Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Oh, Happy Day!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DANNY!

Today is #1 son’s birthday.

When he was born, his daddy said he looked like a drowned rat. I nearly smacked him on the spot! LOL. But he got over the wet look fairly quickly and turned into a beautiful little boy, who kept his parents laughing (and on their toes) for a long time.

I know exactly what he’s saying in this picture. “Hurry up, Mom, so we can get good seats.” We were getting ready to ride a stage coach in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He probably figured he’d get to drive the stage.

After all, he got to drive for this guy. Why not the stage coach?Danny was always sweet and full of great ideas. Just ask his cousin, Kyle, who got in trouble several times when he followed my boy’s lead.

Such as the time I gave them orange popsicles and put them on the porch to eat them so they wouldn’t drip all over my house. They went for a walk in 53 acres of woods without letting me know they were leaving “Because you wouldn’t have let us go.”

Duh.

Or the time they decided to spray paint my garage and everything in it.

Or the time they called the operator and said bad words. “Darn!” and “Shut up!”

Like I said, Danny could make all of us grin. And keep us grinning.

 Danny gave us a gift a few years ago–his wife. Yes, she wears a crown. She deserves one! She’s a joy and has made life in the Shay Clan so much fun. (Can you tell I like her?)

This is for you from Grandmommy, kiddo. She adored you.

Little Danny Donkey

I hate to talk about it cause it’s sad enough for tears,
but little Danny donkey doesn’t like to wash his ears.
At breadfast every morning Danny’s mother sent him back
to do his washing over for his ears were very black.
They say he’s doing better now and, oh, I hope it’s true.
I’d hate to be so careless and so lazy wouldn’t you?

I love you, baby!!!

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Snit Fever

Running late today, but I wanted to share the progress I’ve made on my Meret Beret.

Remember late last summer (or early last fall) I showed you this–That was near the beginning of what I hoped would one day look like this–

That’s not mine. You can tell because the color is wrong and it’s darn near perfect. Mine won’t be. 🙂 This is a picture I found online to show me what it might look like someday. Well, I’m not there yet. Here’s where I am today.

 And here–

In case you’re wondering, that’s my Bible it’s lying on. (I just finished my Bible study for this morning.) And my Bible is lying on my GMC chart for the book I’m currently working on.

I’m such a neat person. Not.

The beret isn’t that complicated, so why am I so slow? Besides time restraints (I hate that excuse, but there you go.) I Christmassed and knitting a cat scarf. (Except for sewing on the head, it’s finished. Yay!) And a pair of fingerless gloves.

While I found the above pictures, I found a couple of other things I finished this year. I just have to share.

This great little scarf (I still need to block it, I guess, because I haven’t worn it.) and my chicken. I call her Shake a Tail Feather.

I learned to knit when I was in junior high. For some reason, I really wanted to learn, even though no one around me knitted at all. Maybe it was seeing Aunt Sally here on a Christmas visit one year, knit throws for her family. Or it could have been seeing people knit on TV and in movies.

Anyway, I bought a book and “taught” myself. It’s really hard to learn to knit (especially casting on) from a book. While the pictures and arrows look as if they’re going one direction, they’re really meant to be going another way altogether. But I persevered.

I discovered how useful knitting was in high school when I was in a one-act play called the Legacy. It was a period piece, set in the 1800’s. I used knitting as busy work during the play.

By the time we quit doing the play for competition, my square I was knitting was really lopsided, because when I’d pick up my knitting to work, I just started knitting. I didn’t look to see whether I had it forward or backward. 🙂

I wish now I’d kept it. 🙂

I’ve taken several classes and found I love knitting along side other people. One of my favorite things about knitting is teaching others. Some pick it up so easily, you’d think they’d learned it somewhere before.

For others, it’s not quite as easy.

Now Omega (kid #6 in the Spess family line up) was determined to learn. She’s in a wheelchair, her hands don’t work as easily as they once did and she can’t drive herself to go to the yarn store, but she was bound she would learn how. So I taught her, and she caught on so quickly I felt as if I’d been a really  slooooow learner.

She even knitted one of the Christmas presents she gave away this year. How cool is that?

This isn’t the best picture of Omega I could find, but I usually try not to capture her wheelchair, because it’s not who she is. I wanted you to be able to see it today.

I wanted to warn you, when Omega decides she’s going to do something, look out!

No telling what she’ll be doing next.


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Joyful!

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with Gladness. Come before His presence with singing.

That’s verses one and two of one of the first Bible verses I memorized as a kid. Susie Lunsford and her friend (Sherry Crosier, I’m thinking) decided to have a Bible school in Susie’s garage one summer.

I think there were four of us “students.” Susie and her friend were only a couple of years older than me and one of the other girls, but under their teaching, we all learned the 100th Psalm. King James Version.

Other versions say it different ways–

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness;    come before him with joyful songs.  NIV

On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence. The Message.

–but they all say the same thing. Make your joy for all of life known to the Lord!

For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. Col. 1:16 The Message

You can’t do that with a frown on your face. Can’t do it with a whisper. You have to open up your heart and your mouth and shout it.
Remember the song, JOYFUL, JOYFUL, LORD WE ADORE THEE, written by Henry J. van Dyke in 1907?  He does a beautiful job of saying what we feel.
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
Op’ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!
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Why I Do

Did you know I’m a writer? I mean besides this blog. LOL. I write romance. (Really! I do.)

I’ve sold two books. I’m not sure how many of each one has sold–neither one has been in danger of making me a best-selling author–but I know my kids all have one. And my sibs. (My kids haven’t read it. I’m not sure about all my sibs.)

Did you ever wonder why you do what you do? Sometimes I do.

I’m sure about one thing–I write because I’ve always loved reading. A lot. And when I’m not reading and my brain isn’t full of something else, I’m entertaining myself with a story I’ve made up.

I’m working on a different kind of book these days. I call it Christian Women’s Fiction. (Aka–inspirational romance) Kind of a change from what I wrote before. In it, private things are kept, well, private. And I can talk about where my mind goes in real life.

In times of joy or trouble, I rarely think about the physical. Mostly I’m hollering, “Help me, Jesus!” Or, “Thank you, Jesus.”

I found out early on, you can’t write that in a regular romance novel. It might insult some of the more religious readers. (I don’t get that one, since they are reading it, but ours is not to reason why . . . ) Or maybe it’ll insult the non-religious readers. (In My Opinion: They could use a little God in their stories.)

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?


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Breakfast Yummers

Have you ever had Coffee Soup?

Ever heard of Coffee Soup?

Outside my parents’ home, I haven’t. But it’s good stuff. (I’m really curious whether it’s a Spess family thing or if other people enjoy it, too.)

When I was a kid, Mama fixed a big breakfast every day of the week except Sunday. We had pancakes, Squaw Bread, French Toast, eggs–fried or scrambled–and, of course, biscuits and gravy. Kids who rarely ate breakfast at home loved it when they stayed all night with us.

Of course, some of them ate breakfast weird, even with us. They’d do strange (to us) things such as putting peanut butter on their pancakes and powdered sugar on their Squaw Bread instead of syrup, like us ‘normal’ people.

When we had biscuits and gravy, though, most everybody ate it the right way. Oh, some had their biscuits upside down instead of the *right* way, but we understood that some people were just different.

The one thing that seemed to blow every kid’s mind the first time was Coffee Soup. For it to turn out right, you just about have to start with the biscuits my mama made. No fat in the bread makes it a little denser and more likely not to fall apart–necessary when you make Soup. (I tried it once with a canned biscuit. Yuck!)

Here’s what you’ll need:

One coffee cup
Hot coffee
Hot biscuit
Cream, Half-and-Half or milk
Sugar

Break the biscuit up in the coffee cup. Add coffee to barely cover the biscuit, then a spoonful of sugar and enough milk to make it a delicious tan color. Taste. If it’s not sweet enough, add a little more sugar.

Eat it up with a spoon. Try it next time you make biscuits. You’ll be surprised at how good it is!


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When It Snows

It snowed last week–at least here in Okie-Land. Beautiful coming down, stuck to the yards and grass but not the road.

That’s the kind of snow I love!

But to be honest, I think it might make people do weird things.

When I headed for work a little late that next morning, I saw the strangest sight. It was a car on my right in the grass between the highway and the fence (the part the state keeps mowed most of the summer) driving like a bat escaping the fiery depths, parallel to the road in the opposite direction.

The car fishtailed and spun out several times while I could see it. Once I glanced in my rearview mirror to see it speed over a jump like the Dukes of Hazzard. I saw a flash of sky beneath the car, then dirt and snow flying in the air.

Mere seconds later, all the cars on the highway behind me pulled onto the shoulder. I wasn’t sure why. Did whoever was driving that car land in a deep ditch back that way? Or had they tried to get onto the highway and forced everyone off?

I’m a pretty curious person, but not curious enough to turn around and go back. I headed on into C-Town. As I passed Wally-World, I met a highway patrol car with its lights flashing.

When I turned down the street where I park, I met the ambulance with its lights flashing.

I haven’t heard what happened (does anyone know?) but my husband had to run home to get a tool he needed for work and he said there was a highway patrol, an ambulance, a firetruck and several cars pulled off the road right where I saw all the excitement.

Terminally Curious is killing me.

Then Saturday night, we ate at the Outback in T Town. When we left, we headed north on Riverside. Almost immediately we were passed by a Ford Mustang, moving fast and weaving in and out of traffic. Right behind him was a highway patrol car with his lights flashing.

The Mustang didn’t stop. We watched and in just a few seconds, the ‘Stang turned left, near (or into) the casino. The hi-po followed right behind. Almost immediately we saw another hi-po running hot (lights flashing) coming from the other direction, turn in the same place. Another was close behind. Then at least two City police cars.

From Riverside to the River isn’t very far. I had to wonder if they were running flat-out through neighborhoods and parking lots or if they whole bunch had taken a swim.

All the snow must have melted, though, because Sunday everything had gone back to normal. 🙂

I can’t wait to see what’ll happen the next time it snows.


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Another Wowed Wednesday!

Wow! It’s cold outside!!! (19 degrees, according to my computer.) It was so warm and pretty outside on Monday, it felt like springtime. Then Tuesday, we hit a cold wall. Bam!
Now, early Wednesday morning, it’s still cold. I’m sitting here with the furnace blowing, an electric heater at my feet and a heating pad behind me and still thinking, “Brrrr!” I hear it’s supposed to warm back up this weekend. (Talk about a roller coaster weather wise!)

FC3’s Bible study was a real wow! Amazing. Truly a-m-a-z-i-n-g! This study just gets better and better. Honestly, the “gasp!” kind of better.

Last night, Sister Debbie brought her newest granddaughter to our classroom. (Because our birthdays are in April and May, we’re in the same small group.) Little Bit did fine for a few moments, then decided she needed a little snacky.

While her grandmommy was feeding her, I held Grandmommy’s book. Here comes the WOW! It wasn’t Beth Moore who wowed me so much during small group time as the depth of time and study my sister put into preparation for this class. And she’s not even the leader.

For a while I held her book and mine, but it wasn’t long before I put mine down. I learned so much reading her answers. (Shared a few of them, too.) I’m amazed at the way God is working in her life!

(Waving my hand. “My turn next, Lord.”)

Speaking of sisters, Beth Moore’s was introduced in her blog yesterday. I don’t know if you read Beth’s blog or if you enjoy Beth’s ministry or not, but my heart just broke for these women.

I’ve been reading Beth’s book, “So Long, Insecurity.” In it, she shares a lot about their formative years. She doesn’t tell in it how what they lived through affected her sister because she didn’t feel it was hers to tell. Yesterday her sister, Gay, wrote for everyone to read, what her life has been like.

If you’ve ever felt insecurity in your life, I recommend reading Beth’s book. And if you’ve ever wondered if Beth has just lived a charmed life and thought that anyone with blond hair and a pretty face and clothes could do what she’s done, think again. She didn’t just skate up, sparkle and start talking.

She’s been in the Pit, I promise you. So has her sister.

 — it is my great honor to introduce you to my blood sister, with whom I was raised and with whom I shared a room for many years and many secrets. Some crippling. We have known much pain together and much devastation apart and were so close growing up that one of us could hardly be okay if the other were not. Today – and for this moment – we are both okay. And blessed. Redeemed. Forgiven. And, in staggering ways, restored. Only because of Jesus.

If you have a moment, pop over to Beth’s blog. I think you’ll be wowed, too!