Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Amazed–Again

Once upon a time in the beautiful village of C-Town, there was a shop called Janyce’s Paintin’ Parlor. Janyce Brown was the painting teacher and I was one of her (less talented) students.  (And after I’d leave the lesson, she’d “help” my picture a little bit.) 🙂

Janyce was one of those people who made you feel as if she was thrilled to see you. No matter what your age, if she knew you, she was your friend.

And that laugh! Janyce had a laugh that could bring a grin to the crankiest face.  (And she often did!)

There were so many things I appreciated about Janyce. She was an extremely talented singer. She was never in a bad mood. Always willing to lend a hand. Never tiptoed around a subject but very gently told things like they were. (Don’t you love that?)

And she never ever forgot my name. (I mentioned before that someone who could tell which sis is which and not mix up names is tops with me!)

Sisters

SistersNot that we look alike. 🙂 Or ever looked alike.

wedding-sisters

For some reason, though, people sometimes confuse us.

But never Janyce. Don’t you love that?

Last February, Janyce went to be with the Lord and her husband, John, a hard working man who passed the previous November. That was a huge loss for C-Town.

So this past weekend, J & J’s children had an estate sale. I went by a few times to lend a hand and for the sheer enjoyment of seeing the children of this beautiful couple.

They are all younger than me, but Cheryl was one of my sister’s best friends, Julie worked for me at the dress shop and I taught Mike in Bible School. He still lives here and goes to church with us.

What amazed me, though, was how much Janyce and I were alike in taste.

She adored her children, their spouses and her grandchildren. I do, too. (Well, I WILL adore my grandchildren as soon as I get the chance.)

The books she read were the same books I read, and like me, she had dozens and dozens of them. (And her daughter said she would have loved my werewolf book.)

She collected antiques, and surprise! I enjoy antiques. (Wish I’d followed her when she went antiquing!) 🙂

I bought a table at the sale that my husband says she probably bought in a “hippy” shop. I bought a table in a shop like that right after we were married.

I bought her grinding stone knife/ax sharpener.

Don't you love it?

Just like Uncle Henry’s

And a great dresser. (I’ll try to take pictures to share soon.) The dresser needs a little work, but that’s what antiques are about. Right? (I think G-Man can fix it.)

It’s not the “stuff” that thrills me so much as the connection through them to Janyce and John. When I see the table or dresser, I’ll think of that family and the joy they’ve given everyone who knew them.

And every time I see the sharpener, I’ll remember my mom’s Uncle Henry. He had one just like it that we played on as kids.

I wonder if the greatest gift God gave us (after Jesus/eternal life/Heaven, family and friends) is our ability to remember happy times together.

The things that matter most–painting lessons, trips, good times working and worshiping together and Janyce’s fantastic laugh–can’t be given away or even sold.

They can only be shared and relived in our hearts. What a gift!

Janyce's daughter and granddaughter  I swiped this picture off Kelsey’s Facebook page. 😛

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Sputniks on my Tree

I’ve almost finished decorating for Christmas! (Woohoo!) Unlike other people in my life who have their homes decorated well before Thanksgiving, I’m a little slow. (Yeah, the phrase ‘a little slow’ is relative. Kind of like being a ‘little pregnant.’)

One of the reasons I’m so slow is that I really enjoy my ornaments. I like looking at them, remembering where they came from, praying for the people who gave them to me (or were with me when I bought them.)

Most of them aren’t just things I bought in a store; they have great memories attached to them.

And I like the really old ones best!

7-ornament

When I found this bell, mixed in with a lot of junk ornaments, I knew I had to keep it. It was part of the pharmacy’s decorations when we bought the store in Pryor Creek.

2-ornament

I bought this bell in a group of six or so when I thought #1 Son was old enough, and the tree tall enough, that it would be safe. This is the only one left. 🙂

1-ornament

I fell in love with this guy the moment I saw him. His big red bow and the heart that he keeps right out there make me smile.

4-ornamentThis is a new Christmas Carousel, but it’s exactly like the one Mama bought me when I was little bitty. I love it, just because of the feeling that comes back when the angels fly around it and make the bells go ting, ting, ting. Remember those?

11-ornament

These were Grandmother’s from the ’50’s. I fell in love with them, so they’re mine now. (They’re plastic, too!)

5-ornamentThese were her sputnik ornaments. (Except the sparkly ones at the bottom.) Aren’t they great? I can’t imagine her liking these as much as I do. I think I enjoy them so much because they were hers.

6-ornament Most of these I’ve bought at antique stores. They’re so different from the ones you buy today. Not at all perfect. Just homey and old and faded. Perfect.

10-ornamentA blue Merry Christmas. So sweet!

9-ornament

Hand painted poinsettia. Don’t you love it? (I do.)

3-ornamentThis is a new picture I bought this year. It might not be something that’s always be on my walls at Christmas, but the sentiment is exactly right. If there wasn’t one gift under my tree, as long as my family is together and happy, that’s the best present of all!

BTW: I have four trees this year. (That’s right, #4. Don’t you love it?) The one with Grandmother’s ornaments, her gloves, and my antique ornaments, a white feather tree, covered with candy canes, my family room tree–covered with family pictures and homemade ornaments–and my kitchen tree, with kitchen paraphernalia I’ve collected for a lifetime.

Now that I have almost all of it out, it’s almost time to put it all back.

Next year, someone remind me to get started a lot earlier! (Then, come and help me decorate!!!)

Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite ornament(s) on your tree?


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It’s a Small Town World!

I think I’ve mentioned what a Small Town World this is, haven’t I?

Happened again last week.

Sister Debbie and I took a short road trip last week, and we had such a good time!

First we had to borrow a truck. (I love having kiddos!)

We drove north. North. North.

Until we got to the Promised Land. Sister Debbie had been there before, and she took me into a world of beautiful memories. We saw Mary Lou’s card table, Mama’s ice crusher (or was it Betty Lou’s?) pictures, dressers, books and cook books and so many beautiful antiques (and more!) I can’t name them all.

I should have taken pictures inside, but I was much too enthralled to fiddle with pictures. 🙂

This is the table I bought.

I didn’t buy the tool box underneath, though. 😦 Wish I had now.

Sister Debbie’s daughter bought a table, too. The owner carried it out for us.

This woman made us feel so at home! She told us to look around, enjoy ourselves. (And we did!)

Terminally Curious reared her silly head, so I had to chat a bit. I told her who we were (we were picking up purchases made earlier) then got down to it.

TC: “Where do you get all these beautiful things?”

Promised Land: “Garage sales and yard sales and auctions and . . . ”

TC: “What’s your name?”

Promised Land: “Merriman.”

TC: “We have lots of Merrimans in C-Town. Are you related to them?”

Promised Land: “I’m FROM C-Town.”

See? I told you, it’s a Small Town World! And it’s the people who populate it who make it beautiful–such as Ms. Merriman.

After we were loaded, we went to lunch.

Who knew (besides #2 son) that the food there was so good? I think another road trip just might be called for!

I intended to take a food porn picture like Larry Lawrence, but I couldn’t wait to dig in. 🙂

If you plan to take a road trip to the north (hint: PL is located in the capital of the Osage Nation) check out her Facebook page. Her store isn’t open every day, but she has an alternate location.


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Sign of the Times

Remember this?

I showed it to you in January. Loved the look, the thought, the feel of the thing. Turns out, I’m not the only one who liked this kind of thing. (Big surprise. Snort)

Turns out, they’re subway signs. I had no idea, until #4 texted me about them this morning. (I had to look it up to be sure what she was talking about.)

It’s cute, sitting next to her antique coffee can, isn’t it?

From what I read, the original ones were used in subways and have the names of stops.

Interior designers bought these antiques and charged big bucks to hang them in homes and offices. While lots of people like them, not everyone can afford the originals.

Then someone started manufacturing them and we can all afford them. And they decided to have something besides the names of stops on them.

Some list family rules.

Some are prayers, others scriptures.

The picture above some of that art, which is for sale in Celebrations. (A wonderful gift/flower/clothes shop in our Small Town World.)

#4 mentioned one she’d seen on a blog she really liked. It said–

Money can’t buy happiness

but it can buy marshmallows

which is kinda the same thing.

Celebrations

I don’t know if you read comments or not, but Sister Debbie offered to help me make one of these. I’m thinking I’ll have to take her up on it.

What to say? How about–

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
(From the poem, Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.)

Or one for the bathroom?

Flush.
Put down the seat when you’re through.
Wash your hands.
Use soap.
Hang up the towel.

Or what I wanted back in January.

I believe in pink. And even better, I believe in RED! I definitely believe in red.

I believe that God, the Father of lights, is the giver of all good and perfects gifts.

I believe that laughter is the best calorie burner, and that joy in those around is us what brings on that laughter.

I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. And happy kids are the prettiest kids. And that happy guys are the best looking guys.

I believe that all babies are beautiful.

I believe TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY.

I believe that reading is the best way to spend a long, lazy day. Or knitting. Or watching movies with my man.

I believe in hugging. I believe in hugging a lot.

I believe in being strong when everything around you is going wrong, because in truth, there’s no other choice. You must either step up or check out.

I believe in miracles–and I have just the sister to prove it.

I believe in Christ as my Savior. My Father. My brother. My Friend.

Of course, it might take an entire wall to post all that. LOL! (There’s nobody as long-winded as a woman who writes novels.)

What do you want yours to say?