Another Jennifer Top Posts, Photos and Video from 2014 (according to me!)

As I reflected last week, 2014 was quite the year for me. While certainly full of extreme ups and downs, I managed to keep this blog going and wrote through some exhilarating and debilitating times.

I went through my posts, photos and videos for the year and pulled out the ones that stood out most for me. As you’ll see below, some months were heavier than others. What will you find in these posts? Emotion, adventure, inspiration, perspective and plenty of love, to name a few things. If you’re new here or missed a few posts, I hope you will take some time to click around and read. Happy New Year!

January 2014

snowbankfun1

Wordless Wednesday (1.15.14): Snow Bank Fun

Six Lessons I Learned While Pledging to Donate Every Month ~ This article was published on GOOD, one of my favorite do-gooder communities.

February 2014

snowy usa

Wordless Wednesday (2.19.14): Snowy United States of America

5 Vlogging Tips for Beginners (Video) ~ I’m a big dork in this video, but hopefully the tips are helpful!

March 2014

dusty road

Wordless Wednesday (3.19.14): Dusty road in Truslaya, Nicaragua.

#WaterAidNica Video Diary: Day 1 in Bilwi, Nicaragua ~ A video diary I recorded after my first day in Nicaragua with WaterAid America.

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Exelia, a Miskitu girl, is 7 years old.

Philanthropy Friday: Generosity Has No Language Barrier ~ I will never forget Exilia, a little girl I met in Nicaragua who showed me the meaning of pana pana (or mutual support).

Transportation in Nicaragua: Planes, Push-Cars and Pickup Trucks ~ Traveling to, from and within Nicaragua was quite the adventure and showed me how lucky we are to have something as simple as paved roads in our life.

The video below shares some of the sights and sounds I recorded in Nicaragua and just might end with a pig scratching its butt on the post of a house.

April 2014

Wordless Wednesday (4.30.14): Calm After the Storm

Wordless Wednesday (4.30.14): Calm After the Storm

On Blood Moons, Divorce, and Ultimate Happiness ~ Where I talk about filing for divorce and you make me cry with your comments.

May 2014

lacrosse collage

Wordless Wednesday (5.7.14): First Lacrosse Game

Zooming ~ A post about a one mile “fun run” in the pouring rain with my boys and how it reminded me that sometimes all the zooming we do makes us slow down and appreciate the things we zoom for.

June 2014

Wordless Wednesday (6.4.14): Pathways by Jennifer Iacovelli Barbour

Wordless Wednesday (6.4.14): Pathways

My Q&A with everdayhero + Perspective from a Cabbie ~ I answered questions about my experience with nonprofits on the everydayhero blog and shared some perspective I received from a cabbie in Washington DC.

I may be biased, but the following video (from Biz’s preschool graduation) is the best version of “Let it Go” I’ve heard yet.

July 2014

Wordless Wednesday (7.23.14): Ladies Toilet

Wordless Wednesday (7.23.14): Ladies Toilet

I was in the summer issue of Impact with Simplicity and Savings ezine talking about my monthly giving.

Taking the jump ~ How my son’s friend made me think about how our fears can control our thoughts and actions (or inaction) in life.

Packing Up ~ A post in the midst of packing up my big old house and navigating my divorce, realizing there is happiness all around me, despite all the chaos.

August 2014

Wordless Wednesday (8.27.14): Land's End Sunset

Wordless Wednesday (8.27.14): Land’s End Sunset

A Good Attitude ~ I’m lucky to have one smart 9-year-old to remind me that a good attitude is key and a dude in a dress to tell me I’m pretty.

I wrote GEEKING OUT ON GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT: Five surprises from a day with PSI for the PSI Impact blog after spending an amazing day in Washington DC with the nonprofit organization.

Split ~ The post where I wrote about the emotional roller coaster that is making a divorce final (and you make me cry again with your comments – comments I have yet to even respond to because of the emotion).

Stopping for Fun and Gratitude ~ Because there is always time for fun and gratitude is good for the soul.

The Other Side ~ The selling of my big old house signified my official move to The Other Side, where I could begin reclaiming my life.

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf, Bacon Cheeseburger Meatballs, Bacon Vinaigrette…must be International Bacon Day ~ How could I not re-visit a post with such great bacon recipes?

September 2014

momandbizselfie

Celebrating kindergarten and hard, but successful transitions.

Killing Kindergarten ~ It was a rough transition, but Biz finally walked into kindergarten and killed it.

Philanthropy Friday: More Than Volunteering ~ When giving your time also nourishes your soul and helps you heal.

Maine’s Big F**king Indian (Vlog) ~ Ever hear of the Big F**king Indian? I vlogged about it.

Bathroom Humor ~ Because taking your 5-year-old boy into the women’s restroom is always an adventure.

The Storylines of Our Life ~ Have you ever stopped to think about the purpose of those people that are around you at the most difficult times of your life? They are there for a reason. But you have to be open-minded and vulnerable enough to notice and understand.

October 2014

aya summit collage

Wordless Wednesday (10.29.14): #AYASummit Pictorial

The Juxtaposition of Dapple ~ A short, but sweet post inspired by a photo shoot with Tamara (Like Camera) that involved traipsing around a state park, finding the right light in the right sky, granola, gorgeous foliage, and a very nice man named Mike. And dapple, of course.

Words ~ Oh, how powerful they can be.

November 2014 

ThankfulCollage

Wordless Wednesday (11.26.14): Thankful

SOCIALGOOD: Reflecting on the #AYASummit ~ My first post as a contributor to World Moms Blog, reflecting on the amazing #AYASummit in Washington DC.

Bacon, Selflessness and an Open Air Workout ~ Yes, they are all related.

Philanthropy Friday: Shop With a Conscience Today ~ Published on Black Friday, this post includes my continually updated Gifts That Give Back list (also found on this page) so you can shop more consciously.

December 2014

Wordless Wednesday (12.10.14): Ice Ice Baby

Wordless Wednesday (12.10.14): Ice Ice Baby

The Long Night: The Harsh Truth About Sex Trafficking in the US ~ A post I wrote as part of the Global Team of 200 on a documentary I highly recommend watching, as it will leave you wanting to do more to fight human trafficking in our backyard (and, yes, it is in our backyard).

2014 in Review: A Journey Back to Me ~ It’s been quite the year, and I shared 70 things I’ve enjoyed or endured in 2014.

What were the highlights of your year?

Clash of the Couples: Lynn vs. Scott

Clash of the Couples2-01

I recently had the opportunity to be part of the cover reveal for the book Clash of the Couples. You may remember that Clash of the Couples is the follow up to the book I co-authored, The Mother of All Meltdowns. In that cover reveal post, I mentioned that I actually know several of the authors via the blogging world and that four are from the state I reside in, Maine.

Well, I also know one of the authors personally (as in I actually see her in person from time to time!). In fact, Lynn Shattuck and I used to work for the same nonprofit mental health agency. That’s how we met. Ten years ago.  Over the years, I also got to know her husband, Scott. So when Crystal Ponti, the managing editor for Clash of the Couples and fellow Mainer, asked if I was interested in doing an author’s question and answer session, I immediately suggested interviewing both Lynn and Scott. Because there are two sides to every lovers’ squabble, right?

Before we get into the questions and answers from Lynn and Scott, I want to share a quick quote from Lynn’s story in the book entitled “A Hypothetical Situation.” 

I glanced at his profile, strong and handsome. Our disagreement had started innocently, with my offhand remark. But throughout the course of our conversation, as was my pattern, I’d swallowed the argument whole, convincing myself that this ridiculousness mattered. Seriously, would he think I was still hot if I was obese or limbless?  Why, in the name of all that is right and holy, couldn’t I get in his belly? And, dammit, why couldn’t we have mocha-skinned, sapphire-eyed little muffins?

You’ll have to buy the book and read the full story. It’s hilarious.

lynnandscott

Photo credit: Kevin Ouelette of Amazing DJ Sound and Photography

Now for the interviews!

Lynn’s Q & A:

How did Scott react when you told him you’d be contributing to a book called Clash of the Couples? Were you nervous at all? (Personally I found it a bit intimidating to contribute a story about my worst meltdown as a mother when I was asked to be in The Mother of All Meltdowns.)

I actually told Scott about the call for submissions for ridiculous arguments couples have, and he instantly mentioned the one I ended up writing about, which I’d forgotten about! Since his role in the story was the more rational party, he didn’t mind that I’d written about it and was excited for me. I was nervous that people would think I was racially insensitive, but so far haven’t heard that from anyone.

Was it hard to pick a story to share for the book? Or did you have plenty to choose from? (Tell the truth!)

While Scott and I have had plenty of arguments, I definitely think I captured the most ridiculous one!

Do you have a favorite story in the book? Which one and why?

I really liked Kathryn Leehane’s story about a sandwich. I love her writing, and she definitely captured the silliness that can happen in a relationship.

Do you have any advice to share with couples on how to not clash so much?

As far as advice for other couples on not clashing? I am certainly no expert. I’m working– very slowly– on not reacting when Scott asks something of me that I’m not happy about. Also? Couples therapy is priceless.

What’s next for you? Any other books in the works?

I’ve recently become a blogger for mom.me, and that’s been really fun. I also have a story in an upcoming anthology called Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor.

Scott’s Q & A:

What do you think about Lynn being in a tell-all book about lovers’ squabbles and relationship spats?

I am all for it, particularly since I knew she would keep the cannon pointed at herself based on the stories she was talking about including. She had actually forgotten about getting angry that I “wouldn’t let her in my belly” so I like to think I added to the story a bit.

Men and women tend to see things differently, as illustrated in the book. How accurate is Lynn’s story? Anything you want to add to it? (This is your chance!)

It was quite truthy, although I would expect I am much more hilarious and handsome than I came across.

If you were to contribute to the book, what story would you tell?

Honestly I would have picked the ones she did, and perhaps our first ever fight about changing names upon marriage. That one ended when she asked me why I didn’t change my name instead.

Have you read the book? (Tell the truth!) If so, do you have a favorite story? (And you’re not allowed to say Lynn’s!)

I have not read the whole book I’m ashamed to say, but I did read some of the stories in the advance. OTHER THAN MY DARLING BRIDE’S HILARIOUS AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING STORY (lest I provide fodder for the book’s sequel already) I really enjoyed “I Can’t Believe You Ate My Sandwich.” Hell hath no fury like someone who messes with a hungry individual in our house.

Do you have any advice to share with couples on how to not clash so much?

You mean take my advice since I clearly don’t use it? Consider not just what you’re saying but the tone with which you say it.

Point well taken, Scott.

Well, there you have it. They are clearly a cute couple and even picked the same favorite story. I guess the “vs.” part in the title wasn’t really necessary.

Be sure to buy the book Clash of the Couples to read Lynn’s and all the other fun couples stories. It’s a great read. You can also read Lynn’s blog at The Light Will Find You.

Do you have a good couple clashing story? 

Maine’s Big F**king Indian (Vlog)

I haven’t vlogged in a while, and I’ve really missed it. Things have been a bit crazy in my life, but I’m finally having time to do fun things like take a ride out to shoot a big Indian in the next town over (this statement will make more sense later) rather than spending time in a courthouse, moving or changing my name.

My inspiration this week came from Mama Kat’s Vlogging Prompts. One of them was “Show us something in your state that we might not have in our state.”

As many of you know, I live in Maine. The first thing that came to my mind was the Big F**king Indian, or the BFI, in Freeport. I googled “big f**king Indian” to see if it was truly unique to Maine, and, well, let’s just say I didn’t see other BFIs like the one in Freeport.

Wanna see what the BFI looks like? It’s kind of a landmark. Or something like that. Watch the video and tell me if you’ve got something like it in your state.

And please excuse the shakiness in some parts of this video. I was holding my phone when I was shooting and an Italian has a hard time keeping her hands still while talking. Sorry about that.

Do you have a BFI in your state?