A new year… a blank page…
Each year has its ups and downs and 2016 was no exception in the McDonah household. We lost people we loved dearly, we had health issues and scares, the stress of the threat of a teacher strike looms, and we overextended ourselves with our time.
Looking back on the year, however, we had so many moments and experiences that I’m grateful for and are worth celebrating . These moments are what I hope will stand out about 2016 in the years to come:
I travelled to Tanzania – twice – this calendar year. How lucky am I? While I was there I met new friends and built relationships with people. I taught and I learned. I impacted the lives of others. I laughed. Oh, how I laughed!
I delivered 12 hats, hand-knit by Sarah, to newborns in the hospital in Mikumi, Tanzania. The memory, feeling, and impact of that experience will stay with me for my whole life.
I got wet in the Indian Ocean.
Evan travelled to Italy and Greece with his school. He saw sights many people only see in photos, and experienced new cultures and foods.
Alex travelled to Quebec with his school and made memories he will cherish.
Sarah started babysitting.
Alex won the “Triple A” award for excellence in arts, athletics, and academics at his grade nine graduation.
Olivia started learning step-dance and fiddle.
D’Arcy lost 30 pounds.
I won Enactus Canada’s “Rookie Faculty Advisor of the Year” for all of Canada at Nationals in Toronto in May, and my team won the “Spirit Award” in their league.
My teams won Challenge Nova Scotia – twice!
Olivia was invited to her friend’s cottage for the day with a group of her best friends. We are so fortunate for her friends and parents who are willing to go out of their way to make sure she is included even when it means extra work to keep her safe.
Alex played Knickie in his school’s production of Greece.
We spent time canoeing and sailing.
Sarah did well in her highland dance exams and was a party guest and a crab in the Nutcracker.
Olivia made the decision to stop dancing ballet to free up time to “curl five days a week”.
Both Team McDonahs had successful curling bonspiels.
We jumped off a bridge with friends.
Alex got his beginner’s driver’s license.
We had an awesome overnight visit with Mike, Emily, Phinn, and Seamus where the grown-ups went out to dinner and then to Joel Plaskett while the cousins hung out and had fun of their own.
Olivia passed her Brazil nut challenge, leaving her allergies as peanut, egg, and soy.
Evan was accepted to both Dalhousie University and Memorial University of Newfoundland with the intent to study Engineering. (He’s chosen to attend MUN.)
We celebrated D’Arcy’s father’s 90th birthday.
We spent Easter together at White Point Beach Resort with my parents.
I wrote curriculum for a graduate level Advanced Entrepreneurship course that will be used the college in Tanzania. (In the editing stage now.)
Sarah, Olivia, my mother and I travelled to PEI to see “Anne of Green Gables”, the musical.
Evan started playing football on the CEC team.
D’Arcy & I celebrated 20 years since our first date.
We hosted 53 of our loved ones for Thanksgiving Dinner and donated many food items to NSCC Pictou’s student food bank as the result of our family’s generosity.
D’Arcy & I ran a 10km race together and took the time in the summer to go biking together as often as possible. Evan, Alex & Sarah ran the 5km race, and Olivia worked at the finish line.
Our niece, Kelly; and our nephew, Pat, each got married and our family continues to grow.
Sarah & Olivia had a sleepover with their Aunt Erin and went to Sleeping Beauty, the ballet, and had dinner together at Morris East, their favourite restaurant.
We painted the house & garage and D’Arcy rebuilt the Prince Street door steps, a project he’s had on his list for years.
We hosted people from all over the world. One couple, originally from Tanzania, taught us a new tradition which we’ve adopted where we hug each child when they come down for breakfast and say “Happy new day. Enjoy. Help others enjoy. Do good. Help others do good.”
As we begin this new year, I will choose to focus on the good and be grateful for our many blessings as we navigate the inevitable ups and downs any year brings. I extend a warm, loving hug to each of you and offer these thoughts:
“Happy New Year. Enjoy. Help others enjoy. Do good. Help others do good.”