Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Your Close Closet

Not clothes closet–I’m talking your prayer closet, the one you should be closest to. Is there one in your life?

How I imagined it:

The first Bible I ever owned was a King James Version, which Grandma and Granddad Reeves gave me for my birthday.

There, part of Matthew 6:6 reads like this–

–When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father . . . .

At that time (I was–um–maybe eight) our closets were little ones, not the walk-in type. My eight-year-old mind imagined standing in my closet (there wasn’t room on the floor. My sister and I had shoes sitting there) to read my Bible and pray. I knew I’d need a flashlight, because the light–if it wasn’t burned out–would shine on our clothes and throw a dark shadow on the Word. I decided then that Jesus was talking to people who only had one or two tunics and a couple of sandals in their wardrobe, which would leave plenty of room for study.

Okay, I was a tad literal when I was a kid. 🙂

One Women’s Perspective–

Several years later, I discovered Christian Writer Evelyn Christensen’s book, “What Happens When Women Pray.” In that book, Evelyn writes about her prayer closet being in her green chair.

Light bulb moment! I was getting up early, too, to study the word and pray in my blue rocker/recliner (no flashlight necessary.) I had a closet and didn’t even know it.

Becki’s Closet

About that same time, my Sunday School teacher, Becki Hawkins, mentioned her car was often her prayer closet. At that time, Becki was a hospice nurse and did a lot of prayer-driving. She told us that alone in a car with the Lord is the perfect place to pray. (She did warn us not to close our eyes. LOL!)

On the Internet–

A year or two ago, I read something about a girl who wanted a prayer closet like her mother’s. Sorry, with all the internet reading available, I can’t remember who wrote it, but they talked about the girl’s walk-in closet. They filled it with pillows, a reading lamp, a bookshelf for her books and pens and highlighters.

Made me want to move in! 🙂

I also read about a girl who begged her father for a prayer closet. (Beth Moore comes to mind when I think about it, but I don’t know for sure.) Anyway, this girl’s family didn’t have a room they could make a prayer closet for her, so her father brought home a box of some sort, which she used for years.

I don’t remember if it was a cardboard box or a wooden packing case, and it’s not really important. What’s important is that her father heard her. He took her seriously and found a way for her to have what she needed. This little girl was able to be alone with her Lord.

I Googled prayer closets to see if I could find that article, and while I didn’t find it, I found one on the Discipleship Journal website about how to organize your prayer closet.

They recommend a notebook. Rather than a place for you, it was a place to keep your prayer list. They suggest dividers with daily prayers, temporary, adding pictures of the people you’re praying for, etc. It sounded waaay too stiff for me (maybe that’s why they call it the Discipleship Journal, because they’re all disciplined. I’m not!)

Present Prayer Closets

One of my sisters and I enjoy making our decks our prayer closets–at least when it’s not too hot and not too cold for us to be out in the weather. It’s not a place where you can easily get on your face (don’t want neighbors calling 9-1-1 for us) but it’s a beautiful time with the Lord.

The most important place I’ve found to have my prayer closet is to carry it within me. I can take it along where ever I go. Whether it’s while I’m in the car, at the copier, in the kitchen, on a walk or when I’m snitting (sitting and knitting) the important thing is that I have a time when I’m able to be alone with God.

Can you think of a better place than that?

Where do you go to pray? Is it a place, a time or when you have a moment to spare?

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6.

  • What If? (


A Will Deal

This morning, after my commune time, I flicked on the flat screen and to my disappointment, there was a silent movie on my favorite movie channel. At least I thought I was disappointed, until I saw what it was.

Know who this is?

Will Rogers.

 The movie was a documentary (travel film?) he’d made called “Roaming the Emerald Isle.”

Ireland (a country my man and and I have always planned to visit, but haven’t. Yet. God willing, we will some day!) and Will Rogers–one of my childhood heroes. What’s not to love about that?

What I enjoyed most was Will himself. Will died in 1935, a couple of days before I was born. (My parents were 4 and 5.)

Did you know Will was Oklahoma’s favorite son? He was also one of my heroes when I was a kid. (I read his biography and later watched the movie about his life, which starred his son.)

From Wikipedia:

Rogers was born to a prominent Cherokee Nation family in Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma). (From Susan–between today’s Claremore and Oolagah.) He traveled around the world three times, made 71 movies (50 silent films and 21 “talkies“),[2] wrote more than 4,000 nationally-syndicated newspaper columns,[3] and became a world-famous figure. By the mid-1930s, Rogers was adored by the American people. He was the leading political wit of the Progressive Era, and was the top-paid Hollywood movie star at the time.

Will had a great way of turning a phrase. Here’s one of my favorites.

 Isn’t that the truth?

I’ve seen some of his talkies, but watching him in this travel film, I saw something I’d missed before. His hat.

I knew he wore a hat–nearly everyone did until the ’50’s and ’60’s–but the way he sported and handled his fedora caught my eye. The man moved and looked like someone I’ve known. Or should have known. 😉

Or maybe it reminded me of my granddads.

This belonged to Granddad Reeves.

Kind of looks like Will borrowed Granddad’s hat for this pic, doesn’t it?

Granddad was a slow talking guy. Tall (in my mind, at least) with a perpetual cigarette in his hand. If he wasn’t smoking, he jingled coins in his pocket or fiddled with his lighter.

I don’t remember him saying a whole lot (Grandma said enough for both of them!) but he raised a passel of great kids and taught them a great work ethic. He built, wired and plumbed at least two houses that I remember. In World War I he was an army cook and such a great guy that my grandma lived in a tent to be near him.

  This belonged to Granddad Ray.

Will is the guy on the left. His hat isn’t very different from Granddad’s, is it?

Any guesses what that stain on Granddad’s hat is? If you guessed oil, you were right. (I’m not sure if that’s hair oil or petroleum.) This granddad was in a lot of different businesses from butcher shops to insurance sales to oil to farm/ranching. And he was a dandy. Always looked and smelled good! (Mama said before men’s colognes were available, Granddad would sometimes wear women’s cologne.)

He lived next door most of my growing up years and I remember a lot of things he said. How upset he got when my boyfriend brought another girl home from college. How proud he was of my brother when he went to college. And how he didn’t recognize me in Sister Debbie’s wedding. (That’s a real shocker.)

When my grandparents passed away, the thing I asked for was a hat. I got one of each of theirs except Grandma Reeves. (She had big straw hats she wore in the garden. I don’t know where they ended up, but I hope it wasn’t the trash.)

“Well, I can understand a man perhaps being eccentric enough to want to own a silk hat.”

“A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries.”

“A fool and his money are soon elected.”(Susan–Can I get an amen?)

“A holding company is a thing where you hand an accomplice the goods while the policeman searches you.”

“A remark generally hurts in proportion to its truth.”

“A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.”
Will Rogers

Wow. Wish I’d had a chance to be around Will. For a guy who didn’t graduate from high school, he had a lot of knowledge to share! If more people had his morals and values today, what a beautiful world we’d have!

You can read more about Will Rogers and his wife, Betty.

What kind of heroes did you have as a kid?

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A Little Moore

Cover of "So Long, Insecurity: You've Bee...

Cover via Amazon

Ever know a woman who was incredible secure? Never hesitant or shy? Yeah, me either. 😉

From what I can tell, even a woman who looks as if she has it all together, knows who she is and exactly where she’s going has insecurities. I have my fair share–and (to me anyway) with good reason.

Beth Moore has a book called, So Long, Insecurity: You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us. (Copyright 2010, published by Tyndale House Publishers Inc.) I’m reading this one, not listening to her Bible Study, although if she has one, I’m absolutely thinking we need to get our hands on it!

She even hands out awards for the most insecure people in the Old Testament. (See why I enjoy this woman? Her brain works in a way I can relate to!) The women’s #1 most insecure was a dual award. No, not Sarai and Hagar, although she gave them runner-up.


Well, no one can say it like Beth, so I’ll let her.

In the entire canon of Scripture, no competition among women compares to the one recorded in Gensis 29 and 30, in which a man with more than one woman has inadvertently signed himself up for more than double his share of turmoil. Jacob had two wives. Worse yet, they were sisters, and Jacob didn’t love Leah. He loved Rachel, but her sister, Leah, was a baby-making machine in a culture that placed a high premium on baby making. Each of Leah’s sons and her maidservant’s sons bore the mark of her insecurities by receiving names that reflected her emotional state at their births. Here are just a few:

  • Ruben: “The Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”
  • Simeon: “Because the Lord has heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one, too.”
  • Levi: “Now at last my husband will become attached to me.” (She’d given up on love. Now she’d just settle for an attachment. Pathetic. Let’s avoid that, sister.)

And those were only the first few sons. In the ancient world, names were often given to the infant on the seventh day. Imagine what our children might have been named if we had chosen something that reflected our postpartum frame of mind.

A name meaning “I guess I’ll never sleep again”?

Or “Fetch that man so I can flail him”?

Or “I’ve never been in so much pain in all my life”?

Or “Where in the world is my mother when I need her”?

Or “She’s not as cute as her big brother was”?

Or just something short and sweet like “Hemorrhoid”?

Oh, yeah. Beth Moore knows women. She doesn’t candy coat what we do, but she does understand the reason for it. She touches the heart of women today. And yesterday.

When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” Jacob became angry with her and said, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” Genesis 30:1-2

Nothing like thinking God doesn’t like you as well as He likes someone else to make you a smidge insecure.

Isn’t that the truth?

Ever wondered why it’s so hard for you to achieve something that seems to happen so easily for someone else, it’s nearly an  accident? I have.

Have you ever looked at those nearest you and wondered why God blesses them so much while He seems to overlook you? I think most of us, if we’re being honest, have.

Ever asked, “Why me?” “Why is my child the one who got this illness?” “What did I do to deserve a spouse who’d do a thing like that?” “Why did I . . . Why can’t I . . . Why, why, why???

I listen to a lot of Christian talk radio when I drive (if I’m not listening to a Bible study or ’60’s  music.) Yesterday, I heard a preacher say that suffering gives us the opportunity to grow in Him. To become more Christ-like.

Trials and suffering are God’s way of telling us He loves us.

I have some people in my life who are very, very loved by Him. Don’t you?


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Happy Birthday, Pops!

See this guy? (The little girl is cute, too, but the boy is the subject of this post.)

And this guy? Not Sparky, the boy riding him. 🙂

There. Now you can see him better.

You can tell by the pictures, they weren’t taken in the last few days. (It’s more than a few years since they were taken.) Anyway, this little boy is about to turn another year older.

His birthday is this Friday, and we plan to celebrate. But we aren’t celebrating until Monday, because on Friday he’ll be out working. He works nearly every day at the office, but some days he’s out in the field, doing his thing. And there’s no way he’s going to postpone a frac job to celebrate his big day.

I wouldn’t tell you his age except he’s a shining example of how to live life to the Nth degree. He’s going to be 81. He’s healthy, happy, active and has a mind like a steel trap.

Why? Genes play a big part, I’m sure, but the fact that God has had first place in his life since 1959 is truly what makes his life so good. He’s never been a smoker or a drinker. He didn’t keep late hours or spend his time and money trying to fill a hole in his life.

He’s moral, has a tender heart and his children thank God for him every day of the world.

Want to talk about a great work ethic? Dad’ll be 81 yo in just a few days, and he still comes to work nearly every day. I know men a third his age who couldn’t keep up his work schedule.

I thank God every day for letting me have a dad like mine. He has a heart full of love, and not only for his kids or spouse. He loves most of the people he meets. What a blessing!

Happy birthday, Dad. I doubt you’ll see this, but it’s here in case sometime you happen over.

Happy birthday!

Love you!


♪♫ The Day . . . the Trailer . . . Died ♪♫

♪♫ I started singing, ♪♫

♪♫ Bye, bye Miss American . . .  ♪♫

Okay, the song doesn’t quite fit. But we had a time. Not really fun because, after all, it was a lot of work. But not really bad because I spent time with my man, two of my sons and my DIL2b.

We headed over fairly early (for a Saturday morning.) We weren’t particularly thrilled about spending our day at hard labor, but we were ecstatic about getting rid of the trailer.

Baby Boy lives in College Town, so he got there right after we did.

Middle Son (in orange) had to work Saturday morning, but he came over as soon as he could get there.

We all worked hard. What do you mean you don’t see me working? Someone had to save the day for posterity. (With the camera aka phone.)

Our kids went to college right after high school, and they took many of the things they’d had through hs.

Remember this guy? One of my boys was a real Garfield fan. (I’m not sure which one, but his initials might be MS.)

They were all big Simpson fans. So big, they’d play Simpson trivia games anytime they had a few spare moments. We found Bart abandoned in the trailer’s shed. 😦

And then there’s this guy.

I might have sent this to them once as a joke. I really don’t remember. I’m just glad they didn’t use it to start a fire. 🙂

I saved the best for last–a book called God’s Little Instruction Book for Graduates. It was given to BB when he graduated in 2003 by friends John and Becki Hawkins.

I jumped for joy when I found this book in the trailer, not boxed up in the shed. I don’t know how often the boys read it, but it has been read.

Here’s the first page:

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a manner that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.

(How often do we mamas pray for that for our kids? AND ourselves!)

“The memory of the righteous will be a blessing.” Proverbs 10:7.

A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.

“Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thiings; and I will receive you.”  2 Corinthians 6:17

This one stopped me and made me think:

A man never discloses his own character so clearly as when he describes another’s.

“A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” Matthew 12:35

The trailer is no longer ours, but I’m forever grateful for it. It was a safe place for my boys to stay together until they finished college and headed into life. I pray it kept them close (although I once broke a telephone when an argument was going between the boys through me) for a lifetime.

No one can love you more than family.

Did you (or your kids) spend your college time in dorms or someplace else?