Yes, I was banned off the Sonlight Forums-Updated, May 29, 2011

by Chloe Jeffreys · 97 comments

in Sandwich Generation, Sonlight Forums, You're Kidding Me, Right?

That’s all I’m going to say about it.

God Bless.


Well, not quite.  That’s what I wrote on May 30, 2009.  Here’s my update, two years later:


Sunday, May 29 2011. 

Nearly two years later to the day, I’ve stumbled upon an interesting fact that many people find my blog by googling “Sonlight Forums”.  Before I made the move to WordPress, this blog post was like number six or something on Google search. I’ve really been thinking about this quite a bit the past few days while lying on my sickbed with this bad cold and tending to my torn and tattered Doo.

Should I remove these posts off my blog altogether, leave them as they are, or edit them in some way to reflect where I’m at now?  It breaks my heart that after over a decade of joyful membership on the Sonlight Forums and “Yes, I was Banned off the Sonlight Forums” is what end ups up being my legacy. 

That just isn’t right.  

But, if people are going to end up here anyway then I might write something of an explanation of my take on it.  Take it or leave it.

In 1998, my husband and I began to look into homeschooling as an alternative way to educate our children.  While we were devout Evangelical Christians, our main issues were not religious but educational.  Both my husband and I were volunteers in our children’s classrooms and we could see close-up what was happening to education.  As a result of No Child Left Behind, Standardized Testing was gaining a strong foothold and we were watching as teachers were abandoning things like history and art to teach to these tests. We were not going to sit around while our children’s education was ruined, so we began to look into homeschooling. We spent an entire year researching curriculum and homeschooling philosophies before making our final decision.

During our investigation, I discovered Sonlight Curriculum and the Sonlight Forums. In those days, the forums were much smaller, and there were 31 Reasons NOT to Buy Sonlight. After spending a year on the forums, we made a decision to go with Sonlight. We scraped together the several hundred dollars and bought our first Core and brought our children home to begin teaching them, “The Way You Wish You’d Been Taught”.

From 1998 until 2009, I was a very active and somewhat popular member of the Sonlight Forums. I made many friends online and went on to meet many of them in real life. The forums meant a lot to me and my family; they changed our lives.  As an adult who spent all day home with her children, I enjoyed having a place where I could easily hang out with like-minded adults having adult discussions. I also enjoyed the opportunity the forums created for people of divergent points of view to congregate together to discuss important topics of the day.  Sonlight, the company as led by John Holzmann, seemed to have an immense toleration and even respect for different points of view. I really appreciated that about the company and about John in particular. I think he was a very brave man.

Then a handful of significant things seems to have happened all around the same time. In the summer of 2008, Touchstone, a prominent member, renounced his Christianity and declared himself an atheist. This shook the community to the core; well, it shook me up anyway.  And, coincidently, around that same time, Sonlight was denied vendor space at the Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC) Convention reportedly because of the company’s perceived wishy-washy stance on the Young Earth/Old Earth creation controversy. 

Historically, Sonlight, with John Holzmann at the helm, has always been more tolerant of differing views on Creation than other conservative Evangelical Christian curriculum providers.  And with the charismatic President, Founder, and CEO of Answers in GenesisKen Ham, appearing across the country as a major keynote speaker at homeschool conventions, and making Creation THE #1 issue in homeschooling today, I certainly can’t say I was surprised when the big homeschool gurus who control Christian homeschooling attempted to censure Sonlight in this way.  


My husband and I have had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Ham speak many times, including an entire week with him at a homeschool camp held at Lifeway Headquarters in Glorieta, New Mexico.  Mr. Ham is passionate about Creationism and is very vehement that only a Young Earth Creation (YEC) belief is consistent with Christianity.  Christian homeschool parents who, as a group, are very concerned with raising up a godly seed are being indoctrinated quite strongly that any other viewpoint aside from YEC is tantamount to heresy and can result in your child losing their faith (By the way, nothing is said at these conventions about the dangers of extreme religiosity and the very real risk that presents to your child’s faith because that doesn’t sell what Christian parents want to hear.).

This slight by CHEC must have been a huge embarrassment for the company since Sonlight is headquartered in Colorado Springs [Correction: Sonlight Curriculum is in Littleton, not Colorado Springs]. A quick google search of “Sonlight Forums” shows that the question of whether or not Sonlight curriculum is “Christian enough” remains a topic of heated debate within the Christian online homeschooling community.

Then, maybe as a response to all of the above, I really don’t know, Sarita Holzmann, John’s wife, appears to have taken over the helm of the company retiring John to the background. This was a strange turn of events since Sarita, always named as the Founder of the company in the catalog, never, in all my years on the forums, was any sort of a presence on the forums.  

Sarita’s sudden appearance on Lifelong Learners (LLL), the acknowledged troublezone of the forums, reminded me very much of a third grade Sunday School teacher returning from a verrrryyyyy looooonnnnngggg bathroom break only to find the students dancing on the desks and throwing spitwads at each other. Only these weren’t naughty third graders we’re talking about, but extremely brilliant, highly educated people from all walks of life and faiths discussing deep thoughts about Truth and Theology. Her opening maneuver to rein in LLL with a simplistic study of The Book of John was disastrous to say the least. It was like a kindergarten Sunday School teacher trying to present her felt board lesson to a group of Jesuit graduate students arriving to take their final exams. Daddy Otter, a professor in Ancient Literature took up her challenge.  



Not understanding the dynamics of the forum’s complex online relationships and lacking the skills required for a winsome defense of her viewpoints, Sarita was soundly thrashed on her own forums.  Timing being everything, I believe I was among the first to see these two Titans go at it on LLL and made the very bad mistake of publicly joking, “Why do I suddenly feel like Mouse and want to run over to Meet and Share and say, ‘Morpheus is fighting Neo.'”

Sigh.

My mouth is always what gets me into trouble.

Sweet little me, who mostly posted on Parenting or Meet and Share, suddenly felt the Eye of Sauron upon me. The Book of John thread was pulled for a time after my comment and then another silly thread started by my husband about Twilight and loving me enjoying Twilight and K.C. and the Sunshine Band (you really had to be there) was also yanked for no reason that was ever explained.  Prior to this banning that I write about here on May 29, 2009, I received a few demerits over really silly things and was sent an ominous private message from someone letting me know that my end on the forums was coming.  It is not an exaggeration to say that a siege mentality began to prevail.

I truly believe that Sarita Holzmann is a godly woman, but I honestly do not think that she understood or understands the nature of the online forums her husband created.  Also, there were some forum participants (and certain cowardly tattletales) who began reporting posters and posts that didn’t line up with something called, but never defined, “An Evangelical Christian Worldview”.  Instead of treating these tattletales like any wise mother should and telling them to grow up and take their complaints back to their sister (or brother), the moderators allowed themselves to be placed in a terrible position of censoring certain posters to protect the delicate sensibilities of certain customers.  The moderators of Sonlight were called upon to abandon their position of serving customers and taking up the banner of protector of the faith, the right faith: Evangelical Christianity. 

For myself, I feel that initially I simply got caught in the middle of this. Having friends on both sides of the divide, I was never a great theological debater on LLL.  I was as crushed as anyone when Touchstone announced he was an atheist; I’m still sad about it .  Most of my writing centered around parenting and women’s health issues just like it does here on this blog.  I wrote extensively about my daughter’s courtship, which was widely well-received and likely made me pretty popular.  And trust me, I was very tempted to leave it at that and allow myself to stay up on that wonderful pedestal of parenting having achieved the Holy Grail of Evangelical Christian Homeschool parenting: Daughter as the Virgin Bride.  But it wouldn’t have been the whole truth, and so I began to write about my son going prodigal.

I wrote out of my desperation and out of my pain.  Here my husband and I had done all ‘THE RIGHT THINGS” and our son rejected our worldview.  How did this happen?  What could we do about it?  How would we survive it?

Initially, some people gave us some really “great” advice like,  “Have you tried Scripture?”   Our answer: “Well, gee, our son was a Bible Drill Champion.”  Others offered, “Do you do Bible Study?”  To that we can say, “Gosh, every morning, often with dad.”  I did become disenchanted with some of Evangelical Christianity’s simplistic answers to life’s difficult problems.  I didn’t and won’t hide my disillusionment with churchianity, but I’ve never rejected my faith in Jesus Christ.

As we got deeper in our walk with our son we realized how little help there really is out there for parents of prodigals.  And slowly I began to see the hardest truth of all: I’d been raising my children as a idol unto myself.  I discovered the reality that children are their own people and we can’t make them do anything.  No curriculum guarantees “a godly legacy”.  And I started writing about that.  And as I crawled out of despair I started writing that life could be worth living even if your children go their own way.  I wrote that, while mothering is great and wonderful, there is more to life than mothering and I was going to find out what that more was.

But you know what?  That isn’t the sort of message that sells Christian homeschool curriculum.  Parents want a product that brings them the guaranteed results: a godly legacy.  Parents flock to homeschool conventions to learn how to raise children who will never stray from our worldview  What could one say about a curriculum company that ended up having parents who become atheists or children that become prodigals?  That doesn’t sell homeschool curriculum and Sonlight is first and foremost a Company that sells homeschool curriculum. 

So, in 2009, to save their company and prove that they are “Christian enough” there began a great cleansing of everyone who didn’t espouse the correct Evangelical Worldview (which, again, was never actually defined) that continued on until 2010 when several people, including myself, were ultimately banned. 

If you read my other blog posts about this situation you’ll find that eventually my heirloom membership was reinstated and the Company privately apologized to me.  But it was too little, too late.  I’m still an heirloom member on the forums and I can post anytime I like, but I rarely do now.  And that’s okay.  Really.

P.S.S.S. I forgot the very best part.  As noted, a few weeks after this fiasco on the forums died down, I did receive an apology from Luke Holzmann for the above banning and the “unintended” besmirching of my character.  In fact though, months and months after all of this happened, Sarita herself sent out a “personal” apology that apparently was meant for me.  It was addressed to “Chloe”, so I’m assuming she meant it for me anyway.  But, to bolster my argument that Sarita really is oblivious to her own forums and the members there, she did not send the apology to me but appears to have inadvertently sent it to another member, whose name isn’t even remotely Chloe, who hadn’t even posted on Sonlight in over a year!   

As my friend read Sarita’s rather generic letter to me over the phone it was very obvious that Sarita really had no idea who either of us were. Heavens. But in truth, I feel that Sarita’s mistake was a much greater insult to my friend than to me since my friend is responsible for several of the popular marketing ploys that have engendered extreme goodwill on the forums that Sarita now enjoys. You might know those things as: “Big Fat Meet-Ups” and the phrase “Box Day”, but Sarita hasn’t even taken the time to know who my friend is either. I responded to Sarita’s heartfelt apology with an equally heartfelt response and sent it to Susan Wise Bauer.

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{ 90 comments… read them below or add one }

Martin April 3, 2017 at 10:12 pm

Trying to put a fine point on a subject that defies it. Not good. Seems to me that teaching against Darwinism would be good enough. We see through the glass darkly, after all.

I always liked what my old pastor used to say. I don’t care what exact method God used to create things. But the more we find out about it, they greater view of Gods handiwork we get.

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Nicole Dean February 1, 2017 at 1:54 pm

I’m positive that “Nancy” isn’t the only individual who is upset that this page shows up so high in Google for the term, “Sonlight.” However, I must say I think it is a piece of beautiful irony. I have nothing against Sonlight and I wasn’t a part of the forums back then. But reading through this page, viewing the archives, and living vicariously through you, I truly believe this is a lesson for the ages. We talk about great pieces of literature that bring out some emotion — yeah, the Charlotte Mason stuff. Your blog is becoming “great literature.” So much to learn here, so much to experience and live through. Thank you for editing this, but leaving it up!

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Nancy A Dickens December 31, 2016 at 12:15 am

I find it annoying this post constantly comes up when I Google Sonlight. I think the fact that Luke and Sarita have apologized it is quite horrible to keep this post up. It does not reflect Christian teachings of forgiveness and certainly does not reflect humility nor casting the first stone teachings either. Sonlight is a wonderful curriculum and in my 14 years of using their curriculum the family and customer service has been quite good. It is also unfair to say what you said about Sarita apology. It makes very little sense to me why you would be so nitpick about an apology. I really don’t get why it upset you so. I do not expect this post to change your mind and take it down. In fact I am rather sure it will cause you to keep it up. But for all the freakn years I have had to see this ridiculousness when I Google something about Sonlight I am in a bad enough mood tonight to say something.

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samsam November 26, 2016 at 7:56 pm

wondering how everything is going for you now? Hope all is working out.

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Sheri King February 17, 2016 at 12:09 pm

Your last sentence cracked me up so much my kids came running to see what I was laughing about. So many things about the prodigal and the Christian Community’s response (or lack of response) rang true. My kids are young, but I relate in other ways. Also, I am going to take time ponder “I’d been raising my children as a idol unto myself”. Thank you for sharing your story.

The SL forums have changed so much, but as FB rises up as the new “forum” these kinds of things will continue to repeat themselves. I think reading through your article was insightful. It also helped explained some things I’ve heard vaguely referred to by veterans. Thank you.

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Chloe Jeffreys April 3, 2016 at 1:48 pm

Hey Sheri, you are so welcome! I’m glad you found my post. While this is obviously my particular take on what happened, it is a bit of the history as best I could tell it, and I think what happened on the forums is a parable about what happens when legalists take over. The SL forums were once a place of exploration. I think about those times as a sort of Camelot of my walk with Christ. Best of luck to you!

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Ashley October 28, 2015 at 5:31 am

yes, i have gone through your homechooling blogs before. They are really interesting.
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will March 4, 2015 at 1:22 pm

enjoyed your writing so far, so i am replying in order to get on your list.

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Dhanya Bramhall-Smith October 1, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Susan Wise Bauer, LOL!!!!

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jolene September 30, 2014 at 10:59 am

Billy Graham said there is a crisis in America, especially the South, where people have “just enough religion to keep from getting the real thing”.

I hope we and our kids all get the real thing – and don’t keep giving people back what they deserve. I think it’s a great idea to take this down.

Love covers.

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Shorty July 4, 2014 at 9:56 pm

Just perusing the past- is it still the same? Our perceptions of events often change even if our blogs don’t reflect it. I can’t help but wonder… I have been through so much since this original (2009 time frame) post, as have you. I find growth most often in painful areas- I just roll that way I guess. I had no idea, when I first read this post, that I would be where I am today, and that is for the best. I don’t know what I am even looking for, in visiting the past- former glory days when I knew all the answers? That lead to…disillusion? Heartbreak? But I still believe and have faith in the Lord, (maybe not always His people) and I am trying to stumble through. It can be hard, especially for those of us I suppose who did love the big questions, who even if we weren’t titans on Sonlight Forums we loved to follow and think it through… I have learned so much in my homeschool journey (no doubt, more than my kids!) and the Sonlight Forums were the primary place where I was exposed to different forms of thought and perception. It honed my own beliefs. Today on Facebook I see partisan barbs traded daily “Republicans..”, “Liberals” “Corporations” , etc… and I am sad that the glory days of discussion amongst unlike minded but respectful thinkers seem to have gone. It makes me sad.

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Chloe Jeffreys August 26, 2014 at 10:31 am

Shorty, I feel about those days much as the people who lived in Camelot must have felt about the dark ages. Sad. When I think back on those days, and all the relationships found and lost, it makes me very, very sad. I still maintain that John Holzmann was a brave man ahead of his time. He built something rare and true.

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kelly s April 23, 2014 at 9:25 pm

Where have you been all my teen parenting years. Found your blog researching juicy fruit and will be subscribing. Had lunch with my prodigal today hoping to find life on her own was bringing her the happiness we could never seem to offer but left knowing its still the same no matter the location. I find myself lonelier now trying to avoid meeting old friends who are sure to ask how things are going with her. I know we did everything we could including homeschooling,church,ect but just like people fear catching a disease despite a healthy life style… they blame our parenting. Thank you for your honest posts and most of all the hope…

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Chloe Jeffreys April 23, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Kelly, thank you for writing me. It’s going to get better!! But probably not before it gets a lot worse and your kid scares the holy shit out of you. I don’t know why some of these kids have to go through this but they do and you’ll end up a humbler healthier persom for it. And those people? Geez. I don’t know what to tell you. Eventually you won’t care anymore and the shame will leave. But it will take time. Blessings to you. Take care of you.

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Stephanie Dell September 18, 2016 at 11:19 am

Golly, i know I’m late to the party but i just wanted to share something i heard someone say a few months back. It really encouraged me. My kids are very small (3,2 and a newborn arriving in 5 weeks) but since becoming a parent i have been so concerned about my children losing sight of all the”right” things they will be taught. I believe he may have been a pastor but i honestly can not remember who the man was that said something to the effect of: God embraces those who peruse their own path and stray away from His ways. How much more does the person who walks away and “needs” grace embrace God and His ways than the one who feels like they don’t need grace because they did everything “right”. No one is perfect(i certainly am not, no matter how hard i have tried all of my Christian life) and God loves to show us imperfect people just how merciful and full of grace He truly is. It is then that we get to really experience what He has to offer. It can no longer be about how great we are but how great and loving He truly is. It all happens in His timing. His timing is perfect and His plan is perfect. We just need to trust it and continue to praise Him for the grace he extends to all of His sinful children. I feel like prayer is so important as parents, that’s pretty much the only thing we have complete control over. How often we get on our knees to worship, praise, and glorify our God whom will always take care of us even when time seem so dark and shameful. He will always make things beautiful for His children and He will extend His grace to our children when the time is right. Don’t lose heart, i know its easier said than done.❤

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Andy Rayner December 16, 2013 at 2:39 am

You may not remember me… SEAWIND-PEI from Sonlight forums.. The Fishing Family.
Sorry to hear about all this… Must have occurred after I faded from the forms. Glad apologies were worked out. My experience they are few. So this is encouraging to me. Stumbled on your bog today by accident… from Mali, West Africa today. How exactly?????? Anyway, We are still a ishing family, Kids all done of HSing now, and We are working over seas each year for 4-5 months as well. Anyway, Had not heard about Touchstone either. That saddened my heart, but I can’t see it as permanent, he’s wrestled too much to not discover HIM through wrestling with all the “Stuff” clouding him. Andy, (SEAWIND)
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Chloe Jeffreys December 19, 2013 at 10:10 am

I do remember you! Hi! Yes, it was all very sad in the end. And like so many other online community blow-ups I’ve seen, entirely unnecessary.

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Emily August 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Sounds to me as though we should take the advise I heard once, ask yourself, do I pray about it as much as I talk about it? I’m not taking any sides, but we’re all human, we all have room to grow, and all make mistakes. Gossip is never the answer. God is! And prayer is the most powerful tool. Lets use it! I know only what I read here, and can’t help but wonder about a few things…was the intention to build up? Encourage? Get back at someone? Warn people? And if so, of what? Was it to admonish? Was it just venting? Was it to say the forums are no good? I’ve never been much a part of them, I’m using sonlight though, and absolutely love it! I’m confused as to what was intended by all that was shared! I have found at when I have a particularly tough problem to deal with, I get best results by going to The Lord about it and dumping it all at his feet! Besides that way he can sift through it and give me peace about what to share with others, thereby saving myself and others a lot of stress. When we become “popular” we also need to understand the responsibility that comes with it! Our words can do a lot of good and also damage! Just saying!

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Clara August 16, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Chloe,
I’m not sure how google ranking of posts works exactly, but your blog is the #2 link when I googled sonlight. I am researching HS curriculums to start this year with my 5yod & 3yos. I’m greatful for the insight I’ve gained from your article and subsequent comments. They have, in no way, deterred me from using the curriculum. I have decided to use SL particularly because of the tone of their catalog and website. I was/am so excited to come across a “christian” curriculum that encourages students to “first seek to understand, then to be understood.” I still have hope that the curriculum will give me the tools I need to guide my children to think in a BIBLICAL way about our world. However, your post served as both encouragement and as a warning. As I read your post, I realized that I was almost idolizing SL curriculum because it seems to distance itself from, to use your word, “churchianity.” This was a good reminder that I am still the one responsible to test everything (even their curriculum) against scripture. As an isolated soon-to-be homeschool mom, I find it so encouraging to see how you formed many supportive friendships with other home-schoolers. I pray I can do the same in the coming years!

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Chloe Jeffreys August 16, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Hi Clara,

I am sure that SL is very thrilled that my post ranks so high. There’s some justice in that, I think.

I am glad I used SL. I met so many wonderful women throughout my years homeschooling. I am in business with one of those women, and still in deep and meaningful friendships with many others.

Ultimately, no curriculum is perfect. Neither will any curriculum, or method of schooling, guarantee that your children were turn out exactly as you want. There is both free will, and God’s sometimes incomprehensible plans, affecting the outcome.

I believe that in the end it doesn’t matter so much what you teach as that you do it with love and sacrifice. Good luck and God bless!

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Sue in Japan July 2, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Wow! I have been out of the loop of the SL forums for the last 4-5 years, but I remember you!! I am so sorry to hear about what went down over there. It was really a great place at one time… I drifted away after I started blogging, and then when we converted to Catholicism I was so deep into studying that I ended up leaving it off altogether, though we do still use SL in our own modified way.

I happened upon your blog through a college friend on Facebook who “liked” your post about Paleo – which I “loved.”
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Chloe Jeffreys July 2, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Hi, Sue! I remember you, too!

Part of the war was over the influence the Catholics were having on the poor, downtrodden Evangelicals. I guess too many were deciding to swim the Tiber and the flow needed to be staunched.

Anyway, nice to reconnect! Thanks for coming by and commenting.

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Sue in Japan July 2, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Very interesting!! It’s funny that I didn’t realize how many fellow “Tiber Swimmers” there were at the time… though the Calvinist vs. Catholic theological debates were very interesting (while sometimes irritating), and probably made me think a lot more than I realized at the time.

I am so glad to have reconnected, too, except for the fact that I can’t seem to stop reading your blog and get on with my day!! Love, love your honest and compelling writing. Can’t wait to read more…
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Chloe Jeffreys July 2, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Oh, thank you, Sue. Read away. I think some of it isn’t too bad. Hope to see you soon. We should friend on FB, if you’d like.

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Jo May 21, 2013 at 9:03 am

It seems like to me, that you are immature and petty, and that maybe you shouldn’t use a “forum” to define who you are or make you feel important. You deserved what you got. Sarcasm will get you nowhere. My advice: Don’t take the side of bullys.

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Chloe Jeffreys June 2, 2013 at 9:07 pm

I see from your email that you work at a day care. I’m sure the kids there are very lucky to have you. You’re obviously a lovely person with a big heart.

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Me Just Asking June 21, 2013 at 5:47 pm

That was funny.

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Tez June 28, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Oh that’s very funny!
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Chloe Jeffreys June 28, 2013 at 9:58 pm

I’m glad you liked it. It did end up very funny in the end. I don’t think they’d get the joke though.

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Bren May 10, 2013 at 10:20 am

I found this blog googling “Touchstone-Daddy Otter”. I was reading a blog about a man’s conversion to Christianity from atheism and Touchstone came to mind as he often does when I read about atheism. I was quite bummed when Touchstone announced he had walked away from his Christian faith. I was on Sonlight’s LLL before the big poof as well. I rarely posted but did enjoy my daily LLL fix. 🙂 and I remember you well. When it started to get really crazy on the board and they started to charge more than I thought it was worth (I think Daddy Otter was all up in a tither about it too…lol) I exited. I have stayed in contact with DixieMom but often wonder about all the rest of you “talkers”. Glad to see you have a blog and are doing well! 🙂

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Chloe Jeffreys May 10, 2013 at 11:06 am

Hi Bren! Nice to see you again. Yes, I’m doing quite well, and I am glad you found me.

I’m afraid the break-off forums, The Flying Cow Tavern, went down in a fiery crash, or maybe it just finally burnt itself out. Either way, the old gang has split up and done its separate ways.

I’m still as chatty as always, I’m afraid. And very happy to wake up and see this comment and have the chance to chat with you.

Take care!

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Amy In Sea October 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Wow, to run across this post and remember all that! I was on the boards for years, way back when it was free and before the big poof. It used to be like Facebook is now for me, I checked in a dozen times a day. I’m still a member, but frankly just forget it’s there. I’m glad to know you are still around and doing well. I too still remember the red bra, virus killing chicken soup, your daughter’s engagement photo, and your son wanting to hop on a train and just go anywhere. Magnolia, if you ever check these comments, you once sent me a personal message after one of the meanies jumped down my throat letting me know that you supported me. I really appreciated it and never forgot it! That’s about when I started staying away. It was just too contentious but I still go there occasionally when I’m looking for specific info. I just don’t know anyone there anymore. 🙁 Nice to see so many folks still around from the good ol’ days!

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jenfromfaraway December 4, 2011 at 8:25 am

Ahhh…..and the light goes on!
I started homeschooling in fall of 2009 with SL and so many things are falling into place now. I’m glad you are where you are, but sorry for what you had to go through.

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Chloe December 5, 2011 at 11:53 am

It sound like you came after the drama. Well, sort of. There was still more drama. I tried to hang-on but the bloom was off the rose.

I get it. I’m just not a “good” Christian anymore, and I don’t even try to hide it.

I figure here on my blog people have a choice to read or not read what I have to say. That gives me a lot of freedom. And most of the people who I really cared about are on Facebook now anyway. Because of Facebook, the days of power that forums had on members is over.

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CJ September 7, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Chloe,

I am a former Sonlight forum user who left quite willingly- just took up too much of my time, like an addiction- but I have heard about Touchstone’s renunciation and, in doing so, found your post. I remember you and your daughter and your prodigal. You are real- and I thank you. I could and can see that, Christians need to be that in order to make any difference in the world, in order to *make* a difference. I was baffled by Sarita’s replacement of John, but – whatever. God bless you abundantly- and TS too, and Jennifer & Rocket & Racer and all of them while he is at it. Amen~ Shorty

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Chloe September 8, 2011 at 4:33 am

Hey, Shorty! I remember you. You got out when the getting was good.

Time suck it might have been, but the relationships were gold to me and I was saddened when my time there ended.

Thanks for finding me and taking the time to comment. I find a lot of former SL’ers this way and I’m always happy when that happens.

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CJ September 8, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Aw thanks- it truly is nice to be remembered!

Yes, I left apparently at a good time but it was a hard decision. I know I am a better person, a better mommy and a stronger Christian from my time there. Why? Because I was challenged in my beliefs and had to really examine them all- I was introduced to radical thinking- and I learned to see people through other eyes. It was an immense blessing and I am grateful for it. I miss it but I am old enough to know the truth of the adage ‘you can never go back’- I am different, Sonlight is different, but I do cherish what I got from it.

I am glad to have found you- now I need to go read your past posts because your intro video was beautiful and your name post was truly wonderful. I had forgotten how much I miss reading thoughts and words- of real women! Well, of the ones who can write well anyway. You can.

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Chloe September 8, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Thanks. I’m glad you found me too. I get to find people with that post all the time so I doubt I’ll ever take it off. I am a real woman even if I do have a faux name. Please come back again real soon. Do you have a blog that I’ve missed?

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CJ September 10, 2011 at 10:25 am

Alas- no blog for me. I frequently think about starting one. Once upon a time , a long long time ago, I thought I would become an author- (!) how far I have wandered from those dreams. Blogging might help to release the inner author; but it might just lead to discontent. Not sure if I want to find out which. But I am definitely subscribing to yours!

MX Mom Heather August 17, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Loved the re-cap. I knew a lot of this, but I’m usually clueless in the midst of chaos, so this tied it all together nicely. Thank you. Thank you, also, for nearly choking me to death with my own saliva. Susan Wise Bauer. It’s too much, Chloe. Really, just….ahhh… (cough, slurp) … too, too much.

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Chloe July 16, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Kristy, you can and you will. You're doing all the right things and you just have to keep doing those right things as best you can. Life hurts and then gets joyful and then hurts again. That's true for all of us and no one gets out alive.

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Kristy Plata July 16, 2011 at 5:28 pm

I've come back to read this one, since I read it first, then read the blog, and now, with more understanding, coming back to re-read what happened with SL. I really missed out on the SL involvement, I think because FB showed up, i found that, and my homeschool isolation was solved via FB. I think what FB is to so many now, SL was for all of you 10 years ago. I remember one time that everyone's post counts went down to zero…was that the big cleansing?? Back then, I wasn't on SL for social reasons, but just beginning my homeschooling journey with them, so spent most of my time in the forums that dealt with the actual curriculum choices. The few usernames that began to stand out to me, i've become friends with on FB, and blogs, so I rarely go to SL anymore. I'm sorry for what happened to you. Having poured yourself into it the way you did, what a devestating blow to receive. But again, seeing how you've come through the fire is inspiring. It gives me hope that I can get through my own fire!

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Chloe July 15, 2011 at 10:08 am

Hey! I so remember you! I'm glad you found me. I don't think I know your real name, but if you feel so inclined, please friend me on facebook. There is a button and I'd so love to keep in touch with you, Aurora B.As far as your 18yo. This too shall pass. My son is very delightful now. It will get better.love, chloe

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Aurora Borealis July 15, 2011 at 12:16 am

Hi Chloe,I ran across this due to your Google popularity. That whole LLL thing and the bannings were so badly handled by Sonlight and I am continually impressed by the grace and humor with which you've dealt with it. My oldest is a rebelling 18 year old and I often recall some of your struggles with the birth pangs of your son's adulthood. It's a comfort to know that others have walked this road. Thanks again for sharing the good and the bad with us on the Forums.(I was never a big poster on Sonlight but if you remember me at all it's probably as the pediatrician from Alaska.)

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Chloe July 14, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Oh, you are right. I keep forgetting. I hope this does explain some things that happened.

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Chloe July 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Renee, thanks for saying this. It was such a hard time. But the friendships I made during that time are priceless to me.Thanks so much for commenting. It means a lot to me that people were encouraged by the things I said.love, Chloe

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Lorri July 14, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Thanks for the explanation, I wasn't there at the time and always wondered what happened. (but Sonlight is in Littleton, not Colorado Springs. They are about an hour away from each other.)

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Renee Graef July 9, 2011 at 7:56 pm

LOL. Susan Wise Bauer. Awesome. :DAs I struggle through the departure of my firstborn this summer, I want to thank you for your honesty on the forums back in the day. The sharing of those times in your life when you felt hopelessly overwhelmed…and more importantly…the perserverance on your part to keep sharing till you got to the other side of your own transformation from hs mom to smokin' hot wife is one that inspires me.Thanks for being real. Keep up the good work.

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Chloe July 8, 2011 at 9:43 am

Hey Chelle do, I know you.It is good to keep one's sense of humor. Honestly, that's the one thing that has saved me over and over again. I'm glad I could give you a laugh. It cracks me up now too.love and blessings,Chloe

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Chloe July 8, 2011 at 9:42 am

lol I'm moving up the charts. There is justice in the world (of google anyway). It was NEVER my intention to have that happen, but I find it so ironic that it did.Anyway, Powerorchild, I've been seeing you over there and seeing that you've been posting. It really is a great group of ladies overall and I will always be so grateful for the many, many friends I've made over the years who continue even now to be my friends. The time I spent making those friends was worth every moment of tears I've cried over what ended up happening in the end.love and best wishes as you go on your journey.Chloe

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Powerorchid July 8, 2011 at 4:24 am

Just wanted to say that your Blog is now #5 on google searches, your moving up the list. I just joined SL forums and hope to see you there again xx

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Chelleve July 7, 2011 at 9:23 pm

I went looking for *sonlight* and landed here:) Your voice is missed.&, snort/laugh, your S.W.B comment made me nearly spit my coffee.Chelleve (ex. Chelle do)

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Chloe July 6, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Hey Jamie,So nice to see you. Yeah, it was a messy time in so many ways. It was heart-breaking, but it is what it is.Thanks for commenting my friend.Chloe

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Chloe July 6, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Yes, Paula, every woman needs something that reminds her that she is more than the sum-total of the roles she plays. Be it a red bra, or a good book, or a stunning pair of high heels, or even just a corner to call her own.

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jamie July 6, 2011 at 8:20 pm

I am only now really figuring out what all this mess was about. Meanwhile I've just gone on my merry little way, totally oblivious. Hopefully the hurts will heal with time. For me, I stay out of the hot zones on the forums, and quietly read controversial viewpoints on blogs without taking a stand publicly. (Still a prude, but an enlightened one, and still a chicken, but secretly applauding those bold enough to hold and proclaim other stances on subjects….) Love ya, Chloe. You have blessed me on many occasions.

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CJ September 7, 2011 at 7:47 pm

You go girl! Sonlight- in its old form anyway- really enlightened me. I thought Evangelicals were all prudes, but – they aren’t! I learned SO much in the 4+ years I was on SL forums- it really opened my eyes but also my heart- I truly believe I am a better Christian today than I was before, because I have learned at the feet of some truly great people. People who “do”, instead of “say”, people who search out instead of follow- it has been a gift. I was never a presence on the forums- I had a couple different user names and never a ‘following’- but I listened and learned and sifted, and rejected- but became more than I had been. Chloe was a part of that (her prodigal posts were more heartening in some ways than her others) and I mourn that the forums are no longer what they were (But hey, I am no longet there anyway, lol!) but all of creation degenerates- and so we are to continue to follow His call and influence those that we can, Blessings to you Jamie~ Shorty

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Amy/windoozles' mom July 5, 2011 at 11:47 am

I don't understand why they are banning people who have something to say, and leaving the troublemakers in place. I'm still fairly new there, but it just doesn't make sense to me.

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Magnolia July 5, 2011 at 11:47 am

I will confess….I've become a very intolerant broad in my menopause old age. Intolerant in that I don't have much patience for intellectual bull shit and ego. There was far too much of it at Sonlight. I'm not really interested in someone else's view point frankly. I respect the right for others to have them. But, I don't get my ya-ya's out by throwing around ideas just to throw them around. I find it pretentious, tedious and boorish. I think I've become exactly like my mother. I'm far too interested in trying to find some peace and happiness in the second half of my life. Locking horns with someone is not my idea of peace and happiness. But, that's just me.Anyway…..home school is not a part of my life anymore. And I must say, I'm right glad.

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By Mom July 5, 2011 at 11:47 am

I don't get it. You've been such a blessing to more of us over there than I can count.

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Anonymous July 5, 2011 at 11:47 am

So strange!! I commented on Robin's facebook page that it's like the Twilight Zone or something.

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Paula July 5, 2011 at 11:47 am

Don't worry Chloe, I will always remember that deacon's wives don't wear red bras.As a side note, there is a rumor that my dh may be considered for deacon at our church. I realize that I own only beige and white bras. I think I may need a red one, just to keep me grounded!

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Chloe July 4, 2011 at 11:30 am

It is very sad what happened and what was lost. And it was just as sad to see so many that I counted as my friends applaud the "great cleansing". It will always be inexplicable to me, I think. Nobody forced anyone to open any thread and you could easily put anyone on ignore. Why self-control and self-moderation didn't win out over totalitarian dictatorship through moderation, I'll never understand.Chloe

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Birthblessed July 4, 2011 at 11:00 am

I'm glad that neither you, Chloe, or you, Magnolia, are on SL forums anymore. It's been much easier to stick with my self-imposed ban. Since I can't find you there anyway. So now I just read your FBs and blogs. When I started getting "demerits" for speaking truth, I cut bait and ran.

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Paula June 25, 2011 at 9:47 am

Don't worry Chloe, I will always remember that deacon's wives don't wear red bras.As a side note, there is a rumor that my dh may be considered for deacon at our church. I realize that I own only beige and white bras. I think I may need a red one, just to keep me grounded!

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Magnolia June 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm

>Life is about loss sometimes. I find that I'm much better at accepting it now. It makes for a much better existence. I was telling my therapist the other day (the one I keep on the payroll to keep me sane 😀 ) that I've gotten to the place in life were I can live with crappy circumstances surrounding me and still find a way to be happy.I couldn't do that when I was 40. I can definitely do it in my 50s.Menopause. I highly recommend it.

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Chloe June 13, 2011 at 8:11 pm

>Magnolia, this did make laugh out loud. The curse of life: becoming like your mother.I'm also glad to be in the phase of my life. I have LOVED my 40s. And I love having my kids grown up. I miss some of the relationships I fear that I've lost through this, but I do not miss that part of my life being over.

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Magnolia June 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm

>I will confess….I've become a very intolerant broad in my menopause old age. Intolerant in that I don't have much patience for intellectual bull shit and ego. There was far too much of it at Sonlight. I'm not really interested in someone else's view point frankly. I respect the right for others to have them. But, I don't get my ya-ya's out by throwing around ideas just to throw them around. I find it pretentious, tedious and boorish. I think I've become exactly like my mother. I'm far too interested in trying to find some peace and happiness in the second half of my life. Locking horns with someone is not my idea of peace and happiness. But, that's just me.Anyway…..home school is not a part of my life anymore. And I must say, I'm right glad.

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Chloe June 13, 2011 at 4:37 pm

>Magnolia, there is no doubt that it was a far from perfect place. But when they went they took a lot of folks with them. Agree or disagree with them (and I disagreed a lot!), it was nice to have some place to go as an isolated homeschool mom and hear different thoughts and viewpoints. I don't miss the way it was at the end for me, but I do miss that so much.

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Magnolia June 13, 2011 at 4:09 pm

>It's been a while since I've been on the forums. I left over a year ago because I couldn't stand the environment created by Daddy Otter, et. al., ironically enough.Educated he is. Biblical scholar he is not. More like a puffed up blow hard.But, I digress.Don't miss Sonlight, home schooling, Touchstone or Daddy Otter.Oy.

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Chloe June 7, 2011 at 10:20 pm

>I miss you, too, Jan! So much. I hope someday to come your way. My life won't be complete unless I see you again in this lifetime. It has been a hard change for me. But I like that I can keep up with you on fb. But that isn't quite the same, is it? No granny panties or seed pearls there, are there?

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Jan June 7, 2011 at 7:47 am

>has it been two years already? Time flies! I stopped by your blog today to see how you were. I miss you.

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Elizabeth in TN June 4, 2011 at 1:48 pm

>Thanks for the update. I was going through a lot of my own struggles at the time and missed some of that. That letter to the wrong "Chloe" is astounding.

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The Reader June 4, 2011 at 4:43 am

>Chloe, rest assured, no one who was around when you were will ever remember you for this, rather than for the wit, wisdom, fun, energy and much needed honesty that you poured into the forums when you were there. No way, no how. I promise. For me, I'll always remember the fierceness and love with which you fought for your prodigal, and the lesson I tucked into my heart that my kids are people. Who make their own choices. Which might not be the ones I want them to make. And to love them, fiercely, no matter what. Which of course we all say we will do, but when it comes time to put that into action is sometimes easier said than done. So, thank you. Much. The Reader, aka, TexasHeather

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Chloe June 3, 2011 at 3:25 pm

>To The Reader: You can yank threads and ban members, but the truth will out somehow, someway. That's just how the internet works. It doesn't make me happy one bit that this obscure blogpost has been silently inching its way up the google pages without either my knowledge or consent. I hate to think that after all I wrote over there, THIS is what I might end up remembered for. It makes me very, very sad.

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The Reader June 3, 2011 at 6:59 am

>Seeing the update, and reading the full story….wow. I missed Sarita's attempt at posting in LLL, what a sight that must have been. I remember the Twilight post, which was great, but didn't realize it had been yanked. I am always glad when you do pop in every now and then; your posts about your prodigal are some of the very best thing to have ever been posted on SL forums (at least since I've been around, starting around 2000 or 2001). I still can't wrap my brain around the changes that have happened since John stepped back.

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Anonymous June 1, 2009 at 2:40 pm

>Sending big hugs and letting you know that your family is still in my prayers. Char/4mygirls

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The Hayes Zoo June 1, 2009 at 1:08 pm

>WWWWWHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTT?????????????????Good gravy….

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Anonymous June 1, 2009 at 12:40 pm

>Oh Chloe,I missed what happened. This is crazy. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I will miss your advice. You have literally gotten me through so many rough patches with my teens.Love,MichelleArmbrusterk

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Joy aka Praizer June 1, 2009 at 4:48 am

>That is a bunch of BS!! WHAT the HECK!?! UGHHHH! No wonder why I didn’t see you there!!!

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Cindy in GA May 31, 2009 at 7:12 pm

>I hope it’s temporary, Chloe! I don’t know how it all happened, but it makes me sad/FRUSTRATED/mad/disappointed/etc., and I sure will miss you if you can’t or decide not to come back! Hope you don’t mind if I follow you here. :o)

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DeLynn May 31, 2009 at 4:43 pm

>I have been a lurker there for years.Our oldest two children are close in age to your two. I have learned from you and appreciated so much your openness and your clear writing.I am aghast and disappointed that you were banned. As I am not homeschooling anymore I will be reconsidering my participation….Blessings on you dear one.

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Birthblessed May 31, 2009 at 4:42 pm

>What did I miss? I always feel like I'm out of the loop.If it makes you feel any better, I've been banned off 2 other forums in the past. Both of which I was a member of for 10+ years. Both of which everyone seemed to look at me as the "wise one." But I rubbed the moderator/owner the wrong way with my exhort-iveness (straight-speaking, refuse to tiptoe around owners who made wrong calls) and was banned. One was a *breastfeeding* board where the owner started recommending *bottles*….. on a breastfeeding board! I called her on it and got banned from the board. Oh well.

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Robin May 31, 2009 at 3:28 pm

>Amy/windoozle you’re not the only one confused. Believe me!!

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Amy/windoozles' mom May 31, 2009 at 9:20 am

>I don’t understand why they are banning people who have something to say, and leaving the troublemakers in place. I’m still fairly new there, but it just doesn’t make sense to me.

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Anonymous May 31, 2009 at 7:27 am

>So strange!! I commented on Robin’s facebook page that it’s like the Twilight Zone or something.

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LittleWomenMom May 30, 2009 at 8:54 pm

>Hoping someone just got an itchy trigger finger and this will all be cleared up on Monday!!

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Magnolia May 30, 2009 at 8:13 pm

>WHAT??? Oh, PLEASE do tell! I’ve not been there in 8 months now, I think. Funny. I don’t miss it. :)But, tell me, what happened?

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BETHANY May 30, 2009 at 7:10 pm

>You *and* Robin? Good grief! I must have missed a doozy!

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jmquilts May 30, 2009 at 6:01 pm

>You, too? This is nuts!!! Making me reconsider a lot! (((hugs)))

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By Mom May 30, 2009 at 4:36 pm

>I don’t get it. You’ve been such a blessing to more of us over there than I can count.

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