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Version Française complète ce weekend, merci pour votre compréhension!

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drapeauUs1 GRATITUDE ! I have been living in France since 1987, that's 21 years ! Every now and then someone still comes up to me and asks:
-"What's this "Thanksgiving" thing all about ? Is it some sort of an American Christmas ?"
-"Well, no." And the I go about explaining how there are no gifts, that the only thing we "give" is thanks. We express GRATITUDE, and share that feeling with loved ones. I explain how the pilgrims were so thankful to have found freedom in a new land, food and eventually even maybe a roof, that they were grateful enough to celebrate this with the native indians who welcomed and helped them. Think about it for a minute. These guys had NOTHING. They left everything they had for the unknown. They left family behind, or lost them on the way. There are still modern-day Pilgrims out there.
Ok, although this might be a purely over-simplified elementary-school version, it is still extremely meaningful within American culture, and an excellent example of a yearly expression and celebration of GRATITUDE.
It may sound trite, but I can relate to the Pilgrims for many reasons and on many levels.  I think we all can.
In particular to the fact that even when there is apparently little around us to celebrate, there is still an enormous amount of things to be grateful for.  I have a very long list I'd like to share with you who may be reading this. Now and then a little devil in my head creeps in and sets a boobie-trap in my list, but my little logo, o:-) , is there to put me back on track.
First, let me say I'm grateful you are here, dear visitor, taking time to spend a moment with me, reading what I might have to say. :o) Here goes ...

Above all I'm grateful for my family. Nothing beats a toothless smile or a hug from a loved one, and what  dearly loved ones ! One in particular who has always supported my dreams, steady as a rock! But this is a jewelry blog ...
* I'm grateful for how France welcomed me 21 years ago and has made me feel at home every day to this day.
* I'm so grateful to be able to live my dream daily, doing what I love the most while sharing this with others, making their eyes sparkle.
* I am grateful to have customers who love what I do as much as I love making it. That some love what I create enough to even collect it.
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I am grateful for the growing recognition I have received for my hard work here in France and beyond. It tells me I'm on the right track, that hard work pays off, and reminds me there's still so much to learn and accomplish.
* I'm grateful to know enough within my field to share and teach it to others, and to know little enough to continue learning and growing from others.
* I am grateful for the wonderful students I continue to growingly attract, who come from all corners of France and Europe, all the way to my studio, just for a class with me. Each one adds something special to my life.
* I'm grateful for all the wonderful friends and fellow artists I have here and around the world - you know who you are ! and for all the wonderful people I have met since I have hopped onto the metal clay journey bandwagon. Yes, all 99.9% of you purely fine people who put a silver lining to the word "sharing". And, some of you may ask, "what about the other .1% ?" Well, it's smoke ;o) and where there's smoke there's fire, which helps fuse the other 99.9% ! And, voilà ! It's all part of the process.
* I am grateful to those who trust me enough to know that, although I'm late, I have not forgotten and am working on it, overcoming my own challenges on the way, struggling with that little devil. Thank you for understanding and being patient !  I hope you read this - you know who you are ! ;o)
* I am grateful for those who I thought I would have rather not met at the time. They allowed me to learn more about  my fellow human being, about being human, and specially about myself, and to position myself and grow into the person I truly am.
* I am grateful to have choices, these and many others, and to always see the water in the glass.
* I am grateful to know that we are all given the gift of creativity, which helps us find creative solutions to everything, once we decide to look at things from a different angle.
* I am grateful for internet ! :o)
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I'm grateful to be able to share these thoughts with you.

I could go on, but this is long enough !

So lastly, I am so grateful that gratitude was voted by the Jewelry Carnival Team as this month's theme !  Partly because it's Thanksgiving and, as you can tell, this is quite an important day, but also because it's an attitude which can be cultivated daily !
I'd like to share a ritual with you. When you wake up in the morning, instead of automatically making a long mental list of all the things you have to do in the day ... STOP !
Wake up, take a deep breath, smile and immediately say to yourself "I'm grateful for /that ..." and finish the sentence. Add to that. If it helps, write down all for which you are grateful. You'll see how many wonderful things fill your life, starting your day with wonderful energy to face the adventures ahead.
Better yet, do it now ! Don't wait to go to bed ! Wake up now !
It's all about opportunity. Life is one big opportunity.
Note to self: remember the above when the little devil sets another boobie-trap.
So, cheers ! Here's to gratitude ! And here's to Thanksgiving !
Now go stuff that turkey ! But first, read what the other members of the Carnival have to say ... I know I can't wait!
Tonya Davidson
Lorrene Davis
Marco Fleseri
Tamra Gentry
Lora Hart
Elaine Luther
Chris Parry
Kirsten Skiles
Angela Crispin (that's me, you're here ;o)