Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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I Know the Big Guy!

I know the real Santa.

Don’t raise your eyebrows. It’s true, I do know him.

I met him a long time ago, back when my kids were small.

Here’s how I know him. Every year, St. Nick visited C-Town. When my kids were little, even though we lived in Pryor Creek and had our own parade there, the boys insisted we had to come home to C-Town because that was the only place where the real Santa made it for the parade.

So we’d come home. We watched the bands and floats and Shriners entertain, and even though there was a wonderful show going on, the boys only wanted one thing. Okay, two things. Candy and to see Santa riding on the big red fire engine.

And when Santa cruised past, he always waved his hand at our corner of the parade route and shouted, “Hi Danny! Hi Kyle! Hi Matt! Hi Brad! Hi Grant! Hi Melanie!  Merry Christmas.” For him to know their names, he had to be the authentic Kris Kringle, didn’t he?

Santa also took time to come to our church to visit with the kids after the Christmas program. He not only knew their names, he gave them  each a bag of candy, too.

So #1 son deducted that he HAD to be the only real Santa.

Who was I to argue?

SHAY KIDS DO NOT READ THIS!!! (I mean it. You’ve been warned.)

PS:  Don’t tell my kiddos, but the Big Guy was represented by a Christian man in our church. His suit was made by one of the wonderfully talented women in our church. (Don’t you love people who donate their time and talent so freely?)

This man was kind and loving to the kids in town and very, very patient. (With the length of some of the lists and the crying the babies did, he had to have a ton of patience!)

Not only was he a member of the church we went to most of my life, but he was also a neighbor. They make the best Santas, don’t they?

Way back when I was a kid and one of my sibs recognized the Santa we visited or noticed his beard wasn’t real, Mama always explained it by telling them the man was Santa’s helper. He had to have helpers like that because the Big Guy was so busy at the North Pole getting ready to fill up that sleigh and make his whirl-wind trip to all the boys and girls in the world.

Wow. Remember believing that? What a sweet time it was when we really believed that all the world received gifts. Back before we knew about hate, unhappiness, prejudice and my-way-or-the-highway kinds of life. And before we knew about poverty in parts of the world that make you cry to think about.

I still believe in Santa. (Even though Paula told me the truth when I was four. BTW–it’s okay, Paula. I enjoyed knowing and helping Mom keep the secret all those years.)

Besides, Santa is the Spirit of giving and Christmas and forgetting old hurts and loving one another. So of course, I BELIEVE!

Do you?

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A Brand New Year is on the Way

2013 is a’comin’!

2011 4th of july 063Are you ready?

  • Resolutions set?
  • Party plans made?
  • Christmas decorations all put away?
  • Count down started?

My answer to all those questions would be a loud, resounding, “NO!”

I still have my decorations up and my lights on.

Resolutions? Well, I’ve thought about them, but don’t know if I’ll write them down at all.

2011 4th of july 038

And a party? PARTY? I don’t think so.

The truth is, I remember very few parties I’ve given/attended on NYE in my life. As a kid when our parents would go to a New Years Eve Sunday School party, sometimes the other kids whose parents were at that party would come to our house.

Sometimes.

But I’ve never done the stuff you see on movies about cool parties. No balloon drops. No streamers. No sparkly balls dropping.

I did take G-Man to Eureka Springs to the Basin Hotel once. We had a nice, nice dinner, then went back to the hotel room to watch movies. 🙂

We’ve had reservations at Tulsa steak house once, but it turned out to be crowded, noisy and running late and all the waiters were cranky. And hateful.

2011 4th of july 012

We’ve even been to a concert. (Not a great idea.)

A few years ago, we discovered that going to Stillwater to dinner is a good idea, at least at the Chinese buffet we like. All the college kids are still at home (or want to go to a big city for the night) and navigating that town is easy.

Tonight, though, we plan to stay home. I might make pizza or buy a carry out early in the day, along with a little finger food, then we’re going to stay HOME.

Scarlett and I will think about putting away Christmas decorations tomorrow. 🙂

What do you plan to do?


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Mayans Didn’t Get Me

Yikes! I missed saying hi yesterday. I just hope that didn’t scare you.

I just now realized that, being it was December 21, 2012 yesterday, you might have thought I’d disappeared with the Mayans. Or that the planets (aligned for the only time in the past six hundred jillion years) made a magnetic gateway and sucked me away to that happy place over the rainbow.

Didn’t. Happen.

I know you’re relieved to find out I was only sucked into the world of Christmas while I wrapped gifts. Blogworld slipped my mind.

The good news is, I have most of my gifts wrapped. The bad news is, I was late for work for about the 30th time this week. And since I only have five work days in a week, that’s not an easy thing to do.

1-Christmas-shoesThese are a pair of shoes I bought at my Forever Friend’s aunt’s estate sale. I’ve had them several years, and this year I thought they needed to come out of the closet. Kinda cool, huh?

3-Christmas-feather-treeHere’s my feather tree. I usually put on the yellow and green balls that came with it, but this year I thought candy canes. Pretty, and edible. What’s better than that when it comes to decorations?

7-Christmas-kitchenThis is the kitchen. I’ve had the triple candle lights since we lived in Pryor Creek. I thought it made the wreaths look  homey and warmish this year.

5-ChrismtasThis is the doll I bought at War Eagle in the fall. She’s all dressed up for Christmas –well, she has a new necklace and a Santy hat–and she’s sitting in the trunk my kiddos bought me last Christmas. (I love it!)

5-Christmas-2But the poor dear still doesn’t have a name. I’ve been thinking about a few such as Gussie, Matilda and Minerva. Leaning toward Gussie at this point. Which ever I choose, I have a feeling she won’t be happy with it. I never have seen her smile.

Maybe if she gets a present under the Christmas Tree, she’ll cheer up. 🙂

 

 


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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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Christmas in Heaven

This is a repeat from last year, with a few changes. 😉 I hope you’ll enjoy it.

another-merry-christmas

I started to repost this on Facebook yesterday. At Christmas, I like remembering friends and loved ones who’ve passed.

But when I really looked at that picture and read the words, it sounds almost as if my loved ones were gone. Over.

That’s not true. Those who’ve gone on are in HEAVEN! (No doubt about that.) They’re with the Jesus, face to face!

Can you imagine the celebration There when it’s Jesus’s birthday? The joy, happiness, the atmosphere of pure love that happens when they celebrate The Day the creator of the universe and everything in it became a helpless human child, so that thirty odd years later he could take our sins?

Try to imagine the colors. The songs. The absolute explosion of joy that inundates everyone during the celebration!

In my imagination, when the heavenly choirs sing, their music is visible,  colored light, like rainbows and sparkling stars. But that’s my weirdness showing there. LOL!

Christmas was Mom’s favorite holiday. She loved it, worked HARD to make it special for me, my siblings and my kids.

One year she made our picture window look like stained glass by coloring a giant picture and doing somthing to it (seems like baby oil was rubbed on it, but I was just little, so I’m not sure) to make it transparent.

And because there was no Internet, she drove to Tulsa day after day, Christmas shopping for all her loved ones. I remember many nights when she’d come in, exhausted from being over there and going from store to store, not only for our family’s gifts, but for Grandmother’s, too, since Grandmother didn’t drive.

Nope. I can’t just light a candle to remember her at Christmas. I’d have to set off an entire pyrotechnic display!


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A Day That Will Live

cropped-merry-ornament.jpgA long, long time ago in a land far, far away (at least it seems that way now) I had a very good friend named Mary. (Yes, that’s her real name.)  Mary was dating a guy she really liked (a bunch!) and he had a friend she thought I’d like.

“Want me to fix you up?”

No. No! I don’t like blind dates. I had one once, and he turned out to be a kindergartener.

But she assured me that this guy not only wasn’t a kindergartener, he’d finished college and had a real job.

Ooookay. Let’s do it! (I tried not to act too thrilled, but she probably noticed how excited I was when I didn’t stop jumping up and down.)

Now I’d had a few less than stellar dates in my time. I had one where the guy took me to Denny’s, looked at the menu and said, “I had no idea it would be this expensive!” so we got up and left.

Another guy took me out and asked me to marry him on the first date. (Uh, no. But thanks.)

And yet another guy, who had a key chain with a girl’s name on it. When I asked who Tara was (not really her name) he said, “Have I been talking about her a lot? We just broke up . . . ”

See ya.

Anyway, I knew better than to place any big expectations on this date. But at least I figured I’d be safe, since my friend, Mary, and her guy, Sam, would be with us.

December 7th, a day that will live in infamy. It was cold and windy night (for real) and I was running late. (As usual.) My apartment had only one door and it was a sliding glass patio-type door. When G-Man and his buddy got there, I didn’t have my dress on yet, so I couldn’t even invite them in.

“Hurry up! It’s cold out here.” Sigh.

I hurried, so they didn’t turn into a pair of popsicles They were just a little blue from the cold when I let them in. As soon as the ice melted off their noses and ears, we bundled up and went to pick up Mary.

I remember that Christmas season as one of the best in my memory. Why? Probably because I didn’t have a lot of stress over gifts or decorating, and I wasn’t responsible for making anyone else’s Christmas “perfect.” (And I didn’t have a kid pointing to someone else’s gifts and saying, “I didn’t get as much as him.)

All I had was a really nice guy to talk to, spend time with, get to know, and fall in love with. Great way to spend Christmas, if you ask me. 🙂

We were married five months and twelve days later.

Pretty nice Christmas present Mary gave me, wasn’t it?


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Christmas Card Shoot

It’s been a long time since my family has taken a family photo. I’m not talking snapshots. I take tons of those.

This pic is BN (Before Nikki.)

 I’m talking the thing where you dress up with a goal in mind. Where there are no dishes on the table.

Something like this–

or maybe this–

You know what I mean. Truly,

A Family Photograph

Did you hear the Angel Choir sing when you read those three words? I’m sure they did, because God loves family and He loves it when we take a beautiful picture of the whole crew.

I might be able to find a scripture to back that up if you give me time. Maybe.

It’s also been a long time since I’ve sent out Christmas cards, letters or greetings of any sort. So I thought, why not do a family picture since all my boys are married now and send them for Christmas?

After all, my favorite Christmas greetings are ones with family pictures like my sister-in-law, Julie, usually sends out, and I could include it in a letter like the Cathys send out. (Forever Friend, Cathy, and #1 son’s mother-in-law, Cathy=the Cathys. Get it?) Christmas letters catch everyone up on family happenings for the past year.

Don’t you just love those?

I look forward to them all year long. Maybe someone would enjoy a letter like that from us! (And the ones who don’t could just toss them and I wouldn’t be the wiser.)

AND I’d get a FAMILY PHOTOGRAPH to frame.

I don’t know if you can see this, but it’s the boys when they were just little. That’s probably the only family picture Christmas card I’ve ever sent out.

Don’t ask why. I. Don’t. Know.

So, back to my plan. I decided I want a family photo. I set the date. I set the place–a beautiful town with wonderful historic sights. I even set the time–a weekend when there’d be tons of gorgeous autumn leaves for background.

I let everyone know a few weeks ahead of time. (Me, making plans that far ahead is a miracle in itself.)

I was pumped. This could work!

Right away, I ordered a new lens for my camera, found the tripod and bought a remote control thingy that actually shoots the picture while the whole family smiles.

Cheeeeeeese.

Almost immediately, my bright dreams crashed like a china shop with a three-year-old running it. One of the kids had a conflict. It was a really excellent family reason he couldn’t be there for the picture. As a woman who believes in family, I couldn’t find fault with what he needed to do. In fact, I WANT him to do it. But that didn’t stop my disappointment. *sniff*

#1 DIL had a great idea, though. “We’ll just photoshop them in. We can do this!”

Ooooh-kay. That might just work. Then a few other conflicts started popping up. Work commitments and school things that, while they don’t completely stop the photo shoot, will change the perimeters. But it’s still doable.

I hope. If the day I have planned doesn’t get rained out. And if I can get everyone to behave just for a little while.

If it doesn’t work out, I’ll just schedule another shoot, maybe at a park in T-Town with beautiful leaves and fountains and bridges and scenery, and I’ll tell them all they have to be there for the Christmas Card Shoot.

If that one doesn’t work out, I’ll schedule another. And another. Finally, they’ll have to give in. Right?

No Christmas Card Shoot, no Christmas.

I WANT A FAMILY PHOTOGRAPH!