Bonjour from way outside of Paris, where the morning dawned hours ago with no sun and the cold seeps into the house and the bones before even I leave for the journey ahead...

Unwelcome, that gray that sometimes announces (beloved) snow but today seems only to will upon me, in me, a sense of cold and some dread riding along with it, penetrating.

This is the kind of cold and gray that wants to creep in and steal your soul... the kind that can bring a body (normally cheerful), disagreeably to a day with the words "Thanks a lot," a phrase with not an ounce of grace-giving thanks.

But NO WAY! There will be no stealing of my soul today!

Let's start this all over... TAKE TWO!

The sun came up (not out, but at least UP) today late, allowing for a wallowing under warm covers while the shower water heated up at the same time as the water for hot chocolate: a fine way to start the day!

The soft gray blends lines and mutes colors, giving the patchwork-earth here in the French countryside a muted, dreamlike quality, as if I would be swimming not taking a train back to Paris today.

THERE - that's better! :-) Thanks... a LOT!

The difference is palpable, between the sardonic "thanks a lot" which seems to intimate that the world owes me better, and the sincere "thanks ... A LOT!" which puts me in the space of grace that is gratitude.

There is ALWAYS SOMETHING to for which I can be grateful, always something that we can say Thanks... A LOT! for.

Today I am thankful for the peaceful haven hideout where all tasks administrative have been at least begun if not completed, and I pass the baton to a new assisting presence. I am grateful to have a place (places!) to lay my head at night, grateful for a life that never leaves me bored (I would actually welcome a bit more boredom ahem!)... thanks for my good health and the friends and family with whom I connected even if only virtually over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Is everything "perfect"? No, of course not... this is planet earth, right?

But everything is perfect... that is to say, even what has me disgruntled, what I would have preferred to go another way... is perfect. I am aware of the Presence that underlies all movement... I am aware that my Mom really was right when she said "Everything happens for a reason." And I am aware that if something didn't pan out according to plans, that means that that "something" was NOT what was best for me.

Knowing that, my sarcasm-smothered "Thanks a lot" turns into a genuine "Thanks... a LOT!" as, on the outbreath, I relax into what IS best for me... that which is well on its way to arriving.

Giving thanks from France...