change of scenery

I'm excited for our #thanfulliving project to start tomorrow, how about you?
And I am so excited about it, I'm going to start early.  At least here on the blog.

This last weekend we headed up to Inverness for a weekend away.  It was sort of a one year in Scotland over/one year to go until we move back to MN/2 years overseas done kind of celebration.

We stayed at a hotel that we'd been at before that we knew we would like.  So grateful for having a sort of home away from home.  Great for a simple change of scenery, you know?

I've been reading a lot the last few days.  A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller and then this book, Love Does by Bob Goff.  Its going to take me a bit of time to fully digest what I've been learning, and I'm looking forward to sharing some of the key points with you.

But the main point of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is that we each have the power to make our own stories better; and to live a life that will make a good story. 

Our trip to Inverness wasn't packed with sight seeing; we'd been there before.  But we did check out a new spot, Fort George.  Um.  It wasn't completely exciting.  But the kids left with new {foam} swords, so I think they'll have good memories of it.
 Its evidently one of the most strongly fortified military bases in all of Europe.  It sure had a lot of stone walls, so that I can understand.

J#4 had a new experience.  We skipped the stroller AND the backpack carrier, so she was a walker.
And the bridges got her. 

Back in his day, the bridges 'got' her brother too.  
But now? The brother is learning how to do the 'big brother' thing, and I'm grateful that he is pretty darn good at it.

After we conquered the bridges, we conquered the cafe. 

Meaning that everyone else there finished their lunches and left us alone in the cafe.  So nice of them, right?

So it wasn't an exciting visit. But it was a relaxed, fun visit.  And relaxed & fun is a story I'm happy to write.

And then on our drive home I got to appreciate the colors.  Lovely oranges, reds and greens intermixed among the Highlands.

* * *




clouds vs. sun {story of our life when it comes to weather in Scotland}

Another week is done.  And we are nearing the end of October.

How is that even possible?

Starting November 1 it's gonna get 'thankful' up in here.  Each day I'm going to share something I'm thankful for on instagram (I'm jenlives) with the tag #thankfulliving.  And since I know a lot of you aren't over there in Instagram world, I'll share the items here too {maybe not every day, but as often as possible}.

Because, lets be real.  We are all happier when we are remembering what we are thankful for. 

And I'm going to host a little link-up part on November 1 so we can all find each other & be thankful together.  So stop back to link up your blog or Instagram account!

today I'm linking up over here at Life Rearranged

life rearranged

Now...onto the last few weeks.  A little of what's been happening over here at our place: 

A little lot of being happy that Daddy was home from his trip.

A little baking.

A little counting down...I've been doing this with my sweet niece since their visit to Scotland in August.  We started about 100, and now we are getting so much closer to a trip back to MN!
do you see my trees?  I'm such an artist, no?  ;)

A little playing.

And a little exercising, of course.  
I've figured out my days go better 
when started off with Jillian Michael's.
{scary?  wierd?  your thoughts?} 
running via wii fit


being thankful = cheap therapy

I spent some time this morning adding gifts to my list of 1000.  In about 20 minutes, I was able to add about 85 items.

I am so, so lucky.  So blessed.

When I wake up on the 'wrong side of the bed' its time to sit down and remember why my attitude needs to change.

It's my form of therapy.

Writing always has been a kind of therapy for me, but to bring myself to a place where I can choose joy? I need to write what I'm thankful for.
  • a chance to get away this weekend, to a hotel that we know we will like
  • a quickly spiraling downward countdown to visit family and friends
  • happy memories of our time in the Netherlands, and J#4's first year
  • the knowledge that I have the freedom {and power} to make choices
  • & know that I have strength from God to guide me with those

In November, I'm taking this gratefulness show on the road to Instagram.  Taking photos of and tagging an item each day that I'm grateful for with #thankfulliving.

And maybe I'll even do a link-up, so we can all find each other.

Who's with me?

Let's rock the grateful socks off November.

* * * 

a punk, a pumpkin and a peanut

The Fontenot Four


strong, focused & determined

I think I may have mentioned that I've been taking part in a challenge to do 31 days of Jillian Michael's work-outs this month.  

To this point, I've missed three days. 
  • the 13th: a Saturday, mid point of husband's LONG trip, needed a breather, but still did wii fit exercise
  • the 16th: no exercise.  was the day after I finished exercising for 50 days straight. a girl needs a day off now & then right?  {wink}
  • the 21st: I did do wii exercise again this day....

BUT I drank too much beer the day before so I didn't do a Jillian video. And I've officially learned something.  There is NO reason to have beer in our house.  Or too much wine, for that matter.  There is just NO reason.  I just feel worse after I've indulged.  And I'm more hungry the next day.  And its empty calories.  And it makes me enjoy it less than if I just had it went we went out for dinner, as a treat.  And. And. And.  The list could go on.  

And on.

Lesson learned. 

* * *

Yesterday was my first day of Week 4 of Ripped in 30.  Wow.  Just wow. 

Hard. Awesome.  Sweated like a fool.  Absolutely loved it.  Plus?  Jillian gives this awesome pep talk at the end.  I'm going to have to play it back and type it out one of these days...but that is where the title of this post comes from.

That is what I am 'this time'. 

Strong. Focused. Determined.

And as I was saying "are you freakin kidding me with this?" to Jillian as I was doing her work out, I was also saying,  "I LOVE this."

Who am I?  Who is this person that is inside my head???

Oh! Its me!?  


What took so long Jenny???   {smile}

34, and you finally figured it out. 


“Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.”
-William Butler Yeats

Well...better late than never, right?


Do-Be-Mem :: Oct 21 2014 :: Week 2

Last week, the plan was to have a daily dance party {mostly happened}, be aware of current events by reading at least 15 minutes of news daily {happened} and I memorized a quote about patience {done}.

This week?

DO:  Bake a loaf of homemade bread.  It's been on my bucket list forever. I'm getting it done people.

BE:  Productive.  NO t.v. watching during J#4 naptime/J#3 nursery school time.  Two and a half hours to get things done; I need to take advantage of that!

"Real beauty is not about weight or symmetry or makeup.  
It's about looking life right in the face and 
seeing all of its magnificence reflected in your own self." 
-Valerie Monroe-

* * *




I read one of my favorite blog posts ever yesterday.  Click here to go to Leslie's blog Top of the Page, so you can read it too. 

In case you don't have time, here is the bit that hit me the most.  Square on my forehead.
And what Beth said next sort of floored me. Despite our constant efforts to find a comfortable spot in this world, Jesus will NEVER let us fully find it. He will not solve all our squirminess. He will not make our marriages perfectly happy. He will not heal all our relationships and allow us to feel perfectly accepted.

Because we don't belong here. We were never meant to. And so in some ways, He will let us squirm.

Jesus wants me to know deep down that my home, my comfort, my soul's longing to fit somewhere will never be satisfied on this earth. He wants me to long for heaven.
Amazing.  So what does that mean?  We aren't meant to be perfect.

It's not that that I want to attain the perfect life.  But no.  Wait.  That's a lie.

Isn't that what we all want?  Isn't that why we aspire to something new, something different, because we expect perfection will be the result of that change?  

But to realize that is never going to happen, for me {much like for Leslie} is freeing. 
It makes me more comfortable in my own skin.
It makes me more comfortable with trials that come along.
It makes me more comfortable with the thought of dying {which is so big that it probably deserves its own post}.

It doesn't mean that I am going to give up striving for something that to me would be like perfection.

It means I am going to continue with a positive outlook. I'm going to continue being attentive in life and concentrate on being happy as much as possible, in this life.
Source: google.com via Jenny on Pinterest

But when life throws me lemons, sometimes I'm going to let go.   I'm going to remind myself that life is supposed to be a little sour. 

And keep remembering that what I'm living for is the sweet, perfect lemonade that's waiting for me.
* * *



"It isn't really our choices that distinguish who we are.  It's our commitment to them."                         Emily, from Revenge

Oh yes.  I just quoted a serial drama.  I told you I love tv, didn't I?  {wink}

My largest barrier in losing weight and being healthier is self-discipline.

In other words?  


Exhibit A.
J#1 is out of town for work, so I treat myself to carbs and sweets {within my calorie limit for the day}.  Now, its not like he is that tough on me when he is here about what I'm eating.  But part of that is because I haven't been giving him a reason to be.  I've been disciplined.

Now that there are just two wee ones here to see what I'm eating?  I'm not disciplined.  Even if I stay within my calorie range, I've learned that eating that way isn't getting me anywhere. 

Exhibit B.
When husband is at home I wake up daily at 5:30 a.m. to get my exercise in bright and early, before the kids are up.  While he is gone?  There's been one day that I've gotten up during the 5 o'clock hour.
ripped in 30 just keeps getting harder and harder and harder. 

Today I woke up at 6, still wasn't able to get the exercise done before J#3 {our early riser} was up, but at least I'm done with it now and its a lot earlier in the day. I've also showered, gotten dressed in something other than lounge pants and put on make-up and jewelry.

I'm ready for this day.

A perfect example of why I should be more disciplined.

"All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness."                   (Hebrews 12:11)

So.  My goal? To wake up at 5:30 a.m. Thursday AND Friday.  I'll check in on Friday and let you know how I did.  

And I'm taking bets.  What's yours?  {smile}


One woman. 50 days. A lot of exercising.

50 days.
14% of the year.
And it's true.  I didn't always look forward to getting up early to exercise.  Or lacing up the shoes and heading outside in sub 40 degree weather to work on my couch to 5K training {for the second time, if you're keeping track}.  But I did it.

For being of the items on my 34 in 34 list that I feared might not actually get accomplished, I'm pretty excited that I can already check it off the list.  
 Most of the exercise? Took place before 7 a.m. on the weekdays.

At first that was to get it out of the way, because I was worried I wouldn't make myself do it if I waited until nap time, or even worse, after my husband got home from work.

But now?  It's because I want to do it early in the morning.  My day is a little 'off' if I don't get up first thing, put on my work-out clothes and spend some time with Jillian Michaels.  Or on the trails. 

I didn't work out to the max every single day of those 50 days.  I mixed in Jillian Michael's work outs (30 Day Shred, and Ripped in 30), running/walking doing the Couch to 5K training and using our Wii Fit (those were the easy days).

Plus, my favorite form of exercise.


Getting to be with my family.  Enjoying the lovely landscape I'm blessed to live in right now.  Burning a HUGE amount of calories.  Sounds like a win-win-win to me.

Trust me when I tell you that back in August, I didn't think I'd be sitting here on October 15th saying that I had done it.  That I had found the time every day to focus on me, and that I'd use that time getting more fit and more focused on losing weight. 

You know what that means?  People can change.

Old dogs can learn new tricks. 

The funny scary true thing?  I don't want to stop.

I'm considering what to make my next goal.   Maybe I'll run/walk a certain # of miles in a certain # of days.  Or actually run an entire 5K. What do you think? Any ideas for me?

Now, I feel like the possibilities are endless.

And let me tell you "one more thing" as my son says, when he's delaying bedtime:
                  If I can do this?  You can too.

 * *

Today I'm linking up with Ashley for Move it Monday.  Seems appropriate, right?


Do-Be-Mem :: Oct 14 2014 :: Week 1

Someone is out of town right now, and since there is only one of us {other than me} who can drive in this house...or go anywhere by themselves...you know who that person is.

When this happens?  I have a dramatically larger amount of time to myself.  I use it well, of course.  I get all kinds of fall cleaning done, get ahead on Christmas gift shopping, er I mean find new blogs to read.

Like Meagan at Lewis & Browne.   She has a 40 by 40 list (hers, my 34 in 34), she has lists of books she's going to read (hers, mine) and  she just started running in September and will be running her first 5K in November (sound familiar?).  So....lets just say she rose to the top of must read list in 2 seconds flat.  AND she has a brilliant link-up on Sundays.  It is pure genius.  

As she says, "What is Do-Be-Mem? Three simple things to do each week. Intentional Living."

DO:  Have a dance party daily.  Because it always cheers me up.  And hopefully the kiddos will join me.  On the playlist?  
  • Raise your Glass {P!nk} 
  •  Try {P!nk}
  • Perfect {P!nk}
  • Firework {Katy Perry}
  • God's Not Dead {Newsboys}
  • Courageous {Casting Crowns} 
  • I Can Only Imagine {MercyMe}...a slower one to cool down with.   
BE:  More aware of current events; spend at least 15 minutes a day reading news.  {e!-online doesn't count} 

MEM:  Memorize this quote: 
"Patience with others is love, 
patience with self is hope, 
patience with God is faith." 
~ Adel Bestavros 
And full disclosure...I totally stole borrowed that from Meagan's own Do-Be-Mem a few weeks ago.  But it is awesome, right?  

* * 

So...you should join me with this.  Click on over here to check out the link-up.  Oh, and she has a fun announcement.  She is handing the reigns over to Bold Butter Baby from now on,  so just another fun blog for me to read & follow.  Score!



I'm going to share with you the lovely that is my life via instagram in a sec.  But first? AN ANNOUCEMENT.  

I have an idea. 

Ha.  That's not all.  I want to tell you about it, and I want you to join me! 

Next month is November.  {Thanks for stating the obvious Jenny.} 
November = Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving = being grateful
being grateful = #thankfulliving

An Instagram event.  Join me?  Just take photos of what you are thankful for each day in November.  Easy peasy, right???  Why NOT do it?  And then tag it with #thankfulliving.

Spread the word. And I think I'll host my first ever linky part on this here blog.   We'll do it at the beginning of November, so that we can all meet and find each other on Instagram.  Not on Instagram? Get with the party peeps {said with all the love in the world}.  I want to see what YOU are thankful for.  You don't even need to have a blog.  Nope, no siree...  So, who's with me???

* * 
Alright, now on to our week. Instastyle:

Gotta love her hair, right?

with one of our projects from our 31 days of fun over at Intend to Live.

 walking to school with his shadow.


the boyz. 
 Weekends are fabulous for exercise; 
I get to do my walk/run in the light instead of before the sun rises!

 a constant companion lately. 

my fruit buddy.

 Look at the almost cloudless sky.  In Scotland?  Priceless. 

A tickle factory. 

his idea.  AND we were featured at lilblueboo.  LOVE IT.  

 beautiful sunset

 in Scotland, it's "custom my ride", instead of "pimp my ride".  
that made me giggle.

"heart for you mommy"

 my work-out partner

cutie patootie. 

and with that, I'm linking up with Jeannett at Life, Rearranged.
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