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!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November Blues

On this last day of November, with a super moon on the horizon in the next couple days, I couldn’t help but take one more photo of the late November sky...sans leaves on the trees. The ink dark sky developing with the last bit of bright orange and yellow light cast an usual juxtaposition of this scene.

 Let’s all take a deep breath before the “madness” that typically sets in the month of December...Santa and all!



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Caught Sleeping Around 

...the house. Not what you were thinking, it’s Loo-C-Loo finding “comfort” in any fashion she can. Sofas and beds seem to be her favorite (of course,as in most dogs...if they are allowed!). It’s not she is allowed, per se, but she’s 75lbs and we don’t “argue” with her sleeping choices!



Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Rockin the Red Part 2

Yesterday I shared a story of Rockin’ the Red with the NHL Washington Capitals and their visit to MedStar Georgetown. It was a great afternoon and Ryan and I are still glowing about it. 

But while out on a run, the beauty of the vibrant colored leaves...”leaves” me speechless. Of course, a photo doesn’t do proper justice, but I will continue to try to capture the moment of the autumn beauty that abounds steps outside any door. These maple leaves are simply spectacular!

BSoleille! The bright side of the morning light dancing around the “rockin the red” leaves”. 


Monday, November 27, 2017

Rockin The Red

If you are a CAPS CAPS CAPS fan, you know what Rockin' the Red means. For Tracy's Kids Alum, Ryan, and his tag-along, Mom Terri, it meant meeting up with the entire team today at Medstar Georgetown Hospital in Washington D.C., compliments of the Hope for Henry Foundation. The team wore light purple jerseys in honor of their cancer awareness month (November), and Ryan, was ironically in his "happy place" in the Peds Hem/Onc Clinic.

Laden with a backpack of pucks, player cards, posters and a jersey, Ryan bantered with the guys as they signed their "John Hancocks" on many of the things Ryan asked and handed them over to sign. They were all very good natured about it, and Ryan was giddy with the "up close and personal" with many of his favorite NHL players. For a huge sports fan that Ryan is, he was definitely thankful to hang with them for an hour this afternoon (and so was his mother!).

But a picture is worth a thousand words...so here are a "few" from this afternoon.



Sunday, November 26, 2017

I Wonder

I realize that "not many" folks like to fight the crowds, the cool/cold temperatures and the pricing of going to the movies nowadays because of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and a host of other ways to download movies and TV shows in the comfort of your own home. But, I am going on a limb here, if you want to see a great movie, IMHO, get to your nearest theater and take in "Wonder"! It was date night for me and hubby Bill, and he suggested it (and highly recommended by friend, Debbie Martinko, and Brother-in-Law, Alex). We were not disappointed, shed a "few" tears throughout the entire movie, and were the last two in the theater as the credits scrolled on...with many tears in our eyes.

This movie resonated with us and our family dynamics in more ways than one! If you do see it, or have already seen it, many themes paralleled our young lives with a child with cancer. Certainly, this movie will resonate with many families facing incredible battles with sick and "different" children, of course, but, more importantly, I hope it will open up the eyes and hearts of many people on how we all march on day by day with whatever the world throws in our paths. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly...

BSoleille! The bright side of....Wonder!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Friday Family Fun

I know I am posting on Saturday, for Friday, but "Black Friday" was more like "Sunny Friday" (here in the mid-Atlantic) with a little shopping, a lot of family time and ending the day with Blue Crabs at Cantler's in Annapolis. I do have to interject here, though, that I am more of the "opting outside" gal, but the "little shopping" brought a whopping surprise for me.

For the record, my son Ryan "quit" wearing denim jeans when he was 18 months old. That is absolutely true, and he "threw a fit" if I/we tried to wrangle a pair on him while getting him dressed as a wee toddler. So we "quit" too, and soft sweat pants or shorts (and hospital gowns) were it for him for a very long time. Ten years later, when we was 12, he was cast in the ensemble of his middle school musical, Oklahoma!  The director insisted that the ensemble wear denim jeans, so Ryan reluctantly wore the two pairs of "Goodwill" jeans I got him to wear for the play for two or three consecutive weekends. Once the musical was done, the two pairs were donated back to Goodwill.

Now eleven years later, with the influence of smart and good looking cousins, Ryan ventured into a popular store (with clothing that is age appropriate and fits great!) yesterday to slay off all denim demons he may have had and purchased, not one, but two pairs of denim/chino pants. I was floored (maybe a bit shocked as well), and, thankfully, he wore them out to dinner and looked great! Hopefully he will wear them again...



The Kocan Clan: Nathan, Jerry, Brandon, Kimberly, Justin and Ryan

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Birthday for Mom

It's a true blessing when it's Thanksgiving and your Mom turns 86 years old on all on the same day. With a lot of health issues of late, coupled with her late stages dementia, I am thankful to wish her a Happy 86th Birthday, albeit through the miles.

As for this Thanksgiving Day, I hope each and every one of you had a great day spending time with family and friends and grateful for the time spent together, and I hope your turkey and all the fixin's were as good as we had today (the smoked turkey was delicious!).

BSoleielle! The bright side of wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!
86 year old Sophie!

Happy Thanksgiving 2017 from The Tomoff's and Kocan's

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Full Fridge of Food

I’m extremely thankful for a full fridge of food, bar none, as the Thanksgiving weekend approaches in the next 12 hours. Everything is at the ready to be cooked and made...except for the turkey. Son Ryan decided we should try a smoked turkey this year and ordered one from a local restaurant; he will pick it up in the morning and I guess it’s a “thing” now. I’ll let you know how it goes down. 

BSoleille! The bright side of Thanksgiving 2018!


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Backyard Beauty

We are, thankfully, heading towards the awesome sunsets where the ROY G BIV colors will light up the dusk skies. Tonight was one of those thick paint brush strokes of an amazing evening sky and sunset. This photo was taken "naked", on an iPhone; meaning no filter was used...just caught a backyard beauty in a moment!


Monday, November 20, 2017

Vacuuming Towards a Heart

While doing a quick vacuum on the floors today, I turned the vacuum cleaner around and, lo and behold, the cord shaped itself into a heart! It’s never done that before...so is it a sign? I guess vacuuming at all cannot be that bad, and maybe it’s a gentle reminder to get the job done, albeit with a smile...

BSoleille! The bright side of vacuuming...!


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Giving Thanks

This blog's "purpose", or my "mission", is to find the "silver lining" or simply, the gratitude, found in each day, no matter the news of the day around the world, or in one's personal life. Somewhere, somehow, some way, there is a glimmer of hope, of gratitude, and possibly, a very faint line of silver. It's up to each of us to find it in our own way throughout our day(s). 

So as we bear down this week of Thanksgiving, in sincere gratitude I hope, I wanted to take a moment and  share a Seth Godin's gem with you in his: Thanksgiving Reader:


While hosting Thanksgiving for my family in Crofton over the past 20 years or so, our usual going-around-the-table-in-prayer-and-what-we-are-thankful-for, has thankfully, switched to using this Reader. It may not be for everyone, but it has been a poignant touch for my family including seven kids ranging in age from 15-25 (six of them are boys!). The first year we used it, I carefully preselected what each guest would read out loud. Some were short poems, and some were a little longer, but no one balked, snickered or complained, and the conversations that followed seemed deeper and, for some of those moments, very meaningful. Maybe even a few tears were shed because we realized how powerful the words were to bring a family a wee bit closer. We now select our own passages from the Reader, and it all works!

I would love to hear back if anyone has used the Thanksgiving Reader previous to this year, and what you thought of using it. I would also love to hear back to those who may try it out this year, and what you or your crowd thought of it. 

Let's be Thankful together!


Friday, November 17, 2017

Turkey Cookies

Look what’s clucking at a Cleveland bakery...sugar cookies in turkey cut-out shapes! Can’t wait to have one after a slice of the real thing next week. 



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Zookeepers’ Wife

Set in Warsaw, Poland, during WWII, this historical and true story movie, The Zookeepers’ Wife, was an excellent choice on crisp fall evening. All the great animals shown in their zoo reminded me of my trips to Africa and how I fell in love with elephants all over again...

If looking for a good movie from start to finish, take a chance and two hours of your time and see it!



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Two Runs, Two Different Scenes

Running is typically a solo sport, especially long distance running. There are local running clubs and teams around, but by and large, the miles are done solo (music helps!). 

So I took a photo on Friday during my solo run, and less than 24 hours, met up with thousands of other solo runners who planned on doing their best in a race and all together. Truly, I think that’s a pretty cool thing and looking forward to both in the future!



Sunday, November 12, 2017

Quilt Wine to Celebrate

No cake for me today (though I admire them, but I'm more a chocolate chip/brownie type gal), but how about a celebration that includes a bottle of Quilt? Can it be? Yes, and it's smooth as a steam pressed seam in a quilt...

BSoleille! The bright side of a glass of liquid Quilt...to celebrate a quilter's birthday!


A shout of BIG Thanks to Linda Misencik who found this bottle of Quilt...

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Double Nickel Tour Screeching to a Halt

This post will be a "little" on the long side, but please hang on with me! First of all, I would like to give a huge SHOUT OUT to all retired and active military around the globe, that day in and day out, protect our shores, spread goodwill throughout the world, and allow 350 million people to have freedoms that most countries wish they could have. Kudos and THANK YOU to all!

I have to report that only four hours remain on my 55th year tour, or Double Nickel, as I previously mentioned! Truly, I could not be more thankful ending the 55 Tour just as I started it; running a half marathon (13.1miles), in Richmond, Virginia. My "tribe" of six other runners "braved" the cold starting temperature of 26 degrees, but the bright sunshine and crystal clear blue skies made the morning race all worthwhile.

"The Best Daughter" paced our way to finishing the half under two hours, specifically 1:58:36 or 9:03 a mile. I am now grateful to break that "barrier", but was not "feeling it" at mile ten when we had to keep the pace steady to hang on to break it. The big star of the day was tribe member, Linda Misencik, who ran with her husband, Mark, with a very respectable time of 1:45.30 (8:04/mile pace) and placed second in our age group (55-59) with 242 runners. I ended up 30th, and thrilled!! We both are!

In addition to all of the above, I am blessed beyond measure with a wonderful immediate and extended family, loving and kind friends from all walks of life, and new friends I met along the way this past year. Most importantly, you, by blog readers, who have read my posts and travelled the journey with me. You inspire me, and, in turn, I hope I inspire you even in some small way. I Thank You from the bottom of my heart.

But I'm not done...yet, and I would like to thank my friend, Wendy Allen, who gave me the idea to be cognizant each day of my 55th year (she did it too!). It's from that I have some reflections and highlights that come to mind over the past year...and granted, not everything was fun and games:

(2) half marathons (Richmond, Virginia) Nov 2016/2017
(1) 10-miler (Annapolis, MD) Dec 2016
(2) 5K's (Spalding Turkey Trot Nov 2016 and Kelleys Island June 2017)
(1) Triathalon that became a Duathlon (Bethany Beach Sept. 2017)

Mountain Climbing:
Hiked my first 14, 300 ft. mountain - Grays Peak, Colorado - July 4th, 2017
Also hiked throughout Crested Butte, Colorado and camped at 10,000-12,000 ft. - June 2017

Refereed over 100 soccer games (youth and high school)

Celebrated 30 years of marriage with my one and only; Bill Tomoff; Attended 4 weddings (Boulder, Chicago, Avon, Ohio and Cleveland, Ohio) and several funerals; drove by myself for three days out to Boulder, Colorado; attended a couple different MLB fields on the way back from Colorado with my son, Ryan; and quilted as much as I could when not doing all of the above!

But the last blessing, and the most important one, is that I was able to care for Ryan as he battled through two major tongue cancer and neck surgeries (December 1, 2016 and January 9, 2017). His care and recovery were not easy; not one bit, frankly, but our attitude of gratitude carried us through some very difficult days.

Tomorrow, I will be 56. I will live each day in the next year as best I can and continue the journey with a grateful heart.

BSoleille! The bright side of an awesome Double "55" Nickel Tour! Whoooohoooo!!!


Photos of the Richmond Half and dinner at Jimmy Cantler's

The "tribe": Ryan Collier, Whitney Vincent, Bill, me, Olivia, Mark and Linda Misencik

A minute before the race started: 7:33am

Bill, Olivia "The Best Daughter" and me.

Linda and Mark Misencik

Celebrating the day at Cantler's in Annapolis, Maryland

Friday, November 10, 2017

Gearing Up for Richmond Half Marathon 

After doing this race for several years with “The Best Daughter” and Linda Misencik, I finally convinced (coerced) hubby Bill to try it too. Actually, he wanted to come down and give it a whirl, along with Linda’s husband, Mark. So the two of us sailed down to Richmond earlier in the day to hit the expo and gather up all the bib numbers and race packets for our tribe. We then all met up, thankfully, at our Airbnb in Short Pump for the rest of the evening. 

The 5:00am wake up call comes early so we need to hit the hay fast. 

BSoleille! The bright side of nearing the end of my Double Nickel “55” Tour!


At the Expo!

Thursday, November 9, 2017


My husband is one of nine siblings; he is the sixth in line, and has an identical twin,  who is seventh. So, when any of the "Tomoff's" get together, the count on who shows up is, of course, counted. Our trip to Cleveland a couple weeks ago lent itself to a quick Saturday breakfast where five out of nine were able to dine together; hence, five-ninths. It's loud and fun and stories are told and retold (nand who's counting on how many times they are retold?!). The brave "outlaws" that came this time were the twin's wife, Beth, and me, trying to hold our ground with the five...out of nine!

BSoleille, The bright side of a big family of in-laws!

L-R: in-laws: Don, Bill, Nancy, Alex and Stephanie; "outlaws" Beth and me

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

2017 Southern Comforters Nikon 100th Anniversary Quilt Challenge

My wonderful quilt guild has an annual challenge that yours truly hosted again this year (and last one for a while). Since it was Nikon's 100th year Anniversary, I challenged the members of the guild to use photography (a photograph) or any type of camera equipment; using fabric from their stashes, and other must have elements.

The finished size: a 20"x16" in portrait or landscape style, using a black binding and last, but not least, having fun with a "century of light".  Eight amazing quilts were made by exceptionally talented ladies that wowed the crowd, and I couldn't be more proud, and thankful, of all the participation in this challenge. Kudos to all! It was a fun night for sure.

My first photo are all the quilts in the challenge; and then each quilt with their maker and any award given tonight:

All the entries
Guild members voting
Still looking and voting
Barbara Dahlberg; Most Creative Award

Wendy Allen - Overall Favorite Award
Margy Hill - Technical Wonder Award
Pam Budesheim

Susie Stevenson

Anna-Marie Williams

Terri: Best Interpretation of the Rules

And that's a wrap! All challenge quilts will be displayed at our March 2018 Quilt Show!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Kids into Lawn Care

While running past an apartment complex in Crofton, I took a double take on the kiddie “lawn mower” propped up next to a big tree with lots of pine needles underneath it. Can it be? Kids helping out? Usually the big equipment is out and about taking care of the property, so it had to be a left toy by a resident or a giggle maker for passersby like me! I ran past it and came back to take the photo chuckling the whole time. 



Monday, November 6, 2017

Autumn Glory 

My photo today represents autumn in all its glory, and I cannot pass the chance to share these vibrant yellow leaves! The same tree was still quite green only last week and now thankful to share it!



Sunday, November 5, 2017

WIP and Watercolor 

In quilters lingo, a WIP is a Work in Progress. Most quilters have many WIPS in progress (including me)...so you’ve really got to stick it out to finish them! And that therein lies the beauty...the completed project. 

My first photo is a WIP, but the second photo is an aside (and finished) easy peasy watercolor that fellow retreat goer, Misty Cole, and I did to break up the day of sewing. The view at West River can’t be beat, so we left our WIPS and sewing machines behind for a quick minute and sketched the scene before us. This is my attempt and super fun to do!



Saturday, November 4, 2017

Fall Quilt Retreat in West River, MD

Quilting on the water of the West River never gets old, especially with new projects, plenty of opinions to help any sewing or design elements and great people to hang with for the weekend. And how do we finish our time consuming quilts? One. Stitch. At. A. Time. Here on retreat we sew all day, and sometimes half the night. The hum of the machines and chatter pinging around the room just soothes my soul...

BSoleille! The bright side of sewing side by side with my quilting buddies!



1) apparently only the 3 of them got the color of top to wear...Robin, Mary and Peggy 

2) lovely and calmWest River

3) me at the “wheel!”

4) we eat too at the dining hall on campus