Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Tea in My Treasure

I’ve got a treasure, which is worth way more than its weight in gold. And the funny thing is, the entire treasure fits in a legal sized envelope.

grams-envelopeThere really is a treasure in there. Want to see it? ‘Kay.

grams-receipes

I admit, most people wouldn’t consider this to be worth much, but I love it. It’s one of those things I’d grab first if a tornado was headed my way. Well, maybe not a tornado. But definitely if there was a raging grass fire headed toward our house!

They’re recipes I found in a drawer at Grandmother’s house when I lived there. When I moved, I collected them all and put them in the envelope.

Usually, the envelope lives here–

grams-cooking

I also copied them and put them in books for my sibs.

gram's-book2

I don’t think they were Grandmother’s absolute favorite recipes. She had those memorized! But there are some goodies.

One that I’d only tried once, my sister’s DIL just loves, so I decided to try it, again. Turns out, it really is pretty doggone good!

A little too sweet for my taste, so I add a little brewed tea to mine. 😀

grans-cranberry-spice-tea

Here’s the recipe:

Cranberry Tea

48 oz cranberry cocktail
46 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 C boiling water
3/4 C brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice

Combine water, sugar and spices and bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. Add juices and 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks. Remove after 10 minutes simmering. Refrigerate and re-heat to serve.

grans-goodies

Of course, the real treasure was my grandmother’s presence in my life. We lived with her or right next door to her always. (At least I did until I got married.)

She was one of the kindest, sweetest people in the world, and could cook like no one else.

I remember the day she gave her heart to God. I’d stayed home from church with Granddad because I didn’t feel good. She came home from church with her hair wet. She’d accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior and been baptized.

I’m not sure of the date, but it was sometime in the ’60’s and, if I’m not mistaken, Ronnie Epps was our preacher. (Guess I’ll have to run over to the church and check that out for sure.)

Do you have treasures like mine? Hard to put a dollar amount on, but you wouldn’t trade them for the world.

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Adding a New Season of the Year

Oklahoma has announced it’s going to a five season year. The Legislature has decided that from now on we won’t only have Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. We’ll be the first state to go to a five season year.

Fire Season.

1JOKE

But it seems that every year we start the almost springtime with wild fires. Those fires burn our woods, and our homes and sometime (sadly) people.

This year, it has started already.

firestarter

Tuesday night I was driving home from work behind a slow poke. I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw a white pickup with a red and blue light bar tailgating me.

The first time we had a tiny gap in traffic and that pickup passed me like I was parked with a fence around me. I did catch a glimpse of the sign on the door.

“RESCUE.”

When the rescue truck got off the expressway at my exit and made that light bar go hot, I got a little nervous. And when I noticed the sky choked with smoke, I was plain old scared.

fire

The truck wasn’t headed to my house to rescue Miss Molly. (Thank you, Jesus!) They were out to rescue someone else’s family on the other side of the  expressway.

Question: Why do we have wild fires?

Answer: We need rain.

Question: How do they start?

Answer: Many ways.

firewell

I heard one day a couple of years ago fires were springing up in several areas along the highway, someone was driving down the road throwing out something flaming to start them intentionally. It turned out a truck had a chain dragging behind it, which sparked and caught the dry grass. (I’m not sure if that’s true, but it’s possible.)

Years ago, my BIL threw a lighted cigarette out the window of a truck. The next day he drove past the same pasture and it had burned from that cigarette.

Sometimes, lightning starts them, but normally it’s humans who do the job. (Fireworks, anyone? Campfires. Outdoor grilling.)

Question: Have you ever been in a wild fire?

Answer: Yes. Before we moved to Pryor Creek, one started and swept across the property we lived on. We had a two story house with a high peaked roof, and those flames were burning higher than the top of that roof.

And for some reason, fire creates wind. At least it seemed that way to me. My cousin lived next door. (We built our houses at the same time.) While G-Man and I’d had trees pushed back from our house (makes yard work easier), my cousin kept as many trees as he could around his. It really is better for your power bills to do that, but when the fires came, his house was in more danger than ours.

firegrassagain

Everyone helped. We grabbed all the hoses we could find, ran hoses from our house to his and sprayed things down. (Yes, we wet our house down, too.)

The fire department was there, fighting. People with tank trucks hauled in water and wet things for us. Everyone pitched in to help.

Luckily, we didn’t lose anything vital. Our homes made it through, but it was scary.

I wasn’t like the people you see on TV who load up everything important and leave. I stayed right where I was. Siblings, cousins, friends were there with us.

firemen

Ever notice when someone you might not know pitches in to help you, they’re suddenly a friend? And how a friend/relative who’s there shoulder to shoulder with you are forever after more than what they were? They’re a hero.

Ooh, another gift for my list!

In the battle (of a fire) we learn who the true heroes are.

Have you ever been through an Oklahoma Wild Fire?

 


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Welcome to the SideBar

Did you notice I swopped out the pictures in the sidebar? (On the right.) Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t. I had to go back and look for them myself, and I did the work! (Rolls eyes.)

With all the cold weather and snowy days we’ve had this year, I thought I’d add a little more to the flakiness. I love the memories the pictures bring back, so I kind of tried to tell a non-verbal story. See if you get it.

The first picture is Mom and Dad on one of our ski trips.

ski-team

The ‘Rents had gone skiing with the church the year I had my first baby. (For some reason–either being extremely prego or having a new nursing baby–G-Man and I didn’t go.)

So when #1 son was almost a year old, they decided to take the entire fam on our first y’all come ski trip.

When they decided to take the trip, Mom called Gaye, a wonderful friend I’d grown up with, who lived at Crested Butte, Colorado. (And she skied every day! Lucky girl.)

Miracle of miracles, Gaye found us a place to stay. (Thanks, Gaye!) It was an entire house, and since we had a few extras (one husband-to-be and several friends) it was perfect.

Gaye even found us a sweet woman for #1 son to stay with while we were there. (Thanks, again, Gaye!)

Mom bought us some of our ski gear for Christmas. Silly me, I asked for gloves, not mittens. Wow! Big mistake.

Mittens might make you look like a little kid, but they keep your fingers much, much warmer! I bought down-filled mittens there on the slopes and I was WARM! Broke, but warm. (Anything you buy on the ski slopes is expensive.)

Dad decided we didn’t need to pay to take ski lessons. He taught us everything we needed to know the morning of the first day. How to stop (make a piece of pie with your skis and sit down on it!) How to turn (Bubbletail, cut some pie and lean into it.)

I was climbing on a very easy-to-navigate ski lift (and getting in better skiers’ way) that afternoon.

A more thoughtful person, G-Man found a hill and practiced all by himself.

ski-pair (2)

This is G-Man and me. I borrowed my ski suit from a friend, who told me to keep it. She had a new one. I loved it! (Thank you, Lana!!!)

Brother Jeffrey and his buddy didn’t bother to learn to traverse the slopes.  They just turned their tips downhill and flew! And they had a great time doing it.

I took some spectacular spills, even though Gary and I stayed on Green (Easy) slopes with an occasional Blue (Medium) thrown in.

The last day of the trip, Dad thought G-Man and I were good enough to go to the backside of the mountain . . . where we found there were only Black (double diamond-HARD!) trails.
Have you ever prayed for a helicopter to come and rescue you? I did that day. 🙂 I think I ended up just sliding down the slope on my backside–which I only thought was cold before I started the slide.
On the way home, we ran into a blizzard. We were in Oklahoma, and experiencing worse weather than Colorado had! The baby didn’t feel good, so it was a long, long trip.
How about that? I just realized this memory is another gift for my list.
I’m oh! So! Very! Grateful!
 
 
 
 
 


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My Gifts

Sometimes, I’m a little slow to catch on. I’m never the first to find anything. To be honest, few people are. (No matter what they tell you.)

One of the things I was slow to catch on to was Ann Voskamp.

Ann VoskampLuckily, people around me are much faster on the uptake and share happily with me. A chance conversation a few days before Christmas brought this woman to my attention.

I doubt if I’ll ever meet her, this side of heaven. She lives in Canada with her husband and six (6!) kids and she homeschools.

Screen-Shot-2013-11-21-at-7_50_17-PM

She does take some speaking engagements, so I might hear her one day. If I’m lucky.

Ann is one of those killer serene people whose voice is calm and calming. What she writes reads like poetry. Beautiful, God-smack-in-the-middle poetry. I have to calm my center to be able to hear what she’s saying when I read it. I adore her work!

I read her blog A Holy Experience faithfully.

aholyexperience-logoAt least, as faithfully as I read anything.

Anyway, the point of my blog. I’m reading her book, ONE THOUSAND GIFTS.

1000 gifts

I also gave a copy to one of my favorite people in the world, who is one of my top gifts. This over-achieving gift of mine is ahead of me in the book and in making her list of gifts.

And that’s okay. We each move at our own pace and learn in different ways. I think instead of trying to only learn from the book, I’m trying to absorb it. Soak it in. (Okay, I want to wallow in it.)

Can I tell you one of the things on my list of gifts from God? Today, even though it’s been a long winter, I’m thankful for snow. (Don’t smack me.)

It’s absolutely beautiful drifting down. I love the way it covers the earth’s uglies and makes it “perfect” (at least for a time) while reminding me that I’m Washed in The Blood, so I’m Whiter than Snow.

Snow isn’t first on my list. And my list isn’t in order of what I’m most grateful for. Like me, it’s a helter-skelter bunch of thankful words, sprouting from a (sometimes) thankful heart.

Yes, I said sometimes. I’m not going to lie to you. Sometimes I’m not so thankful, and sometimes I forget. Whichever it is, I’m learning.

If you haven’t read Ann, please check out her blog. I think you’ll like it.  (The pics all came from there. She’s a great photographer!) And if you’re curious about her 1000 GIFTS, read it, too.

You might just put Ann and her book on your gift list. (I did.)