Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Hot Pursuits

Anybody notice how hot it is outside? (Snort) Temps in our Small Town World are supposed to be three digits this week–110, 111, 112. Yikes! That’s hot.

I think I have oven temps that match. Well, nearly.

So when Little Bit wants a little outdoor time, we both wear out fast. The first thing he says when we get outside is, “Hot.”

He likes to go across the street and see the concrete statues, but they’re too hot to touch these days.

He’s learned that word really well. So we take little walks to a store. We love to go to Celebrations because 1- they have toys and 2-they have candy and 3-it smells good in there. 🙂

He also like to wear the merchandise.

This hat is for sale. But Deegan loves hats, so he tries it on. Trouble is, it’s hard and is a decoration, not really to be worn. Somehow, he keeps it on his head.

The crown is a toy that Deanna keeps for kids to play with. I know, it’s a princess crown. And that’s a truck he’s playing with. The boy is multi-talented, isn’t he?

The only trouble with taking Deegers for walks these days (besides it being to hot to breathe outside) is that he’s figured out he’s faster than I am. At least, he can run faster than I want to.

I usually get him stopped. At least I haven’t lost him yet. Too bad I can’t think of something for him to do outside that he’ll enjoy that’s a sit still thing.

I taught my kids how to use a magnifying glass to set stuff on fire when they were a little older than him, and it kept them happily occupied for a few days without me having to chase around in the heat. But with the lack of rain we’ve had this year, I believe we’ll wait to teach him that one. 🙂


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Speak To My Heart, God (Please!)

If you’re looking for a wonderful book, I’d like to suggest one for you that I’ve had for several years. It’s by Kay Arthur and called, Speak to My Heart, God. The book was written in 1993, and is a book I go back to time after time.

It has fifty (or so) three and four page chapters with titles such as “When Things Go Wrong,” “When You’re Disappointed, Discouraged, Defeated,” “When Your Expectations Aren’t In Him,” and “When You Wonder If People Can Tell You Are His.”

Normally, I don’t like books with short devotions in them because they seem somehow incomplete. But this book is different. It has answers to questions I didn’t know anyone else asks. Kay shares them without belaboring a point.

I don’t have permission from Kay, so I’m going to give you pieces of one of her chapters today. (I really wish I could share the entire thing, but I don’t want to get in trouble!)

I watched a friend crumble (understandably) when she learned of her friend’s devistating  diagonsis the other day.

There’s a young man in our Small Town World with a horrible illness that the entire community is praying for.

I’ve prayed for ministers who are disappointed and becoming disheartened because the work they’re doing and the words they’re preaching seem to be falling on fallow ground.

I’ve watched friends lose their babies after going through nine months of carrying them within their bodies, and I know there’s only One who can comfort, who has the answers.

Kay has a chapter called, “When The Forecast Is Bleak,” which I happened to read just the other day. The second line of this chapter starts, “It’s hard to trust God for cool, but pleasant weather when it’s in the mid-90’s . . . (What about over 100 for days on end, and the forecast is triple digit for the next week? I wonder.)

From Kay–

It’s hard, isn’t it, to trust God for anything when the “forecast” is contrary to what we want or feel we need?

Maybe it’s finances . . . and the forecast is grim.
Maybe it’s an restored relationship . . . and the forecast is hopeless.
Maybe it’s a job . . . and the forecast is bleak.
Maybe it’s a report from the doctor . . . and the forecast is ominous.

Whatever–and it could be anything–you know you are totally helpless in the situation.

The first thing Kay suggests we do (we all have these situations in our lives) is to “latch on to 1 John 1:9.”

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

After that, she says there’s only one thing left to do. “You cast all your care on the One who cares for you.”

“Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

Again, from Kay–

What concerns you is of the utmost concern to Him.

He cast hailstones on Israel’s enemies and made the sun stand still so that “the sun stopped in the middle of the sky, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. There was no day like that . . . when the Lord listened to the voice of a man” (Joshua 10:13-14).

Have you asked God to hear your cry?

Did He not promise to “supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19)? Did He not say, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33)?

Kay reminds us the Bible tells us God can’t change, He can’t lie, and He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. He will not leave you or forsake you. (Or me.)

God’s hand is mighty . . . so mighty that He controls the wind. “He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens and by His power He directed the south wind” (Psalm 78:26). When Samuel called to the Lord, “the Lord sent thunder and rain that day” (1 Samuel 12:18) . . . and when He wanted, He withheld rain, or sent rain on one city but not another (Amos 4:7).

He is God!

You have done what you can. I have done what I can. Now we must rest in Him. God will do as He pleases, and none will thwart His hand or His will . . . no matter what “the forecast.” God is greater than forecasts.

His throne sits above all the circumstances of life, and “He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earch: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Daniel 4:35 KJV)

You might have noticed (like I have) that God doesn’t always obey us when we pray for something. Sometimes he says, “No,” other times, “Wait a while.” But Kay explains that.

Cry to Him. If it is for your good and His glory, He will answer. If not, He won’t, (actually, He will answer no–ss) because what He has planned is better . . . even though it may rain.

The plans He has for you are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Who is among you that fears the Lord, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God” (Isaiah 50:10)

Thank you, Kay. God has given you a beautiful gift. Thank you for sharing.

And friends, check out her book. You’ll be glad you did.


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God says, “I love you!”

I have a theory about God. I don’t have a scripture to back it up, and if I told it to one of the Bible scholars in my life, they’d probably laugh at me.

To be very honest, though, I think I’m right.

Here it is: I believe that from time to time, God looks at us and says, “Have I told you lately how much I love you?” And since we can’t actually hear God (most of the time) He shows us.

Sometimes it’s a beautiful sunset. Other times, it’s a cool morning breeze when the temp should be in the 90’s. And sometimes it’s a friend’s smile.

On our way home from my aunt’s funeral the other day, He did just that.

We stayed all night at Raton, New Mexico. I wasn’t particularly happy with the hotel we stayed in, so I was more than ready to head home. But I noticed a big patch of thistles growing behind the hotel.

Thistle patches aren’t something we see very often, and they were pretty, so I wandered around there with my camera.

Aren’t they gorgeous?

I’ve accidentally grown thistles under my bird feeders, but mine are kind of spindly and unloved. These were beautiful.

So I snapped away

and then I noticed something at the bottom of the hill.

God’s “I LOVE YOU.”

Not just a deer. A buck!

He noticed me about the same time I saw him. Either he was too hungry to care I was there

or he was used to having his picture taken. Kind of looks like he’s posing here, doesn’t it? 🙂

I shot him, he watched me, and ate. I’m convinced that little deer was sent from above to remind me of God’s love.

If I could get down that hill without tumbling, how close would he let me come? Was he someone’s pet? Had God tamed him enough that I could touch him?

But G-Man and Sister Debbie were waiting for me, and I was a little ambivilent about trekking down that hill.

Then something happened. A sign that the little buck was finished posing and our time together was over.

He mooned me. 🙂


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The Business of Miracles

I believe in miracles. We walk past miracles every day and don’t even realize they’re there.

My sister, Amy, is a living miracle. A little over 21 years ago, she was given a 1% chance of living after being in the front seat of a van that was hit head on by a drunk driver. (That’s a 99% chance of dying, folks.) But she’s alive and well today, praise God!

And I believe that God uses things that satan means for evil for His good.

Of course, you know I’m talking about the Aurora, Colorado Dark Night shooting. Twelve people were killed and fifty eight physically injured.

I’ve read of at least two miracles among the carnage.

The first was written by a Christian woman who writes a blog called, “A Miniature Clay Pot.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)  She was at the movie with her two children and another in the theater next door.

When the shooting started, her fourteen-year-old was at the end of the row, straight up from where the shooter was. They all got down on the floor and she threw herself on top of her most easily hit daughter.

Know what else she did? She prayed.

It was a miracle that none of them were hit. Please read her story. It’s beautiful.

And her followers have gone skyrocketed.

I know, you could tell me that wasn’t really a miracle. There were a lot of people in that theater who weren’t hit by the madman’s bullets. I think it was. I believe God used this woman so she could share His merciful goodness with the masses.

But how about this one?

An eighteen-year-old woman named Petra Anderson was hit four times with a shotgun blast. Three times in the arm, the fourth in the head.

The projectile that hit her head entered through her nose and traveled up through her brain to the back of her head. Yeah. Imagine the carnage. The splintered bone, scattered in brain tissue. The mangling of her brain as the piece of metal tore through it.

But after the surgery, the doctors were encouraging. They said there wasn’t much brain damange at all. How?

A miracle.

It seems as if the bullet traveled through Petra’s brain without hitting any significant brain areas. The doctor explains that Petra’s brain has had from birth a small “defect” in it. It is a tiny channel of fluid running through her skull, like a tiny vein through marble, or a small hole in an oak board, winding from front to rear.  Only a CAT scan would catch it, and Petra would have never noticed it.

But in Petra’s case, the shotgun buck shot, maybe even the size used for deer hunting, enters her brain from the exact point of this defect. Like a marble through a small tube, the defect channels the bullet from Petra’s nose through her brain. It turns slightly several times, and comes to rest at the rear of her brain. And in the process, the bullet misses all the vital areas of the brain. In many ways, it almost misses the brain itself.  Like a giant BB though a straw created in Petra’s brain before she was born, it follows the route of the defect. It is channeled in the least harmful way. A millimeter in any direction and the channel is missed.  The brain is destroyed. Evil wins a round.

Please, read the entire story. The man who wrote it was there. It’s beautiful in the telling.

How many other miracles happened that awful night? Many we’ll never know about. The people who’d planned to go and decided not to. The times the gun misfired or was just out of  shells.

Whether you’ve been in the presence of a miracle before or not, there’s one we’ve all benefited from. Do you know what I’m talking about?

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. John 3:16-18 The Message.

Or, the way I learned it as a child–For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 KJV

Have you experienced a miracle in your life? Want to share?


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☺Mama’s Birthday☺

What were you doing eighty-one years ago today? 😉 Okay, you probably weren’t a glimmer yet.

Eighty-one years ago, my grandma was having a baby. A beautiful baby with black hair and big eyes. Many years later, that baby became my mama. 🙂

She’ll probably smack me when I get to heaven for telling her age. She used to say, “A woman who’ll tell her age will tell anything.” (She also told me, “If you don’t start lying about your age, I’ll have to stop lying about mine. LOL.)

This is Mama.

And this–

Mama at about 14 or 15–(Holding Cousin Liz.)

And this is Mama, all grown up. Or maybe it’s her senior picture. I’m not sure. 🙂 But that was pretty close to grown up. She got married three or four months later.

When I was a kid, once a month Mama went to Birthday Club. I’ve never known exactly what it was about, but several women here in C-Town would go out and eat. The women whose birthday month it was got a gift.

I hated that night. Not because Dad took care of us (Grandmother, next door, was always available to help) but because it was a part of Mama’s life I couldn’t be part of, too. (Aren’t kids weird?)

By the time I was an adult, the women were celebrating Birthday Club at individuals’ swimming pools around town. I never was a part of it, even though other women my age were, because by that time I loved it that Mom had something that was hers alone.

Funny how we change, isn’t it?

Today is Mama’s birthday, and a different Birthday Club will be celebrating. The BC at work goes out once a month, and for July, we’re celebrating today. We’re supposed to be telling Mendy and Rick HBD, but in my heart (and many of the people who’ll be there–Jeffrey, Amy, Kyle, Laura, Hope, Faith, Mallory and with luck, Deb) we’re celebrating Mama.

We’re having Mexican Food–Mom’s favorite. 🙂

And we’ll have a great time!

Happy birthday, Mama. We love you!


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Pirate Day

Does reading about the shooting in Aurora hurt your heart as much as mine? The more I read about it, the more I cry. (Just call me Tears Aplenty.)

So today, I’m going to talk about something totally scattered and frivolous. PIRATE DAY!

I’m not referring to “Talk Like a Pirate Day” . (Tips tricorn hat to #1 Son.)

TLAPD is still 57 days away. I’m talking about my favorite movie channel, Turner Classic Movies, showing pirate movies today.

Woohoo!

I have to work, but I’ve set several to record. (Hope there’s room on the DVR.) Right now, CAPTAIN KIDD is on, starring a yummy Randolph Scott when he was really, really young, and Charles Laughton, who probably didn’t have a yummy day in his life, but was still a good actor. 🙂

I’m amazed to learn there are so many pirate-y, sailing ship movies. Some are my all time favorites, such as Captain Horatio Hornblower with Gregory Peck. I drool over the characters he plays.

And of course, several of those movies star Errol Flynn. Everyone knows Errol was from Australia, but did you know he was born in Tasmania? 🙂 I wonder if they called him The Tasmanian Devil? 😉

Arlie, a deceased friend of my dad’s, was a pilot for Transworld or American or some airline in his heyday, and he claimed to know Errol. The actor like to sit in the copilot’s seat on long trips.

Arlie said he’d gotten to know Errol so well, he’d stay on the guy’s yacht with him from time to time. He said Errol loved women, and Arlie loved being around to catch any extras that floated by.

Do you enjoy a good, old fashioned, romping movie without foul language or extraneous sex? Pop over to the Turner channel today and enjoy. (Or be like me and record.)

So far, I’m loving it. 😛


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Monument Moments

Want to see some of the pictures from the Colorado National Monument? I hope so, ’cause here they are.

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Isn’t it beautiful? Imagine living with that in your back yard. I could handle that–if they could move those mountains to Okie-Land.

We had a ton of fun driving through the monument. Sister Debbie and I both have a slight problem with heights. So much that we leaned away from the sheer drop offs along the road as if we could keep the car from going over.

Our toes tingled when we got close to the edge of a lookout. (I felt like crawling, but I didn’t. Really, I didn’t!) Sometimes our toes tingled all the way to our armpits!

Even though one of our shirttail relatives thinks Sister Debbie is shy (clearing my throat) I found her chatting up a couple of strangers while I was trying to get this little guy’s autograph.

That couple wanted us to take their picture and make it look “like a postcard.” Then they took ours.

If you notice, Deb is leaning ever so slightly away from the drop off.

I took their picture with their camera (makes sense, doesn’t it?) but I caught a picture of their motorcycle for you. Isn’t it cute?

Cute bike, isn’t it? They were from Texas–clear down around Galveston. I hope they didn’t ride that motorcycle that far, but they could have. (Hurts me to think about.)

Pretty soon, this group came tooling up.

I think they rode all the way there on those bikes, and probably camped out at night. One of that crew caught me drooling and taking pictures of the bikes instead of the million dollar scenery behind me. “I like your cycle,” I gasped.

He thought I was pretty funny.

There were men and women riding the Harleys from several different states, including Okie-Land and Missouri.

I loved this tag–

Cool bike, cool tag. Can you read it?

Love it!

I asked the couple on the white bike if they were with the crew on the Harleys. They weren’t. 🙂 But they could have been. The cycles made for some entertaining Monument Moments.

When we were all looking over a precipice that gave Deb and me tingles at least to our knees, we noticed a couple of huge birds sailing below us.

Yes, they were LOWER than we were, and gliding on the air currents. Gives me a tingle just thinking about it. Anyway, one of the biker women said, “I believe they’re California Condors.”

G-Man snorted as we went down the steps to get even closer to the edge. “They’re plain old vultures.”

Vultures? Ugly birds with red heads that like eating carrion–dead stuff. That made me think of G-Man’s show he watches–“I Killed My Wife, and Here’s How I did It.” Okay, that’s not really the title, but it should be. It’s really 20-20 or Dateline or something.

“This reminds me of some of those shows you watch,” I told him. “You know, where the husband tosses the wife off the cliff, then tells the cops she slipped.”

He nodded, telling me he remembered it. (Sometimes G-Man’s a man of few words, so I’ve learned to read his nods.)

I looked way, way down, past those gliding birds, all the way to the ground so far below us. As I did, I started tingling clear up to my shoulders.

“Uh, Gary? Don’t you think we ought to go?”