Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Make a Dragonfly

DFA few years ago I made a whole flock of wire angels–a la Carol Duvall. (I tried to find the instructions online to share with you, but couldn’t. Sorry.)

After that, I thought, “Why not make dragonflies instead?

DFThis guy is one of the first. Poor thing doesn’t have a head, but he’s cute anyway.

I thought you might enjoy knowing how I change an angel into a fly. 🙂

dftailFirst you wrap wire around a round thing about 10 times, and leave a long tail.

dfwrapWrap that long tail around the loops and wrap it tightly!

dfdivideThen I divide the wraps in half. (Kinda looks like a snowman lying down, doesn’t it?)

dfwingsOne half is for the wings, the other for the tail.

dfbeadWrap the wings and add a bead for the head. (Most dragonflies have heads.)

dfspreadStraighten out the tail and wrap it with that long piece of wire. Then spread out the wings.

dfflyAnd you have a dragonfly!

You can add a pin to the back and wear it on a lapel, make it smaller, add hooks and wear them in your ears, or make it larger and hang it on your Christmas tree!

dragonfliesMine hang in the bathroom on my wrought iron. I think they’re kind of cute.

Like them?

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Names of Jesus

cropped-merry-stars.jpgKnow whose birthday is coming up in a little over a week? 🙂

Those are some of His names in my header. I decided to do that because I read of a woman who made wire Christmas ornaments of some of Jesus’s names. She thought it was important for her kids that He have a presence on their Christmas tree, and now she has them for sale. You can see them here.

But I’d seen a beautiful “sign” at Thanksgiving, and thought I’d like to do that with Jesus’s names. (Those little ornaments would get lost on my tree full of pictures and bling.) So I started trying to figure out how to make one of those signs.

I planned to finish it in 8 1/2 X 11, print it out and either frame it or Modge Podge it on a board. But seeing that Christmas is just a little over a week away, I don’t know if that’s going to happen or not.

Do you know what happens when you start doing something like this sign with the names of Jesus? His names start standing up and making themselves known.

There’s one. There’s another one. Oh! Look, there’s another one.

I wish I could tell you my favorite of them. One moment I think it’s “I Am,” next I think it’s, “Lover of My Soul,” or “Lamb of God” who was sacrifice for my sins. Or maybe it’s “Immanuel, God with Us.”

God With Us. I love that.

But my favorite? I don’t know.

How about you?


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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! When I was growing up, Mama made a big deal out of it and passed that enjoyment on to her kiddos.

It’s always been my favorite time of the year, too. From our first Christmas as a family, G-Man and I’ve loved it! garyWe lived in B’ville for our first Christmas. Those are insulated coveralls, Santa brought him for riding his motorcycle. The rocking chair behind him was my present. (I still have mine, but the coveralls are long gone. LOL!)

SusanNotice the gorgeous Christmas tree. It’s a cedar, and when I was growing up, it was the REAL Christmas tree.

baby-dannyThen Baby Danny came along. (Okay, about five years later, Baby Danny came along.) That’s when the real fun at Christmas began.

Knowing how active and inquisitive Danny was, we put the tree on top of the card table, and bought all soft, knitted ornaments in case he succeeded in grabbing the tree and turning it over.

Luckily, he never did. I don’t remember what was in that present under the tree, but I still have the ornaments on my tree today, even though I don’t have to worry about him turning it over anymore. Much.

Brad-toys

This is Baby Bradley at Mama’s on Christmas morning. You know it’s Mom’s because of the red carpet. Mama loved red–because it’s the quintessential Christmas color? Could be!

When Brad was this size and I took his picture, he always looked as if I’d just caught him doing something. Can you see that innocent, “Who, me?” look? LOL!

gifts-and-tearsI laugh every time I look at this picture. We’d just moved to Pryor Creek the August before. Brad (on the right) was one and Matt (crying) was three. For some reason, the kids naturally opened their presents one at a time while the others watched. The others would then go and try to take it away from the owner.

More tears than understanding that Christmas. (And parental laughter!)

Matt-giftThose Christmas morning battles dissipated as the boys learned to enjoy their own presents, or to be sneakier about taking them from the others. 🙂

3-boysBatmen and Mickey Mouse came for Christmas one year, and everyone had a great time.

Don’t you love the look on all their faces? Danny’s thinking, “How soon can I go back to bed?”

Matt’s just giddy with the happiness of  celebrating the season.

And Brad is thinking, “I’ll bet I can swipe those other gifts and put them back before anyone finds out.”

We’re back where we started now. All the boys have wives, homes, and (furry) children of their own. But Christmas is still the most wonderful time of the year.

I think I’ll go paint something red. 🙂

 

 

 


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Teach the Children

 

English: Santa Claus with a little girl Espera...

From Facebook–

This isn’t original with me (it’s all over Facebook) but I love it. I’m sharing it here in case you missed it. Wednesday, we’ll be back to our regularly schoeduled program.

merry-christmas-ball.jpg
Late one Christmas Eve, I sank back, tired but content, into my easy chair. The kids were in bed, the gifts were wrapped, the milk and cookies waited by the fireplace for Santa. As I sat back admiring the tree with its decorations, I couldn’t help feeling that something important was missing. It wasn’t long before the tiny twinkling tree lights lulled me to sleep.

I don’t know how long I slept, but all of a sudden I knew that I wasn’t alone. I opened my eyes, and you can imagine my surprise when I saw Santa Claus himself standing next to my Christmas tree. He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot just as the poem described him, but he was not the “jolly old elf” of Christmas legend. The man who stood before me looked sad and disappointed, and there were tears in his eyes.

“Santa, what’s wrong?” I asked, “Why are you crying?”

“It’s the children,” Santa replied sadly.

“But Santa, the children love you,” I said.
“Oh, I know they love me, and they love the gifts I bring them,” Santa said, “but the children of today seem to have somehow missed out on the true spirit of Christmas. It’s not their fault. It’s just that the adults, many of them not having been taught themselves, have forgotten to teach the children.”

“Teach them what?” I asked.

Santa’s kind old face became soft, more gentle. His eyes began to shine with something more than tears. He spoke softly. “Teach the children the true meaning of Christmas. Teach them that the part of Christmas we can see, hear, and touch is much more than meets the eye. Teach them the symbolism behind the customs and traditions of Christmas which we now observe. Teach them what it is they truly represent.”

Santa reached into his bag and pulled out a tiny Christmas tree and set it on my mantle. “Teach them about the Christmas tree. Green is the second color of Christmas. The stately evergreen, with its unchanging color, represents the hope of eternal life in Jesus. Its needles point heavenward as a reminder that mankind’s thoughts should turn heavenward as well.”

Santa reached into his bag again and pulled out a shiny star and placed it at the top of the small tree. “The star was the heavenly sign of promise. God promised a Savior for the world and the star was the sign of the fulfillment of that promise on the night that Jesus Christ was born. Teach the children that God always fulfills His promises, and that wise men still seek Him.”

“Red,” said Santa, “is the first color of Christmas.” He pulled forth a red ornament for the tiny tree. “Red is deep, intense, vivid. It is the color of the life-giving blood that flows through our veins. It is the symbol of God’s greatest gift. Teach the children that Christ gave His life and shed His blood for them that they might have eternal life. When they see the color red, it should remind them of that most wonderful Gift.”

Santa found a silver bell in his pack and placed it on the tree. “Just as lost sheep are guided to safety by the sound of the bell, it continues to ring today for all to be guided to the fold. Teach the children to follow the true Shepherd, who gave His life for the sheep.”

Santa placed a candle on the mantle and lit it. The soft glow from its one tiny flame brightened the room. “The glow of the candle represents how people can show their thanks for the gift of God’s Son that Christmas Eve long ago. Teach the children to follow in Christ’s foot steps… to go about doing good. Teach them to let their light so shine before people that all may see it and glorify God. This is what is symbolized when the twinkling lights shine on the tree like hundreds of bright, shining candles, each of them representing one of God’s precious children, their light shining for all to see.”

Again Santa reached into his bag and this time he brought forth a tiny red and white striped cane. As he hung it on the tree he spoke softly. “The candy cane is a stick of hard white candy: white to symbolize the virgin birth and sinless nature of Jesus, and hard to symbolize the Solid Rock the foundation of the church, and the firmness of God’s promises. The candy cane is in the form of a ‘J’ to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth. It also represents the Good Shepherd’s crook, which He uses to reach down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray. The original candy cane had three small red stripes, which are the stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed, and a large red stripe that represents the shed blood of Jesus, so that we can have the promise of eternal life.”

“Teach these things to the children.”

Santa brought out a beautiful wreath made of fresh, fragrant greenery tied with a bright red bow. “The bow reminds us of the bond of perfection, which is love. The wreath embodies all the good things about Christmas for those with eyes to see and hearts to understand. It contains the colors of red and green and the heaven-turned needles of the evergreen. The bow tells the story of good will towards all and its color reminds us of Christ’s sacrifice. Even its very shape is symbolic, representing eternity and the eternal nature of Christ’s love. It is a circle, without beginning and without end. These are the things you must teach the children.”

I asked, “But where does that leave you, Santa?”

The tears gone now from his eyes, a smile broke over Santa’s face. “Why bless you, my dear,” he laughed, “I’m only a symbol myself. I represent the spirit of family fun and the joy of giving and receiving. If the children are taught these other things, there is no danger that I’ll ever be forgotten.”

“I think I’m beginning to understand.”

“That’s why I came,” said Santa. “You’re an adult. If you don’t teach the children these things, then who will?”

(Author Unknown)


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Memories Tree

Know what this is?

How about now?

I know. This will help.

 How about this?

If you’re thinking it’s a glove, you’d be only half right. It’s also an . . .

 Are you ready for it?

ornament!

I finally decorated my 2nd tree last night. And, yes, I add the gloves every year. It started once when we bought some antique ornaments in Eureka Springs. I put them on the big tree in our living room, but it looked a little bare. I didn’t want to put new ornaments on it, so I added Grandmother’s old gloves.

 I love the way they look, dangling there. And since I have some of Grandmother’s ornaments on the tree

such as the sputnik at the bottom of this picture

and this satellite, I figure they belong there. Their shapes tell you their birthdates–the fifties.

Here are a few more of my favorite old ornaments–

Mama had an ornament like this when I was a kid. My secret tradition was for me to put it on the tree.

My Joanie ornament.

The year Joanie and I lived together, we had a tiny cedar Christmas tree that Dad cut for us. This ornament is like the ones we had on that tree.

 And this is just a cool old ornament.

All my old ornaments aren’t family hand-me-downs; some are just pretty. Or interesting. So if you see some orphaned ones on the loose somewhere, let me know. I’ll give them a good home!

This is under my Grandmother tree.

 It’s a tree skirt.

Mom and I were at market in Dallas, and she had me order this one for Grandmother and one with a red background for her house. (I think Brother Jeffrey has the red one under his tree.)

The back of it is Christmas red, and in one corner it says, “1991; To Ruby from Carol and Mary Sue. Happy Mother’s Day.”

Check out last year’s post, THE GRANDMOTHER TREE. 🙂


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Why a Tree for Christmas?

Christmas tree

Do you ever stop and think about our Christmas traditions? Why we do what we do? I know I’m weird (at least that’s what my sisters told me growing up) but I do.

Here’s the one that’s had me by the throat since a week ago Sunday. I was chatting with my cousin’s mother when she commented on how beautiful our tree at FC3 is. (It’s always gorgeous, but she hasn’t attended church there for that long.)

So here it is . . . Does anybody know why we have the tradition of a Christmas tree? If you stop and think about it, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Like I’ve said before, I get the stars and the gifts and the decorations, but why a tree?

It would make more sense to decorate a manger, wouldn’t it? Or build a stable and decorate that?

I looked on Wikipedia, and they told me the tradition started in the 1500s, but they didn’t say why. The way I read it there, it was as if someone else did it so I want to, too. I can’t imagine that’s how it happened.

I remember several stories my mom told me when I was a child. Why Nicholas was made a saint, thereby becoming Santa Claus. Why animals talk at midnight on Christmas Eve. (Because they were there to see the Christ Child born, so they tell the story every Christmas Eve.) But I can’t remember if she ever told me why a Christmas Tree.

I honestly don’t know. I can guess, though.

Maybe it goes along with why red and green are the primary Christmas colors.

Here’s my theory:

Christmas is celebrating the birth of Christ. And we know He was born to die for our sins. So when we celebrate His birth, in a sense, we’re celebrating His death, too.

So I’m thinking the red to remind us of the blood He shed.

The Christmas tree is to remind us of the cross, the tree He was nailed to. But rather than a tree that loses its leaves, the tree is an evergreen, because He rose after three days in the grave and, in Him, we also have everlasting life.

So there it is–my explanation for why we celebrate with red, green and an evergreen tree. Right or wrong? Who knows? (If you do, please tell me!)

One thing I know absolutely–Because of Him, we can be “ever green.”

Now, I think I need more red on my tree. 🙂

Ps:

In answering Steve Bock’s comment where he quotes Jeremiah 10:2-4 (below) I went to The Bible Answer Man’s website and found this origin for the Christmas Tree. (You can read the entire thing in comments.)

The fact of the matter is that the Christmas tree originated in Christian Germany about two thousand years after Jeremiah’s criticisms of wooden idols. It originated from two Christian symbols found in homes at Christmas time. The first was a “Paradise tree,” an evergreen which was hung with apples which represented the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. The second symbol was a “Christmas pyramid.” This of course was a triangular shelf holding Christmas figurines and decorated with a star. By about the 16th century these two symbols had been combined into the Christian Christmas tree.

Thanks Hank!


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The Reason

I finally got one of our Christmas trees decorated. It’s the tree I put the kitchen sink on.

You know what I mean. This is the one with ornaments friends have given me, kids made me, ones that weren’t really ornaments but I hang them on the tree anyway.

Oh, wait. I have those on both my trees. 😉

Anyway, when I’m decorating this tree (it takes over one end of the family room) I do a lot of praying. I pray for my kids and their spouses as I hang the ornaments that have pictures of them as kids and the ones they made me when they were little.

I have a bell that one of my friends gave everyone at her wedding several years ago that hangs there, so I pray for her, her husband and her two kids.

Gorgeous ornaments I’ve scored playing Dirty Santa at the RWI party each year give me several spunky ladies to pray for. (And sometimes I pray for the ones I stole them from. 🙂 )

I have one from a very special secret sister who passed away the week before my youngest son was born, so I pray for her family when I put it on the tree.

I pray for G-Man when I hang something from a package he gave me, and I pray for my walking buddy when I hang Santa’s underwear. (She swiped them from him.)

I have a sparkly N’awlins mask my friend Marilyn made me one year, so she gets prayed over.

And I have a gorgeous hand made ornament my friend who went through hip replacement before I did. She was so encouraging to me, she gets a pile of “bless hers”.

I have a beautiful dove Sweet Shirley made everyone in the office. Blessings on her, too.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t stop, get on my knees and spend hours praying for each of these people. I just ask the Lord to bless them as I work. And I think about the joy they’ve given me over the years. (And years and, in come cases, YEARS!)

And since no one volunteers to help me put the ornaments on the tree (or take them off) I have lots of quiet time to pray.

He’s the one I should be talking to when I decorate my tree, anyway, right?

After all, He’s the Reason for the Season.