Chapter 29: Give Thanks

Give Thanks

Kiki is another of my many teachers. Whenever I visit Kiki and her fellow travelers, she shows qualities I hope to display.

Kiki is a cow.

While cows in the field aggressively pursue the nourishment we bring, fight for their preferred places, push other cows away to get what they want when they want it, moo or moan or groan or kick or jolt to make their points, Kiki isn’t that aggressive. She finds her feed or her hay or her calf but gets out of the way when the controlling cows or bulls push through the crowd.

It seems like Kiki knows it will all be okay. She seems to be thankful for what’s already near rather than rushing for what other members of the herd are chewing.

I’ve learned about the world of cows, and about life, from Kiki. Heifer, bull, calves. Noise, energy, strength. Protection, direction, determination. When she fed and took care of Bernie. Then when she fed and took care of Daniel. Kiki didn’t battle unnecessary wars. From my view as an observer, Kiki seemed calm and content. Rather than pushing for more, she takes what’s there and calmly continues her role of nourishment for herself and her calf, never overreacting or neglecting what’s necessary.

She’s found a balance. She’s shown equilibrium on an uneven pasture and an aggressive drove.

My times with Kiki and the other cows have moved me into a world I never expected or planned to enter. The experiences have taught me to be thankful. Rather than wanting more and newer and bigger and better, to moo a “thank you” and calmly chew a sweet feed of coarse hay. Instead of demanding my preferred place and controlling one more space on the field large enough for many, to accept my place and serve those I should mother. Kiki prompted me to look around and be thankful for blessings I might not notice if I’d stayed on the rapid road of hurry. Kiki reinforced to me the importance of opening a gate and entering the farmland of care and nourishment.

I never expected to become such close friends with a cow. But I am. I’m thankful for Kiki.

And I am Kiki’s grateful acquaintance because of another friend. He’s the real story here. He’s the actual friend here. He’s taught me about cows and pastures, about a sun setting for another evening and a friend caring for another friend, about finding an equilibrium of calmness when the world seems totally out of balance.

Bill Parten owns the cows. He knows everything that needs to be known about them. And he’s teaching me about feeding them, protecting them, and living a life of thankfulness.

Bill and I became friends as we entered the uneven surfaces of teenage years. I had recently moved into his area. He was, and is, tall. I was, and am, short. Basketball connected us. A point guard and a big man, a farmer and a small-town city boy, choosing to see positives in the chaos of adolescence.

Bill has two sisters. He’s the oldest.

I have two sisters. I’m the youngest.

Bill can fix what’s broken.

I can tell stories about lessons learned from what’s broken or fixed.

Bill knows about electricity and farms and cattle and tools.

I know about none of those.

But I know the thankfulness Bill brings into each endeavor.

(click here to save 20% – 40% on Equilibrium)


  1. What ten things in your life are you the most thankful for?
  2. What ten people are you the most thankful for?
  3. What are ten things about God you are most thankful for?
  4. What are ten ways you can become better at displaying a thankful heart to those around you?


Chris Maxwell’s book Equilibrium is a psychologist’s dream handbook. It reads like a therapist doing the complex, mysterious, yet meaningful work of helping a client regain balance in his or her life.

Beverly J. Oxley, PhD

Licensed Psychologist, Founder and Director of Wellsprings Psychological Resources Founder and Executive Director of The Ark Family Preservation Center