Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


TBT–Granddad’s Garden

Whenever I think about Grandmother and Granddad, there’s usually food involved. Delicious, wonderful, fantastic food.

Grandmother and Granddad

Grandmother and Granddad

One of my first memories is of Granddad Ray’s garden there in Old ‘Ford on the other side of the garage. For as long as I can remember, Granddad always had a garden. Or three. Once, I got in trouble for picking his green tomatoes.

“Honest. All I did was look at the thing and it came off in my hand.” (Not sure they believed it.)

Sometimes in the summertime, we’d get to go to the farm and work with Granddad, and that usually meant we’d go to his garden. That was the best job ever, because Granddad usually took sweet lemonade (actually, a sweet orangy-lemon drink) and we got to eat a watermelon or two if they were ripe. Fresh, warm tomatoes, right off the vine, made lunch delicious!

We lived next door to Grandmother and Granddad in C-Town (and in the same house with them in Old ‘Ford) and had lunch with Grandmother most days.

Grandmother and Granddad, a few years later

Grandmother and Granddad, a few years later

Granddad didn’t just raise lots of food, he shared the veggies with the whole family, and very lucky friends.

I loved it in the spring when he dug new potatoes. Grandmother would boil them, slip off the peels and then fry the whole boiled potatoes! She’d also cook new potatoes in with the green beans Granddad raised. Bacon drippings gave it the best flavor! Spring onions and a bowl of those green beans was a meal that would make your tongue lap your brains out! (That’s a Daddy/Granddad saying.)

Sometimes, Grandmother would fry the mountain of squash that Granddad brought in. She’d cut up a crookneck in thin slices, soak them in salt water, coat them in flour and fry. YUM-MY! Better than potato chips. (Grandma Reeves wouldn’t eat squash because she said it was “poor folks’ food.” Made me glad to be poor!)


Notice, there’s a theme here. Fry it or add bacon drippings to it (or fry it in bacon drippings) and no matter what you’re cooking, it’ll taste great! (And your grandchildren will have very happy memories about the time they spent with you.) Might not be the healthiest eats in the world, but it made me feel very loved.

Do you have foody memories of your grandparents? What’s your favorite?



Urgent Fun!

Lifesavers - Five Flavor - 1950's Wrapper

Show of hands. How many people have a great time at an Urgent Care? I visited one last night where I had a ball!

Here’s the deal. Last week, New Hip decided to develop an invisible nail to stab me with occasionally. Not often–just once or twice a day. And the sharp pain didn’t last long–not more than five minutes, tops.

But when it hurt, it HURT.  One of those, ‘I can’t walk, don’t ask me’ times. You know? (If you don’t, don’t worry about it. You aren’t missing anything.)

After a week or so of these hip attacks, I started remembering a man from C-Town who’d popped his replaced hip out of joint 16 or 18 times. That and all the Hip-Replacement-Class-Action-Lawsuit commercials these days made me think I should give my sweet doctor a call.

Yes, he’s nice, and might be called eye candy by some people, but that had nothing to do with my call. 😉 I didn’t even get to talk to him. His assistant returned my call (sigh) and told me to go to their Urgent Care Center.

I always think of UC like an emergency room, so I figured I’d be there for a few hours. When we walked in, there were only two blue-haired women waiting. That encouraged me, until the larger of the pair focused hard on me and muttered a dour, “Good luck.”

I have to tell you, though, that was the worst part of the evening.

Everyone else had a delightful sense of humor. (Yay!) The x-ray dude x-plained why the metal brads on my britches (yoga pants, maybe?) showed up like a pair of glowing Wintergreen Lifesavers on the films and the PA’s assistant swore to go to her grave without revealing my weight. The PA I saw was absolutely delightful.

Since my x-rays were perfect (except for the Lifesavers) PA thought it might be something else.

Well, my knee on the other leg . . .  I whined. (Don’t  you hate whiners?) And . . .

She did everything but start singing–


“The knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone, the hip bone’s connected to the back bone, now hear the word of the Lord. “

So sweet PA figured it out (I hope!) and ‘splained it to me so even I could understand without sounding like she was talking to a two-year-old. (I didn’t have to ask her to speak plain English once!)

Then we started talking books. One of my favorite subjects! And since I just happened to have a couple of my business cards in my purse that my sweet friend Ashley made for me, which just happen to have my book covers on them, I just happened to share one with her.

And I shared with x-ray dude. And the PA’s assistant. And the receptionist, who mentioned they have another woman who works there who loves to read, and could I leave one for her, too? 😛

Naturally, I invited them all to go eat at Ted’s with G-Man and me.

They didn’t. (They weren’t off work yet.)

Back to the show of hands. How many people besides me have fun when they go to an emergency room? Surely I’m not the only one.



Sisterly Things

Did you see I’m working on a new verse to memorize? Here it is–

Romans 14:2-3.

One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.

#2 Sister in the Spess Family line up (Deb) has invited me to take part in an eight week getting-healthy-challenge she saw on Pinterest. It’s a weight loss doin’-my-bod’-good thing, posted by this sisterly blog.deb clown

Sister Debbie is the cute clown on the right. 🙂

Of course, Sister Deb has an unfair advantage. She’s a long time snacker of low cal things, such as stems and twigs.


Sister Deb told me she’s memorizing Bible verses twice a month, too. (Does she live a disciplined life or what?)

In honor of The Challenge, she chose a verse in one of the Peters. Now I would have joined her in memorizing that verse, but I couldn’t remember which one it was. (Obviously, it’s not just my verses I have trouble remembering. I’m an equal opportunity forgetter.)


Since I couldn’t remember her verse, I searched for one of my own. Turns out, Paul had some light to shed on my quest in Romans 14–especially verse three.

One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 

It’s telling the girlies who are good at healthy living (aka–dieting) not to gloat over those of us who aren’t. I’m going to need that verse! 🙂

BTW: Verse two is for #1 Son and his comment from my Confession Blog. *wink*

The Challenge is not a specific diet, so I’m up for any hints, tips or tricks that have worked for you in the past.

Anybody wanna share?



I read this morning that being popular on Facebook will make you fat. LOL.

Funny thing is, several years ago I told an author friend that I thought you could probably measure how good a writer was by the size of her backside.

My meaning was, the harder a writer works at her craft, the more she sits and doesn’t exercise. A few years after that, the same friend lost over a hundred pounds, and is an even more successful writer than before. So much for my theory. 🙂

Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent every year on weight loss. (I know, because I spend my share while trying to lose.) But there’s only one way to lose the fat–more exercise, fewer calories.

Everybody knows that. (I mean, if I know it, who doesn’t?)

So why is it so hard to lose? And once we’ve lost, why is it so hard to keep the weight off?

Because we like to eat. Food comforts us, doesn’t it? We show those around us how much we love them by the food we cook. Birthday cakes. Brunch on our day off. Candy for Christmas, Valentines, and Easter.

And to be honest, exercise hurts. (At least it hurts me when I’m getting started.)

Speaking of hurting, last week we talked to a man who told us his entire church does the Daniel Diet every year in January. Of course I’ve heard of it. (Haven’t you?)

ArtBook__023_023__DanielRefusingTheKingsFoodAndWine_Sm___Read about Daniel here.

It’s also known as the Daniel Fast. (A word that strikes fear in my heart.)

For those of you who haven’t looked into it, it’s–

  • No MEAT
  • No WHEAT
  • No SWEET
  • Only drink is filtered water.

I’m not sure where Daniel got a water filter, but who am I to question?

Remember, if it ends in an EET sound, spit it out.

To be honest, the three weeks spent on this diet/fast is a time of reflection and renewal in your walk with God. A great way to start the year.

Will I be trying it?

Not without a word from God. If I’m sent that direction by Him, absolutely! But as it stands right now, I’m going to stick with fewer calories, and  more exercise.

And if I get that word from God, I’ll be leaning on Him big time to get through it. (And a giant barrel of peanut butter.)

Have you tried the Daniel? How’d it go? Did you cheat???


Happy New Year!

I’m so excited! Know what you’re getting? (I’m getting one, too!)

Hints: It’s big. It’s full. You can do anything you want with it. And you get to open it tonight.

Give up?

It’s a Brand New Year!

I’m kind of weird about it, but I love starting the new year. Having 365 days I can fill any way I want is exciting.

I know, so many things in our lives feel as if they’re set in stone. But if you don’t like it, YOU are the only one who can change it. And this (now!) is absolutely the time to start that change.

It isn’t easy, but if you stop to think about it, it’s absolutely worth all the trouble it causes. So, how do you go about changing something?

  1. Decide what you want to change. (It’s best for me not to be too specific or too general, but you must do it the way that works for you.)
  2. Research ways to make that change and decide on your best course. (Be flexible enough so if one way doesn’t work out, you can try another.)
  3. Talk about it as you go so you don’t shock the people around you too much.
  4. Write it down. (I’m big on goal setting.)
  5. Post it to your vision board.

I’ll do this in several areas of my life: Spiritual, Health, Home, Writing, Personal Relationships.

Want an example? Okay, I want to lose weight this year. (Health)

  • Decide approximately how much I want to lose.
  • Research weight loss programs. (I’m hoping to find a Christian based program, but I might decide on Weight Watchers.)
  • Research ways to circumvent problems. (When I’m hungry between meals, what can I eat that’s not a Plan Wrecker? What can I keep for Mindless Munching that’s not a PW?)
  • Research exercise plans. (Best ones for burning calories!)
  • Resolve that no matter what the celebration or what anyone else has cooked what’s going on in my world, I’m going to stick with my plan.

This is hard for me, because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feeling if I don’t eat their goodies. And I feel as if I’m no fun to be around if I don’t eat like everyone else. 😦

  • Tell the people around me what I’m doing. (Reserve the right to whack the back of the head if someone answers, “good, you need to.”)
  • Stay away from people I know will try to sabotage me, no matter how much fun they are.
  • Write down my objective and strategic plan so I can’t fool myself or change my mind.
  • Post a picture to my vision board. Either an old picture of me before weight gain or a picture of someone else who looks the way I want to.

What’s a vision board? Whatever you want it to be. Mine is a poster board with pictures or a couple of words about my goals. The trick is to hang it where you’ll see it every day. Then remember to look at it, so when you get back to your everyday grind, your goals won’t slip your mind.

I have a feeling mine’s going to be pretty full this year. 🙂

Question: Do you make resolutions or set goals for the New Year? Will you share one or two?