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!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Power of One...

And that "one" is the Maryland state flower, the Black Eyed Susan. For years we had a large bed full of Black Eyed Susans until those Leland Cypresses grew like Giants and blocked out any sunshine to those wonderful flowers/beds. 

In May, I posted about the removal of 15 trees from the backyard, 11 of them those big tall cypresses. That cleared a path of more sunlight into that bed. Viola' I bet you can guess what happened. One BES popped up and I couldn't be more thankful for those dormant blooms that got their chance once again. Maybe I'll have even more next year. The future is bright with possibility; even for one more flower...and I'm counting on it!


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Poison Bottle Blocks

I have often thought about all the medication and chemotherapy my son, Ryan, as taken through the years with his battle of childhood cancer and beyond! So much so that I think some of them could, and should, be considered "poison!"

So when my friend, and fellow guild member, Misty Cole, developed a block-of-the-month pattern entitled: Poison Bottles, I knew I wanted to participate. Check it out here: Misty Cole's block-of-the-month pattern called Poison Bottle.

I did the first month's block awhile back, and today, finished the 11th month block using "new" techniques I polished up on during this past Saturday's quilt class. The history of the bottles is quite fascinating and truly a unique period of time, and so were the bottles that held the perilous substances!

The first block was done using bright colors (with the orange bottle leaning toward methotrexate - a chemo agent and very potent), but no embellishments.

The second block was done using candlewick thread in the bobbin and then embellishing with fabric paint and dots. It was fun seeing how the shiny thread would show up on the black background, and then enhance the block with those great dots. 

Thanks, Misty, for the great idea with Poison Bottles and all its glory beginning in the mid 1800's!


Monday, August 29, 2016

Let the "New Year" Begin...

Pardon me, but I base my year with the starting of school in late August or early September. It simply makes sense to me, (but I will celebrate on 12/31 as well, because why not?) Once January 1st hits, it's like the second half of the year, not the "beginning."

So the "fall" sports teams are out and competing, even though the temperatures are in the 90's here in Maryland. For me, it's back on the pitch, enjoying all the high school athletes donning their school uniforms with pride; coaches barking instructions from the sidelines, and lots of parents observing their kids in action. And that freshed cut grass is totally awesome (unless the game is on turf!) Wooohoo!


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Dazzling Dots...

Zen dots are cool; so cool and fun, in fact, I'm thankful to have taken a class today "perfecting" making dots. And lots of dots....On fabric. After doing a bobbin outline of super thick and sparkly thread. Our fearless teacher was Bonnie McCaffery, the same gal who gave my guilds lecture this past Wednesday. We started with doodling exercises and progressed from there. My "big" project was a super duper sized letter "T", and I like it after placing all those colorful dots...


Friday, August 26, 2016

National Dog Day

Today is designated as "National Dog Day", or for most of us, how about, "Man's Best Friend Day!?" If you have a dog or ever had a dog you know how they really do become part of the fabric of a family. Luckily, over the past 27 years, I have lived with three "good ones!"  The most difficult part of dog ownership is that they do not live as long as we would like them to, so we have to love them up twice as much. And once past the puppy stage, each day is remarkable with a furry four legged friend. 

So cheers to all dogs across the globe! May you have endless people to love, dozens of chew toys and tennis balls, good chow, and a safe place to rest your pretty head!


Dog #1- Wally (1990-2006)
Dog#2-Lucky (2001-2015)
Dog #3- Loo-C-Loo - 10 years old

Thursday, August 25, 2016

"Throw Back Thursday" from Last Week

Before any more time slips away, I want to have "Guest Blogger", Bill Tomoff, describe what stepping out of his comfort zone means to him from our trip out West. (Now, I could be "snarky" and say he has been married to me for 29 years, and he has really stepped out of comfort zone on many occasions, but I'll let that one go!) 

Please enjoy this one from Bill:

Take a Hike...Outside Your Comfort Zone

"Coming out of your comfort zone is tough in the beginning, chaotic in the middle, and awesome in the end...because in the end, it shows you a whole new world !!
Make an attempt..."

In the past year, I have committed to take on challenges that take me outside my comfort zone. I am a conservative personality and an accounting professional...risk averse as one might expect.

As Manoj Arora notes in the quote above, make an attempt and you will feel awesome and experience "a whole new world."

I recently shared my "Journey to 100 TED Talks" and have been thrilled with the content viewed. Many talks challenged my perspective and have pushed me to regularly reflect outside my comfort zone. This has truly been awesome and I have continued to date...now to 141 talks and counting!

While son Ryan was attending Special Love Camp Fantastic this past week, the rest of our family challenged ourselves with an outdoor adventure to Zion National Park in Utah. My wife, Terri, and daughter, Olivia, and I did hiking excursions every day. Our accommodation was a "covered wagon" at the Zion Ponderosa Resort Ranch. The wagon included 3 beds, but did not include electricity! Amazing, and a sign of the times we live in, the entire resort area had free wi-fi service.

The week included many moments of being outside my comfort zone, but I now reflect back on the week as one of our family's most incredible vacation endeavors!

A "bucket list" item for Olivia involved hiking Angels Landing which is considered a strenuous and dangerous hike. Thankfully, I was not fully aware of the extent of the 5 mile journey we set out to complete. Completing this hike and sharing the challenge with Terri and Olivia was an amazing highlight of the week and a moment none of us will ever forget!

The YouTube link below provides a fabulous 4 minute overview of the hike.

What is outside your comfort zone? Commit to regularly take on these opportunities. You will feel awesome and experience a whole new world.

Ryan at Camp Fantastic

Our Covered Wagon accommodations for the week

Terri and Bill hiking The Narrows in Zion National Park. Photo modified using the PRISMA app.

Terri and Bill in The Narrows. Our hike distance about 9 miles and took about 4 1/2 hours.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bonnie McCaffery at Guild

Our quilt guild was lucky to secure Bonnie McCaffery for tonight's lecture. She has international fame as a quilter, lecturer, and student of the craft. And although she is an outstanding quilter, she has found a new path in portrait photography. But tonight she lit up the room with her exquisite quilts, her passion for the quilting she once enjoyed and her bubbly personality through her slide presentation of her large body of work. Kudos to her as she pursues new artistic avenues!

You can check her out here:


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Puppy Love

Over the past weekend while hosting family from Ohio, they brought their one year old Havanese pup "Joy"! And she surely was; so cute in a bundle of nine pounds! Our Lucy took it all in stride being cool as a cucumber when the little one begged her to play, but found her safe space when she needed a break. Don't you wonder what they are thinking?


Monday, August 22, 2016

Apartment Help

Getting that first apartment after college, well, is not much different than college (especially in expensive cities like DC!) People leave things no longer needed or wanted, and to make rent, you live with at least three other people. But, there's that "trying to make it your own" mentality, and I get it. So, with a newly purchased bed frame, and a $10 night stand from Goodwill, "The Best Daughter" is finally making her small corner of this apartment her own! In two hours we also disassembled a bed, cleaned up the laundry room (probably has not been cleaned in five years-and I'm not kidding!), and vacuumed. A good start now going forward. 

BSoleille! The bright side of "inching to freedom"!


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Vacation "Blues"

Once back on the homefront following a glorious week out West, reality sets in mighty quick with dirty laundry and relatives visiting from Ohio! But we roll on through and are very thankful for time well spent in both places and familiar faces. We know summer is winding down (too quickly I may add), so let's squeeze out what is left of it!


First two photos using app Prisma...and Alex and Karen Tomoff (husband Bill's older brother and his lovely bride - celebrating 35 years of marriage this week!)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Workin' at the Car Wash

Raise your hand if you take a car rental to the car wash before turning it in? We did. First time ever. But the dirt and grime accumulated throughout the week at Zion and Bryce definitely merited a good cleaning. So for $16 (not including a tip), these guys hustled away cleaning this vehicle like I've never seen before (and never one of our cars back home I can say that). Great to see the "work ethic" is alive and well, and I'm thankful for that!

A big last night spent on the strip in Vegas, and I won $20 on the Big Wheel, my favorite game to play! And, oh, I started playing with only $1.00!


Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Narrows in Zion

Typically, vacations should/would/could be considered oxygen to the soul. Maybe even, a peaceful sanctuary for some unbelievable moments in time. 

Today's hike was met with all the above coupled with serendipity in meeting up with my good friend (and former college roommate), Rosalie Franek, and her daughter Bridget. A last minute trip West by Rosalie to meet up with her daughter driving across the country landed them in Zion at the same time as us, but only for this one day. 

We could never have "planned" it, but it worked beautifully, and we all were so thankful that it happened as we waded and slipped through the waters of this "Wall Street" canyon. Stunning views all around. 

BSoleille! The bright side of serendipity moments inside of Zion National Park!


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Bryce Canyon or Upsidedown Chandeliers

Another glorious day in the books for canyons, this time Bryce Canyon about 1:30 hour drive from Zion. Pretty red colors (iron) that make these wonders of hard rock and minerals magical! Some looked like trophies and upsidedown chandeliers (at least to me). 

Once back to Zion, we did a short hike to the Canyon Overlook! Wowee on that once too!


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Angels Landing-Zion National Park

A bucket item I never knew I had until today, but now thankful to check that box, was the "iconic" hike to Angels Landing in Zion National Park. It's a doozy for sure, and hubby Bill was ready to throw in the towel the last .5 mile to the summit! But we all persevered due to our cheerleader and fearless leader, "The Best Daughter", who set this whole trip on doing this "one" hike! We could not disappoint her now could we?

Onward ho!

All the laughing and joking stopped because we needed to catch our breaths and concentrate with each step up the steep climb (not so with the daughter)! And thank goodness for the chains to help steady and balance on all that rock with drop offs of 400-500 meters on each side! Whew! But what a view we had once we reached the summit; another gratefully stellar day. 

BSoleille! The bright side of a tick off the old bucket list! Ha!


Monday, August 15, 2016


I think Zion National Park has just about every superlative in the books on its beauty and grandeur, and I can add nothing new, word-wise, of the splendor found all around these parts. 

What I can add is that I am thankful to have made this trip with my family -enjoying all the aspects of the park; hikes and wildlife and the low humidity even on a hot summer day! 

Big horned sheep made some slow going this morning, but I don't think anyone (in the cars behind me) minded. These animals needed to cross the road, and we all needed to wait it out!

BSoleille! The bright side of a "living masterpiece!"