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!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lucky and the Cats

When I miss a posting like I did yesterday, the next day (today) I tend to ruminate all kinds of things I should/could have said but didn't.  The topics in my little pea brain head had me thinking all day, which is a good thing, I guess.  So tonight, as we "close" the fall season and all the festivities of Thanksgiving and giving thanks to the blessings in our lives, we look foward to the hopeful and wonderful season of advent, Christmas and Hanukkah that is closely on the horizon.  Luckily, the mild temperatures today lent itself for many folks to decorate their homes with the lights of the season in my neighborhood, and I must say, looked so pretty on this first night.  So, as we decorate, bake, party and meet up with friends and family this season, I quote Bill Blass - "When in doubt, wear red!"

BSoleille!  The bright side of my topic sentence that has nothing to do with the post, but ahh, it does match my photo today!


Friday, November 28, 2014

Into the Fray

I must admit I got sucked into a "little" retail therapy Black Friday Shopping today. Two trips: one for only fabric (tshirt quilts) and the second one with "The Best Daughter" to our local mall. The gents then met us at the mall food court for a quick bite at dinner time.  Thankfully, this trip was not in vain as we all successfully worked on our "secret Santa" gifts and came home with some loot for that big day in December.  

BSoleille!  The bright side of some "good deals"!


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

I am very thankful to all my blog readers, and I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Collectively, we have to be thankful for. 

My photos today came from "sunny San Diego" and Cathy Kimpel who sent this out today as well. 

BSoleille! The bright side of a traditional holiday meal and a nap!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Eve

Maryland has officially joined the "snow" race, and thankfully, no where near the folks in Buffalo, New York. A dusting is all we had and it came and went quite quickly. My hope is those traveling today and this weekend have a safe and sound trip!

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Running Cars

With four drivers and the same amount of cars, I (we) am (are) thankful for our vehicles running smoothly. Oil changes and rotated tires on a timely basis certainly help the cause (along with a great mechanic, of course), and it makes me giddy when a vehicle hits a milestone as our 2004 Civic hit yesterday: 100,000 miles! 

BSoleille! The bright side of being thankful for these wheels going round and round!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Week of Thanks

I am thankful for a "walk in the park" that took about 2.5 hours with "The Best Daughter". This hike is also known as The Billy Goat Trail -A in Potomac, Maryland. We just loved the views of the Potomac River and rock scrambles throughout the trail and the mild temperature (70 degrees) made it all worthwhile. This was a great kick off to Thanksgiving break!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Revolutionary to Civil War

Winchester, Virginia is certainly steeped in American history. I am thankful that my "better half" and I had a chance to walk all over the downtown historic district late morning. We went from General George Washington's Fort Loudon House to Stonewall Jackson's Headquarters while winding down some brick and quaint streets. The take away was we want to go back to that area. 


Seriousness to Square Dancing

The Special Love Parents Get Away weekend (for parents of childhood cancer diagnoses in all stages of the continuum) is designed for some education, relaxation, and rejuvenation if possible. Our morning speakers, Peter and Vicki Brown, founders of the Mattie Miracle Foundation, were great in telling their story of their son Mattie who battled but lost his fight with osteosarcoma in 2009. They are now spearheading an ambitious effort in stardardizing psychosocial care in pediatric cancer patients and their families across the nation. Their commitment to this endeavor is inspiring and unwavering and I hope this paradigm shift happens very soon. 

The afternoon was comprised of great volunteer message therapists, make up artists and Pillates instruction that, I believe, all parents were delighted by those efforts. 

And lastly, the evening program was "down home" square dancing with Caller Rich Steadman and his eight dancers. They led and taught those willing to try and it seemed like everyone enjoyed do-si-do-ing, swinging their partner and promenading them home!  How How!


Friday, November 21, 2014

Winchester Weekend

Known for their wonderful apples (and Civil War History)in the Mid-Atlantic, Winchester, Virginia, on this weekend before Thanksgiving, is also known for the Special Love Parents Getaway weekend. Tonight the planning committee descended early to meet for dinner and put together the gift bags for the 37 couples coming tomorrow morning. Lots of goodies were donated for the bags so the  parents can really enjoy a snack or two!  I am thankful for this for sure!

BSoleille!  The bright side of dinner at Piicadilly's in Old Town Winchester. 

Photo includes: seated/ Lee and Sharon Johnsen; Shari and Andy Fisher and my husband Bill and me. 

Other photo includes Tom Eichnet helping with the gift bags!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Little Song Surprises

I guess I am getting "older" by the hand-me-downs I get from my kids. They seem to get all the new fun stuff and the adults seem to get the cast offs (and let's face it, we bought them in the first place). For example, the iPod I listen to on my "training" runs was "The Best Daughter's" then handed down to my son, and now I have it. The "windshield" cracked and they both did not want it anymore (however, it never affected the playability, mind you). I am thrilled and very thankful that they packed 1500 songs of every genre (except classical) so it feels like a new "song surprise" every three or four minutes (I never look at it to see the song being played either). 

BSoleille! The bright side of reggae, hip hop, country, rhythem and blues, and rock and roll keeping pace every step of the way!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Besides sugar and spice of what little girls are made of, pink seems to be a favorite color for wardrobe (and usually picked out by moms, grandmas, and aunties). My photo today is a tshirt quilt I made for little Katie B. Her mama dressed her in some very adorable clothing that she has grown out of, and I was happy to make this one of a kind quilt for her. Now on to finish her brother's quilt!


Monday, November 17, 2014

May All Your Lights Be Green

In between working on tshirt quilts I snuck in finishing the last border on this green quilt. These 1/2 squares triangles  and 4-patch blocks could be arranged in a bunch of different ways and combinations, but I really like the way I used "Jacob's Ladder" layout for this quilt cool quilt. 

BSoleille! The bright side of secondary patterns in a quilt. 


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chicago Visitors

A visit from our friends Barbara and Van Diggelen who hail from Chicago, Illinois, was a real treat this Sunday afternoon, including brunch at a local restaurant in Crofton. It was so great to catch up with them (Bill and Van on the accounting front, and Barbara and I on the quilting front-including show-n-tell, of course). 

Barbara was able to touch and feel my quilts in "real" time, but with smart phones, I was able to see photos of her beautiful quilts as well. Fantastic!

BSoleille!  The bright side of the joy of friendship spanning a couple decades!


Saturday, November 15, 2014

American Fitness Half Marathon

A crisp temperature of 26 degrees with bright sunny skies ushered 10,000 runners at the start of this morning's half marathon in Downtown Richmond. (There was also an 8k race and full marathon as well). 

I am so thankful to have finished this race with "The Best Daughter" running step for step as she positively cheered me/us on from the start. I am equally thrilled by the all positive energy in abundance throughout the entire course, even though we finished with the temperature rising to 28 degrees! Once we started though we were quite comfortable in a couple miles. The long running tights and our shocking pink long sleeved shirts with embroidered "Like Mother..." and "Like Daughter...(Shout of Thanks to Sheila Walker for the great embroidery work) were the hit for those who noticed!

We finished in a respectable 2:01 (for me) or about 9:23 per mile pace. Now you know what this means?  I need to do another one and break two hours! Funny thing though it has been over 14 years since I have run a race over 5 miles or a 10K and I can say now, I really enjoyed it!

BSoleille!  The bright side of all those training runs, mostly alone, to convene with my daughter Olivia and 10,000 other runners on a beautiful fall morning. That is truly something to be thankful for. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Richmond Bound

A pleasant ride down to Richmond, Virginia landed me at the Arthur Ashe Convention Center where I met up with "The Best Daughter". We are here for the Richmond half marathon tomorrow but had to go to packet pickup for our bib numbers. In addition to that there were lots of running gear "kiosks" to peruse with a plethora of cool stuff (I love the socks and bought two pairs). 


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hot Chocolate at the Bank

When I walked into a local branch bank (not my usual one), I noticed the dum-dum lollipops and mints on the counters which is "normal" at most banks, I suppose. As I approached my teller to do a little banking, she asked me if I would like some hot chocolate right off the bat. She caught me off guard and I initially said no. But once the transaction was complete, I changed my mind and said I would like some. I think I made her day when I said yes. She turned and ran out to the lobby to show me their "new" machine (not a Keurig, but Flavia) and prepared a steaming cup of hot chocolate for me!  Definitely service with a smile!

BSoleille! The bright side of a "Dove" cup of HC!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

VIP Treatment

A social media blitz of phone calls, texts and Facebook greetings can surely make one feel pretty special on their birthday as I felt today!  Lots of love coming my way from near and far which was very much appreciated (along with flowers and my favorite candy from my husband). A long walk this morning, lunch out with my neighbor and birthday buddy Kathy Cook, and a quilt guild meeting rounded out this fantastic day!

BSoleille! The bright side of being another year "wiser"!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Full Gutters

One of my least favorite tasks of home ownership is gutter cleaning (unless Linda Misencik is in town, that is). Frankly, it is a thankless job and it seems, at least for me, that the pine needles and leaves keep a coming!  On the flip side of this is the brilliant hues of those very same leaves that is simply stunning. Interestingly though, up on that ladder all afternoon had me peaking up at some very handsome leaf turning trees against a very blue sky. Beautiful!

BSoleille!  The bright side of deep reds, oranges and yellow leaves. Enjoy, as the riot of color is brief! 


Monday, November 10, 2014

The Optimist Club

We have all heard of The Optimist Club at some point of our lives. Their mission is to develop Optimism as a philosophy of life using these tenets: promote active interest in government and civic affairs; inspire respect for law; promote patriotism and work for international accord and friendship among all people and to aid and encourage the development of youth in the belief that the giving of one's self in service to others will advance the well-being of humankind, community life and the world.

I am thankful that my son Ryan was referred by Special Love Inc. CEO, Dave Smith, in attending the Optimist Club meeting in Bethesda, MD tonight. Special Love/Ryan was one of two youth organizations (the other being Best Buddies) that was recognized for their positive commitment in helping youth in accordance to their mission. Ryan shared with the group some of his cancer journey, but equally important, he shared his role as a Camp Fantastic camper, and now,  how he has transitioned into a CF counselor. A nice night highlighting two great youth organizations.

BSoleille! The bright side that for over 30 years this Optimist Club has sponsored the annual Special Love Holiday Party (and other camp events as well),  and for this we are truly grateful!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

"Top Finisher" at Retreat

The three quilt tops completed this weekend were in various states of the process of completion even before I hit the retreat center. This means I had squares already precut to just sew, or some parts of the blocks were already done ahead of time so I could finish them whilst sitting and sewing for 15 straight hours!  However, the operative word here is "finish", no matter what state the project is in. And...we do break for meals and snacks.....a lot on the snack side both salty and sweet to help carry us through the day. 

So as this weekend draws to a close, I am thankful for another great weekend of friendship and finished projects on the West River. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of being a "top finisher" of quilt tops!

Photos from Saturday/Sunday: (1) Pam Budesheim with her stunning scrap quilt;(2) the 2fat 1/4 bag we made;(3) Three tops 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

West River

Quilting retreat on the West River all weekend. No frills. I am planning on being a "top" finisher-meaning I am machine piecing and finishing quilt tops, but will throw in some other fun thing too (a bag with 2 fat 1/4's is the plan for Saturday). 

Beautiful sunset captured in my photo today. 


Thursday, November 6, 2014

The "Artdoors"

First thing I thought of this morning was the "Autumn Mood" painting from last night. It felt good to learn something new and exciting (at least for me). So when I ambled over to the back door to let the dogs out, and looked up, there smack dab in front of me was the painting, grey skies and all. I quickly snapped the photo with my phone to document "life" imitating "art"! (Though the camera phone does not capture the vibrant colors that are out there, you will have to trust me on this one!). How funny was that?

BSoleille!  The bright side of art and life, as intertwined in our daily lives. 


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Paint Party

Back in the day if you mentioned a "painting party", that meant getting a few friends to come over and help paint something in your home or apartment (walls, doors, and trim). The "new" painting parties are becoming very popular, but instead of helping a friend or sibling paint walls, you actually paint a painting of your own; basically unleashing your inner Georgia O'Keefe!

Tonight I hosted a paint night run by my neighbor, Lauren Carlo. She is a very multi talented recent college grad who majored in Art and English Literature. Lauren took a group of mostly non painters and turned us loose on channeling our creative juices to produce  our final product of a fall scene.  In a matter of a couple of hours we went from blank canvas to our own personal "work of art"! Magic....

BSoleille! The bright side of "exactly different" in all 10 paintings!  Fun!

Photos from the night. Photo of Linda Duret and her painting (she left before the group shot)

Group: L-R: Lauren, Mary Kay, Trish, Kathy, Mary, Gwynn, me, Cappy and Angie. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

To Vote

I hope many got out to vote today. Reluctantly, I must admit, only 50% of my household voted, and as the results are trickling in, may the best candidates win their election. Truly it is a good feeling to exercise our right to vote, because many people worked hard (think women suffrage in the early 1920's) to include everyone in this American process of democracy!


Monday, November 3, 2014

Do You Believe in Miracles?

Ten years ago right now, my son Ryan began his Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant at Duke University Hospital.  The 931cc's of rich marrow from Ryan's gracious donor, Scott Harris, along with large polys of rich red blood cells (A+) took a total of seven hours to infuse.  It was a complex night of anxiety and fear, but as the hours slipped by with no adverse reaction to the new marrow, a glimmer of hope developed that strung together 10 years until this very moment.  What a wild ride following that day, and I am thankful to report that Ryan is an healthy 20 year old community college student working part-time at our local Chipolte!  I/we are indebted to the many people who helped us on this journey of battling childhood cancer, so for this, we deeply THANK YOU!

BSoleille!  The bright side of "Oh Happy Day!"

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Good Ref Crew

The High School soccer season is winding down for the state of Maryland. This coming week are regional finals with the state championships right around the corner. Last Friday evening I had the pleasure to work with a great crew for a regional semi final at a local high school in my county that was hard fought. This coming week I have an assigned regional final game that will be just as exciting!

BSoleille!  The bright side of good soccer and their officials. 

Photo: Mark, Julie and me

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Rain Rain Go Away

Nope, a rainy and cold day did not deter us from heading down to JMU for our last football game with our "super senior student Best Daughter". Actually, the tailgate was the rainy part, and it thankfully cleared for the game. Final score: JMU beat William and Mary 31-24.