Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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Happy Birthday, Sister Cindy!

Sister Cindy’s having a birthday today. Because she’s my younger sister, and it would in a way be telling on myself, I won’t tell you her age. 🙂 (Mama always said, “A woman who’ll tell her age will tell anything,” and I agree.)

So how will my sister celebrate? Probably by going to work. She works at a T-Town hospital, helping new mamas who want to feed their babies the “right” way. (She an RN and a Lactation Something-or-other.)

Little known facts about Sister Cindy:

  • A riproaring success as a preschool model in a fashion show in the basement of the Methodist Church.

  • The quietest Spess kid.
  • Told the second grade teacher who’d taught the first three Spess girls and was preparing to teach #4, “She isn’t like the rest of us.”
  • Was left at church TWICE, and had to be taken home by the preacher.
  • Wore braces on her teeth. (As did all the Spess sisters except #4. She really was different.)
  • Could have been the New Shirley Temple . . . if she’d had blond hair. And corkscrew curls.
  • Got Mama’s hands.

  • The only Spess Sister with a college degree. (With five kids to outsmart, she needed it!)

  • Uncle Charlie liked her best. (Everyone else might have like her best, but Uncle Charlie didn’t try to hide it.)
  • FFA Sweetheart!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Sister Cindy. Hope it’s a great one!

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Which One Are You?


  • When you find a great new diet, do you shout the news or keep it to yourself?
  • Is a new store with the latest styles and prices 1/3 of the mall stores, a chance to spread the news to everyone or do you keep it to yourself?
  • When people picture you, is it with your arms open wide or folded across your chest?
  • Are you an includer or an excluder?

Remember the movie, “Electric Horseman” with Robert *sigh* Redford and Jane Fonda? Prime example of an Includer and an Excluder.

Sonny Steele (Robert) is an Includer. He’s a five time All Around World Champion Cowboy. His talent has brought him fame and fortune, which he shares with his friends (who hang with him most of the time) and just about anyone else who comes his way.

Sonny Steele says, “As far as I see it, either we’re all going to heaven or we’re not.” See? Inclusive. He wants everyone to get in on the good stuff.

On the other hand, Hallie Martin (Jane Fonda) a reporter, is an excluder who wants an exclusive. When Sonny steals Rising Star, a famous race horse, she tracks him down for a one-on-one interview. No way she’s going to share with other reporters. Part of her fame is that she’s able to be the only one to do things such as this.

She plans to share what she learns, but it’s for her career, not her love of people or horses or Sonny Steele.

So I’m wondering, are most people these days Includers or Excluders?

When most people find something fun and new, do they like to tell the world about it?

From a great tasting cup of coffee (have you tried Star Bucks’ Cinnamon Dolce Latte? Oh, yum!) or a wonderful place to eat (if you haven’t been there, you have to try Ted’s Cafe Escondido. And ask for Atomic Salsa. Double YUM!)  or a great new book (I mention them here all the time) do most people want everybody to get to enjoy what they’ve enjoyed?

Oh, I understand the reason for being an excluder, and I can relate.

If I keep the store with the great prices to myself, I can have twice the clothes and nobody will realize they’re so inexpensive. If I keep a new book with The Secret about how to become a great writer to myself, I might be able to achieve NYT best-selling author status. If I keep a wonderful place to eat a secret, I won’t have to wait as long for a table.

If I keep the secret, I can be smarter or better dressed or more in-the-know than others around me.

But I’ve never been that good at keeping secrets. If I know something wonderful, I want the people I know and love to get to benefit from it.

Maybe it’s because I’m from a large family, and we had to be Includers. No choice. Maybe it’s because I’m a Christian, and Jesus is an Includer. (He died for everyone.)

Or maybe it’s growing up when I did and where I did. In my Small Town World, neighbors helped out neighbors and all the kids on our street played together without leaving anyone out. (Most of the time.)

It was a happy, laid back time, when moms stayed at home and cooked meals for the sick, nearly everyone went to church and most people stayed married.

Everyone got to go to school.

Everyone got a Christmas present.

Everyone got a Valentine.

Everyone got to vote in elections.

Everyone was welcome at church.

Which do you think is better? A world of Includers or Excluders?

Any idea which one you are?