Ravelry. I spend countless hours each week pinning recipes, crafts, & decorating ideas at Pinterest. My first destination online each morning is Facebook, to see what my friends & family have to say. And of course I can't forget the fun of blogging. I've met so many neat people over the years that I'd never have otherwise had the privilege, if not for the internet. I know there's much evil and demoralizing content online, but the places I go fulfill me. I can't imagine life without it.
Sometimes I think back to what life was like before we went 'online'. What did I do to fill my day? Okay, maybe my house was a little cleaner, and probably I read more books, and I was busy homeschooling my young daughter back then.
I remember being at the homes of friends when they showed us the things they did "online". Studley & I ooh'd and ahh'd over their access to this exciting new world. We were like a couple of little kids watching another kid play with his new toy, and wishing desparately that we had a new toy, too.
We finally got our new toy about 14 years ago when Mr.Studley was sent a laptop by his company for job use. Studley needed it through the day, but after about 7 or 8 at night, when he'd finished using it for his job, the laptop became mine.
Oh, the thrill of hearing the sound the dial-up made as I logged on to the internet (which was really a screeching, rather repelling sound). The first thing I did was look for homeschooling related sites. I don't think Google was even around, or if it was, I didn't yet know about it. I used a search engine called dogpile. The first place I discovered and landed was a homeschooling message board forum~slash~used curriculum sales. The Homeschooler's Curriculum Swap, more commonly known to regular users as "the Swap". It became my second home. Being mostly at home at that time, the friends I made there, known as Swappies, gave me the social contact I craved. My family teased me mercilessly about my "imaginary friends". Yet, let one of them have a question none of us could answer, and they were the first to suggest, "ask the Swappies!".
The Swap has seen changes over the years; passing into fresh new hands as the old hands determine they've fulfilled their duties and are ready to move onto other things (usually because they're no longer homeschooling). I and another Swappie, my friend, Marilyn, were a couple of the 'old hands' (figuratively speaking) who ran it for six years. It came with it's challenges, but overall, was quite rewarding.
Even though many Swappies have come and gone over the years, there are still many there who were resident when I first discovered the Swap. The forums have a feel of family, a family who is always eager to accept new family members with open arms. The love of God, and instilling godly values in their children while training them in academics, is at the heart of the Swap. It's been over ten years since I finished homeschooling my daughter, though I did stay on there long after she was an adult. I don't spend much time time there now, simply because my life is running in a different direction these days, but I always feel right at home whenever I visit, just like going home to family. Of course, I see much of my Swap family on a daily basis on facebook. ;-) I still recommend it to new (or old) homeschoolers, though. There's MANY years of homeschooling experience there, and they are more than willing to answer questions and steer newbies toward the things they need.
I didn't set out to write about the Swap today. I was merely contemplating how different life is with the internet; a life most young people today have never experienced, just as most have never known life without a cell phone. Since the Swap came into my life at the same time as the internet, the two bring up the same memories for me.
I'm very excited. I used Christmas money I got from my mom to order an e-reader this week. I can hardly wait to get it. Meanwhile, I've downloaded the free Kindle app on my desktop computer, and have already started reading one of the freebie books available through the Kindle Store at Amazon. After asking a lot of questions of friends with e-readers, I determined the Kindle Touch would be a good fit for me. I love that it's easy to read outdoors in the sunlight, it has a long lasting battery life, and it's slim and lightweight. Of course I still love the feel of a real book in my hands, but I think I'm going to love the feel of my new Kindle in my hands, too!
Remember, do something nice for someone today. God bless you all, and have a great week-end!