Thanksgiving Tablecloth Tradition – Monday 2016


If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.

W. Clement Stone

Yesterday, I introduced the Thanksgiving Tablecloth Tradition.  This is a tradition our family started 15 years ago, and it has helped ensure we intentionally reflect on God’s provision in our lives over the past year.  To read more about the tradition, click here.

This week, I’ll be sharing the things I’ll be writing on the tablecloth this year.

On Sunday, I took time to brainstorm my gratitude using the Lighten (mind mapping) application on my iPad, so I’ll be sharing pictures of my Thank You 2016 mindmap to give you a glimpse into my world.


I’m thankful for 2 weeks in Guatemala this summer.  Our family traveled to Guatemala to help build three homes and to continue ministry to widows and orphans in the village of Santo Domingo Xenacoj.




I’m thankful for Ann Flynn who joined our team this year.  Besides the medical expertise and humor she brought to the trip, it was refreshing to see Xenacoj through her eyes.  One of my dreams is to bring others with us when we go to Xenacoj.  I want them to experience what we’ve experienced, and I want them to develop a heart for the beautiful people we serve.  Ann’s participation in this year’s trip gave me hope that this will happen.

I’m thankful for safe travels, and I’m thankful for the people who helped us out on either side of our trip with transportation and pet care.

I’m thankful for the 3 houses we helped build.  More importantly, I’m thankful for the opportunity to engage with the families of Dolores, Maria, and Carmen.  I look forward to visiting them when we return again.

I’m thankful for Hillary.  She’s visited Xenacoj several times in the past as part of medical missions trips.  This was our first trip together.  She added a lot to our first week in Guatemala, and I’m thankful for her medical support when Leanne fainted on the construction site the first day.

I’m thankful for my mornings in Guatemala.  Each morning I had the opportunity to spend time on the roof of our residence before anyone else woke up.  This was my opportunity for Rooftop Reflections – a daily video blog of my thoughts.  I also did a lot of reading in the morning.  I read through I and II Thessalonians and The Promise of a Pencil and Start Something That Matters.  Finally, I had the opportunity in the morning to walk the streets of Xenacoj while Hannah ran on ahead.  These morning walks allowed me to suck in the sites, smells, and sounds that come with each morning in this village I love.


I’m thankful for Hope Haven.  This is where we helped out in their warehouse where they build wheelchairs for people all over the world.  We also participated in a wheelchair basketball game.  (It’s harder than you think.)

I’m thankful for Cruz Ayapan, a small village just outside of Xenacoj.  This village and it’s village are clear reminders that God’s love is needed all over the world and there is still much work to be done.

I’m thankful for our widows walk with German.  It was beautiful to see German’s heart as he ministered to the women in his village who are often forgotten.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to meet with Mario Aquino, the mayor of Xenacoj.  This meeting provided an incredible time to discuss a vision for our involvement in the future.

I’m thankful for the generosity of so many donors who helped make this trip possible.

I’m thankful for Oreo, the dog who we adopted during our trip.  He lived outside our house, and he always greeted us with his expressive tail and ears.



I’m thankful for protection from witchcraft.  I don’t talk about this a lot, but there were people in the village who weren’t excited to have us there.  I’m thankful we stayed safe during this experience.

I’m thankful for our wonderful translators.  Not only did they help us communicate with the locals, but they became our friends.

And I’m thankful for our visit to Antigua.  This is the tourist village about 40 minutes from Xenacoj.  I’ll always remember the rooftop dinner with our team and the McDonalds date with Leanne while our kids shopped for souvenirs with the rest of our team.0img_0303

Stay tuned for Day Two of my Thanksgiving Tablecloth Tradition reflections.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.  Psalm 118:1

What did you experience this year that merits your gratitude?  Share your thoughts in the comments.