Suzy & Spice

a pinch of this, a dash of that

Archive for November, 2010

Suzy & Spice has moved

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on November 29, 2010

My sweet husband bought me a domain name for my birthday yesterday morning, so we have copied all the posts from this location (the one you’re reading now) to From now on, new content will be posted at the new site instead of here.

We’re still tweaking because some of the little stuff didn’t transfer. Well, some of the big stuff didn’t transfer, either. For starters, all the posts transferred to the new site as “uncategorized” instead of retaining the categories they have here (baking, baseball, Crohn’s disease, volunteering, for example). So we’ve had to recategorize everything! It’s easy to add categories in a bulk fashion, but there doesn’t seem to be a quick and easy way to remove “uncategorized” from all the posts in one fell swoop. Having them ALL “uncategorized” means the word uncategorized appears HUGE in my Category Cloud (the thing to the left that you can click if you’re looking for posts in a particular topic) because it makes the most frequently used topic appear in the biggest typeface.

Also, the “Blogs I visit” and “Sites I like” didn’t transfer, so Bruce has gone through and added them to the new site, one by one. He’s my cyberspace hero!

I won’t bore you with the rest of the details, but I wanted you to know that you’ll need to re-bookmark (or add to your Favorites) this site if you want to read new stuff from me. The look of the site will be evolving, which is one of the main reasons I wanted my own domain name. Hope you like what is to come.

Happy reading!

Posted in blogging | Leave a Comment »

Thankfulness, Day 8

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on November 21, 2010

Today I am thankful for a little girl whose name I do not know.

I was very, very tired in church this morning. I remember thinking at one point, after the announcements were over and we had prayed and our worship leader had us stand again (we stand during every song): “Do we really have to stand AGAIN?”

I was so tired.

And then, along about the third song, I heard a sweet little voice behind me, singing loud and clear, those words of praise on the big screen in front of us (we sing choruses at Fellowship Batesville, and the words are projected on the big screen).

When I heard that voice, everything changed. My heart melted, and the weariness went away. My body was still tired, but my spirit wasn’t.

I didn’t want to turn around and stare, but I wanted to know who belonged to that sweet, sweet voice.

After a break in which the kids are dismissed to their classrooms, I turned around. She was small, maybe 5 years old. How had she known those big words? Either she could read them or she has heard the songs enough times to know them by heart, but even I didn’t know the next song we had sung, and she had sung along to it, too.

When church was over, I wanted to catch her mom and ask the little girl’s name and age, but Mom was already gone when I turned around.

Next Sunday I’ll make a point to find her. I’d like to introduce myself and tell her and her mom how she blessed me today.

Posted in giving thanks, God, music | Leave a Comment »

Thankfulness, Day 7

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on November 21, 2010

Yesterday was too busy and I was too tired when we got home at 9:30 last night to post my thankfulness (people, I spent 2 1/2 hours at Walmart yesterday!). In fact, I didn’t even think about posting until this morning. So the date on the post will be a day late, but this is for Saturday, Nov. 20.

And … I have pie crusts to make before church this morning, so this one will be short and sweet.

Yesterday I was thankful that all but one of my football teams won this weekend. The Batesville Pioneers whooped up on Monticello in Round 2 of the state playoffs; Notre Dame whooped up on Army at Yankee Stadium (cool!) and the Hogs beat Mississippi State in double overtime. Alas, my alma mater, Arkansas State, lost to Navy earlier in the evening on TV.

I love college football season, and I’ll be sad when it ends. But, hey, I guess we have a few weeks left, what with bowl games and all.

And I love my mama for letting us watch on her nice big HDTV.

Posted in family, giving thanks, sports | Leave a Comment »

Tennessee Flat Top Box

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on November 20, 2010

This is my second post of the evening (be sure to read my earlier post below), but I’m so full of music tonight I couldn’t resist posting these YouTube videos of my all-time-favorite Johnny Cash song, “Tennessee Flat Top Box.”

The first video is Johnny from the album my dad had (and nearly wore out), and the second is from Johnny’s daughter Roseanne Cash. I love them both!

Heeeere’s Johnny:

And Roseanne:

Posted in music | 2 Comments »

Thankfulness, Day 6

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on November 19, 2010

Today I’m thankful for two things: The Cinnamon Stick and music. Tonight those two things came together in a fun-filled, family friendly evening.

The Cinnamon Stick is a new coffeehouse and sandwich shop in downtown Batesville (a couple of doors down from the Melba Theater) that features local bands and all kinds of neat stuff. Tonight the bulk of the worship band from our church (Fellowship Bible Church of Batesville) played and sang. They did some Beatles, a few other oldies and some worship songs. Sean Roulier on a jazzed-up, Jars of Clay version of “It is Well (With My Soul)” was surprisingly enjoyable! (I say surprisingly because that old hymn is one of my top 2 or 3 favorites, largely because of the story behind it, and I was afraid I wouldn’t like “Sean’s version” – I have never heard Jars of Clay’s rendition, but Sean’s mom says it’s great.)

Randell, Tommy, Angela, Sean and Becky

Last night at the Stick, the Fellowship kids had karaoke night (check out our pastor’s rendition of “Ghostbusters” on my Facebook page), played board games and shot some pool. (I wasn’t there, but I have seen the videos.)

Bruce and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE music and are especially fond of supporting locally owned businesses. And when great food is involved … well, what more could you ask for?

You must go to The Cinnamon Stick. Immediately. Next time you need an iced coffee, instead of McDonald’s, stir up some friends and visit the Stick. Try the Loaded Baked Potato Soup and a hot tea or latte. Bliss!

The Cinnamon Stick is open on Saturdays. I may be there when they open tomorrow. Got to start trying their hot teas – one by one.

Won’t you join me?

Come on downtown and support your local coffeehouse. The Cinnamon stick is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Posted in Batesville, friends, fun, giving thanks, God, inspiration, music | Leave a Comment »

Thankfulness, Day 5

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on November 18, 2010

Today I’m thankful for … our back yard and the cow pasture beyond.

Why? Because it’s so dark back there, you can go outside on a cloudless night and see a gazillion stars surrounding the big, shiny moon.

When the sun is just coming up, you can look out and see a mist across the entire stretch of land. Eventually, this scene gives way to daylight and, a few hours later, a harvest glow at sunset. Then as evening falls again, the moon shines down on the pasture, and the land seems to glow.

Sunrise, sunset, moonrise. At every stage of the day, it’s magical.

Some days I think God created that pasture just for me. This was especially true on the Fourth of July, when we were too tired to go to the river to watch any official fireworks show. I wandered out to the back yard in the dark and realized I had happened out there just in time for my own private fireworks display, above the row of trees that borders “our pasture.” Salsa and I enjoyed the show while Bruce and Pepper napped inside. (I don’t believe in coincidence, so I know that the light show was God’s special gift to me after several weeks of hard work.)

Salsa and I often enjoy sunrises together, too. We are the early risers. And we enjoy the fireflies together in the evenings. We had so many fireflies this summer it didn’t seem fair to the rest of the world. Surely we possessed them all in our little back yard.

I love sparkly, shiny things.

That’s probably why I also enjoy the trains.

Beyond the border of trees at the edge of the pasture is where the trains pass by. I love to listen to a distant train at night, and as the trains approach our pasture, you can see the lights reflect off the trees, illuminating the night sky. Another glowy display, accompanied by a lonesome sound that countless songwriters have tried to capture in words.

The trains are music to me. And so are the cows. To me.

To my furbabies, however, the cows are a different story. The Spice Dogs don’t look on the cows as benevolent creatures. The girls make their own kind of music when the cows come home. When the evil bovines get too close to the fence, Salsa and Pepper let them know they should back off – or else!

The cows don’t seem to listen, though. They don’t seem to mind the “music” my furbabies make when they’re sounding a warning.

The big guys just chew their grass and meander away when they’re finished.

The girls may not like it, but I love it.

Posted in giving thanks | Leave a Comment »

Thankfulness, Day 4

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on November 17, 2010

Today I’m thankful for … A NEW FURNACE!

We’re warm. The house is warm. Pepper is warm. Bruce is warm. I am warm. Salsa doesn’t care so much; she runs around outside in the cold like a crazy dog.

The rest of us are grateful. Even Pepper is grateful, even though she would never admit it.

She can have the heating pad tonight.

Posted in giving thanks | 1 Comment »

Thankfulness, Day 3

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on November 16, 2010

Today I’m thankful for electric blankets, space heaters and heating pads (Pepper is especially thankful for the heating pad – she hogs it!).

A couple of weeks ago our gas furnace started making funny noises, so I got up in the middle of the night and turned it off. I’m a light sleeper, and it woke me up every time it kicked on.

Good thing Bruce was more afraid of it than I was (I had just wanted some dadgum sleep!) because he advised me to leave it off until we found out what was wrong. (I had been planning to turn it back on at daylight so I’d be warm as I got ready for work.)

A few days later we finally got someone to come out and look at it (don’t get me started on that ordeal!) and were told that the heat exchanger is cracked and we would’ve been sucking up carbon monoxide if we hadn’t shut the thing off. Bottom line: We have to replace the furnace.

A new unit is on order, but meantime we’re grateful that our friends Betsy and Tommy have loaned us their space heater and that we have little wall furnaces in our two bathrooms.

We’re also grateful for our two little four-legged, furry space heaters (even though Pepper thinks my heating pad belongs to her!).

Our new furnace should be in any day, and the dude will come and install it. A bonus is that we don’t live in Buffalo (Bruce’s hometown), where we’d be freezing our bee-hinds off!. We’re thankful for the relatively mild Arkansas fall weather.

And thankful that we’re saving money on the gas bill this month.

But we definitely will be grateful when the new furnace is installed and working.

Posted in giving thanks | Leave a Comment »

Thankfulness, Day 2

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on November 15, 2010

Today I’m thankful for runners who have gone before.

My Amazon books came today, along with my ski mask without the mouth hole (I’m prone to respiratory problems and have been looking for a ski cap that covers everything but the eyes – I finally had to order one). And since the masks were so cheap, I decided to order two, and since I wanted free shipping, I had to make the order total $25, so I ordered two books by John “The Penguin” Bingham, a columnist for Runner’s World magazine.

The books, which came highly recommended by other Amazon users, are “No Need for Speed: A Beginner’s Guide to the Joy of Running” and “Training for Mortals,” which is mainly a logbook but includes little bits of inspiration and other nice features.

The package arrived while I was at work, so Trainer Bruce perused the books and gave me a report: They’ll be good for Lisa and me. (He was more specific than that, but I’ll save that for later.)

And because I’m eager to climb under the electric blanket (our heater’s still broken), this post is short and sweet.

Lisa and I did walk three miles tonight after I got out of class. Just so you know.

Posted in books, fitness, inspiration, reading, sports | Leave a Comment »

A month for giving thanks

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on November 14, 2010


I’m starting this two weeks late, but I’d like to spend the rest of the month counting my blessings, naming them one by one (or two), and posting them here daily.

The Batesville Camera Club’s theme for the next meeting is “Things I’m Thankful For.” We’re to take pictures relating to that theme and share them at the Dec. 9 meeting (see details in my Nov. 13 post).

And, while I didn’t take the picture I will post here (as soon as it’s available from my niece Catie), it illustrates what I’m thankful for on Sunday, Nov. 14.

Today, I’m thankful for my new sister-in-law, Lisa.

She is a direct, specific answer to one of my most-heartful prayers. No, she’s an answer to two prayers. Aww, I could probably stretch it to three:

No. 1: When I began getting to know Lisa a couple of years ago and suspecting that my brother may end up marrying her, I quickly realized that she’s a very special woman. She’s a great mom to her kids and now a great wife, stepmom, daughter-in-law and sister-in-law to my family. I’m thankful for a wonderful sister-in-law. I had prayed that we would be close as family members.

No. 2: My best friends live in California, and I see them every few years at best. I had prayed for a good friend locally. And, while I don’t expect to magically become BFF’s with Lisa (friendship takes time and can’t be forced), I see a good future for us. JT, you treat her like a queen, because I want her to stick around for a long time! Since Bruce and I moved here in May and JT and Lisa were busy expanding his house so that Lisa and two of her three kids could move in (they got married in July), we’ve all been busy and Lisa and I haven’t spent a ton of time together, but not for lack of desire.

No. 3: Today, over lunch, the subject of walking or running came up. I was so excited about the decision we made, I can’t even tell you how the conversation started. Result: Lisa and I are going to be walking buddies and then running buddies (she wants to run a marathon – I told her I’m good for maybe a half-marathon). I have gotten way overweight and have realized that in this stage of my life, accountability is going to be the key factor for me.

I have been successful with weight loss (at least temporarily) in the past with other methods – sheer force of will and a formal support program (Weight Watchers, more than once), but I no longer suffer from the delusion that I can do this on my own.

I also know that my obsession with food is a form of spiritual bondage. I’m working on that, too. (I told Lisa, though, that when I’m working out I tend to make better food choices. It’s psychological.)

With the accountability, it helps that those who are going to be holding my feet to the fire are like-minded spiritually. Lisa and I talked a lot about God as we did our brisk three-mile walk this afternoon. He has worked on the heart and character of each of us over the years – in different ways but for the same reasons: to make us whole and to mold us to his character, so that we can bring honor and glory to Him.

Besides Lisa, I have to thank the Lord for Betsy. Sweet Betsy has already become a wonderful friend this year. When Bruce and I sit in our “normal seats” at church (when we don’t decide to move outside our comfort zone and sit with people we don’t know), we sit behind Betsy and her husband, Tommy (he plays in the worship band, so they have to sit in an easily accessible spot). They came to our party last week, and she even brought homemade cookies!

Despite the fact that she is petite (a good, swift puff of wind would blow her away), Betsy likes to eat, but she likes to eat healthy. I do, too, in theory, but I’ve been so hit-and-miss with that over the past few years. She has already encouraged me just by her example.

But even more, she and I talked about running last weekend. I told her the reason I had chopped off my hair and bought running shoes was that it’s time to quit messing around and get fit again. She told me some positive changes she has made over the years, including cutting out soda pop. (I’ve been a diet Coke fiend but have cut back quite a bit this year already.)

This morning when I saw Betsy, she asked if I had done any walking this past week. My first thought was, “Oh, crap! Why did she have to ask me that?” I fumbled around with an excuse, but later I realized that on the only day I had daylight, I did walk. It’s too dark to walk by myself in the mornings, and this past week it was too dark each evening when I got home (what with my class, visiting a sick friend in the hospital, working a bit of OT).

That is why I am so very, very grateful for Lisa. Now I will have someone to walk with each day, and then run with when we get to that point.

But back to Betsy: Even though I was uncomfortable answering her question, I’m so glad she asked. Betsy cares enough to stick her neck out. She had the courage to try to hold me accountable.

After all, isn’t that what I said I needed the most?

God is good, and he has given me two special women to walk this journey with.

Thank you, God, for Lisa and Betsy.

Posted in Batesville, camera club, family, fitness, inspiration | Leave a Comment »