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 (or paragraph 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 definitely been a challenge most days throughout the past eight years, and welcomed the challenge again this year - 2020 - Covid and all. I hope you will continue the ride with me!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thankful at Thanksgiving

Isn't that what it's all about?  So many things to be grateful for?  I try to make it a daily conscience effort because I am better in the long run; as I hope a better spouse, parent, friend and sister, and worker. Why not be grateful?

I would like to take this opportunity today to thank my blog readers both near and far, daily or "check-in-when-you-can", and to thank you for the kind comments you have left throughout the year. In 31 more posts (providing I blog daily in December), I will be closing on almost two solid years of a great writing adventure. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of seeing each day more clearly!!!


Photo of my contacts, a "thing" I am so thankful for since I've been wearing them for 37 years!  

Friday, November 29, 2013

Bright Friday

On a clear cold mid morning, the retailers  only made  a whopping $26.00 from my purchase of some quilting supplies at Joann's Fabrics. The crowds of retail enthusiasts were out in full force and there was not a single parking spot at the mall to be has (we tried), so we headed home to eat and walk dogs. (Better choice, really)

Lastly, I am thankful to help my sister Kimberly long arm one if her quilts, now that's a bright, not black, Friday. 

Photo of Kimberly, Olivia and the "dog cousins"!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

That Thanksgiving Spirit

For three out of four Tomoff's that's running a 5K race in the am when the temp was 28 degrees and windy, but sunny; getting the turkey in the oven for its six hour roast; and finally settling down with the family to eat the traditional Thanksgiving food all in about five minutes flat! (OK maybe 10, or it seemed like 10 minutes). The cleanup took the longest or so it seemed because the husband took the lead and did the majority KP duty. Now that's something to be thankful about!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Eve

So much to be thankful for during this holiday time, especially family, friends and good food bought today to prepare tomorrow and share in the great traditional American meal!  I'm really thankful my sister and her family made a safe journey to Maryland (driving in from Ohio), and that we will enjoy the company for the weekend!

BSoleille! The bright side of some relaxing  (Bill on sofa) and early food prep. 


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Big Bird....Nests

When I let the dogs out this morning, and before all the rain hit our area, I noticed most of the leaves are gone from the trees in the backyard. And even though there were grey skies, it seemed a bit brighter out without all those leaves. That moment gave me the chance to look up and see four fairly large birds nests that I have not seen since last year. I guess time will tell if the wind and rain will knock them down eventually!  All that hard work in building them. 



Monday, November 25, 2013

Can We Say "Overachiever"?

In my quilting circles, if someone makes a lot of quilts or produces finished projects, someone may call you an "overachiever". A little ribbing for being productive but all in good jest (at least I hope it is)!  So this afternoon I decided to put my head down and quilt, quilt, quilt on my Handi-Quilter Long Arm. No excuses or getting distracted with anything else (like cleaning the house up for Thanksgiving), just quilt and finish quilts. 

I'm thankful I stuck to my guns and finished two big quilts and loaded up a third. I guess I would call that being an "overachiever"!

BSoleille!  The bright side of finishing projects. 


Photo taken by "The Best Daughter" who was impressed with my focus this afternoon. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

And The Final Speakers

Were Ryan and Olivia , the one-two punch, (if you will) on childhood cancer survivorship and sibling issues at the Special Love Parent's Getaway Weekend!  They really did an awesome job speaking from their hearts on how it was as a patient (Ryan) and how it was being a sibling (Olivia) through some very turmultuous and challenging times in their young lives. Their intent was to articulate to parents with young children going through similar battles what exactly those children may be thinking and feeling but cannot express yet. I believe they knocked it out of the park!  I'm so proud of them!

BSoleille!  The bright side of an heartfelt speech. 


Saturday, November 23, 2013


What or who do you think of when you hear the word "heroes"?  We have all heard of "fallen heroes", "sports heroes", and "boy scout heroes", but for me this weekend, it's been the couples and individuals I met facing courageous battles with their cancer fighting kids. 

At lunch today, our speaker was Tom (and his wife, Sheila) Baker, founders of Special Love in 1982 following the death of their daughter from childhood cancer. Their grief was so intense they wanted to do something to help others and lesson their struggles of moving forward.  So by the grace of God, they had 30 campers in 1983 in what they called Camp Fantastic in Front Royal, Virginia. Fast forward 30 years and this camp serves over 100 campers every summer and growing!!!  That's a big "How How"!

Tom ended his speech with the following poem he wrote in 2012 that I simply love. And may I mention Tom is a very talented guy, and learned everything from his wife! (wink wink) 



"Who are your heroes?  Are they on the screen?  Do they play football and act real mean?  Are they on TV or sing your favorite song?  Are they politicians and tell us right from wrong?"


"My heroes are young, some with no hair. Some walk with a limp because of the brace they wear. Some have a shunt or a tube or two, some have an artificial leg they wear in their shoe."


"Some may look different than the rest of their peers, some do not talk much and tell you their fears. They have more courage than I can say, and they love life in a special way."


"They love everyday and the people they meet. And vow to the world, the big "C" they will defeat."


"When they are around, we all learn a thing or two, these are my heroes, for them there is nothing I would not do."


"They are my heroes, I know they are yours too!"


Tom Baker 2012 (with permission to put on my blog today)



Photo of Shari Fisher, Maureen Lilly, Marilyn Eichner, Tom and Sheila Baker (me between them)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Parent's Get-Away Weekend

I'm thankful to be back in beautiful Old Town Winchester, Virginia, to be a volunteer with Special Love's Parent Weekend. This great weekend consists of bonding and connecting with parents of children with current childhood cancer patients, survivors and bereaved. A little bit of something offered to all who come including insurance issues (we could all use this one), relaxation techniques, a glamour institute, Pilates or just taking a stroll down Piccadilly Street in Old Town. I am thrilled to be part if this special group of very caring people who want to help others on their journey of dealing with pediatric cancer and all that it entails. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of "thanks and giving". 

Photo of my hotel room as we prepare the gift bags for the families including Sharon Johnsen, Maureen Lilly and Shari Fisher 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

80 Yards of Fabric

I am so thankful to get notified by a Kidsquiltz client, Susan Miranda, co-founder (artist and teacher) of Upcycle Creative Reuse Center located in Akexandria, Virginia. She runs a non-profit organization working to collect and redistribute reusable materials for art and learning purposes.  A quilter had just dropped off lots of quilting fabric so she thought I maybe interested. I was and took a ride over to her great "shop" today filling two shopping bags to the brim ($25/bag)!  I felt like I hit a quilters' jackpot!

If local (or not) check out this website:  www.upcyclecrc.org

BSoleille!  The bright side of fabric acquisition!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Rocket Launch

Tonight's crystal clear night afforded a 30 second "glimpse" of NASA's rocket launch from the Delmarva peninsula (Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia). I only got to see the fireball as it quickly made its way streaking across the sky, but can honestly say it was way cool!

No photo on my part; no camera I own could do it justice. But I am Thankful it was so visible to the "naked eye"!

BSoleille!  The bright spot in the black sky this evening. 


Monday, November 18, 2013

Elvis in the Queue

While doing some heavy duty quilting this afternoon, and listening to the usual - The Eagles, The Cars, Billy Curlington, and Wolfgang Mozart, I could not help myself by throwing caution to the wind and put in the Elvis Classic Christmas CD, "If Everyday was Like Christmas"!  Man, can this crooner belt out the favorites and I could not resist it as one if my five selections in the CD player!

BSoleille!  The bright side of some early Christmas magic through song!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Something New

When I was in elementary school and beyond I had a garden through the schools (Benjamin Franklin in Cleveland, Ohio).  We grew all sorts of vegetables and flowers and I continued my love of flowers and growing things throughout my life (ask my husband about the 23 tomato plants someday). But I never grew an amaryllis or paper white until my neighbor bought me one this week claiming how cool it will be at Christmastime. So I took the plunge, read the box and planted the big bulb. I'm curious to see it grow!

BSoleille!  The bright side of a new thing!


Saturday, November 16, 2013

From Richmond to Wizards/Cavs BB

Great running event in Richmond this morning including my 8K run and "The Best Daughter's" half marathon in which she ran a PR of 1:37 (7:26/mile)!  Everyone was a winner despite the pouring rain at the 7am start of the 8K. We were all soaked!

Olivia's friend Ryan also ran a PR of 1:28 in the half. And since there were so many people (both runners and spectators), we did not see the finish of the Marathon. Maybe next time. 

Thankfully, a hot shower and a little rest afforded a "second wind" to attend the Wizards vs. Cavs Basketball game at the Verizon Center with the family!

BSoleille!  The bright side of witnessing the incredible support of all the runners in Richmond, Virginia this morning! Beautiful!


Friday, November 15, 2013

To Richmond

I will give it the ole college try tomorrow morning for the Richmond 8K. I am down here to also cheer on "The Best Daughter" and her running buddy, Ryan Collier, in the half-marathon. I'm thankful that this marathon, half marathon and 8K had such a great expo at the Arthur Ashe Stadium (got a cool pair of socks)!

BSoleille!  The bright side of a large running event!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

A "Selfie" with Two Friends

That means, according to Instagramers and snapchatters, a self taken photo. So today's photo is in the cafe at Wegman's where I met Patty G. and Angie Koz for our quarterly dinner. My "Pheen" family -(youth soccer Mom's)!  This past week was the last career soccer matches (college) for the girls who played on the Freestate Phoenix soccer team and current seniors. Bittersweet for sure! 

I wish all the girls continued success as they embark on career decisions and first jobs!

BSoleille!  The bright side of an end to an era!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Almost My Last Christmas Quilt"

A few years ago during the back to black Blizzards of 2010 (and before this blog), I put together and quilted four fairly large Christmas quilts. It was a lot if work, but they all turned out great. At that time I exclaimed, "I'm not buying anymore Christmas fabric and I'm not making another Christmas quilt".  I am eating crow and just finished another one at this past weekend's retreat. It's fairly scrappy, and I really tried to use up my Christmas scraps as well as my fellow quilter Trish's scraps. I will admit now I do not have much left in the way of Christmas fabric and will not buy another inch of it if I can help it!

BSoleille!  The bright side of whittling down a quilt stash of fabric. 


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

52 Is The "New" 25

Let's just say we can juxtapose the numbers around and say our Birthday number as how "old" we feel, so that's 25 for me (ok, well, on lots of days!)

I'm truly thankful for Installnet for starting my day by decorating my "pod station"; singing Happy Birthday, and bringing in treats for the whole office to share; and then ending my day with dinner with my son and quilting buddies at my favorite Mexican Restaurant, Mi Casita's in Crofton!  Now that's a great day of celebrating!  As my friend Shelley states on the eve of her mother's 96th Birthday, "getting old is not for sissies". 

BSoleille!  The bright side of being another year older, and hopefully, wiser. 


Monday, November 11, 2013

A "New" Bed for the Dogs

That "new" bed is our bed, and both pups have seemed to make it theirs even though they have two very nice ones themselves. My big dog Lucy-Loo was never allowed up on the bed until she took it upon herself last week to jump up and get comfy!  The first time I caught her was after a shower; I peeked into the bedroom and found her on my pillow and in my spot!  Sheesh!  Not sure how long she stays up because one swift kick may send her back to the floor and in her own bed. That's how we find them in the morning!

BSoleille!  The bright side of a cold night; a two-dog night!


Sunday, November 10, 2013

"One More Row"

That was my mantra today as I tried to quickly finish a quilt top today. Really though, nothing in making a quilt is truly "fast", but we try anyhow with various techniques to convince ourselves that something about the quilt making was "quick".  My "quick" took about six straight hours.....

BSoleille!  The bright side of quick quilt making techniques (say this one 5x fast)!


Photos of lunch at the West River Dining Hall and my "quick quilt". 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Cut, Cut, Cut

Except for leaving the retreat center three times for chow, my day was comprised of cutting through approximately 90 tshirts to turn into quilts. I did manage to sew on one quilt so far to change up from all the slicing and dicing of tshirts. And I hope to finish that quilt top tomorrow with a photo to boot!


Friday, November 8, 2013

Fall Retreat

My quilt guiild goes on two retreats a year, with our fall one called, "No Frills". Easy. No extras, just head down and sew sew sew. There are still plenty of laughs and chocolate (plus lots if other goodies) to last the weekend, and I'm thankful to be back on this beautiful "campus" to work on the many projects I brought with me. 



Photos of retreat center and my sewing space (quilt started last year; hope to finish it this year). 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Georgetown Friends and Sponsors Dinner

Another fabulous "Thank You" dinner at the Four Seasons in Washington DC from Georgetown Pediatrics to their band of supporters!  I am thankful that I was able to take several quilters from the Southern Comforters Quilt Guild who continue to graciously make and donate hundreds of quilts to deserving children battling tremendous diseases and illnesses. 

I also have to give a big shout of thanks to the recepients receiving recognition tonight including: Tracy Councill of Tracy's Kids (Art therapy); Edward Lahey (Chairman of the Pediatric Board); Homeland Security for bringing a junior cadet program to the hospital, and Tim Mooney, Hospital Administrator Extraordinaire,  who wore many hats with grace and dignity throughout his tenure at Georgetown!  A wonderful evening had by all!

BSoleille!  The bright side of truly "giving back"!


Photo of nine quilters plus three parents of childhood cancer survivors (seated L-R): Diane Kuell; Tom&Marilyn Eichner, Carmen Cheng; Pat Scully and Wendy Allen. Standing (L-R): Sue Lombardo; Florence Marion; myself and son Ryan; Sheila Walker and Mary Kay Kerr

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Library Books

How much longer will those two words roll off our tongues?  With so much social media, plus streaming books, music and videos off the web, who gets books out of the library?  Well, yesterday I did and I hope I can get to the hard cover books, DVD's and book on tape that I checked out.  I have to admit that I still like to go to the library and browse the many isles of books and everything it has to offer. Better yet, it is still a quiet place to think, and I'm thankful for that!

BSoleille!  The bright side of the public library. 


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Flu Shot(s)

My son and I got our obligatory, er rather, yearly, flu shot this afternoon on the buddy system. Not a bad way to make an unpleasant outing with someone doing the same thing and coming out the other end just fine (OK, I'll admit it, my arm is very sore).  But I'm thankful to knock that one off the list and hope it protects me/us from that nasty virus, or at least some strain of it. 

BSoleille!  There is no bright side of getting a shot!  Lol


Photo of my backyard Japanese Maple, beautiful!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Elves Workshop

My 2Bee with Top Elf Trish has been hard at work making our table top "favors" for our upcoming December quilt guild meeting, entitled "Winter Wonderland". We are hosting a table, and I'm thankful we planned ahead to get our work done well before the party over a month away. But isn't that what elves do?

BSoleille!  The bright side of sewing in Christmas fabric!


Photo of some fabric used today. The reveal will be in December on what those elves made. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I'm in Love

With. The. New. iPad. Air!!!  It's so sleek and fast and seems to operate on a whole new level than my "klunky" first generation iPad that's "only" three years old. Now I could have opened it up and have been up and running it in minutes, but, no, that's not the case with an IT loving husband. He informed me that we need to create a new library, and back everything up on an external hard drive, (and had to back up the old one first). Thankfully it did not take up the whole morning, but it was something I needed to do to keep it humming along for, I hope, a long time!  And what is a long time when it comes to technology??? A year? A day?  Two years?  Something new is already in the pipe line I'm sure. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of quicker, sleeker, lighter, better than, technology!


Photo of the dining room table with old and new technology

PS A shout out to my son Ryan for today marks nine years post Bone Marrow Transplant!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

"I Reckon"

Getting to know the facilities management crew at JMU tailgate parties, one gentleman in particular, Lowell, is a true Virginian who used the term "I reckon" three times in my conversation with him this afternoon. I loved how easily he used the word instead of "I know or you know"!  I'm thankful the day was bright, the football team won and we got to visit with "The Best Daughter" and her room mates. 

Photos of Bill the husband hamming it up with the coeds and the fall family photo


Friday, November 1, 2013

Red Banner Day

Maybe it's the main color out of doors, but today I wore a red shirt and selected a red cover for my new slice of technology with the launch of the new iPad Air!  All those games of soccer I referreed paid off when I ordered the thing online at 6:17am this morning and picked it up this afternoon. I can't wait to get to work and customize it to my liking!

BSoleille!  The bright side of new technology.