Archives For No Ordinary Blog Hop

No ordinary bloggers

Renee Ann Smith —  January 7, 2011 — 25 Comments

I love meeting women from around the country and learning about their lives, goals, hopes, and dreams. So I plan to do some linking up in the weeks to come. How ’bout you? . . .

One of the best things about blogging is the sense of community to be found among the countless women bloggers who frequent cyberspace. Whatever your interest may be, you can find bloggers who share it. I’ve perused blogs centered around the themes of living out your faith, homeschooling, crafting, cooking, raising special needs kids, living with chronic illness, home decorating, frugal living, product reviewing, writing, blogging, and, of course, reading. (Love the book bloggers!)

While surfing through these blogs, I happened upon a site called No Ordinary Blog Hop. This site was started by three bloggers who wanted to highlight the everyday things we say and do that uplift and encourage each other. NOBH featured my little blog this week. So if you’d like to read about how, when, and why I began blogging, you can link to the main page here.

The three hostesses who founded the site, Anna-Marie, Lynda, and Tracy, are homeschoolers who would like to connect with more of you. So take a few minutes to visit NOBH. From there, you can visit each gal’s individual blog through separate links. And if you’re a blogger, maybe you’ll think of some posts you can link to their blog hop that will encourage all the rest of us.

Another great inspirational site for both bloggers and non-bloggers belongs to poet and author Ann Voskamp.

She describes her blog, A Holy Experience, as a “place about finding the beauty and quiet, slowing to see the sacred in the chaos, the Cross in the clothespin, the flame in the bush.” Each Wednesday she hosts a meme where Christian women share posts about the spiritual practices that draw them nearer to the Lord. You can read about her Walk With Him Wednesdays here (scroll to the end of the post). Maybe you’d like to link up a post of your own there soon. If you’re not a blogger, you’ll still gain much from Ann’s site.

The last site I’ll mention is called Seeds of Faith Women, hosted by thirteen or so Christian women in various stages of their lives. Each Wednesday they host a blog hop called iFellowship to give Christian women a place to get to know each other. And you don’t have to host a blog to be part of the gang. You can link a Facebook page or Twitter account. The link goes live late Tuesday night. You can read all about it here.

I also enjoy jumping into general family-friendly blog hops–like Feed Me Friday at From Chalkboards to Strollers–link here and button in my sidebar.

What other great sites do you know about for bringing folks together?

Yes, that's me at the front of the class!

Check out these pictures of my Senior English Class. You’d never be able to tell it was a gloomy, rainy Monday morning by their big smiles.

You see, I surprised them with a special treat. First, I used a little reverse psychology on them. I leaked the rumor of a pop quiz to one of the boys and swore him to secrecy. Works every time! (And they say girls are the biggest gossips!) Then when the kids showed up for English, I prayed to begin class and handed out this paper:

The Jingo Game Board

It’s a Jingo Card. You play it like Bingo, but all the questions and answers have to do with Christmas traditions. Things like, “What is the French word for carol?” and “Visions of what danced in the children’s heads?” For prizes, I bought items from the dollar store. Lapel flowers that squirt water, cans of silly string, giant sun glasses, reindeer ears with bells, mega-bubbles, candy, and more.

The kids in these pictures are seniors at my little Christian school. They’re planning a class mission trip to Appalachia and just took a field trip to the Guggenheim. (NYC is less than 2 hours by train.) In a few short months, one young man will be enlisted in the Marines. Another will be on his way to college and then med school, with hopes of being a doctor in his parents’ native Haiti. One young lady will be off to nursing school and then on to the mission field. I have a feeling one of the young men will be called to preach. A lawyerly future seems to be in store for one of them. They have serious, godly goals and wish to change the world with their lives.

But today they could act like kids and just enjoy being together before they go their separate ways.

So what was the cost of my little game of Jingo? Printing out the cards: a portion of my stockpile of computer ink. Assorted candy and prizes: approximately 20 of my hard-earned dollars. Resulting camaraderie and joyful spirits: priceless!

Some of the kids were camera-shy, but I hope you enjoyed the photos of the ones who weren’t! And, hey, I guess I gave JOY to the World with the game and this post!

You can find other entries for No Ordinary Blog Hop at this link. Bloggers, feel free to join!

And since my students are such a blessing to me, I linked up to The Blessing Box, a special linky list at the Extraordinary Love blog!

I inherited my Jingo game, but you can find a variety of Gary Grimm’s Jingo games at his website.

It’s my pleasure to welcome you to Day Eleven of the Virtual Advent Tour. This event has become an integral part of the book blogging community’s holiday traditions. Every day from December 1st through December 24th, a group of bloggers will share thoughts about the holiday. Come back any day and click on the button in my sidebar to follow the Advent Tour.

I’m sharing today’s post with another challenge I’ve joined . . .

I’m also following No Ordinary Blog Hop, and this week’s theme is JOY. It’s a finish this sentence kind of thing: “I gave joy to the

world when I . . .” Since I’ve been feeling nostalgic, I decided to write about a very special Christmas present I gave years ago. The story begins with my dad, Al Smith.

My dad loved Christmas. He was really just a big kid at heart. He would nag my mom until she put up the Christmas decorations and make her keep them up for months. I remember one year, my sister made a special Christmas decoration that hung from the ceiling like a chandelier. Day after day my dad insisted it stay up, until finally my exasperated mother tore it down and hid it away–in July!

Dad loved things that lit up. We had candles and Santas and whatnot in every window and on the porch. One year when I was too sick to play in the snow or venture outside, I cried because I wanted to see how our house looked in all its finery. Dad bundled me up in every sweater and blanket we could find and carried me into the front yard to see our decorations from the street. It was extremely icy, and Dad’s feet slid out from under him in the driveway. But Dad twisted his body to cushion me from the fall. His knee was never the same after that. No more men’s softball league for him.

My sister Jackie is twelve years older than I. After she’d married and had kids, there were still two of us living at home, but Dad wanted to see his grandkids on Christmas. So Dad and Mom used to get us out of bed early on Christmas morning and drive us to Jackie’s. There, we would watch our nieces open their gifts. One year they received a game that required some assembly. Dad and I put it together. Then he wanted to test it out.  We played, and he cheated to beat me! At a game for 3 to 5 year olds!

The Lord took Dad in 1990. Holidays were never the same after that. We didn’t get together with my dad’s side of the family as much. We didn’t see all of our family on Christmas day. Dad had been a driving force to keep us close. Without him, we became a bit disjointed.

In an effort to recapture some of that old magic, I sought to find a unique gift for my family. Something we could treasure. Something that would bring us back to those happy days when we were young. I realized my immediate family didn’t even have many pictures from our past. I began searching through my grandmother’s and aunt’s photos and scanned every one I could find that might have special meaning for my mother and sisters. Back then there was only one place in town to do it, and it wasn’t cheap. But it was sooooo worth it!

So I gave joy to the world on that Christmas morning when my mother and sisters opened their photo albums to find them filled with old photos, poems, and special mementos. Here’s some of what they saw. Enjoy!

Once you’re done here, follow this link to see other entries in this week’s special blog hop.

My mother at a vanity I now have in my room

My dad the only time he was away from home at the end of WWII in Korea

High school photo of Mother

Dad's literary look

Mother and Dad wedding, 1947

Mother and Dad with my older siblings, 1954

Dad's side of the familly on Thanksgiving. I'm 5th down on the right, blonde child with bow looking at the camera

My mother's mother, nursing school student, 1922

My mother's father proudly served in WWI

First new car on the block, 1925

My mother, my grandmother, my aunt

A great-aunt supervises my mother and aunt in one of my grandfather's cars

My mother and aunt play in front of my grandparents' store