Fighting Dragons

The mother with the black eye walked into my little queendom with her little boy, and asked, "is it alright if we're in here?"
I was surveying my craft tables and the handful of preschoolers making their fire breathing dragons. We'd just finished reading about Knights and damsels and dragons. "We've just finished story time; You're welcome to join us!" I cleared a spot for her and her son at the table and they began working together. 

The other families dispersed for lunch, and I would have cleaned up then gone on break as I usually do at noon, but something held me back. I kept working around the children's room as the mom and her son played on the children's computers together. She kept glancing at me and I tried to have my welcoming face on. Finally she spoke to me, adjusting the headphones on her little boys ears to make sure he was absorbed in his game. In not so many words as gestures and quiet references, she made it clear that she needed help. Really unsure of what to do, I went to my director for assistance, and together wet tracked down the contacts for the local women's care center, and other agencies. 
I was afraid of scaring away this woman by asking the questions I needed to ask, but I chatted, slowly getting what we needed, and gave her the numbers to call. She took my offer of using my desk phone, and I took her son to play with puzzles on the other side of the room.  When they left an hour later, going to meet the women's care worker, I went to lunch, and cried, heartbroken for this women, who couldn't have been much older than myself, relieved that I'd been able to do something to help.  Our print-tech, who's normally antagonistic toward me (in the most friendly manner) found me in the workroom and asked it this was my first time dealing with an abuse situation. I nodded affirmation. He was quiet, then said "you did good, Sarah."  

I didn't feel heroic, didn't deceive myself into thinking I'd fixed this woman's problem. I felt like I'd beaten back a dragon, but this was only round one.  That beast is far from slain.
Come quickly,Lord Jesus.

Living in a Fairytale

I don't live a fairytale life. That's how I was going to begin this post, but then I stopped to think about it. I actually do live a fairytale sometimes, just not the Disneyfied fairygodmothers and sparkles kind... rather its more the three-tests-to-prove-your-worth-to-the-untrustworthy-king-and-a-couple-of-missing-limbs-to-boot kind.

The heroes in those stories were celebrated for their ordinary acts of bravery, rewarded for being kind, selfless, and just. They gave their last drinks of water to old beggar women, without thought of themselves. They were willing to sacrifice comfort for what was right, and didn't expect anything in return. And they were joyful. They sang songs, told stories, and brought the sun. They loved well. They were loved, though maybe not by all, as the wicked are bound to only love themselves in these tales.
***

Well, Hello, 2015!

In the past couple of years, I had a semi-tradition of sneaking away to a quiet corner as it neared midnight on New Years Eve, and writing in my journal, bridging the gap between the years. I fell down on this tradition last night for several reasons: 1.) my entire house was a quiet corner, as I was completely and 100% on my own for New Years Eve (and okay with it) 2.)I'm battling a cough and 3.) Work was mentally taxing this week as my director was gone, and I had to wear my "I'm holding down the fort and I'm trying to be uber-responsible" hat, so 4.) I fell asleep at 9 pm after eating 3/4 of a pizza, drinking sparkling grape juice, and watching Gilmore Girls.

When I awoke at 6:30 this morning--by complete natural means--I finished the book I'd been reading this week, did a load of laundry, prepped the roast I've determined will be my first dinner and first cooking endeavor of the year, ate the last quarter of pizza, and made a pot of coffee in my Christmas french press. (Thanks mom and dad!) It was then 9 am.

 Since then, I've been here on the couch, enjoying the good smells from the kitchen, and getting my mind in order for the new year. I've never really set down in writing the goals I have each year, but this year feels different. Having the goals visually in front of me will help me see my purpose, and give me something to work at. I'm 23 now. Life is serious. (I joke, I joke.) Besides, I just like making lists and checking them off. 

So, for the internet world to witness and hold me accountable, I present my 2015 goals.

  1. Spiritual - I've found a church I like; now I want to get involved, to own my community and be a part of the local Body of Christ. Starting with Sunday School--as terrifying as that is to me. I need to make friendships outside of the workplace, and outside of the help of my sister... as much as I love those relationships. :)
  2. Academic - grad school is not out of the picture now that I have my dream job. It's more there than ever... but first, the GRE. I'd like to have that under my belt by the end of June... half way through the year, and sooner is fine too.
  3. Financial - Just keep plugging away at that Student Loan debt. I've figured that I can pay it off in three years if I'm frugal and diligent.
  4. Writing - Nanowrimo 2015 - 'nuff said. I'm gonna do it this year. I'm gonna prep and I'm gonna write those 50K words.
  5. Reading - This reading challenge. There's pretty boxes to check off. (it's also in the Reading tab at the top of the page so you can see it bigger)===>

And that's it... pretty much. I like how organized and file-foldered and color-coded my brain feels at the moment. But... lest you fear, reader, that I've lost my heart... I'll leave you with Neil Gaiman's New Years words of wisdom for 2015... because I'm not always going to feel this organized and calm, and I'm gonna forget what I'm doing with my life and this will help me remember the important things.
"Be kind to yourself in the year ahead. 
Remember to forgive yourself, and to forgive others. It's too easy to be outraged these days, so much harder to change things, to reach out, to understand. 
Try to make your time matter: minutes and hours and days and weeks can blow away like dead leaves, with nothing to show but time you spent not quite ever doing things, or time you spent waiting to begin. 
Meet new people and talk to them. Make new things and show them to people who might enjoy them. 
Hug too much. Smile too much. And, when you can, love." (Source)