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!

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? 



Monday, October 12, 2020

Chili Today, Colder Tomorrow

Ladies and Gentlemen! Have you started your crockpots yet this season? I did! And, I realized that I did not use it once this summer, and we at 99% of our meals at home. However, the rainy weather in the mid-Atlantic the last two days (even though not very cold) got me hankering for some crockpot chili. It did not disappoint, though I did forget to add some jalapenos to spice it up a bit (from hiking boots to jalapenos).

Looking forward to more quick meals - it's all in the slicing and dicing (and perhaps browning some meat for a short spell) before turning it on and setting the time. Violá - done!

BSoleille! The bright side of comfort food!


Saturday, October 10, 2020

White Oak Canyon Trail 2020

Today I "traded" by sewing machines and soccer cleats for hiking boots and a strenuous 10 mile hike in the Shenandoah National Park near Syria, Virginia. It's a good thing we woke up at 4:30am and left the house at 5:00am to pick up "The Best Daughter" in DC. However, when we were a few miles away from her place, I realized I forgot my boots. Ugh! There was no way I could have done the hike (very rocky and almost 2800 ft. elevation climb) with the flimsy shoes I had on to ride in the car for the 2.5 hour drive down, so back home we go. My hiking companions were not happy about the turn of events, but thankfully, we were not in a rush, and they went with it with barely a complaint of my airheadedness! Next time they go in the car the night before!



Photos from the White Oak Canyon Trail (we love all the waterfalls - they are breathtaking!)

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Will the Real Rat Please Come Forward

There was a slight pause in my step as I rounded a corner on our daily "scoot" around the Crofton Parkway and saw this little fella was perched on this utility cover. There was one next to it too, and today I noticed a black cat that looked quite real. 

It appears that spooky decorations have migrated to the tree lawns!



Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Flu Shot 2020 Anyone?

PSA on getting the 2020 flu shot - we did it on the buddy system (new buddy with Bill.) My typical buddy (Ryan) went today instead of going yesterday with us. But we figured the beginning of October is as good as anytime for the shot, and now it's checked off our list! 



PS It didn't hurt a lick...

Monday, October 5, 2020

Asheville's Fun Graffiti

It's been a month since the weather turned a bit, and "The Best Daughter" and I visited the Blue Ridge Mountains and Asheville, North Carolina, proper.

The town of Asheville has some fantastic graffiti on their buildings, especially in the River art District. However, the downtown area also sported assorted vibrant painted buildings with unbelievable art on many of them. My photo below shows a fun painting on a building in the art district that was too cute not to share - even a month later!



Saturday, October 3, 2020

Photo Finish

Hubby Bill is working on a writing project that apparently he needed to take photos of the two quilts I made for him. I thought it was sweet and endearing that he went to the trouble to get the ladder out of the garage and set it up on the grass in the backyard so he could focus in capturing the entire quilt on his phone. 

It's the little moments, right?

BSoleille! The bright side of the hubby loving his quilts!


Thursday, October 1, 2020

Yellow Heart Leaves of Maryland

The changing of the leaf guard; from green to yellow to red. I spotted this one, a heart shape leaf in yellow, and not sure it will ever turn red. They will with little more rain and some cooler temperatures -those glorious reds will burst onto the scene.