Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Favorite Things, AND People

One of the things I like best about Christmas, besides the celebrations and gifts and stars and sparkles and fun, is the people in my life. Family and friend. (Sometimes, that’s the same thing.)


Have you met Omega?  This is she.

No, she’s not singing to me. (Looks like she’s singing “Holy,  Holy, Holy” doesn’t it?)

006This is the night of our company/family Christmas party. We all got together to celebrate on the night before Christmas Eve. (Would that be Christmas Eve Eve?)

Aren’t they gorgeous? I love these girlies!

I don’t love them just because they’re pretty. (They are.)  I don’t love them just because I’m related to them. (That, too.) And I don’t love them just because I’m smarter than the average bear. (I am, at least most of the time.)

I love them because they’re nice and sweet (sometimes) and fun to be with. They don’t kick dogs and they’re nice to old ladies. 😛 I like that a bunch!

They keep me in stitches nearly all the time. When they’re around, there’s never a dull moment. E-V-E-R!

This Christmas they were the best part of the C-Town Baptist Church’s Christmas play. They performed Dicken’s Christmas Carol with a Christian twist.

The girls’ daddy (aka Omega’s husband) played Scrooge.

play-noel-2This is Noel as Scrooge, hanging with Christmas Past. (He has nice legs, huh?)


This is Hope. She played Scrooge’s girl friend, back in the day. (Was that character’s name Bell? I don’t remember. 😦  )


Here’s Faith,  (some people call her Ralph) who played Scrooge’s girlfriend when they were kids. (Was Bella the name, maybe? I can’t remember.)

While the Nation Clan dominated the action, they did let a few other people act in the play.

play-noel This is Christmas Present with Scrooge. She carried a pillow and lammed him with it every now and then. He carried a cane, but never did smack her back. He has to have a lot of self-control, because he’s the local middle school principal.

playOne of these guys is a local Highway Patrolman or Lake Patrolman as well as a trapper.  If you look to the left, you’ll see Christmas Future. (I think he’s the Baptist Preacher’s son. PKs always get the best parts. 🙂  )

That boy never did forget a line. The sad thing is, that kept Omega from doing her job. (She was a very prompt prompter.)

Don’t you love Christmas programs? Don’t you wish you’d been there?

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☺ My Real Birthday ☺

Yesterday was my birthday. My Christian birthday. For most of my life, I didn’t remember the date of our baptism, so since it was one year on Easter, I celebrated every Easter, no matter what the date was.

Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I ran over to the church on a weekday and asked the secretary if she could find it.

She did. It read, “Mrs. Gary Shay, baptised March 29, 19–.

“Who wrote that?” I asked, feeling a little irritated. I’ve never understood being called Mrs. G-Man when my name’s Susan, and I don’t mind explaining. “That’s not my name, and it sure wasn’t my name when I accepted Christ!”

Naturally, the secretary had an explanation so sweet that I shrugged and let her shove me out the door. (Joking. I went to high school with this sweet woman, and she never gives anyone the bum’s rush.)

Isn’t it funny, though, that seven words tell what happened all those years ago? It doesn’t really. It might help if you looked at the line right above mine. It said, “Carol Spess, baptised March 29, 19–.

Same day, same year.

I was seven years old, Daddy was twenty-eight. He’d gone to church some while growing up, but he’d never accepted Christ as his Savior.

When my parents married, Mama was a CHRISTIAN. She had a heart for the Lord that shined so bright, to be around her you nearly needed sunglasses. Make that SONglasses. 😉

Naturally, she took her kids to Sunday School and church and Vacation Bible School and every other time the doors were open. After we moved to C-Town, Daddy started going to church with us all the time.

When we hadn’t been here very long, Roy and Gloria Blizzard, the young new First Christian preacher and his wife, moved in down the street. They got to be really good friends with my folks. They spent time together, laughed together, and often ate together.

I think Dad saw the light of Christ in Mama and Roy and Gloria and the other people in our church, and wanted that for himself.

On that Resurrection Sunday (a loooong time ago) I wanted to be baptised. I wanted Christ to live in me, and I wanted Daddy to be baptised, too. But when I looked up at him that morning, he was hanging on to the pew in front of him, real tight. I wasn’t sure what to do.

So I pushed him. 🙂 He still remembers trying to make up his mind that morning, one way or the other, and hanging tight to that wooden pew, when I gave him a few strong nudges.

You might wonder how an seven-year-old girl could know enough about God to make a decision like that. After all, I hadn’t seen much of life and nothing of the world. I hadn’t had problems I wanted Him to help me through, and I sure didn’t possess a lot of Biblical knowledge.

But I’d seen Jesus. I talked with Him and LOVED Him, and wanted Him to live in me for all my life.

So I nudged Dad and it worked. Daddy and I started up the aisle with Mama right beside us, holding my hand. Funny the things you remember and what you don’t remember. I don’t remember my Easter dress that year or Mom’s or my sisters’. I don’t remember who else was baptised that day, but there were several of us.

I remember Mama’s hand shook, but Daddy’s was rock steady. She’d already accepted Christ, and had been baptised at a young-ish age. Why should she tremble? I wondered.

I don’t remember my voice being childishly high or clear, but it probably was as I made the Good Confession–

“I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and I want Him as my personal savior.”

Mama went to the dressing area and helped me put on a red robe that was a mile to long, but that didn’t matter because when I waded into the baptistery at the front of the church, it floated and didn’t trip me.

Roy, our preacher, was a tall man with jet black hair who talked with a Texas accent. I don’t remember where he was from, just that sometimes his words sounded double jointed.

He gave me a handkerchief to put over my nose and raised one hand, “Susan Caroll Spess, I baptise you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins so that you may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

“Buried with Him through baptism into His death, (he lowered me under, so there was water noise in my ears) to rise and walk in the newness of life.”

So wish us both a happy Christian birthday. I’d tell you how old we are, spiritually, but I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count.

And my dad? He grew as a Christian and in a few years became a Deacon. Several years after that, he was made an Elder. Because of his and Mama’s witness, his mother, father, at least two of his siblings and the other five of his children (and others in his life) became Christians.

Then at my son’s wedding this past weekend, Dad prayed before the reception that God would bless the food to our nourishment and, more importantly, Brad and Nicole’s life together.

As he prayed, I got a feeling deep inside that even though my baby was married and would never truly be my baby again, everything was going according to God’s plan.

Thank you with all my heart.

Love you, Pops.

PS: All of the beautiful scripture pictures are from Pearls of Grace on Facebook. Thanks!


A Servant’s Heart

A servant with a true heart will respond like a servant when treated like one.

I’ve heard that or something close to it said a couple of times, and to be very honest, the first time I heard it, I was kind of shocked. Not because of the idea. It makes sense. But because I’d never thought of it that way.

A Christian is Christlike, right? In public school, when I was in 5th grade, there was a question on a test that said, What does “Christian” mean?

Correct Answer: A follower of Christ. (I missed it, because I spelled follower wrong. A flower of Christ just doesn’t have the same meaning.)

A follower of Christ is one who walks with him. Does what He did. They’re like Christ.

I get that, because in Okie Land when I was a kid, most little girls were taught to act like that. In fact, I don’t remember a girl in grade school who didn’t at least claim a church.

And it wasn’t only our parents who taught us that kind of thing. School teachers did, too. “Be nice. Play fair. Don’t leave anyone out. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Remember the Golden Rule.”

Matthew 7:12

12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Trouble is these days, people don’t always respond in kind. If I’m nice to you, you’re supposed to be nice to me. Right?

Philippians 2:5-7

5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.


What, exactly, was a servant back in Jesus time? Probably not someone named Jeeves, who wore a tux and answered the door when the bell rang. And probably not a woman who wore a white apron and silly cap, who bobbed curtseys and said, “Yes, mum.”

I’ve mentioned I’m not a Bible scholar. I’m not a Bible historian, either. I can’t tell you exactly how a servant was treated during the time Christ was on earth, but I can’t imagine it being much fun.

I doubt the family the servant worked for remembered please and thank you or gave them the same food as the family ate. Or a clean bed to sleep in.

I think a servant’s role was to work his/her heart out for a family that was more often than not rude and ungrateful. They were probably talked down to, berated and blamed for things they didn’t do.

I figure with all the drama in a household, they were supposed to do their work in a cheerful manner. (Who wants to be around a grouchy servant? I don’t even like grouchy waitresses.) And, of course, a servant should fade into the woodwork but be johnny-on-the-spot when needed.

♥ ♥ ♥

Ever been treated like a servant and had your hair catch on fire? I have. 😦

Ever been treated like a servant and treated that person like a servant right back? I have. 😦

Ever been treated like a servant and left in a huff, never to return? I have. 😦

Ever seen someone you love treated like a servant, and not been able to forgive it, even after many, many years? I have. 😦

Ever wish you could have “helped” God when He decided what a true Christian is? I have. 😦

♥ ♥ ♥

I don’t mind serving, as long as I don’t get treated as if that’s my due. I want to be appreciated. Loved. Applauded. Appreciated for what I’ve done.

But Jesus wasn’t. He was beaten. Spit on. Denied. Nailed to a cross for my sins.

After all that, He said, Father forgive them. They just don’t get it. Yet. (My paraphrase.)

Luke 23:34

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Forgive me, Lord, when I just don’t get it. Yet.


Who Was Your First?

After a long time (maybe not long enough, huh?) Terminally Curious has reared her head. She wants to know, Who was your first crush?

Mine came when I was about eight or ten years old. He was on TV. He was so cute and so very, very nice in just about everything he played. Who could help but like him?

Actor Michael Landon at 42nd Emmy Awards - Gov...

Image via Wikipedia

My sister and friend and I were all in “like” with him and were lucky enough to score a picture of him, even though we didn’t send an SASE.  Tragically it wasn’t long before one of the babies chewed a hole in it (we were awful about putting things away) so it hit the trash.

But that didn’t stop me from caring for the guy. Even today, I’m thrilled when an old TV show or movie with Michael Landon in it airs.

When I grew up, I learned he wasn’t quite the guy I’d envisioned. But from what I’ve read, the children who worked with him still adore him. And that says a lot for a man.

Most girls (or guys) don’t fall the first time for a kid her own age–they fall for someone older and usually a little bit famous.

Not having daughters, it’s been fun to watch my sisters’ daughters as they  matured. One of my nieces liked the older guys she knew from church, calling them her “boyfriends” even when she was tiny. 🙂

Why do young girls get crushes, especially on people they can only watch on TV and talk about? I think it’s God’s way of letting them learn about the traits they’ll want in their own guys when they really start dating.

Will the girl learn to care more about tall-dark-and-handsome or will she want a guy who’s a Christian? One who’s nice and caring, one who wants people to feel good rather than hurting them for his own enjoyment?

Now it’s your turn to share. Tell us about your first crush. Was it the Rifleman’s son? Leonardo? Elvis? The tallest player on the high school basket ball team?

Was he anything like the guy you ended up marrying when you were grown?  Terminally Curious would love to know!


Strength and Courage

Love with a Heart Like His Shadowbox

Image by Rita H Cobbs via Flickr

I promised to pass on some exciting news today, which came while on retreat with my romance writers group, but I’ve been asked to hold it a while. Sorry. It wasn’t a trick. I want to tell you about it!

I can tell you I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in prayer while we were there. (I woke up hours before my roomies did.) Each morning, I had time to sit outside near that beautiful pond, and pray. And listen. And pray some more.

I also had a chance to take a walk one afternoon. Isn’t it beautiful when you can walk with the Lord alone?

Since I can’t pass on the fantastic news, I’ll share something else with you.   

There’s something I think you’ll enjoy reading. It’s written by Beth Moore’s daughter, Amanda, on her blog. (I’ll give you the link later.) Many times she tells light-hearted tales about her children and their life, but this one is serious and, to be honest, heart touching.

She’s talking about spiritual warfare she and her husband have been experiencing in their lives. All Christians suffer from spiritual warfare of one kind or another. (If you haven’t been attacked in some way, you might look into your walk with the Lord.) Not all attacks are the same, and for that I’m very grateful.

I’ve never had the type of attack she’s talking about in this blog, but one of my closest friends has.

Through no fault of her own, my friend found herself single after many years of marriage. She spent hours and hours with friends and alone, fasting and praying for her spouse. Sometime around then, the attacks began.

And it’s no surprise. When a woman begins to build that kind of spiritual muscle, Satan is bound to take notice. He has to do what he can to stop her. But of course, she didn’t stop. She continued, holding the Lord’s hand and being prayed for by her sisters (blood and non-blood.)

When the attacks came, and it seems as if that happened for many weeks (to a big sister anything like that can grow in memory) she’d pray. Hers didn’t just happen in her sleep or dreams. She felt the attacks even after she woke.

I remember waking in the night several times to pray for her. I was never sure if God woke me before, after or instead of her, but He woke me. And I prayed. Many of her friends did.

I wish I could have been there to stand beside her during that time. But Someone stronger and much wiser than me was always there, watching over and taking care of her.

Oh, what a joy it is to know Him!

Deut. 31: 6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

To read Amanda’s article on spiritual warfare click here: Baby Bangs.