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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Garden Blessing

Finally! My garden is cleaned up and ready for spring. I know, just a few months AFTER the rest of the world, but I have an excuse. That boy scout in need of his help-a-cranky-old-lady badge I was hoping for never did show up.

I took me all day yesterday to finish cleaning them up. Well, most of them, anyway. 🙂 So there I am, on my knees. The day is beautiful and where I live is fairly quiet, so naturally I’m praying while I work. Family. Friends. People God has reminded me this past week I’m supposed to be praying for.

And while I’m dragging out dead grass and praying, I find a hollow in the ground.

What? I used my handy-dandy garden tool thingy and under some dead grass I see fur. Ew! Did something die there?

No, but a weird hole has washed out. Why? I wondered. Then I hollered for G-Man and my camera.

Something is in that hole. But what? Mice? Rats? Oh, please not gophers.

Can you see them? God blessed me with a nest full of bunnies. I can’t see all of them, but there’s at least four there.

 Can you see those eight ears in there? LOL!

I know, they might not be a blessing next week or next month, but for today, they blessed the socks right off me.

God’s handiwork is amazing!

Now, if I can just get a few more garden plans taken care of this weekend!


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Project Blessing

“The Lord bless you and keep you . . .” Num 6:24 NIV

I came across a blog yesterday called The Happiness Project, written by Gretchen Rubin. Here’s what the side bar on her blog says–“The Happiness Project is the account of the year she spent test-driving studies and theories about how to be happier. Here, she shares her insights to help you create your own happiness project.”

That caught my interest. After all, who doesn’t want to be happy? So I clicked over there and read. She has a book, a blog and daily happiness moments you can have delivered right to your inbox.

A little way down on her blog, she has an interview with Margaret Roach who was part of the Martha Stewart Omnimedia and left Success in the Big City to garden. (I haven’t read her blog yet, but as a small time gardener, I intend to.) 

While the Happiness Blog was more than worth the time I spent reading it, one statement in the Roach interview stopped me.  

To the question–

Is there anything you find yourself doing repeatedly that gets in the way of your happiness?
Margaret Roach answered, “A very close friend says I am not Type A, but AAA. Even since I left my “successful” career a few years ago to live in my rural garden, away from the city and largely in solitude, I remain inclined to take on too much. It’s something I have to note daily, and work on still. Overdoing leaves insufficient time for savoring.”

Did you pick up on that? Overdoing leaves insufficient time for savoring.

I haven’t read the book, haven’t decided if I want to invest the time and dollars to read it. But I started wondering, how hard is it for most people to recognize when they’re happy? 

And when you come right down to it, how hard is it for people to recognize when they receive a blessing?

Think about it.

When the Creator of the universe, God, who spoke everything that is or was or will ever be into existence gives you (out of approximately 6,890,309,333 living people on this planet) a blessing, do you recognize it?

Do you savor it? 

Do you remember it?

Maybe we should all start our own project–a blessing project, of sorts–where we take note of our blessings, collect, appreciate and savor them. Keep them close to our hearts.

And thank HIM for them.

What out of the blue blessing have your received recently?

Rain

The bald eagle that flew overhead on my way home from church yesterday. (This isn’t mine, but I was driving and couldn’t focus to take a picture.)

Riker, everyone’s little blessing at the office.