2013: A year of joyous occasions

2013 was a year filled with change and fun. Over the last several years, December 31st has become a day of reflection. It is a great day in which I look at years worth of pictures and feel lucky. In the past, I’d spend sometime looking at blog posts, but my blog did not get a lot of action this year. There wasn’t much time for sitting still this year, and I hope to make more time for that next year.

Getting married was a HUGE part of this year. I was able to spend lots of time with those  I love in preparation for the wedding. Two of my good friends also got married in 2013, so the year was filled with showers, bachelorette parties, and quality friend time. So here it goes, the BEST of 2013!

  • Lauren’s wedding was so lovely. We had a fantastic time on a girl’s weekend in Fredericksburg, we went out on the town in Houston, and her wedding was perfect. 
  • I got to spend Spring Break in Florida with my mom, JMO’s mom,  sister, aunt, and cousin planning out our wedding. We rented a little house and visited the church, looked at flowers, met photographers, and ate cake. My Aunt Rhonda and Ashley had a lovely vision for my wedding. It was really wonderful to spend so much time with these women. 
  • Our friend Caren took beautiful engagement photos of us that we will cherish for a lifetime. 
  • Abra and Mike got married! We were able to spend the weekend in Austin and got some quality time with our pal Mikhail too!
  • My baby sister graduated high school! 
  • Bachelorette Weekend!! I love my friends. They are the best of friends. We had a phenomenal time. Thank you ladies!
  • OUR WEDDING! Best part of this fantastic year. We rented a beach house and our friends all stopped by for visits!
  • Emily tagged the graffiti bridge!
  • We had a little BBQ at the house for everyone who had made it to town. It was good to see everyone early.
  • The rehearsal and rehearsal dinner were both pretty surreal. It is such a strange feeling to have people from all parts of life together. It was hard to not be overwhelmed by how far everyone had traveled to be there. 
  • The wedding itself was a whirlwind. It was such a joyous day. We have some pretty fantastic people in our lives. 
  • The honeymoon in Jamaica was a great trip. We ate lots, and swam, and drove dune buggies. It was a really really really great trip. I’m ready to go back tomorrow. 
  • Leah’s bachelorette weekend in Gruene was a great time with friends.
  • Leah’s wedding party was a pretty fantastic time too! 
  • Emily went off to the University of Alabama and I was able to journey with my parents to get her moved in. 
  • We moved to a house closer to my school. I’ll miss our place in Midtown, but it is nice to spend less time in the car. 
  • We went back to Florida for Thanksgiving. That was a lot of quality time with family.
  • Michael graduated nursing school. 
  • I’m made it through another semester of graduate school. I learned again that 6 hours plus a full time job is a lot to take on.
  • I made it to Christmas break! 

And I just realized why I was so run down for the last leg of 2013. I did a lot this year! This year was absolutely unforgettable. Now as I rest and recuperate and enjoy the rest of my break, I can reflect upon how lucky I’ve been. 

 

Recaps from the past: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008

 

Lots to share!

When you have a blog, and don’t blog, and get married, and go on a honeymoon, there is a lot to share. I’m not really certain about where to begin my sharing. But, I miss sharing. This summer, I took a break from graduate school (which is going to kick me in the butt in less than a month). We had an awesome wedding, and an awesome honeymoon. The last few weeks, I’ve been trying to work on changing my name everywhere, writing thank you notes, and organizing our little apartment.

I’m going to start working on some posts. Honestly, this will probably be a sharing spurt. Then, work begins again and graduate school starts back. The blog break cycle probably will continue on, but luckily, pickmeg.com is still here when I’m ready!

2012: Year End Review

2012 was an amazing year. It has been crazy busy, it held some surprises, and some adventures. Life has treated me well, and for this I am grateful. In fact, life just keeps getting better and better. 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008 were all wonderful.  I have blogged less and less over the past four years, but I am so glad to have the last few years’ memories right here.

2012 highlights:

  • JMO and I got engaged! We are ecstatic about getting married and enjoying this special time in our relationship. JMO even made us a website (www.jmoandmeg.com).
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  • I started graduate school. One day I will be a librarian, and it will be worth it. Right now it has been an absolute roller coaster. The program is more work than I could have expected, but it also more challenging and satisfying that I imagined. Roll Tide. 
  • We went with JMO’s family to New Mexico for his cousin’s wedding. It was lovely and such a good time.
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  • I took my second mission trip to Honduras. Mission Lazarus does such a great job of structuring these trips and planning them out. It is a gorgeous country and they match people up with jobs that need to be done. Construction work makes me feel like superwoman. Hikes into villages make me feel like Outdoor Barbie. The entire country and the people remind me that the life we lead is very different, and it is not to be take for granted.
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  • Guatemala. I went to Spanish school for three weeks in June and it was magnificent. School was a challenge, and I grew from that experience. Hiking a volcano was a giant obstacle, but one of the most amazing things I have ever done. I went to the rain forest, saw Mayan ruins, and got way outside my comfort zone. I truly love Central America.

On top of a temple overlooking the courtyard.

  • My family and all my relatives spent a week at the beach with all the Pickerts. It was such a relaxing time. It was the 29th yearof the beach house!
Family June 2012

  • JMO and I went to Vegas in April for a wedding. It was one of the best trips we have been on together. We just had an amazing time from plane ride to plane ride.

  • This is my third year teaching fourth grade. Ashley, my partner teacher, and I are like a well oiled machine. We’ve come to a place where we work very well together and we’ve learned how to tackle anything that can be thrown our way.
70's Day

 

This year has provided many challenges and many times for reflection. I am so proud of the direction my life has taken. I learned great challenges come with great rewards in 2012. Everything that has come my way has done so for a reason, let’s see what 2013 throws at me!

2013 Goals and Guesses:

  • Get married! This will be a huge change. Twenty-eight years of Pickert, traded in for Oswalt in one day. Crazy!
  • This year I hope to truly enjoying the process of planning a wedding and becoming a new family. It is a special time with those I love, I do not want worry to mess with it!
  • Get in shape. Every year I plan to be better. This year is no different, I want to feel strong and capable in 2012.
  • Continue to grow professionally and in my own education. The more I know, the more I can use what I know!

Each year gets bigger and better, 2013 will be amazing. Happy New Year!

Very Busy and Very Thankful

I love having a blog, and I love that when I take a step away, it is still here.

This semester has been absolutely insane. In August, when I went to orientation for grad school, I panicked a bit. It didn’t seem possible that I could squeeze two courses in with working full time. But, I have almost made it. There have been many moments of panic, a lot of feeling totally overwhelmed, pure exhaustion, and lots of frustration. I’ve cried many a Saturday morning as I looked at my “to do” list. All that complaining, and what I mean to say is that I am so very lucky. The support of JMO, my family, and my friends has been amazing. Ashley is taking on extra work for our shared classes. JMO has taken on the grocery store and many dinners. My mom and dad have listened to me whine and complain. What would I do without these fine folks? I am so very very thankful for them.

Here is a list in no particular order of other things I am beyond thankful for…

  1. Being able to devote time to a degree that will allow me to celebrate books!
  2. A job at a school where people really care about making change in the lives of children.
  3. Working with a teaching partner who inspires me to do better every day. A gal that is a FINALIST for teacher of the year!
  4. Having a group of girls in my life who are fun, thoughtful, and just really really good people!
  5. A loving and supportive family. They really rock. My parents are always willing to listen and go out of their way to make my life better. I could not have asked for better parents. I am thankful for a brother who reminds me to have conviction in what I do in my life. And a sister who reminds me that creativity takes time, and it is worthwhile.
  6. Getting a whole new family. The Oswalts really rock too. They have always been welcoming and loving. I couldn’t be more pleased to be part of their family soon.
  7. Being able to marry my best friend. There may be no details planned for our wedding yet, but we are going to get married and it is going to be awesome. I am so very blessed to have JMO in my life.

Because I am avoiding reading articles, I could have this list go on for awhile. Life has treated me well; I need to remember this! Things get hard sometimes. When my schedule is filled to the brim, and I am no where caught up in my class – I must remember that I am thankful.

TED Talk- The Power of Vulnerability

I was reading my cousin’s blog the other day and came across a month old post. I would definitely recommend reading what Brad has to say and watching the TED talk by Brene Brown at the bottom of the post. The talk did happen to be in Houston.

I’ve thought about what Brene Brown has to say about vulnerability for the past few days. American adults are the most in debt, the most overweight, and the most unhappy that we have been in history. We live our lives in fear of what others might think of us and we rarely feel like we are enough. Brown explains that we must be vulnerable and gracious. We have to be grateful for what we can be and ready to accept life. When we do this we are authentic. When we are authentic we can truly love and live. Personally, I wasted time in my life worrying about unimportant decisions and what people thought of me. That was a colossal waste of time. I loved Brad’s post and the talk, because it made me think. Thinking is good.

Because it is summer and there is lots of time for internetting, I found Brene Brown’s website. The post from July 5 where the crowd sings “Ode to Joy” is magnificent. She actually works at the University of Houston and her blog is pretty great. I added her to my Google reader… Summer is good.

2011 Recap of Happiness Project

2011 was a pretty great year for me. I decided to do a Happiness Project after reading the book. I tracked A LOT of things about myself, from work outs, to sleep, journaling, mini adventures, friend nights, and what I ate. The biggest thing I learned about pursuing happiness is that to be happy you need to be yourself. And, it turns out that to be yourself, you have to know yourself. This year I spent a lot of time getting to know me. I did monthly reviews and created another page on my site (Happiness Project 2011). I made a list a year ago of my plan, and looking back, I feel really accomplished. Because I tracked a lot of my goals on my blog, I am able reflect upon all that has taken place in the last year. The elements that added the most to happiness were…

  • Spending time with loved ones. I love people, and those that are my closest friends and family mean the world to me. I made it a monthly goal to have a “friend night.” On this night, I would have to make plans to hang out with my college gals. My family and I some great visits, I spent a great deal of time with JMO, and I strengthened friendships with some new work pals.
  • Mini-adventures. There is a lot to do in the Houston area, in Texas, and in general. On the weekends I am tired, and don’t often push myself. I made it a priority to get out of the house and go to a museum, go out of town for a weekend, or just do something. Activities rock and I did them with people (who I love) so of course this contributed to my happiness.
  • Sleep. My mood varies greatly depending on how well I rested. Getting sleep is important!
  • Positivity. It is a struggle for me to remain positive. One month I recorded one positive thing from everyday. The negative things come up quicker, but they are best forgotten. Being positive had such an impact on my great year.
  • Creating goals and sticking to them. A sense of accomplishment goes a long way. I was really proud of myself for working out more, praying more, being more positive, getting more sleep, and spending quality time with people. Although I never managed to do it at the same time, I did do all of those things!

Tracking behavior was such a great learning tool for me. I know that pursuing happiness never truly ends, and I look forward to making that journey. Next year I probably won’t make a goal for every month, but I’d like to make goals in months where I notice something slipping. I don’t have to wait till New Years to start fresh, I can start on the first of the month or any Monday. Change can happen and I’ve grown A LOT this year trying to get happier!