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!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Quilts at the Sports and Learning Center

I was lucky to spend yesterday morning with fellow quilter, and friend, Misty Cole, to check out the quilts on display at the Prince George’s County Sports and Learning Center. The area is a perfect space to hang several quilts from guild members of the Southern Comforters because the lighting is so good to feature each quilt. Many are for sale as well. This show runs through November 15th, so if you happen to be in the area, stop in to take a peek!



Photos of some of the quilts and Misty’s Political Circus (and it’s for sale!)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

21 Years and Looking Ahead 

I like milestone posts and today is a double one. This post marks 1900 blogposts since I began in 2012, and I’ve learned so much about life, myself, wordplay (and word smithing) in the almost six years of nearly daily blogging. A journey in itself. 

But the second milestone is much larger. Twenty one years ago today, Ryan, (Focused Warrior) was diagnosed with Leukemia. He was two years and two months old, a baby really. But I think it’s good to look back at times to see just how far you’ve come. And for Ryan, he’s looking ahead to continued health and good things coming his way. He definitely deserves it for sure. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the gigantic village of thousands of people who helped along his/our childhood cancer journey and beyond, and for this, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

BSoleille! The bright side of being deeply grateful...priceless 


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Choosing Kindness Always

It's been a tough past month of natural disasters of hurricanes, wildfires and tropical storms, plus the senseless killings in Las Vegas and now today, the bombing in Somalia. Although Mother Nature's advances cannot be stopped, I will try to always choose kindness and goodness in this crazy world we live in in 2017. I must continue to believe that most folks of the seven billion on this earth are loving, kind, and caring; because it seems like today it's the old adage; "one bad apples spoils the whole bushel." Of course, there are lots of bad apples everywhere, and as we all know, the bad stuff is what sells "newspapers", or gets more "clicks" on social media than humans helping humans. Why do we get sucked into watching and reading this stuff?

Hoping for peaceful days ahead...and choosing kindness...


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Doing Good Work - The Aslan Project 

I am thankful to have had an evening out to support and report that the Aslan Project www.aslanproject.org continues to do transformative work in Ethiopia, and now, developing a partnership for pediatric cancer programs in Nairobi, Kenya too. 

Most kids diagnosed with cancer in the US and in high-resource countries have an 80% survival rate (and many cured), but this is just the opposite in low and middle-income countries which is devastatingly sad to those kids and families who also fight the good fight as well.  

Believe it or not, the average cost of treatment in low-resource settings is $1,000, as opposed to over several hundred thousand dollars to treat pediatric cancers in the US. I think it’s simply fantastic to give these kids around the world a fighting chance; so why would we not?

Dr. Aziza Shad (Ryan’s doc) is the founding medical director of the Aslan Project and works tirelessly for children worldwide to beat cancer in all its “forms”. I couldn’t be more proud of all her efforts (and many behind the scenes) to bring hope to thousands of deserving children. 



Friday, October 13, 2017

This Butterfly is Free

“Free” from what, I’m not exactly sure, but it was fun in the making of this 20”x16” “replica” of a photo I took at Hershey Botanical Gardens in 2008. 

As coordinator of my guild’s challenge for 2017, I thought it would be fun to celebrate a century of light as the Nikon camera is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year. There are some specific guidelines as part of the challenge including the size, a black binding and inspirational photos to recreate in fabric. Embellishments are allowed and encouraged! Guild members have until November 8th, as the quilts will be revealed at that meeting. I made my free butterfly as an example, but working on another idea for the challenge. 

BSoleille! The bright side of “you can’t just make one”...like potato chips... can’t just eat one!


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Boo Crew

Several years ago I made a similar quilt entitled “Cats n’ Pumpkins”, and it even won a blue ribbon at the Southern Comforters Quilt Guild annual show. However, our home’s “black hole” swallowed up this quilt and I cannot find it anywhere, so I recreated it, and added a few ideas to the design for the new and “improved”, and now entitled “The Boo Crew.”

In addition to the mice and big print border, I increased the size of the cats and pumpkins and overall design. After it’s quilted (hopefully tomorrow), I plan to hang it in kitchen for some Halloween “spirit!” 

...and you know...the other one will turn up sometime...

BSoleille! The bright side of fall fun.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Birds on the Wire

So the warm temperatures continue in the mid-Atlantic even though we had some rain lately, but it’s the stinky and sticky kind. That’s okay, I’ll take it over any cold day. But the “funny” thing is these crazy birds are perched so eloquently on the wires as the rain pelts down on every single one of them. Are they up there for a birdie meeting? Or perhaps gossiping about other birds avoiding the high wires? I would love to know what they are “thinking!”



Monday, October 9, 2017

Ten Months Post Surgery for Ryan is Good

Our appointment today with Dr. Ord at the University of Maryland went well, and we are thankfully, and collectively, (the family) able let out one big sigh of relief. It’s been exactly 10 months since his last surgery, and we are doubly thankful to report on Ryan’s continued healthy follow up exams. It’s taken a long time for his tongue to fully heal and now grateful on how far he has come on many fronts with that huge battle behind him. 

BSoleille! The bright side of a good medical report. 


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Trust Your Gut

What I really mean to say is always trust your gut; it makes the life experience a little more palatable, and when you don't....oh well; chalk it up once again to "life experience".  Oprah Winfrey would say on her show many many times; "don't wait for the brick wall to fall on your head"; "start at the whisper". And...your gut and intuition is most always correct. If only...

Don't we all need a little reminder in trusting our guts and instincts?


Photo of the Cleveland skyline from a summer tribe game; and now in the playoffs!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

A Carnival of Soccer

The cornucopia of color at this weekend’s  Discovery Cup Soccer Tournament reminds me of a carnival atmosphere of vibrant colors and awesome young female athletes vying to win their brackets! All proceeds of this tournament benefit Breast Cancer Awareness month, so lots of pink is sprinkled throughout the Soccer Plex in Boyd’s, Maryland; all for a great cause. I am thankful to have “survived” eight games of soccer today, with four more tomorrow morning. Lots of good competition from the U12 and U14 age groups so far. 



Thursday, October 5, 2017

Fond of Forty Year Friendships

Visits with my friend, Maryjean McCarthy, are few and far between, so anytime that we can get together is cherished as it was last night in Baltimore. We met as juniors in high school (different schools, by the way) in a summer track program called the Easy Striders. We traveled with the team all over the Midwest and Ohio competing. We ran different events and cheered wildly for each other’s successes, both on and off the track, in which I’m deeply thankful for!

Additionally, our friendship endured while going to different colleges, marrying and moving away (her to New York), and me in Ohio until we moved to Maryland. But a quick touch base phone call was/is all it took/takes for us to adjust the needle on our longevity of friendship. Aren’t these some of the best kind to have in life? I like to think so...and grateful!



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

What a Pepper

This green pepper, no wait, red pepper, no wait, yellow pepper could not make up its mind while in the growing stages. But it was “screaming” to get out of the fridge and make something of “himself” or “herself”. There are distinctions between the two (3 prongs or 4 prongs on the bottom, and I forget which is which). So it happily went into my beef stew and played very nice with all the other ingredients, and I’m thankful for that!



Monday, October 2, 2017

Raffle Quilt at Friendship Star

The Southern Comforters Quilt Guild’s raffle quilt entitled: Rhapsody in Blue, traveled today to the Montgomery County’s Friendship Star guild to rave reviews as it was set up in the church narthex. Wendy Allen and I were very thankful for the interest and lovely compliments the quilt received throughout the entire evening. A big shout of thanks to all who bought tickets...will one of them be the lucky winner?



Sunday, October 1, 2017

Rich Flanagan Sets a Second World Record

Richard Flanagan of Crofton, Maryland, out did himself this picturesque morning with his SECOND Guinness Book of World records...this time with a 100 meter dash (on one wheel) wheelie!!! It’s not every day one gets to witness this unbelievable feat in athletics. I am so thankful that I and many were able to cheer him on to “victory”! Rich’s time of 10.85 seconds will be hitting the official books once Guinness gives the affirmative nod (lots of paper work and official documents need to be sent in which takes time). 

A wonderful crowd of family and friends came out to support Rich and his entire family at the South River High School in Edgewater, Maryland! A very loud “Woohoo!!!!!” does not even “cover” the diligence and passion Rich has for the love of one wheel riding and his commitment to break World Records!

Rich is simply an amazing guy along with grit and guts that’s unmatched in everything he does...and I’m not kidding. Those that know him well can and will attest to that fact!

BSoleille! The very bright side (star quality) of #2 Guinness Book of World Record for Rich Flanagan!


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Rah Rah Ree

Hit ‘em in the knee. Rah Rah rass...hit ‘em in the other knee! Quite apropos for a cheerleader’s chant as well as a custom tshirt quilt by needleonfull.com for junior, Caitlyn Baicar, and a football cheerleader at the University of Maryland (Go Terps!). She was very excited to pick up her quilt today, along with her mom, Cindy, who not only gave me one big hug...but two big squeeze hugs because she loved the finished product with all Caitlyn’s treasured youth keepsake tshirts. This made my day, and I’m thankful they loved the design, balance of colors and shirt placement from the many tshirts they gave me to use. 

BSoleille! The bright side of making my customers happy!


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Run For The Money 

The very first road race (running) I ran was the Playboy’s Run For The Money at the old coliseum in Richfield, Ohio. I was 15 years old.  It was a five mile race and an “older” woman in the neighborhood (she was probably 40 at the time) invited me and a couple of friends, who also ran, to go with her to the race. We were all friends with her son (who did not run, ironically), as she did not want to go by herself. At the time she was just getting into the running craze in the 1970’s. 

On our drive out there (about 40 minutes), we discussed “strategy” of the race as we were all first time road racers (and very nervous. We ran cross country, but most races were half the distance at the time. I really had no clue what to do until she asked me my best mile time. When I mentioned around 5:30 or so, she blurted out to run 6:00 per mile...and that’s exactly what I did. I ran the race in 30 minutes flat, which is by far, the best time I ever ran at that distance. 

A really good runner in the area who was a year older than me at the time placed first overall for women, and I was second or third. But...I won my age group and have kept my Playboy award all these years later...along with the tshirt that has its own “story” I will write at another time. 

BSoleille! RIP Hugh Hefner


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Candles in the Wind

Okay, maybe not in the wind, but I love the way a burning candle makes the home feel cozy, along with a great scent. For fall, our favorites are “Pumpkin Pie”, “Autumn Wreath” and “Carmel Salt”! We typically burn a candle most days of the year, so recently my son and I purchased a few more to keep our tradition in burning candles going. It’s hard to pick one or two (or, three or four) since there are so many good ones to choose from, but we like to try. 



Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sentimental Utensils 

Several years ago when we cleaned out our childhood home and moved my Mom into assisted living, my sisters and I took a few keepsakes and mementos for posterity. Since I love dishes, I took several of them and a glass candy dish that I still love today.
But, what’s kind of interesting, is that I only took one place setting of the cutlery that we used for decades and was “worn out” even back then. It’s funny, though, when I use the fork especially, the taste of it in my mouth brings me right back to being a kid. Honestly, it’s exactly the same!
I’m wondering if anyone else had a similar story too?!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Trio did the Du

Due to high waves and rip currents, the swim leg of the Bethany Beach triathlon was cancelled for everyone except the pros. And from what I heard, the pros had some difficulty is reaching the yellow buoys (start/finish/turns) on the course. Most folk did not mind, since safety is paramount in these events, but naturally, some were very disappointed. 

I am very thankful that our trio went with the flow, and had a great time running and biking on a hot sunny day at the beach (not a cloud in the sky). Okay, I must admit it was really hot, but we all gutted through it “just fine”. 

I’m excited to announce that “The Best Daughter” and Linda Misencik both place first in their respective age groups. Whoohoo!! Yours truly placed second in my age group and am thrilled with the entire event. Truly, we all were and that’s the true beauty of our trio and the Du Du Du!



Saturday, September 23, 2017

Tri and Du Ready

I’m a “big chicken” and backed out of the swim at packet pick up for the Bethany Beach Triathlon tomorrow morning. As I witnessed “The Best Daughter” and Linda Misencik battle the waves at “swim practice” this morning, I decided to opt out, and I think, for good reasons. One and two being 4 ft. waves and 8-10ft. swells. The race director is keeping a close eye on the water and rip tides and will make a decision in the morning on swim direction or possibly no swim event. 

But we are ready to go and it’s all for the “fun” of it...



Photos from the practice swim and my kit all set

Friday, September 22, 2017

Three Chicas in Bethany Beach 

So we missed getting to the beach this “summer” by one hour, but that didn’t stop “The Best Daughter”, Linda Misencik and I from “falling” into autumn with the BB First Responder Triathlon this weekend! First stop...da beach...and it can’t be beat. We are all looking toward Sunday with calm waters and sunshine for the rest of the bike and run course. With the swirling hurricane season on the East Coast (waves pretty high; 5-7 ft. today), it was great seeing people out and about enjoying the oceans “warm” temperature at 73 degrees, and still bunches of warm sunshine to go with it. 



Thursday, September 21, 2017

Quilt Bingo Quilt

This quilt was a block of the month from 1998! The blocks were won by Lori Costello, and Susie Stevenson finished the top. I quilted it on the Longarm and it’s ready to be “won” again at our Southern Comforters Quilt Bingo on Saturday, October 21st, Knights of Columbus Hall on Route 3, Bowie, Maryland. Doors open at noon. The perfect quilt to kick off the fall equinox I’d say. 



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

Tiny Nine Table Topper

My tiny-nine quilt top is done (shown in a previous blogpost this past spring), but not yet quilted. However, there happened to be some extra blocks left over, and I just could not not do something with them. So, my photo today is the table topper I "finished" today (minus the binding...which I plan to add a pop of color very soon). I can now say that I am "done" with those teeny tiny blocks for a long time, maybe never!?


Photo: Tiny Nines Table Topper

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Just TRYAN It in Alexandria VA

One hundred and thirty one kids (ages 6-14) participated in the Just TRYAN It triathlon at the Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia this morning. Whoohooo!!! It was a beautiful day for all racers to swim, bike and run...fast to raise funds for kids and families battling childhood cancer. My entire family volunteered at this special event, from the transition area (Ryan); the bike course ("The Best Daughter and Brian Phillips); the run course (me); and the announcer for the event (Bill). Believe it or not, JTI had over 140 volunteers to help all the youngsters finish their event and cheer loudly for each racer. We all could not be more tickled to help this wonderful organization.

In a previous blogpost (9/14), I happened to mention Ryan Darby, and his family's foundation, which is Just TRYAN It. And since 2010, they have raised $1.5 million dollars to help defray outstanding costs to families in treatment for pediatric cancer which is really fantastic! Many families need help during very trying times with their sick children. And because this race was held during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month makes is all the more special.

A big shout of Congratulations to The Just Tryan It leadership, volunteers and participants and the beautiful Episcopal High School campus where everyone felt welcome and parents were able to see their kids participation in each event throughout the magnificent campus.

BSoleille! The bright side of kid triathletes...even some racers with training wheels! Sooooo cute!


Photos from an amazing today

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Gold Medal Winner

While refereeing a couple of games of high school soccer at Broadneck High School in Annapolis, MD today, I couldn't help but notice the large stadium sign honoring Olympic Gold Medalist, Matt Centrowicz. He truly is a legend, and it's noteworthy to mention that at the Rio Games, on August 20th, 2016, he beat out Algeria's top runner, Taoufik Makhloufi, to win gold, a first for an American runner since 1908! That is a huge accomplishment, and am thankful to have watched it live last summer. It's terrific that his alma mater recognized the magnitude of this feat and put the sign up for all to to see!



Friday, September 15, 2017

Sweater Ready

Although it is way too early to think about "sweater weather", and I am going to hold onto summer as long as I can, we all know what's coming. Once we all can "resign" to cooler temperatures and have the "fall fashion" clothing, it's all okay, right? Fall is actually my second favorite season, with the harvest moon, good sleeping with the chilly nights and a hot cup of tea (or hot chocolate) makes it all quite bearable. So over the past few days, I've decided to "get ready" for those cooler days by using the "ultra hand wash" cycle on my washing machine, coupled with the best detergent - Woolite- to wash those loveable sweaters. Can you believe it's been around for 65 years! You won't be disappointed in the outcome, because everything comes out smelling fresh and clean. Really, it does.

Since it's still quite warm, the sweaters dry fast. Towels with sweaters on them (even chairs) hang all over the house until fully dry. Some take longer than others, but I will wait it out (no dryer even if they scream they want to go in!)

BSoleille! The bright side of if Mother Nature "decides" to  drop the outside temperature to 40 degrees, I'm ready!


Photo of one batch of dried sweaters!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Hyundai Hope on Wheels

It was an honor to attend this evening's Hyundai Hope on Wheels gala at the beautiful Marriott Marquis in downtown Washington D.C. during this Childhood Cancer Awareness Month of September. The Hyundai Automotive Corp. USA has been "golden" for 19 years because they had a vision to give back, thankfully, to childhood cancer. With the sale of every new vehicle over the last 19 years, Hyundai has donated over $130 million dollars to pediatric cancer research. Their goal is to help eliminate childhood cancer...and their research dollars have been doing fabulous work "behind the scenes" in labs all over the country. This is truly a remarkable feat, and they plan to continue to give back and stand behind the thousands of kids diagnosed every year through their implemented research and programs throughout many hospitals nationwide.

A big shout out goes to local pediatric cancer survivor Ryan Darby, who, at 14 years old, was one of two Hyundai Ambassadors who inspired and gave hope to kids all over the country during this two year ambassadorship. His family also has a foundation that you can check out here: justtryanit.com

I can speak on behalf of the thousands of families that are deeply grateful for the research dollars provided by Hyundai, in that, they continue raising the bar to give hope to every child being diagnosed with any type of pediatric childhood cancer in our world today!

BSoleille! The bright side of bright futures for many childhood cancer kids...


Photos of Ryan Tomoff and Ryan Darby; Ryan T. with Dr. Aziza Shad;  today's heroes and Bill, Ryan and I