Meaning in the Mess Let's explore the meaning in the mess together. Thu, 17 Mar 2016 20:34:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mess Version of HJNTIY Wed, 04 Jun 2014 20:38:06 +0000 A friend of mine is currently reading “He’s Just Not That Into You” – I know, she’s behind the times. But it got me thinking about addressing choices not just about men and relationships, but about life in general.

he's just not that into you

So here is this blog’s version of “He’s Just Not That Into You,” and it’s called “Good Luck With That Ugly Mess.”

Mrs. Mess knows better than most that there are plenty of messes from which you just need to extricate yourself. Much like a guy who is not going to come around, let’s embrace a few truisms to help us deal and let go.

I want to share three main thoughts on coping and getting out of generally ugly messes:

1) Set standards and stick to them.

A good portion of the time, we get ourselves into ugly messes because we make exceptions instead of sticking to our standards in the first place. Don’t let exceptions become an expectation, by you or those around you. Be know for your standards!

2) Don’t expect things to add up when a crucial piece is missing.

There’s only so much you can do, so if it still isn’t working, ask yourself what’s missing. If you’ve been “just trying to get by” in your job for 8 months, maybe you need a new job. It isn’t crazy to acknowledge that there may be an important piece to the puzzle that’s missing in your current situation, and maybe that’s why it’s an mess.

3) If you thought of it at the end, it might be too late.

Thinking ahead will get you far, particularly in avoiding ugly messes. If you didn’t think ahead, be open to the fact that it might too late to add something that was needed in the beginning. I have in fact gotten to the point of putting a cake in the oven only to realize that I never added the eggs. It happens, and we get through the ugly messes that ensue.

No matter what, always remember that there is meaning in the mess, even if it’s ugly!

The Alchemist Fri, 11 Apr 2014 21:16:56 +0000

You know who knows how to communicate the meaning in the mess? Paolo Coelho via The Alchemist. I just reread The Alchemist for my book club book this month and was amazed by the nuggets of wisdom all over again. Here are my top 5 quotes for this reread:

Fantastic Book Club Choice
Fantastic Book Club Choice
  1. “Fear evaporates when we understand that our life story and the history of the world were written by the same hand.”
  2. “I learned that the world has a soul, and that whoever understands that soul can also understand the language of things.”
  3. “He looked around at the empty plaza again, feeling less desperate than before. This wasn’t a strange place; it was a new one.”
  4. “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
  5. “But, above all, I learned that these things are all so simple that they could be written on the surface of an emerald.”
Mind grenade: The Alchemist was written in only 2 weeks!  It has sold over 150 million copies in over 80 different languages. That is sifting through the meaning in the mess at an incredible rate and then going on to share it so widely with the world. Something great to which to aspire.
A Hot Mess…In Public Fri, 14 Mar 2014 01:46:24 +0000 Sometimes our messes go on public display. Let me tell you about one of those times…

hot mess card

My husband and I go to the public library a lot, and always have since we started dating way back when. We were recently engaged at this point, and to save money as we planned our wedding, I was borrowing wedding magazines from the library. As we were preparing to leave, the lady behind the counter says, “Judging by this, you’ll need to get a new library card soon to reflect your new last name!”

I don’t know how most people would take that comment, but for the most part I don’t think it would be the way I took it. I started ugly crying. The kind that involves scrunched facial expressions and a lot of snot. Ugly cried right there in public. The thought of changing my name was not coming easily to me during our engagement, and apparently that poor library lady’s comment was the straw that broke the camel’s back…and opened the floodgate of my tears.

And my poor husband! There I was, Miss Mess at the time, just breaking down at the library. As he timidly asks if we can make it to the car, I had somewhat of an out-of-body realization of the situation my future husband found himself in with me. And being the incredibly kind man that he is, he patiently waited for me to calm down some, escorted me to the car, kept asking if I was ok. Goodness, do I love him.

So just like any good friend who loves you through all the ups and downs, sometimes you need to love yourself through the public displays of crazy and accept that it’s all ok. And sometimes the lady working at the local library needs to cut you a break, too…

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Truth-bombed at Lunch Wed, 12 Mar 2014 02:43:33 +0000 I had lunch the other day with a beautiful, bubbly woman who works in child care. Her friendly demeanor and optimistic mindset made for a fantastic lunch. About halfway through our meal together she shared that she grew up in foster care, was adopted as a teenager and went into the military following high school. I was straight up truth bombed.

truth bomb

This inspiring lunch mate had overcome so many obstacles in her life, and she is so happy and grateful. I realized I have a thing or two to learn from her, the least of which is to stop complaining about things that in the grand scheme of things are no big deal!

The nugget I took from this truth bomb: get out of the scarcity mindset and live in a world of abundance – there is love enough for all, money for a good life, time for quality moments. Take a breath and be grateful for all we have.
The Power of Real Mail Mon, 03 Mar 2014 03:26:43 +0000 Getting real mail is awesome. That was my thinking when a close friend lost her job. It wasn’t convenient to get to her to give her a hug, but I could send her a care package.

Care Package for Rachel

The contents:

Mini wine box – Have a glass (or 3!)

Band-Aids – For any battle wounds

Instant Fix Hem Tape – In case you feel like you’re unraveling at the seams

Special K Protein Bar – Fuel for the road ahead!

Fiery Red Nail Polish – Because you’re fabulous!

Everyone needs help to find the meaning in the mess sometimes. Look for opportunities to use ordinary items that can change the course of someone’s day for the better, even if it’s just a protein bar and some wine.

Managing my messes Fri, 21 Feb 2014 03:40:49 +0000 I’m typically a late adopter of technology by the standards of my 20-something peers. I didn’t get an iPhone until most of my friends had them for years, as in plural. But there is one other bit of technology, other than my cell phone, that has permeated my entire life: Evernote.

evernote logo
Photo Cred: Evernote (aka, my mess manager)

I am an avid note taker. I make lists like a fiend. I find extreme joy in recording things that I think and discover, mostly because of my propensity to want to share those things. Enter Evernote. My saving grace for organizing my whimsical ideas into a “note,” which is then contained within a “notebook” about somewhat similar notions, all linked to other notes with relevant content. And the true beauty is that everything I record within Evernote syncs to each device I have Evernote on – my iPhone, my laptop, my iPad.

As complicated as the notes within notebooks and linking notes and such may sound, it’s not. It’s quite easy and weirdly satisfying. And the funny thing is that I know I barely scratch the surface of capability for most computer apps that I use, and even without delving into the depths of all that Evernote is capable of, I am one satisfied consumer. The true brilliance of Evernote is that the more you use it, the more useful it becomes to you due to the sheer volume of (and various types of) information it can manage for you.

Needless to say, just writing this blog post has lead me to discover additional wonderfulness about Evernote, namely SkitchI’ll stop now as I’ve devolved into full-blown product placement, but the point is: everyone needs help managing their messes. Especially me, Mrs. Mess. 

No matter who you are, no matter what you do day-to-day, there’s a system that will make life more enjoyable as you navigate all the beautiful messes we create! Find something, Evernote or not, that can liberate you through intentional organization. I promise you won’t regret it.

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The alchemy of good (and messy) meals Mon, 17 Feb 2014 14:13:11 +0000 Cooking is a series of messes – the collection of ingredients spread across the counter; the mound of measuring cups, stirring utensils, and tasting spoons; the mass of food scraps that results from a recipe from scratch; and oh the amount of dishes to clean after.

Photo: My kitchen messes, if I threw parties in the 50s
My kitchen mess if it were the 50s

In the creation of these various messes, wholeness emerges. The journey from a pantry hodge-podge becomes (ideally) a nourishing meal. This transformation, this wonderful conversion in the kitchen, doesn’t just mean a nourished belly at meal time. For me it usually means a nourished soul as well.

I am typically able to work through one of my many internal messes as I make my way through a recipe. Maybe it was a situation at work that I haven’t gotten a handle on, or maybe it’s general anxiety about my to-do list, but something about the chopping, stirring and sizzling helps to slow down my racing mind. It’s almost like the kitchen is the one place where the multi-tasking makes sense and the recipe guides me from start to finish in a way that most endeavors can’t or won’t flow during a typically work day.

It’s clearly not just the preparation, but the sharing that feels like it’s recharging my batteries: the sharing of the prep activities with my husband, the dear friend that is joining us for a meal, the leftovers that I give to my brother. Each kitchen mess has the potential for renewal of my mind and deepening of my relationships. If that’s not some sort of alchemy, I don’t know what is.

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Welcome to Meaning in the Mess! Tue, 04 Feb 2014 16:33:45 +0000 Welcome to “Meaning in the Mess” blog. My name is Mrs. Mess, and I want to thank you for checking out this blog dedicated to the thrill, frustration, inevitability, beauty and serendipity of finding meaning in life’s messes.

Photo Credit: Beyond Blessed Blog
Photo Credit: Beyond Blessed Blog

I’m grateful for your company as we delve into the sometimes daunting, but mostly exhilarating messes that make up our lives. My hope for this virtual space is to create the equivalent of a satisfying visit with a friend (ideally with wine glass in hand) spent sharing and connecting, sorting out all the crazy messes we encounter every day. It’s much easier to discover the nuggets of meaning in the mess when we do it together. Sharing is caring, right? So let’s enjoy an ongoing conversation. Thanks for stopping by.