Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


The Deceptive Month

I hope everyone whose birthday is this month will forgive me but . . .

Did you ever notice what a sneaky month May is? If you think about it, you’ll probably agree with me that it’s one of the most underhanded months on the calendar.

First the name–May. Three short letters intended, I’m sure, to make us believe it’s going to be a quick month. Ha! There are thirty-one days in this month. And as many weeks as a month can possibly crowd in.

There’s so much that goes on in May, creating so many emotions that hammer us. There’s Mother’s Day, when even rotten kids do something nice and bring sweet tears to their mama’s eye. Or their aunt’s, depending on the kiddo. 😉

Then there’s graduation–which can bring joy or sorrow, also depending on the kiddo– birthdays, anniversaries, the end of school, the beginning of summer, vacations, Memorial Day. Weddings, weddings, weddings and, of course, so many funerals.

May’s days are warmer and longer, intended to deceive us into thinking we’re going to be able to kick back, climb into a hammock and swing away summertime, ♫ when the living is easy♫.

But then grass jumps up and everything starts growing and creeping around and we have to work harder than ever, just to beat it back.

May gives us flowers as if she’s trying to be sweet and friendly and niiiiiice. But remember when the most destructive (in my memory) tornados happened. May 3, 1999 and May 22, 2011!

The year my second son was born, we slept under the stairs more nights in May than we slept in our beds. (Under the stairs is where we hid from tornados.)

We even saw on the news where a wedding in Kansas had a tornado for an uninvited guest. Only in May!

I think I’ll start a movement to change the name of May to Might. Think about it–Might says it all. It’s longer, so no deception there, and it tells you that all kinds of things could happen. Good and bad. Happy and very, very sad.

May MIGHT be a good month, then again, it MIGHT not, so why don’t we just get it over with and call it that from the get-go?

Might 23, 2012. Has a very nice ring to it. 🙂



Leave a comment

Another of Our Wedding Trads

A day or two ago, I told you about the Wedding Bible Tradition our mama started back in 1949.

The other important (in my mind, at least) tradition is one that started after Mama died.

I don’t remember who started it. I just know it wasn’t me. One of my brilliant sisters (I’m thinking Sister Debbie or Sister Cindy or maybe both) wore a piece of Mama’s jewelry to one of our Important Events. (Either a graduation or a wedding or something REALLY important, at least in our lives.)

Anyway, they pointed it out to me and said, “I wanted Mama to be represented.” I loved that idea! So after that, I wore something of Mom’s to every Important Event.

When #1 Son had his surprise wedding (have I told you about that?) I wore one of Mama’s rings. When I told him why I was wearing it, he got tears in his eyes for just a moment. Good tears, but still, tears.

At another Important Event, I told the honoree I’d brought Mama and showed my piece of jewelry. Honoree popped back at me and we went away smiling.

Then my niece who lived next door to me for a while got married. Gorgeous girl. Beautiful wedding. Fabulous time. After her makeup was on, while she was dressing, I dropped into the dressing room to say hi.

While I was there, I did my, “I brought Grandmommy,” thing, expecting a sweet smile.

Instead, I got tears. Not just filled eyes. I got TEARS! streaming down her face. “Why’d you do this to me?”

I scrammed out of there, fast! I could just see me walking into the wedding with a black eye or maybe an Indian sunburn from my sister as punishment for my evilness. (Sorry about that, Kendal.)

Fast forward to Brad’s Big Day. No matter how many tears my niece had shed, I still wanted my sibs to represent Mama by wearing her jewelry. So I texted each of them and asked them to wear at least one piece.

 That’s my hand on the far left. I inherited a ring Mama got once when we were in New York City, and while it’s not one I wear very often, it brings back wonderful memories. (I was seven months pregnant with my first son.)

Amy’s is next. She wears Mom’s spinner ring all the time. Deb has on Mom’s ring, and Cindy (far right) who I’m guessing has forgiven me for making her daughter cry at her wedding has on Mama’s ring, bracelet and a necklace.

Even #4, who wasn’t able to make it to the wedding (although she wanted to be there with all her heart) kept Mama with her that day.

Brother Jeffrey forgot.

When I told Brad about it the night of his wedding, there were no tears. No popping back.

He just gave me a sincere smile and said, “Wow, Mom. That’s really nice.”

Maybe I should have called this blog A Show of Hands. 🙂

Anyone want to share a tradition your family enjoys? Wedding? Christmas? Births of babies? Anything?

I’d love to find a new one to rip off. 🙂


Wedding Trads

The Spess Girls have a couple of traditions when it comes to family weddings.

Most revolve around our mom.

The first one started back in 1949, when Mama married Daddy. After Mama graduated from high school, she moved to Old Ford to live with her brother and his wife. Her parents still lived in Texas. They couldn’t afford to come to the wedding, but they sent her $50. That would be $468.20 today. (I looked it up.)

I’m not sure what Mama did with all that money, but some of it she spent on her wedding dress (bought at Lerner’s in Tulsa) and some of it she spent on a white Bible to carry in her wedding.

It’s not as pristine as it used to be, but remember–

— it’s survived six kids. One evil child even wrote Mama’s name in it.

She should have smacked me for it, but she didn’t.

Anyway, when I got married, Mama wanted me to carry her Bible in my wedding. I wanted a bouquet to throw, but I wanted to carry the Bible, too.

So Mama bought this cover. It hid the yellowing leather and my bouquet could be tied to it. (That’s what the ribbon on top is for.)

So I carried it and my sisters all carried it. (I think.) I’m not sure if Brother Jeffrey or his wife carried it. Mama wasn’t quite as pushy insistant helpful as her daughters are. 🙂 But my boys’ wives all carried Mama’s Bible in their weddings. And they not only liked the idea, they acted as if they were thrilled to have it.

Many of the grandkids have had it in their weddings, but not all. One sister lives outside of C-Town (When most of us moved home, Daddy moved to the Ford, but #4 stayed where she is.) so she might not have thought about it.

And once the Bible went home with the wrong MIL, so we didn’t have it for at least one ceremony. But many of the kids have carried it, too.

My #1 son suggested that we write the names of everyone who carried it in the Bible so we won’t forget the history of it. (I won’t be doing the writing. I promise.)

So that’s our most important wedding trad. I think the sisters tried to start one where they “fixed” the bride’s nightgown just before she left on her honeymoon, but that trad died out. Or maybe it was beaten to death. Anyway, I don’t hear about it anymore.

So, how about it? Do you have a wedding tradition you’ll share?


♥ ♥ ♥ WOW ♥ ♥ ♥

Did you ever have an, “Oh, wow.”

“Oh, Wow!”

“OH, WOW!” Day?

Yesterday was one of those days for me. All day long.

We’re at beautiful Post Oak Lodge near Tulsa. The place is beautiful. The grounds are beautiful. The weather is beautiful.

If you could buy a day for a wedding, yesterday would have been the high dollar, top of the line, all you could ever ask for variety.

My man took a walk with me in the morning.

We admired the view.

We surveyed the fire pit.

Discovered surprises

in the grass.

Huffed my way back up the hill to pop in on my now DIL and take a gander at her gorgeous dress.

Like a couple of kids, we watched as they unloaded flowers.

And at every turn, every time we saw something new and different and beautiful, I had this explosion inside my heart that came out, “Wow.”

Remember that song from Oliver!?

Who will buy this wonderful morning
Such a sky you never did see
Who will tie it up with a ribbon
And put it in a box for me

So I could see it at my leisure
Whenever things go wrong
And keep it as a treasure
To last my whole life long

Who will buy this wonderful feeling
I’m so high I swear I could fly
Me oh my, I don’t want to lose it
So what am I to do
to keep this sky so blue
There must be someone who will buy

It was just that kind of day.

Or this kind of day–

This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

The LORD is God, and He has given us light; Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I give thanks to You; You are my God, I extol You. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Psalm 118:24; 27-29 NAS

Then it was time for the wedding. DIL #3 responded as sweetly as #1 and #2 and carried Mama’s Bible along with her bouquet down the aisle.

I’ll tell you about this Spess family tradition another time, but let me say, it’s a legacy I wouldn’t let go of for anything.

When the nuptial were over and the kiss kissed, we ate and we danced and we sang. My son’s new in-laws and their family and friends are wonderful people who I just like the stuffings out of.

Together, we celebrated the new couple and life.

There was a contest during the reception. G-Man and I stay in until nearly the last.

They asked anyone who’d been married two hours but not more than five years to go onto the dance floor. That sent two of my kiddos and their wives onto the floor. Those married five years but not more than ten went onto the floor next, which sent my other son and his wife out there. Then ten years but not more than fifteen. The floor grew more and more crowded until every married couple in the place was on the floor.

Finally, it came down to DIL’s parents, G-Man and me, my cousin and his wife.

DIL’s parents lost to us.

But we lost to my cousin and his wife.

Wow, again. My man and I have been blessed with more years together than nearly everyone in that crowded room.

Later one of the young men I met just that night asked me our secret for a long marriage. I could have told him keeping a sense of humor. Or spending time together. Or even communication. But I didn’t.

I told him stubbornness is my secret. My man and I are both too stubborn to let go of the love, the joy and the memories we have together.

Know what he said?


  • Oh, Wow! (


♪♫ Down in my Heart ♪♫

Ever paid attention to the joy at weddings? No matter whose it is or the circumstances of that union, I’ve never attended a wedding where joy of some degree wasn’t present.

Joy is so much a part of most wedding celebrations that it’s almost as visible as the flowers or even an extra guest.

If you haven’t particularly noticed it other people’s weddings, think back to your own. Remember the effervescence bubbling through your veins? The happiness that made your steps so light, you wondered if someone had spiked your Post Toasties with helium?

And that smile. You couldn’t banish it, could you? You know the one I mean. It stayed on your face so long, your cheeks cramped and ached. But you still couldn’t get rid of it because something inside you wouldn’t let it die.

That’s the joy I’m talking about.

Joy such as that is all through the Bible, especially when speaking of weddings.

Jeremiah 33:11–

–the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the LORD, saying, “Give thanks to the LORD Almighty, for the LORD is good; his love endures forever.”

And Solomon had joy by the tail. Of course, he had 700 wives and 300 concubines. (Who knows how many children and GRANDCHILDREN!)

He had joy multiplied many times in his life.

Song of Songs 4:10–How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!  How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume  more than any spice!

Okay, the sister thing makes me a little anxious, but I’m sure if I were any kind of Bible scholar, I could explain it.

I’m not.

If you kind of skim past the sister thing, isn’t that a description of joy without ever using the word? She gives him so much joy, he’s light-headed.

John 3:29–The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.

That’s John the Baptist

talking about Jesus. Even that guy who lived and preached in the wilderness, who wore camel-hair and ate grasshoppers (ick!) knew about the joy at a wedding.

We’re within a couple of weeks of our third son’s upcoming nuptials, and joy is already buzzing around, looking for a place to land.

(That could be because I’ve found my ensem and shoes for the wedding, so I’m ready to go.;)  )

We’re thrilled for Brad. He marrying into such a nice family, we all love them.

And we’re ecstatic for us–we’re getting a third daughter who we already love as if she were our own.

Psalm 30:5–For his anger lasts only a moment,  but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night,  but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Brad and Nicole, I wish you a lifetime stuffed full of rejoicing.

Leave a comment

Wedding Warning

Last summer, when #2 son married DIL #2, I think I mentioned Baby Boy would be getting married in March. Well, guess what?

He still is.

Now I need those sound effects I mentioned a few days ago. I’m just not sure which one(s) I would use. A wistful sigh, because it’s all so romantic. A happy sigh, because I absolutely adore DIL2b and her entire family. Or maybe sobs, because this wedding will mark the absolute end of Brad’s childhood, and we had such a good time while the boys were growing up.

My Wedding Warning happened Saturday. The Shower. It was absolutely wonderful.

DIL2b’s good friend and her mother gave the kids a shower.

So! Much! Fun!!!

Before I left the house that morning, I was in a flurry of dressing, making up and trying to get the frizz burned out of my hair when the phone rang.

BB calling. “Where’s your cell phone, Mom?”

Okay, who knew when you got your first cell phone, you were supposed to have your tattooed into your palm? Anyone? I didn’t!

Fast Forward to the intent of the call. “When you get lost on your way to the shower, call Nicole. She’ll get you there.”

He assumed I’d get lost, which makes a lot of sense. The town I was heading for just happens to be the same town where I took Brad to get his driver’s permit when he was fifteen and a half. We got lost. (Happens to me a lot.)

I couldn’t find it.

An entire town, just at the edge of T-Town, and I had no idea where it was. My man gets a little tired of being my human GPS, so I called a friend who gives the world’s best directions (thanks, M!) and she talked me there.

That seems like just last year. 😦

Anyway, it makes sense for my boy to think I’d get lost. But I Googled the exact address and printed out directions. Of course, Google was going to send me all the way to the Australian Outback to get there, but I knew a shortcut. 😉

I followed all the twists, and watched for the turns and made it into a fun neighborhood, to a beautiful home. I wish I’d taken my camera so I could show you everything.

I arrived twenty minutes early. (That was an accident, for sure.) I wasn’t confident enough of my directions to just boogie up to the house, so I waited until I could call Nicole.

She assured me I was in the right place (“Yes, there is a new house going up next door. Yes, it is bright green. . .”) but I still waited.

Finally, people I knew started showing up, so I climbed out of my car. After a flurry of introductions, we headed to the house.

A couple of my sibs came with their daughters and our sweet, sweet baby (gotta claim her). #1 DIL, the other Shay in attendance, kept the Spess congregation entertained during the afternoon with her dry wit.

As I said, the house was a delight. They’d decorated with teapots and teacups for a Tea Shower. Cupcakes, chocolate covered strawberries and delicious little sammies were served with three different kinds of tea–in china teacups. (Brave woman!)

And to make the day completely memorable, the hostess gave Nicole her own tea service,

right down to an adorable tea egg.

Now every time she uses the set, she’ll remember the great time we all had at her shower!

The extra special part of the day was getting to spend time with Nicole and her mom, sister and mom’s best friend. They are a real joy to be with! These women know how to put everyone at ease, and made us all feel as if we’d known each other for years.

As I said, this shower was my warning buzzer. The wedding is less than a month away. (Ack!) Time to get ready. Time to shop for my dress, shoes and whatever to go with it. Oh, and time to either lose thirty pounds or find an undergarment with so much control that it will require the Jaws of Life to remove.


Ps: These pictures aren’t from the shower. I borrowed them online.