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).
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).
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)!