". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Looper R&R

My husband and I are confessional Lutherans. We're also homeschoolers. Each of those groups on its own is a pretty small percentage of the population. But a cross-section of the two is frankly not just a minority but a sub-culture. And our lifestyle and many of our beliefs are so different from the average American that some might even consider us to be counter-cultural.

Yet several years ago we discovered that there were OTHERS LIKE US. And it turns out many of them subscribe to an online email list called Martin Loopers. The discovery of this network of kindred spirits has been a blessing of immeasurable scope to our family, and particularly to me. I am so thankful to have the freedom to homeschool and to have a husband who fully supports me in that effort. And I love spending my days with my children and knowing that because they are with me we are maintaining the primacy of faith and family in our daily lives. But I also acknowledge that the life of a homeschooling mom is not easy and that sometimes the task before me is daunting and my sense of isolation hard to overcome.

That's where the "Loopers" come in. This group of fellow homeschooling Lutherans has provided me with a sense of community that I previously did not enjoy, a place to exchange ideas, ask questions, celebrate each other's joys and share in each other's sorrows. We encourage, pray for, and sometimes yes, even correct each other. We certainly don't agree on everything, but the common ground that we share provides a safe forum in which to explore those differences. No matter how heated the discussion may sometimes get, the community remains. It's very much like a family that you know will never turn you away.

So considering how I feel about my dear Loopers, you can see why I was excited to the point of distraction as this past weekend approached. For on Saturday morning over forty Loopers descended on my church for a day of fun, food, and fellowship. We ate, talked, played, laughed, sang and worshiped together. Here without further delay are some photos of a day I will long remember.

I think they're ready for seconds, don't you? Pictured are Cantor M., ElephantsChild & Mad Musician & Clark E. (in profile in the distance).

New friends and old (Lora, Suzanne--one of my co-hosts--and Ruth). Some of the younger generation are in the background.

Laura and foster child Benjamin (one of the happiest babies I have ever seen, and oh, how he loves Laura).

Lori & Pastor Paul M., my other co-hosts for the day. Thank you, Pastor, for your grilling expertise!

Susan (and no, that's not beer, but Susan's own homemade kombucha in the bottle).

Very old friends (Michelle, whose hubby kept Pastor M. company while he was grilling in the hot sun, and yes, the other one is me).

Looper kids & friends playing water balloon games (thanks again to Pastor M. for supervising this activity--boy, Pastor, you really got around!).

One of the special treats of this weekend was having a Looper family stay in our house for the very first time. I must admit I was a little nervous, wanting to be a good host and fearing I would not succeed. And wouldn't you know it, the toilet that has been on its last legs (not sure about that metaphor, but I can't think of a better one right now) picked this weekend to die for good. So our poor houseguests did not have a working toilet in the bathroom in which they had to take their showers. But they gamely adapted and seemed not too worse for the wear.

Here's proof that Looper kids only engage in educational activities when they get together in groups (pictured are Evan, Chris, Caitlin, and Maggie):

Here are Maggie, Lora & Chris minus Pastor Jeff, who had to stay home to preside over worship services (and yes, that is a church pew in our living room--told you we were counter-cultural):

Time for new friends to say goodbye (left to right are Evan, Maggie, Caitlin, Trevor & Chris, with Shiloh the beagle in front):

I only have two regrets about the day. First, I wish that I had taken more pictures, especially of the children (it seemed they were constantly scattered), and that I had assembled everyone for a group shot. Second, I wish the day could have been two or three days instead of only one. There just wasn't suficient time to sit down and talk to everyone as I would have liked (except Lora of course--and what a blessing to get to know her and her family better). All the more reason to seek future opportunities to see these dear friends again (and the many others I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting)!


Favorite Apron said...

I know Lora and Ruth and Susan and Jenni, but it's wonderful to put faces with other names, including yours!
What is it about Loopers? What would we do without them.

Mumme Mom said...

Waah Waah! I wish I was there. I thought about you guys all day on Saturday. Next time I hope it will be when I can drive down and join in the fun.

Maybe this is how we could all survive the Feb. blues?!?!? We can have another gathering or at least a mommapalooza! Hmmm, I'll have to think on that one.

elephantschild said...

Looks like Sparkle Kitty has tough competition for your Evan - Look at how Maggie's got her hands on your boy! :)

It truly was a fabulous day!

You wrote:
"It's very much like a family that you know will never turn you away."

Unless of course, you're the goat on Cynthia porch. Or an Emu.

Jane said...

I, too, kept thinking about all of you all day on Saturday. I'm glad you had such a wonderful day!

The Hen (Charity) said...

Thank you so much for posting pictures. I just love to see photos of looper gatherings. God has really blessed us with wonderful friends even thou they may be far away.

Presbytera said...

I so wanted to come and join you but I was on airport duty that day -- picking up Naomi and Sandy from NC. Thanks for the pics -- I will get to see quite a few of these faces this month. Some this week in Milwaukee and some next week in OH. But still no Magness sighting!!! Maybe one day soon...

Dana said...

That is really cool. I find some support in online forums, but have only met two people in person. And only briefly since they live in other states!

Thank you for sharing the encouraging story and pictures!

Barbara Frank said...

What fun! Sounds like you all had a great time!

Thanks for sharing about that loop. We're in the process of moving, but when we get settled in our new home and my computer is online again, I will have to look into it!

BTW, maybe you and your fellow loop members might have some input I can share with my son. He is working for Concordia Publishing House, and he wants to know how CPH can help homeschoolers. Anyone wishing to make suggestions can email me (cardamompublishers@sbcglobal.net), and I'll forward their thoughts to him. Thanks!

Jenn said...

Yeah, I was so jealous on Sat (and I'd just gotten back from Wendi's place!) that I couldn't look at the pics! :( Good thing I took communion on Sunday - daily washing eh?

Really need to get up on keeping my own blog up more!

Know all about that sub-culture bit too! Most of the time I feel like a square peg and the rest of the crowd is a definite round hole! :)
Blessings in Christ
Thanks for the pics!