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Since I use a homeschooling curriculum that I purchased from a company called “Sonlight Curriculum”, I also began reading their online forums when I first started schooling my son at home ten years ago. Sonlight is a terrific company, by the way, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who might be considering homeschooling their own children.
What I discovered by frequenting Sonlight’s online forums was that they have a very active, engaging group of people who have developed a warm, supportive community. Because of being a member of those forums, I have developed real friendships with people from all over the globe who share many of my beliefs and values. But it is also a diverse enough group, that the folks I meet there have challenged me in many ways, and have helped me to keep growing, too.
A special friend from my church sent me a beautiful tribute that a lady had written to her lady friends, and it moved me so much that it inspired me to write my own tribute to the friends I have made on the Sonlight Forums. So, without further ado, here is my tribute to those fine folks.
We have spent untold hours on the computer talking with each other. You have walked with me, and I have walked with you through some amazing things.
We’ve watched sons and daughters make good choices, that swelled our hearts with joy and pride.
We’ve watched sons and daughters make choices that have broken our hearts.
With hearts full of love for our spouse, we’ve sung the praises of our beloved. With broken hearts, we’ve shared about a mate’s unfaithfulness.
We’ve watched those we love battle addictions of all kinds. Many of us have stories from the other side, victorious stories of overcoming addictions.
Some of us have lost a mate to divorce, or death. Some are still searching for that special someone.
We’ve announced pregnancies with joy. Some of us have then had to return to report the tragedy of the loss. We’ve announced pregnancies in shocked amazement, and wondered how we would ever make this work.
We’ve confessed abortions, and found no condemnation, and prayers for healing.
We’ve announced adoption plans, and adoption failures, and gone to the far ends of the earth to bring that little one home. Some transitions have been smooth, some difficult.
In the same way, we’ve announced birth stories that were without complication, and birth stories that were dramatic. We’ve prayed babies into the world, and oohed and aahed like a bunch of adoring aunties should. We’ve thrown baby showers and birthday parties.
Premature babies have lived and thrived. Others have struggled to survive. All have been covered in prayer.
We’ve struggled with everyday child rearing issues, and children with very special needs. And nearly always found help from someone else a bit further down the road, who has already been there and done that.
We’ve diagnosed, advised, agonized, sympathized and empathized with each other. But most of all, we’ve prayed.
We’ve battled cancer, heart disease, chronic pain, influenza, colds and stomach viruses by the score. We’ve rejoiced over healings and grieved over losses.
We’ve lost grandparents, and parents, and children, and bawled our eyes out for each other.
We’ve lost untold pounds of weight (but rarely grieved those losses) and gained a few pounds back as well.
We’ve exercised, done yoga, jogged, T-Tapped, eaten raw, low-carbed and Medifasted it. We’ve battled and confessed eating disorders, and some have triumphed over the same. We’ve learned about grinding our own grain, and homemade whole wheat bread. We’ve discovered wheat allergies and gone gluten free.
We’ve had our breasts augmented. We’ve had our breasts reduced. We’ve had our breasts removed. We’ve discussed the size of our breasts, (or the lack thereof) and the devastating effects of gravity, time and nursing babies on our breasts.
We’ve worn Granny Panties of Righteousness, the Debil’s Underwear, and gone commando.
We’ve talked about cloth pads, divas, and feminine hygiene products till it was time for the next cycle. We’ve talked about Aunt Flo, hot flashes, and menopause, and everything that lies between.
We’ve shared wedding pictures, baby pictures and grandbaby pictures and pictures of our pets, vacations and homes.
We’ve prayed each other through moving, home buying, house selling. Some of us have moved into our first home, or moved around the corner, or to a brand new state. Some of us have even moved around the world to share our love of Dad with others.
We’ve prayed for husbands and wives who’ve lost their jobs. We’ve begged God for provision to meet desperate financial needs.
We’ve challenged each other’s ideas, and asked each other hard questions. We’ve stuck our feet in our mouths and asked for forgiveness. We’ve chosen to love and forgive each other, even when our ideas didn’t exactly match.
We’ve swapped recipes, and discussed food cravings. We’ve struggled over chores and how and when to assign them. We’ve touted homemade laundry detergent, and warned each other of the latest food recalls.
We’ve given fashion, hair and makeup advice. We’ve announced glorious new hairstyles and despaired over hair disasters.
We’ve punned, blogged, a few of us have counted our posts, and some of us have even written novels.
We’ve mailed a rubber chicken around the United States, and a Bimbo shirt around the world.
We’ve learned to knit, and knitted amazing hats and sweaters and mittens. We’ve quilted and sewed and spun wool and displayed our artistic giftings in jewelry design and purses made from feed sacks. We’ve played concerts and triumphed on the stage, We’ve sung, and danced, and relished our moments in the spotlight. We’ve thanked the Lord we never have to get up in front of people and say anything, because the thought petrifies us.
We’ve done field trips together. We’ve gone camping together. And quite a few of us have become no longer emaginary to each other, but real life friends,
We’ve exhorted, quoted scripture to edify each other and encouraged each other. We’ve held up the arms of a sister or brother who was struggling. We’ve fasted and prayed for each other like nobody’s business.
We know enough about each other to make a pretty good living from extortion.
Oh, yes, and along the way, we’ve even advised each other in regard to something called homeschooling.
Ladies (and gents), you really are a most amazing community.
Thank you for letting me be a part of it.