Monday, May 10, 2010

New Blog

I obviously haven’t been here in a while, but it seems people do stumble across this mess of thoughts periodically.

I just wanted to redirect to the new blog endeavor: http://stirredbutnotshaken.blog.com/. Hope to see you there!

Posted by Laura Beutler in 22:08:51 | Permalink | Comments Off

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lean On Me

I’ve been thinking about a friend who recently lost three family members in one week, in two separate events. All in the same week she was also scheduled for minor surgery. The amount of crap that kept snowballing for this woman was getting ridiculous, to the point where even her husband had to laugh and shake his head “I just can’t believe this, you know?”.

And while I prayed for her to find some peace, and to just get through the surgery without added complications, I was reminded of something my friend Julie said. (Julie’s husband has been dealing with cancer for 5 1/2 years, so here is a woman who knows a thing or two about dealing with life’s crap.)

She said “I don’t believe that God only gives you what you can handle.”

When I first read this (it was in a meme on Facebook), I didn’t think I agreed. After all, I think we can all be strong if we want to be, and sometimes our finest hour comes in the face of tragedy. I would like to think that God has given us all the tools necessary to deal with tough situations.

But the more I thought about this, the more I had to agree with Julie. I think, on many occasions, that yes, we are all well equipped to survive grief and suffering and that we are sometimes the better for it in the end. I also now believe, however, that God often does throw a few curveballs too many. But not without reason.

God will occasionally give you more than you can handle so that you are required to depend on others, and depend on Him.

At the very root of our faith is the idea of submission, of giving in to God. Well, you might not ever do that if you didn’t think you needed some help. Asking others for help is difficult for a lot of folks. It humbles us to admit that we can’t do something alone. From the time that we’re toddlers we strive to be able to do things by ourselves, and this is part of being human.

While being generally self-sufficient is a good thing, it’s okay to need other people and to need God, when life gets difficult. People love to be needed, and so does God. In fact, God would love for us to ask for His help every day, not just when tragedy hits. We often become closer to those who help us, and so it is with God.

So this is how he teaches us, to push us down once in a while in order to help us back up, to a hopefully better and more peaceful place than when we started.

Posted by Laura Beutler in 20:22:28 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Monday, February 16, 2009

Kiddo Update

First, let’s rename them. Miss A is four, soon to be five. Miss E is one, soon to be two.

Miss E is a piece of work. A bit more of a drama queen than her sister ever was, but I also think that all two year olds are a bit on the bipolar side, so maybe this will pass.

Her obsession the last month or so is with removing her clothes and taking off the diaper. She will absolutely refuse to keep her pants on – to the point where I had to go the consignment shop and purchase six pairs of overalls because I thought that would stop her. While this did slow her down, she now just unsnaps the buttons between the legs, or just pushes the shoulder straps down and strips that way. And at night, after safety-pinning her onesies closed and trying various methods, we’ve finally settled on cutting the feet off of footed sleepers and putting them on backwards. (picture a wet suit, with the zipper in the back) I have to do this at nap time too.

Safe to say, our little Houdini has pretty impressive gross motor skills. She’s either going to be “gifted”, or a huge PIMA when she grows up…

Miss A has recently developed a love of all things horses, which I guess is common in little girls, but where does it come from? Every year I take her to the Maryland State Fair and we always go to the horse stalls, and she is generally terrified by their size and not too impressed by the smell. I suppose if her obsession is limited to the plush variety I should consider myself lucky.

She’s also come into a really delightful sense of humor. She can tell jokes to anyone, and even if they make no sense at all, she’ll laugh so hard that you have to laugh too. And, of course, you just have to say the word “underpants” to her and she’s a puddle of giggles.

The girls aren’t babies anymore. This is all going by too fast. *sigh*

Posted by Laura Beutler in 20:43:49 | Permalink | Comments Off

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The World’s Greatest Time Waster…

I blame my long absence from here on two things – the almost 2yr old giving up the morning nap, and Facebook.

While it was great fun in the beginning, I’ve decided in recent weeks that my days are actually better if I limit myself to one FB visit a day. Okay, maybe two. But that’s it. Really.

Once you’ve caught up with all of the people you really want to catch up with, it is useful as a networking tool, and a news tool (you’ll hear about traffic jams and flu bugs faster here than on TV). So I’m trying to just be smarter about my time, and get over my addiction.

See, it’s been so long since I’ve written more than one sentence (they’re called “status updates” for those not in the know…) that I’m feeling slightly crippled here trying to formulate paragraphs. Scary.

Oh well, bear with me. So much has happened these last few months that I want to get back into journaling before I forget!

Posted by Laura Beutler in 19:47:58 | Permalink | Comments Off

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wordsmithing

I’ve lately been trying to wrap my brain around some creative ideas, but am having a hard time coaxing my vocabulary out of the dark recesses of my brain. From the time I was in grade school I loved to write, and continued right through college, working, marriage, etc.

Then I had children.

I’m know that lots of people who write have children, but for some reason this event seemed to have sucked the life out of that part of my gray matter. It appears that I only have so much blood in my body, and if it’s flowing to my uterus, it’s not making it up to my brain.

Now I’m officially done bearing children (for a variety of darn good reasons), and I’m trying to remember who the heck I was before I turned into this jeans-and-t-shirt-wearing/mini-van driving/can recite dr. seuss but not my phone number/haven’t seen anything but a rated G movie in years/ person.

And not that I want to go backwards, because, let’s face it, most of us are much better people in so many ways once we have children. But there are one or two things, like this writing stuff, that I would like to rekindle.

So I may just break out a dictionary this week and start flipping through it, you know, when I get that quiet five minutes each day for such a luxury.

Posted by Laura Beutler in 05:00:00 | Permalink | Comments Off

Sunday, October 12, 2008

4 Year Olds Are Strange Creatures…

A few examples from the last 24 hours…

- I caught Miss A repeatedly shoving the baby off a chair because she was sitting on Tubby (the I.F.)
- When I was trying to use a star chart to encourage desirable bedtime behaviour, at one point during our struggle, Miss A declared between sobs ”Momma…it’s…just…so…hard…to…do…a…chart…” at which point I had to laugh…
- When I told her I had a surprise for her if she was good and stayed in bed, she calmly told me that “I’m not going to be good right now, but maybe tomorrow I’ll sink about it, okay?”
- When I started to get frustrated with her this morning for taking toys away from her sister, she told me that I couldn’t put her in time-out because she was invisible.

You just can’t argue with pre-school logic.

I’m reading an interesting book my sister-in-law gave me on children’s developmental stages – and it’s divided by ages. The author’s approach was much like Jane Goodall’s study of gorillas – meaning that as much as you like to think your child is one of a kind, there are certain age-related traits inherent to all children.

And supposedly the half years (18mths, 2 1/2, 3 1/2, 4 1/2, etc…) are times of disharmony, and the full years are times of harmony. Which means that since my girls have the same birthdays, that my life will be six months of heaven, followed by six months of hell, for the rest of my life. Awesome ;-)

What I did find to be helpful, was that this scientific approach leads you to believe that you will have a much easier time of things if you stop fighting the stage your children are at (ie, trying to exert control for control’s sake, something we’ve all done…), and just learn to enjoy the quirks that each 6 month stage brings. And it’s important to remember that the strategies that work when a child is say 4, will not work at 5, but by then the issue you’re trying to “fix” may have resolved itself anyway. (this isn’t to say that you don’t discipline, but that you pick your battles by recognizing what is behind totally age appropriate behavior).

So while I still have the ordinary daily struggles with my children, I’m not as stressed out about them. I’m learning to take the lead from them on what the day will hold, and I’m just trying to enjoy the extreme silliness that living with an 18-month-old and a 4-year-old can bring, because they won’t be this age long! 

Posted by Laura Beutler in 14:36:06 | Permalink | Comments Off

Friday, October 3, 2008

One Year Ago…

I missed the anniversary yesterday.

It was one year ago, on October 1, 2007 at 3am, that my husband woke me up to the smell of smoke in the house. An oil-soaked drop cloth spontaneously combusted in the storage area under our back porch, smoldering and blowing in the windows to my basement, filling the house with soot and smoke. It wasn’t the size of the fire that alarmed my husband, it was the fact that it was on a work bench directly above several cans of gas.

So I grabbed the girls and the dog, called 911, and carried them all outside, while my husband ran in the other direction in his boxers to fight the fire by himself while waiting for our neighbor (a fireman) and the fire department to show up. Yes, this is as ridiculous as it sounds, and that’s my point.

Our smoke detectors didn’t work – the batteries were either dead or removed. The scent hound beagle we owned didn’t wake up, like I always assumed he would in the event of a fire. (I actually had to carry his sorry fat butt downstairs and kick him outside…) We had no plan, obviously. (note: leaving your wife to carry two children by herself in a dark, smoky house is not a good idea) In short, we had some damage, but overall, we were very, very lucky.

So, please, this is my yearly warning to all who read this:

1) check your smoke detectors and change the batteries
2) develop a plan and discuss it – where you will meet if separated, who will take what child, and at least two escape routes from every floor
3) buy at least two ladders for the upper levels of your home
4) instruct your children on what to do if there is a fire (get out of the house, crawl on the floor)
5) let your children hear the fire alarm so they know what it sounds like and aren’t scared by it (children have been known to go hide in a closet when they hear such a loud noise)

If you type in “Fire Safety Plan” in Google, you’ll get dozens of checklists and plans. Please, take the time to review these lists, and go to Home Depot this weekend and get everything you need. Don’t think for a second that this kind of thing can’t happen to you – it can – and you need to be prepared.

Posted by Laura Beutler in 03:32:08 | Permalink | Comments Off

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Kodachrome

I’ve just returned from a 24 hour trip to NJ for a funeral, and it always strikes me how you can be so busy, busy, busy with your everyday life, and then when someone dies, you just have to stop and immerse yourself in that experience. And while I mourn greatly for the family members, this was not someone whose absence I will feel in my own life. In short, I could very easily get back to the busy-ness I was doing a few days ago.

But sometimes these experiences change you. Sometimes it is a good thing to be plucked from your daily grind, and removed to someplace that can give you a little perspective. Get out of your little bubble, so to speak.

For the last three weeks, for various reasons, I’ve been feeling a bit like I’ve been on some kind of acid trip (or what I imagine an acid trip to be like…).  You know what I mean, like you’re standing still and the room is whipping around you, and the colors are so neon bright and incredibly vivid, and every moment and emotion is just more intense – so intense that it can be physically painful. I really, really wanted to go to the top of the proverbial mountain and yell STOP to the world, just to give me a chance to catch my breath.

Ask, and you shall receive.

Though entirely unfortunate, God definately put this experience in my life at this moment because I needed it. There was simply no other way I was going to be able to get out of my acid trip without a little help.

And while the whole world didn’t stop, my little world hit the pause button for 24 hours. Just enough time to refocus. While I certainly love my children, being around them doesn’t often allow for quiet reflection time like I’ve been craving. Heck, I can’t even go to the bathroom in peace these days. So you can see why this was so good for me.

The gentleman who died lived an exemplary life. Worked at the same job since 1972. President of multiple organizations. Army major. Extremely active in his church. Smart as the dickens. Wonderful family -married for 49 years with 6 kids and 15 grandkids. And the stories people shared of his generosity and kindness were incredible. There were well over 250 people at the church this morning, probably more. There wasn’t a person who left that mass who didn’t want to be more like him, including me.

So it was a combination of events – a brief visit with an old college buddy, time with some favorite relatives I stayed with, a quick run on the beach of my youth where I got sand between my toes and deeply inhaled the sea air, an intense amount of seriousness and focus on the deceased’s life, and just time alone with my thoughts – this is what calmed everything down, and brought the bed spins to a slow, safe, and healthy, stop.

And now that I’m home, the colors have returned to normal.

Posted by Laura Beutler in 01:02:57 | Permalink | Comments Off

Monday, September 29, 2008

How Great Thou Art

I heard a piece of this hymn the other day, and I forgot just how much I love it, for two reasons 1) when sung at the top of your lungs, it is incredibly powerful and can bring you to your knees, and 2) I have vivid memories of my father singing this as a cantor in our church when I was a kid. (and reason number 2 is why I can’t sing it in public since I am quickly reduced to tears, even 20 years later…)

And if you really want a treat, you should listen to the Elvis Presley version. Just thought I’d share-

How Great Thou Art

O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed:

(Chorus:)
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:

(Chorus)

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin:

(Chorus)

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!

Posted by Laura Beutler in 00:14:46 | Permalink | Comments Off

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My New Addiction

Sorry I’ve been gone so long – between school/activities starting, the market collapsing and a death in the family, the last few weeks haven’t allowed me to focus enough to stop by here. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however, and I look forward to a clearer head this week.

Even amist all of the chaos lately, however, I somehow stumbled upon Facebook again. And now I’m hooked.

I was invited to join last January, but didn’t really see the point. I knew maybe two people on it, and I wrote the whole thing off thinking that I was too old. It appears that in the last 9 months, however, that all of the old fogeys have now joined Facebook. (we’re just a little slower, see?)

It’s been great fun to see what some old friends and acquaintences are up to. And it totally satifies the voyeur in me that just wants to be nosy (and, admit it, don’t we all on occassion?). 

So now I have one more thing to do besides laundry.

Happy Sunday everyone. Have a great day!

Posted by Laura Beutler in 15:14:10 | Permalink | Comments (1) »