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I love the Southern sayings I heard growing up. Here’s a fun example. When someone had been someplace special, such as a family reunion or the state fair or the Smoky Mountains for the weekend and a friend asked how it was, the response was often, “We had a big time!”

Our daughter Mary Evelyn and her little girl “have a big time” with sidewalk chalk. Mary Evelyn draws big shapes: a circle, a square, an oval, a star, a rectangle. Then she calls out a shape and tells her daughter to go stand on it. What a simple idea, but a fun and effective one.

When children of many ages are needing to get up and move for a while, but you want the learning to keep going, just think of the possibilities that require just two supplies, a flat outdoor surface and sidewalk chalk!

  • Write the letters of the alphabet and tell your child to run to a particular letter.
  • Write the letters of the alphabet and tell your child to spell a word by running to the correct letters in the order they appear in the word.
  • Call out a letter and have your child draw a sidewalk chalk picture that starts with that letter.
  • Write simple words, call out a word that rhymes with one of them, and tell your children to run to the rhyming word.
  • Write the names of ten state capitals and tell your child to run to the capital of ________________.
  • Write numbers, call out a math problem, and tell your child to run to the answer.

You can have a big time!

Our son-in-law Nate had a birthday this week, so Mary Evelyn, with a little help from Clara, drew a giant sidewalk chalk birthday greeting which included cartoon characters of Ray and me. Clara has shortened my “Little Mama” grandma name to just “Little.” For some reason, she took a notion to (in her words) “lie on Little.” Oops, is “took a notion” another southern phrase? Well, just in case, it means “popped into her head.”


No Bible verse has popped into my head for this post, so I took a notion to search for the word circle in the Bible and then for the word square. I found a glorious one about the new Jerusalem. Let’s meet in that wonderful square. We’ll really have a big time.

The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width;
and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles;
its length and width and height are equal . . . I saw no temple in it,
for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it,
for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
The nations will walk by its light,
and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.
Revelation 22:16,22-24, NASB






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One comment

  1. Awwww, this post made me happy and sad all at the same time. All of my grandparents (who’ve now gone on to Glory) were Southerners, and I grew up hearing them say, “We’ll have a big time” and so many other fabulous Southern expressions. My children and my husband (who’s a Yankee through and through) laugh at me all the time for my cute sayings. They can’t understand for the life of them how “y’all” can be both singular and plural. Go figure! My kids keep threatening to write a book containing all my Southern-isms, though they feel something would be lacking without the accompanying Southern drawl. I say, Go Right Ahead! Maybe it will sell millions, and then we can all go celebrate and have a big time! 🙂

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