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, December 31, 2020

Oh What A Year!

I am not a negative person, but even though this past year was a tough one, there were glimmers of hope (people still got married) and fun (at home with games and puzzles and reading) and learning new skills (zoom anyone?) In my home we called everything we needed to do that was "new" the CPP or the Covid Pandemic Pivot. I think we were all pivoting on many fronts (remember no paper towels or TP in the grocery stores, shut down cities and mask making?) But I also think we learned a lot about ourselves, and more likely, our housemates! We had to take the good, bad and ugly and that's just making dinner or breakfast jockeying for space around the kitchen.

However, I'm not going to sugarcoat the losses either, and the many who lost loved ones this year, from Covid-19 or not. My mom succumbed in July, from Covid, but had dementia for many years—Covid through her over the threshold I'm afraid and was the case for many.

I certainly hope we all have a better 2021 from a lot of perspectives. No one ever said life was easy, that's for certain! 

Please enjoy a safe holiday tonight, and I'll catch you all next year! 

PS I wasn't sure about posting my "Seasons of Love" end of year lyrics, but I couldn't resist:

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure? Measure a year?
In daylights,
In sunsets,
In midnights,
In cups of coffee,
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in a life?
How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love...
Seasons of love...
Seasons of love...
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand journeys to plan
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a life of a woman or a man?
In truths that she learned
Or in times that she cried
In bridges he burned
Or the way that she died
Its time now to sing out though
The story never ends
Let's celebrate remember a year in a life
Of friends
Remember the love...
(Oh you gotta remember the love)
Remember the love...
(Oh yeah, its a gift from up above)
Remember the love...
(Sing out, give out, measure your life
In looooooove...!)
Seasons of love...

Happy New Year!

I'm a sucker for a sunset: Photo - South Africa February 2015

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Girl-Bee Garageband

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousands words. My photo today looks like a "Girl Garageband" and an album cover—all compliments of my bee-mates; not bandmates! Bee-mate, Carrie Casto, in the orange shirt came in yesterday from Arizona (drove!) to visit family and friends. We were lucky that the "garage" owner, Debbi Carter, in the "Dear Winter" top hosted us for an hour to visit with each other IRL. We have zoomed with each other since COVID started every week, but today was special and lovely. We all know the drill of masks and social distancing, and Debbi made it all a go with a light lunch (homemade quiche) to everyone's delight, with all precautions in place. We even had a bit of show-n-tell, and Colby the dog was our entertainment, sitting or standing by everyone of us to see if we would give him a treat (we didn't, and Debbi says he's an eternal optimist that someone would). We are missing Deb Hoppe and Mary Nielsen (Florida) to round out the band. 

Can you guess our instruments? Sewing machines and knitting needles!



PS: Karen Todd in the blue puffer coat; Susie Stevenson in the Snow Hill Maryland Sweatshirt and I'm in the red jacket. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

William the Cat Whisperer

My friends Jodie and Scot Smith have two adorable grandchildren, Isabelle, 6, and William, 1. Their birthdays are in late fall, and I wanted to buy them both presents this year. Although I haven't met William yet, Jodie shares photos of them with me and other friends when she visits them, so like everyone else, we get to enjoy the kids and their milestones via photos or social media. It's all so exciting.

When I asked Jodie what they could use she suggested a few things for me to get. Isabelle was easy because she's school age and inquisitive about life...and loves Barbies etc. But I haven't bought a one year old a gift in quite some time and needed help. Jodie asked her daughter and they came up with the idea of winter clothes...and a cat toy. I was all over some 2T winter clothes, but I was confused about a "cat toy." 

When I queried further about the cat toy, I was thinking a cat stuffed animal or something comparable. Initially I racked my brain for a few minutes thinking of cat games or other cat things in the toy isle. But that was not the case according to Jodie. She suggested that I look in the cat isle for a bona fide cat toy for a cat. You see, William loves his cat, and apparently it's visa versa, and according to "legend," he is a sort of "cat whisperer," even at the tender age of one years old. Amazing, right?

However, "his" cat likes to play hide and go seek for days, to a tune of going "missing" for three days in a row! When my gifts arrived at their house, the kids were thrilled to open a few more gifts for their birthdays as you can imagine. Of course, William could care less about clothes, but when he opened up the cat toy, it was magical. He started swinging it around while sitting on the floor, and lo and behold, guess who should come out of hiding and begin playing with William? "His" cat, George, of course. 

When Jodie relayed this story to me, I immediately called him: William the Cat Whisperer. I really do believe some people have a way with animals, and this story illustrates it does not matter what age a person it to connect with an animal and share a love language no one else could understand—especially a special cat named George and his one year old friend, William. May they share many happy days together playing with their cat toy (and getting George out of his hiding spots!)



Monday, December 28, 2020

Homework for Life!

I recently watched a Ted Talk on the power of gratitude and “The Homework for Life” Assignment. It’s like everyone else encouraging the population to write (3) things each day that you are grateful for, but Matthew Dicks “throws down the gauntlet” to try his idea, for real. Easy peasy, right? Not so much, as we learn from his Ted Talk that people will try to write their (3) things in a journal every day, but by a week or so (or maybe a month), it’s all over. No writing. Hopefully, these same people who had great intentions and are still filled with gratitude will come along and write. them. down. 

I thought about buying a nice journal, but I started a google doc/spreadsheet instead - hey, it's only (3) things. 

I started mine on 12/26/2020. If interested, tune in for about 16 minutes with the link provided below. Join me in the homework, if you will, and let’s see how we will be on 12/26/2021.


BSoleille! The bright side of new "traditions," and how or what we will become a year from now!

Photo below from this evening's striking full moon with a pink sky as the backdrop and #nofilter. 

Friday, December 25, 2020

Purity of Light

No one can extinguish my hope, and that is my hope for you this Christmas Day. Think of if as a kind of re-set of the gift of redemption in exchange for belief — or a promise of new life as the days slowly start to lengthen once again. 

May the spirit of Christmas and the Purity of Light shine on you and your family this holiday season!


If you notice in the photo below, there is a brightly lit half moon in the left quadrant of the photo

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas 2020

I'll be home for Christmas is about right, especially for our family. That song probably rings true for lots of families across the world hunkered down and taking it easy. Not a bad thing, less hustle and bustle, and a time to reflect with a few loved ones instead of lots of loved ones...

May tonight and the following couple days bring peace and joy during these cold and dark nights of Christmas!

BSoleille! The bright side of a bottle of Quilt Red Wine, compliments of "The Best Daughter."


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Little Ophthalmology Today

Doesn't it always seem like the caregiver of any family is the last to get their own appointments in? Or maybe it's just me. This December I've been trying to get in my once a year check ups, so each doc can "kick my tires" to make sure I'll make it another 100,000 miles! Ha! 

This morning I got in my "baseline" glaucoma exam with the family's ophthalmologist (my contact optometrist has been bugging me to get this one in for several years now.) The exam comes complete with the obligatory pupil dilation that, frankly, lasted for close to nine hours (and we had a sunny day in Maryland to boot!) I couldn't see anything up close for five of those nine hours, so I did what I thought would be best, lay on the sofa wearing an "older" pair of glasses and watch Hallmark Christmas movies - and check on my pupils, in dilating back to normal, anytime I got up. It worked, they are back to "normal" just in time to hit the sack in a couple of hours. 



Sunday, December 20, 2020

Merry Little Decorating for 2020

I must admit, this year I did not pull out "all the stops" for decorating this year. No "big" tree with one ornament...and white lights, nor any other decorations. I dialed it back a tad, with two trees instead of one, albeit little bitty ones that came with their own white lights and decorations! Easy peasy! My purchase helped my local boy scout troop, and the trees are adorable. If lucky enough to have a couple of hearty ones, they can be planted outside (dwarf spruces) that could possibly grow to 6 or 8ft. tall.  

I also have my trusty wreath on the front door that I keep lit up day and night, oh, and I bought two red poinsettias that look beautiful and are just enough for this year of 2020.

Cheers to easy!



Photo below shows all our the decorations (I'm not kidding!)

Thursday, December 17, 2020

A December Rainbow Sunset

If you have read my blogpost for a few years, you know how I gush over the January skies and sunsets. But I have to tell you, the ones we've had in Maryland in December have been quite stellar. This one about knocked my socks off (wool ones in case you are wondering), as my living room was filled with a cascading light and filled every nook and cranny with the vestiges of fading sunbeams. Talk about a "rainbow sunset." This one fills the bill! #nofilter



Monday, December 14, 2020

Babybytes by Libby Jeffrey!

Becoming a brand new mom is difficult in the best of times, but what about having a baby this past year?  Let's face it, no matter where one lives in the world, we are living in daunting and challenging times, right?

One of my "classmates" in the Akimbo's Writing in Community, Libby Jeffrey, "pushed the button" to share with the world her brand spanking new book, Babybytes! Below is the summary on Amazon:

"Babybytes prose and poetry is a hopeful collection of the first nine months of motherhood. Whether it is giving birth during lockdown or forgetting to pack the sunhat, Libby Jeffrey embraces humour and honesty to explore the dramatic identity change of becoming a mom.Jeffrey’s reflective, rhythmic writing is a reminder of how much growth happens for new parents and their newborn. After grounding the book in the birth of her own son, themes of maternal lineage and creativity as an act of hope provides an inspired reminder that new moms have more in common than differences. Babybytes promises to create a feeling of belonging through shared experiences of motherhood, vulnerably told."

I could not be more proud of my classmates the world over shipping their work in the form on a book, either the kindle edition or paper version, and today, Libby gets that distinction! If ordered in the USA, it most likely will be delivered before Christmas - and a great gift for any new mother, heck, any mother!

If interested and willing to support her work, please check out her new book, hot off the press in the link provided here:


BSoleille! The bright side of sharing and celebrating with Libby Jeffrey and her "second" baby this year...her new  book!


Sunday, December 13, 2020

Wild Winter Lights!

According to my friend, Mary Pavlyshyn (a former employee of the Cleveland MetroParks Zoo), is that the zoo transformed itself into a winter wonderland in lights...and is totally awesome she says. She took her mom and aunt recently, and shared a few photos of how beautiful all the lights look throughout the entire park. If in Cleveland, I highly recommend going throughout this holiday season. This is all based on Mary's assessment, of course.

Mary then shared a photo of the cotton candy booth my mom worked in all those long ago summers...and worked there for years (my whole family worked at the zoo at one point or another, including my dad, since we lived so close). I can honestly say, she made the best cotton candy in the zoo, if not Cleveland, or the entire State of Ohio. Her cotton candy making techniques were the best around, and it was a lot harder than it looks. That big drum to spin the ingredients had to have the right amount of rotations and heat? before the sugar and coloring were added to make the puffy and silky candy that melted in your mouth by it's first touch on the tongue. She took great pride in the cotton candy she made those precious summers, and was an enthusiast for any child (from 2 to 92) to try it out, especially if it was their first time purchasing the tasty treat.

Funny thing, she always arrived home with the sticky sugar of either pink or blue in her hair and on her clothes, and we all loved the smell of that sugar wafting through the house. 

Cheers to those of you who enjoy a stick of cotton candy - especially at the ClevelandMetroPark Zoo!



Photos below courtesy of Mary Pavlyshyn - first one below was my mom's cotton candy stand

Friday, December 11, 2020

The Not so Chilly Chili

I did a bit of grocery shopping yesterday and bought ground meat (we like a turkey and beef combo) and fresh veggies. This morning, the big crockpot was screaming at me to make something...and preferably chili...on a not so chilly day. Who cares about the temperature outside? Inside of that crockpot the melded flavors of the meat, tomato sauce (using the canned sauce from this summer) vegetables, beans, jalapeno peppers and chili seasonings is simply scrumptious, and even better in a day or two. 

This may be my third time this season for the hearty meal that's best served in a bowl with a bit of cheese on top if you wish. This batch was so big, in fact, I needed to bring in a reserve crockpot for an additional 7-8 cups of deliciousness that would not fit properly in the big one!

BSoleille! What's in your crockpot?


Bill caught me at the stove in browning the meat...

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Scraps of Fun!

There are a lot of activities going on in the house, especially for me - finishing two quilts for the holidays (customers) and finishing my memoir, "The Focused Fight." But when my guild had our holiday zoom meeting last night, I had signed up for the annual block swap that we typically do at our December meeting...in person. Since that was not going to happen, I took out some Christmas themed "scraps" to make a few blocks - with one to swap on zoom. I had a lot of fun creating secondary patterns with a bunch of HST (half-square triangles) from my stash, that the 1/2 hour I "slotted" to make one block, turned into an afternoon affair. 

The top one on the right (green and white/red) is the block that was swapped. I loved that my creative juices were flowing and hope to do more of that spontaneous sewing soon!



Friday, December 4, 2020

Cover Girl! Aziza Shad!

I think I'll call this post a #CelebratingOthers - light! I am so excited to share that Dr. Aziza Shad (Ryan's pediatric oncologist through the years) was on the cover of the November 2020 issue of the Baltimore Magazine. It was a "surreal" moment when I was at the grocery store recently, and glanced at the row of magazines where in the Health section, the beautiful Aziza Shad was right there gracing the cover. This prestigious cover could not have gone to a better medical professional than her, who is the Ellen W.P. Wasserman Chair of Pediatrics at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai, and one of the most brilliant doctors and scientists you can ever know. And lucky for us...at our side for years, along with thousands of children throughout the DC and Baltimore Metropolitan areas. 

For all of us she has graciously provided her wonderful brand of care of kindness and compassion to better serve each and every patient she serves, and indirectly, the entire family. We are forever grateful!



Thursday, December 3, 2020

This is What 62 Looks Like!

With eyes of blue, they are 62 (Bill, and identical twin, Don)! My how times fly and both of them are now eligible for social security benefits - but not yet, too much to do and learn (and someone called them "old.") 

Bill reflected this morning that he still feels 25, and I believe that is the correct attitude, and don't let the "number" dictate how you should feel. We will "celebrate" tomorrow when "The Best Daughter" is in the house, and order out - this time Italian - Bill's wishes. I think we can accomodate the ask!

Happy Birthday to the best guy a girl could ask for; funny, happy, and the light of my life! 



Monday, November 30, 2020

My Horse is at a Gallop!

I hope all my readers had a great Thanksgiving Weekend. Was it difficult in some way to have a smaller affair? Did you miss a big gathering? Or was it quiet and understated, and basically wear the jammies all day long kind of day?

For me the "extra" hours this holiday weekend with no guests or soccer to referee, led me straight to my computer and writing my memoir on Ryan's and our family's cancer journey. I am at the point where my horse is not only smelling the "hay in the barn," it is galloping and headed to cantering to get to that hay. Meaning: my memoir is almost done! I should clarify, the writing part is almost done. It has been a super large project for me, but I could not have done it without the support of so many (will be in acknowledgments!) I believe the eight years of blogging helped catapult me to a good place to write the story; the good, the bad and the ugly.

I will let my readers know when the kindle version will be available, and hopefully, a paperback as well - all in due time. There are a lot of dots to connect before the whole thing comes together, but I can start making out the finish line and am very excited about sharing our journey with all of you!

My Writing in Community Zoom call this morning started out with a 2 minute warm-up exercise with the word "Release," and I'd like to share what I wrote (I love to write in haiku), the release is exactly how this memoir feels for me:

Releasing the angst

Community writing strong

Every inch written



Photo credit to Bill Tomoff - photo taken this summer at "command central."


Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving 2020!

What a weird year, right? But hopefully, no matter if our celebration was big, or more likely, small, we all had a wonderful and grateful Thanksgiving. It's the best holiday of the year - no gifts need to be exchanged -which leaves us a chance to reflect on the goodness that surrounds our lives. Although we miss the hubbub and chaos of our Ohio family in the house, and the meals and clean up that goes on all day long, the quiet of the four of us was nice today. We feel blessed beyond words, and celebrated a wonderful meal - the meat smoked carefully by Ryan, along with other delicious sides. 

What was on your dining room table?

I hope everyone reading this had a safe and healthy Thanksgiving, and I think we can predict next year won't be so weird...and maybe - wonderful!



Sunday, November 22, 2020

Special Love Parent's Getaway - Virtual!

So many people, businesses and nonprofits have pivoted to get things done during this world-wide pandemic. Clever folks never cease to amaze me, and even though we cannot be with our peeps in person, technology today leverages those who still want to connect and continue to make a difference. The childhood cancer organization, Special Love, Inc., is one of those organizations that continues to make a difference, using the tools available to most everyone to facilitate their programming and keep people connected. If there is any silver lining, it's that --connectivity!

While we only had a Saturday program, instead of a weekend, it was wonderful and beyond my expectations. We had a couple of keynote speakers (excellent), a yoga class and some break out discussion sessions later in the afternoon . We reconvened in the evening for an art project (mosaic) and our connectivity continued. It was a chance for new families to explore the Special Love love, and we did our best to do so. A shout of Thanks to the committee (Shari Fisher, Marilyn Eichner, Maureen Lilly and Sharon Johnsen) along with CEO Jan Bresch and Program Chair/Outreach Angela Ashman and Dave Smith! 



Friday, November 20, 2020

The "Boss" Quilt!

Gentle loving care was used on a recent T-shirt quilt for a client with her years of accumulated Bruce Springsteen's concert shirts. One shirt in the quilt is "valued" at $250.00 - and I cut it up! Ack! It's all good though, and the sweet part of this story is the woman I made the quilt for is having a milestone birthday in a couple of weeks and her mom commissioned me to make it for her! The guitars going around in the borders was just the ticket to set off "The Boss" in all his glory on this commemorative Tshirt quilt! 



Thursday, November 19, 2020

I Am a Quilter!

I am a quilter, and now have a tshirt that proclaims me as such! It is a birthday present from my sister, Kimberly, and I love it! (Thank you!) 

The plan is to proudly wear it whenever I can, even over my fleece jacket on a cool day as shown in my pic below. My quilty friends/bee mates wear a lot of sewing/quilting themed T-shirts and sweatshirts, and now I have one too! (I must admit that I do have a couple of quilt guild T-shirts in my repertoire).  

Sew on....



Still pointing to my North star!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

A Sliver of the Moon

When I looked out the window at dusk, I noticed the orange sky and a bright shiny moon, a sliver of it at that. It was super bright and noticeable and I am surprised on how well my phone did in taking this pic! 

I'm over the moon! Ha!



Sunday, November 15, 2020

Looking UP!

We have two big sky lights in our kitchen that I love to gaze up and see what the sun, moon or clouds are up to on any given day. But one day this past week, with the leaves flying all over the place, never staying put, a few were stuck on one of the skylights that were pretty as a picture! Of course, I had to take a few pics of them laying this way and that way until they blew away once again.

As in life, look up!




Thursday, November 12, 2020

Mighty Fine at 59!

Isn't 59 the new 39? Please say it is so. "The Best Daughter" says I can "cry if I want to," but I've got my big girlie pants on and will stay true to my North Star - staying weird, happy and blessed beyond my Wild Ter imagination. Life is funny with its twists and turns, and I am thankful to stand bravely at 59. A shout of thanks to all the well-wishers today, because you all made this crazy girl feel loved, and that is what life is all about - family and friends and a special day for those who would like to express their greetings in the form of social media messages, phone calls, texts and cards! 

Take-out dinner from Mi Casita's in Crofton (my favorite Mexican Restaurant) rounded out the day with the family. Wooohoooo!!!



Photo credit to Mary Pavlyshyn on our trip West to the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. I'm pointing toward my North Star - who cares if there is a puffy white cloud in the way?! Standing with me is Terri Gindlesberger Lemke at the Painted Desert in Arizona! 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Fall Leaves...Quilt Style

My quilting and writing has been non-stop and I feel bad that I've neglected my blog for a few days in a row. However, today's beautiful Maple Leaf quilt was pieced by my sister Kimberly Kocan (I did one very similar several years ago), and I free motioned quilted (FMQ) it for her on my Handi-Quilter Avanté Long Arm the last couple days (Thank you, Mary Kay Kerr...I love it!) 

The mid-Atlantic is not experiencing cooler temperatures yet, more like summer, but the autumnal splash of color everywhere is in abundance and simply beautiful! Reds, Rusts, Oranges and Yellows!

Happy Fall Y'all and this quilt will be delivered to my sister in Ohio before the temperatures dips below 32 degrees, or that is my hope! And it's a biggie - 85"X100"



Friday, November 6, 2020

Freaky Friday with a Serendipity Moment

About a year ago "The Best Daughter" needed a monitor to work at home (or was it was this year - the year of Covid?) I can't remember anymore, can anyone? Anyway, fast forward to yesterday when I decided to do some errands with my last stop at Costco for some groceries and a few other items. I've been toying with the idea of buying new monitor since I gave "mine" away. I even ran into the Wal-Mart next door to Costo to price comparison shop. However, nothing appealed to me in the monitor department, and I came home with groceries, some light bulbs and a set of mixing bowls - but no monitor. Something stopped me, or maybe it was me, and I wasn't "feeling it" right then to buy one.

Sew...24 hours later, hubby and I did our daily 4 mile scoot around the Crofton Parkway, and about a mile from the finish line (our house) there was an older brown recliner with a "FREE"sign in large letters taped to all sides of the chair. For giggles and grins I took a look at it (we didn't need it, but hey, I can look, right?) However, what I did notice, and "needed" was a beautiful monitor sitting on the seat of the chair with "Free -works fine - we just have too many TV's." Well, there it was, all for the taking and waiting for me to run by, or so I thought. I had to make a quick decision (hubby continued running when I stopped) either to take it under my arm and walk it back the mile, or run home and grab the car keys and drive down to pick it up. I chose the latter and told hubby, if it's still there when I return, it's meant for me. 

Serendipity and a shout of Yippee Yee Ki Yay since it was still there upon my return and now all mine! A thank you card will be forthcoming. 



Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Sixteen Years Post Ryan's Bone Marrow Transplant!

The years keep rolling by (Harry Chapin), and we are thrilled that today celebrates 16 years since Ryan's PBMT at Duke University Medical Center. It was a long road until we finally got there, but we did and we are here today, standing proudly and giving shouts of THANK YOUS to anyone and everyone who played a part -large or small - we will be forever grateful! 

Can all say it was a "miracle." I say, "Yes!"



Vote, Please!



I had a great blogpost in my head for several weeks which included the road to the women's right to vote 100 years ago. The whole world closely watches the USA, and there are still countries that don't allow women to vote. I am thankful for those brave women back in the early 1900's that made it "their job" to get the vote. I salute them today!



Maryland's sticker is kind of cute, don't you think?

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Happy Halloweenie 2020!

A pretty good display of costumes for the 45 or so Trick-or-Treaters that stopped by our house and our street this evening. All the kids were gracious to receive the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (the 2-pack) on Ryan's insistence. He likes for all the kids to get the full candy bar, or in this case, the two Reese's Cups vs. the minis. He buys...just saying...

Our neighborhood went an hour earlier than usual, and I liked it: from 5-7pm! And the social distancing with tables set up so kids didn't have to crowd around a doorway was genius. We plan to set-up the same way for future Halloween's, not just in Covid times - complete with a fire pit in the driveway (it scares away evil spirits I'm told).

Hope everyone enjoyed a safe Halloween with their big and little ghosts and goblins!



ps - Ryan dressed up as a Caps fan, and Bill dressed up as a suburban Dad in sweats...


Wednesday, October 28, 2020


Have you seen any rats slinking around you? I took pause one day while scooting around the Crofton Parkway when this little fella was perched so well and looking quite "real", at knee level, mind you. Then not long after, "The Best Daughter" was running with us around the same Parkway where several rats were in the grass and all over the tree lawn...creepy you say? I think, Yes!

I'd say this family is ready for some spooky fun on Halloween!



Sunday, October 25, 2020

Our First Virtual 5K+ for Special Love!

The Special Love Virtual 5K can be done "anytime" between October 24-October 31; so my posse and I decided to "get-er-done" the very first day right out of the gate. It was a glorious day in Crofton to lace up the shoes and give it our best - even doing an "official" course that was already marked for other races set around the Crofton Parkway.

My photos below show "The Best Daughter" and Bill at the "starting line" and others after our "race." Last year, BC (Before Covid) we ran through the streets of DC near Nats Park and along the river, and a few extra twists and turns, which yielded us a race over 5K, and this year was no different in that either with going over a couple of tenths. No big deal! 



Friday, October 23, 2020

Foggy Mornings in Mid-Atlantic Maryland

How are your mornings lately? Sunshine? Rain? I hope not snow! Here in Maryland, we've had fog every morning for the past week. A bit strange? I don't know, but it doesn't burn off for a few hours and everything is quite eerie. 

I ran out to take the photo below - no filter! Never needed one (I don't usually use them unless it needs a little brightness). 

BSoleille! The bright side of looking for the sun...and shine...


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Turning Leaves

It's not only the wildflowers and other flowers still in bloom that keep ticking along, Mother Nature is forging ahead in turning the leaves their brilliant hues to delight the crowds! 

My photo below was taken on the White Oak Canyon Trail in Syria, Virginia. I don't believe these leaves would have turned deep orange or red, but they still struck a great pose!



Monday, October 19, 2020

Wildflowers Last Hurrah!

Mild temperatures in the Mid-Atlantic lean toward most flowers still blooming and striking a pose - beautifying our world a little longer before Old Man Winter takes over. I don't think I can ever get over the beauty of most flowers, even the wild ones - a favorite being Queen's Anne's Lace. 

My photo below is a common blue wood-aster or beeweed, and very pretty against fallen leaves of dried brown ones. It seems like I end up running on a lot of trails to catch up with my hiking mates since I'm hunched over taking lots of photos - and there's not much waiting for my shenanigans...



Saturday, October 17, 2020

Milestone Day: 24 Years Since Ryan's Initial Diagnosis of Leukemia!

October 17, 1996, will forever be etched into my mind for many reasons. Most importantly, it's the date that changed my life, and the life of my family, forever - all with the "simple" words uttered to me in a tiny pediatrician's office, "Ryan has cancer - leukemia." Oh, what a trajectory those four powerful words placed us on since that fateful day. I can honestly say, through everything we've slogged through, along with all the wonderful people that were put into our path to achieve the outcomes we prayed for - Ryan - a five-time cancer survivor, we are very thankful and blessed beyond our wildest imaginations. A huge shout of THANK YOUS to all who played any role to where we stand proudly today.

For those who read my blog regularly, I thank you! But lately you may have noticed that I have not been posting every day, and missing a couple of days in a row even, which is not like me. I thought I would be able to write my Friday (usually) #CelebratingOther posts, but those have dwindled as well, (they require a "bit" of work and I love writing them!), and my goal is to get back to those at some point. 

The reason for all the 'changes' is that this past summer of 2020, hubby Bill and I decided to take an online writing course that started in June and goes through December - Solstice to Solstice.  It's rocked my world, and that's the short answer. This class is an Akimbo class offered by Seth Godin and it's called Writing in Community. https://writingincommunity.com/

Both Bill and I are immersed in our writing projects, his more autobiographical, and mine a memoir (hint: it has something to do with the first paragraph of this post.) Along with my quilting business: NeedleOnFull.com, this class has consumed more hours of my time than I care to admit, though I am thrilled to be a part of this awesome writing community which is helping me shape a story about Ryan's focus through all his cancers and his family's resilience for the past 24 years. 

So cheers to Ryan, Olivia and Bill for blazing through 24 years of craziness, along our fantastic community of family, friends, neighbors, allies, advocates, comforters, well-wishers, and the astounding medical personnel from around the US and globe that all played huge and pivotal roles in helping Ryan, and his family, in reaching 24 years of "good living" from that long ago autumn day in October. WE ALL THANK YOU!!!

BSoleille! The bright side of celebrating a great milestone!


In the beginning...October 1996

And most recently, Ryan receiving the Temesgen Gomacho Award through the Aslan Project!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Aslan Award Winner - Ryan Tomoff

Tonight our son, Ryan, was virtually awarded the Temesgen Gomacho Award through Dr. Aziza Shad's Aslan Project (providing cancer treatment in Ethiopia, and now, Kenya.) It was a pivotal moment for Ryan to be recognized by this wonderful organization and the work they do for so many around the world. Aslan's virtual gala this evening was a beautiful testament to the work they are doing in these two  developing countries. Their work is ambitious, and profound, and they are improving the lives of great kids that now have the chance to beat their cancer and live! https://www.aslanproject.org/

Aslan took this great opportunity to honor Ryan's volunteer efforts with Special Love and Camp Fantastic - and the fact he gives back to others whenever he can. Ryan, while at camp, is one of the lights that shines on so many kids/campers now walking down the path he's gone down for almost 24 years (he was originally diagnosed at 2 years old on October 17th). 

This incredible award brings me and my family great joy and admiration for Ryan, a five-time cancer survivor, and all that he does to promote hope for children and adults alike!  

Can we all give him a huge shout of CONGRATULATIONS?