The Casting Dock

Posts from — January 2012

Twelve in 12: the year of goal-reaching.

1. Save a significant chunk of money towards a house down payment.
I have a specific amount in mind, because as we all know, goals should be as measurable as possible, but Jerome felt weird about specific dollar amounts going on the blog. Fine by me.

If my newly formed temporary guidance counselor position magically transforms into a full-time one for the fall, I think this will be quite manageable.

2. Earn 100,000 frequent flier miles.
This is my new thang. I’m pretty good about finding good deals and sticking to budgets, but I’ve never taken the time to keep up with frequent flier miles. There are lots and lots of ways to earn miles without actually flying and I’m INTENT to capitalize on them this year–100,000 miles roughly equates into 4 round-trip continental US flights OR allllmost 2 roundtrip western European ones. Yes, please! This baby is a top priority this year.

3. Do something new (or something I haven’t done in a really, really long time) every month.
My intention is for this to be somewhat “bigger” new things, not like, I ate sushi for the first time. I want to be more intentional to try new things and really take advantage of this beautiful part of the country. If I were to move tomorrow, there are so many things I would regret not having done here.

4. Read 25 books.
I know this isn’t a particularly lofty goal compared to those people who aim for 50 or 100 (!), but I have a hard time keeping up with books during the work week and I have a tendency to get 50-100 pages in and then lose interest and drop it. Plus, Jerry and I have a marriage pact that we recommend one book to the other for each year of marriage. I’m already behind. So within my 25, I’m committing to catch up on the marriage pact books too. We’re only in year 4 for goodness sakes. Shameful.

5. Write a letter of gratitude every month to a person of impact in my life.
Being more appreciative and more grateful is especially important to me this year and a significant piece of that is expressing gratitude to people who have had an impact in my life. It could be a really significant impact or a smaller, more time-confined impact just for a season of my life. Either way, I want to be better at carving out time to say, Thank you. You made an impression. You mattered. And I am grateful. So often the people of influence in our lives have no idea of the true impact that they have made.

6. Learn farrrr more about my camera.
That silly little thing isn’t working right now (hence the significant lack of pictures on the blog) so I need to a.) GET IT WORKING and b.) figure out what the heck the different settings and random numbers actually mean.

Total novice here.

7. Consolidate my investment money into one account and continue dabbling in stocks and options, even if it means I lose a little money.
I have a little bit of money in a few different accounts and I just can’t keep up with it all. I want it all in one place and I want to devote a set amount of time to reading, researching, and pulling the trigger. I like investments, but I know the only way I’m going to learn more is if I have my own money at stake. I also know that means I’ll probably (continue to) lose my own money for a little while. Ha.

8. Spend more consistent time with God.
Totally not specific, I know, but I can’t flesh out exactly what I want this time to look like.

I just know I need more of it.

9. Floss at least 100 days.
I am terrrrrible at flossing my teeth even though I know it’s soooo important and even though it only take ONE MINUTE. In general I’m pretty terrible at things that only take one minute. Colossal flaw. Anyhow, I’m checking off every day that I floss on my calendar and so help me, THIS WILL BE THE YEAR THAT IT BECOMES A HABIT. Lord knows it didn’t happen last year, despite being one of only three resolutions…

10. COUPLE GOAL: Give to a charity of choice and send a care package to someone, just because, every month.
We started doing this last year and I loved it. I felt like I was at least giving back a little bit on a consistent basis and with it factored into the budget, it was fun to shop for and send packages just for the heck of it.

11. COUPLE GOAL: Stick to the prayer calendar.
We each have picked seven specific things to pray for, one for each day of the week. The plan is to flip flop weeks and lists so that together we cover our 14 top priorities. And then I assume every few months we may update the lists. I like the idea of praying with clearer intention and knowing that we’re in it together.

12. COUPLE GOAL: Go to London.
This has been on our calendar almost since we got married and this is the summer to make it happen. We are waiting to hear back if we will have the opportunity to buy tickets for Wimbledon (they have a lottery system) and then we’re booking tickets!

Anyone have goals of their own to share? I love goals!

January 28, 2012   5 Comments

the pros and cons on the job front.

A quick update on my life as an elementary guidance counselor (BEST. JOB. EVER.):

Let’s start with…

THE PROS:

* I HAVE A JOB! For the rest of the year anyway.
The maternity leave position that I originally accepted back in March 2011 had run its course and I was about to get booted out of my fabulous elementary school come January. Enter valiant principal to the rescue! My principal advocated VERY strongly for me and the district creatively found a way to keep me by tacking on another guidance counselor position at a different elementary school. So I repeat: I HAVE A JOB THROUGH JUNE!

* With a job comes a paycheck! MAJOR pro in this here scenario.

* I am SO SO SO thankful to continue building experience throughout the year. VERY beneficial when I resume the job search in the fall.

*I would have gone stir crazy after about 3 days of unemployment. Once I’m bored, basically every area of my life suffers. So my husband is especially thankful for this one, I’m sure.

* Since this is a new position, my schedule is still being sorted out and my workload has been light so my days are significantly shorter than they were at my old job. Like 4 hours a day shorter. So that’s a lot of extra life-living time. And just a nice work-life balance. I like balance.

* A JOB! A PAYCHECK! MORE EXPERIENCE IN A FIELD I LOVE!!

* The kids and staff at my old school sent me off with sooooo much love and appreciation! I seriously have HUNDREDS of kid-drawn cards and letters (the best kind!) which I will showcase on here sometime.

THE CONS:

* Between students and staff, I have over 600 new names and faces to learn. Whew…it can be a tad overwhelming.

* I LOVE LOVE LOVED my old school and miss my kids (and the staff!) terribly! Seriously, on my first day at my new job I felt like a mother who was dropping off her kids at daycare for the first time. I just kept looking at the clock thinking about which groups I had at that time and wondering how the kids were doing. It is A-MA-ZING how quickly you get attached to those little munchkins.

* I had built a really strong relationship with one little boy in particular and I knew my departure would be especially difficult on him. Poor little thing already has legit attachment issues. Add me to the list of adults who abandoned him. Seriously breaks my heart.

* It takes a lot of time and energy to learn not only all of the new people, but all of the dynamics of a new place, the real culture and vibe of the joint. And then not only to learn it, but to learn how to assimilate into it so that you build the trust and respect of the staff while maintaining boundaries. I had found that balance at my old school. It took a little while, but I felt like I had the trust and respect of the teachers, even those couple pockets of tricky ones. It’s just hard to muster the energy to re-learn all those things in a new setting when I loved my old setting so much.

As dramatic as it sounds, I just feel a sense of loss. Everything about my old school fit me, my personality, and my strengths well. I worked especially well with the school psychologist (we were the “guidance team”) and principal, built strong relationships with the teachers, and connected big time with those 450 little faces. LOVE those little faces. It was a lot of work and evolved into routine 12 hour days, but I loved being a part of that place.

I know I’ll get there with my new school. Honestly, kids are awesome anywhere you go. So vibrant and trusting and honest. It will just take time. And I’m okay with that.

This is week two in the new school and it’s time I funnel my mental and emotional energy away from the old and into the new. I am so incredibly appreciative (and flattered!) that the district found a way to keep me and now that my “week of sadness and mourning” is over, I’m ready to dive back in with enthusiasm and see what the new year and new school will bring.

January 19, 2012   4 Comments

searching for vision. and authenticity.

What do I want out of this blog?

What am I looking for and what’s my objective?

I’m not sure.

When I first started this back in the fall of 2010, I was pretty much unemployed and looking to fill some time while my husband and all my friends were off being grown ups. I wanted a place to process and share glimpses of my life in (freakin’ freezing) New England, but I mostly wanted to share my journey of being more faithful and faith-filled. I wanted to put into practice the discipline of casting bread–offering up what I have in the assurance of faith that God will bring it back to me, oftentimes in a fuller, more rewarding way than I could have possibly imagined.

It was meant to be a scrapbook of my attempt at faithfulness and, more importantly, God’s abundant response to a meager offering. It really hasn’t been that lately. It’s been mostly just a scrapbook in the traditional sense–I did this on this holiday; we went here; I made that.

I don’t mind the traditional scrapbook. I like it, in fact. And I certainly think there’s a place for it. It’s a fun documentation of daily life and it’s particularly nice for family and friends who live far away. But I don’t want it to be solely, or even primarily, a cataloging of what I did on different dates. I want it to have some meat, some depth, some soul even. I want to get back to my original purpose of faithfulness and offering, but I also want something else, something more, and I’m not really sure what.

I want to strike a good internet authenticity balance.

It’s hard to be truly authentic on here. Mostly because I’m not just dealing with my own life. Even though they may be my fingers punching the keys, my words will affect others. My thoughts, my perspectives, my struggles seldom occur in isolation.

No man is an island, as they say.

So I am cautious of what I write sometimes. Cautious of sharing what I really want to share out of sensitivity and respect to others. Cautious of writing something that I haven’t expressed to the person it concerns directly, even if it’s cloaked in anonymity.

I think about family a lot. A very, very LOT. My own family; my future family; the idea and intention of family; families who’ve done it well; families I would tweak; family, family, FAMILY.

You get the picture.

I’ve thought about writing my own story on here. Explaining my family, my history, what I’ve observed, what I’ve experienced, and what I’ve learned. I think my family is a fascinating case study. The personalities, the choices, the repercussions, all of it. But then I realize that some of my family reads this blog and all of them could.

And if I’m being honest, there are things I would like to say as I process it all out that I’ve never said to certain members of my family, topics that haven’t actually been broached.

And that just doesn’t seem wise.

Even for topics that have been broached, I tend to think my family may not like having my thoughts out there in the open. Public. Available for consumption.

Again, no man is an island.

It’s not just my life. It all happened with many others around me. Others with different perspectives, different conclusions. After all, stories involve many characters.

So family feels mostly off limits. True, authentic family talk anyway. Not the happy stuff. That’s fair game obviously.

Jerry asked me the other day, when I was bemoaning the fact that I don’t feel I can be truly authentic and share what I want to share because I am so hyper sensitive to my readers, why it was so important to me to share it online. I understand being a written processor, he said, but why not write it out in a journal? Sift through the really personal stuff involving others and then just bring your insights to the public arena to share. Why do you need to do it online?

And honestly, I don’t really know. For whatever reason, there is an appeal to the sense of community for me, of feeling that we are all travelers on a common journey. And it is just that: a journey. I don’t just want to share the insights found at the end. I want to share the journey because that’s where the growth and the grime happens. And that’s where people can relate, connect, empathize, and encourage.

But how do you sensitively and authentically share the journey, your own journey, when it inevitably involves so many others?

I’m not sure what that looks like just yet.

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January 4, 2012   1 Comment

thoughts, words, confusion, clarity. step by step.

Sometimes when I sit down to write, I find I have nothing really to say. Other times I know exactly what I want to write. And occasionally, like today, I have so many things to say–different, disjointed, unrelated things–that I have no idea where to even start. So I will probably start in little pieces, write more often, and be all over the place on any given day for a while. Organize my thoughts, my blog, my life. Find a little contentment and clarity in the process.

I have work updates, holiday updates, travel updates, and general life updates. And then much deeper and much more confusing than all that simple updating and life chronicling, I have this underlying sense swirling about…discontentment? Restlessness? I’m not really sure what it is or where it’s stemming from, but I’ve felt this distinct lack of joy in the last couple months, a departure from my general disposition. So part of me wants to sift through that on here. Process it out.

It’s perplexing to me. I generally have a pretty good feel for myself. I would consider self-awareness one of my greater strengths or more distinct characteristics, and yet I have found myself feeling muted, apathetic, less energized, joyless. And I’m really not sure why. Once I get into all the updates, you’ll see that things are really working out over in the Logan household, and yet my emotions are not consistently matching. Don’t get me wrong–I certainly have energized, fun-loving moments and great days–but there is this underlying shift. I feel less content, less at ease with myself in the quiet moments, less genuinely joyful about my life, even though I know in my rational head that I love my life and am uber blessed. I don’t actually feel that way though. Not the way that I normally would anyway.

So you’ll see a little bit of everything over here on the casting dock in the next few weeks.

But I’ll start simply today with something pleasant and a little more upbeat. My Christmas gift to Jerry this year was a weekend trip to Newport, Rhode Island. We stayed at a neat little B&B, toured the mansions all decorated for Christmas, did a little shopping, strolled along the water, and just enjoyed some quality time together. It was fah-reeeezing and we were struck with our usual B&B breakfast curse (quiche–the ONLY breakfast food that I don’t like and inevitably end up being served every time we stay at a B&B), but it was a really nice spontaneous weekend get-away. Little history-loving Jerome couldn’t get enough of the Vanderbilts and their mansions.

I’ll be back more regularly over the next few weeks with updates–the good, the bad, the ugly. And mostly just sifting through some thoughts, finding some clarity and maybe a little more distinct purpose for this blog. Though the randomness has been fun too…so who knows…

January 2, 2012   9 Comments