Tuesday, November 30, 2010


A month ago, I packed up The Reba and headed to Black Mountain, NC.

What I found there was the most amazing group of people that I know.

Although we still had a day left of our "Lebanese-Only" restricted diet, the kids snuck out to go have some Deek Duke's (a chicken restaurant which was definitely more Western than Eastern) for dinner. We didn't tell Mom and Dad until debriefing about our little disobedience.

This past summer while I was serving in Lebanon, these people lived, served, ate, cried, prayed, laughed, and loved with me.

Before I left, people would ask me what I was most afraid of or nervous about venturing over to the Middle East. They expected answers like "the food" or "safety." My answer: My team not liking me. I shocked a good number of people with this answer.

"But Rebekah, everyone likes you."
"Rebekah Suzanne, how could anyone not like you?"

...were the two most common responses to my reply.

Nevertheless, it was my biggest concern. I was so lucky with CBSP08 to find a family who loves me and accepts me that I knew I wouldn't get so lucky again. Wrong.

My beautiful sisters at Black Mountain for reunion.

When people ask me how Lebanon compares to Clearwater, I cannot begin to compare the two. That is to say, God has given me exactly what I've needed each time around.

Clearwater has been a family that loves me unconditionally when I needed to learn the lesson of unconditional love. The Dream Team is my prayer circle who entered my life at a time when I needed support and community so bad my soul ached. Although I love them as much as I love CBSP08, I talk to them about different things than I do with Clearwater. Dream TEam knows my struggles with my girls, my walk, my family, my life, blah blah blah. I met each family at a different point in my life and therefore have a different connection with each.

The Dream Team has my back when they go to The Throne. I text them constantly with prayer requests, no matter how big or small. They pray for my girls whenever I ask, and it wouldn't surprise me if they did it even when I haven't asked. They know my fears, anxiety, joy, and struggle with graduating and moving on from State. They know my intense love for my Wolfpack.

Erin, Kim, and I at the Jeita Grottos this past summer.

I was talking to my mom over Thanksgiving Break and somehow the conversation rolled over to Lebanon. I told her that I can't wait to see where the twelve of us are in five years. Confused, she asked me to explain. I clarified that the next five years were going to be amazing for all of us. We met at a time where all of us are thinking forward--what to do after we graduate? where do we go from here? how do I glorify the Lord after I leave this bubble of security that is my university? where does the lord want me now?

Clearwater is going to get jobs and get married. A few might head overseas (one is all ready there--Hi Travis!) and others might do something else. But some version of The American Dream is ahead for them all. Lebanon is giong to scatter like seeds in the wind. All over the US, the Middle East, South America, beyond--who knows? Although I will cherish the time that I will get to sit and worship with my Wolfpack family and my Clearwater family in Eternity, nothing will compare to the stories that I get to hear from my Lebanon family.

Our last family picture together in the Frankfurt, Germany airport before we began to part ways.

When we met at Black Mountain, Jonathan (our director) told us taht whenever someone asks about Lebanon, the first thing he talks about is the team. We all shook our heads in agreement. This summer changed us for the better. It molded us and shaped us and expanded the Kingdom and His Glory. I will always look back on Beirut with a smile, but whenever that smile appears, it's because I'm thinking about this little family.

Christmas, the Shutterfly way :)

Good morning, blog world.

Through my most fabulous cousin Hannah, I found out that Shutterfly is giving away 50 free Holiday cards to anyone who has a blog.

I immediately jumped under my 'creativity hat' and went to work!

Mama wanted to send out a card last year with all of us kids using the pictures through our Tour of Italy (no, not the meal at Olive Garden, but the real country) from last summer. But alas, both my and Mama's computers crashed and it was just too much work and not enough time and we eventually just gave up.

But then this year, not only are we going to send out a Christmas card, but we're sending a number of them out free of charge for us!!! Whoo-hooo!!!

The only problem now is which one to choose?
The creative staff at Shutterfly absolutely blew me away with their hundreds of cards and unique styles.

As if that wasn't enough of a problem, you then have a three-woman-ed staff of Sanderson women who have three very different ideas of what this card should look like.
Here's a few of the contenders:

The Poinsetta Print

The Pine Cone Toile


I know that there's no way that you can tell which is my favorite...haha.

Anyhow. Not only does Shutterfly have Holiday cards, but about a bizillion other designs for calendars, birth announcements, birthday parties, etc. It blew me away.
If you're ever just sitting around, piddlin' on the computer as we tend to do, hop on over to Shutterfly and see what they can do for you! But, I warn you: Have your spouse lock up the credit card first--it's all so fun, you might just blow through your savings!

Click Me!

So, my brilliant plan wasn't so brilliant after all :(

When you make a draft of something, it doesn't publish on the day that you click it; it publishes on the day that you first saved it. So my Thankfulness blog about my niece went to the bottom of this page.

But never fear! Technology is here :)

If you just click this little link right
here it should take you right to the post. That way you can look at pictures and just gawk at her like I do every single day.

Sweet. Glad we got that taken care of.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

identify yourself...

Good morning y'all.

I'm currently sitting in "Mama's Chair" in my living room in Wendell. It's kind of magical.

First off, I wanted to clear a few things up...

I realize I have friends. I have lots of friends, and I am incredibly thankful for all of them. My Confession #07 was simply to say that I do not have that one person to do everything with. I have about thousand people that I do have to pick from.
Eventually I will be able to find time to make pretty giving thanks blogs and one of them will be dedicated to the group of best friends that I have. But to all of you that I do call when times are great or when times are rough, when I need food or a date to the movies, when I need to go shopping or want to go shopping, or if my car is too small for my shopping to fit in and I need rescueing, thanks for being great friends and taking my call.

Also, if Confession #05b offended you, I'm sorry.
Yes, the version my father taught me growing up said "Come over the hill, Caroline". And then I turned fourteen and started paying attention at the ball games I went to, and enjoyed what the college kids were screaming. Now that I'm a college kid, I scream along with them.

If Confession #05 offended you, I'm sorry.
The example that I gave about the eight year old daughter is only one of plenty of times that people over 35 have made a comment on a status or wall post or something else. Whether or not I posted it...if it was on my profile, it was my responsibility. I understand their reasoning, but at the same time, there's more important things in life to worry about.
If adults are going to be on Facebook to connect with old high school friends, I think that is precious. But if some adult is going to hop onto my profile and judge me because a friend of mine has put a four letter word on a comment, that is now crossing the line. If I am friends with you on Facebook, if nothing else, you at least know my family. You know what we stand for, you know how we operate.
I have worked hard at college. I have a plethora of friends, have led four girls to Christ, have had coffee and spiritual conversations with over 100 girls on campus through Crusade. I have traveled across the world to love people that most people are afraid of. And if a curse word is going to negate all of that in your brain, then apparently my work has been for nothing.
Now, don't take that resume to be me bragging. I'm just stating facts. My work literally is nothing. It is less than a drop in the bucket. And I realize that. But there's much worse going on in the world. Let's get some perspective, please.

I am not angry. I am a bit frustrated, but more so than anything else, I'm just putting ideas into the world.

Lastly, I would like to make a friendly request for my beautiful readers to identify yourself.
Someone left a comment on my last blog but didn't tell me who you were. And I have so enjoyed reading Caroline in Texas!
And in the last 24 hours alone, I have only heard from about 15 people, but my viewer count was well over 60. Who are you, people??? I want to know! It's always so interesting to hear from you guys and learn about new people poking around :)

Love you all. Happy Thanksgiving!
::gobble gobble::

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

i have to get out.

I have to get out of this country.

No, seriously.

America, I love you. I love you deeply, and I am thankful that I live here. I am thankful every day that I was born one of your citizens and I was given your traditons and your Southern drawl. I love your Fourth of July fireworks and your Thanksgiving turkey and your materialistic Christmas, as heathenous as it is for me to say it.
I love your freedom and the fact that big guys with big guns aren't chillin' on every street corner.
I love your diversity and your fake Chinese food and your waiver forms.

But, America, I cannot live with you much longer.

I can't take the hypocritcial Christians and the hollow worship.

I cannot sit here and look at pictures of My Father's children dying around the world. I cannot hear stories of people that do not know Him, that have never been given the chance to know Him and not have my heart break into a thousand tiny pieces.

I don't know how many people read this blog. Truthfully, I don't care. My pride would like to see my numbers grow into the thousands, but in the end this is small and minute and doesn't matter.

But what does matter is malnutrition, and lost people groups, and terrorists that serve a god that doesn't love them and will never answer their prayers.

What matters are the beautiful women that I got the opportunity to love this summer who still do not understand that their life isn't about the here and now.

What matters is that I am only one person. What matters is that I will do nothing with my life. I can work as hard as I physically can every day until Jesus calls me home, but none of it will matter.

Unless I am following what my Father is telling me to do.

The hard part is, I know that my Father is telling me to stay in America. To love His children here.

"But LORD! Don't You know about these beautiful people dying of AIDS? Don't You know about the children who have no mother? Don't You know that I want to love them? HERE I AM LORD, SEND ME!"

"Yes, my daughter, I know. I know all of these things, and more. I know things that you will never know. I will reveal everything to you in due time. Just wait. Just love Me, and wait."

Please, any of you reading this, pray that I wait. Pray that I listen and love where I am at right now. And pray that He calls me quickly elsewhere.

goooooddd moorrrnnning RALEIGH!

Whaddup, y'all?

So, please listen to my master plan:

I have begun typing all of the Thanksgiving posts and have been saving them under "Drafts" here so I could take them home and stick on my photos and just hit "Publish Post" each day. Well, I had three ready to go yesterday, but when I got home, I plopped down in front of my TV with my loaded DVR and didn't move until my sister sent me a text saying, "Chaaaaaannggggsss??? ;-)"

So, I pulled back on some acceptable clothing (somewhere between walking in the door and plopping, I had magically put on sweatpants and a tshirt) and ran out the door. Needless to say, I didn't add any pictures and therefore have no pretty thanks to give today. Eh, maybe later.

confession #01: i adore PF Changs. seriously. i could eat it every day and be totally okay with that. my uncle barry goes at least once a week (probably more like two or three times, if we're being honest), so he knows every bartender/waitress/waiter in the restaurant, and therefore they take really good care of us when we arrive.

confession #02: i have loved giving thanks, but it's been taxing. and i have nothing to be taxed. i am looking forward to the giving being over so i can just write about whatever i want. which i think this is why i am so okay with breaking the thanks and doing this crazy post--i need relief.

confession #03: i hate cell phones that make sounds when typing. the clicking will never go away, i get that, and i'm okay with that. but when it "ding, ding, ding, dingdingdingdingding, ding" every time you type a text message, i'm probably in the corner seething.

confession #04: a few nights ago, i had a dream that i married russell wilson. like, the nc state quarterback russell wilson. it was set up like a reality show and the topic of the reality show was how russell and i met. we were sitting on the couch like jon and kate used to do, talking about our early days. we met in class this upcoming semester and became study partners. friendship grew into something else and he proposed at his last football game (yes, i did convince him to stay for another year). we were married that following spring. at the time of the show, we were living in colorado since he got signed by the rockies and had about like 12 kids.

when i told my sister about this dream her first question was: "what color were your kids?" my answer: we had a little bit of every color--some of our biological kids looked like me, others looked like him, and then we adopted as well. we were a fascinating little hodge-podge.

her second question was: "how did the family react to the fact that he was black?"

totally relevant question. my answer: nina and papa have always said that it was okay for us to date other races as long as it was love and not just some ridiculousness--i gave them a chance to practice what they preach. granny and granddaddy have never really said anything, but i can kind of guess what they would think. but, since he was russell wilson, star quarterback for the wolfpack, it made it a lot easier for them to accept him. daddy was just starstruck the whole time and i don't even think he noticed russell was black. but yeah, there's a lot of other small details but that's all i'll divulge for now.

confession #05: adults on facebook bother me. seriously. facebook originated as a college world. yes, there are curse words. yes, there are inappropriate pictures and jokes that you may find crude. but hey, you lived it once too. or at least, i hope you did. anyhow, i have gotten messages from adults asking me to delete a comment from my wall because a friend of mine cursed. the reason they wanted me to delete it is because she wanted to allow her EIGHT YEAR OLD DAUGHTER to surf facebook and look at pictures and the bumper stickers that were popular back then. seriously???

i have gotten a number of comments/messages over the past few days about the fact that i said "go to hell carolina" in my status regarding the ball game.

confession #05b: i didn't write the nc state fight song. i just sing it.

i love my wolfpack. and i hate the tarholes. hate, hate, hate, hate. it's a strong word but i'm using it. so sometimes i need to sing my fight song to get out some frustration. or sometimes, to exude some joy. i didn't write the fight song, i just sing it.

but getting back to confession #05, i am totally fine with some people being on facebook to watch out for their kids or other loved ones. there are some craaaayy-zeee people online and they need some monitoring. when a twleve year old girl puts bikini pictures on facebook with captions like 'aren't i hott?', someone needs to let her mama know! but beyond that, it makes my blood boil.

confession #06:

you're = you are. your = possession.

their = possession. they're = they are. there = location.

were = plural form of was. we're = we are. where = location.

two = a number. too = also. to = preposition or infinitive.

sweet. i'm so glad we got that cleared up.

confession #07: i don't have a best friend, and it makes me sad. i have plenty of friends, but i don't have a girl that i'm paired off with to do everything with. i don't have someone that i call every day after school to tell about my adventures or someone that i call in order to have a shopping buddy. i have a list of people that i call for either detail and more, but sometimes, i just wish that i had someone that in thirty years can sit with me on the front porch and reminence. i love my life, but this is one of the small details that i wish i could change.

confession #08: you want to know what the title of this blog reminds me of? one day during lifeline in clearwater, rachel atwood, our fabulous emcee, stood up and said "gooooooodd morrrrrning vietnaaaaamm!" pretty much every situation of my life will either take the little video camera in my brain to a memory of clearwater, lebanon, my girls, or an episode of friends. if i ever just start smiling for no reason, ask me where my brain is at. it could be a rather interesting story.

confession #09: i heard an interesting take on gay marriage the other day. i think it was from a tv show, but nonetheless i found it interesting. "if marriage is so sacred, then why is divorce legal?" my ideas on gay marriage and divorce are not topics to be discussed here. truth be told, i don't answer any questions on the first and my opinions on the second are archaic--we'll leave it at that. but that quote just might be something to think about.

confession #10: one day, i will be published.

ta-ta darlings.
at 2:19, i will be in my car steering to wendell for thanksgiving break.
if you're awake too early on black friday or saturday, come see me at bn. i'm opening.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Miss Eden Caroline (Day 21)

Eight and half months ago, I was at home in Wendell on a Sunday night for some reason that I cannot recall. I was sitting in my dad's green Laz-E-Boy (the coveted chair of the house) watching television with my sister. All at once, every cell phone in the house buzzed, beeped, or rang. Uncle Barry had sent out a mass text to the family alerting us that my cousin, Hannah, had been taken to the hospital because her blood pressure was through the roof. Hannah was just over six months pregnant at the time and they had been worried about preeclampsia for a few weeks. It all happened so fast.

I eventually returned to Raleigh within the next 24 hours.

I then ventured to my least favorite class of my semester and kept my phone on my desk, waiting impatiently for a text to tell me that I was an aunt.

Halfway through the class, my phone vibrated and my mom's text said "SHE'S HERE!!!" That's all it said. No name confirmation, no "Mom and Baby are doing great", no nothing. Just a confirmation that Eden had been delivered. Upon reading the text I let out a shriek and alerted my classmates that my little bundle of joy was here! (my professor, i'm sure, was so excited for the interruption)

But now, almost nine months later, this pre-me baby is a giggling, joyful, pudgy little girl that I could just eat up.

Not to brag, but she loves me the most. She absolutely lights up when I come in the room. I'm sure she's simply mirroring my joy, but still, it happens.

How can anyone not love this most precious little girl? I mean, her big, beautiful eyes...

That most adorable nose...

Or her heartbreakingly gorgeous smile...

I met my family at the gate at my final student home football game and got to kiss on Eden for a bit. The family (Mama, Daddy, Uncle Barry, and Hannah) kept pointing at me and were saying, "Look Eden! Who is that? Eden, look!" When her eyes finally connected, she started breathing heavy and giggling and pointing. I think she was as excited to see me as I was to see her! I absolutely adore that little girl. I cannot wait to watch her grow up and spoil her rotten!

She is honestly one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen--and I have encountered serious beauty in my years and in my travels. Her smile lights up a room, she has the most beautiful blue eyes and the sweetest smile. She's going to be my flower girl whenever I get married. She is going to absolutely take Wendell by storm with that smile of hers, or where ever else this life takes her. She's also as stubborn as can be. Her personality also dazzles everyone she meets. I'm afraid to think of the day that she goes to kindergarten, or when she graduates from high school, or goes to her senior prom...


I just died.



days 17-20

Day 17.

I am thankful for Diet Coke.

Yes, I did just say that.
No, I do not care if you are judging me right now.

Diet Coke has been my energy source is Clearwater Beach Summer Project 2008. I completely blame Kerianne Bethea for my addiction. She's probably giggling herself into a frenzy over in Spain having just read that.

But in all seriousness, I drink at least a can a day. Whenever I get my Harris Teeter VIC Card emails alerting me to what is on sale for the week, the first thing I check is to see if Diet Coke products are Buy 2, Get 3 Free. It doesn't matter how many refrigerator packs I have in the house at the moment...if they're B2G3, you best believe I'm firing up The Reba and heading to HT.

Thank you, makers of Diet Coke, for helping me pull all-nighters, get through crazy days, and sometimes just calm down during a movie at night. I greatly appreciate your genius invention.

Day 18.

Erin Byrnes Green. This name means nothing to some of you, but to me, she's been my constant companion for the past three months. Erin is my cooperating teacher here at Garner and she is uhhh-mazing! Her energy level keeps me happy all day. She has amazing ideas for the classroom and just how to effectively love your students. I have learned so much from her.

Some of the other LTN girls do nothing but complain about their CTs. I only remember complaining about her once. Some of the other girls don't like their CTs at all--Erin and I talk on the phone every weekend, text little stories to one another; we've been to each others' houses; we plan double dates that one day we will go on if I ever get a boyfriend. I've all ready warned her that next year I'm going to be sending her an email a day asking what I should be doing with my students. My life would be vastly different if I had been assigned anyone else. Thanks, Big Guy, for having a hand in the small details.

Day 19.

On that same note, my kiddos are such blessings. I know that I've complained about them a ton, but oh my heavens! I miss them on the weekends and I hate the fact that I have planning 2nd period because that just puts 90 more minutes between me and them! My future students have such shoes to fill!

Day 20.

I am incredibly thankful for my job. No, not my "job" at Garner...but the real one that writes me a paycheck every now and again. I love working for Barnes & Noble! I have so much fun and I adore the people I work with. On top of that, I have the world's greatest boss! Lynn has been so understanding about my demanding schedule outside of work from my second interview a year and a half ago, until this very day. I've never had a problem not working on Sundays or taking off two months to go to the Middle East. I could complain about some other people in charge, but it all boils down to Lynn. I've been told that I could probably get better hours at another store or definitely have less of a commute at another store, but because of my most fabulous Lynn and the absolutely fantastic people I work with, I could never leave. It would be really easy for them to fire me because I request so much time off, but they keep me around, and I am so happy they do! I miss it during my stints of not working and I look forward to my alarm going off at 4:30am during the holidays so I can go open shop. Now how many people can say that?

Friday, November 19, 2010

a whole bunch of THANKS! (days 6-16)

A friend of mine is doing "No Miss November" on her blog. When I started doing the days of thanks, I kind of figured that I would be joining her. However, student teaching immediately sucked all of my time away from me and I was barely keeping up with grading and planning and eating/sleeping. There was nooooo time for blogging.

But, now that I have given back two of my classes to Mrs. Byrnes, my time has freed up and I can relive the joys of blogging again! Yay!

Since I'm on my school computer and therefore have no pictures, I'm going to be doing the silly little things to be thankful for so the rest of my posts can be of the utmost detail and pictures!

Day 6.

I am thankful for kind text messages. I have blogged before about how people have forgotten about kindness and how badly our world is in need of it, so although "kind text messages" might be something silly, it's still true.

I was having a rough day at school a few days ago. It was a bad day--I've certainly had worse--but my kids were just really needy and I had enough. Then I checked my phone in between classes and I saw a few text messages from friends saying "Hey! I love you!" or "I miss you and would love to grab coffee sometime." or "You're my favorite". The first thought in my head was "SOMEONE LIKES ME!" Silly, I know, but the smallest things can mean the world to somebody.

Day 7.

I am thankful for music. Music puts me in the best of moods. I had a stocked iPod and can always enjoy a tune or two to either cheer me up or pump me up or something. I grew up around music. Nearly my entire family sings and some of my best childhood memories include singing Christmas carols or jamming out in the car. My favorite present of all time is a mixed CD. They're precious!

Day 8.

I am thankful for my LTN Girls. For those of you that don't know what "LTN" means, it's the graduation code that State has assigned for English Education. I have no idea why, but that's what it is. I am very, very thankful for the girls in my major that supported to me, listened to me, let me cry on their shoulder, passed along ideas and lesson plans. We've been through some insanity together but we've pulled through. The six weeks before student teaching we had two classes together for a total of 4 hours together. We also normally spent the two hours in between those classes together.
These women have edited my writing, critiqued my teaching, encouraged my laughter, and loved me unconditionally. Some of them drive me crazy, some of them I couldn't live without, but in the end, I know that we were all placed together for a reason.

Day 9.

I am thankful for books. Big shocker there I know, but seriously. They are my escape. They're one of my guilty pleasures. They are my ability to travel without leaving my couch. They provide me with an education and common sense.

Day 10.

Along the same lines, I am thankful for stories. My kiddos and I normally have "story time" about every other day. They'll give me a theme, topic, or word for me to tell them a story about my life. It's fun for me and it's a break for them. I think I reeled them in to this idea when they gave me the word 'bacon' and I was able to tell them a 10 minute story about my Clearwater family. My kiddos also have amazing stories that they tell me through their journals or just after school. It's entertaining and educational all at the same time.

My grandparents have always been great story tellers and have let us into pieces of their past. My dad also has some amazing stories from his childhood. It's his dream, as well as my Granddaddy's, for me to write down a lot of our family stories so that we can pass them down.

About a year ago I spent an afternoon with Granny and Granddaddy (my mom's parents) listening and writing down their stories. It was an amazing afternoon. I learned so much. It has really inspired me to continue this idea with both sides of the family. It's one of the items on my bucket list and I'm hoping to work on it this upcoming summer.

Day 11.

I am thankful for crafts. Once again, silly, I know, but I've been doing them forever! My mom was creative in ways to keep us kids entertained and out of her hair when we were little and that desire has not gone away since then. I knit on a regular basis; I have Disney princess coloring books that I pass Saturdays with; I cross-stitch. I am even having a "cheap and crafty Christmas" this year. Megan and I have no money so we're going to take simple, cheap decorations and put our own special twist on them this year to decorate our apartment. My girls are even coming over to help!

I am also planning a "crafty weekend" this weekend. A friend of mine has her own Etsy shop and makes greeting cards and other fun things.
Laura is incredibly creative and if you ever need something, I highly recommend you give her a call! She also took the photos of me and siblings for Mama's Mother's Day gift this year. I was in a pinch for a birthday card and decided to give her a call. She helped me out with a super cute card at the last minute and it gave me an idea! 'I could do this!' I thought. 'Not as good as Laura, but I want to do something cute for my kiddos...I can make them each a cute little card!' So this weekend I'm planning on cleaning off my DVR, knitting, scrapbooking, Christmas decorating and making fun cards for my kiddos! Yay!

Day 12.

I am thankful for my self-esteem. I have taken plenty of psychology classes and so I am sure that someone along the line has told me how one develops their self-esteem, but I don't remember. After working with girls through Crusade and reading the journals of some of my students, I am so thankful that I know my worth. That I know how to make myself feel better. That I know that the lies that the media tells us are not true and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Of course, like any other girl, I have my days, but overall, I think I'm pretty well off.

Some of the girls that I have spoken with are their own worst enemies. Their dreams will not come true because they won't get off the couch long enough to make them happen. I have a fantastic life with fantastic friends and a fantastic family and fantastic prospects for where I am to go from here.

Day 13.

I am thankful for discounts! As a college student, I love anything free but I realize that we live in a capitalistic society so therefore I sometimes have to fork out cash. But I do LOVE those moments when I have a coupon or I have a discount card or there is a sale and I can save a bit of cash or get more for the same price. Whether it's Buy 2, Get 3 Free Diet Cokes at Harris Teeter, or 50% off Kim Rogers cable knit sweaters at Belk (seriously, my favorite tops for cold weather!) or just a free cup of coffee because of my Panera Card...that little bit of saving makes me smile! May I please add that this past weekend I ran to HT to pick up a few things...and I finally did it!! I SAVED more than that I SPENT!!! I have been told by a few of my coupon-queen friends/relatives that this is the thing that sets apart queens from just coupon-ers! :)

Day 14.

I am thankful for my daily reads! If you haven't noticed, I haven't been big on the whole blogging thing for very long. My cousin, Hannah, has been doing it for nearly forever and is nearly a whiz kid at the whole thing, but me, not so much. I would rather have a cup of coffee with you and tell you about my life. Nevertheless, once I got into the "blogging community" a bit more than as a visitor, I have become quite the fan! I have a handful of blogs that I check daily, and then a few others when I'm looking for a way to pass the time. But this one goes out to my daily reads:

Laura is a friend from school. Sophomore year, for some reason I signed up for this awful literature class. Seriously, it hurt to wake up and run across campus for this class every other day at 9:10. One of the two things out of it: Laura Underwood. Not only did we have Renaissance Lit together, but we also had an equally painful Spanish class right after it. I believe these classes were the start of my notorious skipping of my college classes. (ATTN PROFESSORS: Please do not tell me that I have three days to miss your class. Because I will take all three. And possibly a few more. Tell me attendance is mandatory and you're worse than Hitler when it comes to stipulations.) Anyhow, Laura is absolutely precious. She's a funny writer, an amazing photographer, a sweet friend, a creative artist, a vegetarian--but don't let that turn you away!--and a runner! She's honestly an inspiration to me and my blog. You should check her out too! :)

Laura is also the girl that took our Mother's Day photos. She even put some on her
blog! I was so honored. Please note that these pictures were taken before my brother decided to chop off his helmet of hair. Laura, I think we Sandersons may be in need of another photo shoot soon :-)

Hannah is my first cousin on my mom's side. She's the one older than me. She's a pretty fabulous cousin and the closest thing to a big sister than I'll ever have. Hannah works for our family's gun store. A few of the other featured people on her blog is her sweet husband Lee who we are so thankful that she brought into the family, and also my "niece" Eden, who we are also so thankful she brought into the family. Hannah's a riot and writes in a stream of consciousness. Her blog keeps me updated on the happenings of Wendell that I miss out on while living here in Raleigh.

The Pioneer Woman is the newest addition to my reading list. I adooorrreee her. She's sassy, Southern, and sweet as can be! I don't normally read "celebrity blogs" because they're probably fake and are also pushing some type of advertisement...but how can a mom of four who lives in the middle of no where on a cattle ranch be fake? I feel like that's a life that would keep you pretty humble and pretty straightforward. I feel like if we ever met in real life, we would be friends. Our humor seems very similiar and also our writing styles. What more can a friendship need?

She's also an author of a book (not just a cookbook, but a real one, with stories!) "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels". It's all about her courtship with her husband, whom she has affectionately named "Marlboro Man." On top of this book, she also came out with a cookbook just over a year ago. Oh, Santaaaa?

Last but certainly not least, is
Miss Christin A. Kubasko! I've known Christin since I started coming to Crusade and for her last three semesters of school I was in the same Bible Study as she was. Since graduating from Meredith back in May, she is now at Appalachian living the good life as a grad student. Her blog is as cute and glittery as she is, and sassy to boot! I absolutely love her and her blog!

Thanks ladies for keeping me entertained day in and day out!

Day 15.

I am thankful for snail mail :) Silly, but true. Writing letters is one of those things that I wish I were better at doing. It's not that I don't have the time, it's just that I seem to fill the time with other things. But, I truly enjoy getting letters. Sweet emails are cute too, but there is just something about the joy that I get when I find a letter in my mailbox.

Day 16.

I am thankful for Western medicine. I don't know how many of you have had to encounter hospitals or medicines or doctors from people that don't live in the States...but wow! America is so blessed. Whether it's a simple OTC drug or my prescription glasses/contacts--my life would be incredibly different if I didn't have access to the prescriptions I do.

I am quite certain that this is the longest post that I will ever write in my time as a blogger. I'm not caught up yet, but I'm thinking that a few hours at Panera tonight will fix me up right.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

thankfulness: day 5

I would like to dedicate this post to my dad.
Unfortunately, we live in a society where a lot of people don't have fathers. Or if they do know who their father is, he works too much for them to really know him.
I am the exact opposite of this.
I have the world's greatest dad.
A lot of people say we look alike, and I love how much this picture proves just that.
We also have a plethora of other things in common:
We could both live off of BoJangles, sweet tea, and this thing that I call "Daddy Dip."
We are both terribly afraid of heights.
We both violently cheer for the Wolfpack.
We both break out in hives when we drive through Chapel Hill.
We both love the mountains of Tennessee.
We both sing in a low register.
We both would rather be in charge.
We both have independent spirits.
We both love Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.
We both prefer the lake over the beach.
We mirror each other in many of our actions--in other words, we sit in the same position, but I'll have my right arm resting on my head but he uses his left.
We're both incredibly sarcastic and make the same face when we're lying or when we're angry.
We both have smiles that take up our faces, sandy blond hair, and emerald green eyes.
We both have a loud, spastic laugh.
We both brake way too hard when we're driving.
As I think about these things, I feel so grateful that I know my dad. I love that these things make me fit in somewhere. They make me feel secure that I belong.
However, we have our differences...
I love to read and he refuses to pick up a book.
He's an engineer and I'm an English major.
He's a morning person and I'm a night owl.
I love coffee and he can't stand it.
Pasta isn't his favorite, but I could live on it.
He thinks SPAM is an acceptable meal and I don't even recognize it as edible.
He likes mustard, but it makes me sick.
I am beyond thankful for my dad.
I am thankful for a dad who let us use him as a jungle gym until we were in our teens.
This photo was taken on Christmas Eve. Daddy wrestled and tickled us for hours until we dropped. That way, we wouldn't have the agony of waiting to fall asleep because we were so excited for Santa to come.
I'm thankful for a dad who let us use our imaginations and believe in Santa Claus.
I am thankful for a dad who answers the question:
"Daddy, do you think I'm pretty?" with
"No baby, I think you're beautiful. Very, very beautiful."

I am thankful for a dad who knows how much I love surprises and being the center of attention, so he picked a song for us to dance to at my 18th Birthday/Graduation party in front of the 300 guests that he let me invite.

I am thankful for a dad that will let me take 1,000 pictures of him.

Remember how I mentioned that we're both afraid of heights?
Well, this picture was taken at the bottom of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Italy. I forced myself to go to the top but had a panic attack. Daddy was smart enough to stay at the bottom and was waiting for me when I came running out of the elevator.

I am thankful for a dad who taught me the important things like how to fish and how to shoot a gun and change my oil.

I am thankful for a dad who required me to touch the gross, slimy fish.
"Rebekah, it builds character. My daughters are going to have character."

I am thankful for his pearls of wisdom:
"Rebekah, don't ever act like you're afraid of a gun. If you're afraid of the gun, you can't shoot straight. And one day, you're going to have to shoot my grandchildren's dates. Because my grandchildren aren't just going to go out with anyone."
"Rebekah, all boys are dogs. They only want one thing."
"Rebekah, if someone ever makes fun of you, tell them politely to stop. If they do it again, knock 'em flat."
"Rebekah, I gave you my last name. I worked for that last name, and you will too. When you mess up, I mess up. And we both know that I don't mess up."
"Rebekah. Don't you ever bring home a Tar Heel fan. It will put too much strain on your relationship to date that kind of idiot. It will also require me to spend too much time in jail for shooting the boy."
...Thanks, Dad, I'll remember that.
I am also incredibly thankful for a dad who teaches.
For a dad who leads, and not just commands.
Whether those lessons are spoken ("Now Rebekah, that's your oil cap and that's your window washer fluid. Don't get them mixed up.") or unspoken (I'm yet to meet a man who treats a lady better than my father treats my mother) he's a leader.

I am thankful for a father who does the little things...
Like, take off from work and drive the hour it took to come to my school from his work at the time to come to my 5-year-old birthday party in my classroom.
He sends me daisies on Valentine's Day because he knows their my favorite.
He sends me random emails that only say "I love you." because sometimes a girl needs to hear that. Or a text with a winky face (he learned to text just to send those...I'm not kidding)
There isn't a dress that I have ever owned that he hasn't made pass the twirl test.
He has watched every chick flick that I have ever brought home.
He knows every Disney song by heart.
He knows that Cinderella has a blue dress and that Ariel is a mermaid.
He inspects my and my sister's bathing suits to make sure they're appropriate.
He cried the day that I graduated high school. And the day of my Senior Prom. And he has to make a joke out of me graduating college because when he doesn't, he tears up.
He has never missed one of my dance recitals or band concerts.
He even coached the majority of my sports teams even though it physically hurt him to watch me play so badly.
He knows my favorite color is purple.
He lets me pick where we go out to lunch when he comes to Raleigh. Even if I do choose a "froo-froo sandwich shop that a lesser man wouldn't be caught dead in."
He knows that I was born to be Cinderella, and spent way too much money on the perfect shoes for my Senior Prom.
He loves Jesus.
And he made sure that his children loved Jesus.
He taught his daughters the values of modesty and waiting until marriage.
If those conversations were awkward, he never let on. He knew it cost too much to not have those conversations.
Thanks to him, I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

thankfulness: day 4

November 4th

Today, above all else, I am thankful for chocolate and Tylenol. Can I get an amen???

It wasn't a bad day at school...it was just incredibly overwhelming. There were lots of kids and lots of needs and just lots of stress in one room which all compiled together to give me one massive headache. So what did I do? I came home, grabbed a Pepsi, some brownies, some Tylenol, and landed on the sofa with my remote in my hand for the next two hours.
Judge all you want, but there's my thankful thought for the day.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

giving thanks

My fabulous cousin Hannah mentioned on her blog that she had the idea to make a post every day for something she is thankful for.

I personally, LOVE this idea. Since it's November 3rd, I'll need to back track a few days...but here goes nothing.

November 1st
Today, I am thankful for my car. I know this is an incredibly materialistic thing to be thankful for, but it makes my life so. much. easier. I remember being without a car in Beirut and although we lived in an incredibly convenient area so I could just walk anywhere, it also cost a lot of money to do anything besides walk a few block to a nearby destination. My sister is without a car but between her boyfriend and me she gets around just fine. But still. It would be easier for her to have a car.

November 2nd
On the second day of the month of thanks, I am incredibly thankful for my baby girls. These girls made/make all of my dreams come true. Seriously.
I decided to use this day to give thanks for them because we did outreach last night. Now, more so than ever before, I am beginning to watch them do small things, and remember back to our first days together. I remember watching my Kaitlyn knock on a door for the first time to do an outreach: the minute that door opened, all of her confidence fled and her greeting came out something like...

Seriously. I was trying so hard to not laugh. She was so confident and she "was going to be first to knock on a door!" But then reality set in. But I don't think that I have ever been more proud of anyone in my life. She marched up to the next door and do the same thing, but better.

"hi. mynameiskaitlynandi'mwith a bible studyhereoncampusandiwaswondering if i could take out your trash."

Last night, my girls separated themselves into three groups and knocked on every suite door in Sullivan Hall. They took out many loads of trash and talked to countless people, and never once complained.
I know that I've gotten grief from people in the past regarding my girls, but let them talk all they want. I don't care. They don't see the things that I see. They don't know the things that I know. They don't know how many answered prayers I've watched unfold in the lives of these girls. If I have done nothing else right in my life, I have loved them. And for some reason, they have loved me. And that is all that matters.

This was my first ever group picture with my girls.
It makes me giggle because to this day it causes an uproaring between us about appropriate Fall Retreat attire.

Me and my loves at their first Crusade Christmas Party.

Our first Christmas celebration together.
Also our first group picture in Raleigh.

Our end of the semester party at the end of their freshman year.
Oh the things I would love to tell these girls...

November 3rd
Today, the very day that I am writing this, I am thankful for laughter.
I have always loved to laugh. Always. I have never not beeen a gigglebox. My nickname with the girls in my major is "Gigglebox."
I played two review games with my Honors kids today: Fishbowl and Jeopardy. Throughout both of them, my kids and I laughed and learned. I had kids jumping up and down screaming Shakespeare facts and quotes at the top of their lungs. I knew when I saw that happening that I could die happy.
Laughter makes the world go 'round.
Laughter is something that I witnessed very little of this summer, outside of our apartment. I think that was one of the things that hurt me the most. For being such a beautiful city, it was bleak. Maybe that's why God sent me...for that side of the world to finally hear some laughter.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

found it!

On my Cinderella post, I confessed that I was looking for a picture of my best friend and I to show you from my very first Halloween. I also said that I was going to attempt to find the one of me cheesing in my Cinderella outfit.
Well, folks, I found them both! :)

This is Chance Sutton and me on our very first Halloween. Chance is almost ten months old and I am just over five months old.
I know this is kind of a creepy picture of me, but I seriously love this picture. Chance and I run in two completely different circles these days. He goes to UNC-G and I go to State. He does theatre and I'm in education...okay, well, they're just two different types of theatre. I've known this kid forever...if you couldn't tell by the picture. When we introduce each other to our friends and they ask how we know one another, we've always done this little eye-contact-cute-grin-head-nod thing before answering. I don't know what he's thinking, but my brain goes immediately to this picture. I love you, Chancetopher!

Here is my Cinderella costume picture that I went scavaging for. According to my mom, she snapped this picture as my dad was talking in from work and I'm screaming:

"Daddy! I look like CINDERELLYYYYY!!!"

Precious, I know.

Hope you enjoyed folks. I loved finding old pictures so I'm hoping to keep this idea running.

Monday, November 1, 2010

true confessions.

true confessions of this twenty-one-year-old student teacher.

01. i have become obsessed with panera bread.

no really. it's a problem for my bank account. i remember down on clearwater when a huge group of people would always want to go to panera after church at grace and i always thought they were crazy! "there's nothing there!" "you just want to spend a bunch of money on sandwiches???" but NO! a couple of friends of mine kept tweeting about their myPanera card and free stuff..and i'm ALL about some free stuff. so i decided on a whim to go get some soup on a fabulous fall afternoon, and OH. MY. GOODNESS. i went back again today :)
they have soups. and sandwiches. and salads. and sweet things with sugar all over them. what more does a girl want? oh yeah, and they have sweet tea.

02. i love the tv show friends.

you probably all ready know this. however, i needed to put it in writing. i fall to sleep every night with an episode that i own on dvd. i will get every single reference you ever make. i can probably also tell you who said the reference and the surrounding context of the reference. i normally make little references to myself that no one knows are friends references, but they make me smile.

03. kindness and respect mean the world to me.

these two things seemed to have been misplaced in our society. kids don't say "ma'am" anymore. a kid in the hallway dropped her folder and no one stopped to help her pick anything up. i had a stack of books in my hands and no one opened the door for me.
on the other hand, when i was camped out at panera on sunday for about six hours grading, one of the waitress ladies came over and picked up my glass and said 'more sweet tea honey?' she went over to the pitcher and poured me some and brought it back and said, 'here you go sunshine!' it made my day! if i had any cash, i would have given her a tip. but i did fill out a comment card for her. i hope she gets a raise.

04. my love language is acts of service.

i don't think i've ever really told anyone this. the reason for that is because it's a double edged sword. if someone starts taking care of me, i start to trust them. i start to hope that they continue to do things for me. and then, when it stops, it hurts so bad. this is why i hate when people take care of me. the first act of kindness immediately brings the thought of 'well, it won't happen again.' the second act brings 'it's just a coincidence.' the third act is when all hope breaks through the doors and eventually it gets really cold because the fourth act never comes.
i fell for a guy about a year and a half ago for a single reason: he took care of me. he would call and make sure that i had eaten that day, because i was busy and forgot to on more than one occasion. he would just show up at my apartment so i could hug him. he hung some pictures in my place and once he cleaned my bathroom. he always called or IMed me first. it was one of the best friendships i had ever been in. it was also one of the best relationships i had ever been in. homeboy set the bar. and he set it really, really high.

05. today, i disliked being a teacher.

well, i take that back. today, i disliked everything but my interactions with my kids. i had to develop a few lesson plans at the last minute. i had to send emails to everybody and their brother. i watched a few of my students do nothing during their independent work time, which is going to result in a HUGE zero tomorrow. i graded quizzes today that scored a class average of 18. i had to deal with some psycho parents. it was just a crazy day.

but, there's this one kid that always walks into my 3B class and says, "hey miss sanderson. how was your day?" the day that najee doesn't ask me how my day is, is the day that i will cry in front of my entire class. it means so much to me that he cares. even if he's faking it.

and, there's another kid that walks into my 4th class and has said since Day 2, "whassup, miss sanderson?" it always makes me smile. the kids rag on him for saying "wassup" to an english teacher, and that just makes me smile even wider.

maybe this entire entry was a waste of your life. but i hope that if nothing else, it reminds you to say "wassup?" to someone that you pass on the street tomorrow. who knows? you might make their blog.