Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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Welcome to the SideBar

Did you notice I swopped out the pictures in the sidebar? (On the right.) Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t. I had to go back and look for them myself, and I did the work! (Rolls eyes.)

With all the cold weather and snowy days we’ve had this year, I thought I’d add a little more to the flakiness. I love the memories the pictures bring back, so I kind of tried to tell a non-verbal story. See if you get it.

The first picture is Mom and Dad on one of our ski trips.


The ‘Rents had gone skiing with the church the year I had my first baby. (For some reason–either being extremely prego or having a new nursing baby–G-Man and I didn’t go.)

So when #1 son was almost a year old, they decided to take the entire fam on our first y’all come ski trip.

When they decided to take the trip, Mom called Gaye, a wonderful friend I’d grown up with, who lived at Crested Butte, Colorado. (And she skied every day! Lucky girl.)

Miracle of miracles, Gaye found us a place to stay. (Thanks, Gaye!) It was an entire house, and since we had a few extras (one husband-to-be and several friends) it was perfect.

Gaye even found us a sweet woman for #1 son to stay with while we were there. (Thanks, again, Gaye!)

Mom bought us some of our ski gear for Christmas. Silly me, I asked for gloves, not mittens. Wow! Big mistake.

Mittens might make you look like a little kid, but they keep your fingers much, much warmer! I bought down-filled mittens there on the slopes and I was WARM! Broke, but warm. (Anything you buy on the ski slopes is expensive.)

Dad decided we didn’t need to pay to take ski lessons. He taught us everything we needed to know the morning of the first day. How to stop (make a piece of pie with your skis and sit down on it!) How to turn (Bubbletail, cut some pie and lean into it.)

I was climbing on a very easy-to-navigate ski lift (and getting in better skiers’ way) that afternoon.

A more thoughtful person, G-Man found a hill and practiced all by himself.

ski-pair (2)

This is G-Man and me. I borrowed my ski suit from a friend, who told me to keep it. She had a new one. I loved it! (Thank you, Lana!!!)

Brother Jeffrey and his buddy didn’t bother to learn to traverse the slopes.  They just turned their tips downhill and flew! And they had a great time doing it.

I took some spectacular spills, even though Gary and I stayed on Green (Easy) slopes with an occasional Blue (Medium) thrown in.

The last day of the trip, Dad thought G-Man and I were good enough to go to the backside of the mountain . . . where we found there were only Black (double diamond-HARD!) trails.
Have you ever prayed for a helicopter to come and rescue you? I did that day. 🙂 I think I ended up just sliding down the slope on my backside–which I only thought was cold before I started the slide.
On the way home, we ran into a blizzard. We were in Oklahoma, and experiencing worse weather than Colorado had! The baby didn’t feel good, so it was a long, long trip.
How about that? I just realized this memory is another gift for my list.
I’m oh! So! Very! Grateful!


My Gifts

Sometimes, I’m a little slow to catch on. I’m never the first to find anything. To be honest, few people are. (No matter what they tell you.)

One of the things I was slow to catch on to was Ann Voskamp.

Ann VoskampLuckily, people around me are much faster on the uptake and share happily with me. A chance conversation a few days before Christmas brought this woman to my attention.

I doubt if I’ll ever meet her, this side of heaven. She lives in Canada with her husband and six (6!) kids and she homeschools.


She does take some speaking engagements, so I might hear her one day. If I’m lucky.

Ann is one of those killer serene people whose voice is calm and calming. What she writes reads like poetry. Beautiful, God-smack-in-the-middle poetry. I have to calm my center to be able to hear what she’s saying when I read it. I adore her work!

I read her blog A Holy Experience faithfully.

aholyexperience-logoAt least, as faithfully as I read anything.

Anyway, the point of my blog. I’m reading her book, ONE THOUSAND GIFTS.

1000 gifts

I also gave a copy to one of my favorite people in the world, who is one of my top gifts. This over-achieving gift of mine is ahead of me in the book and in making her list of gifts.

And that’s okay. We each move at our own pace and learn in different ways. I think instead of trying to only learn from the book, I’m trying to absorb it. Soak it in. (Okay, I want to wallow in it.)

Can I tell you one of the things on my list of gifts from God? Today, even though it’s been a long winter, I’m thankful for snow. (Don’t smack me.)

It’s absolutely beautiful drifting down. I love the way it covers the earth’s uglies and makes it “perfect” (at least for a time) while reminding me that I’m Washed in The Blood, so I’m Whiter than Snow.

Snow isn’t first on my list. And my list isn’t in order of what I’m most grateful for. Like me, it’s a helter-skelter bunch of thankful words, sprouting from a (sometimes) thankful heart.

Yes, I said sometimes. I’m not going to lie to you. Sometimes I’m not so thankful, and sometimes I forget. Whichever it is, I’m learning.

If you haven’t read Ann, please check out her blog. I think you’ll like it.  (The pics all came from there. She’s a great photographer!) And if you’re curious about her 1000 GIFTS, read it, too.

You might just put Ann and her book on your gift list. (I did.)