Friday, August 10, 2007


In case you did not get The Oregonian yesterday, my monthly Real-Life Mom column can be found on the newspapers website . You can link on it via my website: -

Here is the Oregonian's link:

and the cut and pasted version of my column:

REAL LIFE MOM - Gulf Coast trip is lesson in gratitude
Thursday, August 09, 2007
By Cornelia Seigneur -
W hen I flew to the Gulf Coast last month with my two high-schoolers for a seven-day relief mission with our church, I sat next to a young Mississippi filmmaker named Ashley who was intrigued by our 200-member team.
"I have made two documentaries on Hurricane Katrina," Ashley said. "And our church has hosted many relief groups in Katrina-rebuild efforts."
But nearly two years later, people have stopped coming, she said. "They have forgotten about us," she said. "So you are an answer to prayer. Thank you for coming."
We found her gratitude repeated many times during our experience in Moss Point, Miss., where we joined our church youth group to partner with New Covenant Community Ministries and Forward Edge International. And that gratefulness rubbed off on us.
Call it a Mississippi Miracle.
First, when we landed at the New Orleans airport at midnight, dozens of church members were there to greet us despite the two-hour journey from Moss Point.
Then, on our first morning, we were welcomed with an assembly. City dignitaries, church leaders and school officials gathered with a band, balloons and welcome signs to thank us for coming. The local press was there. It was like one of those high school pep rallies where the victorious football team walks into a cheering crowd.
After the festivities, we began painting a local school. Teachers and school officials came by throughout the week to again offer thanks.
We, however, would realize that we were the ones who needed to do the thanking.
In the evenings, the church folks gathered to serve our whole team a supper that they started preparing early in the day: hand-dipped catfish, homemade macAaron and cheese, fried chicken and sweet tea to wash it all down.
Our youths had the chance each day to assist at church-sponsored sports camps. When we drove to the projects to pick up children living in poverty, they had the biggest smiles and they kept saying, "Thank you, ma'am" and "yes, ma'am" to me.
On our day off, we visited a large water park. After a couple of hours, a storm took us by surprise; sheets of rain blasted us, accompanied by lightning and thunder that sounded like large trees falling.
Parts of the water park had flooded by the time it closed. Our bus driver told me it was one of the worst storms since Hurricane Katrina.
But that night, when students shared what the week in Mississippi had meant to them so far, they did not complain about having to leave the water park.
Instead I heard: "Thank you, God, for that amazing storm which allowed us to get a small glimpse of what these people here have lived through, and a glimpse of your power."
Truly, a Mississippi Miracle.

Visit Cornelia Seigneur, a West Linn writer, editor and mom of five, at her Web site:

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