Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Wings Like Eagles

English: Bald eagle

Image via Wikipedia

I had the most fantastic thing happen to me Sunday morning.

On Sunday mornings, I’m usually in a rush to get ready for church. I enjoy chatting with G-Man so much, I put off heading upstairs as long as possible. This past Sunday was no exception, EXCEPT I received a text or two from Sister Debbie, updating me on her granddaughter’s condition. (RSV is so scary!)

I wrote her a quick text back, “God’s gonna heal that baby,” then quickly slapped on my makeup. BUT I forgot to send the message.

Like I said, I was hurrying. I didn’t look at my phone again. Just grabbed it and stuck it in my pocket. When I got in the car, I put it in a cup holder so I wouldn’t accidentally take it into church with me. (My ringtone, Bad to the Bone, during communion ain’t a good thing.)

I headed to town. On the way in I have to cross a bridge that goes over an arm of Keystone. Much of the lake has silted in, and with the small amount of rain we’ve had lately, that particular part is often dry. For the last few weeks, there has been water.

I started across the bridge, and just as I did a beautiful bald eagle flew up, right in front of me. Not low enough that I could hit him (thankfully) but right in front of me where I couldn’t miss him.

So close, I could see the individual white feathers, that covered his head. He shot skyward like a rocket, zooming nearly straight up into the air. Wow. WOW!

I had to tell Gary about it. Picking up my phone, I turned it on and saw that the text I’d written to Debbie was still there. Unsent.

If you watch for eagles in this area, we often see them, but usually it’s from far away. They circle overhead or are far away, sitting on a nest. This one was right in front of me, ready to shake my hand!

I think my eagle visit just might have been a wake up call. I needed to send that text to Debbie (more for me than for her.) Mr. Eagle reminded me, so I sent it. (Then I called G-Man afterward.)

There’s a Bible verse that’s been very special to our family since May 20, 1991 and it came back to me that morning.

 Isaiah 40: 30-31–Even youths grow tired and weary,  and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;  they will run and not grow weary,  they will walk and not be faint.

I hope you, too, are renewed!



Today, I’m Praying

It’s nearly February, and we haven’t had winter yet.

Weird, I know, but it’s not the first time. Every few years we have a really mild winter, then we get punished for it. Mother Nature gets us back by sending us lots more tics and other nasty critters.

And the next winter we get heavier than usual ice storms and snow falls.

I know the weird weather cycles have happened several times in my life, but the year my middle son was born really stands out in my memory. I remember going to a friend’s house for our Philomathic Study Club meeting.

The group was made up of women of all ages from mid-twenties to one hundred years old. (At least they seemed that old at the time.)

On that beautiful winter day, I took my three month old son and walked the few steps to the friend’s house. And as luck would have it, I was privileged to sit next to one of my favorite (also one of the oldest) members.

We talked about how beautiful the weather was when she said, “That’s what scares me.”

“A beautiful winter scares you?” I was surprised. “Why?”

Her sweet, quavery voice took on a steely tone. “The weather was just like this when everyone died of the influenza, back in the 1920’s.”

“Do you think the weather made them sick?” (Wouldn’t that be an odd superstition?)

She laughed softly. “No. But with the weather this pretty, everyone wants to get out and about. They go to church, visit with each other in their yards, go shopping and to social events. Even those who’re getting sick and don’t recognize it want to get out, and those poor folks share their germs without ever realizing they have.”

I keep remembering that conversation because right now, the hospital in T-Town is full of babies, sick with RSV.

Writer and nurse Jackie Kramer talks often this time of year about dealing with choking babies. When my niece had to put her baby in the hospital last week, I grabbed the phone and called Jackie.

Not only is she a great writer, nurse and friend, she’s also very good at calming Nervous Nellys. Who knew being a calming influence was a prerequisite for a peds nurse? (Answer: Me!)

Me: What does RSV stand for?

Jackie: Respiratory Syncytial Virus. You know what respiratory and virus mean.

Me: What’s Syncytial mean?

Jackie: Who knows? The point is, it’s a sick baby, and the hospital is the best place to take care of them.

She kept talking, telling me how the treatment would make our baby (she’s my great-niece, so I claim her) feel better and breathe easier.

Jackie: It’ll be much harder on Mama than it is on Baby.

Me: Mama and Grandmommy. My sister is there with her, and probably as upset as the mama is.

Jackie: (chuckle) They usually are.

I haven’t been to the hospital because they requested no visitors (RSV is one of the reasons I don’t go around new babies for a few months if I can help it) but I’m so thankful for the nurses who work overtime, saving those babies’ lives. And calming silly great-aunts who call to find out why.

(Ooh, I kind of like being a GREAT aunt. Sounds like I’m good at something.)

Preacher Dave said in church yesterday that we have between 7 and 10 kids who are in the hospital right now, so I wonder if it’s not like the spread of the influenza in the ’20’s. From newborn breathing problems to RSV to back surgery to bacterial spinal meningitis, our kids are being hard hit.

Today, I’m praying for the kiddos, nurses and docs and thanking Him for giving us all three. Who are you praying for?


Sunday Spice

"Sunday school, Indians and white[s].&quo...

Indian Territory Sunday School

In case you’re wondering, the picture above is from the time before Okie Land was a state, which happened in 1907. And no, I’m not in it. 🙂 I like to think I would have been, though.

When I was a kid, my family almost never missed church. If it was Sunday morning, it was understood by the entire family that we’d be in Sunday School and church. (Sunday night and Wednesday night, too.)

We didn’t get up and ask if we were going. We knew. We didn’t get to stay all night with other people on Saturday night, because it was like a school night. There was someplace we were going to go the next day.


When I was very young, everyone went to churchAll the time. If someone I knew didn’t go to church regularly, they didn’t admit it. That just wasn’t acceptable in our Small Town World.

When I was in 5th or  6th grade, I met my first classmate who belonged to a church that was very different from ours. I knew it was different because she didn’t stand up when we saluted the flag or heard the National Anthem. But she went to church.

Things changed drastically after that. People moved into C-Town who didn’t go. And didn’t care. Talk about an awakening for this small town girl!

Today, fewer and fewer people go to church. Most of the people I know believe in God. They just don’t enjoy corporate worship, so they don’t go. Or they’re too busy to go. Or they can’t remember where their letter is. (My aunt told my mama that once. I’m not sure what it means.)

I look forward to Sunday worship. For me, it’s a time of refreshment and renewal. A time when I can focus solely on the One who LOVES me so much, He died for me. He paid the consequences for MY sin, even though He’d never come near sin.

I started to name this blog SWEET SUNDAY, but just now changed it to SUNDAY SPICE. Why? Because when I think of worship, I don’t get a sweet, devoted, laid-back feeling like the nuns in an old movie.

I get jazzed. I love singing praises to the King. Love being with others of like faith. And I love, love, love learning from Preacher Dave.

I don’t speak in the language of angels like Paul or dance before God like David, but I absolutely understand why they did. Our worship service is very well planned, but I’m absolutely thrilled when everything stops so we can spend time in prayer with a hurting saint. Or someone comes forward and is baptized into Christ.

Sundays spice up the rest of my week. And I’m very grateful it does!

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HUGS for You!

Did you see what I got? Over there on the far, right hand side. Wait. I’ll show you.

There. Isn’t it pretty?

I was nominated for the award by The Island Traveler. Thanks, IT! And thanks, Connie Wayne.

What is a Hug award?

I’ll bet you thought it’s because I’m such a good hugger. I am, but that’s not why I got the award.

A hug award is given to those who through their words, thoughts and actions gave,

Hope for Love, Freedom, Peace, Equality, Unity, Joy and Happiness, Compassion and Mercy, Faith, Wholeness and Wellness, Prosperity, Ecological Preservation and of Oneness.

Pretty cool, huh?

I’ll be watching for someone to pass the HUG award to. Let’s see. Whooo will it be?

I picked this up over there, too. Cute, huh?

Look again at the heart/globe. When I saw it, Matthew 28: 19-20 came to mind.

19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Those are Red Letter words–Jesus is talking.



What Do You Call It?

In honor of Alpha and Omega’s visit to Ted’s yesterday, I’m going to share my recipe for Taco Soup. (Mexican flavor, low calorie. LOL)

This soup actually has lots of different names. It’s a Weight Watchers recipe my friend, Marilyn Pappano, shared with me several years ago, and she called it just that. Taco Soup. (I believe she told me it had a point a cup. Makes me wish I could live on Taco Soup.)

My family doesn’t call it Taco Soup. The concoction has three cans (at least) of beans in it. You can guess what we call it! LOL.

Walking Buddy, Carollea calls it Chili Soup.

If I’d invented it, I’d have named it Can-Can soup. 🙂

Here are the ingredients:

1 lb hamburger
1 Can chili beans (undrained)
1 Can pinto beans (undrained)
1 Can red beans (undrained)
1 Can corn (undrained)
1 Can Rotel (undrained)
1 package taco seasoning
1 package dry Ranch Dressing mix

Brown hamburger meat, drain fat. Add beans, corn, Rotel, taco seasoning and Ranch Dressing mix. Bring soup to a slow simmer and cook for half an hour or so. (Or just until it’s hot–depending on how hungry you are.)

No matter what you call this soup, I call it good!

What would you call it?



I had so much fun yesterday! I found a new Small Town World!

Here’s what happened.

One of the men in my life let his driver’s license run out. With an out-of-date DL, cruise companies are very reluctant to let you on their ships. You can go all the way to, oh, say Hawaii, and pay the big bucks, after buying new tennis shoes especially for your trip, and then have to wrangle with the head-crank-in-charge to get to use your expired license.

WARNING! The State of Okie-Land no longer sends you a notice that your DL is about to expire. Go check it right now and note on your calendar if it has to be renewed this year. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

To be able to drive, this person I love dearly needs his birth certificate, which we couldn’t find at the office.

I volunteered to take the trip to T-Town County Health Department to get it. When my DL expired a few years ago, I went to the health department on C-Town’s side of the big city to replace my missing certificate, so I went back there yesterday.


I walked in the door and asked the gray-haired gentleman in the glass booth if that was where I could get a BC. He handed me a map.


Have I ever mentioned Map Fights? G-Man and I’ve had a few over the years. We started on our honeymoon. (Imagine expecting the woman in your life to be able to read a map. How unreasonable can you get? LOL)

The man in the booth must have seen the look of confusion on my face. “Get on the BA and drive to the 51st Street exit. You’ll exit right, then go left. You can’t miss it.”

Again, he read my face. “If you get lost, call me. The number’s on the map.”

But I didn’t have to make that call! I found the building–absolutely beautiful, by the way. The hard part was finding where to turn off of the street to get into the parking lot.

The last time I was at the THD, there was about a thousand people (exaggeration) with three thousand kids (maybe exaggeration) all running and playing and laughing, and most of them speaking a language that makes my stomach hurt. The reason it hurt my stomach? I took that class in high school, and passed it by the skin of my teeth, and hearing little kids speak it reminds me. 🙂

When I got to the new building, I saw a sign that said, “Birth and Death Certificates.” Very clean building. Smallish room (compared to the one used on the other side of town) with less than twenty people waiting inside.

I grabbed a number as I walked in. The biggest sign in the room said, “Average wait time one to two hours.” I settled in to do a little reading and people watching.

There were only three children waiting with adults, and they were so well-behaved, I barely knew they were there. But they were cute!

One little boy sat quietly while his mother texted on her cell phone. When she’d finally finished, he asked if he could please use her phone. She didn’t hear him the first time, so I nearly handed him mine. 😉

Another little boy was with an older man, who wore oxygen. The child couldn’t have been more than three or four, but he wanted to know what the small oxygen concentrator was and exactly how it worked. Poor guy had a little trouble explaining. I have a feeling he didn’t care HOW it worked as long as it worked. Now he’ll be studying up.

When I got to talk to the woman behind the window (I had to wonder if the glass was bullet proof, but I didn’t ask) she was so nice! Sweet voice, happy smile. She made my trip to Farlands very pleasant.

And I get to go back today! They won’t have the certificate ready until after 11:00. When the man needing the thing asked why I had to go back, I told him it was so old, they’d have to work their way back in a far away storage cave somewhere to get it.

He didn’t think I was funny.

Today, I’m going back to pick it up. And I plan to take Omega with me because, if I’m not mistaken, we’ll be within a few miles of Ted’s Cafe Escondito and their super hot salsa (it has avocado in it.) Yuuuuum! And if anyone enjoys good food, it’s Alpha and Omega!

Don’t tell Weight Watchers. 🙂



A few days ago, I wrote about WHY I DO what I do. Here’s a little of it–

Right now, I’m taking a story I wrote last year, and using it to make a whole new story. A story where the people act like the people I know. Maybe they’re a little nicer than I am or have different opportunities, but I don’t read books to hear an echo of my life. I read to see how real people could live and truly love life.

And I want to write the stuff I like to read.

My characters aren’t Goody-Two-Shoes. They’re too boring, and I’m not sure I’d know what those characters are all about, anyway.

I’m trying to write about real people who live and love and learn what life can be like. And yes, there’s a spiritual aspect to it.

So that’s why I do what I do.

Now a request: I’d appreciate your prayers on my behalf. Not that I’ll get rich and famous, but that I’ll keep going if this is God’s will.

And if it’s not, would you ask him if He’d let me know?

I got some great responses! (Bloggers live for comments. We love it when the conversation goes both ways.) One woman thought I was brave to ask that of God. I love it when anybody thinks I’m brave. (I’m really kind of a chicken.)

One of my sisters answered,

Yea!  You know I love to read inspirational fiction, I’m so very happy you decided to give it a try.  In fact, I believe this is where God has been guiding you.

“If He leads you to it, He’ll lead you through it”.  I think that little saying is for more than trials, I think it’s for where ever He leads you. (I added the bold letters.)

I wanted to share with y’all what happened. And thank you.

I have to believe you’re right, Deb. I’ve been having some trouble finding time to work, but I got a ton done yesterday during a professional football game. (Gary hasn’t watched professional football in years.)

Then the devil infiltrated my thinking. I got to wondering if this was the kind of story the editors are looking for. Should I keep working on a story like this or start yet another new one. (Which would keep me from trying to sell for another several months.)

Here’s a quick synopsis of the part I was worried about: A young woman on her own has her horse go down in a barrel race. A family takes her home, gives her a place to stay and feed her and her horse. I worried that the editors would think nobody in today’s world would be dumb enough to take a perfect stranger home with them. That the story wasn’t believable.

In the last Inspirationals I bought, three little girls are trying to find a wife for their dad, so they post an ad in the local paper. Cute, sweet story. In a historical one I read just before that (same author) a young woman goes west without telling her family so she can experience the kind of life she reads about in her paperbacks.

The first line in mine is, “Do they still hang horse thieves in Texas?” I know. I’m not normal. 🙂

So I’m praying about it.

Then, in my Beth Bible study, we looked up Isaiah 58:7 (we were supposed to read 5-7, but all I saw was 7.) Here’s what I read:

Share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter

The entire scripture says, “5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,  only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?

6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice    and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free    and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them,  and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

I’m not sure how I missed that I was supposed to read all of 5-7 or why I didn’t see the entire sentence starting at “Is it not to share . . . ” and ending with “flesh and blood.”

I’m think I might have had an answer. 🙂 🙂 🙂

I’m WOWED! that God answered me so quickly. I’m WOWED! that he heard your prayers on my behalf.

I don’t know if I’ll ever sell another book, but I know