The Beauty of a Woman Blogfest III – Finding Beauty in a Life of Lovely Chaos

Pop on over to August’s place and join the beautiful fun!

This post is part of August McLaughlin‘s  Beauty of a Woman Blogfest III.

 Check out other amazing posts, have a few laughs, get inspired, and maybe even win a fabulous prize at August’s delicious blog!

This year, I’m celebrating a type of beauty that is often overlooked.

Allow me to introduce you to the Lovely Chaos of my beautiful, untidy, spontaneous, unusual, everyday kind of a life!

As I was starting this post, I was listening to my daughter, video chatting with her best friend.  Littlest Pet Shop characters were living out “very dramatic lives” on the floor all around her.

A few things;

  • Her best friend lives a state away.
  • It was after 1am on a Wednesday.
  • My daughter and her friend have never attended school.
  • My daughter is nine years old.
Homemade pizzas, custom-topped and baked to order. Said the girl, “Mommy, we’re murdering yeast so we can eat it!”
Practicing her pyramid-building skills – and demonstrating a keen-edged sense of balance, not to mention product-model flair.

Not only are my children innocent of a single school memory; for the last five years, we have embraced a mutually respectful family dynamic (no one has chores; no one gets punished; we do a LOT of peaceful negotiating; we all learn and learn and learn –  no curriculum or lesson plans required!).

Physics boy strikes again. “Mom, can you come to the kitchen? And will you take a picture? I just broke the laws of physics!”

And to think of all the times I’ve complained about dirty dishes…when there will be more.  Always.  No, they won’t always impress me the way these did, but they will always be the remains of food eaten and nourishment taken.  There is a certain type of beauty in that, and that the dirty ones brought learning and fun.  There’s beauty, too, in the way the cats later made toys of tumbled pyramid cups!

“Mommy, will you take a picture? Here’s my sign!” Yes, there is a lot we can learn from a nine-year-old who loves herself as-is.
One confident and happy girl, not outmatched by a snowbank taller than she is!

Girls can get so many messages telling them to be someone and something they’re not, that, to be worthy, they need to look and act in ways that appeal to others.  Yes, she loves her unique and ever-evolving fashion sense, and she knows she is beautiful.  She knows, too, that she is many other wonderful things, and that the most important of all is ….herself.

There’s tremendous and powerful beauty in her knowing that!

Sweeties at the sweet shop!

Our life is more a matter of flow than of schedule.  A candy store trip on an ordinary Tuesday afternoon, before a huge snowstorm.  Yup, that’s beautiful – and so are their big silly grins.

Creativity in other forms adds beauty!
A novel in progress: Bounded by a Nutshell (AKA the Monsterscript) hangs out while receiving a dose of pre-editing notes.
A beautiful playground, just for me!

Natural learning is the focus for the whole family – even me!  After years of subterranean shame regarding my need to write, I now Own My Own Words. And my worlds.

I own my life, and the stories it holds.  And I own my fascination for Vulcans and their secret inner lives…and owning it all, down to the last non-canon fanfic, is a beauty I denied myself way too long.

His hair is wild, but his smile is real. I see a man emerging, where a boy has been.
Little Miss Force of Nature. A beautiful, sparkling, spirited spitfire of a blossoming girl.

Living life the way we choose, on our own terms, whatever our ages, is beautiful.  My  surfer-headed boy with his triangle of freckles and treasured Pinkie Pie pendant? My daredevil diva with the dancing eyes and impudent tongue?

Perfectly themselves.  Perfectly beautiful.

At the Children’s Museum of Saratoga.
Foam block architecture – and one beautidully happy architect!

Supporting natural learning is a little different each day – but there is always give and take.  A trip to a childrens’ museum gives me photo ops, and a certain girl the pleasure of pursuing her building passion.  Win-wins are a big part of our lives, and they’re beautiful every time!

Sheet, Annalise, and Sea Breeze…. three beautiful amigas!

‘Round here, there’s room for all types of love, even passion for battered stick unicorns and tattered former bed linen.  Beautiful friendships matter!

Refrigerator canvas, by Annalise.
Ribbon board canvas, by me, for me.

Self -expression is a beautiful piece of life here…

Yes, it’s chaotic, at times. No, I’m not always graceful about it.  It can be tricky, living a life that embraces such  freedom.  It’s not how I was raised, or how I thought I would be, when I became a mom.


No two days are just alike.  I’m never bored.  There’s always something to see and marvel at, some new piece of living rolling out before me.  So, it’s not tidy….far from it!

My house is often messy, but my life – my life is beautiful!  

Are there moments of beauty in your everyday  world? Grace notes that make your moments sing with joy?  Do you ever just slow down, and really look at your own beautiful life?

Remember, if you want more, you can find many other contributions to the Beauty of a Woman Blogfest III here!


  1. Freeing your spirit invites creativity. Breaking from a lifestyle many people consider traditional and usual is not easy. A freer lifestyle is obviously your passion and you and your children are thriving and loving life. Good for you!

    • Marcia,

      You’re so right! It does inspire – maybe even require – creativity, to make the changes we have, as a family. It has cost a few other family relationships – those too toxic to accept that our path is a different one, but that it is the best one for our family, on every level.

      Five years in, I can’t imagine going back to the life we lived before. I spent so much time yelling, punishing, listening to my children crying, and my husband telling me I was a monster…

      And, you know what? The kids were way too young to keep my standards, and the house really wasn’t any cleaner than it is today.

      These days, creativity, kindness, laughter, discovery, connection, and fun are the order of the day. As the kids are growing up, they pitch in more often. Yesterday, Jeremiah baked a frozen pizza, and Annalise did some dishes and ran a load of laundry.

      And they do those things by choice, and happily.

      Sooo much sweeeter. =)

      I’m very happy you stopped by. I am still making my way through the list, around the chaos! =)

  2. Love this chaotic lifestyle! Great post, Shan. Mathair had me at a very young age and my raising was of a strict Dirty South kind. Eleven years later, Mathair had my little brother, Vincent, and she’d loosened up so much and the difference in raisings was shocking. Things I never got away with, Mathair simply laughs off with Vincent. She says the leniency comes with age, but I’m glad due to the fact that I have a tendency to spoil my baby brother and now Mathair and I are writing together. LOL. Happy BOAW

    • Inion,

      It sounds like you paved the way for your mom and your brother, which probably wasn’t easy.

      I have a brother five years younger than I am (I and my two older siblings were born in three and a half years!). My mother was 19 when she had her first child; at 23, she had three.

      I noticed that she and my father were more lenient with him than with us. I know my parents had difficult childhoods, and then, only a few years after they were married, there were three of us…

      There were some ugly things that happened. That may be why I was married for four years before we had a child.

      I’m glad that you have a strong creative bond with your mom, and that you get to spend time with your brother (although I firmly believe that no one can be spoiled by honest love and affection, only ripened!).

      Thank you for visiting, and for your comment. I’m still working my way through all the posts, around all the lovely chaos going on around here!

  3. Embrace the lovely chaos! I especially like the sentiment, “Living life the way we choose, on our own terms, whatever our ages, is beautiful.” So many times only youth is thought of as beautiful for women, and aging is instead the enemy. I’d like to embrace the aging process. 🙂
    Enjoyed your post!

    • Katy,

      I hadn’t thought of it in those terms, but I see your point. I’ll be 45 later this year, and I am wholly embracing the process of growing older. I love that I have laugh lines rather than worry lines, and that I seem to be growing more beautiful as I grow into myself, and my character and experiences are written on my face and body.

      Or maybe I just have learned to accept me, as I am, imperfect as all humans are.

      By the way, it’s very invigorating and inspiring to live with young people who are living life on their terms, too – and, hopefully, they’ll never tie living a life they love to a specific age. I believe that, if more of us met life on our own terms, without apology, the world would be a kinder and more peaceful place to live – for all of us.

      I’m very glad you stopped by to turn my thoughts in a new direction! I love when that happens! =)

    • Raani,

      She loves being the “Star” of my blog! She is happy – and also intense. She’s not always nice; I would say she does her best most of the time. She is nine, though, and that’s not that many years of experience. She is, in fact, more considerate of others than more than one adult I’ve known.

      And she brings so much life and joy and just plain verve into our family!

      My son is also an amazing person – he tends to be mellower, and, at 12, more private, so her doesn’t want to share as much publicly as he did a few years back.

      And I love being their mom. It’s the most thought-intensive thing I’ve ever done, learning to be the mom they deserve to have!

      So happy you stopped by, so that I could meet you! =)

    • Kathryn,

      It’s not always easy. Sometimes, especially when both kids are in the middle of growth spurts at the same time, the chaos gets -particularly chaotic.

      But then, as I excavate, I find bits and pieces of what they’ve been up to, and that’s like finding buried treasure.

      And seeing them growing up happy and confident and kind – that’s worth some chaos, and it’s beautiful!

      • August,

        I’m so happy I caught it this year – last year I missed it, and that was disappointing.

        I wouldn’t have thought of chaos as beautiful, either, before we shifted to an unschooling life. I used to wreak my own form of angry chaos in my attempts to force an order none of my three housemates could live up to – and, when my hormones kicked up – pure ugliness.

        If I hadn’t changed, I can’t imagine we would live the life of hugs and laughter and just plain joy in being together we have today.

        I’m not saying it doesn’t still drive me nuts, sometimes. I DO like tidiness and order, although I’m not always great at keeping them, myself. My hormones still kick up (even more now, I’m perimenopausal).

        But I’ve made a conscious choice to enjoy these years with children in the house, and the people they are. I’ve decided that there are way too many incredible things about this man I married, who still makes my heart beat faster and light me up from the inside out, to be angry at the frustrations that are a part of living with someone else.

        Sometimes, when I’m cleaning excavating, I find things the kids did that I didn’t know about. That’s fascinating, and I love those little surprise insights into who they are and what they were thinking in some moment I was engaged with something else.

        They’re getting closer to those milestone ages of 10 and 13, and they’re both very independent. I can see that there aren’t so many years left when they will need me in the role of Mommy, who helps them do things they can’t, reaches stuff too high for them to reach (my son is up to the bridge of my nose, and growing fast, he may be taller than me by his next birthday), and drives them places.

        Yes, there’s chaos, but it won’t last, and I want to enjoy them, while they are still young, and becoming.

        And it really is lovely!

        I’m so happy to have given you something new to consider…a small repayment for all the goodness you spread! =)

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