Ode to our Florida Living

Last June we moved to Florida for a year, and we are now approaching the end of March. Our time is ticking away on the beach. Last March, teaching and graduate school were crushing me. I couldn’t breathe or see the light at the end of the tunnel. JMO’s new job working from home gave us a lot of freedom. Freedom we needed to do something different for a short while. I loaded up on classes last summer, this past fall, and now in the spring. I’m almost done. It has taken me awhile, but I’m almost there. The goal of taking time away from teaching was to finish this master’s degree, but I couldn’t of imagined what else this year would give me.

Every Tuesday (it was Wednesdays in the fall), JMO and I head over to my grandparents. We pick up lunch and we either make dinner or pick up from somewhere. My grandfather brings out articles he’s underlined in the Wall Street Journal. We go for walks down the street, and JMO takes him to the gym sometimes. My grandma and I sometimes go out to lunch or go shopping. I’ve visited them my entire life for a week or a weekend, but now we are local and our relationship is different. I can’t fathom going back to what our relationship was like before. I’ll be grateful for this time for the rest of my life.

I love my Florida yoga studio. My anxious self has enjoyed yoga as an outlet for the last few years, but my studio here has deepened my love. Last fall, I started yoga teacher training. Our bodies are strong, and they are capable of great strength. This strength does not look the same in every person. Our bones are different! Our muscles and tissues are not the same as our peers. Thus, our bodies work differently, and we get the same benefits as the person who looks like a pretzel. The women in my group are very different and strong willed. I’ve grown from our discussions. I want to take the type of yoga these women will share with the world, and I fear that I won’t find the same companionship and passion in a bigger city. Taking this time off has allowed me to pursue this passion.

Our family is growing. We’ll be having a Florida baby this June, and our child will spend his first weeks living by the ocean. I hope it will create a deep love of the beach in him. JMO and I get to take walks and sit outside and feel the ocean air. Our only friends locally are my grandparents, so we’ve gotten lots of quality time together. This time in our marriage before our child is born has been very special.

As our time winds down, I feel this pressure to absorb every minute of our quiet lives. This time next year we’ll have a house back in Texas and our kid might be crawling. Our lives will be busier, yet we will be closer to friends and more family. JMO and I made a good decision coming to Florida.

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

This blog is from my graduate school site: libshark.org. 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. 

Life is Grand

I miss my blog. It is fun to share life. Life has been a crazy whirlwind this year. I could not have anticipated how busy things can actually get. Graduate school has been much more work than I anticipated. The world of fourth grade has been particularly demanding this year. AND I am attempting to plan a wedding. Wedding planning does not fall naturally into my skill set. I cannot believe how lucky I am to have so many people in my life who are good at event planning, and who are willing to help me.

Despite being busy, I am constantly trying to remind myself of all the good I have in my life. This seems to be the only way for me to keep my head above water.

  • I am marrying a man I love
  • I have a job
  • I was able to get in and am so far surviving graduate school
  • My family and my future family are some of the most loving people I know
  • I have great friends

Life is grand. I can’t let things slip by because I am too busy to appreciate.

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).
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

Teach and be taught.

(Images of Tavi Gevinson and Ira Glass via WSJ. Magazine.)

As I was browsing through my Google Reader, I saw Simply Lovely (a lovely blog I follow) linked to a Wall Street Journal article. Before I even started reading, I immediately recognized Tavi Gevinson and Ira Glass. I was amazed that they were photographed together, and I was instantly curiously. They are not two people I would place together.

Tavi has a blog called Style Rookie that I started following a couple years ago. She started blogging when she was 13 about things she liked. She likes thrift store finds and taking her own picture. She creatively puts outfits together and really has insightful things to say. I’ve followed her for the past three years, so I feel a little attached. Tavi is precious, and I admire her ferocity. I love any teenager who has the courage and confidence to be themselves. Being a teenager is tough, and to do it with style is just phenomenal.

Ira is the host of This American Life. I listen to the podcast religiously, he makes the mundane sound fascinating. My entire grad school statement of purpose was about my great love for stories. Ira can tell a story, and get others to tell a story in a way very few can.

The WSJ article was wonderful, basically Ira Glass is a mentor for Tavi Gevinson. He helps her navigate an adult media world and gives her advice. As a teacher, as someone who has grown a lot, and as someone who has watched others grow, I truly believe in the power of mentorship. It is so important that we surround ourselves with positive influences and remember to be positive influences for others. Experiences is invaluable and must be shared.

Both these people fascinate me, and I have even more respect for both of them now. Opportunites to teach and be taught are everywhere.