Coffee and Conversation: The Lovely Chaos of Living

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while…

When I was six, my family was driving on an interstate highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I  realized that each  car held  people living their lives, lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to see what those lives were, and to share my own…

Here, each Monday, I strive to reach that understanding through offering ideas and tidbits from my life.  Settle in for a while, and share something of yours…

A few months ago, I joined Kristen Lamb‘s Blogging for Brand class at WANA International. Every writer I knew who had taken the class was full of  new energy  and ideas for their blogging, so I knew that I would get more than my money’s worth.

Artfully lovely chaos.

I didn’t expect a life epiphany, though.

The big assignment was to create a personal word cloud – a series of phrases that describe various aspects of me. It wast trickier than it sounds. I know who I am. I am content with my own company and fascinated by the twistings and turnings of my mind, the passions and furies and sorrows of my soul. I believe in going deep into myself, spelunking as I would a cave.

But to describe these things in language – that took some time, and a great deal of attention.

Later, Kristen explored  my word cloud, and offered me a series of blog logline possibilities drawn from it.

Lovely Chaos leapt out at me.

It’s a perfect description of what I offer inf my writing…and it’s more.

It’s an  apt description of my interior, my exterior – and my life.

From the moment I  read it, I began to shift, to see what surrounds me through the lens of all the things the phrase “lovely chaos” says to me.

Lovely, 71 mph chaos in the hurricane simulator.

I looked at the dirty dishes, and I smiled. I will wash them, and they will be used, and, I will wash them, and they’ll be  dirtied, and washed, and used…

I  wash a sinkful, breathing in the scent of my dish soap, the caress of hot water, the dishes readied for their next use, the stray thoughts that pass through my mind. I can do it joyfully, as a meditation, looking out the window at the jumble of firewood and growing weeds.

I see the seeming mess of the living room, where the children spend a good deal of time – we had a string of cold and wet days, , and there’s been a lot of pattern block play, Minecrafting, Monster High Ghouls, baby dolls, eating and drinking, dancing, and language creating going on in there, and things tend to get cluttered fast.

I have a greater desire for some semblance of order in my surroundings than anyone else in my family. There have been times when I got downright mean about it, which never helped, and made all of us feel awful besides.

This week, though, each time I began to feel tension as I came into the room, the phrase “lovely chaos” flickered and danced into my awareness. I helped the kids to do a few small things that would clear enough of the jumble that I could function, and I did it with more kindness and grace than I likely would have, otherwise.

Nature’s lovely chaos. Photo credit: James B. Burton

I’ve just picked up most of the the pattern blocks on the floor. Soon, I will wash some dishes, move some laundry forward, weed my square foot garden bed…

There will still be lovely chaos, aplenty.

Yes, my life  is far less tidy than  I would lead if I lived alone. But so much loveliness exists, within this state of chaos, so much more richness and texture that can’t come in perfectly kept spaces. I love sharing my life with these people. I find them sometimes frustrating, occasionally infuriating, but always fascinating.

For them, lovely chaos contains learning, joy, connection, and spontaneity.

For me, it’s tangible evidence that my life is bursting at the seams with the gifts of their presence in my home, and soul.

Like so many parts of life, it’s all in how I choose to see it –

Is it about the work I must do, if I want to set things right again? Is it about the chaos that occurs in other spaces while I strive for order?

Or is it more about letting myself see the depths – each moment spent in creating, connecting, learning, growing, sharing, doing, being, laughing – the juicy marrow of life savored richly, if chaotically?

Seeing through a lovely new frame…

I’m choosing Lovely Chaos – for blogging, and for life. I’m choosing peace, and joy in living the life I have, right now. Someday, when my children are grown and have moved off to their own lives, perhaps mine will be less chaotic – and there will be less, too, of that spontaneous joy of a rising chorus of giggles, the vividness of their creations and discoveries, the things they say that just blow me away, their hugs and snuggles and bright shining eyes.

Lovely Chaos suits me just fine.

How about you? Have you ever heard a word or phrase that leads you to look at something that once bothered you in a new and refreshing way? One that allowed you to let go of your angst, and enjoy the beauty of your life? I would love to hear about it!  

Creators and Practitioners of Lovely Chaos!


    • Steph,


      *digs big toe into the dirt and twirls hair*

      I love love love what you did with that phrase. I’m honored to have played a little part in inspiring someone who has inspired me.

      You put a smile on my face and a little leap of delight into my soul. =)

    • Karen,

      It’s funny – it’s all around me, all the time, and I didn’t see it.

      Unschooling is not a tidy affair. It’s a lot less like a geographic map, and more like one of those mind maps from a brainstorming session – tons of seemingly random bits, connected by gossamer ideas…

      My mind and writing are like that, too.

      And, in those moments when I really wish, for a few minutes, that I could have clean and ordered lines, and a clear road to follow, this phrase is helping me to remember how much I love tousled heads, shining eyes, wandering conversations, big discoveries, creative frolics, cottage gardens, and half-overgrown paths that roam through wild places.

      It is indeed lovely! =)

  1. I haven’t found such a phrase for myself…yet, anyway. But your amplification of yours is lovely to read. This is a case study in the growth of voice that comes from the confidence Kristen instills.

    • Gretchen,

      Eloquently put.

      I love that it gives me the permission to be tousled, this phrase, and still lovely. It gives me a focus, and a new type of freedom, and I love the way it carries over into the rest of my life.

      What a marvelous gift!
      Maybe your phrase is waiting for its perfect moment to be discovered!

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