A year ago, our world lost one of it's very best teachers, Mrs. Doris Sanders. I've been wanting to post these pictures and memories for quite a while. I guess the first anniversary of her opening act into heaven is a good a time as any.

Mrs. Sanders was a constant in my life from the time I moved to Hawkins, Texas in the early 90's. We went to church together, lived near one another and she worked alongside my parents. She's one of those people I always remember being around. There wasn't a time without Mrs. Sanders.

When I got to high school, I finally got the opportunity to see the teacher side of her. I love remembering her systematic color-coordinated class organization, her quick wit that could stop you in your tracks, her sweet smile (that was sometimes full of sarcasm), her ability to transform into Queen Elaina of Castle Hawk for a week-long medieval literature extravaganza and all the little moments of laughter that we shared in her classroom. She made us all feel loved. Especially if she had some sarcasm for you! It was always sarcasm filled with love.

More than anything else, I enjoy remembering her passion for theatre. This woman had me spending my 18th birthday on a stage with a speaking part! If you're familiar with my personality and the deep shade of red that my face can turn when given any sort of stage-opportunity, you'll realize the impact she must have had, to persuade me to do such a thing. And yes, she did have to persuade!

I truly regret that I wasn't interested in theatre earlier. I missed out on a year of it because I just didn't quite understand it yet. Once I did, as a sophomore, I totally felt at home in our auditorium. My high school self definitely felt most "me" when I helped manage backstage, assisted with costume changes and quickly switched out props from scene to scene. Once, during a performance, I rang the telephone when I was supposed to ring the doorbell! My face probably was a nice tomato shade then too! (I still cringe that I did this!) Luckily, the actor totally had my back! He went and answered the phone, acted like the caller hung up and then I was able to ring the doorbell. Phew! Thanks, Conner!

To have been a part of Mrs. Sanders' Black Rose Players and Hawkins High School One Act Play is such an honor. It's one of my favorite high school achievements.

I remember my parents having a few great conversations with her during her last few weeks. Among many other things, she told my mom that she just wanted us to celebrate her life. Just celebrate.

On this very day in 2014, she finally became cancer-free and went to meet our savior.

Through tears, we celebrated her life with laughter and fun stories about her and her amazing family. We continue to celebrate her life with fond memories, beautiful pictures and a constant space reserved in the newly remodeled Hawkins High School auditorium. That was always her spot during rehearsal and it makes me joyful that students for years to come will hear about the wonderful director who the space is reserved for.

Thank you for all you taught me, Mrs. Sanders. 

"Because I knew you, I have been changed for good."