Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Salt Can’t Save Her

Want to see something cool?

Really, really cool? (Well, I think it’s cool, anyway.)

Look–

This is my mom, dad and cousin, Lindy. It’s the summer before Mom and Dad married (September 30, on Dad’s birthday.) See the muscles on my dad? Not bad, huh? 

And my mom was gorgeous! (That’s a swim cap. Mom wasn’t bald. LOL) Mama loved babies–even the babies that weren’t her own. My cousins adored her, too!   

Here’s another one–

This picture is a couple of years later. That’s Mom and Dad with their clothes on 🙂 and me. Aren’t they beautiful? I’m the cranky kiddo in this picture. (Yep, I’m Alpha.)

When I was small, we were around Dad’s family all the time. Dad worked with them and we stayed with them a lot and even lived with them some. (Our house was out of town and didn’t have running water, they only had one car, so we didn’t stay there a whole lot. Instead, we went in to Grandmother’s house.)

Dad loves to tell the story about the time Mom’s family came to visit. I was very shy and wouldn’t do anything around those “strangers” except hide behind my mama.

It really irritated my mom’s sister who was just older than her that I wouldn’t come out and play. She finally gave up in exasperation. “Susan’s so spoiled, salt can’t save her!”

I don’t know how Mom responded that day, but I don’t think she ever got over that remark. 🙂 Knowing my mom, she told her sister, “Salt can’t save her, but Jesus will!”

Of course, I don’t really remember. 😉

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BROTHER JEFFREY!!!

On this day when I was ten years old, Aunt Phyllis and Grandmother took me, Sister Deb, Tinny-Woo-Woo and #4 to the fair. Joanie, Phyllis’s daughter, went with us, too.

We had a great time, riding rides and seeing the animals and exhibits. Once in a while Grandmother had to sit down and rest, but most of the day was spent rushing from one ride to another. I don’t remember if we bought lunch or took sandwiches. (If the parents had been along, we definitely would have taken sandwiches. Mom was convinced Fair Food would poison us.)

Mom and Dad didn’t go to the fair, because Mom was having a baby. Our youngest sister was barely fifteen months old. So after a long day at the fair, Aunt Phyllis decided to go past the hospital and see if the baby had been born.

Back in those days, parents didn’t know what sex their babies were going to be, so they had to have two names picked out. Up until that baby–before I was born, Sister Debbie, Tinny and #4–the chosen boy name had always been Christopher Darwin.

I didn’t mind Christopher so much, but the Darwin didn’t float my childish boat. The good thing is, before kid number five was born, they changed the boy to be name to Jeffrey. Much better!

So back to that fair day so very long ago–

After the day at the fair, Aunt Phyllis decided to drive to the hospital and see if the baby had been born. The rest of us had to sit in the dark car, parked on the street in front of the hospital. (That’ll tell you how long ago this happened. You haven’t been able to park on the street in front of the hospital in a long, LONG time.)

So we waited. And waited. And waited. It seemed like another entire day passed before that front door opened again. When it did, Aunt Phyllis came running out of the hospital, her hair flying behind her, a big grin on her face.

She flew up to the car and, yanking open the door, jumped inside. “It’s a boy! It’s a boy, if it’s not a mistake!!!”

I still laugh about that last line.

There were times when he was a kid that I thought it might have been, well, not a mistake but maybe a misstep. But when he stopped crying all the time, I was thrilled to have that brother.

Maybe it’s because he’s a male, but the guy has always seen things a little bit different than the Spess Girls. When we saw a rabbit, we wondered if it had babies. When he saw one, he saw an opportunity to hunt.

A pond or lake was a great place to swim or tan for the sisters, a place for him to fish. Summers were for playing ball and spending time at the pool for the girls, a time for our bro to go to work with Granddad and Dad.

I liked to knit. He liked to use my yarn to tie me up when I fell asleep over my needles.

Later, he taught me to play tennis and loaned me his six gun for a Halloween costume. (After checking twice to make sure it wasn’t loaded.)

And when we got a call one night at the folks house that my house was on fire (G-Man was working) he was the one who went with me. (He made the mistake of thinking I couldn’t drive in an emergency such as that. Snort!)

He finally grew up, went to college, married and had kids of his own. Great kids, who I enjoy practically as much as I enjoy him.

He’s the kind of guy I enjoy talking to, who has a one-on-one relationship with the Lord and isn’t embarrassed to tell you about it.

The day we lost so many family members to a drunk driver, when nearly every person I knew was at the hospital with Omega, Brother Jeffrey saw our car arrive at the hospital and was the one who met us at our car door. He was there, ready to comfort and be comforted.

Loving us.

Remembering with us that, while Mama was no longer with us, she wasn’t lost. We knew exactly where she landed–in the arms of our Lord, telling Him how thrilled she was to see Him face to face.

Some people tolerate their siblings. I’m one of those people who knows how incredibly lucky she is to have the brother and sisters God gave her. Every one is so very special!

Happy birthday, Jeffrey! I’m so glad it wasn’t a mistake!!!

Read more about the World’s Best Brother here.


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Do You Know What Happened March 29th?

March 29th is a very important day. Do you know what happened? No? (Good!)

Well . . .

  • Man O’War  racehorse, winner of 20 out of 21 races and $249,465, was born. So were Sam Walton and LaToya Jackson. (Not the same year. LOL!)
  • Dr. John Pemberton brewed the first batch of Coca-Cola in a backyard in Atlanta, Georgia. (Don’t ask what was in it or what color it was. You don’t want to know.)  
  • The last United States combat soldiers left South Vietnam. (Yay!)
  • Edwin Drake drilled the first productive U.S. oil well. (Yay again!) 
  • Brenna Logsdon had her first surgery for a brain tumor. (She’s tumor free today! PTL!)

But, but, do you know what else happened on that day? What is more important (to me) than all the happenings I posted above?

I was eight, nearly nine, years old. Sunday morning. Easter Sunday morning. Our preacher, Roy Blizzard, had just finished his sermon (I don’t remember that particular talk, but I can tell you about some others he preached if you’re interested.)

Roy gave the invitation, the church started singing the invitation hymn. I knew, I KNEW Jesus wanted me to give my life to Him. I also knew my daddy needed to do the same.

Since I was standing next to Dad, I leaned on him just a little. They started singing the second verse. Daddy hadn’t moved, so I leaned harder, then I gave him a little push.

We were baptised together that day.

I remember holding Mama’s hand that morning. I wasn’t a bit nervous as we waited to give our confessions of faith, but Mama (who’d been a Christian for years) shook like a leaf.

Now some people don’t believe an eight (nearly nine) year old is mature enough to make a life decision such as that. And while I didn’t know everything the decision would mean to me, I knew that I wanted Jesus to be the Lord of my life. All my life.

I don’t have a great conversion story. I didn’t have a radical change in the way I lived. It was deeper than that.

I had a change in my thinking–a change way deep in my heart. The reason I did the right thing. Why I shared when it was easier not to. Why I was nice when others weren’t nice back. Why my smile doesn’t start on my face. (Kind of like a flower, mine really starts at the root.) 

The reason I care.

No longer just to make my parents proud of me. (Back in those days, most of us kids wanted to make our parents proud.)

Simply put, it’s because He lives in me.  

Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God.

And on March 29th, we had a birthday.

Want to share about the day you accepted Jesus? Tell someone about the difference He’s made in your life? Please do!