Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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Today I’m talking about my least favorite vacations. Church camp.

Our church went to camp at Alba, Missouri (near Carthage) at CYOKAMO. Christian Youth of Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. (I think.) The first year in our new camp, the buildings were so new, the 2x4s were still oozing that sap stuff that comes out.

Now I LOVED going to camp. Loved the time away from the world, being with camp friends I only saw once a year. And I loved that time alone with God, to learn more about Him and spend extra time I didn’t normally have with Him.

But my least favorite vacations were the years my parents went to church camp with us.

Deb and I were often at the same camp the same week, and I loved that. But the times when our parents went . . .  *sigh*

A few times, only Mom went along to sponsor. That wasn’t too bad.

One year there was also a really cute TU football player there as a sponsor. The last day of camp, he came staggering in while we were eating lunch. He was nasty dirty, hot and sweaty. He said he’d run all the way from C-Town to deliver a letter to Ronnie Epps, our preacher and the camp dean.

Then the football player collapsed on the floor.

Ronnie left the guy lying there to recover and went ahead with whatever we were doing. Since it was the last day of camp, one of the things that happened was the presentation of the New Camper Award to my mom.

When Ronnie called her name, Mom looked kind of embarrassed, but Ronnie kept saying, “Come on up here, Mary Sue.”

She got up and walked to where the preachers were standing. They made a speech about what a great camper and good helper she’d been. Just when they were about to give her the trophy, the “collapsed” football player jumped up off the floor, yelled, “Baby!” or “I found you,” or something stupid, grabbed Mom and carried her out of the building, with her squealing all the way.

Most of the kids screamed with laughter, but my friends and I were shocked. Of course it was all a joke, and the football guy had chosen Mom because she was the smallest sponsor there.

Mom got covered with mud. She was a great sport and made a joke, telling the camp we had to take a special offering so she could buy more clothes, because she didn’t have anything else to wear.

When it was all over, it really was kind of fun.

A couple of years though, Mom and Dad and all my siblings (except Amy, who wasn’t born yet) went to camp with us. For some reason, I just didn’t enjoy it a lot.

They didn’t expect us to all sit together or anything, but I always kind of looked forward to the independence of being at camp for a week. Having to manage my money for the canteen and that kind of thing. I liked being free to flirt or fight or have fun without someone who knew what I was going to do before I did it looking on.

There were two huge dorms at Cyokamo–one for boys and one for girls. Jeff (who was two or three years old) slept in the boys’ dorm in the bunk bed over Dad that year. Cindy (seven or eight) and Lisa (four or five) slept around Mom. (Deb and I did our own things–in the same dorm as Mom.)

As usual, on the last night or early morning of camp, some of the girls raided the boys’ dorm. Actually, all they did was run with sticks around the metal building, banging on the tin with them. Some of them threw gravel on the tin roof.

Corregated tin is loud and there was nothing to deaden the noise. The dorm walls were uninsulated, no glass in the windows (only screen) and no air conditioners–only a few fans blowing in the huge room.

Coming like it did in the dead of night, it was LOUD. (I know this because the guys also attacked the girls’ dorm.)

Anyway, Dad had no idea it was coming, so when it happened he jumped out of bed, got tangled in his sheets and tipped over his bunk bed, which Jeffrey was sleeping in the top of.

By that time, Dad was fully awake and, realizing what had happened, he started looking for Jeffrey, frantic that he’d been hurt when he hit that concrete floor.

But Jeff wasn’t on the floor anywhere. When the bed flipped, Jeff landed in another nearby (empty) bunk. And if I remember this whole story right, when Dad found him, he was still asleep.

Let me make this clear–I wasn’t there. (Since I didn’t sleep in the boys’ dorm, I couldn’t be.) But that’s how I heard the story. I think.

That was a long (l-o-n-g) time ago. I’m just repeating what I think remember hearing. (Oy.)

Anyway . . . back to Va-Camp and away from lame stories from my ailing memory–I honestly didn’t mind having my parents go to camp with me.

What I didn’t like was JUST going to camp not going someplace else, too,  on vacation. 😉

What were your least favorite vacations?

The finest Christian camp I know
You’ll feel the Christian glow
Right from the first hello.
You’ll find new faith and make new friends At old CYOKAMO,

You’ll sing and pray and read God’s word
Until at last you know
Your life will surely show That
you love Jesus so
You’ll find a bit of heaven there

We’ll say goodbye to dream a while
And all the joys we know
Like Heaven here below
God keep you till another day

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Wowed Wednesday, II

Another WOW! today, guys. I made it to Bible study again last night after having Mexican food with my man. (Chicken Fajitas without the wrappers.)

To begin, we went to a small group session (our first) and it was over way too fast. I learned so much. (Probably because I have so much to learn.)

Here’s a little of my new knowledge: Mama’s best friend, who lived across the street from us for years, isn’t from the town I thought she was from! What’s up with that?

Our youth minister’s wife is from the town in Missouri where all the best looking guys at church camp came from. 🙂

Okay, we learned way more than that. We learned what sweethearts some of the women in the group are, and just how much they care for others in their lives.

The video session was over almost before it started, it seemed. Beth said she’d have to turn cartwheels to keep our attention because we had to learn some things that were kind of dry. Not so!!!

Everyone in the room was glued to the screen. Beth has such depth of knowledge to share. But it’s not a look-at-me-I’m-so-brilliant kind of knowledge.

I’m not sure what to call it. Heart knowledge, maybe? Spiritual knowledge? From what I can tell, her greatest joy is in sharing Jesus.

Sadly, I overslept this morning (didn’t get up until 6) so my blog is late and I haven’t finished my homework. Yet.

I will though. 🙂

I’m going to share a Beth video with you. #4 sent it to me yesterday, and I watched it two or three times. It’s wonderful. Watch it all the way through if you have time, because she tells a great story about a man “who looked 129-years-old”.

#4 writes, “It’s a powerful story of being filled up with God.”

I want that, too.

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Oklahoma State University Athletics logo

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Me and football? *snicker* I was a cheerleader, but tht doesn’t mean I knew what was going on out on the field. I’ve been to a few high school games this year because I have two (!) great footballing senior nephews playing.

Sister Debbie has to explain what’s happening. (G-Man does it when we’re home. Or Middle Son.)

Today, Middle Son is in Missouri, watching Oklahoma State beat them. I know OSU is winning, because I can see the score now and then on TV when I look up from my ‘puter. If they didn’t post it, I wouldn’t have any way of knowing.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy going to football games. I love being at the game. The excitement in the air is contageous. The entire stand you sit in is usually pulling together for one side or the other to win.

Talk about an instand Small Town World!!! It’s great.

One year, G-Man, Middle Son, one of the nephews and I went to watch Oklahoma University play Colorado in a Big Twelve Championship Game in Kansas City.

If you ignore the fact that it was FREEZING, and the wind was blowing, and the score was so lop-sided, it was almost boring, we had a fantastic time. 🙂

And we got to do a little shopping while we were at KC, so that’s always fun.

The good thing about watching Oklahoma State University (I call it Oklahoma Spess University because so many kids in my family went there) is they’re winning these days.

And, of course, Pistol Pete. He’s, like, the coolest mascot ever!


Prayers for Joplin

I’ve spent a lot of time this week, crying and praying for the people who lost homes and loved ones in Joplin. And later in the week, crying and praying over the hurting people near Piedmont, Oklahoma.

Like my friend, Marilyn, said the other day, I’ve never seen a tornado because I’m always hiding when one gets close. As an Okie, though, I’ve witnessed the devastation one of those monsters can do.

A looooong time ago, I went to Ozark Christian College (then it was Ozark Bible College) in Joplin. And I loved it. I enjoyed school, loved the town (much bigger than C-Town but still not the Big City) and the surrounding area.

Oronogo–a nearby town–had a strip pit that years earlier had filled with water. I loved visiting that swimming hole, jumping off the cliffs and swimming into the caves.

My second (and last) year at Ozark, Mom came in May with a group of women from our church to the Women’s Clinic at Ozark and brought Sister Amy, who was still a tyke.

The entire C-Town crew and my friend, Bomber, went out to lunch on lunch on Range Line. On our way back, we took a different street than the normal jaunt down 7th Street. We were heading back to the college for classes and afternoon sessions.

I dropped Mom off at one of the Mission Building and Amy, Bomber and I went back to my dorm. Just as we pulled up in front, the tornado siren went off.

I was taught by my parents to respect those warnings, so I threw Amy into the dorm’s bottom floor with Bomber and zoomed back to the classroom building to get Mom.

I stampeded into the classroom, ready to scream over the roar of panicked women, but all I heard was the even tones of the lecturing professor. As I stormed in, the entire room turned and looked at me. (Kinda made me feel like I’d shown up at the Royal Wedding dressed for Sadie Hawkins day.)

But that siren was still echoing in my head and my heart was pounding out of control, so I shouted, “Tornado. We have to go!”

The professor, a Joplin resident for many years, shook his head.”That siren gets hit by lightning all the time and gives false warnings. Don’t worry about it.”

I was ready to argue (you know how it is when you have that gut feeling) but my wise mother stood up. “I’ll go with her.”

We rushed back to the dorm, sat with the others in the hallway of the bottom floor, told stories and sang upbeat songs.

Cheer up, ye saints of God, there’s nothing to worry about. Nothing to make you feel afraid. Nothing to make you doubt. Remember Jesus never fails so why not trust Him and shout! You’ll be sorry you worried at all tomorrow morning.

There was a tornado that day that went right up 7th Street–the street we hadn’t taken–the main street that went between Main and Range Line. It damaged 40 blocks and did $7,000,000 in damage. (A lot of money back then.)

But that’s nothing compared to the total devastation the EF5 tornado caused this year.

One story touched my heart and still brings me to tears today. It’s about a young man named Malachi Murdoch. He’s a recent high school graduate and enrolled at Ozark this fall.

Read about him here.

I hope you’ll join with me in prayer for Malachi, his family and all the residents of Joplin.

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Three Steps to Picture Coolness

Look what I found. I didn’t know this was possible, but while I was playing learning more about this blog, I discovered this about pictures on WordPress.

If you download several, you can make them a slideshow. I didn’t know it was so easy!

It’s probably been a choice since the beginning, but if I didn’t know, maybe someone else doesn’t know. Here’s how:

1- Go up to Upload/Insert (at the top of where you’re entering your post) and click that first little framed square. (Hover your cursor over it and it says, “add an image.”)

2- Add several images. I keep them on my computer because I haven’t figured out how to do it from flicker. When I do, I’ll share. Or maybe someone will explain it to me. (Please!)

3- When you have all the pictures you want in the slideshow, go to the gallery and at the very (very!) bottom, click insert slideshow.

4- Now all you have to do is Enjoy! It’s really that easy.

Oops, that’s four steps. Sorry. 8)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Crystal Cove, Branson, Mo. 2010