What Snow’s Made For


Jane said she’d never heard of anyone liking fogs before but she didn’t mind trying. …

“That’s why Camilla and I got married,” said Denniston as they drove off. “We both like Weather. Not this or that kind of weather, but just Weather. It’s a useful taste if one lives in England.”

“How ever did you learn to do that, Mr. Denniston?” said Jane. “I don’t think I should ever learn to like rain and snow.”

“It’s the other way round,” said Denniston. “Everyone begins as a child by liking Weather. You learn the art of disliking it as you grow up. Haven’t you ever noticed it on a snowy day? The grown-ups are all going about with long faces, but look at the children—and the dogs? They know what snow’s made for.”

~ C.S. Lewis in That Hideous Strength

My grandchildren providing the illustration


Extreme Dot to Dot


I work to cultivate a kid-welcoming home.  As my grandkids get older, it’s not as simple as having a box of blocks and a few dolls. While I was at our fantastic local store, The Hobby Habit, I discovered something I didn’t even know was ‘a thing.’ Extreme Dot to Dot The pages are fun and challenging and time-consuming (<-in a good way).


I have the Eiffel Tower going for myself. And I’m claiming dibs on Westminster Abbey.
It’s another analog activity that doesn’t require a screen.

And on May 4th this seems appropriate:

There are many fun Extreme Dot to Dot books (aff link) here. What a great activity (in addition to drawing, clay, paint, paper-cutting) kids can do during read-alouds.


Unexpectedly Amusing

41UwXfZZFJLIt started with a Klutz Pop Bead Critters Activity Book that I got for visiting kids to play with. Seldom is there a toy, game, book or activity that has universal appeal. But every kid that has crossed our threshold has had a blast putting the beads together. They find the different textures, sizes and colors appealing.

When I saw the small success of the beads that came with the book, I got this bucket of B. Pop-Arty Beads. Gracious! I now know what it feels to be a rock star! My husband and I try hard to buy toys without batteries. Especially fun toys without batteries. And this fits the ticket.

Because I am in essence a second-grader whose hand flies up when the teacher asks who wants to be first at show-and-tell, I am compelled to share this with you. I don’t think I’ve ever before written a blog post about a toy.

Two things:

1)  For folks without children in the home, it always helps to have a space for things that interest kids. In my growing up years there it was the bottom drawer of a sideboard in our dining room. It can be a bag, a tote, a box, a basket or a bin. Something for the kids says “You are welcome!” in a language they can understand.

2) Christmas is 12 weeks away. Just sayin’.

Tidings of Almonds and Joy (God Rest Ye Merry Musketeers)


God rest ye merry Musketeers Yule time is your Payday.

Remember Christ our Savior redeemed the Milky Way.

Oh Henry’s Baby Ruth rejoiced with Christmas on its way.

Singing, Tidings of Almonds and Joy, Almonds and Joy.

Singing, Tidings of Almonds and Joy.


From God our heavenly Father, Goodbar the angel came.

The shepherds stopped their Snickering, Kit Kats and Doves were tamed.

Big Hunks of earth and Clifs of rock shook loose in Jesus’ name.

Oh, tidings of Almonds and Joy, Almonds and Joy.

Oh, tidings of Almonds and Joy.


100 Grand angelic voices Thundered all around.

Nestlè, the strongest shepherd Crunched his staff upon the ground.

Hershey, his Bar-friend was be-Twixt, Butter-Fingered at the sound.

Oh, tidings of Almonds and Joy, Almonds and Joy.

Oh, tidings of Almonds and Joy.


The shepherds went Nutrageous, they climbed o’er hills and Mounds.

And Fast Breaked up 5Th Avenue through Bethlehem the town.

A fire Krackeled near the barn, Messiah they had found.

Oh, tidings of Almonds and Joy, Almonds and Joy.

Oh, tidings of Almonds and Joy.

(my husband entered a contest at work to make a Christmas Carol with Candy Bars.  He won People’s Choice.  He also made the wooden letters in the picture this year.  One side says Believe!; the other Rejoice!)

How Do You Hug?

I’m still processing our trip to Southern California.  It was both a wedding celebration and a mini family reunion, including the colorful Croatian characters (she said fondly) who are our family-by-extension. 

There were hugs in abundance.

And I was always a bit off, don’t you know.  Out of sync. 

When I hug, I head straight for the shoulder.

But their first destination is the cheek, for the preliminary kiss just before the hug.

It made me think.

How many styles of hugs are there? (Caveat: I’m strictly talking about hugs between friends, not between lovers.)

•  The man hug – with the double triple pat on the back.

•  The handshake/hug which perhaps starts as a handshake and ends as a hug.

•  The bear hug.

•  The side hug.

•  The cheek kiss/hug.

•  The double cheek kiss/hug.  Vive la France!

•  The air kiss/hug.

•  The litle peck kiss/hug. 

Sooooo — how do you hug?

A hug is like a boomerang – you get it back right away.
~ Bill Keane

Hugs are the universal medicine.

~ Author unknown

Funny story:  years ago, some friends were leaving on a trip and as Jan and I hugged each other, I–for some odd reason–got my wires crossed and kissed her.  On the eye.  Whatever sadness we had at parting evaporated into giggles.

Dinking Around with Meters

The hymnal I’m most familiar with is the red Trinity Hymnal, the hymnal I used for this post. I learned about meters using the “by-guess-or-by-golly” self-teaching method.  Those were the days before you could go here.

C.M. means common meter.  The pattern is 8 syllables, 6 syllables, 8 syllables, 6 syllables, or  Get your fingers out and start counting the most famous C.M. hymn:

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound (8)
That saved a wretch like me. (6)
I once was lost but now I’m found, (8)
Was blind but now I see. (6)

It’s named C.M. because it is so common.  Do you remember at camp singing these words to House of the Rising Sun?

S.M. stands for short meter.

Blest be the tie that binds
our hearts in Christian love:
the fellowship of kindred minds
is like to that above.

L.M. (long meter) has four lines of 8 as seen in Old Hundredth.

All people that on earth do dwell
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice;
Him serve with mirth, his praise forth-tell,
Come ye before him and rejoice.

D. after any meter means to double that meter, as if you are singing two verses in a row.  It Came Upon A Midnight Clear is an example of C.M.DSweet Hour of Prayer is in L.M.D. as is St. Patrick’s Breastplate.

C.M. ref. tells you that a refrain is tacked on to the verse.
C.M. rep. repeats the final phrase.

Can you guess what al. means?  You can if I give you examples.   All Creatures of Our God and King is L.M. al.; Christ the Lord is Risen Today is al.

Are you with me still? 

I know this is obscure and I know you are thinking and why do we care?  There was a time when my husband led worship and picked out hymns and praise songs.  He is not a musician.  He would read the hymn book, find a hymn appropriate with that week’s message, and want to use it.  The problem was that no one knew that tune.  So we shamelessly substituted tunes.  We looked at the meter, went back to the meter index, and found a tune we knew which worked with those words. We swapped words and music like kids swap lunches in school cafeterias. 

Although the syllables match, the words and tunes don’t always complement one another.  I remember in a surge of sophomoric silliness swapping words and tunes between Greensleeves and I Will Sing of My Redeemer, both ref.   Never mind that one is a minor-tuned lullaby and the other a major-keyed Philip Bliss anthem.  Don’t worry, I only did it in the privacy of my own home.

If you get your jollies out of this sort of thing, pretty soon the names of tunes become familiar to you. You get around church musicians who toss tune names around like infielders after an easy out.  

I’m telling you, there are curiosities abounding: Dam Buster’s March cracks me up. Which dam were they busting when they sang that tune? Many tunes are named after saints, even little known saints like St. Etheldreda.  Geography grabs a large segment: countries such as Germany; cities such as Madrid, Jerusalem, and Dumferline; and even streets get their due: State Street and Park Street are two.  Some take the names of their composers, Haydn and Mozart, some tunes honor others, Moody and Rutherford.

Foreign languages abound: Latin – Sine Nomine, Lux Prima; German – SCHÜCKE DICH, and Es Ist Ein’ Ros’ Entsprungen [I love speaking these German names] ;Welsh – Ar Hyd Y Nos; French – Quelle Est Cette Odeur Agreable [we are glad the Agreable is in that name]; Swedish – Tryggare Kan Ingen Vara; and Polish – W Zlobie Lezy.

Certain tune names are lovely in their simplicity: Listening, Peace, Sweet Story and Cradle Song.  

So there it is.  Call me a nerd: I find this great fun.

Today’s Date

This is for Carson, the child I would catch staring into nothingness or staring at his watch when, well, we all know what he should have been doing. 

“What ARE you doing, my dear child?”  [I added the dear child part today. Time has a way of softening our memories.]
He held up a hand as if to say, What I’m doing is of extreme importance; whatever you want can wait.

And then he’d blow a gust of air out that he’d been holding.

It was just 11:11:11 on 11-11. 


A Sacred Moment.

Today is February 4, 2008, written in America as 02-04-08. 

Another way of saying today’s date is two, two squared, two cubed

It’s the little delights of life, folks, that keep us happy.

Cleaning the Grout

I have a tendency, when the pressure is on, to lose myself in tiny details, neatly blocking out the necessary big items.  We have a phrase for this in our family lexicon: I’m cleaning the grout.  While cobwebs are merrily waving hello, food in my fridge needs to wave goodbye; while beds need to be changed, batteries need to be charged; while dust bunnies need to be banished and resident dirt needs to be dismissed — I take up a toothbrush and focus in on two square inches of grout. 

My grout at the moment is the issue of Christmas stamps.  This is a tiny detail in the totality of Advent, but one about which I happen to care.  Here are some choices.  Generally there is a secular choice and a religious choice.  There are some other non-holiday stamps which might work.

Holiday Knits. 
Folks, these are a little too, um, folksy for me.
They remind me of Grandma Sweatshirts.
You are allowed to like them, though…

Luini’s Madonna of the Carnation
I like this as art.
But I’m not sure as a stamp.
I’m betwixt and between.

Polar Lights
These are certainly colorful. 
I will purchase some of these for regular correspondence and bills.

I guess this stamp replaces the traditional Happy Birthday stamp.
Christmas is the ultimate reason to celebrate, no?

Okay, it’s audience participation time.
What is your favorite?
Do you care?