Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Carefully placed hedges in our life

I really was not sure what I wanted to title this post.  My first instinct was to call it, "Making your life small," but I feared that some might misinterpret my meaning as negative when in fact I mean it all in a positive light.  But then I thought that "Carefully placed hedges in our life," might convey exactly  what it is I am wanting to share.     
It is quite common in our time to hear someone say that it is such a "small world."  It is said that with all of our technology and knowledge we have made the whole of it all so much smaller and more accessible to the masses.  Which, in many senses, is true.  But in reality, have we really made our world, our personal world that touches us each day, any smaller?  I think we have done just the opposite.  Gone are the years when wars on the other side of the planet would go unnoticed by us.  Gone are the times when news of weather systems hundreds of miles away from us would never reach our ears.  Gone are the days when our life would consist of...our life ~ instead of our life with everyone else's life (and stress and strife) heaped upon our shoulders as well.  Gone are the moral standards of privacy when no one would dream of laying out all of the personal details of their life for every Tom, Dick, or Harry to view. 
Is this really good for us?  Is it helpful or edifying?  Or does it take time and mental energy away from what our real life really is.  Let's face it, real life can be very stressful.  It can be painful and hard.  That is simply a fact of life.  So is it helpful for us to fill our minds and homes with so much extra information that can also cause stress and pain and hurt?  Does anyone else think that perhaps we have taken it all a bit too far?  Remember the Tower of Babel...

        The more I live and the more I see of the world, the more I want to pull down my shades and roll up my sidewalks and work on cultivating the life that God gave me.  He did not give me wars on the other side of the world to attend to.  He did not give me politicians to reason with or a national budget to balance.  He did not give me control or influence over whatever the headlines of the day happen to be.   He did give me one little house with one little family inside of it.  And I find that I am becoming more and more fiercely protective over it.  I am feeling very strongly just exactly where my scope of influence and activity starts...and just exactly where it stops.

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I will tell you something.  Over the course of the past week (or two ~ I'm not sure) the big news and big talk has been of the impending financial doom of our country.  And I purposely...deliberately...ignored every bit of it.  Because you see, there is simply not a thing on this Earth that *I* can do about it.  God did not place me there.  He placed me here.  And here still needs to be attended to in as thorough and charming a way as it ever did, despite what the national ills are.  If I partake of all the hoopla going on over it (and after this hoopla there will be a different one and one after that, repeat, repeat, repeat) all that will happen in *my* life is that *I* will get upset and stressed out.  That will transfer onto my family members right down the puppy dogs and kitty cats.  (Perhaps the chickens would come out unscathed...)  It would take away my peace of mind which would in turn effect my ability to concentrate on my family and home.  ~The very family and home which God gave me! ~  I would be forsaking the blessings and responsibilities he placed before me in order to, at least mentally, pick up the responsibilities He gave to someone else!

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Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

I don't care for the news anymore and I choose to stay away from it.  I have a small circle of online sites I go to ~ my blogs and others I read, my Yahoo group The Gingerbread Cabin, Netflix where I have found some wonderful period movies (*love*), and a small spattering of a few more.  I leave it at that.  Now days, when I turn on the tv it is usually to watch things like Cranford, Wind to My Back, Anne of Green Gables, or The Waltons.  I am blessed to still be able to get all of these on t.v. although I would not be surprised to see them yanked off the air soon.  (In which case I will purchase the dvds and be happy as a fat little bug in a rug.)  It does seem that people's tolerance for wholesome entertainment is quite low...but I do hope each of these stay on air for a long while yet.

So.  It is in that spirit ~ of taking care of and attending to the things of my own life instead of that of the world at large ~ I bring a few homemaking tips to you today.  :-)

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The first one is something I do with cinnamon sugar.  I started doing this as a young bride and continue on with the habit today.  When I am making a sweet bread ~ pumpkin, zucchini, pear, what have you ~ after I grease the pan instead of flouring it, I liberally sprinkle on cinnamon sugar instead.  Then after my batter has been poured in, I also sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar.  It bakes up beautifully, the bread does not stick to the pan, and the top has the slightest crunch that people can't quite figure out how I achieved.  Cinnamon sugar.  It's a good thing.

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                   The next tip is about febreze spray.  I know everyone already uses it and it is a staple in almost every woman's home.  But one of my favorite things to use it on is our bedding.  I always spray the bed while I'm making it but I also like to spray it every night after I pull the covers down.  I spray the sheets and blankets and the pillows also.  It is not an overpowering scent but just enough to where it is noticable.  It's so nice to lay down in a bed that smells good!  Very relaxing at the end of the day. 

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And finally, furniture polish.  If you, like me, have a shower with a glass door you know they can get very yucky with soap scum and film.  It is very difficult to get off.  So they key is to never let it get on there in the first place.  What you want to do is spray some furniture polish on your rag and wipe it all over the inside of your clean shower door.  It has the same effect as wax on a car. The water rolls right off.  Just make sure you use the adage of, "a little goes a long way."  You don't want to drench your rag.  Just a bit.  Too much and it might slip off the glass door into the shower and make a slippery hazard.  But I have been using this method for over two years now ~ making sure to use just enough but not too much ~ and have never had any get onto the shower floor.  And I've got the cleanest shower door in town.  ;-)

May God bless you as you attend to the quiet pleasures of your home & some carefully placed hedges as well!
I am linking this post to:


Trish @ Lily-Rose Cottage said...

Hello Mrs V,
thank you for linking to LACE today - it's so lovely to have your welcome participation!
I agree with you about the need to guard our minds and emotions regarding the sad events that we can not change.
Of course we take it all to prayer!
The trauma of the world's pain can be overwhelming for sensitive souls and invade our daily life in a crippling way.
I think that is a warning sign to pull back and settle oneself to the tasks of caring for our family and homes with full attention.
Thank you so much for the great tips!
I will be sure to try out the polish on the shower door :-)
Cinnamon-sugar is something I regularly sprinkle on top of my cakes but never thought to dust the pan with.
What a delicious idea!!
God bless you..Trish

Sandra said...

You've put into words exactly how I feel and did it so beautifully. I've felt the same way you do about my world and my responsibility to it and those who live or even visit my home.

I might catch the news highlights on tv or the radio but try not to watch or dwell on the news at's so overwhelming and stressful, as you pointed out.

I loved what you said about taking care of your small world/your home thoroughly and with charm. What great advice.

Again, thank you for putting into words what has been on my heart. Do you think we're twins separated at birth? :o)

Oh, and thanks for the tip about the cinnamon sugar. Can't wait to try it.

Paula said...

What a beautiful, much-needed post! Those are many of the things that I've been considering lately. God has given us our own precious family to take care, and not the cares of the whole world! Thanks for sharing!

Amy Jo said...

Mrs. V,

I certainly, once again have enjoyed your post. I think it is amazing how God is calling so many of us to very similar thoughts and lives! I can tell you are a romantic as am I.

Blessings to your little hedge,
Amy Jo

Mrs. V. said...

Thank you for the kind comments ladies. I must admit to a bit of trepidation when posting this because I was not sure that others would understand. I know so many in the world today advocate being on top of everything going on in the world and on the news. It is very nice to see that I am not alone in these thoughts and that others are living and thinking in a very similar way.

Wildflower Cottage said...

Oh Mrs. V, how I truly enjoyed your post today, and I am in agreement with you. I am quite tempted to print this post so I can read it from time to time as a reminder to myself to focus on the things that matter to God and not the world.

Thanks for the homemaking tips as well. I like that cinnamon and sugar tip. I'll need to try that the next time I make a sweet bread. :)

Gina said...

Mrs. V,

I agree that the super highway of technology has not necessarily enriched our lives. Sometimes it feels like playing in traffic! I am dismayed to see people on their smart phones everywhere - always texting or searching. There is such a thing as too much information!

I do on occasion watch the news because I know what to pray for or who to pray for. Much of the news is disheartening but lifted up in prayer, perhaps the tide may turn.

Have a lovely day


Mrs. V. said...

WC, feel free to print off as you wish. :-) I've been thinking of starting a binder simply for the really good blog articles I find ~ for myself and to one day be handed down to my daughter.

Gina, I had never thought of it as playing in traffic but what a perfect description! You are so right.

I have an option on my phone to write lists and notes and recently decided to *stop* using it. I was getting into the habit of using it for my grocery lists. But I just didn't like the thought of going through the store with my eyes stuck on a phone screen like everyone else. So now I pull out a sheet of my pretty stationary and write my lists on that ~ so much better!

Anonymous said...

Mrs. V, I am a new reader of your blog, and OH it is SOOOO enjoyable!

I appreciate this post. I had recently kind of made up my mind about living a more - um - fruga lifestyle, my DH and I...and I realized that watching some formerly enjoyable TV programs were disturbing my peace of mind. I realized the following day that I *must* stop watching those shows and wholeheartedly embrace the frugal lifestyle if I was going to be successful at it.

The same applies to situations you spoke of here. I know that for my peace of mind, I *must* give up a lot of (formerly favorite) web sites, watching news (except for the weather report), reading newspapers, and certain other things. No, that doesn't mean I won't be informed, but I can at least choose what to read.

Thank you for your delicate forthrightness and honesty.

Kathleen in L

Mrs. V. said...

I understand Kathleen. Many shows and websites I once went to I'm just not interested in anymore. I don't seem to have the tollerance for the drivel that I once did ~ not a bad thing, lol.

I am quite content with my little circle of sites I read and wholesome shows I watch. I'm glad that others understand and are making similar changes in their life. :-)

Michelle said...

I love the post- this is the first time I've been to your blog and it is lovely!
I have thought for quite a while that reality shows and most tv shows in general are just letting us live other people's lives instead of our own. And the family God gave me is way more fun than any on TV!
However, I have started keeping up with the news in the past year and I'm glad I do. I used to turn it off or "cover my ears" to it because I just wanted to keep in my personal life. Unfortunately, in the world today I think it is especially important to know at least a bit of what is going on, even if it is just to pray for events. But there are some bad politicians out there that really do have bad intentions and one day what we put aside as not important might truly affect our daily lives and intrude in our happy homes more than it does now.

Mrs. V. said...

I understand your point of view Michelle. And I share your belief that one day certain things are going to infringe on our personal lives much more than they do now. We also believe in and work toward preparedness.

For many years, I kept my eyes and ears to the news for the very reasons you stated. But I have found that for me, for this season of my life, I have to step back. My husband still reads the news stories and truth be told, my daughter does as well. So if there were something catastrphic going on, I would know about it and would watch/read about it myself as well.

So I do feel confident that I will stay informed of certain things that I need to know. It's just that, right now, I feel that most of it I simply *don't* need. But what I do need right now is some personal peace in my own mind and home. So for this season, I am choosing to step away from it. Circumstances in the world may make it necessary that I change that view in th future. And if that is what I need to do for the well being of my family ~ I will. :-) We still prepare the same regardless.

Thank you for your comment though. I know there are two different schools of thought here and I'm glad you decided to share your point of view with us. :-) I hope you come to visit my little home on the web again. ~~~

Barb said...

Hello Mrs.V,
You are so right--- we do get caught up in things around us that we cannot change.
We need to ask ourselves "is this my responsibility" and act accordingly.
We need the hedges you talk about.
Instant information is not always a good thing.
God Bless
Barb from Australia

Mrs. V. said...

I agree ~ instand information is not always beneficial to us. The politicians and the world at large will make whatever decisions they are going to make ~ good or bad ~ and I cannot change that. So they can run amok if they must. In the end, God is the truly in control of our government anyway, He said so Himself. And he certainly does not need my help, lol! We truly need to be protective over our peach or mind and personal hedges are one of the best ways I know to accomplish that.

Anonymous said...

Febreeze is not something anyone should be breathing or using in their house. If you love your family, don't use toxic sprays to "freshen up".

Anonymous said...

I have my mother's autograph book (from when she was young woman) & one of her friends had written in it: Love little, trust few, & always paddle your own canoe.

Not bad advice.


Mrs. V. said...

Anonymous, thank you for your *opinion* dear. I'll take care of my family my way and you can take care of yours your way. Sound good? It does to me. :-)

Mrs. V. said...

Brenda ~ how cute!

Jo said...

Even though my job means I have to know what is happening around the world, when I get home I don't watch the news and hardly watch on any TV. We tend to watch DVDs, including quite a few documentaries. These are much better than the rubbish that is on TV.

Thanks for the tip on furniture polish on shower glass doors, I didn't know this. Will give it a go.

Yes, I like my cinnamon sugar, handy stuff.


Mrs. V. said...

Jo, we *love* documentaries. Especially ones one the History channel and Netflix. :-)

RetroRocketGal said...

I hear you and agree wholeheartedly.

Anonymous said...

This post had so many good thoughts I hardly know what to comment on. I do not need to know what is on the news to know what to pray for. If I offer up prayers for say our leaders and country, world or even my pastor in general,..God knows what they need. I do not have to know the exact details...God knows exactly. I too have stepped back from many things. My husband noticed even more than I did how upset news shows etc were making me. If I need to know information on a subject at any time I can ask. I do not need to have a daily update on who is doing what and such. I too have limited my use of blogs and choose the ones that edify me and thus edify my family too. I choose to only spend so much time on the computer now. We all only have 24 hours in our days and so many years on this earth and it is up to us who and what we spend it on. Too many activities even personal ones, steal time I may later regret I used unwisely. I think without hearing the news we get enough information on what is going on to get an idea. We hear things here and there from others and know what is going is happening in the world with the economy by just doing the grocery shopping! :) Some ideas get in our heads anyway. those are enough. As I said, when I need to know more precise information , say to vote etc, I can gather that. I too am glad you brought up this subject. It is a personal decision and we have a right to our own space and our own way of living. ...Now I will go and use your ideas you shared with us..especially the sugar and cinnamon when baking quick breads! :) Sarah