Gratitude Amid Chaos

Gratitude Amid Chaos
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Gratitude Amid Chaos

    This time of year is traditionally spent in grateful reflection for the past months and anticipation of the holiday season. Most of the time, I found myself bustling about like anyone else in search of the perfect turkey; larger than my kids but small enough to fit in the oven without the use of power tools. November meant hand-print turkeys, a trip to Plimoth Plantation and long conversations with my sister over the best method for making stuffing balls. My life seemed pretty settled and I didn't have to give much thought to the gratitude issue. Sure my kids were healthy, I had a roof over my head, the universal, all purpose checklist of Things to Be Thankful For applied.
At this stage, though, when I find myself wondering how long I can raise my sons in the way I feel is best, or how long we can stay in the only home they have known, gratitude doesn't always come by the same route. There are mornings when my first response to the world is an audible groan followed by the Covering of the Head With the Pillow defense. Despite my best efforts, however, I am usually attacked by either manic, hungry cats or manic, hungry children welding pillows. Fortunately, the fish are unable to breathe air and leave me alone. Try as I might to return to numb slumber, these assorted enthusiastic mammals are pleased as punch to see me. It is impossible to feel unmoved by a frantically purring wet cat nose pushing its way under the pillow to say hello, let alone a boy's declaration of ' Guess what! I figured out a way to build a time machine. Where are my slippers? '

These are times when playful ridiculousness seems the most important thing in the world. In a moment of joy for it's own sake, gratitude just flows, rather than follow a set route for things that are supposed to be important. Suddenly it's not about what might happen, but what is happening. It's in recognizing that stopping to watch a 13 lb meat loaf, cleverly disguised as a cat, attempt to chase her tail then pause to maintain her aloof dignity carries enough joy to get me through an afternoon. It's in hearing my youngest declare that I should open a business to help kids who have trouble reading because reading is more fun at home that I'm living the way I was meant. My life is featured in the dictionary under upheaval, but stopping long enough to notice the joy surrounding me is a reminder that my kids, my critters and I are doing okay, and for that I am grateful.
Copyright 2003


About The Author

Catie Hayes is founder/editor of, a community of support, spirituality, growth and empowerment for women. She is a freelance writer, the single homeschooling mom of two, and an avid fan of laughter, spontaneous dancing, cats and chocolate (not necessarily in that order).

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