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, February 28, 2018

I, Terri, saw "I, Tonya" - Tracy's Kids Red Carpet Event 2018

And the winner is...Tracy's Kids, an art therapy program for children with cancer! Last night's Red Carpet Movie Event went very late for me to blog about this wonderful evening hosted by Matt Gerson. This Oscar nominated movie night supports young kids coping with emotional stress and trauma of cancer, and its treatments, and currently is in six locations in the DC/Baltimore Metro areas, plus Texas and New York. Through the years our son fought cancer, it was Tracy Councill, and the Tracy's Kids art therapy program that kept our whole family afloat while Ryan battled some very difficult days due to his treatment(s).

Every year, The Courage Award honors someone who has shown strength, dignity and perseverance that cancer patients model every day. It is presented to a public person who has worked to address the challenges inflicted by the disease or injury, as in the case of this year's' recipient,  House Majority Whip, Steve Scalise. Mr. Scalise stated his strong faith, family, coworkers and friends from all over the world helped give him the strength in the aftermath of his shooting while playing kickball on the fields on the Mall. Amazingly, both sides of the isle united for Team Scalise! In addition to Mr. Scalise, Senator Mazie Hirono (HI), and battling Stage 4 kidney cancer, and posthumously, Ray Baum, a dedicated public servant, also received The Courage Award.

It was a great night celebrating Tracy's Kids with Senators and "Congresspeople" from both political parties, coming together for a great cause and knowing they are helping kids fight the good fight with a little help from an art therapist in several hospitals around the country! Now that is something to be thankful for, don't you think?

BSoleille! The bright side of Tracy's Kids making a difference in the live of cancer fighting kids and their families.


Tracy and RyanTerri, Marilyn Eichner, Patty Lubin and Rachel GroveBill, Ryan, Carson and Chris GroveMatt Gersonme and Senator Patrick LeahySteve Scalise

Monday, February 26, 2018

Trio in Action

It’s time to celebrate an all women crew on the soccer pitch because it doesn’t happen very often. Yes, the U17 Girls game was fast and furious, just how we like it, even on a dark and cold evening in February. 



Photo of Carly, Teri and Terri 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center

I/we have lived in the Washington DC metro area for over 20 years, and today was my first time to the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts. I've climbed some of the stairs, ran around it many times during running races, and biked all around it too, but never went in! Thankfully, that all changed today when "The Best Daughter" and I met for a quick brunch near George Washington University (Tonic), and then hoofed it an half mile to the Kennedy Center for the 3:00 pm showing of "Shear Madness".

We both loved the show (a whodunit), and one of the longest-running nonmusical plays in the world, but we loved touring around this beautiful and majestic building probably just as much. It's described as a "living monument" since it was built before JFK died, and hosts nearly 2000 performances annually to folks from all 50 states and around the world. If local, I highly recommend checking it out, and if not local, come to DC and take in a show (or two); you will not be disappointed!

This cool and cloudy day was a great backdrop for this mother/daughter outing, including the awesome terrace that encircles the entire building to see the Mall (and Memorials); Georgetown and its waterfront, and Rosslyn, VA. I am sure "on a clear day you can see forever."



Photos from the day with "The Best Daughter"

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Dogs Days of Winter

Our 11.5 year old Husky mix pup, Loo-C-Loo, seems kind of lazy lately with lots of lounging on the sofas. She's got a  great dog's life for sure, and she loves her long afternoon naps (on my quilts too for added comfort!). I guess it's tough watching "her" people all day long, and rest intervals seem to be a must in her daily routine. Her big blue eyes still melt my heart and all who meet her.



Friday, February 23, 2018

#CelebrateOthers - Sharon Johnsen

As our nation mourns the loss of 17 people from Parkland, Florida, I am truly saddened for the parents and students who lost their loved ones so senselessly to terror and violence. Everytime I hear the news since February 14th,  my heart bleeds a little more for those Stoneman Douglas lives lost and the people they held dear.

More personally, a wonderful Special Love family, Sharon and Lee Johnsen, lost all three of their children to different causes in a 15 year span. I can't even imagine their pain, along with the pain radiating from Parkland. Sharon and Lee have been married for over 43 years and had three children; Kyle, born in 1983; Chad, born in 1986; and Rachel, born in 1989. They were like every other family in the country until the day Chad was diagnosed with cancer in 1992, and all hell broke loose as one can imagine.

Chad battled three times with CML (2X) and AML and died in his battle in 1998 at Georgetown University Hospital. Sharon and I met on the Peds floor at Georgetown when Chad was fighting his most courageous battle(s) that summer of 1998. It was a sobering day for all of us on the floor at that time because we know how relentless the cancer can be. It was really hard for Sharon and Lee, but they still had two children to raise and care for and life went on, albeit a bit gingerly.

And then the unthinkable happened, Rachel, 18 at the time in 2007, was coming home from her girlfriends' house and lost control of her car and hit a telephone poll, killing her instantly. How do you cope with the pain I asked Sharon then and now? She said her strong and unwavering faith in God has helped keep her sane, along with her parents (at that time) and her husband Lee, giving her their unwavering support of love and friendship though those very tough days following Rachel's passing.

Four years later, in April of 2011, the "impossible" happened. Their eldest son Kyle died from sleep apnea/heart disease in the middle of the night. I think there are no adjectives left to describe the pain this family endured. I can't even imagine....but can I just say... devastated?! But as we know, life continues to go on, and frankly, they had to too.

For Sharon, who needs to keep busy, "retired" from 35 of teaching 1st and 2nd graders, but was called back to continue substitute teaching at her same school, and she is thankful to be back in the classroom. Lee is retired from being a tradesmen, and they truly lean on each other for support because, let's face it, some "dark' days sneak into their world every now and again.

But what is truly inspiring about Sharon (and Lee) is they decided to "give back" and help others! Sharon became a Special Love BRASS counselor (Brothers and Sisters of Cancer kids) after Kyle passed, and takes care of the 7-8 year old campers for a week at Camp Maria every July. She has found solace and strong emotional ties to the many folks who knew all three of her children while growing up and volunteering with the SL camps, and is a huge inspiration to the kids and to all who know her. Her smiles and laughs are infectious, and one would think someone who lost all their children would be sad and bitter, but that's not Sharon (or Lee). They take life head on, thinking of the many happy memories shared with her children, and happy to have close relationships with their nieces and nephews, and their children's friends who still come around all these years later! They are thankful for each and every day, and I say that is truly something from this fiercely loving couple!

BSoleille! The bright side of seeing a triple rainbow...that's Kyle, Chad and Rachel Johnsen saying "hello!"


Johnsen Kids; Kyle, Rachel and Chad

Sharon and Lee

Sharon at Camp with Laura Ritenour and camper

The Special Love Gala Gang!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Throwback Thursday

One of my New Years’ “resolutions” (remember those?), was to get rid of “stuff” every month. In January I gave away three boxes of stuff to the Vietnam Vets (they pick up at the house), and for February...14 full boxes to be picked up tomorrow. It helps that “The Best Daughter” padded that number with the big bedroom room blitz two weeks ago. 

Of course, I added to the pile, and while uncovering a basket full  of stuff, “found” this Bugs Bunny puppet from my childhood! I never knew I still had it in my possession. At one time it worked when the string was pulled and Bugs Bunny said something funny, or a few things funny. What a blast from the last for sure!



Wednesday, February 21, 2018


The Road Trip Retreat is over, and we all arrived safely home after "traveling" here, there and everywhere. All "miles"done with our pedals to the metal on our sewing machines, and I'm thankful for that. Kudos to our drivers; Karen Todd and Janet McCabe, who kept the trip lively with pit stops, souvenir shopping, photographs and diner food when we needed to "refuel."

My photos today include Karen Todd and Carrie Casto (Carrie is showing off her new "Churn Dash" swap and all the blocks she got done so far...), and me with a Lobster Apron I finished on the road trip (actually made two). Ta-da!



Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Super Energy at Maryland State High School Track Meet

As the Winter Olympics continue to impress the world at the highest level of competition, this evening I/we helped cheer on a local track runner, Michael Flanagan, at the State of Maryland High School Indoor Track Championships in Landover, Maryland. It's been awhile since I've been a spectator at in indoor track meet, so I'm thankful we went to this one. The energy was off the charts, the kids were super fast, and the crowds were cheering on all the kids no matter what school they were from. Mike ran a "double", the 1600M and 800M, and placed well in each event representing South River High School in Edgewater, Maryland. His Mom Georgia, hubby Bill and I, also cheered Mike on in each lap of a 200M track he ran (lots of laps!).

Interestingly, the weather was warm enough that the track meet could have been an outdoor meet with temperatures in the upper 70's late into this afternoon...



Sunday, February 18, 2018

Almost There...

While on Day 3 of the Retreat Road Trip,  the machines were a buzzing all day long making train cases, ditty bags, and camper pincushions on our way to our next “destination.”  “Sew”...along with the mystery quilt and our own projects, we were busy bees and the chatter and sewing rarely stopped (okay, for meals and snacks, of course!).

It’s fascinating to me with so many different fabrics and combinations of colors that everyone truly has their own style in making a quilt or other sewn items. Favorite colors are also evident in many of the sewists’ projects. 

BSoleille! The bright side of asking, “are we there yet?”


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Road to Retreat 2018

The “Road Trip” is this years theme for my quilt guilds annual February retreat held in West River, Maryland. The day started with sunny skies and easy driving conditions... and ended with a snowy/slushy wintry mix. Thankfully, the 21 strong “travelers” only had to safely drive their sewing machines in creating a plethora of vacation memories including piecing quilts, making a happy camper pincushion, navigating a mystery quilt, and crafting a travel set (remember the old train cases?).  And let's not forget the spa detour for some weary drivers in getting an hour message!
Hearty laughter, good snacks and all the solicited (and unsolicited) advice you could ever want or need helped us to arrive at our destination today.  
"Are we there yet?"

Name tag compliments of our Lead Road Warrior Karen Todd's cousin

Morning view from West River, Maryland
Late Afternoon view from West River, Maryland

New Road Trip Travel bags made today....

Road Warrior name tags

Friday, February 16, 2018

#CelebrateOthers - Bridget Franek - Pursuit of Personal Potential

Since we are smack dab in the middle of the Winter Olympics, I thought I'd mix it up and highlight an Olympic Summer Games (remember, I love summer!?) athlete I know personally, Bridget Franek.
You can google her name and many of her accolades can be found, along with some of her races and photos of her international travels while competing for Penn State and Team USA.

A little over 30 years ago Bridget was born to my friends Rosalie and Tom Franek. My husband and I actually went over to the hospital the day she was born to ooh and ahh over this tiny little bundle, their first born, and celebrate with them this joyous occasion (brother Joshua came along a couple years later). She's always been a great and thoughtful kid, and I have been amazed and inspired by her "story" throughout the last 15 years she's been competing.

So how did that tiny little bundle of "flesh and blood" catapult herself into the world of field of Track and Field only 16 years later? With sheer perseverance, grit, and her passion of the "pursuit of personal potential." When she glides down the track her fists pump like iron (like her Momma) and her face projects nerves of steel (like her Daddy). She also has a terrific support system which is her family, but also many friends throughout the world that have been her cheerleaders from the very beginning.

I can go on about Bridget being a 6-time Ohio State T&F Champion (including when she won 4 events in 2006: 800m, 1600m, 3200m and 4X800m); or that she is one of the most highly decorated athletes ever to grace the Penn State campus, or that she placed 12th at the 2012 London Olympics in the 3000m Steeplechase (her PR being 9:29), plus other international track meets; but it's her pursuit of excellence in anything she does; not only on the track.

That's what make Bridget "tick" - the relentless pursuing of her own potential, but now, coaching at the University of Akron, and instilling this same thought pattern into her athletes; almost believing in themselves before they believe in themselves. Her college coach believed in Bridget too, before Bridget actually did, but once she had her "aha" moment, she never looked back, and boy, did she take off! Growing up in a competitive family (all for fun), Bridget shared with me that she sincerely enjoys seeing how far she can push herself, always trying to realize her full potential in anything she does or touches, and this just fascinates her. (Well, me too!)

Bridget Franek has gone full circle; from student, student athlete, Olympic and World athlete to Coach Bridget. She noted that she is truly enjoying her new role as a coach because she loves to embrace the positive in molding young and impressionable collegiate women both on and off the track. Although challenging at times, coaching has been very rewarding (instant results on who crosses the finish line when) that she maintains with her athletes that the "process of becoming a good runner" is transferable in everything else in life." I couldn't agree more! The University of Akron is so lucky to have Bridget on their coaching staff!

When this former prom queen who was also in the marching band is not running or coaching, you may find her at her stove, whipping up delicious meals, or hiking and traveling, or hanging out with her family and friends. Bridget loves to learn new things and her go-to for learning right now is listening to podcasts. And for the second week in a row in #celebratingothers, Bridget's favorite color is PINK! The darker the better...like fuschia (my favorite too!).

I hope we can all learn from Bridget in her mantra of "pursuit of personal potential." I am going to try everyday too!

BSoleille! The bright side of #celebratingothers with Bridget Franek

Photos from Bridget:

Bridget and her family; Josh, Tom, Rosalie (btw, Bridget won the women's national division of the Warrior Dash)

Bridget's extended family and world's biggest fan club!
Coach Bridget with her charges

Coach Bridget and the University of Akron ladies Track Team

In Amsterdam with FanFriends; Mona Koehler and Jodie Smith

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day 2018

I hope everyone had a big-hearted day for an unusual Ash-Wednesday-Valentine's Day combination. I wonder how many times that comes up on the calendar?

So gearing up for my quilt guild's annual show next month, there were a lot of show and tells tonight with a "first look" of many of the  beautiful quilts that will be in the show. Sometimes the photos do not do the quilts justice, so coming in person one can really appreciate the beauty and workmanship that goes into each and every quilt.

We also had a heart block of the month drawing with 27 blocks made in total. Believe it or not, I was the excited winner of all the blocks and plan on making a beautiful "quiltfromtheheart" heart quilt. So a huge shout of thanks to all who participated, and I will make you proud when I put them all together in a quilt!



Susie Stevenson checking out the Show-n-Tell

Heart blocks

More heart blocks

Frank Rucky's beautiful quilt!

JoAnn Parish's beautiful quilt!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Gold Medals for USA

These 2018 Olympic Games are several days in already, and I am impressed with the athletes from all over the world competing for their country, their hometowns, their coach(es), and ultimately, for themselves. To win gold, it's certainly not easy, so what makes one dig a little deeper to pull off the "impossible?" Is it more desire perhaps? Tonight's Men's Half-Pipe win from American Shaun White is a perfect example of going the distance to really compete and do the "unthinkable" and win the gold medal in a come from behind moment. He must thrive on the pressure and do his best work to go for the win. Amazing! I think therein lies the beauty of the Games; the thrill of victory....and the agony of defeat (from ABC Wide World of Sports).


Monday, February 12, 2018

This Day is for the Birds

Winter is far from over, but after the rains left our area breaking to super blue skies, the birds came out in numbers chatting and singing up a “storm”. This male cardinal was perched high in the tree maybe thinking he’s in “hiding”, but make no mistake, he was found... I just followed his sound!



Sunday, February 11, 2018

Nostalgia For Our Kids' Childhood Memories

It's one thing when we get rid of our own stuff, because it feels good to lighten the load, and I guess it should not make a difference when our kids do the same thing. However, I learned today, it does though, because the "finality" of adult children leaving the nest along with purging their childhood "treasures" is really quite daunting. For five hours, "The Best Daughter", her BFF, Lizdot, and I worked fast and furious in cleaning her "former" bedroom filled with many of her childhood memories that included stuffed animals, Barbies, photos, clothes, shoes, books, and tons of paper filled notebooks from elementary school through college. All this when she also has an apartment in Washington, D.C. housing more of her things...

And even though it was "difficult" emotionally for me in saying goodbye to her stuff  (with a lot of the stuff bought by yours truly...) the mission was certainly accomplished, as it was a brutal cleansing as in "the life changing art of tidying up" by Marie Kondo. But this "wrap up" and "get rid of" was time, and we are all on a clean slate once again. The hallway is filled with boxes that will be donated in the coming weeks, and that's the best feeling of all.

BSoleille! The bright side of the purge.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Winter Olympics 2018

Think what you want about the modern Olympics, but once the TV is on and I catch a glimpse, somehow I get "sucked" in to watch. I really do appreciate all the time and effort on all the athletes respective sports, but I especially like the figure skating with its edges, preciseness and sparkly "costumes". The ice-dancing is one of my favorites, and the judging is "subjective", as we all know, but don't you think that cream truly rises to the top, and the best do get the best scores, ultimately? I certainly hope that is the case.

Here's wishing for a peaceful but competitive Winter Games for the coming two weeks. May those young athletes excel and do the best they can for their countries! Go USA!


Friday, February 9, 2018

#CelebrateOthers - Judith Keane

Judith Keane, quilter extraordinaire, is the Southern Comforters quilt guild's Featured Quilter for our 2018 show in March, exactly one month from today. Judith is a very young 77 year old who fell in love with quilting after many years of doing all kinds of crafts such as knitting, crocheting, tatting, needlework and embroidery. She has lived in Bowie, Maryland, for 54 years, and simply loves living, working, shopping and taking classes in her community. She couldn't fathom living anywhere else on Earth!

Originally from Albany, New York, Judith and her husband moved to Maryland in the early 60's. They were married for 18 years and raising three daughters when her husband died in 1979. But what is truly inspiring about Judith, is that she continued raising her three daughters without missing a beat and never remarried.  Her daughters excelled and became leaders in their fields of veterinary (Susan); entrepreneurship (Sharon) and law (Allison). Her family is what makes Judith's heart sing, and now that includes her six "overachieving" grandchildren.

Interestingly, Jackie Kennedy's trip to Appalachia while living in the White House really piqued Judith's interest in quilting. You see, Jackie went to the Appalachia area and bought several quilts from the mountain ladies and brought them back to the White House and covered many of the beds in their living quarters. It was featured on TV and magazines at that time, and Judith was hooked on the quilts Jackie purchased. After the airing, Judith also went to Appalachia to see if she could buy some beautiful quilts like Jackie did, but the prices for the quilts were too much for Judith's budget at the time. It took here over 20 years to finally make her own quilt after taking a class with her daughter Sharon in 1987 where they made Christmas stockings. She joined the quilt guild in 1991 and her quilting skills really took off under the mentorship of member Betty Russell and others. Judith took 18 months to finish her very first quilt, but never looked back, and today she continues to make  beautiful quilts that could be on those White House beds!

Since pink is Judith's favorite color, that color ends up in a lot of Judith's quilts (we have very similar taste in our color choices...including the pinks!). She loves to sew and piece most days because she simply finds joy in the creative process. Judith added that she loves that fact quilts serve a dual purpose with their beauty and color combinations and the fact they keep her family warm!

On many occasions at our guild meetings, Judith entertains the crowd with her funny stories about life and quilting snafus and I always said she could be a stand up comedian. If you are local, and would like to meet Judith and 50 or so of her favorite quilts that will be featured, please mark your calendars for March 10-11th, 2018 at Samuel Ogle Middle School in Bowie, Maryland.

Check out our Facebook page for more information:https://www.facebook.com/SouthernComfortersQuiltGuild/

BSoleille! The bright side of celebrating Judith Keane!