Lacking motivation.

One month remains of graduate school. There are several big assignments to go. Now, where is the motivation to get deep into this work? I’m not sure. This is my backyard right now.



The middle school librarian I interned with recently gave me a bag of books that were just slightly too mature for middle school. A bag of teen lit??

I need to get as many yoga classes as I can in as part of my teacher training. I don’t know how many I’ll be able to do at the end of this pregnancy, so gotta do them now.

should be working on a paper right now. This paper is about research methodology, is that more fun than beach, reading, or yoga? NO. I started my masters in library science in the fall of 2012. I’ve really enjoyed all my classes that pertained to literature and school media centers. I have not enjoyed any of the classes that are general library classes. I’ve recognized that they contain important information that semi interest me, but all the assignments have been like pulling teeth. For almost three years I’ve had something due soon. I’ve had nagging tasks in the back of my mind. The freedom is close. It is hard to fathom the feeling of freedom, but I can’t wait to have it.

Myers Briggs – I’m special – just like everyone else.

This blog is from my graduate school site: I’m asked to blog along the way for several my classes. Although, I have neglected this site, I am writing elsewhere. 

As we move towards more group work in my information technology class, we students were asked to do a Meyers Briggs test. I took this in college in a service organization, and a few years later at a teacher training. At the age of 30, the questions were familiar, and I knew my answers had changed over the years. Quiz here.

What was once a big deal, is no longer. I trust my gut more than I did in my early twenties. I wish I could find what I was before saved away in my computer, but I didn’t save that information. I am a ENFJ.

Feeling – 50%

Extravert – 44%

iNtuitive – 12%

Perceiving – 11%

According to the description, I am a person with charisma and great interpersonal skills. “ENFJs generally believe in their dreams, and see themselves as helpers and enablers, which they usually are.” (Joe Butt). For the last several years, I’ve wanted to get a tattoo that says “Carry One Another.” The first time I went to Ecclesia in Houston, they did a stations of the cross in tattoos. The outlines are available online for general use. In this particular station, the cross becomes difficult for Jesus to carry, and Simon steps in to help carry his burden. This station has always resonated with me, and when I saw this tattoo, I felt touched to the core. I want to live my life in a way in which I am able to carry the burdens of those I love. I want to be strong enough to know when it is time to also allow others to help me with my cross.


I digress, but I used to feel as though I wasn’t good enough because I wasn’t as logical or decisive as others. Feeling dominates my personality, and that is okay. To receive results on a personality quiz that says I shall know and appreciate others, often neglecting myself, makes me proud of knowing who I am. On the site, it says the trademark statement for ENFJs is “The first shall be last.” So, in a group, I may be first to get us organized, but last to get my part done. I’m understanding that group members have different backgrounds and bring different strengths to the table.

I look forward to learning the personalities of my group members, and learning my own strengths and playing to them.

I have yet to get this tattoo because I am scared; one day I will be brave and follow through. It will look great. 


We moved to Florida.

Graduate school and teaching has been kicking my butt for the last two years. I was in a perpetual state of being overwhelmed. I knew it would pass, but I couldn’t sacrifice effort in teaching. I couldn’t spend less time on my school assignments. Every week, I made great lesson plans, which unfortunately resulted in great papers to grade. I was spending my weekends catching up and forgetting to breathe.

In January, JMO got a job with FantasyPros. He loves sports and he loves coding, it is the perfect gig for him. I still had several graduate classes to go to finish my masters and an internship. We decided that I should take a year off from teaching and focus on finishing this degree. Then, we realized he could work from home anywhere and I could intern anywhere a school would take me. So, we came to live on the beach. My grandparents are about thirty minutes away and we get to see them two or three days a week. This time with them has been such a gift. Grandparents are different people when you grow up, life can be discussed, dinners made, and no one is busy cleaning up all the toys.

My grandparent’s house is a hub for all the family, and JMO and I have gotten to spend quality time with lots of Pickerts this summer. Also, having a place by the beach brings in a lot of friends! It has been great to be able to enjoy the beach with so many people we care about. Now that the summer has ended, our company has stopped. I’m back to school work, interning, and helping out my grandparents. JMO is working from home. This past summer was full of glorious experiences. We’re here until July 30, 2015, at which time we will return to Houston and be real grown-ups.


IMG_3500Kara &Meg IMG_3562 IMG_3638 IMG_3698 IMG_3707 IMG_3783 IMG_3974 IMG_3989 IMG_4012


So, yes we moved and yes we will be back. If you want to come stay at Casa Oswalt, send us an email! We love special time with friends and family!

Book Recommendation: Tunnel People

My mother recommended Tunnel People a couple months ago, and I didn’t give the suggestion much attention. I added it to my library reserve list when I was trying to look for a few new reads. Nonfiction can be tricky for me, I truly enjoy learning about true experiences, but only when there is still a story element.  In this book, Teun Voeten, a Dutch reporter decides to stay with people who live in the abandoned subway tunnels of New York City. He lives with one specific group for 2 months in the winter, and then returns for 3 months in the summer.

Voeten really gets to know these people, and I felt like I got to know them too. Becoming emotionally invested in the problems of others is something I do with people I know, so because I felt like I knew Bernard and the other tunnel dwellers, I became very emotionally invested in their stories. These people did not consider themselves homeless, they had a home, a home in a tunnel. There was no rent, they made their houses out of boards and whatever else they had or could find, they cooked on grills, and borrowed electricity from the park above ground.

The author was very clearly reporting, not sharing a message. He interviews many community leaders, pastors, police officers, and employees of the trains about the homelessness. He doesn’t claim to know the answer for Americans, but the reality is, we have lots of homeless people in our country, the numbers are sketchy because people don’t live in one place or fill out the census. But we are all people, everyone has a story, a battle they are fighting. Putting stories with a cause raises awareness, and raised awareness can lead to change.

This book introduced me to some fascinating people who live their lives in a way very different from my own. It also got me thinking, which is a mark of a good book. If your looking for something different, go get it from the library, or you could buy it, or download it, or listen to it. There are lots of ways to read. Enjoy.

Happiness Project Progress (January)

For 2011, I made a plan to get happier. Although January has 2 days left, I decided that I would count those days as part of February because they start a new week. The first month I decided to focus on getting enough sleep and getting myself in shape. Now, I wasn’t able to achieve my goals 100%, but I feel proud of my tracking and of my achievement.

This printout of the month of January sat on my desk. Both goals were written at the top. I also tracked my weight (as a girl, this is extremely awkward, but I put it on the calendar so I can try to improve it. I’m going to attempt to own it). This number has not changed either. I wanted to work out 4 times a week, and out of the 4 weeks, I met that goal twice. Overall, I should have worked out 16 times, and I worked out 15 times, which is a 93% rate of success. My body is no slimmer than it was before, but I feel good. Boot camp has been HARD, but I feel more in shape than I have in years. My endurance has definitely improved. Completing a boot camp is on my life list, and crossing that off seems like a serious accomplishment. Leah and I are also signed up for a 10K (which is also on the list), and we are really going to be able to finish! My fitness is greatly improving, which I do believe leads to an overall feeling of health, which is a definite happiness booster.

Sleeping 8+ hours a night was not a goal I met. I had a good night’s sleep 16 out of the 30 days (53%). I am busy, and this was tough. My body needs sleep. This needs to be a priority in another months. I will refocus on this a couple months from now.

Friend night happened! We made pizza, Mikhail came to town, I watched a dog, and Leah and I played Rummikub on the floor. All and all, quite a success. Christine has agreed to take on a February night, so I think we are in business.

We just got back from Dallas a couple of hours ago. This month’s mini adventure was a wedding in Dallas. Now this didn’t really take extra effort, we would have done this either way. I did not go out of my way to plan something, but oh well. I’m counting it. The wedding was a full mass, and honestly one of the most beautiful ceremonies I’d ever attended. (Congrats Jeff & Amanda!)

January 2011

Now it is time to focus on February. My primary goal will be BUDGETING. I’m going to listen to dear old Dave Ramsey and carry some cash and pay for my goods. The frivolous spending has gotten a little out of control. Especially on things for my classroom. I throw pencils in my shopping cart constantly, and I am fairly embarrassed to share how much I’ve spent on books.

The secondary goal will still be working out. Although I am proud of the last month, I still need to keep track of my work outs. The habit hasn’t quite been made yet.

And in the month of love, for that extra boost of happiness, JMO and I are taking cooking classes.

*Gretchen Rubin was definitely right about the satisfaction of tracking happiness.

The Happiness Project – Goals for 2011

It is time to get serious about making room for happiness. Six months ago I wrote about The Pursuit of Happiness, I had high hopes, but I did not make a way to track it. Tracking it, makes it real and concrete, which also makes it happen (per The Happiness Project). Here is my plan.

Step 1: Pin pointing what makes me happy. I like these things, so these are the things I need to make more room for in my life.

  1. Physical Fitness. I do not like to exercise, but I love the feel good effects. PLAN: Leah and I are going to do a bootcamp to kick start the year of getting in shape. I am also going to add sleep to this this goal. I need more of it, and I believe if I make it a priority then it can happen.
  2. Financial Security. I realize that this is a life long goal. This year I will focus on making a budget and sticking to it.
  3. Mini Adventures. I love the zoo, museums, and visiting out of the way places. There is so much to see in do in the Houston area that I just haven’t had time to do. It is time to make time. Once a month, I’m going on a mini adventure.
  4. Friends. I have amazing friends. Most of them live locally, and how often do I see them? Not so often. PLAN: I have told my friends they have no choice, we are making time for each other. Each of us have a month, and we are responsible for planning a fun friend night.
  5. Books. Reading makes me happy. I love children’s books and I love discussing them and collecting them. For Christmas I got a Reader’s journal that I’m excited to put to use, helps me track, and some of my new favorite coworkers discuss books with me. This year I won’t waste time with books I don’t like.
  6. Clean House. I let the house get a little away from me. When it is clean, it is such a happier place to be. It is time to keep it that way.
  7. Shopping. Shopping makes me very very happy. The thing is, I often splurge on many small items. I would like to start focusing my funds on saving for more expensive, quality items.
  8. Journal. I have always enjoyed reflecting and documenting. My journal has become a place where I rant, and I’m not so pleased with that. This year I want to go back to recording happy things, small stories that make me smile, and reminders of how blessed my life is.

Step 2: Find a way to track and document these goals. This is the tricky part. JMO and I have talked at length on how I will document this. I made a spreadsheet I was pretty proud of, but it would be difficult to make sure I record daily on it. As of now, I made a calendar. Each month has a spot for my goal. January, for example, I will focus on my physical fitness. The plan is to work out four days a week, and to sleep 9 hours a night (I function best at 9 hours). On the calendar I will mark a “S” for days I meet my sleep goal. If it is one of the four days I am working out, I will record the length, and type of activity. At the end of the month, I will scan and post my calendar. I will also post my mini adventure and my friend night.

Step 3: Understand that this is an ever evolving process. Making goals in January for the entire year is just more likely to fail. If the calendar doesn’t seem the best tracking method after a few months, I will think and reflect and come up with a new method. If I decide that fitness needs to be the primary goal every couple of months, then it will. If I realize I really need to work on something in June, then that will be my goal for June. Resolving to be a better person for a year is just to much. One month at a time.