A Letter to My Husband (on Father’s Day)

Fathers Day

Dear Husband,

It’s your first Father’s Day, and I’ve been feeling the pressure to write something especially heartwarming.  Perhaps some words about love, followed by sweet musings of parenthood, then signed with an XOXO.

And yet as I sit here, wondering what to say, I find myself missing us. I miss the closeness I used to feel, when there was freedom to focus on just you, and how your day went, to hear the latest funny story without being half distracted by whether or not our daughter needs another bottle.

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Should I Have Kids?

Photo of nine month baby crying, isolated

I was never one of those girls who planned on getting married or dreamed of her wedding day. But then I met Mr. Wonderful, and spending the rest of my life with him just made sense. I warned him, though, that I didn’t care about a house and I wasn’t sure I wanted kids. Ever.

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How We Got Rid of 400-Square-Foot Worth of Stuff

Thanks to my Mom, I always considered myself a fairly minimal person – regularly donating things to Goodwill, purging what I haven’t used in awhile, and only buying something new if I got rid of something else first. As a subscriber to Real Simple magazine, I knew all the tips to making life simpler. Mr. Wonderful, on the other hand, likes to keep everything on hand for a “what if” situation. When we first got married and were packing up his bachelor pad, I found a 1-inch piece of Velcro in a box.

“You can’t be serious,” I said, dangling the white strip in his face.

“You never know when you might need it,” he insisted. I rolled my eyes. Heaving a sigh, he tossed it in the garbage.

Next, I eyed a dusty box of mints. “We’ve been dating for over two years and I’ve never seen you eat these.”

mints [Read more…]

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Weddings, Estrangement and Hard Love

HardLoveMy only sister is getting married this week. As happy as I am for her, I’m also filled with anxiety for her big day. You see, on my own wedding day nearly eight years ago, my mother never showed up.

The weeks leading up to our engagement, my mother gave me an ultimatum to choose between Mr. Wonderful or herself. And while I had spent most of my life trying to be “a good girl” in order to earn her love, I didn’t want to give up the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I didn’t love her less. I just chose to stand up to her, for the first time in my life.

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Why I Married Someone I Wasn’t Attracted To

BestFriend

It wasn’t love at first sight.

Or the second. Or the third.

After maybe the twentieth time we hung out together (and 3.5 years later), Mr. Wonderful took an interest in me because I pretended to smoke a french fry at a group dinner with mutual friends (classy, I know).

By the time we went on our first “date,” I still wasn’t interested in him. To be fair, I thought we were going on a date as “friends.” If I had known better I would have declined altogether instead of leading the poor guy on.

But he persisted. And even though I was not attracted to him, I eventually decided to give the potential relationship a try. I let my brain win over my hormones. He was a good guy. My last boyfriend treated me badly. Why not?

This is where most people whom I have told this story to get confused. You mean you dated and then eventually married someone you didn’t feel any initial chemistry with? How does that work?

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What Does “For Better Or For Worse” Really Mean? (Part Two)

Marriage…this story is a continuation from this post.

Two years after my battle with depression, we had a marriage crisis. I don’t know that any marriage is immune from having one. I do have friends who seem like they never fight, and agree with each other on just about everything. Perhaps they’re just really low-maintenance. Perhaps they’re hiding from the truth. In our case, we were living in denial. We had been brushing things away, thinking they were no big deal, when in fact we were sweeping it all into an enormous pile that became the elephant in the room.

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And…Life Unrefined is back!

Dear Readers,

As many of you know, my Life Unrefined blog disappeared this past June. And while I grieved over the loss of two years of work, I also seized the opportunity to take a rest and rethink the purpose of my blog. I originally started a fashion blog because I wanted to encourage other women to embrace themselves and their natural beauty. Not in the overly simplistic, “You’re fine, just love yourself!” sense, but because I battled with body image and self-esteem for most of my life. It’s still a struggle to not feel intimidated in a room full of women who seem so confident and self-assured.

Yet while I loved writing for my blog and meeting other fashion/beauty bloggers, something began to nag me. You see, I enjoy shopping and talking about style, but I realized I wanted to talk about other things, too. Who I am is so much more than just what I wear. I wanted to talk about the beauty and struggles of marriage, my love of traveling, and the journey in my Christian faith. I know that not everyone will want to read about all of those things, but ultimately I have decided that the blog needs to be a true reflection of myself.

So I hope you will stay around as I begin again. I value the friendships I have made through this blog, both in life and online, and look forward to continuing that with you!

Very best,

Jen

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