Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Sunday Morning

As I was making coffee this morning, I had a weird thought come to mind. (Not unusual for me. LOL) I was thinking about Elisha. You know, Elisha? The guy in the OT who started out with Elijah?   

I was thinking about my favorite part, where Elisha and his servant are facing an enemy army, all by themselves. The entire city is surrounded by enemy warriors and horses and chariots. (Wouldn’t it make a cool movie?) Anyway, the servant gets all nervous and, well, read it for yourself.

15When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Is that cool or what? Wouldn’t it make a fantastic movie?

Okay. It’s really better if you read all of 2 Kings 6: 8-23, but this is the part that came to mind. 😉

So I’m making coffee and thinking about how our wonderful Father watches over us and protects us when Psalm 121 popped in. (It’s the one we learn on so we aren’t afraid of the dark.)

Psalm 121

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

I had one of those, “WOW!” moments. 🙂 Is there a direct connection between the two? Did one have some bearing on the other?

I don’t know who wrote the Psalm, so I don’t know when he lived. Was it before the Elisha deal? Is that how Elisha knew they were there?

Was it written after God revealed the “chariots of fire?”Maybe by Elisha’s servant?

I don’t know, and don’t know where to look it up. Is there a Bible Scholar out there who can help?  Wanna share?

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Next weekend, I’m going to a retreat with my writer friends. As a board member and program chair, I usually have at least a small part in the planning for the event. So naturally, I’ve had retreats on my mind lately.

I’ve probably been to as many Christian women’s retreat as I have writers’ retreats, and I can’t honestly say I like one more than the other. Both are filled with women whom I enjoy spending time, most of whom are Christians.

The retreat that stands out in my mind is one I went to with the church ladies. We stayed in a big hotel.

Back to the retreat. The four of us went to bed and I finally went to sleep. About three in the morning, there was a loud MEEH! MEEH! MEEH! (that supposed to be the sound of an alarm over the intercom) and a light started flashing.

We all jumped out of bed, our hearts slamming against our rib cages as a voice boomed into our room. “EMERGENCY! There is a fire in the building. Please exit as quickly as possible. EMERGENCY! There is a fire in the building. Please exit as quickly as possible. The alarm sounded again, and the message repeated.

One of our women rushed to the window, then paced to the door and back again. “We need to pray!”

Do you want us on our knees right now? I wondered. (Like I said, it was the middle of the night.)

Another woman insisted on getting dressed, and I didn’t blame her. I got dressed, too.

The first woman finally said, “You can get dressed, but I’m not waiting.” She took off, fighting her way to the elevator in a hall crowded with women ALL going the other way.

When she got there, she found out elevators don’t work in an emergency of that type, and had to fight her way back to the stairs, which just happened to be right next to our room. (I’d checked that out when we got there.)

We were dressed and leaving our room just as she made it back. She jumped into the stairwell, and we followed her down. The other woman who got dressed could only take a step at a time, much like a small child. She did her best, struggling to get to the ground floor as quickly as possible while the women behind us naturally flowed around and past us.

Finally we made it and went outside into the drizzling rain. As we left the building, we looked down the sidewalk where a hotel employee was waving us into another part of the hotel. When we got there, we found we were reentering the same building through a different entrance (the club) and were directed back to the lobby–just several floors below where we’d started.

When all the women had finally gathered (my friend and I were nearly the last) a hotel employee announced we’d experienced a false alarm, caused by lightning hitting the alarm system.

All the excitement of a hotel fire with none of the disaster! 🙂 Made it my most memorable retreat ever. Not necessarily my favorite one.

My favorite would probably be one I attended while in college. I was with lots of strangers and just a few people I knew, but we were out in the woods and had time to spend alone with the Lord.

Because I’m an early riser, I often get some morning time alone at our RWI retreats. And because we usually go to cabins in a wooded area, there are lots of places to spend time with the Lord to listen and pray.

The best part to any retreat.


Can’t Help But Love This Little Guy! :)

See this cute little guy? The one on the right. The guy on the left isn’t the topic of this blog, although he’s a cutie, too, and I have told you about him in the past. 😉

This is the cutie I’m talking about.

This is the feller I mean. The hard-working one.

This little man comes to work every day. He rarely misses, in fact. And I have to tell you, everyone in the office loves him to pieces. Dad says his mama (my niece) should charge us by the minute to play with him because we all enjoy it so much.

And we do! We adore him. All his great aunts, cousins, the secretaries and his great-granddaddy get our hearts warmed just holding him. And when we hear stories about how he goes around the office, hollering our names (Tuu-Tuu!) well, there just not much we wouldn’t do for the guy. We haven’t come to blows over him yet, but you never know.

He does a great job of driving Omega’s chair for her and can honk her horn like nobody’s business.

Naturally, we give him pretty much anything he wants to play with. You name it, we share with him. We even go so far as to share our treasured vacuum with him.

We aren’t training him to be our next janitor. Honest. But if he should ask nicely, who knows?  😉

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Women Have ♥ ♥ ♥

My forever friend, Cathy, shared this with me. She’s one of those people you miss like the dickens when you’re apart, but it seems you’ve only been apart for a few days when you get back together. (Right now I miss her like the dickens.)

God doesn’t give you the people you want;

He gives you the people you NEED…

To help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you and to make you into
the person you were meant to be.

One Flaw In Women 

Women have strengths that amaze men…..
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,
But they hold happiness, love and joy.

They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy
And laugh when they are nervous.

They fight for what they believe in..
They stand up to injustice.
They don’t take “no” for an answer
When they believe there is a better solution.

They go without so their family can have.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel

And cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear about
A birth or a wedding.

Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member,
Yet they are strong when they
Think there is no strength left.

They know that a hug and a kiss
Can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They’ll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you to show how much they care about you.

The heart of a woman is what
Makes the world keep turning.
They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideas.

They give moral support to their
Family and friends.
Women have vital things to say
And everything to give.


Please pass this along to all your women friends and relatives to remind them
just how amazing they are. Or you can send them over here. If you like them, I’d love to meet them! 🙂


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.