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December 30, 2010
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I feel very bittersweet about this :-(.  Finding a daily thing to appreciate has turned into SUCH a habit. Which is an incredible thing, right? I hope to do this project again another year. I’m thinking, actually, of taking up a journal project every even year. Perhaps in 2012 I will do a 365 Picture Project (a picture/day) and in 2014 I will do another AP.

Without further ado… the last of the Appreciation Project entires:

December 28 AP 362– Adry’s love of music and his natural talent and ability. A few days ago I witnessed something that truly gave me that mommy pride feeling in my gut. It was before Christmas- before Adry got his full drum set- and he was playing around with his little single drum and tambourine. After a few minutes he lined up the drum, the lid to the drum, and the tambourine all side-by-side. He took his drum sticks and hit around on each of them for a while and expiramented with the sounds. When he was satisfied he proceeded to use them as a little makeshift drum set and kept a STEADY 4/4 DRUMBEAT, using the drum for his eighth notes (One And Two And Three And Four) and the tambourine every second and fourth. Um… that’s like the max complex drumbeat *I* can keep, so it will be amazing when my toddler son can out-drum me… Grandpa and Uncle Matt have been teaching him proper form and technique, and he enjoys practicing. It is really amazing to watch him develop. Watch out, y’all. Future rock star. Now someone PLEASE just broaden his musical taste.

December 29 AP 363– Clint Eastwood, John Williams, Joe Wright, The Coen Brothers, Tarantino, and every other behind-the-scenes film artist who help make awesome, magical movies. I believe I’d already appreciated talented actors and actresses. I appreciate how Clint is truly an artist: he draws SO MUCH out of seemingly simple scenes (deep emotion without dialogue, sensuality without sex) and NEVER crosses over into “mushy”. John Williams makes every movie he touches sound magical. He’s directed the music for so many of my favorite films: Hook, Jurassic Park… He’s the one that did Jaws and Starwars, too, by the way. Joe Wright… Atonement and Pride and Prejudice and The Soloist… beautiful movies. The Coen Brothers– too many awesome movies to list, I love them all. Tarantino is a film genre all on his own and I love all of his stuff, too, but PULP FICTION will always be my favorite. And so many other awesome film industry folks.

December 30 AP 364– Me and Ben and our marriage. At the beginning of the year I had decided to reserve this appreciation for our anniversary: December 31. When I left Ben I decided to throw it out altogether. But you know what? I’m not doin’ it. I’m not throwing it out. I’m appreciating it now and I always will. I gave 9 years of my life to that relationship, and it will always be a part of who I am. I appreciate every minute, every day, every year, every laugh, every heartbreak, every memory. I appreciate it all. And now I’m crying and can’t see the monitor anymore through these dang tears, haha.

I appreciate the memory of the first time he told me he loved me. I appreciate the memory of that enormous grin he had on his face as he watched me walk down the aisle to marry him. I appreciate how giddy he got when I told him I was pregnant… how he couldn’t contain himself; he called everyone he knew right away. I appreciate the complete and pure adoration and dedication he had for his son from the minute he was born. I appreciate the years we got to enjoy as a whole family, and how Adry LOVED when we were all together. I appreciate every celebration we enjoyed together and every crisis we overcame together and all the growing up we did together. We shaped each other into the people we are today, for better or for worse.

I really really really enjoyed being young and growing up together. There is a bond there that I think is unmatchable. That’s either an unfortunate or beautiful thing, I’m not sure.

I don’t regret my marriage to Ben. I regret how it ended, but otherwise I have no regrets. I loved him. I loved our family. I would have suffered misery and  fought for our health happiness for as long as I lived. I just hope that one day I can feel whole again. I appreciate everything I have learned from this experience.

December 31 AP 365– New life chapters. This would have been me and Ben’s sixth wedding anniversary. This will be the first year in almost a decade I bring in the new year without him. I do not yet *feel* appreciative of this new life chapter, actually, but I am making a conscious effort. A new year, a new chapter, a new start… In reality this just feels like desperation and fear in limbo, but… like I said, I’m making an effort.

(Is it “ironic” that I clicked on my ‘wedding anniversary’ tag after writing this entry and the post (click link to see) that popped up was from last year- our LAST anniversary together- and the FIRST thing I mentioned was that I was wearing the necklace that “Cousin Sammie” had given me? Humm! I’m so glad I brought her along with me to celebrate my marriage! 😉 )

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Appreciation Project

December 27, 2010
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December 23 AP 357– Christmas Eve Service at Cypress– The amazing children’s activities they had set up. I ADORED it. After service we took Adry into the old sanctuary, which the children’s ministries now utilizes, and right off the bat they handed us a little red drawstring bag that Adry could fill up with the candy that they had displayed in cute little baskets around 3 or 4 tables. Then he got to visit Santa (AND Mrs.) Claus. He sat on his lap and we snapped a few pictures. They also had “Silly Band Trees” from which the children could choose 4 silly bands, another table at which children could decorate their own bracelet, and also a cookie decorating table. It was well organized, it gave children that autonomy they LOVE (you know, instead of handing off premade gift baskets or telling them exactly what to do… it was their own little Christmas world). I basically just thought it was really neat and Adry loved it.

December 24 AP 358– Christmas Eve. Try to think of a more magical, nostalgic, anticipation-filled day of the year. I think Christmas Eve even trumps Christmas… It’s THE night Santa comes!

December 25 AP 359– JESUS. Our Emmanuel: God With Us. It is by Jesus ALONE that we know God. Without Jesus God is an intangible, unknowable spirit. Through Jesus ALONE we learn of God’s character, love, promises, compassion, and commission. He is THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life. There is nothing I appreciate MORE than the fact that He sent his son so that we may know Him.

December 26 AP 360– My new camera! EEEE!!!  Canon Rebel 500D and I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE it.  I have a LOT to learn and it will be a HUGE (and well worth it) time investment. I’d love to take a few workshops and get photoshop and become a decent photographer. Just as a hobby of course. I’m so excited to document Adry’s growing up in beautiful photographs.

December 27 AP 361– Confidence. I’m seeing pretty clearly today and I’m feeling pretty positive. I like ME. I do. I like my dreams and who I am in general, despite my current roadblocks and struggles…  I like my general life ethic and I know that I’m going to get over this hump and I’m going to have a lot to offer. I know I’m going to get over myself and I’m going to be a great daughter and sister and mommy and future wife. I’m very confident.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Appreciation Project

December 23, 2010
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December 16 AP 350– Winter activities/festivities. Snowmen, snowball fights, ice skating (and I don’t even ice skate, but I still love it), sledding, etc.

December 17 AP 351– Hummus. Garlic and roasted pine nut. On flat pretzels. Or pita bread.

December 18 AP 352– Holiday traditions. Santa Clause: love the magic and imagination! Rudolph, cookie decorating, TV specials, Coke Christmas edition cans, LIGHTS everywhere…

December 19 AP 353– Classic Christmas music. Bing Crosby, Vince Guaraldi, Brenda Lee Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree, the list goes on and on and on and on… I love it ALL, and I love the mood it sets. We’ve had it blasting a lot in this house and I’ve loved every moment. I appreciate the ‘Christmas spirit’.

December 20 AP 354– The Christmas Story. Mary, Joseph, Jesus. The nativity. I’ve been going to church since the very week I was born without any breaks, and that story still gets me. Mary and Joseph’s relationship, Jospeh’s trust and obedience, Mary’s courage and faithfulness, their travel and hardships, Elizabeth’s conception, the star… and the shepherds. If I could be anyone in the story I would want to be one of the shepherds who saw the angels in the sky praising God, and then they got to go see the baby in the manger for themselves… their newborn king.

December 21 AP 355– Christmas shopping, (finishing my Christmas shopping!), gift wrapping, and ultimately watching Adry and others receive and enjoy their gifts. It’s a good feeling, no?

December 22 AP 356– Sucking it up: spending time alone. In the past I was never one to run from pain. I would get unbearably depressed or anxious or lonely and I’d suck it up and trudge through it and endure until it was over. I’d get in my bed blanket cave and I’d cry and wait it out. I’ve always had depression issues. I don’t need a failed marriage to make me feel depressed, and I can clearly distinguish grief from my usual depression. The BIG difference now, though, is that I run from it. I can’t STAND it. I feel it coming and I get restless and I want to crawl out of my skin. I leave the house, I cling to people and affirmation, I indulge in mind numbing activities to get a “fix”, and I refuse to be alone. But tonight I felt it- that gnawing depression- and I had the strongest urge to just LEAVE and do something to distract myself, but I sat through it instead. I stayed home and finished laundry and wrapped my presents for Adry and got the rest of my chores done. I came >this< close to texting a few of my friends and asking them if I could come over, but I didn’t. I stayed home with my boy, faced it head-on, and endured. And right now I’m feeling more like my old depressed self- depressed but content- rather than depressed and absolutely pathetically desperate.

And by the way, I’m not ashamed that I struggle with depression. NOT ASHAMED. And I WILL speak up about it. Because SO many people suffer from it and it’s NOT something to deny. And I say this because very recently, right when I was going through the whole marriage breakup fiasco, I was accused of being depressed as if it was wrong or my fault. Dude, I’m not even kidding. This person, with several witnesses in close proximity (as I was crying, mind you) accused me of several vile things, one of which was being depressed as if it was shameful.

It amazes me how, even with so many sufferers, Depression is so misunderstood and mistreated and ignorantly judged. I guess people who don’t feel it just can’t comprehend it… ? I don’t know. But I just want to tell anyone out there who might be reading this and needs to hear it::: Depression is not wrong nor controllable (though can be managed), and it is not your fault and you should never feel ashamed. And besides taking numbing medication with terrible side effects and withdrawal, there’s nothing you can do about it so you might as well embrace it. You can try to deny it, you can try to ignore it, you can try to run from it, but it’ll eat you alive if you don’t just accept it. Don’t let anyone make you feel inferior or weak or faithless. You get up and you get through your day with a dead weight on your chest suffocating you… That’s not weakness; that’s strength.

Click here to read my AP entry for Depression

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Appreciation Project

December 16, 2010
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December 8 AP 342– Icing. I’m just sayin’.

December 9 AP 343– Trippy movies that make you think and keep you guessing. And movie night with Adam who introduced me to Vanilla Sky. And we also got a dose of The Big Lebowski which is always fun.

December 10 AP 344– OSU interview opportunity! Exactly where I wanted to be! OSUMC was my goal job destination and I thought it’d take me a while to work my way in there. I mean, I have no idea if I got the job, but I sure do appreciate the opportunity to even try for it! I’ve heard of people with a lot more experience than I have waiting several years for an interview there. It’s a really great place to work.

December 11 AP 345– Chicken noodle soup (with Cholula!). The perfect soothing food for a terrible sore throat and congestion. And also a total unexpected ‘sick night out’ for Steak n Shake and the movie The Tourist. So, remember how Nick and I pretty much never go out when we hang out? Because we are lame or broke or both, I don’t know. So Nick asked to hang out on Saturday night and I informed him that I was really totally completely gross and ill. He was all, that’s cool we can still hang out. So I figure that as usual, but especially that night, we’d stay in and take it easy and I’d huddle in a blanket and sip on soup and intermittently groan in misery. You know, SICKY things. But no, it came time to hang out and he was all, I’m takin’ us out! What inopportune timing, right!? I wondered how I’d survive, but it turns out that it kind of took my mind off of being a sicky. And now guess who has come down with the same sore-throated, runny-nosed bug as me? Yep- Nick. (And Adry and my mom and I think Rebecca as well. This thing was contagious as heck.)

December 12 AP 346– My NYE Resolutions. I am excited to start them. A new game plan for losing weight. I want to be WILL BE at goal weight within 2011. I want to have my foot in the door at OSU Med Center and start back at school within 2011. And some other smaller goals/ routine changes.

December 13 AP 347– December snow! I LOVE that it snowed on December 1st to kick off the Christmas month. I think it has been beautiful. Also annoying, but mostly beautiful and Christmasy.

December 14 AP 348– Interview accomplished (with Laryngitis from my cold, but thankfully my voice held up) and everything seemed to have gone well. Holding my breath!!! I should hear back next week.

December 15 AP 349– The peace that floods my soul when I accept His forgiveness and grace… and ‘Nothing but the Blood of Jesus’ came to mind and I got it stuck in my head for the longest time. That song, without fail for the past 15 years, has reminded me of my grandfather. In Arizona, at the last service he preached in the evening before he died, his mic was left on during the praise songs so he was recorded singing that song… maybe the last song he ever sang. I remember when the cassette tape of his last sermon came to my grandmother’s house and the family all gathered around to listen to it. I mean, I was pretty young (11) but that memory, and his voice singing that song, is etched permanently in my brain. And I’m pretty thankful for it.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

December Appreciations

December 8, 2010
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December 2 AP 336– Adam. I’m just sayin’- how often do you find a friend with whom you have growing up watching McGee and Me and Super Book in common… in a church while tagging along with a Mom/Grandma who works there…!? And soo many other things. It’s been fun.

December 3 AP 337– Fireplaces. Everything about them. Well, except maybe the gas bill Mom and Dad have to pay.

December 4 AP 338– JESSIE! ‘Twas her birthday on December fourth and I hope she had a great one! No matter how many different directions our lives and commonalities seem to go, I hope she knows I always love her and care about her like family. What do I appreciate about Jessie? Well, for one she is GORGEOUS (easily the prettiest girl I know. Ever. And I’m not just sayin’ that, she really is. She has a face made for Hollywood). She has a great sense of humor and she’s entirely laid back and down to earth. I appreciate growing up with her and the major influence and shape she gave to my childhood. Too many fantastic memories, and I appreciate all of them; she added SO many laughs and giggle fits to my childhood.  …As a matter of fact, I desperately need to dig for and find the video we made in elementary school of “The Show”. The one and only episode of “The Show”. And I wish I still had recordings of the Jessie Jones show, too, Bahaha.  Okay okay, too many hundreds of memories are flooding on, so I’ll stop there.

Anyway, Jessie, I just wanna let ya’ know that I love you and appreciate you <3.

December 5 AP 339– Cypress’s new sanctuary and children’s area and lobby and everything else… the convenience, the sound quality, the aesthetics… everything. It was pretty exciting to see it all come together. It made me proud I’d chosen (a few months back) to make Cypress my permanent family church home to raise Adry in. Glory to God of course.

December 6 AP 340– Christmas trees and lights and decorations. Makes everything feel so warm.

December 7 AP 341– O Holy Night. My favorite Christmas song. EVER. If done right, with just the right energy behind the build up, it has the potential to be amazingly powerful and beautiful and I love it. And honest to goodness, I listen to Christmas stations on the radio all Christmas season waiting for that song, and I get chill bumps and a lump in my throat when I catch a good version of it.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal


December 1, 2010
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Wow, I canNOT believe I’m coming into the LAST month of appreciations! It did NOT seem like a year ago that I decided to launch the project, and it’s been great… especially after getting to see how many subsequent Appreciation Projects on other blogs and journals it has jump started. For that we can all thank Amanda …and Jason Mraz who inspired her of course.

November 22 AP 326– Drives with music. For being such a homebody I sure do get cabin fever a lot. It’s not even that I need to get out and go anywhere specific or do anything specific, I just need space to be alone and breeeath. And so? Those few moments when I am driving… all alone… just me and music… between destinations… are kind of glorious and refreshing and head-clearing.  Except for when I randomly burst out into tears and then come to a red light beside some guy in a truck who is determined to stare me down until I look at him.

November 23 AP 327– Big comfy beds. Let it be known that I totally cheated this appreciation. This is the FIRST day I accidently skipped since January 1, and I had to go back like five days later and try to remember what I did this day in order to come up with something I hoped I actually did take the time to appreciate…  I came up with big comfy beds and being able to sprawl out on my tummy, propped up on all kinds of pillows with my legs crossed in the air, watching The Office. If there’s one thing I miss about being married and living in the place I called my own, it’s my bedroom. And my bed and my blankets and my pillows. So it’s nice when I can borrow somebody else’s for a minute.

November 24 AP 328– All of my mother’s work and preparation for Thanksgiving. Two days this woman slaved in the kitchen for a meal we inhaled in twenty minutes. I’m not sure Sanders Thanksgiving would exist without her.

November 25 AP 329– Thanksgiving! Is it weird to be thankful for a day set aside to give thanks? Because I totally am.

November 26 AP 330– Finally coming up with a Christmas gift idea for my family that I can afford. That’s always a good feeling.

November 27 AP 331– Buckeye traditions: OSU-Michigan rivalry and Michigan Week, Script Ohio, etc. So much fun!

November 28 AP 332– Getting dressed up. Dresses and tights. I wish I had more. I mean, I’m just as much of a jeans and chucks kind of girl, but I enjoy appealing to my girly side and getting dolled up when I feel like it.

November 29 AP 333– Bright sunshine on warmer fall days flooding my bedroom with natural light. I LOVE being able to both throw on a hoody and drive with the windows down. (…er window singular in the case of J’s car.)

November 30 AP 334– Getting excited to do Mommy-y, tradition-y, Christmas-y things. Ever since Ben and I split I’ve been having trouble rediscovering my passion for and enjoyment of being a mom and making memories with my boy. It’s definitely coming back, though. Eeeee!

December 1 AP 335– The whole privilege and experience of bringing life into the world. Totally random appreciation. I stumbled upon Adry’s birth day pictures, and…   wow, what a magical day. It’ll be fun to experience it again one day.

First Ever Picture of Adry! Two seconds old, straight from the belly 😉

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.”

November 21, 2010
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November 13 AP 317– MexiCoke! YUM YUM YUM. The perfect Coke!

I bring to you a series of photos entitled ‘I Pose With My MexiCoke’.

November 14 AP 318– The Ohio State University campus. Mom and I went to see a Jim Henson film at the Wexner Center on campus and then we ate at Tommy’s. I just remembered how I LOVED to be a student walking those streets in the fall among other students all bundled up. There’s something about the atmosphere that gets me.

November 15 AP 319– My decision to not date and just make friends.

November 16 AP 320– Jumbo! My Jumbo Love: a big purple hippo who has seen more tears and heard more giggles and taken more punches and snuggles than any other person or thing on this EARTH. He is also falling apart, but I will make sure he does not disintegrate in my lifetime.

November 17 AP 321– Wearing off of depression and anxiety. I just realized that for the FIRST TIME since NOVEMBER 2009 that I have HAPPY (or at least content) days WITHOUT MEDICATION. This time last year I spent EVERY.SINGLE.DAY in a state of PANIC and racing heart and/or severe depression and/or SEVERE full blown panic attacks aaaaaaall the way through the winter until I started on Paxil. Then I weaned myself slooowly off Paxil and Depression and chronic moderate anxiety attacked with a vengeance, but things are getting better. I’m totally okay and managing and functioning on my own. Yay!

November 18 AP 322– Panera’s  broccoli and cheddar soup in a bread bowl, but especially my darling brother  Matthew treating me to dinner.

November 19 AP 323– My letters from Adam. They make me feel like a giddy middle schooler with a crush. Definitely something to look forward to throughout the day.

November 20 AP 324– My awesome bike and bike seat and Adry’s trailer *breath* AAAAAND Girls’ Night out of the house with Mary & Crew. Really funny ladies. Pictures of the bike ride coming soon.

November 21 AP 325– Triumph over OCD, one ritual at a time.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Fox Force Five

November 12, 2010
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November 10 AP 314– Mer (and Les) and their random encouragement. I pretty routinely- every few days or weeks- receive little notes, whether texts or messages or whatever, from Mer letting me know that she thinks I am amazing and a great mom, etc. I appreciate her thoughtfulness! Thank you, Mer! I want to let YOU know that you are adorable and easy to talk to and get along with and we seem to hold a lot of the same opinions about things, which I always appreciate (+2 points for ‘liberal’ Christians 😉 ). You’ve always been a big sister figure in my life.

And Les has given me random phone calls. Everyone needs a Leslie in their lives. I’m just sayin’. She can be going through SO much stress in her life and stay gentle and loving and positive for others. She’s a giver.

November 11 AP 315– Veterans! They give up their freedom, knowing their lives could be at risk, to follow orders (or “just do what they’re asked”!) and serve our country. And I hope NONE of them (ahem) thinks that’s some small thing to be overlooked.

November 12 AP 316– A big family breakfast with just the core Sanders Five (plus Adry). Life is crazy, but it’s weird in a totally good way to have the five of us all together again. Blast from the past! Whoa.

Mom and Dad woke up and started putting together a HUGE breakfast of cheesy eggs, hash browns, donuts, biscuits, bacon, and pancakes.



Ady was put on ‘Wake Up Uncle Jacob’ duty.


Iced raspberry jelly-filled donuts! Drool.



I told Matthew that he was going to be in a picture with bacon and he had to show his feelings toward the bacon.


He said he was having a lot of trouble finding the right face to make because he couldn’t disrespect the amazingness of bacon by being insincere. He couldn’t force the proper appreciation that bacon deserved.


And he was NOT amused by my blatant lack of respect.


(Shh, don’t tell him, but I don’t even really like bacon. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even eat that strip. I gave it to Adry.)

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Appreciation Project

November 10, 2010
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November 7 AP 311– Toby Mac. For some reason I heard Toby Mac songs like five times throughout the day. I needed each and every one of them. Love him, love his music, love his message. And a bonus cool fact about Toby is that of the dozen or so times I have seen him and spoken to him, he is always consistently so freakin’ chill and smooth, and his eyes are incredibly alluring. But what I appreciate is his creativity and passion.

This is one of the songs I kept hearing that day (with Kirk Franklin and Mandisa):

November 8 AP 312– Learning to let go, stop planning, enjoy where I’m at, take things as they come, and open myself up to the possibilities.

November 9 AP 313– Finding my purpose in motherhood. And not taking it for granted.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

“The world was ours and we could do everything or nothing, all we had to do was anything because it was always us.”

November 6, 2010
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November 3 AP 307– Finding perspective.

November 4 AP 308– A random sweet and encouraging phone call from Ryan. Totally made me smile. He called just to check up on me and remind me that he’s considered me a sister since we were little and able to talk- we are family- and that I am amazing and he thinks I haven’t heard that enough. He caught me at the perfect time when I really needed to hear it.

I appreciate my “extended family” and Ryan. I love his sense of humor; he’s always makin’ me giggle. I love all the discussions we’ve had throughout the years, and how we grew up together within a close-knit group and now we can be there for each other as our adult lives unfold. I love how all of “the kids” have stayed connected, and it’d be AWESOME to make sure our kids stay connected, too, so that they can have what we have.

Anyway, thanks Ryan!

November 5 AP 309– Relaxing days with good company and DVR. I get to go to Nick’s house and be lazy and catch up on all my shows for the week. I would not be able to keep up with them if it weren’t for the fact that Nick lets me record them at his place. Also, I’m pretty sure I fell asleep by 10PM, which NEVER happens. Ever. I’m usually far too wound up. That’s what happens when I finally feel relaxed.

November 6 AP 310– HOOK! My ALL-TIME FAVORITE MOVIE EVER! I finally got it on DVD today and am watching it this second. Freakin’ love it.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal