Sunday, July 5, 2009

Of Freedom

The e-mail was brief, yet its message mighty. "Twenty years ago, we graduated from High School."

Wow. Only twenty? It felt like a lifetime. I was sentimental about the message not because I am sentimental about high school. I am not. It was awful. How many times did I beg my parents to let me drop out at yearly intervals? "I could get my GED!" I told them. No go. High school was an enormous waste of time. I know not everyone feels that way, but in general, I didn't care for public schooling. What was meaningful about the e-mail was the messenger- an old friend, practically an adopted brother, who on his best day can barely remember a planned lunch together or what seven digits make up my my phone number. But he remembered the twenty year anniversary of the day we were set free. The day we were uncaged. The big plans we made and ideas we had would finally be allowed to become tried and true, or tried and failed. But at least we could try. We parted ways shortly after graduation, retreating into our separate worlds. We did not to see each other again for another fourteen years.

It used to be embarrassing to admit that I went to public school. Unlike the Amish, Mennonites are much less accepting of public education. When you tell someone that you didn't go to the church school, or that your mother did not lovingly homeschool you, it's met with some surprise. A couple of my cousins also did public high school, and one has turned out to be a staunch supporter of public education. "Is it really such a good thing that we pull all the Christians out of public school?" he asks. Food for thought. But I digress.

The day that you leave school, leave a job, leave an unhappy life, or leave grief may feel like "Independence Day", but it's a temporal liberation. And those are my thoughts on freedom.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1

By the way, when I left school I said that I would never go back. But I did. Three times. So, never say that you will never go back to school. It's a sure way to end up with an advanced degree.

In the Garden: The gladiola up top is from my front flower bed, and some more flowers are starting to come into bloom...

The white phlox next to some canna lillies which show no signs of blooming yet.

Viola- always a personal favorite. Don't their little flower faces look like they are smiling?

And look what I found in the vegetable garden...

It may sound silly, but just seeing those cucumbers hanging on the vines made me immediately crave pickles. And so these became garlic dill spears, though they won't be ready for a couple weeks. The jalapenos will go in the freezer.

On the Table: Stuffed Poblano Peppers (These were delicious, if you like Mexican food.)

The less adventurous might like my cousin Elizabeth's tomato-zucchini bake...

Alternate layers of zucchini, then onions then tomatoes. Sprinkle Italian bread crumbs between each layer with bits of butter. End with the last layer of zucchini with bread crumbs on top. I cover and bake at 350 degrees until done. The amount you make will bake down to half the size, so use a large dish. Wonderful !!

I haven't tried it, but I trust her cooking and it's a good use of the early hothouse tomatoes that are everywhere.

Around the Home: A hilarious episode involving these storage bags where you suck the air out of them with a vacuum cleaner so as to minimize the space they take up. Not. Worth. The trouble. (Unless you are really, really desperate for space, like we are!)


  1. Gladiola. Now I know a new flower name. Well, I've heard of gladiolas, but now I know what they look like.

    School, ugh! Glad when I was done with that and I never went back! I thought about it, but as I couldn't afford it, I gave it no more thought.

  2. Our violas have just popped up so my husband quickly weeded to make room for them.

    I have an award for you. I hope you are enjoying summer.

  3. Monica I can't beleive you have cucumbers My second planting just has two leaves and my third planting still in the greenhouse where there still might stay.. In june it rained all but two days and July hasn't started out any better. Strawberries are rottening in the fields..I did pick 12 quarts and made jam.. Wow I can almost taste those cucumbers from here..
    Blessings Sister Brneda

  4. Hi, Monica,
    I am visiting your blog today by referral from my friend Remote Treechanger.

    My daughters, ages 17 and 15, would heartily agree with what you say here about public high school, and yet they were the ones who requested the option to attend, after many years of being home schooled. Long story.

    Your friend has a legitimate point that it may be important for Christians to be in the schools as light and salt.

    I can see why Linda enjoys your blog. :)

  5. This shows how much I don't know, I didn't think the Amish were accepting of public education at all. Do they go to public schools sometimes? Have you ever seen one go past 8th grade?

    Your flowers are so pretty and I just saw a recipe for bread & butter pickles, but it involved canning (although I think it should be called "jarring") and I'm still not that brave to try it by myself!

    Who's taking care of the bounty when you go on vacation? Some rowdy Orthodox Jewish kids maybe? HA HA HA Take care, girl ~

  6. Monica your flowers are beautiful forgot to tell ya.. could you tell me a littl about canna lillies ? My brother brought me on for the 4th.. Thanks.. Blessings Sister Brenda

  7. @ imPerfect Housewife: My high school in Kansas was full of Mennonite and Amish students. Over half the school board was Mennonite. Of course this was back in the earliest-70s...


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