formula to help me.

Each entry (X is the number of entries) gets three judges (Y). Each judge can do around 5 or 6 entries. X times Y divided by 5= the number of judges I needed.

Example: Say I had twenty entries in Single Title. 20 x 3=60/5=12. I’d need twelve judges for that category.

A little daunting for me when I looked at the entire contest. But at least I’m ready for next year. I have my formula. I’m going to ask my chapter for more help getting judges from the very beginning instead of yelling “calf rope” toward the end.

The best part is I’ve met so many NICE women who, even though they already have a “name” and are on deadline, are willing to lend a hand.

That might just be the reason I’m going to volunteer to do it again next year. Maybe.

Or I might just be a glutton for punishment. 🙂

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How Do You Spell God?

Cover of "Believing God (Walker Large Pri...

Cover via Amazon

Ever hear that children spell God M-O-T-H-E-R?

That came from an old movie I watched a few years ago, but I’m surprised at how true it is. (If I told you the movie, you’d probably be surprised there was anything worth remembering in it at all.)

Why did that ring so true with me? Probably because my mother introduced me to God. When I was a small child, she was the main Christian influence in my life. (My dad and I were baptized together, my paternal grandmother a few years later and my paternal grandfather several years after that.) Mama took us church every Sunday. (Dad went quite a bit, but mostly because she wanted him to be there.) She taught us what it means to walk with God. She gave us a love for the Father.

Now here’s the thing that made that ring statement about ring so true. We lost Mama when I was grown and had half-grown kids of my own. But for several days after she was gone, I couldn’t feel God.

That’s a horrible thing to admit, isn’t it? A woman who’d been a Christian for years whose mother was her conduit to God? To be very honest, I’m not sure that was really the problem. I might have just been in so much pain I couldn’t feel anything. Kind of like when a person is burned so badly, their nerve endings are gone and they’ve lost the pain sensation.

The sudden deaths of five members of your family can do that, I guess, so I’m not sure which was my situation.

But I did what Mama had taught me. I ran to the Lord. (Where else is there to go?) I grabbed my Bible and took it with us for the drive from Pryor Creek to T-Town where Omega (my nick-name for my youngest sister) was in Intensive Care.

I dug out verses I’d heard and loved all my life.

2 Cor 4:18–So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Cor 5:8–We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

Phillipians 1:21 & 23–For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far

And the one that gave me the most comfort? Isaiah 57:1– The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.

If I haven’t lost you by now, I’ll tell you where am I going with this.

When I drive–T-Town, work, taking my nieces to have our nails done–I don’t listen to music. I like to listen to people talk. Talk radio or speeches people make. (Only on topics I’m really interested in, of course.)

Right now, I’m listening to Beth Moore’s “Believing God” Bible study. Again.

A while back I downloaded them, one week at a time (audio–$2.99 each). I’ve already listened to the entire series–most of them several times. So get this. Monday, I heard something else new. A couple of things, actually. (I’ll save one of them for another day.)

That was another stupid admission, wasn’t it? Honestly, I don’t know how I do that. Do I simply stop listening or do I get to thinking about one thing and miss the next? Anyway, parts of this study is brand new to me.

Here’s what I heard. Beth said that if you think you can explain who God is, you’re aiming too low. Wow. Kind of like trying to spell God, M-O-T-H-E-R.

Or thinking that going to church once a week (or a year or whatever) is enough to get you to Heaven. Or like thinking going to church at all will get you to Heaven. (It won’t, but it’ll help point the way.)

So . . . can you tell me Who God is? YHWH. Yahweh. Elohim. Jehovah.

I can’t tell you. He’s not only your mama (but He was a big part of mine.)

He was the beginning, He’ll be the end.

He. Is.

So . . . any guesses what that movie I mentioned was? 🙂 (No fair guessing if I already told you the answer.)

(Sometimes I talk too much.)

(A lot of the time I talk too much.)