Item description for This Blessed Mess: Finding Hope Amidst Life's Chaos by Patricia H. Livingston...
Overview Offering hope and encouragement in the face of life's chaos, Pat Livingston's good humored stories are sure to resonate with readers, especially women. Growing up, she believed that if you work hard and, do the right things, all will be well. Then chaos happened, nothing universal just ordinary, everyday chaos. Now, with wit and wisdom in Pat's personal stories, she shares with us her lifetime of taming chaos. This Blessed Mess not only invites readers to do the same but assures us that in the midst of all the craziness we can discover as she did the seeds of creativity and hope.
Publishers Description Offering hope and encouragement in the face of life's chaos, Pat Livingston's good-humored stories are sure to resonate with readers, especially women. Growing up, she believed that if you work hard and --do the right things-- all will be well. Then chaos happened, nothing universal--just ordinary, everyday chaos. Now, with wit and wisdom in Pat's personal stories, she shares with us her lifetime of taming chaos. This Blessed Mess not only invites readers to do the same but assures us that in the midst of all the "craziness" we can discover as she did the seeds of creativity and hope. Introduction: This is a book about struggle. It is about how struggle overtakes us without our permission. It is about what lies within struggle and beyond it. It is about what we can do with struggle and what it can do with us. Material for this book has been gathering in me for thirty-five years, since I first faced reality as a young adult and strained to comprehend the dynamics of life's difficulty. I write out of my experience, recognizing clearly that my life has been far less painful than the lives of so many around the world and across time. This book is simply an expression of my effort to understand my own events, shared in the hope that it might speak to the lives of others. A collection of what is especially meaningful to me is offered here--insights and images from my own life, from study and conversation, from songs and books. Mostly there are stories. All of them point to the same thing: Life is filled with struggle. Struggle is filled with Love. Life is, as the title says, "This Blessed Mess." The first half of the book is an attempt to describe how this process reveals itself: "The Interplay of Chaos and Creation." The rest of the book is about dealing with the challenge, offering practical ways to resist being deadened by the mysterious dance. What helps? How do we hold on long enough to know--it ain't over 'til it's over? The second half is: "What Helps Us Move to Creation." These understandings, wrung from my living, have made a difference to me. I offer them in case they might be of some encouragement to you. As you read, I hope that my stories will remind you of stories of your own; that my insights will confirm your own conclusions; that my activities and prayers will connect with ways, transcendent and pragmatic, you have found for "heartening." Sometime, perhaps, you'll pass yours on to me.
Promise Angels is dedicated to bringing you great books at great prices. Whether you read for entertainment, to learn, or for literacy - you will find what you want at promiseangels.com!
Reviews - What do customers think about This Blessed Mess?
Everyday Chaos: To Life! Jan 24, 2001
"This Blessed Mess" is vintage Pat Livingston. And more.
Vintage because those who know Pat, have heard her speak or have read her writing know that she is second to no one in her ability to ferret a positive kernel of truth (if not laugher) from underneath the shell of her most awful of events. She has written before about her unflagging convictions about Hope, and "finding Hope amidst life's chaos" is the sub-title of this small treasure. But this is not a repeat of earlier work. Rather, Hope is the lynchpin of her own life, so it is the touchstone she continually suggests each of us could profit from would we learn to carry it in our own pocket for those times when problems, be they "messes" or full blown "chaos", break into the otherwise orderliness and predictable regularity of our lives with splintering consequences.
Ms. Livingston admits in her Introduction that she realizes the experiences of her life of which she writes are `far less painful' than those many other people have faced. But her experiences have convinced her that like the theory of creation-out-of-chaos, the unnerving, painful and "messy" events of our lives contain within them the human if not the chemical 'elements' with which we can make something positive and good. It is her earnest belief that we can survive the shards and shreds of exploding chaos and find in them gladness, beauty, even laugher-- and always hope.
The book has two parts. In the first part Pat addresses briefly capital-C `Chaos', the cosmic phenomenon out of which cosmologists believe creation happened at the moment of the "Big Bang", and lower case-c `chaos', the every-day disruptions that `create' life for each one of us. At this precise point in time scientists at two research centers, one in the U.S. and one in Switzerland, are expending massive amounts of time and money to find more discriminating ways to recreate the conditions, and more sensitive detectors to monitor the moment(s) when Chaos became Creation, the moments in which "nothing" became "something", the `matter' that is now `us' and the rest of the material world: the bosons, quarks, electrons, antimatter, and atoms. Patricia Livingston turns the detector of her own uncanny `inner eye' on some chaotic events in her life and using those stories she describes the many parallels and the Mysterious `naturalness' she sees between the hugely complex scientific phenomenon that occurred when "Life" erupted-- the first time-- and the equally unfathomable havoc, turmoil, disconnections, breakdowns, deaths, and Death, out of which our fullness of life also can `erupt' as we grapple to make sense of the messiest of events. She offers ways to do that grappling in Part Two.
Chaos, scientists have been able to demonstrate, is energy and power. Pat's particular gift is her ability to tell stories. Some of her stories, and it is worth saying that these are all true stories, are belly-laugh funny and some are gut-wrenchingly not funny. But all of them release both energy and power as she tells how she has used those events to piece together the fragments chaos has spewed into her life, finding in them threads of Hope and weaving, over time, a fabric strong enough for carrying on. Insights about the place for prayer, about making the sometimes-Herculean effort to stay connected with our friends, and for looking for signs that there is still an atom of life left `out there' are all Pat's special forte. Along the way she tells us what tohu wa bohu is; why betrayal, of all things, might just be one of life's vitamins, and how to `make' Holy Water. I don't know if that one appeals to me more because I am a Roman Catholic or because I am a chemist, but I've already told it with due and proper seriousness to a number of my friends.
Some connections between chaos and creation is what Pat Livingston has discovered in her own life and is what she uncovers beautifully, and entertainingly, for us in "This Blessed Mess". It is a book worth reading.
"Messy" but Good Dec 16, 2000
Patricia Livingston was unknown to me until I encountered "This Blessed Mess" as the September selection of the Spiritual Book Associates, a rarefied and wonderful monthly book club. I'm glad I did. This author has something to say and it's worth hearing.
Livingston begins with two premises: "Life is filled with struggle. Struggle is filled with Love." In the first part of her book she explores in depth the interplay of chaos and creation in our lives. Arguing that chaos is inherent to the human condition, she underscores her point with a combination of scripture, poetry, personal experience, and scientific theory. Her connection of James Gleick's chaos theory with the patterns of our spiritual lives makes her argument striking and compelling.
In the second part, Livingston describes how to move from chaos to creation and to find blessing in struggle "as we grow in hope in God's power to bring life out of what seems to be defeat in loss." Her how-to list includes developing core beliefs, caring for ourselves, connecting with life, looking for goodness, deepening our joy, hanging in there, and praying. The chapter on "Laughing Amidst the Mess" was my favorite. Laughter not only helps us deal with mess, but messy situations often teach us to to laugh at ourselves. For Livingston, merriment contains the "energy of creation." I agree.