Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Happy Birthday, Matt!

Today is #2 son’s birthday! He’s 31 years old. (I had to get out my calculator to be sure that was right. LOL)

matt and grandmommie_edited-1

I have to tell you, I’m proud that he’s my son! He makes me look good. 🙂 From the way he lives his life to his choice of a wife, I’m thrilled with this boy.

Before we had Matt, I was pregnant three times in a year. Two broke my heart when they ended in miscarriages, but JOY, JOY, JOY! The third time was Matt. (You’ve heard ‘third time’s the charm.’ He is!)

Once while I carried him under my heart, I accidentally touched an electric fence. That jolt sent me to my knees–then flying to the doctor. “Have I hurt my baby?”

Nope. He’s perfect.

I tried to have Matt on my dad’s birthday. (September 30th) But no, Matt wanted his very own day. 😛

a susan and matt

As a little boy, he loved to come home (or to our pharmacy) and play school. I heard about the day’s happenings while he played pretend. A few years later, he’d get one of G-Man’s counting trays and “count” M & M’s like pills–just like his daddy was doing. He loved to go with our new workers on deliveries so he could show them where our customers lived.

When he got a little older, he learned to count change so he could ring up customers at the store (with Mama watching.)

Matt is so very funny and fun to be with. He has a tender heart. One that’s easily bruised, yet expands quickly to include new friends.

matt snow tears

Now he’s a hard-working responsible adult, always willing to help out anyone in need. He chose a wife who is beautiful, loving and sweet, sweet, sweet. (Good choice, Matt!)


For your birthday, Matt, I’m giving you a blessing and a crown.

Proverbs 5:18 May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.

Proverbs 12:4 A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.

Happy birthday, baby boy! Your daddy and I are blessed to be your parents!




♥ Most Precious ♥

Want to see one of the coolest gifts, ever?

I’ve received lots of wonderful gifts in my life, and this ranks right up there at the very top.

1-tg-5Isn’t it beautiful?

It’s a gift I’ll always, always remember.

To be honest, I love every gift anyone has ever given me. I’m kinda like a little kid. You could give me a plastic squirt gun and I’d jump up and down with joy.

What’s so special about this simple white pitcher? (Besides the person who gave it to me.) It’s kind of like people. It’s what’s inside that makes it what it is.

1-tg-4Can you tell what’s on those pieces of paper? God’s word, written in the gifter’s hand.

 A lamp for my feet and a light for my path.

1-tg-3Proverbs 17:17–a hint to tell you who this was from.

1-tg-2BTW: I don’t leave the scriptures she wrote out for me lying around. I just wanted you to see them. 🙂

 A note also came with it. To me. Me, alone. (When you’re one of six kids, being the special “one” is unusual. And very welcome.) It tells me she loves me and that she prays for me each morning during her quiet time. And that the scriptures are ones that made her think of me or that God whispered to her about.

And she shared them with me.

I cry happy, thankful tears each time I look at my gift and think about (or read) the note, which lives in my Bible so I can read it and reread it.

I’ve thought about different ways I could use this idea for other people. I could make one of those memory boards with pretty ribbons to hold things in place, and put the scriptures under the ribbons. Or I could print them out and have them matted and framed at Hobby Lobby. There are tons of ways to share scriptures.

But nothing like that could ever mean what this has meant to me. A pitcher–not what The Woman at the Well used, but it holds the Living Water.

One more picture.


I hope you can read it.

Thank you, #4. Philippians 1:3-6 . . . Me, you, too!

For two years, having your note in my Bible and this pitcher of God’s words to you in my home has been a gift that kept on giving.

I’m looking forward to studying Gideon with you.



Speak To My Heart, God (Please!)

If you’re looking for a wonderful book, I’d like to suggest one for you that I’ve had for several years. It’s by Kay Arthur and called, Speak to My Heart, God. The book was written in 1993, and is a book I go back to time after time.

It has fifty (or so) three and four page chapters with titles such as “When Things Go Wrong,” “When You’re Disappointed, Discouraged, Defeated,” “When Your Expectations Aren’t In Him,” and “When You Wonder If People Can Tell You Are His.”

Normally, I don’t like books with short devotions in them because they seem somehow incomplete. But this book is different. It has answers to questions I didn’t know anyone else asks. Kay shares them without belaboring a point.

I don’t have permission from Kay, so I’m going to give you pieces of one of her chapters today. (I really wish I could share the entire thing, but I don’t want to get in trouble!)

I watched a friend crumble (understandably) when she learned of her friend’s devistating  diagonsis the other day.

There’s a young man in our Small Town World with a horrible illness that the entire community is praying for.

I’ve prayed for ministers who are disappointed and becoming disheartened because the work they’re doing and the words they’re preaching seem to be falling on fallow ground.

I’ve watched friends lose their babies after going through nine months of carrying them within their bodies, and I know there’s only One who can comfort, who has the answers.

Kay has a chapter called, “When The Forecast Is Bleak,” which I happened to read just the other day. The second line of this chapter starts, “It’s hard to trust God for cool, but pleasant weather when it’s in the mid-90’s . . . (What about over 100 for days on end, and the forecast is triple digit for the next week? I wonder.)

From Kay–

It’s hard, isn’t it, to trust God for anything when the “forecast” is contrary to what we want or feel we need?

Maybe it’s finances . . . and the forecast is grim.
Maybe it’s an restored relationship . . . and the forecast is hopeless.
Maybe it’s a job . . . and the forecast is bleak.
Maybe it’s a report from the doctor . . . and the forecast is ominous.

Whatever–and it could be anything–you know you are totally helpless in the situation.

The first thing Kay suggests we do (we all have these situations in our lives) is to “latch on to 1 John 1:9.”

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

After that, she says there’s only one thing left to do. “You cast all your care on the One who cares for you.”

“Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

Again, from Kay–

What concerns you is of the utmost concern to Him.

He cast hailstones on Israel’s enemies and made the sun stand still so that “the sun stopped in the middle of the sky, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. There was no day like that . . . when the Lord listened to the voice of a man” (Joshua 10:13-14).

Have you asked God to hear your cry?

Did He not promise to “supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19)? Did He not say, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33)?

Kay reminds us the Bible tells us God can’t change, He can’t lie, and He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. He will not leave you or forsake you. (Or me.)

God’s hand is mighty . . . so mighty that He controls the wind. “He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens and by His power He directed the south wind” (Psalm 78:26). When Samuel called to the Lord, “the Lord sent thunder and rain that day” (1 Samuel 12:18) . . . and when He wanted, He withheld rain, or sent rain on one city but not another (Amos 4:7).

He is God!

You have done what you can. I have done what I can. Now we must rest in Him. God will do as He pleases, and none will thwart His hand or His will . . . no matter what “the forecast.” God is greater than forecasts.

His throne sits above all the circumstances of life, and “He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earch: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Daniel 4:35 KJV)

You might have noticed (like I have) that God doesn’t always obey us when we pray for something. Sometimes he says, “No,” other times, “Wait a while.” But Kay explains that.

Cry to Him. If it is for your good and His glory, He will answer. If not, He won’t, (actually, He will answer no–ss) because what He has planned is better . . . even though it may rain.

The plans He has for you are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Who is among you that fears the Lord, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God” (Isaiah 50:10)

Thank you, Kay. God has given you a beautiful gift. Thank you for sharing.

And friends, check out her book. You’ll be glad you did.


God says, “I love you!”

I have a theory about God. I don’t have a scripture to back it up, and if I told it to one of the Bible scholars in my life, they’d probably laugh at me.

To be very honest, though, I think I’m right.

Here it is: I believe that from time to time, God looks at us and says, “Have I told you lately how much I love you?” And since we can’t actually hear God (most of the time) He shows us.

Sometimes it’s a beautiful sunset. Other times, it’s a cool morning breeze when the temp should be in the 90’s. And sometimes it’s a friend’s smile.

On our way home from my aunt’s funeral the other day, He did just that.

We stayed all night at Raton, New Mexico. I wasn’t particularly happy with the hotel we stayed in, so I was more than ready to head home. But I noticed a big patch of thistles growing behind the hotel.

Thistle patches aren’t something we see very often, and they were pretty, so I wandered around there with my camera.

Aren’t they gorgeous?

I’ve accidentally grown thistles under my bird feeders, but mine are kind of spindly and unloved. These were beautiful.

So I snapped away

and then I noticed something at the bottom of the hill.

God’s “I LOVE YOU.”

Not just a deer. A buck!

He noticed me about the same time I saw him. Either he was too hungry to care I was there

or he was used to having his picture taken. Kind of looks like he’s posing here, doesn’t it? 🙂

I shot him, he watched me, and ate. I’m convinced that little deer was sent from above to remind me of God’s love.

If I could get down that hill without tumbling, how close would he let me come? Was he someone’s pet? Had God tamed him enough that I could touch him?

But G-Man and Sister Debbie were waiting for me, and I was a little ambivilent about trekking down that hill.

Then something happened. A sign that the little buck was finished posing and our time together was over.

He mooned me. 🙂


Marching Orders

I might have mentioned that I’m one of six kiddos. We grew up next door to Dad’s parents, and because Grandmother didn’t drive whenever we went anywhere, she usually went with us, as well as our friends and any cousins who were staying with the grandparents at that time.

And yes, we all fit in one car. (It was before the day of seatbelts and airbags.) Getting everyone out the door and into the car to get anywhere on time (including church) was quite a feat.

When Dad got ready to leave, he’d come into the kitchen or livingroom where we usually waited and give us our marching orders. (Start shooing us toward the car.)

Sometimes, while we grabbed Bibles and purses and diaper bags and bottles, he’d try to rush us. But rather than yelling, “Let’s go. LET’S GO!” he started quoting a poem.

After a while, he just had to say the first line, and we scooted.

“Let’s be up and doing!”

Sometimes he’d quote more of the poem.

“Let’s be up and doing
with a heart for any fate,
Still achieving, still pursuing,
learn to labor and to wait.”

There was one more verse he’d toss out at the end from time to time. I didn’t learn until I had Internet that I’d heard it wrong and it was out of order. Here’s what I heard–

“It’s not joy and not sorrow
that’s our destiny our way,
but to know that each tomorrow
finds us further than today.”

“Burma Shave.” 🙂

It’s from a Longfellow poem Dad  had to learn in high school called, “Psalm of Life.” He quoted the last (9th) stanza first and the 3rd stanza, which I learned wrong, last. Here’s the real 3rd stanza–

“Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way ;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.”

Burma Shave isn’t part of the poem. 😛

I won’t put the entire poem here. (Booooring.) But if you’d like to read it, here’s the link. 

He learned other poems that are lots more exciting, but what’s interesting is that he remembers it sixty odd years later.

Here’s my favorite of Dad’s poems.

“Comanches over the hill top! Six trappers on the plain.”

Anyone (who isn’t part of my flock of siblings) know that one?