A daily record of gratitude; from quilting to photography to a mix of technology, books, movies and the musings of life!

Welcome to my Blog of my daily gratitude and photo of the day!

Since January 1, 2012, my goal is to write a daily sentence or two about gratitude of the day and to include one photo (at least) that I took that day (but will add others from time to time). It has defintely been a challenge every day throughout the past three years, but I welcome the challenge again this year 2015. I hope you will continue the ride with me!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Special People Award

The Special Love's "Special People Award" could not have come at a better time for cancer warrior, Ryan Tomoff, during this afternoon's Holiday Party in Franconia, VA. This is another example of "kids" helping "kids", especially for Camp Fantastic Camp Counselors and all their wonderful volunteer hours and service provided through this fabulous organization. So to be reconized today coming off the heals of a very intense week was very special to Ryan, and the entire family. So a big hearty "How How" to Ryan and all the volunteers who received this special award!

BSoleille! The bright side of helping others no matter what!

Photo of Ryan, Dave Smith and Shari Fisher and other award winners

Friday, December 2, 2016

Healing Begins

One of the best updates that I could post on Ryan is that he is HOME and the healing has begun in earnest. Catching up with some much needed sleep, and cuddling with Loo-C the pup has to be at the top of the list while Ryan convalesces.  Based on the last surgery in May/June, Ryan rapidly healed once home, so we anticipate the same this time around. We are thankful that he was strong enough and his pain mangaged to get the "A-OK" discharge!

BSoleille! The bright side of cuddling with your dog while healing...


Thursday, December 1, 2016

One. Day. At. A. Time

The wait and surgery is over. Ryan did very well and "tolerated" this second tumor removal like a champ, in which he truly is, bar none! Maybe "amazing warrior" is more like it (I'm a biased parent!). I have to be honest though, it has been one emotionally challenging day for Bill and me. I believe it's almost "easier" for the patient, right? However, with hundreds of people praying, sending positive thoughts, and even lighting candles on his/the family's behalf, we are truly blessed and have been lifted in His holy grace. We all feel the love! And we cannot thank you enough!!

And remember the line I said about moving mountains through prayer?  Family friend and confidant, Sister Pat Parachini, had this message for us today: We Continue to pray with you for Ryan...have our whole Province praying:  450 Sisters and 300 lay associates of the Sisters of the Holy Names!   Take care and lots of love.

Now that is a lot of mountain moving, yes?

Ryan is resting comfortably in a step down unit,  and provided he has a good night, he should be able to go home tomorrow (according to Dr. Ord). The hope is that Ryan's recovery will be much faster than the May surgery, and fingers crossed for clean pathology reports forthcoming.

And as there were no words to describe this new cancer incidence with Ryan, and all that it entailed, there are few words to adequately convey how humbled and thankful we are to so many people near and far that Ryan (or our family) has touched through his crazy story of cancer through the years.

Lastly, a big shout of THANKS to Dr. Robert Ord (and his team of excellent care providers) at the University of Maryland Medical Center for his professionalism, kindness and compassion to Ryan, our family, and everyone he comes in contact with.



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Kindness Story

A shining "full circle" moment occurred yesterday while in an appointment with my son Ryan's endocrinologist, Dr. Kaur, of Sinai Hospital. During this scheduled appointment, Dr. Kaur examined Ryan, addressed all his supporting medications, and discussed his chronic endocrine issues that needs attention. Her "doctoring skills" are excellent and very thorough, but it is her bedside manner of kindness and compassion that sets her a part from her peers. And it is in those statements my husband and I wrote a letter of recognition on her behalf to the Sinai Administration after I came home from our summer appointment and reported on what a wonderful doctor we were assigned to for Ryan's Endo issues. This was part of the transition time from Pediatrics to Adult Services.

We thought "nothing" of it, thinking it goes into the big sky (or on someone's desk that never sees the light of day), but, ahh, that was not the case.

You see, Dr. Kaur was indeed recognized for her great care (precipitated my our letter we presume) by the Administration and was awarded a pin for her valiant efforts. But it goes deeper than that.

At the end of our appointment, Dr. Kaur leaned in to me and quietly stated her mother had recently died. I immediately offered my condolences and asked how she passed. She said her mother had cancer and that she had died in India, but had been visiting her in the USA weeks before her death. Dr. Kaur stated that it was our letter and the pin she received that her mother was most proud of her daughter being a doctor. At that moment, I burst into tears because I realized the magnitude of sheer gratitude between Dr. Kaur and her mother, and how we played a small role in this family's well deserved joy!

BSoleille! The bright side of sending a simple letter of thanks....


Monday, November 28, 2016

The Battle Continues

No adequate words to describe the "worry" or "angst" on my son's newest diagnoses of Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) on the left side of his tongue. Is a fifth time the charm to be finally done with all this nonsense?? Believe it or not, after a routine post op visit on November 16th (with a PET CT scan in hand from two weeks prior), Dr. Ord, surgeon, of the University of Maryland, did not like what he saw on Ryan's tongue. He immediately ordered a biopsy and it was done within the hour. He ordered the results "stat", of course, but that took an agonizing week to hear back from the lab. On the day before Thanksgiving, November 23rd, the results indicated the SCC was back and another surgery scheduled for this Thursday, December 1st. There has got to be a silver lining here, don't you think?  Well, this one was caught relatively early, and the surgery is way less "invasive" than the one he had in May. Hopefully, the tumor will be removed with ultimate care and all margins will be clean with this surgery. Deep breath...

Faith, Hope and Love...

And although our hearts our heavy right now, we are so very thankful for loving hearts of our docs, a strong nuclear family unit, and family and friends near and far to lean on for support when we need it the most during the coming days.

Our ask: If you are inclined to prayer or positive thoughts, we would appreciate those on December 1st, including of course, Ryan, but the surgeons too, and all those wonderful folks that will be apart of his case.

Lastly, how does one cope with all this craziness? For us, it's by giving back, even in "small" gestures, like donating lots of quilts to the Peds Hem/Onc Department at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, compliments of my wonderful quilt guild, Southern Comforters of Bowie, Maryland.  Today, and for the next few months, many kids will be given a beautifully hand-made quilt with loving thoughts stitched into each and every quilt. A terrific coping mechanism for sure!


Photos of Ryan and Dr. Aziza Shad, Donated quilts given to Sinai with Ryan, Danielle (Art Therapist); and Kelley (Child Life) and the family.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Puppy Love

A girl and her dog is an everyday blessing no matter how old (the dog or human!). Unconditional love for both parties and a sweetness and trust that develops throughout the years of "ownership". Because, let's face it, do we own them, or do they own us? That is the question. For now, it does not matter a bit, just a loving heart that gives great joy!


A few photos from the weekend of "a girl with her dog", including myself and Loo-C, and "The Best Daughter" and Loo

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Small Thankfuls

I am still on the kick of being Thankful for the "small things" in life. I good cup of hot tea, a bright sunrise filtering through my lacy curtains "just right", and a small vase of pretty flowers that have lasted a long time in its' vase. All this beauty on a quiet weekend morning after the guests have gone  home and the kitchen put back together. Truly, a time to be reflective on all the goodness that surrounds us each and every day.

And on another note, the newly glazed bathtub was put through its paces of at least 20 showers over the last five days, and held up beautifully! A great thing to be Thankful for as this week draws to a close...