Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Names of Jesus

cropped-merry-stars.jpgKnow whose birthday is coming up in a little over a week? 🙂

Those are some of His names in my header. I decided to do that because I read of a woman who made wire Christmas ornaments of some of Jesus’s names. She thought it was important for her kids that He have a presence on their Christmas tree, and now she has them for sale. You can see them here.

But I’d seen a beautiful “sign” at Thanksgiving, and thought I’d like to do that with Jesus’s names. (Those little ornaments would get lost on my tree full of pictures and bling.) So I started trying to figure out how to make one of those signs.

I planned to finish it in 8 1/2 X 11, print it out and either frame it or Modge Podge it on a board. But seeing that Christmas is just a little over a week away, I don’t know if that’s going to happen or not.

Do you know what happens when you start doing something like this sign with the names of Jesus? His names start standing up and making themselves known.

There’s one. There’s another one. Oh! Look, there’s another one.

I wish I could tell you my favorite of them. One moment I think it’s “I Am,” next I think it’s, “Lover of My Soul,” or “Lamb of God” who was sacrifice for my sins. Or maybe it’s “Immanuel, God with Us.”

God With Us. I love that.

But my favorite? I don’t know.

How about you?


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A Nightmare for Christmas

Christmas in the post-War United States

There’s something that terrifies me, and I have nightmares about it every Christmas.

It stems from my childhood, back when I was tender and vulnerable. Back when things impressed me and made a big difference in my life.

I think I’ve mentioned that I have four sisters and a brother. Each Christmas, Mama turned herself inside out, doing her best to figure out what we really wanted for Christmas. (I might have said I wanted ice skates, but with not so cold weather and no place to skate, she knew I wouldn’t be happy.)

So she’d shop from can’t see to can’t see, getting just the right gifts for all of us.

On Christmas morning, we’d rush to the living room to see what we had under the tree.

This particular Christmas morning, we all looked at our gifts and were giddy with joy. All of us, except one.

Now if you know my sibs, you know we’re very individual people. Debbie’s sweet and loves to have people at her house, Jeffrey’s a caretaker/outdoorsman, Lisa’s a ton of fun, I’m weird, Omega’s a baby (well, she’s THE baby, anyway) and Cindy is quiet, plays well with others. (Well, we all play well with others, but she doesn’t a really good job of it.)

I don’t remember what I got that holiday morning or what any of the others got. I only remember Cindy’s response.

When we’d all finished and were admiring our take, Mom noticed Cindy was crying. When she asked what was wrong, Cindy answered.

Her answer is the stuff nightmares are made of . . . for me, anyway. She said, “I didn’t get anything I wanted for Christmas.”

AAAAACK!

Mama was devastated. I was devastated for her. In fact, I think the entire family nearly bawled when Cindy said those eight words. The very next day, though, Mama made up for it. She took Cindy to Tulsa and let her pick out just exactly what she wanted.

She got to keep all the gifts she’d been given that she didn’t want, and get new ones, too. (Maybe that’s when the rest of us bawled.)

So a few days before Christmas, I’ve always worried that come Christmas morning, when we’re all sitting around the tree unwrapping the presents I’ve so lovingly wrapped, I’d hear those horrible words.

I don’t think I could handle it.

Do you have a nightmare for Christmas?

 

 

 


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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! When I was growing up, Mama made a big deal out of it and passed that enjoyment on to her kiddos.

It’s always been my favorite time of the year, too. From our first Christmas as a family, G-Man and I’ve loved it! garyWe lived in B’ville for our first Christmas. Those are insulated coveralls, Santa brought him for riding his motorcycle. The rocking chair behind him was my present. (I still have mine, but the coveralls are long gone. LOL!)

SusanNotice the gorgeous Christmas tree. It’s a cedar, and when I was growing up, it was the REAL Christmas tree.

baby-dannyThen Baby Danny came along. (Okay, about five years later, Baby Danny came along.) That’s when the real fun at Christmas began.

Knowing how active and inquisitive Danny was, we put the tree on top of the card table, and bought all soft, knitted ornaments in case he succeeded in grabbing the tree and turning it over.

Luckily, he never did. I don’t remember what was in that present under the tree, but I still have the ornaments on my tree today, even though I don’t have to worry about him turning it over anymore. Much.

Brad-toys

This is Baby Bradley at Mama’s on Christmas morning. You know it’s Mom’s because of the red carpet. Mama loved red–because it’s the quintessential Christmas color? Could be!

When Brad was this size and I took his picture, he always looked as if I’d just caught him doing something. Can you see that innocent, “Who, me?” look? LOL!

gifts-and-tearsI laugh every time I look at this picture. We’d just moved to Pryor Creek the August before. Brad (on the right) was one and Matt (crying) was three. For some reason, the kids naturally opened their presents one at a time while the others watched. The others would then go and try to take it away from the owner.

More tears than understanding that Christmas. (And parental laughter!)

Matt-giftThose Christmas morning battles dissipated as the boys learned to enjoy their own presents, or to be sneakier about taking them from the others. 🙂

3-boysBatmen and Mickey Mouse came for Christmas one year, and everyone had a great time.

Don’t you love the look on all their faces? Danny’s thinking, “How soon can I go back to bed?”

Matt’s just giddy with the happiness of  celebrating the season.

And Brad is thinking, “I’ll bet I can swipe those other gifts and put them back before anyone finds out.”

We’re back where we started now. All the boys have wives, homes, and (furry) children of their own. But Christmas is still the most wonderful time of the year.

I think I’ll go paint something red. 🙂

 

 

 


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Christmas in Heaven

This is a repeat from last year, with a few changes. 😉 I hope you’ll enjoy it.

another-merry-christmas

I started to repost this on Facebook yesterday. At Christmas, I like remembering friends and loved ones who’ve passed.

But when I really looked at that picture and read the words, it sounds almost as if my loved ones were gone. Over.

That’s not true. Those who’ve gone on are in HEAVEN! (No doubt about that.) They’re with the Jesus, face to face!

Can you imagine the celebration There when it’s Jesus’s birthday? The joy, happiness, the atmosphere of pure love that happens when they celebrate The Day the creator of the universe and everything in it became a helpless human child, so that thirty odd years later he could take our sins?

Try to imagine the colors. The songs. The absolute explosion of joy that inundates everyone during the celebration!

In my imagination, when the heavenly choirs sing, their music is visible,  colored light, like rainbows and sparkling stars. But that’s my weirdness showing there. LOL!

Christmas was Mom’s favorite holiday. She loved it, worked HARD to make it special for me, my siblings and my kids.

One year she made our picture window look like stained glass by coloring a giant picture and doing somthing to it (seems like baby oil was rubbed on it, but I was just little, so I’m not sure) to make it transparent.

And because there was no Internet, she drove to Tulsa day after day, Christmas shopping for all her loved ones. I remember many nights when she’d come in, exhausted from being over there and going from store to store, not only for our family’s gifts, but for Grandmother’s, too, since Grandmother didn’t drive.

Nope. I can’t just light a candle to remember her at Christmas. I’d have to set off an entire pyrotechnic display!


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A Day That Will Live

cropped-merry-ornament.jpgA long, long time ago in a land far, far away (at least it seems that way now) I had a very good friend named Mary. (Yes, that’s her real name.)  Mary was dating a guy she really liked (a bunch!) and he had a friend she thought I’d like.

“Want me to fix you up?”

No. No! I don’t like blind dates. I had one once, and he turned out to be a kindergartener.

But she assured me that this guy not only wasn’t a kindergartener, he’d finished college and had a real job.

Ooookay. Let’s do it! (I tried not to act too thrilled, but she probably noticed how excited I was when I didn’t stop jumping up and down.)

Now I’d had a few less than stellar dates in my time. I had one where the guy took me to Denny’s, looked at the menu and said, “I had no idea it would be this expensive!” so we got up and left.

Another guy took me out and asked me to marry him on the first date. (Uh, no. But thanks.)

And yet another guy, who had a key chain with a girl’s name on it. When I asked who Tara was (not really her name) he said, “Have I been talking about her a lot? We just broke up . . . ”

See ya.

Anyway, I knew better than to place any big expectations on this date. But at least I figured I’d be safe, since my friend, Mary, and her guy, Sam, would be with us.

December 7th, a day that will live in infamy. It was cold and windy night (for real) and I was running late. (As usual.) My apartment had only one door and it was a sliding glass patio-type door. When G-Man and his buddy got there, I didn’t have my dress on yet, so I couldn’t even invite them in.

“Hurry up! It’s cold out here.” Sigh.

I hurried, so they didn’t turn into a pair of popsicles They were just a little blue from the cold when I let them in. As soon as the ice melted off their noses and ears, we bundled up and went to pick up Mary.

I remember that Christmas season as one of the best in my memory. Why? Probably because I didn’t have a lot of stress over gifts or decorating, and I wasn’t responsible for making anyone else’s Christmas “perfect.” (And I didn’t have a kid pointing to someone else’s gifts and saying, “I didn’t get as much as him.)

All I had was a really nice guy to talk to, spend time with, get to know, and fall in love with. Great way to spend Christmas, if you ask me. 🙂

We were married five months and twelve days later.

Pretty nice Christmas present Mary gave me, wasn’t it?