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!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Unspoken Bonds

The harrowing moments of difficult hospital stays is not easy for anyone. The minutes and hours tick by slowly with only the sounds of the IV pumps and a whole host of other equipment keeping your loved one safe and on a road to recovery. That comfort level of "just being" with a loved one and sitting close is all that is needed to feel that secure tight bond, and really, there is nothing like it. 

So, Ryan's update today:

At 6:15 AM today, Ryan was moved from ICU to a step-down unit. This is great news and his progress has been good to see.

The doctors are pleased...and we are treasuring each positive day. Incremental improvement...

Photo of Ryan and his Dad's (Bill) hands

Monday, May 30, 2016

Those Who Serve...

Memorial Day is the great day to remember, salute and thank the millions of men and women in uniform who have, and continue to keep our country safe from shore to shore! Through war and peace time, their efforts are long-lasting and appreciated by many the world over! Thank you!!

But as I update Ryan's status today,(doing about the same as yesterday and actually more aware- so some slight improvement), I cannot help but think of the nursing staff at any hospital world wide, who are on the battle field of life, protecting and caring for their patients on their battle of cancer, accidents, mental illness or pestilent disease. And leading up to Ryan's surgery this past Friday, while heading down a big holiday weekend, we were a wee bit concerned about the nurses and how Ryan's care maybe compromised. 

I am so thankful to report we had the best nurse we could have asked for in Kathleen! After the first day (following Friday's surgery) we asked if she could continue to be Ryan's nurse for continuity of care, and the fact she was that good! She handled all of Ryan's care, (and there is a lot of it!), and us, like a champ with her wit, charm and smarts like no other!

It just so happens that National Nursing Day was May 6th, so not that far off for us salute the millions of women and men in nursing scubs on their own battlefields of caring for life! 

BSoleille! The bright side of "Rock Star" nurses!

My photo is Nurse Kathleen!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Steady Progress Day 3

Anyone who goes through major surgery, managing pain, and the accompanying medications, becomes the chief concern. I think it's safe to say Ryan is no different, and we believe that piece of the recovery is going well. He baby stepped to a point that he was able to sit in a chair today. Now that is some mighty fine progress and we are thankful!

And by the way, those powerful prayers and well wishes are worth their weight in gold... Thank you!


1Wheelie Man- Richard Flanagan of Crofton, Maryland

It's not every day you can witness an "unofficial" Guiness World Record! But early this morning, the amazing and talented Richard Flanagan, second oldest of 13 siblings, father of five, and overall great guy, did just that! He rode a wheelie on the track at South River High School in Edgewater, Maryland, for exactly one hour and completed 64 laps, or 16.1 miles and therefore, rode 16.1mph!!!! Did I mention on one wheel? He beat the previous record by a mile, no pun intended. What an unbelievable accomplishment and I am so proud of Rich's tenacity to earn this record! So a big shout of CONGRATULATIONS to Rich and the entire Flanagan clan!!!! Well done 1WheelieMan!

And what impressed me/our family/and his crowd of supporters even more, is that he dedicated this feat to Ryan Tomoff, another brave warrior (wrote Ryan's name in bold letters on his left arm to boot!)

Please check out this article recently published on Rich:

BSoleille! The bright side of a World Record on One Wheel!

Enjoy some photos from today's ride of a lifetime!

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Wait is Over (Surgery)!

I am thankful to report Ryan is out of surgery and resting comfortably in the PACU. it was a tough day with a grueling 10+hours of surgery, but the tumor has been removed and his tongue has been reconstructed! Alleluia! Witnessing the miracle of modern medicine, coupled with outstanding medical professionals and surgeons, (who have been meticulously trained for years to do the most tedious surgeries) is simply over the top and incomprehensible to me. A big shout of THANKS to the entire medical team here at the University of Maryland!!

We have no words left to articulate our deep thanks to the many folks following along with us on this crazy journey, but please know we are forever changed by your support and grateful to each and every one of you! 


5:35am arrival time...

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Window of Thanks

In the next 12 hours we will be arriving at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, as Ryan will undergo 10 hours of surgery to remove the cancerous tumor from his tongue. As "we" face this adversity, we are truly humbled by the out pouring of concern and prayers as we march down this new cancer journey with Ryan. 

Life is quite remarkable with its twists and turns in all human lives, so we are not alone on this front. But for today, Ryan, and his sister, Olivia, are the true heroes on how they endured as kids through childhood cancer, and now as young adults, hitting the battlefield once again. They are amazing and make the most of each precious day (we all need to take pointers from these positive young folks!)

For one and all prayer warriors, please send positive thoughts for Ryan; a good night sleep for the surgeons (and all OR medical team personnel), with no headaches and a clear mind to start his case (and their wives cutting their steaks or apples tonight); plus strength for the parents/family to get through an arduous day on May 27, 2016. We are humbled and grateful!

On behalf of my entire family, THANK YOU!!!

BSoleille! One. Day. At. A. Time. 


My photo is my kitchen window with beautiful flowers for the simple happiness in life.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tennis Anyone?

In addition to a visit (and work engagement) from Uncle Don (Bill's identical twin) the past two days, the evening weather was great enough for the family to get out on the courts and swing our rackets for a spell. We all started out a bit "rusty", but we had fun anyways despite the "short comings" or balls not quite making it over the net. Love for sure!

Photos of the twins and Ryan and the tennis shots. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

TV Watching in 2016

Can you just sit and watch TV anymore? I mean do nothing else but stare at the TV? Due to the plethora of hand held and mobile electronic devices (including a lap top), there is simply no way to just sit and watch the game any longer. We all seem to be engaged in other activities while watching and I am A-OK with it all, basically, "multi-tasking". So sending an email, checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, is just the tip of the proverbial "ice burg". And this list does not even include all the games being played on a daily basis. What show are we watching?

Sitting on the sofa with a magazine and flipping through it during commercials is a thing of the past I am afraid. Tonight, while watching the Cleveland Cavaliers play the Toronto Raptors in the NBA playoffs, I have been able to text some folks, play my highest scoring game in Pacman (121,320), and be engaged in other computer activities (like photos).

The question now, is it possible to sit back and just watch? Or shall we continue to "second  or third screen" our evenings away? We will never be bored again. What happened to reading a book? Oh, snap, that is another blog post....

Photo of a "friendly" Botswana giraffe!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Outside Inside

With all the rain the past month, the "only" way to enjoy some flowers are the ones you buy and stick in a vase. So that is exactly what I did, so the family could enjoy a little bit of sunshine on another rainy Sunday. A washout for a lot the proms, weddings and graduation parties I presume, but hopefully those folks were able to celebrate in between the drops...


Friday, May 20, 2016

Building Resilience

When life throws you lemons, start making the lemonade. But what else can we do to combat sadness or worry? I am thankful for strong bonds with family and many friends spread throughout this big bad world, as each bond strengthens my resolve to do better and be better. Helping others is a good one too, as well as exercise and creating something beautiful on a daily basis. Everyone has moments in life that are devastating and "just not right", but it is the developing of different coping mechanisms that help to cross over those days that just may "stink"!  It's all about building resilience. 

BSoleille! The bright side of a lot of "lemonade!"


Photo of my sister Kimberly and Ryan at lunch today at Langways in Crofton!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Quick Update on Ryan

We are thankful (and cautious) by the encouraging results following the last two whirlwind weeks of Ryan's testing pre-op for squamous cell carcinoma on his tongue. We feel blessed with the medical team surrounding his care, and he feels good (except for some tongue soreness) leading into surgery next Friday, May 27th. 

As a family, we continue to be thankful and humbled by your continued support of prayers and well wishes for Ryan as he wages this battle once again. One. Day. At. A. Time. 



Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Clarens South Africa

To combat the angst of late, I spent a few moments visiting my photos from Africa and was instantly "transported" to a different place and time (only this past February, but hey, I'll take it!). Clarens SA is on the Lesotho border with the Drakensburg Mountains in the back drop. Beauty abounds and I am so thankful to have taken the opportunity to travel to this foreign land twice! (Big thanks to Helen and Dan).


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Sisterly Love

"The Best Daughter" and friend, Kelsey Long, decided to shower some sisterly love on Ryan after his doc appointment today. I'm thankful for the smiles and decent report heading into the next appointment this week. (More details on Ryan to come soon). 


Monday, May 16, 2016

Wacky Weather

Maryland has broken all records of consecutive rain days in April and May. And not only have we had lots of rain, but cool and damp days as well. However, even with all the rain in the last two plus weeks, the backyard roses continue to grow and bloom. My photo today is the first bloom of the season, and I am thankful it is so pretty and gives hope to better days ahead (in more ways than one)!


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Wing Man

My son Ryan is a great "wing man" in everything, but especially his super secret recipe of marinade that he mixes to prepare a boat load of chicken wings! And no rain or sleet or wind could stop him from grilling some delicious wings this past weekend, as my photos attest to his mastery at the grill!

BSoleille! The bright side of tasty wings....


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Feeling "24" Again?

So a beautiful Saturday morning led to a bike ride with "The Best Daughter" and former JMU college roommate, Haley Miller. They asked me to join them and I could not say no! The warm morning, topped with sunshine (we have not seen in a while) was the winning combination to get out the door and "ride like the wind"! I am thankful we got to enjoy the outdoors, plus I was able to "show off" my South African cycle jersey, compliments of Helen Gruneisen! It fit perfectly. 

BSoleille! The bright side of hanging with a couple of youngin's (24) on a bike...


Friday, May 13, 2016

"Mad" Mod Pizza

A family outing at a new fast casual "Chilpolte" type restaurant in town (Annapolis) called Mod Pizza was a rousing and tasty success! The ingredients are fresh, and the pizza has to be cooked in the hot ovens so there is a bit of a wait for the order to be table ready. But, when our names were called, the za's were worth the wait! The Mod Pizza joints are in 18 states, and I am thankful for one now close to us!


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Trees...

Today I called Benfield Tree Services and spoke with owner, Paul, on an estimate of 15 trees that needed to be removed, and pruning on a few others (including neighbor's trees hanging over the house). Paul was very professional, and we set a time for him to meet me at my Crofton home. Paul arrived 10 minutes early and quickly gave me a fair price estimate on all the above tree services. (I did do my due dillegence and had other quotes, one I am still waiting for). When asked when the work could be done, Paul and I walked over to his truck to look at his calendar. We settled on a date next week. Then, within an half hour, Paul called and said he could do the work today, and that his crew would be over in 45 minutes. Exactly 45 minutes later, he arrived with his crew and work trucks and equipment and got right to work cutting, pruning and removing lots of trees. 

Paul and his crew did an outstanding job on everything quoted, and actually took one more branch down that hung funny after the other trees were removed. They also cleaned up like they were never there (this included my yard and one neighbor's yard). Exceptional service! If you are local and need tree work done, I highly recommend Benfield Tree Service. 

No, I did not get anything special to write a review. But when folks do good work, stick to their word, why not compliment that superb customer service? That is a gift and I am thankful my yard looks good going into summer 2016!


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A "Just" Because Gift

Mother's Day was only two days ago, and I was the lucky recepient of a beautiful bouquet of flowers, wonderful cards and two boxes of my favorite (non chocolate kind) candy -Good n Plenty and Runts. So when TBD came home last night and gave me an unexpected gift (and on sale clearance), I was delighted. Now, if we can only get some warm weather and sunny skies for me to don these elephants....


Monday, May 9, 2016

Sounds of Sewing

After a tough week of emotional angst on my son's recent cancer diagnoses, concentration on any front is quite difficult. So, I am thankful today that I turned on my sewing machine and got back to work creating and designing a tshirt quilt! But more than that, the sound of the hum of the machine is sort of like a salve on some broken hearts within the house. 

BSoleille! The bright side of a humming sewing machine!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day 2016

To all the Moms, Grandmoms, Stepmoms and Fur-Moms, here's wishing you all had a great day celebrating with those you love and hold dear to your heart! Maybe a day of pampering was yours? Or a meal out? Or just hanging out at home was the perfect day? They all are great to call our own!


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Rocking The Red

NHL playoff hockey is the best, especially live and cheering on the home team: Washington Capitals! A bit 'o fun for some big fans of the fast paced game on ice. And, if you don't mind me saying, a nice Mother's Day evening with my guys! Those guys and me were also joined by my son Ryan's friend, Brian, who also came to cheer on the victory of 3-1 over Pittsburgh Penguins. 


Friday, May 6, 2016


Last Sunday, I bought $11.83 worth of chicken. I planned to make only one meal (chicken with peppers and onions), but as I cut away, I thought, why not make some tortilla soup? When that was all cut and all the other contents were cut and in the crockpot, I still had three fairly large pieces left. My son, Ryan, suggested I make breaded chicken, and so I did. The two hours spent chopping and dicing yielded three totally different meals, and I was thankful for that outcome!

BSoleille! The bright side of $11.83 worth of goods (chicken)!


Thursday, May 5, 2016

One Foot in Front of the Other

How does one get through tough times? Make lemonade out of lemons and by putting one foot in front of the other. I am very thankful for the outpouring of love and support for my son, Ryan, (and our entire family) as he goes down another road of tackling another type of cancer. 


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Changing on Dime

Life happens, and can change on a dime. Today, one of those "game changers" landed with a big thud as my 21 year old son was diagnosed with another type of cancer: squamous cell carcinoma on his tongue. After 11.5 years being cancer-free, it reared its very ugly head once again. Our hearts are broken, but we have already swept up the pieces, put on our game faces, and ready to FIGHT LIKE HELL!!!!! 

Focused WARRIOR=Ryan Tomoff


Sunday, May 1, 2016

April Showers....

Brings a whole lot of green leafed trees, as well as abundant flowers (well, if the weather cooperated and gets warm again, that is!). I could not get over the beautiful green leaves while cruising around the Crofton Parkway this afternoon. It was like this "forest" was glowing and every leaf seemed to be the same exact color for this photographic effect. Stunning actually....