Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Who’s St. Patrick?

Ever wonder who St. Patrick was and why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? I thought he was the saint who drove all the snakes out of Ireland with a shamrock.


Saint Patrick's Festival in Dublin. Saint Patr...

Saint Patrick’s Festival in Dublin. Saint Patrick is getting younger every year … or is it that I am getting older? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was wrong. (Imagine that! LOL.)

Patrick was born a Roman Citizen in Britain 1600 years ago (give or take.) He was kidnapped and taken to Ireland where he was a slave for six years. He turned to Christ during that time, escaped and later went back to Ireland as a missionary. (Now that’s Christian love!)

Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which is the reason why shamrocks are part of St. Paddy’s Day.

St. Patrick DID NOT drive all the snakes from Ireland. (Gasp!) There are no fossil records of there ever being snakes in Ireland. (Sounds like a great place, doesn’t it?) He did, however, drive paganism from her beautiful green shores.

So why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s day on March 17th? Because it was his birthday? The day he was kidnapped? The day he escaped? The day he became a Christian?


It’s the day he died. We’re celebrating his death day. (Who knew?)

I’ve never celebrated St. Paddy’s day in a big way. I wore green if I had it and pinched anyone who didn’t, but that’s about it. I’ve found, though, that I have a few very distant relatives who came from Ireland. One, apparently, by way of Scotland.

And with a name like Shay (at one time in the distant past, it was O’Shea) G-Man and our kiddos have a wee bit of Irish blood in them. At least one of my children makes a big deal of the holiday and has learned to cook corned beef and cabbage and a delicious soda bread.

I gave you a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa for CB and Cabbage on St. Paddy’s Day last year.

I doubt if I’ll be making any Irish meals today, unless Susan/Reuben Sandwiches are Irish. After all, most have corned beef on them, so they could be considered Irish, couldn’t they? (Truthfully, the only thing my sammies have in common with a Reuben Sandwich is the rye bread, sauerkraut and the fact that it’s a hot sandwich. But they’re good and not gristly.

Here’s how I make them–

  • rye bread
  • sauerkraut
  • hot pepper cheese
  • butter
  • peppered turkey pastrami

I make the sandwiches by layering in this order–bread, cheese, pastrami, kraut, pastrami, cheese, bread. Lightly butter the outside of the sandwich and toast in a hot cast iron skillet until the cheese is melted and the bread crisp.

I tried making it in my new Panini maker, but it just melted the cheese from here to T-Town and the bread barely toasted, so it’s back to the old black skillet. 🙂

So, back to Paddy’s Day–will you celebrate?



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The TRUE Christmas Story

Haloed Angel

God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:

Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you.

29-33 She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.

He will be great,     be called ‘Son of the Highest.’ The Lord God will give him     the throne of his father David; He will rule Jacob’s house forever—     no end, ever, to his kingdom.”

34 Mary said to the angel, “But how? I’ve never slept with a man.”

35 The angel answered,

The Holy Spirit will come upon you,     the power of the Highest hover over you; Therefore, the child you bring to birth     will be called Holy, Son of God.–Luke 1:27-35 The Message


Christmas in Heaven

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


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!


What We Treasure

How have you spent your morning?

I’ve spent mine praying.

“Thank you, Jesus for the thunder. Bring on the rain! Thank you, Jesus, for controlling the fires with the rain You sent. Send more!

“Thank you, Jesus, that no lives were lost in those atrocious fires. Be with those who lost their property. Those who lost their buildings. Their homes.

“Father, be with those who lost everything.  My heart breaks for them.”

I talked to so many people yesterday as we ran around town, getting ready for our monthly birthday party at work. Conversations were all about the fires. The people who’d had to pack up and leave their homes and most of what they owned behind.

Many I talked to said they couldn’t have done it. Others said they would have to take their pictures. (I totally understand that one! Of course, it would take an entire moving van to get all of mine, but I understand where they’re coming from.) Or the treasures they’d saved over the years.

One woman told of her friend who’d been evacuated, but went back to her home time and again for things she remembered and couldn’t live without. Happily, she had a home to go back to and was able to get out safely.

My sister, who works at one of the stores I hit in preparation for the party, gently reminded me (and the other woman who happened to be there) of the people in Joplin. They had almost no warning. No time to gather things to take with them. They were so lucky to get themselves and their children underground before the F-5 tornado wiped a clean path through their town.

They know how lucky they are to have their loved ones.

Brings a scripture to mind, doesn’t it?

Matthew 6:19-21– “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Donations of money and clothes are being taken for those who lost everything in the fires. Let me know if you’d like to donate and I’ll get the specifics for you.


Sing a New Song

There are two songs that really hit me where I live these days. The first is How Great is our God–Chris Tomlinson. I love singing it in church with other Christians. I love singing it during my solo worship time. I even like it when the song gets stuck in my head and goes round and round.

This is a video of Chris talking about writing the song, then singing it.

The other song that has taken up residence in my head is Revelation Song.

The music is beautiful, but it’s the words that touch my heart.

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Holy, holy is He
Sing a new song to Him who sits on
Heaven’s mercy seat

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Holy, holy is He
Sing a new song to Him who sits on
Heaven’s mercy seat

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything and I will adore You

Clothed in rainbows of living color
Flashes of lighting rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor strength and glory and power be
To You the only one who’s King
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything and I will adore You

Filled with wonder awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your name
Jesus Your name is power, breath and living water
Such a marvelous mystery

Oh, You’re worthy, mystery
You are worthy

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything and I will adore You, I will adore You

Of course, there have been lots of songs over the years that touched me. Amazing Grace was my mother’s forever favorite.

I’ll Fly Away always brings a smile to my face as I remember singing it at countless  Christian get-togethers. (ie: Sunday morning, Sunday night, revivals, church camp, etc.) Just Over in the Glory Land.

All the songs from the Kiamichi Songbook. 😉 That was a song book we had at church  which had very hard to read music–because of the way it was printed. I’m not sure about this, but I think it came from the Kiamichi Men’s Clinic. My dad used to go there every year with several other men from our church. We’ve laughed at so many good stories Dad told about Kiamichi over the years!

I believe Ronnie Epps, our preacher back in my early , was the one who got them started going. 

And there is still a Kiamichi Men’s Clinic! (I googled it)  And, big surprise! Ronnie is the main speaker this year. There’s a Preacher Boy contest for budding preachers. I think I’ll pop back over and see if I can find a list of winning preachers. I think I know some of them. 🙂

Are Christian songs and the memories they bring back beautiful? What are your favs?