Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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I Heard . . . God?

I’m wondering, does anyone else think God talks to them?

Before you send for the guys with the big butterfly nets, hear me out. I don’t think He talks to me. It’s not like I hear His voice or anything. But I truly think He’s involved in our everyday lives and He communicates with us if we let Him.

Click here to read about one of the times when God spoke to me.

I think He talks to us anytime we’re willing to listen. But we don’t get to edit what He says. 🙂

A few years ago, I started to participate in NaNoWriMo. That’s a national challenge each November to write a fifty-thousand word manuscript in a month. That’s 1667 words a day. I wanted to be finished before Thanksgiving, so I upped my daily scheduled word count to more than 2000.

So a couple of weeks in, I was on schedule. No editing. No rereading. Just getting up every morning at 4:00 am to write, write, write.

e computer

About halfway into the book, I woke up one morning and it was as if God had emblazed a thought in my mind. That wasn’t the kind of book I should be writing. It wasn’t the kind of book for which I wanted to be remembered. So I stopped that book right there and started working toward writing Christian Women’s Fiction.

Now, here’s my latest adventure. (Preacher Dave calls them Weird God Things. I like that.) Back on September 23rd, I hit the point in the book I’m working on where I stalled out. I loved the book and the series that it would be part of. Star and Glory and Eli and all the other characters had become friends to me. But in my mind it just wasn’t going anywhere.

e fingers

So I prayed about it. “Is this what You want me to be doing, Lord? Am I listening to You or is it my ego pushing me? Should I write or not? WHAT DO YOU WANT?”

 Now, anyone who knows me knows I enjoy listening to Beth Moore.

beth moore

I’m not a Beth worshipper, but she speaks to women my age. I get her. You know? She’s on Life Today most Wednesdays, so I listen to her while I get ready for work.

That morning, September 24th, the very next day, this is how she started her show. I copied it from the Life Today website instead of paraphrasing because I wanted you to hear her.

Beth: And I wonder today, just so we can get on the same page mentally, what is it hanging over your head? What is it, that project, that thing that you started? For somebody listening today or watching — it is a book.

Oh! My! Stars! I was stunned.

Beth: Something — there’s like chapters of it and it just keeps sitting there — just sitting there.

I’m not sure I was even breathing at this point. 🙂

Beth: And you just keep saying, “I’m waiting on the Lord.” And the Lord is up there going, “I’m waiting on you.” Anybody?

I was mentally jumping up and down and waving my arms at this point.

Beth: I’m not saying that’s necessarily your situation, I’m saying, you need to check and see. Is it Him we’re waiting on or is He up there going, “I’m waiting on you. I brought you into this.”

Gulp. Double-gulp. Really?

The. Very. Next. Day.

Here’s a link to the actual video so you can hear it for yourself–

http://lifetoday.org/video/it-is-finished-part-1-2/

Does God talks to us? Could everything I just described just be a coincidence?

Do things like this happened to anyone else?

 

 

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The Oklahoma Response

The Murrah Building is demolished more than a ...

Have you heard of the Oklahoma Response?

I don’t know if it’s real or if the woman who gave it a name for me (a wannabe romance writer who threw in the towel after a year or two) made it up. *Note: I just googled The Oklahoma Response, and found nothing, so I’m figuring it was the afore-mentioned woman’s best job of fiction writing.

Whether anyone actually calls it that or not, I’ve seen it happen.

This woman said she’d been a news person in OKC, and was close enough to get to the Murrah Building bombing sight before a perimeter was set up. Because she was there first, she’d been allowed to stay, but couldn’t leave or she wouldn’t be able to get back in. So she spent days without much sleep or a change of clothes, giving updates to TV stations all over the US.

Then she asked where I was when it happened. (Someone must have told her at some point that a conversation means talk and listen.)

So I told her I was driving to work when I heard about the bombing over the radio. My first response? I’ve got to go help!

I hit the gas and headed for OKC. It only took a couple of seconds for me to remember I would be a hindrance, not a help. I’m not a nurse–I don’t even have first aid training, so I wouldn’t be any help that way. I’m not a power lifter, so I wouldn’t be much help lifting buildings off victims.

And I am a huge crier. I have a strict policy that no one cries alone in my presence. *Know that movie?* I don’t mind crying solo, either. 😉

The woman said, “That’s being called ‘The Oklahoma Response’.” She went on to compare it to an earlier bombing. She said in both cases, when the bombs went off, people ran. In the first, they ran to safety and just kept going, grateful they weren’t hurt.

In Oklahoma, people ran toward the bombing to see if they could help. When no one else could help, people lined up around the block to give blood, donate money, take in home cooked meals. Anything to be a help.

Since hearing about the Okie Response, I’ve seen it proven over and over. When someone is in need, there’s an Okie (or a thousand) who’ll step up to help.

The past couple of weeks here in Northeast Oklahoma, we’ve had horrible wildfires. So many people have lost their homes, it’s appalling. No matter how hard firefighters (professional and volunteer) battled in the 110+ air temperatures made even hotter by the hell from the fires not to menton the protective gear they had to wear, somewhere between two and three hundred homes burned to the ground.

Larry Lawrence Picture

Everything the fire devil got close enough to burned–from expensive homes to ready-to-fall-down shacks, B & Bs and church camps, barns and auction halls. And I don’t know a soul who wouldn’t have stepped up to lend a hand if needed.

Larry Lawrence Picture

But most of us aren’t trained firefighters, and would only get in the way. So we step up in another way. When the call went out for water and/or Gatorade for the firemen, we donated.

As the size of the loss was realized, churches set up outreaches. One of the churches in The Ford, on an unscorched corner that was missed although the fire burned all around, set up tents and opened their doors for donations.

And the Oklahoma Response? So many clothes came in that an announcement had to be made–“No more clothes! We have no more room.”

   My cousin’s daughter, Mendy, who belongs to this church, took these pictures. It looks like a party, doesn’t it? Rather than hoarding the remaining clothes and keeping them for someone who might need them in the future, she tells me they’re sharing with a church in T-Town that helps the homeless.

So what is The Oklahoma Response?

We care.


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When God Speaks

I have a great friend, Jackie King, who writes cozy mysteries and is one of those people I just look forward to spending time with. When she speaks (or blogs or sends something to the loop) I take time to read it ASAP.

 Jackie King and Peggy Fielding–Foxy Hens

Today she sent a note to the loop that said she’d blogged about Writer’s Block, come on over. I went straight over there to take advantage of her wisdom.

In case you aren’t worried about WB, I’ll tell you what hit me hard this morning. She said she was having problems with her Grace Cassidy mystery she’s writing. (They’re set in B&B’s–so much fun!)

Then some small voice from deep inside said (my belief is this whisper comes from God), “Buck up, pour some glue in the chair and sit down. You’ve been here before.”

WOW. (I made the part bold that stopped me in my tracks.)

I made a comment (I like to let my friends know I’ve visited) then came back to sign in at STW so I could use it as signature over there. When I got here, I had a comment pending from a total stranger.

Here it is:

It’s amazing how often God uses blog posts to speak that timely word of encouragement into my life. I’m glad I stumbled on your blog through Mr. Island Traveler and found this verse.:)

This morning, just when I was wondering what I was going to blog about, I read about God speaking into others’ lives twice! I had a feeling He was speaking to me.

But here’s what I’m wondering, When God Speaks, how often do we listen?

Or maybe the real question is, When God Speaks, do we recognize it? And do we obey?

There are times when things around me are so loud, I can’t hear. Or I’m too busy. Or I don’t have time.

Ouch. Is that true for you, too? (Is it just me?)

Does my admission (maybe it’s a confession) stop you like it does me?

How can I not have time, when the Creator of the Universe and everything in it takes time to speak to me?

How could I be too busy when the One who paid for my sins as if they were His own wants to spend time with me?

Why wouldn’t I listen when He speaks? Sometimes He has to repeat Himself several times, then nearly shout to be heard, doesn’t He?

Have you ever thought that it would be easier if He just spoke to us during our morning quiet times? I mean, after all, things are quiet. (That’s why it’s called quiet time.) We are listening right then. His word is there, in front of us. We’ve been talking to Him. Why not talk to us then?

Oh, my goodness, neighbors. Why would we try to limit God in any way? Why would we say, “Not now, Lord”?

Maybe we should be more like Jackie and listen for any/everything He has for us and appreciate that He loves us so much!

Thank you Jackie and Yen.


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Wings Like Eagles

English: Bald eagle

Image via Wikipedia

I had the most fantastic thing happen to me Sunday morning.

On Sunday mornings, I’m usually in a rush to get ready for church. I enjoy chatting with G-Man so much, I put off heading upstairs as long as possible. This past Sunday was no exception, EXCEPT I received a text or two from Sister Debbie, updating me on her granddaughter’s condition. (RSV is so scary!)

I wrote her a quick text back, “God’s gonna heal that baby,” then quickly slapped on my makeup. BUT I forgot to send the message.

Like I said, I was hurrying. I didn’t look at my phone again. Just grabbed it and stuck it in my pocket. When I got in the car, I put it in a cup holder so I wouldn’t accidentally take it into church with me. (My ringtone, Bad to the Bone, during communion ain’t a good thing.)

I headed to town. On the way in I have to cross a bridge that goes over an arm of Keystone. Much of the lake has silted in, and with the small amount of rain we’ve had lately, that particular part is often dry. For the last few weeks, there has been water.

I started across the bridge, and just as I did a beautiful bald eagle flew up, right in front of me. Not low enough that I could hit him (thankfully) but right in front of me where I couldn’t miss him.

So close, I could see the individual white feathers, that covered his head. He shot skyward like a rocket, zooming nearly straight up into the air. Wow. WOW!

I had to tell Gary about it. Picking up my phone, I turned it on and saw that the text I’d written to Debbie was still there. Unsent.

If you watch for eagles in this area, we often see them, but usually it’s from far away. They circle overhead or are far away, sitting on a nest. This one was right in front of me, ready to shake my hand!

I think my eagle visit just might have been a wake up call. I needed to send that text to Debbie (more for me than for her.) Mr. Eagle reminded me, so I sent it. (Then I called G-Man afterward.)

There’s a Bible verse that’s been very special to our family since May 20, 1991 and it came back to me that morning.

 Isaiah 40: 30-31–Even youths grow tired and weary,  and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;  they will run and not grow weary,  they will walk and not be faint.

I hope you, too, are renewed!

 


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WOW!!!

A few days ago, I wrote about WHY I DO what I do. Here’s a little of it–

Right now, I’m taking a story I wrote last year, and using it to make a whole new story. A story where the people act like the people I know. Maybe they’re a little nicer than I am or have different opportunities, but I don’t read books to hear an echo of my life. I read to see how real people could live and truly love life.

And I want to write the stuff I like to read.

My characters aren’t Goody-Two-Shoes. They’re too boring, and I’m not sure I’d know what those characters are all about, anyway.

I’m trying to write about real people who live and love and learn what life can be like. And yes, there’s a spiritual aspect to it.

So that’s why I do what I do.

Now a request: I’d appreciate your prayers on my behalf. Not that I’ll get rich and famous, but that I’ll keep going if this is God’s will.

And if it’s not, would you ask him if He’d let me know?

I got some great responses! (Bloggers live for comments. We love it when the conversation goes both ways.) One woman thought I was brave to ask that of God. I love it when anybody thinks I’m brave. (I’m really kind of a chicken.)

One of my sisters answered,

Yea!  You know I love to read inspirational fiction, I’m so very happy you decided to give it a try.  In fact, I believe this is where God has been guiding you.

“If He leads you to it, He’ll lead you through it”.  I think that little saying is for more than trials, I think it’s for where ever He leads you. (I added the bold letters.)

I wanted to share with y’all what happened. And thank you.

I have to believe you’re right, Deb. I’ve been having some trouble finding time to work, but I got a ton done yesterday during a professional football game. (Gary hasn’t watched professional football in years.)

Then the devil infiltrated my thinking. I got to wondering if this was the kind of story the editors are looking for. Should I keep working on a story like this or start yet another new one. (Which would keep me from trying to sell for another several months.)

Here’s a quick synopsis of the part I was worried about: A young woman on her own has her horse go down in a barrel race. A family takes her home, gives her a place to stay and feed her and her horse. I worried that the editors would think nobody in today’s world would be dumb enough to take a perfect stranger home with them. That the story wasn’t believable.

In the last Inspirationals I bought, three little girls are trying to find a wife for their dad, so they post an ad in the local paper. Cute, sweet story. In a historical one I read just before that (same author) a young woman goes west without telling her family so she can experience the kind of life she reads about in her paperbacks.

The first line in mine is, “Do they still hang horse thieves in Texas?” I know. I’m not normal. 🙂

So I’m praying about it.

Then, in my Beth Bible study, we looked up Isaiah 58:7 (we were supposed to read 5-7, but all I saw was 7.) Here’s what I read:

Share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter

The entire scripture says, “5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,  only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?

6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice    and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free    and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them,  and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

I’m not sure how I missed that I was supposed to read all of 5-7 or why I didn’t see the entire sentence starting at “Is it not to share . . . ” and ending with “flesh and blood.”

I’m think I might have had an answer. 🙂 🙂 🙂

I’m WOWED! that God answered me so quickly. I’m WOWED! that he heard your prayers on my behalf.

I don’t know if I’ll ever sell another book, but I know

OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!!!


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Wowed Wednesday–Beth Moore

Cover of "So Long, Insecurity: You've Bee...

Cover via Amazon

You might have heard that Okie Land has had three (can you believe it?) earthquakes since early Saturday morning. And, to be very truthful, these quakes have made it just a little hard to sleep in the House on the Big Pond.

Not that I think it’s End Of Days, but because I like the earth to be rock steady. I like it to sit still instead of quivering and jumping around. You never know when, during an earthquake, a Gap will open up right where you stand.

So I’m reading a little of Beth’s, “So Long, Insecurity” between EQs, and I come to a prayer she’s written. (What a beautiful, humble pray-er that woman is.)

You are my security, O God. You are the one sure thing. When everything around me shakes, You are unshakable.

WOW! I read it again. When everything around me shakes, You are unshakable.

Can you believe it? Here I am, all tissified over little earth tremors, and it’s like God spoke to me. “Calm Down, Susan. Take a breath. Everything is the way I want it to be.”

I didn’t write that prayer, Beth Moore did. I didn’t hunt it up because of the earthquakes. It was God’s timing, and isn’t it always perfect?

God is in control. He doesn’t change. Even when the earth is convulsing, my house is shaking and Okie Land feels like it’s about to fall off the United States along with Baja-Oklahoma into the Gulf of Mexico, He loves me. He’s my Anchor. He’s my Protector. 

He’s my Rock. 


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Why the Cross?

I have some very pretty crosses. My first Bible from Grandma and Granddad Reeves when I was eight had a gold cross on the zipper that closed it.

I have a beautiful cross with a gold coin at its center (widow’s mite) that my dad bought when he went to Israel several years ago. I love it!

I even made some purse jewelry one day with crosses hanging from it. (Several fell off. I’m kind of hard on that kind of thing.)

But for some reason, I woke up this morning with question on my mind.

Why the cross?

I’m not asking why Jesus went to the cross. I know why.

No human is perfect. We all sin.

Romans 3:23–For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

And no sinful thing or person can be in God’s holy presence.

Romans 6:23 a– For the wages of sin is death

Eternal death. Hell. But Jesus went to the cross and died so that if we accept this gift (freely given) we can live. Eternally. In the presence of God.

Romans 6:23 b (the rest of the verse) But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I don’t understand how the cross became our main Christian icon. To be very honest, the cross was ugly.

 The Passion of the Christ.

This the best depiction I could find that shows what the Cross of Christ really looked like. (Probably.) 

The cross wasn’t just ugly, it was hideous. An instrument of torture. I’ve heard it said that it’s kind of like wearing an electric chair around your neck. (Except an electric chair does the job faster than the cross did.)

From Wikipedia: During the first two centuries of Christianity, the cross may have been rare in Christian iconography, as it depicts a purposely painful and gruesome method of public execution and Christians were reluctant to use it.

I don’t blame them!

One of the earliest Christian symbols was the Ichthus, or fish symbol.


Remember the meaning behind it?

ichthus = 2) an iconographic symbol for Christ from the initials in the Greek phrase Iesous Christos Theou Huios Soter (Jesus Christ Son of God Saviour, ιχθύς in Greek); or representing Jesus as a fisher of men.

I wonder why we didn’t just stay with that?  

Of course, the cross is to remind us of Christ’s sacrifice as well as His love.

They’re so pretty, they do remind me of the beauty of His love.

But how in the world did we ever start using a cross? Do you know?