The Cow Gift

While in Honduras, we were able to give a family a cow. We were actually able to purchase 2 cows, but we delivered one. The special thing about this cow, is that it was pregnant! Which means, we not only gave this family a cow, but a cow they can pass on to their children. Maybe one day, that cow will have a baby and that cow will have a baby. This is money well spent people! The family is chosen by Mission Lazarus based on different criteria, one of course being need, but also on how they will distribute milk. A cow produces about 10 liters of milk a day, and this family will only need about 3 of those liters. The other 7 they have to share with their neighbors. Mission Lazarus chooses families to help which in turn will help other families. I was blown away by the organization, Mission Lazarus does good work well – what I mean by that is they have a lot of donors to keep happy. Because they need to keep people happy, they help people in an organized manner, a manner in which they can provide proof to donors, and they start a mentality of paying it forward. Clearly, I’m a fan of the organization.

The cow was the only one not so happy about the situation. After we delivered the cow, we got the van stuck on this hill. We tried many different ways, but finally we pushed it! It was exhilarating to push a stuck van out. There were many points during this trip when I thought about how strong we really are, and about how I don’t use my strength. Shoveling, hauling bricks, digging holes, and pushing vans aren’t normal activities for me. They are activities that I can do though, and I feel empowered by that. I’m strong.

Not only did I learn I was strong from this cow, I also learned a thing or two about money. This cow cost roughly $800, which sounds like a hefty sum, but I’m pretty sure I spent $800 on clothes last year that I didn’t really need. We do live in a different society, but we can still do a lot with our money. I am in no financial position to donate a cow, but I am in the position to think more consciously about where my money is going. So, with school kicking off, and the need to spend is getting at me, I’m going to live frugally in August. That is my happiness project goal.

You can truly learn a lot from a cow.


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.



Disclaimer: If you have never heard me talk about CARPOOL, these videos will explain to you what it is and how it is fabulous. Also, I linked to CP about a million times, because I wanted you to be tempted to click on it and learn about how it is truly awesome.

The CARPOOL GALA was last weekend in College Station. This year it was in The Zone at Kyle Field, it is an amazing venue. Going back every year to celebrate CARPOOL always makes me feel very grateful to have been a part of the organization. It is still one of the best things I have ever personally been apart of.

Last year, CARPOOL ran out of money. The staff had to stop operations for the first few weeks of the Spring semester. The organization got so much support from the Aggie community and was able to raise $115,000 in the Spring alone. It never ceases to amaze me what a determined group of people can do. The current staff, of which I no longer know a soul, is working to create a buffer of funds. They hope to have enough money to pay for two years out, instead of just the next couple of weeks.

The vice-chair (Ryan Mieras) gave a speech about how CARPOOL has impacted him. While CP has impacted thousands and thousands of people (the website currently states they have given 183,658 rides home), it also profoundly impacts the people who chose be members and pursue a leadership role. At the age of 20, I had a group of 25 people to lead. At the age of 21-22, I was in charge of fundraising efforts and led operational nights. We organized who would drive, who would go out to bars, we organized calls, and what to do if something went wrong. I planned a 5k and wrote grants (I raised lots of dough – still proud). JMO built a caller record/ride sort program and built the website. We were running a business, and not really a small one. CARPOOL is expensive to run, we maintained donor relations, obtained sponsors, and begged for money. CP was an amazing learning experience, I grew tremendously as a person. The experiences I had will never be forgotten, and I am proud of the person CP help mold me into.

So, basically CARPOOL rocks.

GALA helps make money for CARPOOL, and it is fun… here are a few pictures from the evening….

GALA 2011

Mrs. Oswalt and her fabulous new bench.

Gala 2011

JMO and his fabulous mother.

GALA 2011

JMO and his fabulous girlfriend.

P.S. CARPOOL ROCKS. If you watch this video, you can see me for all of 2 seconds on a computer, and JMO for all of 2 seconds on the phone, we are much younger. Plus awesome quotes from Jeff, the founder, at the end.

Etsy – esque

As a fun holiday gift, JMO’s dad decided to find me something on Etsy. I adore Etsy, and it’s fun to search for unique items and I love the pleasure of giving my money to a person.

Well, Mr. O decided that he could make his own Etsy item. He edited this picture of me and my dad and gave me the print and the file. I like it.

Happy Holidays!


I like these people. We had a truly wonderful Christmas. We spent a lot of time together, ate a lot, watched movies, and Em and I played some Scrabble. Marvel walked right over when it was time to take the picture. She knows where she belongs, front and center.