The Walk to Nicaragua

Photo Jun 19, 7 11 07 PM

On our drive to the work site we passed the border between Honduras and Nicaragua. We made sure to hop out and take a picture in another country! This was my second visit to Nicaragua.

My first visit to Nicaragua was unexpected. My small group was distributing bags of food to families when Sergio, our leader, got out of the truck, opened a gate, and waved us through. Then Sergio let us know we had entered Nicaragua. We were a little unsure about this, because there wasn’t anyone to stamp our passports or check our bags. So, we blindly went along for the journey. We drove until the rode was no longer passable and we then got out and walked. And then we walked. And walked some more. We walked for half an hour before we even saw a house. I thought surely this most be the house, but then we walked past that house. The path narrowed and we walked single file. We began to fish around for our snacks and water as Craig and Josh carried fifty pound bags of food. Eventually we arrived at house, it was very small, with a concrete floor, a hammock, and three small rooms. We presented our bag of food, and it is hard to explain exactly what that felt like. It is hard to say, “Here! Be happy! We brought a little food!” Truly, I wanted to cry and apologize that it wasn’t more. I wanted to buy shoes and clothes and beds and whatever else I could and drag it down that path to that house. But, that isn’t an option. It was a small gift, but it does help. I have to remind myself that I can’t do everything. I have to remind myself that every little bit DOES matter. It truly truly does.

We went on to go a little farther down the path to one more house. Our walk to Nicaragua was a vessel for thinking about what delivering food means and looks like. I thought a lot about the throwing back a starfish story, helping one starfish and helping one family can and does make a difference. The day my group walked to Nicaragua we handed out 10 bags of food, and others in group passed out 10 bags per day for the next two days. It may not be a new house, or food for life, or a long term help. But I have to remind myself that we did bring food to 30 houses, and that means something. The walk to Nicaragua represents to me a change in thought. I need to focus on what I can do today to help someone, not that I am unable change their lives forever.

The Fear Stinks

I was wrong about the fear. There is no reason to fear! I always feel that way after the fact, but really? Why must I waste my time? Honduras was a great trip, I had a marvelous time, I grew as a person, I never got lost, was never hungry, and never felt scared. I could have spent the time and energy spent worrying doing something else. The thing is, will I spend that energy differently next time something scary comes along? I would love to say I’ve learned! No way will I fret my time away again! Honestly, I am who I am and my natural state is as a person who frets.

I have a lot to say and am at a loss for where to start. For now, I’m having difficulty uploading pictures. There is probably some easy fix that I can’t see at this point. I’ll fiddle now and will hopefully have a decent post shortly….

The Fear

One year ago I was doing contract work at my old office, I was attending every teaching job fair I could find, emailing every principal, and hounding my own principal about hiring me as a teacher. I was about to go back to work as an aide. Then, on the day I went back, I was making copies for for the teacher I was an aide for (Sylvia), when someone’s contract fell through. The intercom beckoned me to the office and there sat the decision makers of my school along with my future team leader. They were offering the fourth grade. I was supposed to teach special ed or younger kids, I just knew it. I needed a job and I fearfully accepted. Petrified doesn’t begin describe my feelings. Would they listen to me? These 9/10 year olds? Would they care what I had to say? Would they learn anything from me? I couldn’t eat, my stomach hated me, and I was shaking the night before the first day of school.

Many things have changed in the past year. Growing into myself has been a long and steady process, but this past year, it sped up. I found an outlet for the person I am. I was able to turn to my support system and conquer my fear of failure. My love of people, reading, creating, and learning was put to good use. My mentor teacher, my teammates, the teacher I was an aide for, my mother, my boyfriend, my friends and my family all were there for me to sort out fear and help guide me. Learning, growing, and  making decisions have led me to now. I could not ask for a better life than the one I currently have. I have great love in my life.

Fear and anxiety have been slowly creeping up on me again. I invited myself to go with my mentor teacher (Lauren) and group of people from her church to Honduras. I had always assumed that I would have been on many great adventures before I reached my current age, but I have not. Tomorrow I leave for an adventure. My anxieties and fears seem trivial, first world problems as JMO has begun to say. What if I get car sick? What if they don’t have coffee? What if…. This will not be America, the place where broke means I don’t have money to take a vacation, broke doesn’t mean I can’t eat. I have spent a good deal of time reading about Honduras, reading the FAQs on the Mission Lazarus site, and looking at their postings on their blog. This month for my happiness project, I am keeping a prayer journal. Writing down my anxieties and asking God for guidance has truly helped me prepare for this journey. Gathering knowledge and addressing anxiety is the way to squash fears. So, as the fear is being squashed, there will be more room in my heart for the adventure and journey that awaits.

Photo from the Mission Lazarus Blog


A few months ago, my partner teacher signed up to be in the dunk tank at our school’s carnival. It was going to be hilarious. Then, she got tickets to Cirque Du Soleil, and you cannot miss out on that. So, in a haste to help my pal, I said, “I’ll do it for you!” I often commit myself in haste, and it is often not a great decision.

The principal at our school was before me; she was such a good sport! She smiled, egged kids on, and gracefully slipped into the water. She made getting dunked seem okay, even enjoyable. Getting dunked was not okay. When I stepped up for my turn, it was slippery, and the water was disgusting, and I had a nervous case of giggles. The boys in my class were lined up and stretching their arms. They were pumped, and the sight was pretty entertaining. My dear sweet boy that went first missed, so of course I let him know that he was my new favorite. Then a very athletic and awesome kiddo hit the button the first try, and I splashed into the water. It was gross. As I climbed back onto the seat, it wouldn’t latch. In fact, it became a recurring problem in my hour in the chair, the chair would spontaneously dunk me on its own. A father of one of my students stood by the tank and re-rigged the seat for me. Continually, I had to remind myself to put on my smile and appear to enjoy the process. The kids loved it, and I wanted very badly to love it too. One stinker in my class ran up and just pushed the button (at the encouragement of my fellow fourth grade teachers), I forced him to come around and hug me. Sadly, no one snapped a picture of that! Being in the dunk tank was a whirlwind of emotion, it sounds silly, but I felt attacked, I felt scared of not knowing when I would fall, I would fall, it was chilly, but it was reminder that when you put a on a face you can create something fun for someone else. The dunk tank was about good fun and creating a memory for the kids who paid four tickets to get me down. Signing up for the dunk tank wasn’t something I probably would have done on my own, but it was a memorable event, and at the end I felt like had accomplished something.

I tried to convince my assailants to come hug me, but there were very few takers.



Recently, I got to leave school in the middle of the day to go to a lunch! It was crazy! Leaving! Sitting down to eat! Sitting with my principal! Sitting with important people in Sugar Land!

The Rotary Club of Sugar Land invited this years rookies of the year of the district to a luncheon. I was selected at our school (in all honesty – we didn’t have hardly any other new folks), and I had to write an essay. I was pretty proud of my essay. So proud, I sent a copy to my parents, and my dad copied it and sent it to my grandma. My lovely mentor, Lauren, and my principal wrote about me as well. Lauren has a magical way with words, she made me sound pretty phenomenal. Now, they were true things, but she just made them sound incredible.

I was selected to be one of the finalists. There were three elementary finalists, and three secondary finalists. The two girls next to me were the other two elementary finalists, they were both art teachers. I thought that was pretty interesting.

We all had to speak, and it was pretty nerve racking. I talk in front of ten year old kids everyday, but they aren’t adults or business leaders of our community, or strangers. One of the women talked about the fact that every year there are more and more cuts, and every year we hear things on the news, but every year there are great things happening in our classrooms. It is true. These teachers were truly impressive, they were very passionate about their job and making a difference. I loved hearing their speeches about why they wanted to teach and how amazing the support of fellow teachers has been this year. There are so many amazing teachers in the world, and they don’t always get the recognition they deserve. There are many thankless tasks in teaching. I work with so many amazing people. These people are creative, compassionate, smart, and very organized. Teaching is a hard job, it takes great mental capacity, patience, organization, and a lot of time. It is the best thing I have ever done.

My first year is almost behind me. I will cherish the memories. The day at the Rotary Club will be one of them.

The article on their site can be found here. I borrowed their picture.

Meg Pickert, Rodeo Runner

Today I did something. I completed the Rodeo Run 10K. It was a pretty terrible showing, but I did it.

This morning I was an anxious mess, it seemed like a pretty big mistake to sign up for this run. Although I had planned on doing a lot of training, it didn’t really happen. My longest consistent run before today was a little over 3 miles. Leah told me, that someone in a bar told her, that you get caught up win the excitement and you can do more than you think.

We did get caught up in the excitement, but we did a pretty steady combination of walk/run/ and then some walk even more. We finished, albeit we were no where near running the entire 10K. When we first got there, we came upon the costume contest. Obviously, we had to stop and watch the whole thing go down. There were an entire crew of people from an insurance office (that I didn’t catch the name of) that dressed as Alice and Wonderland folk. The Mad Hatter there, in the back left hand side of this picture won.

Costume Contest

After taking in the contest, we made our way to the starting line. There were 13,000 participants, and below you can see the ones that were ahead of me. There were a lot. The people in the front were clearly in shape. We were asked to try to find our way nearest to the sign that most accurately described our mile time. Leah and I took our place past the 10:00 minute mile sign.


The start was scary, most people seemed like regulars, and I felt pretty confused. While we waited, Leah and I made a list on my phone of running gear that we would need when we become regulars.

My favorite part of the whole thing was all the people at the sides of the course. They had noisemakers and signs and screamed, “You can do it!” The thing is, they have no idea if I can do it or not, but it felt really good to hear. Strangers screaming for me was oddly motivating. Those people motivated me to finish. Leah’s boyfriend was also our ride, and he was at the finish (another motivating factor). I really needed motivation. Usually, my runs are on gravel, and I my knees were not into the concrete. I got tired quick, and starting thinking of lunch pretty early in. We did discuss many lunch options while making our way through the course. Lunch, the cheering spectators, the fabulous water tables, and the car at the end are the things that helped me do it.


There I am, in all my sweaty, tired, whiny glory. I did it. I completed a 10K. I may have been passed up by small children, grandparents, and pregnant ladies, but LEAH AND I DID IT!!

Thank you Leah for pushing me.