Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Happy Birthday, Mama

I had one of those mamas. You know the kind.

She fixed breakfast every day. EVERY DAY. And there was no question. Everyone had to eat, like it or not. Biscuits and gravy, waffles, eggs, bacon and toast, pancakes, Squaw Bread.


She knew where we were every minute of the day and night. If we went somewhere, we had to have permission. And we could only go “straight there and straight back.” No ifs, ands or buts about it.

She knew who our friends were, who we “liked” and who we hung around with. If she didn’t approve, zzzzzip! Gone!

And she made us get out of bed on Sunday morning for Sunday School and church. And every Sunday night and Wednesday night, we were in church. Plus any time anything else was going. Youth group, camp, CIY, YAC. You name it, we didn’t question it. We knew we were going

And she made us work. (I don’t think she knew about child labor laws.) There was no roaming the streets in the summer. Sister Debbie and I painted the entire house when we were barely in our teens. Mom made us get out of bed all summer long before the sun came up and paint!

Besides painting the house, we had chores. Dishes, dusting, running the dust mop, cleaning the bathrooms. No question, we made our beds when we got out. The year I broke my arm, I still had to do chores. (Did you know you could clean the bathroom with only one arm? You can!)

When we weren’t doing chores (or painting the house) we helped with the younger sibs or read a book, but mostly we played outside. I remember asking to go out and play and Mama saying, “It’s too hot.”

“Naw,” we answered. “There’s a little wind. It’ll cool us off.”

“But it’s a hot wind!” She let us play out anyway.

But it wasn’t all work at our house. Mom let us go to the pool every afternoon of the world. We might have to walk there, but we went. She loved to take a picnic out to the falls or to the lake. She made the BEST homemade ice cream ever! She had six kids and made each of us feel as if we were her favorite. (But I really was the fave.)

And when we did something wrong, AFTER we were punished, we often learned she understood why we did it. (And sometimes she didn’t blame us for doing whatever it was.)

Today is the day the best mom in the world was born.

Happy birthday, Mom.

You were the very best mother God ever created.



mama's familyThis is my mama and her all but two of her sibs. Mama is on the far right.

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Have I mentioned MAKE ME HOWL comes out on Kindle this Friday? I’m so excited, I could just scream. Even after all the critiques, edits and reads, I still like this book. Go figure. 🙂

In celebration, I thought I’d post one of my favorite scenes from the beginning of the book.

I have a question at the bottom. Post your answer here and I’ll put your name in a drawing for a prize!


Cool air stirred my hair, tickling the back of my neck and down my spine as I slowly drifted toward consciousness. I was a bit light-headed, and my eyes were all but glued shut. And the really bad part, mouth tasted as if it were full of downtown Dallas dirty cotton.

The morning was fragrant with a light scent. Wildflowers? Unable to imagine where I was, I rolled over then stretched the kinks out of…

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