27 November 2013

consumerism and giving thanks.

We all get the warm fuzzies around Thanksgiving and Christmas, particularly when we think about the things for which we are thankful. But as with all good things, there's always a flip side. With Thanksgiving, it comes almost immediately afterward…


no thank you.

25 November 2013

wait, you live with priests and nuns?

Just to recap, Ashley and I are living on the Maryknoll campus in Ossining, NY for ten weeks of orientation in preparation for becoming Maryknoll Lay Missioners and moving to Tanzania. 

seminary building on the campus of the maryknoll fathers and brothers

21 November 2013

pre-thanksgiving gratitude.

Here in Ossining, New York, the colored leaves have all fallen off of the trees, the sun sets by 4:32PM, and it is a brisk 37 degrees outside, which can only mean one thing…

It's almost Thanksgiving! Yippee skippee!


18 November 2013

what are you leen's about?

Ashley and I had a conversation the other day about values. And it was fun!

We asked ourselves, "Do our family and friends know what we're about? Are the values we espouse evidenced by the way we live our life, or would we have to verbally articulate them for anyone to know?"

13 November 2013

the photos of autumn…and a little winter too.

Ashley and I decided it's about time we share more photos of our life to balance out the myriad of other post topics.

So here you go: a sprinkling of photos taken during our first five and a half weeks of orientation with Maryknoll Lay Missioners. Enjoy!

hiking at sal j. prezioso mountain lakes park!

cocoa breaking my heart!

I love candy. Chocolate, specifically. I'm embarrassed at how child-like I am when any form of chocolate is present in the room. I remind myself a lot of Jerry Seinfeld's bit on how kids feel about candy:

That's why I was completely devastated when I watched this short documentary, produced by the BBC in 2010. Called "The Bitter Truth," it tells the story of where cocoa beans are produced and how they are harvested. Sounds straightforward, right? The unfortunate reality is always more complicated.

11 November 2013

tanzania's teacher.

Ashley and I have been doing quite a bit of reading to prepare us for the transition to life in Tanzania.

The Fate of Africa provided a strong foundation of the continent's history since independence from colonialism.

The Fate of Africa by Martin Meredith

07 November 2013

five shocking facts about maternal mortality.

Wah waaaah. Welp, from the title of this post, you have quickly realized that this topic is not a super happy one. And it shouldn't be. It's a serious issue in the world and one which I recently studied for some of my training with Maryknoll. It's always easy to avoid a not-so-fun conversation but don't. Not this time at least.

To begin, my amazing partner, Melissa, helped us to pick this topic by voicing her experience with Half the Sky, a documentary centered on women's issues worldwide, one of which is maternal mortality. We started reading up on the topic through various nonprofits' websites, including Every Mother Counts, as well as the UN's Population Fund. Here are just five of the facts we found that knocked me off my feet:

sadly, so true.

04 November 2013

look for the helpers.

Ashley and I have been without cable or any kind of TV plan for the past 2.5 years, and it's been great. Many people would ask us what we possibly do in our free time without TV. As one dear friend put it, "I think you two just stare into each other's eyes."