Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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Do You Have . . .

. . . Time?

This is the time of year when goal setting is a popular thing to do. Sometimes we call it New Years Resolutions, but it means the same thing.

Even if you aren’t thinking about setting goals, the thought just might have flitted through your mind. 😀

But no matter how many goals we set for ourselves, most of us hear ourselves saying at some time or other, “I don’t have time!”

Since we’re all allotted the same 60 seconds for ever minute, 60 minutes for every hour, 24 hours for every day and 7 days for every week, I figure it’s a matter of choice.

Whether we make those choices or allow someone else make them for us is immaterial. It’s OUR time!

There are classes to take that teach us to set the right goals and how to keep them. In fact, I had an offer for one in my email box this morning. But I’m afraid the class was a little price-y, especially since I know what it must be about. Make a plan and live by it. Don’t let anyone else control your time and your life.

Do it.

Just Do It.

Go! And! Do! It!

Then you get this kind of feed back (from me, at least)–how do I find time? When can I do it? How can I control it myself?

The answer? Well . . . I haven’t taken that class (yes, I’m a cheapskate)  but from what I’ve seen, it’s simple.

Don’t do what feels good. Don’t do what you like all the time. Don’t allow yourself to slip into that rut where you do what you’ve always done because you’ll get what you’ve always got. (Not great grammar but you get the idea.)

J. R. R. Tolkien said it better than I do.

Very simply and succinctly he said, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

He makes it sound so easy, doesn’t he? Just decide and do it. But other people lay claims to our time, I can’t be the only person with a job. Right? Or a husband. Or kiddos. Or friends. Or hobbies. And I want to keep them all! So I’m thrilled that they all claim some of my time.

Doesn’t leave much time for goals I’ve set.

What does the Bible say about time and setting goals?

Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV– There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

 1 Corinthians 9:26 says, 26 So I do not run without a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something—not just the air. —NCV

So should I set goals? And to what extent do I adhere to them?

Should I rigidly schedule my time?

Stop chatting with a friend mid-word when it’s time to do something else? Grab the dishes from the table when it’s time, even before the family is finished eating?

If I tried being that exacting, I probably wouldn’t last a full day before I built a fire in the backyard and used the goals/schedule as fodder for it.

So how far is a person to go? I’m not sure. Even after all these years, I’m still trying to figure it all out.

Here are a few blogs about goal setting I liked. See what you think–

Rick Warren 


Michael Hyatt

When you’ve read them (if you have time) come back and let me know what you think. What’s your best goal (resolution) setting tip?






Merry! Christmas! Glory to God in the Highest!!!

christmasWhen I was in 6th grade (in public school) we did The Christmas Play. I know that dates me, but it’s true. We enacted our version of the birth of Christ.

Cement Angels 012

Now when the teacher, Miss Thelma, told us we were going to do the play, I secretly hoped I’d get to be the angel. I didn’t bother to volunteer because Miss Thelma chose the perfect actor for each part. (Or so she said.) We didn’t try out.

When Miss Thelma announced the parts, our angel actor was, naturally, a pretty blond girl. A dark headed girl was chosen to be Mary. And that was pretty much all the female parts in the play.


Except when the whole bunch of angels came on stage and sang. Everyone else was in the chorus.

Then she announced that I would be the narrator. *Gulp!* (Today, you might call me the voice-over.) Since I stood at the podium so I would have the use of a microphone, I could have read the passage, but Miss Thelma wanted me to memorize it. She’d even typed a paper with the scriptures I was to know.


Of course, they were straight out of the King James Bible.

Luke 2 King James Version (KJV)

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

I don’t remember memorizing verse 2. I guess Miss Thelma didn’t think it was necessary for the story. 🙂

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

If I remember right, there were only three shepherds in our story.

Next, we apparently skipped to Matthew 2 for the wise men.

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

And verse 10

 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Of course, we only had 3 wise men, because while the wise men entered, the kids in the chorus sang, “We Three Kings.”

Can I still quote the story? Uuuuuh, no. I can say part of it, but not the entire thing. But when someone else reads it, I follow along in my mind.

Kids today are missing a lot by not getting to do the true Christmas Story in school. I guess that means their parents (grandparents and aunts and Sunday School teachers, next door neighbors or lady down the street) are responsible for getting the truth to them.

And maybe that’s a better way, after all.


I’m no angel, but from me to you: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”



Christmas is Coming (and there’s nothing we can do about it.)

How’s your December going? Everything on schedule? All decorated and wrapped, just waiting for the big guy to make his appearance?

Is anybody out there waving your hand, yelling, “Me! Me! Me!”? If so, come on over to my house.

I need help.

(Big surprise.) (Not.) 😀

One thing I am staying on top of is my daily reading, “The Greatest Gift” by Ann Voskamp. I have to fight myself to keep from reading ahead.

If I ever met this woman, I’ll have to give her a big hug.

I do have one tree up and decorated. It’s the wild tree with ornaments from friends and from my kiddos when they were small and ones I’ve made and they’ve made. It’s my favorite tree.

My other tree is also my favorite tree. It has Grandmother’s ornaments on it. And some antique ornaments I’ve collected. I can’t share it with you today because it’s not up yet.

I will share some of my ornaments from my Everything Tree. They aren’t my favorites, because I don’t have favorites. Trying to chose the one I like best would be like trying to choose the friend I liked best. Or my favorite Bible verse. I just can’t do it.

But I can share some with you.

treeThis one was made by a friend.


A can lid, turned into a beautiful tree by one of my kiddos. (Trash to Treasure. A miracle of Christmas.)


Another treasure, made by one of my kiddos.


Dirty Santa ornament exchange with my writing sisters. I love, love, love these.


Three of my best gifts ever–Danny, Matt and Brad.


A friend was taking a stained glass class the year I got this one. It’s too heavy for a “real” tree, so I had to start buying fake ones just so it could be on it. 😀


From my secret sister once, years and years ago. That friend was a sweetheart and I miss her terribly.


I bought this bunch of unbreakable ornaments the year Danny was 11 months old on Christmas. The still give me a smile.

I have OSU ornaments from when my boys were in college, a dog and cat ornament because we’re pet people, and lots of stars. I love stars. They’re a great reminder. Read Philippians 2:15 and see if you can guess just one of the reasons why. Of course, you’ll need to read it in the New International Version to see what I’m talking about. 😉

My absolute favorite thing at Christmas? The best gift. The best feeling. The best anything?

There's only one gift better than this.

There’s only one gift better than this.


The gift of salvation.

Any hints for getting everything done, finished, baked, wrapped and gorgeous before Dec. 24th? I need all the help I can get!





True Christmas

The Christmas Season is on us. Are you ready? I’m not. Rarely am before Christmas Eve. And then, I’m usually afraid I’ve forgotten, missed, messed up or lost something important.

Because I want Christmas to be perfect like mine was when I was a kid.

Hopefully, though, this year is going to be different.

Yup. I say that every year. I know I do, but this year I mean it. (I hope!)

Since one definition of crazy is doing things exactly the same way and expecting a different outcome, I had to change something. So this year, I’ve added to what I’m doing this Christmas Season.

While some people might think doing anything extra during this hurried, harried time of year is just nuts, I’ve added in a new Bible study that’s not just something to get through. It’s a time to slow down and remember what the Christmas Season is truly about.

It’s called, The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. I bought it last year, and ended up saving it until this Christmas because I didn’t have time to catch up. Sigh.

Ann starts at the beginning of the Bible and leads us to Jesus. She teaches us about the Jesse Tree, which I’ve never heard of before. And about Advent, which I’ve heard of but never observed.

The funny thing about the study is that I can’t just zoom through it. If I’m in running mode, I can’t hear what she has to say. I have to slow down and breathe to read her words. (If I want them to make sense.)

Today, she talked about Jacob when he had the dream about the angels going up and down the ladder to Heaven, and the Lord was at the top. (Genesis 28: 10-16) Remember?

In her words for today she writes,

If, just for a moment, you stand in the doorway, linger a bit in front of the tree

(My tree isn’t up yet.–ss)

it’s strange how you can see it–how every Christmas tree is a ladder, and Jesus is your ladder who hung on that tree . . . so you have the gift of rest. When you are wrung out, that’s a sign you’ve been reaching for the rungs. The work at the very heart of salvation is the work at the very heart of Christmas: simply rest.

Here is holy.

The wonder of all this–God looks at you at your lowest and loves you all the way to the sky.

God carries you all the way home.

Like Heaven opening up slow everywhere.

Wow. Just, wow!

Imagine, someone telling us to relax through Christmas. No worries. No stress.

And she has a sticky note for each day. You can see them here.

I wish I’d read this study a long time ago, when my children were small or even when my mother was young and running herself ragged to have a perfect Christmas for all of her kids.

But maybe she didn’t need it. Mom worked hard to get Christmas right (even sewing dresses for all her girls most years) but she had a calm, inner peace that I sometimes forget and don’t think I inherited.

Some of us just need a hand from others like Ann Voskamp to have the real joy of Christmas.

I’m not asking you to buy her book. I’m just asking you to slow down and celebrate True Christmas.