Tuesday, November 09, 2010


Several years ago --- I can't even remember for sure how many now --- someone on a homeschool board that I frequent daily, had a sign up for small groups. Now, the FIVE IN A ROW online community is already amazingly that, a community, despite the miles that divide us and the fact that most of us have never, ever met or even attended a FIAR conference. There is just something so special about this curriculum (and its creators) that it impacts the way the way the website has evolved from being just a dry, educational resource to a network of friends that are there for each other beyond merely asking cut-and-dry questions related to homeschooling.

Need prayer requests? The PRAYER ROOM is open 24/7 and there is always someone online who will stop and pray for you right then and there.

Moving to a new city? The FIAR moms will not just give you advice on neighborhoods and hs'ing laws, they might even show up to help you with your move or send you a housewarming card or gift.

Need advice on how to potty train that persnickety preschooler? Just ask on the FIAR Family Room board and scores of been-there-done-that-moms are sure to post their ideas.

Having trouble teaching your 9 year old their times tables? Again, the FIAR boards have just the resource for you --- THE 3 R's board.

Now you take all that awesomeness, multiply it times 6, and you've got the awesomeness of my BRACELET BABES. When we signed up to join a small group, I was assigned to a group with 4 other women --- Paige, Angela, Tylee, and Mare --- and not too much longer, another mom joined the mix --- Heather.

Over the years, via our yahoo eloop, facebook, phone calls, letters, and even visits, we've become family for each other. We've been there during times of crisis and celebration. We've prayed about hard times and praised over God's answered prayers. We've laughed and cried and advised and even whined.

Most of us have never met. I've been blessed to have Paige spend the weekend at my house when I had a FIAR get-together a few years back and I've been blessed to stay with Angela three times when we've traveled to Atlanta to deliver our teens to the Adventures in Missions base.

Tylee is way out in California, Mare is way up north, and Heather actually lives in Asia where she is the principle of a school. I hope to be in Africa in the not too distant future.

We are from different states, go to different kinds of churches, have family sizes of various sizes, and look totally different. Five of us are married, one is joyfully engaged. Two of us work full-time out of the home, three of us are stay-at-home moms. Not all of us even homeschool our kids anymore.

But the bond that started with FIAR has grown stronger as we have committed to loving each other. We have committed to praying for each other, and cheering for each other, and simply sharing life together as well as six women scattered across the world can manage to do.

And that's what we all have to do. We have to choose to commit to the people in our lives to make the relationships work.

Today, I'm very thankful to the 5 other women who have affectionately become known as the Bracelet Babes. We call ourselves that because of the beautiful , handcrafted bracelets we were all given by Tylee. Those pieces of jewerly are symbols of what we share, the gift of friendship. Each bracelet is different just as each of us is different, but we have chosen to lay aside the differences and let a tie bind us across the miles and across the years.

By the way, if you think about it today, say a prayer for one of our Bracelet Babes. Ang is at her lovely, rural home today giving birth to her 6th child and 3rd son.

And so our family grows.

To learn more about FIVE IN A ROW, visit their website at: http://www.fiarhq.com/


Coffee Bean said...

How COOL!!! Has Mare been on the FIAR Boards a long time??? That name rings a bell. Of course... I've been off of there for... gosh 6 years! How can it be that long already. My babies done went and growed up.

Elysa said...

Yes, Mare has been on there for several years.

And you know what? I still miss you on the boards.

After all, can I truly ever get enough of my Kelly Belly???

Elysa said...

Two of the BB's added these details about our group on fb. I thought I'd add them here:

Tylee said, "My favorite favorite part of our BB story, if I remember correctly, is that everyone's names were placed in a hat and randomly chosen to create each group. Our names were the last five left in the hat! Then we were blessed with adding Heather to complete our wonderful little group. It's been almost 4 years to the day! I'm so thankful for each of you!! Talk about saving the best for last... ;) "

Paige added this, "Oh, I had forgotten about that, Tylee! Randomly thrown together ... and yet not so randomly. Last of the bunch and yet I believe that our group is one of the last that is still together as a group ... if not the last. A lot of those groups lasted no time at all, disbanding within weeks of being formed. I love y'all too!"