Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart

jamesstep

Last week Isaac walked through a typical day in our lives, and recounted the many things we have to be grateful for in our every day life. In keeping with this theme, I decided to show you a somewhat less typical day that shows a different part of our lives: Sundays.

horseplay

Sunday mornings usually start with Isaac and James wrestling on the bed while I make breakfast. I love hearing James shrieking in delight from the other room, and getting to watch Isaac as a daddy fills my heart with joy. I’m really not sure who enjoys these morning romps the most – Isaac or James!

I’m also very grateful to the Lord for giving me such a kind, caring, and gentle man to be my husband, and the father of my child. His care for our little family, and his diligence to provide both physical and spiritual sustenance is another great blessing for which I am very thankful!

coffeegrinder

Speaking of physical sustenance, Isaac has taken on the job of grinding our coffee beans fresh every morning, and of course James has to get in on the action too. I’m so thankful for how much James wants to be with us, and do everything we are doing. It’s also a very sober reminder of how much he watches and imitates everything we do. And while it may be a bit cliche, coffee is certainly on my list of things to thank the Lord for this year!

jamesstep2

While we load up the car, James loves to walk excitedly up and down the sidewalk from the house to the car, watching with anticipation as we prepare for our ride to church. His budding curiosity about everything he sees, hears and touches reminds me daily to be thankful for the little things in life, not just the big things. Bountiful acorns, smooth rocks, crunchy leaves, dripping water, darting squirrels, hovering helicopters, and roaring dump trucks all captivate James’ attention and imagination. How wonderful it is to have healthy bodies that can observe and appreciate all these little blessings the Lord sends each day.

churchdrive

Our drive to church winds through idyllic country roads filled with gorgeous hillsides covered with towering trees, springs bubbling out of layered rocks, and little barns peeking out from each curve in the road. Often we sing Psalms on the way to church, and I’m reminded of the mighty and creative hand of an Almighty God who made all this varying landscape.

Once we get to the church building James loves to traipse up and down the aisles of chairs as we gather for corporate worship. This church body has seen its share of ups and downs, but the Lord has been faithful to care for us, guide us, and to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. I’m thankful for the diligent and kind shepherding of our elders and deacons.

jameschurchchairs

Being a mother is one of the greatest blessings of my life; I’m sobered by the responsibility to point this little soul to our Saviour every day, in both word and deed. I’m grateful for all the families in our church that are helping us provide good examples for him.

jameshedichurch

“Whasdat?” A constant query that never ceases to make me smile:

jamesheidichurch2

Isaac and I have a lot that we need to teach James about church, and prayer, and worshiping the Lord, and how be attentive to the sermon. Right now we’re mostly focused on teaching him to sit quietly through the sermon, but that’s just the beginning of a whole life long pursuit of holiness, righteousness, and serving the Lord with all of his heart. We don’t have any pictures of the service itself, but James did a pretty good job this week.

After we are dismissed, the yummy food and sweet fellowship that are part of every Sunday’s shared meal.

crockpots

James has learned the art of distraction. “Maybe if I am super cute in this high chair, Mommy won’t notice that I’m not eating my healthy food!”

jameshighchair

I am thankful for the influence and wisdom of godly Titus 2 women in our church. There are many wise, experienced, loving, kind and gracious mothers in our church, and I have gleaned so much good counsel and advice from women like Mrs. Hall!

churchlunch

When you get these three munchkins together, there’s no telling what kind of adventures will happen… We can’t wait to meet Marian and Alan’s little brother or sister, who is due to arrive any day now! And I’m sure James will be happy to longer be the baby of the group.

threekids

Savannah is a beloved playmate who helps keep James out of trouble. She loves children and is such a blessing to our church; she can often be found reading books to a small herd of young children on Sunday afternoon.

churchfriends2

I’m so thankful for the many friendships the Lord has given me since moving here to Tennessee two and a half years ago. I’ve been encouraged, strengthened and sharpened by so many Christian brothers and sisters. Often Isaac or I look up from these conversations to find that we are almost the last people left in the building.

churchfriends

And after a long and exhausting day at church, it’s time to head to Grandfather and Grandmother Botkin’s house to relax by the fire and spend the evening with the extended family. We’ve only had one cold week so far, but I’m already grateful for toasty hot fires.

cozyfire

Having doting aunts is certainly one of the great perks of the nephew life. Here Anna plays with the two youngest cousins who are just 19 days apart.

auntanna

Here we are all gathered in the living room to hear Grandfather tell stories of a recent trip, and to pray for the future of our country. I’m thankful for Dad Botkin’s example of faithfulness to the Lord, and that James gets to observe his ways.

grandfather

One of the greatest side benefits of marrying Isaac is the great family that I married into! I dearly love all my sisters-in-law, my new parents, and the little pack of nephews and niece that I now get to hang out with. What a perfect ending to a wonderful day!

kitchenchat

Isaac told me that writing his blog post last week helped him to to slow down and make time to be thankful for all the things he would usually just skim past and not notice in a normal day. Writing this blog post has helped me in a different way. In some ways this post has been more difficult to write than I had thought it would be, because I found that it was easier to think about and be thankful for all the people and places and things that I used to have in Colorado, rather than being truly thankful for the many, many blessings the Lord has given me here in Tennessee. Of course I miss my family, my friends and my church in Colorado very much, and yet as you can see by this long post full of wonderful gifts from the Lord, I have so much to be thankful for here.

The Lord has certainly filled my cup to overflowing, and I thank the Lord every day for His great mercy and lovingkindness that He has shown me and my little family.

O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
Psalm 34:8

  1. Heidi, I loved this picture of your Sunday life (and Isaac’s picture of daily life from a previous post)! Your Sundays sound a lot like mine, in my new home of Oregon with Ross, and it is great to see you sinking your roots in deeply and enjoying the body of Christ around you. You are honest about how it’s good and also how it’s hard to not be in Colorado anymore, and I admire that honesty! I really appreciated your encouragements before Ross and I got married, and how transparent you were, so that I could be helped. You wrote about about how to handle the move to a new home, church, and community, and it has done me good to see you establishing your family and making new, close friends, and enjoying your in-law family so much too! You’re a little farther along in making your home in Tennessee than I am in making my home in Oregon, and it’s encouraging to see.

    - Annie Leavitt
    1. Thank you, Annie, for your kind and encouraging words! I think of you often as you are establishing yourself in your new home in Oregon. Love and miss you!

  2. It warms my heart to see how you are finding joy and purpose in your new home! Don’t get me wrong – there are days that I really miss you like crazy. In the end, though, I’m so grateful that God has given you so many blessings that you have been able to specifically recognize as coming from the hand of our Heavenly Father.
    And I’m particularly grateful for Skype so that I can see my sweet grandbaby multiple times in a week! It’s ALMOST as good as being just down the road.

    - Granny Sha
  3. Dear Heidi,
    The Lord providentially led me to this post today; I needed this dose of His grace. :)
    I want to thank you for posting these beautiful photos and thankful captions. It is a JOY to see so many beloved people in each picture and to know that the Lord is accomplishing His beautiful purposes in each life as we follow Christ together. I love seeing your heart revealed in these sentiments and praises! Thank you for living for Jesus, serving others so sweetly and selflessly, and directing my own heart to greater gratitude today. You are precious and I am thankful for you!
    May He continue to bless you, Isaac, and James, that your lips will keep pouring forth His praise! (Ps. 119:171)

    - Nanette Tucker

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