Help Leena Learn in Tanzania This Summer

26 05 2017

I’m taking a risk and have partially paid for a study abroad adventure in Tanzania this summer! This class is  one more check off the graduation requirements list for my Master of Divinity Program at Seattle Pacific Seminary. Students in cohorts from my seminary entry year and earlier have a cross-cultural Immersion study abroad class option to fulfill a particular requirement. If you want the travel option you kind of have to jump onboard as they are offered and if it is of interest to you or you need to graduate because our program doesn’t offer trips every summer. 

I technically could wait another year or two and wasn’t sure how I’d afford this trip, but my husband convinced to take a risk (or leap in faith) and apply for the trip because:

 (1) because as mom and congregational child/youth/Christian Education minister when will this kind of opportunity so blatantly present itself? 

And (2) because, he reminded me – Africa in general and Tanzania specifically, was the place that I always said I wanted to travel to learn about and experience the culture. as a child, teen, and before I became a mother. I was shocked I actually forgot how much I desired this opportunity in the past and apparently life has taken me other directions in the past 20 years. 

This Tanzanian travel dream is dusted off and making a comeback now that I’ve turned 40. Our trip is coming up quickly  – July 8-27, 2017 – Would you like to join me and be on my “Leena Learns in Tanzania Support Team“? 

You’re invited to support me through prayer, encouragement and learning with me as I learn in Tanzania via following my blog (you’re reading  it) and/or joining a little Facebook group for trip tidbits and updates that I just created. 

If you’d like to help support me financially with a few dollars or several you can donate via my FundMyTravel.com page or contact me directly for offline donation options. 

I hope you’ll choose to join me on this adventure one way or another!





Can’t Sleep, So Why Not Blog?

29 07 2010

I haven’t blogged in forever, yet again! I guess that is a sign that I’ve been busy.
Summer has been good. We took a trip to New York (and Washington D.C. and Vermont!) not too long ago to visit my husband’s brother & wife, Aaron and Levana, and our new little nephew, Jack. He’s a total cutie and I’m so glad I got to meet him. We visited the U.S. national capital for Fourth of July festivities… parade and concert on the mall (the one featured on PBS every year. It was hot and involved lots of crowds and waiting but it definitely was an experience of a life time. You might ask why visit Vermont? Because I have a buddies from my Stanwood days, Sarah and Toby, who live there and we love to visit. They are the most hospitable couple and have a cutie, Hallie, for a daughter. For part of the time while we were in New York, Doug’s parents were visiting as well.

Rebecca T, if you’re reading this… I’m really sorry we didn’t get a chance to visit you, we only spent one day in the city and it involved getting half-price tickets from TKTS, walking across the Brooklyn bridge, finding the best playground in Central Park for our kiddos to play in, jumping on and off the Long Island Express trains and NY subway in Brooklyn and Penn Station several times, and taking Ellie to see Mary Poppins on Broadway. I’m impressed that my daughter, six years old today, became an expert train/subway taker in D.C. and New York on this trip. She mastered putting her ticket in the turn style and getting through it without any fear. I was really proud of my suburban Seattle doll who normally rides in a car everywhere.

And yup, you read it, we now have a six year old in our family. Our Ellie is getting so big! She’s thin, getting taller, the baby fat in her cheeks is gone. She’s reading books, taking piano lessons, learning to hula hoop, and wants a “Barbie and the Three Musketeers” theme for her birthday. Dare I say that I’m actually getting play swords. Others suggested it, I’m really nervous… something about it being a girls birthday party and I’m a children’s/youth minister at a church. But it was moms from the church (moms of boys) who suggested it! I know I can make my own choices and don’t have to take their advice, but I did. We’ll see the reactions on Saturday. I have my personal policy on weapons and I’m definitely stretching it with this birthday party. But that is part of who the musketeers are, right? And even Barbie and her three female musketeer buddies have swords. Not that it makes it right for my daughter, but its the theme. The children at this party will also get to decorate masks and have a hat with a feather in it. This is all pending that my Oriental Trading Company order arrives promptly tomorrow as the tracking says it will.

Back to Ellie, she’s so very sensitive and I get concerned about her being too sensitive… crying or guilt tripping others with a story so that they’ll be her friends. Maybe this is normal for a 6 year old girl? I don’t know. It pains me when she’s sad and I’m trying to let her work differences with others out on her own while giving some advice when it seems she could use a pick me up. I share this concern with a good friend and she says I’m likely noticing it because I’m pretty sensitive myself… in time Ellie will figure things out and be OK. My friend is a great god-mother for Ellie, glad she’s in our life. 🙂

For Ellie this morning I bought her pink roses and had them out on the table when she woke up this morning, with a card and a small gift nearby. Then made her chocolate chip pancakes, her favorite and rushed her off to daycare for the day. She made sure that we brought cupcakes to share and celebrate with her summer group of school-agers at the montessori today. And it just happened there was a group there to put on a puppet show. Perfect birthday for a six year old. As a family, just the four of us, we’ve held a small tradition of birthday dinner for the birthday person. So Ellie’s choice was McDonald’s (she says they have the best tasting cheeseburgers!) and I put a bug in her ear to have a picnic at a nearby park. So we had McD’s at the park while the girls played on the playground, Doug and I had a bit of a chance to have casual conversation and daddy gave the girls “underdog” pushes on the swings. We went home to watch an episode of the Muppet Show (we have them on DVD) and then reluctantly the girls went to bed. Doug’s finally sleeping and alas, I’m obviously still awake with lots on my mind.

I love that we’ve been able to travel with our girls so they can visit family and friends elsewhere and experience a bit of life outside of Seattle. I’m glad that we can create traditions with them for birthdays and holidays. I hope that they’ll hold on to these moments with a smile and warmth in their heart, like I do as I write this blog post.

Loving my family. Thank you God for them.

~Leena








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