So it’s January 1st and time to take stock of the last year. While others like to make resolutions, I think I would just like to count my blessings and take a cue from my teaching partner Kerri and instead of a resolution, pick a word . . . a word that will be my ‘go to’ word this year.
But first to count my blessing . . .
One of the amazing blessings I was able to share with my family this year was a real, honest to goodness vacation. I had never thought we would ever be able to afford a trip to Disney for the boys, but thanks to a little foresight about 10 years ago when I applied for our one and only family credit card, we had a three days at Disney and it didn’t cost us a dime. (I promise I will blog about how I did it, because anyone who has ever wanted to visit Disney can really do it and it’s so easy! So stay tuned.)
It was a perfect time in their lives and we didn’t have one bad day the whole week. It really was magical.
Readers and Blogging Friends
One of the greatest blessings of being a teacher blogger are the incredible friendships that I have been able to develop with amazing people all around the world. Often those ‘blogging’ friendships become even closer than you could ever imagine, and when you have the opportunity to spend time with them in person, those bonds are even stronger.
Maria from Kinder Craze, is my blogging bestie from Michigan. This year was especially great because we’ve been able to spend tons of time together and I even attend her wedding in June.
It was breathtaking . . .
We were also able to get together again with our friend Jodi from Fun In First when she visited Michigan last summer with her family. It was a sweet pre-Vegas visit for the three of us. Because Vegas is a full fledge blogging family reunion.
Vegas is when I get to see my far away friends. I can’t get enough of dear friend Annie from The Moffatt Girls . . .
and it’s always a great day when I can be with Maria, Mary from Sharing Kindergarten and Jodi.
Never would I have imagined three years ago when I started blogging that teachers from all corners of the world would end up being some of my closest friends, but they truly are! During some of my darkest moments this fall, it was my blogging buddies and my readers who would send me a note or a text to make sure that I knew they were thinking of me. I wish I had pictures of all the sweet teacher friends who have prayed for MacKale over these last several months and continue to pray. I consider you my family, and I love you dearly. Thank you for keeping up with our journey and days as we continue to fight the cancer than has invaded my sweet boy’s body. #MacKalesjourney
This year I have also had the blessing of working with some amazing business partners. My partnership with Astrobrights took me to Atlanta for three days to hang out once again with Maria and the amazing, Reagan from Tunstall’s Teaching Tidbits.
Time spent with their professional team was so valuable to us as teachers and bloggers. It was an amazing experience that took us out of our comfort zones and made us grow in ways we never imagined.
Our family had the opportunity to celebrate some amazing milestone blessings this year too. My middle son McCoy celebrated his First Communion. (He looks so grown up!)
MacKale, my oldest who has hemophilia, learned to infuse himself–a HUGE milestone in the hemophilia world.
Definitely two proud momma moments for sure.
School Family, Community and Friends
The blessing of living in a small, close-knit community was never more apparent to me than this fall when my son MacKale was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. My school family and community have enveloped my family in their arms and have held us up when we didn’t know if we could stand. I don’t know what I would have done without my Franklin Elementary family there to take care of my classroom and the two little boys while I’ve been away with MacKale.
Likewise, the support shown from MacKale’s middle school classmates, soccer team, parents and staff in organizing a shirt drive to show MacKale their support, has been mind-blowing.
They have gone above and beyond to make sure that he knows he is loved, supported and that his community is fighting with him. Our cup overflows with the blessing of their love and prayers.
Our family . . .
our friends . . .
and our community
has done everything they can to show us they are there for us. It has been a blessing beyond all comprehension.
I am so blessed to watch my boys love being brothers . . .
to go on adventures with . . .
to explore with . . .
to hang with . .
to torment each other . . .
to do ‘good deeds’ with . . .
and to support each other when they need each other the most . . .
And for all our extended family who have been there for us, to care for us and cover for us . . . loving our boys and our dog and doing all the little things that we’ve needed help with . . . what an amazing blessing.
Thank God for blessing us with laughter . . .
for funny faces
and feeling goofy
for silliness and belly laughs.
And Most Of All . . .
There are really so many many more things and such a large number of people who I am so blessed to have in my life. I can’t possibly list them all, but the underlying message I’m saying here is . . . I am . . . we are . . . blessed! Beyond measure! Beyond reason! God has been very good to us in 2015 for so many reasons.
But as for the one thing that has been the BIGGEST blessing to me throughout my entire year, the thing that has kept me whole, moving one foot in front of the other . . . well that has been my faith. How do people live their lives without it is beyond me, but I can not. And so now, as I end one year and begin a new, I am not interested in making a resolution but rather, I think I will pick a word to be my guide. It will be the word that will help me keep my center, my go-to, my source of peace and understanding. This year my word is FAITH!
There is no other time in my life that I have needed it more. I know that. I also know that this road will not be easy for my family and especially for MacKale. It will be difficult. It will test us. But somehow and someway, God will make good come of all this, and I believe that our faith will continue to feed and sustain us whatever comes our way.
Thanks to everyone that continues to read my little blog. You are like family to me. Here’s wishing you a happy, laughter and faith-filled New Year. May you be as blessed as I have been.
Linda Groce says
Thanks for sharing, Marsha! It was wonderful seeing all the pictures! I will continue to pray for Mackale, you and the rest of your family. God bless you as you continue to step out in FAITH through 2016!
Thanks for your continued prayers for MacKale Linda and for taking the time to comment and connect. It means a great deal to me.
Not only do I love ALL of your products, I love how REAL you are and how much your family means to you. I will continue to pray for your son, you, and your family! Thank you for continuing to inspire me!
An 11 year Kindergarten Teacher from Kansas 🙂
Thank you for your continued prayers Jodie! We are so grateful for each and everyone. And thank you for your continued support and for stopping by to read my little rantings and carrying ons . . . I love this blogging community that lets me connect with teachers from here to Kansas!
Thank you for sharing your family and story with us. You are a wonderful educator but more importantly, a loving mother and wife. Praying for your family.
Thanks for you kind words Sylvia and your prayers.
Robin Carrier says
Thank you so much for sharing your world with us, Marsha. I continue to lift up MacKale and your entire family in prayer and wish for a beautiful 2016 for all of you!
Robin Carrier, California
Robin, thanks so much for reading. I’m always willing to share! Your continued prayers mean the world to us. Thank you.
Lisa Nilsson says
HI Marsha, You, MacKale, and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. My 11 and 9 year old sons are praying too. I feel like I know you even though you don’t know me. I’m a Kindergarten teacher from NJ and I’ve followed your blog for a couple of years. I admire you as a teacher and a mom and I’ve always enjoyed seeing pictures of your boys peppered into your posts! MacKale will fight this! My two little guys have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and I watch them fight a different kind of fight each and every day. Life can be hard but we have great support from our family, friends, and doctors and I know you do too. You’ll find that sometimes, comfort and kindness may come from the most unlikely places. Sending big (((((hugs))))) to MacKale! Stay strong!
I always say, ‘if you pray for MacKale, I know you! You’re part of my family.’ So you and your two little guys are part of my family too. We’ll be praying for you as well. Big HUGS right back at ya.
Lori Rosenberg says
What a year you’ve had! And you’ve faced it all with strength, determination, and heart. I’ve no doubt that the love you have for your family, along with your strong faith, will carry you through this next year, with the exact same fortitude. I will continue to keep you all in my thoughts and prayers and I sincerely hope that 2016 is a year of healing for the entire McGuire family.
Thanks for always being there friend. Love you to the moon and back.
Beth Wroten says
Thank you for the wonderful post. Praying for your family!! Keep the faith!!
Thank you Beth
Wow! The strength you show is inspiring. MacHale will be forever in my prayers as will your beautiful family! Love the pictures of all the bloggers I follow! I’m so excited that you get to meet them and collaborate! How exciting! 3 boys! Wow! They all look so happy! Great community you live in! I am so happy that they recognize how important it is to support! I am going to try to live by your words this year! We all do have so much to be thankful for! Thanks for the post! Happy New Year! Amy
Amy, thank you so much for your continued prayers. We are so incredibly grateful to everyone who has made it their mission to pray for MacKale.
Cheryl Kaake says
Faith… the perfect word. Your love for your family and for your students shines through in everything that you do. As a follower, I have enjoyed reading your blog and getting to know your family. You have all been in my prayers since MacKale’s diagnosis. I can only imagine how keeping your faith strong has helped to make you stronger. I have a favorite song that I sing to myself each day that I’d like to share with you. I hope that you might find it as comforting as I have.
May you have a blessed 2016!
Oh thanks so much for sharing Cheryl I certainly appreciate you taking the time to think of me.
Jennifer Taylor says
I’ve been thinking about you and your family since I read your blog post about MacKale. I have been praying for you all! May God continue to bless you and hold you in his healing hands.
Fellow Michigan teacher 🙂
Oh thank you Jennifer! I appreciate all the prayers I can get. MacKale is three weeks out from surgery and still has a couple more rounds of chemo before that plus a whole bunch after.
Jan Layson says
Thank you for sharing your life with us. You may not know that your generous spirit of words and deeds has inspired me for the last few years.
When I was feeling burnt out and needing encouragement you gave it to me through your blog and your work, giving my teaching a new life.
So, it is now my turn to encourage you and hold up you and your family to God.
Ohhh you made my night. Thanks for your kind words Jan.