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It was a long day, you know, Friday. I survived. 😉 Tomorrow I’ll explain this:

mom_s mystery trip countdown

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Day 3.

I have a love/hate relationship with Fridays. I’m guessing ninety-nine percent of the people I know LOVE Fridays. It’s the last day of their work week, or they are living for the down time they get on the weekends, or whatever. Then there is me. I love Fridays for one reason only – It’s the one day a week I teach kids other than my own. I love our school. I love my teacher friends. I love my students. I hate waking up at 6:00am.

H-A-T-E with a fiery passion.

For my new friends stopping by, here’s a little Niki trivia for you: I used to think I suffered from insomnia – I don’t.  What I do have is called DSP or Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase. That’s the official name for being a night owl, and yes, it’s a real thing. It means left to follow my natural circadian rhythm, I will go to sleep later at night and wake up later in the day. When I do this, I am my best self. The other name for it is DSWPD (Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder). WHY is this classified as a disorder? Because we have socially acceptable times for sleep??? The most common treatments are time-controlled Melatonin, or light therapy to “correct” the disorder. What if I don’t think it needs correcting?

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I am not a farmer, so there is no need for me to rise with the sun each day. I am no longer in the bleary-eyed bliss of young motherhood, so I don’t have to grab snippets of sleep whenever and wherever I can get them. I am not part of the Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 crowd. I am a woman who found a way to embrace being a night owl in an early bird world. What else could I do?

BK (before kids) I worked a few jobs where I had to be up early, but since then I’ve been in positions that were flexible enough for me to set my own schedule most of the time. My babies were not early risers. (Thank God!) As teenagers, they still aren’t. I suspect they too have DSP.  After all, it’s believed to be genetic. Benny certainly doesn’t have it. I am married to a man who wakes up before the sun without the use of an alarm. He can’t sleep in. Poor guy. Speaking of alarms, let’s get back to Fridays.

In 2021, my homeschooling and teaching days will end. Pete will graduate from high school, and I will no longer have to set my alarm for 6:00am on Friday mornings. It will be bittersweet, but right now the thought is just sweet. Why? Because it’s Thursday night and I will be up early tomorrow morning. Thursday nights are the worst. Even after I’ve completed my pre-Friday checklist, my brain is not ready to slip into sleep mode. Tonight, I’m up blogging. Most nights I read until my iPad slips and hits me in the face or falls on the bed or floor. (True story.) I keep it in an Otterbox case for a reason. 😉

How about you? Any other night owls up reading this way past their socially acceptable bedtime? Or are you one of my early bird friends that will read this long before I am up showering for school? THAT is called ASP or Advanced Sleep-Wake Phase by the way, and is also considered a disorder.

Try not to sustain an eye-rolling injury as we both laugh at the experts.

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Day 2

I’ve been working on my 2019 planner. Like an office supply junkie needing a fix, I’m surrounded by my stickers, rubber stamps, washi tape, bold colored pens, and my favorite pencil. This is my toolbox for coping with the chaos of life. Planning calms me. Making lists and highlighting important dates to look forward to helps me breathe easier. It’s one of my best brain dump practices. Paper and pens are my thing.

nerdy girl

My friend Don has been showing me his bullet journal pages for a couple of years now and I hate to admit it, but I’m a bit jealous. I’ve purchased 157 blank books in my life, give or take a few, and I’ve filled about 4 of them. But I’ve filled a planner every year for as long as I can remember. Don makes his own planner, and he’s amazing at it. I think it calms his brain too.

Mary, another dear friend, special orders an Erin Condren planner every year with her name on it! Yeah, they do that. I’m a little jealous of that too. Yes, I know I can order one, but we are in different planner tax brackets for the moment. I dream of owning a planner with my name engraved on the cover. *sigh* (I’m kidding about the sigh.)

That may be one of my goals for 2020. That seems like a good goal, right? Or maybe I shouldn’t jump ahead a whole year. I should tackle this one first. Baby steps.

Are you a planner or a pantser? (Do you fly by the seat of your pants?) I’m a planner that sometimes embraces spontaneity. I’m off to brain dump before bed, but here’s a picture of my two planners. The tall one is for work. The spiral shorty is my personal planner and fits perfectly in my purse. The lighting isn’t great, but you get idea.

2019planners

What’s in your toolbox?

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Day 1. January 1st. A fresh start. 365 days of possibility stretched out before me. New beginnings. A chance to do better and be better. But, I’m still feeling the sorrowful weight of 2018. I don’t know how long it will last. Here’s what I want for the new year…

EASY-button

I don’t make resolutions anymore – I never keep them. What I do is hope. I hope to be intentional this year, in my relationships, my work, my health, my writing, my travel, my rest, my faith, and most of all, my family.

2018 kicked my ass. I am down for the count and I’m fighting to stand back up. I moved beyond sad awhile ago and I’m struggling with depression. This past week I had friends on Facebook asking us to list three good things that happened to us in 2018, and I sat there numbly staring at my screen. Could I think of three?

  1. Amsterdam & France. The mom’s mystery trip was the best thing that happened to me in 2018. Traveling to another country with some of my close friends and spending the day with Don in France was AMAZING!
  2. Erin graduated in May. Erin is my neighbor and one of my “daughter from another mother” kids. Traditional school was not a good fit for her, so I worked with her mom and we helped her homeschool her last two years of high school. Homeschooling is HARD, but I am built to do hard things.
  3. I’m thinking…

In the name of processing hard things, here’s my 2018:

At the beginning of the year I started a new job I thought would be amazing but turned out to be awful. I don’t want to work for abusive people with zero integrity who lie and manipulate others to get what they want. When I started back at GJK in June, I came home and cried that first day. I had forgotten what it felt like to be treated with respect and as an integral part of a team. The joke has been that I took a five month sabbatical from them and everyone is glad I’m back. Me too.

Someone dear and close to us broke the law and twelve months later we are still walking through the fallout of that bad decision with them – it’s not over.

What I initially thought was a break from my church turned into a break up. I am dismayed by much of American Christianity and navigating what that looks like for my faith journey. I’ll be blogging more about that sometime this year.

The mystery trip was a wonderful adventure, but I was betrayed by a friend shortly after we returned home. I didn’t see it coming and it completely blind-sided me. Then she cut me out of her life and I just don’t understand. I’m still mad as hell about it.

For the first time in twenty years, I missed out on summer camp. I had just returned to work with GJK and Benny was job hunting. We just couldn’t make it happen.

Letting go of the cigar shop and dealing with unemployment for a few months was a huge challenge. We survived it, but I can’t even talk about the difficulty of that season. It’s still too raw.

Kids: Max had two car accidents and two tickets, we had to sell his car for scrap when we couldn’t sink any more money into it to fix it (it wasn’t the car in the accidents), job changes for the kids, teenage hormones and angst, and a medical issue that had us worried for months that seems to be resolved now, and all three of my children had their hearts broken, which hurts a momma’s heart too. It was a hard year for the whole family.

We have several friends fighting serious health battles, a few of whom have stopped treatment and are trying to live their best life with the time they have left.

And death, oh the deaths. One of my former students passed away. The loss of a child in one’s life is particularly hard. A sweet young lady we’ve known for many years shocked everyone who knew her when she took her own life. We love her family and feel their heartache. As you know from my last post, Avon Shields lost her battle with cancer and that devastated me. My 14-year-old niece Sarah got sick and passed away the week before Christmas. While I didn’t know her because we’ve never lived close, it was excruciating to watch my sister lose her only child. It was terrible speaking with my dad on the phone and hearing his voice break. Her funeral was last Saturday on Pete’s birthday. On Christmas Day we learned of the passing of our friend Davon the day before. It was a year of great loss and I’m still reeling.

There are things that happened in 2018 that I am processing privately. Hurtful, ugly things that make me want to change my name, move somewhere no one can find me, and tell the whole world to go to hell. That doesn’t sound like me at all, but it’s where I’m at. 2019 has got to be better, right?

And now that I’ve purposefully tried to think of three good things about 2018, I’m remembering several more…

  1. I made new friends.
  2. I enjoyed lots of planned coffee dates in person and messenger or phone dates with friends far away.
  3. I saw some good movies.
  4. I read a lot of great books.
  5. I met several amazing authors I love.
  6. I got a free educator’s pass to Denver Comic Con – spent some time with my friend Rebecca and we got a photo with Val Kilmer.
  7. I reconnected with old friends I haven’t seen in years.
  8. I wrote a little bit.
  9. I led some fun field trips with my homeschooling mom friends.
  10. I prayed for a lot of people and was prayed for too.
  11. My food bank was thriving and I helped lots of families
  12. My dad and Shari came for a visit.
  13. I learned some new skills that will serve me well in the future.
  14. I bought a vintage 1930’s typewriter and won a pretty cool 1970’s one for a poem.
  15. Benny got a great new job.

I’d keep working on this list, but I really just want to move through the grief process and look forward to good things in the new year. I know every year is a mixed bag. That’s life, and it’s never fair, but for now I’m signing off with this…

Good riddance 2018. You may have kicked my ass, but 2019 is going to kick yours.

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