Tuesday, December 30, 2008

About a storm. . .from The Shack . . .

A New York Times Bestseller, The Shack is sure to jolt your preconceived ideas about God. . . and, in the midst of the storm we recently had in the Portland Oregon area, he has a great take on storms. . . I love what the storm did for us. . . perhaps, there is even a greater message about storms in our lives. . .we had no electricity for two days and so we set up our old woodstove in front of our house and stayed warm surrounded by snow. We roasted marshmallows and made smores with hersheys chocolate bars and graham crackers, my 5-year-old's favorite treat around the campfire. The storm interupted our routine and I loved every minute of it. We played spoons by candlelight and lantern, we snuggled on the couch. My son read his books by flashlight. . . .

Here, an excerpt about a storm- from William P. Young’s The Shack

"There is something joyful about storms that interrupt routine. Snow or freezing rain suddenly releases you from expectations, performance demands, and the tyranny of appointments and schedules. And unlike illness, it is largely a corporate rather than individual experience. One can almost hear a unified sigh rise from the nearby city and surrounding countryside where Nature has intervened to give respite to the weary humans slogging it out within her purview. All those affected this way are united by a mutual excuse, and the heart is suddenly and unexpectedly a little giddy. There will be no apologies needed for not showing up to some commitment or other. Everyone understands and shares in this singular justification, and the sudden alleviation of the pressure to produce makes the heart merry." -

Friday, December 26, 2008

Snow Days Remind Us To Slow Down . . . Christmas Day MY Turn in Clackamas County Weekly Oregonian newspaper

(A shorter version of this was originally published in the Clackamas County Weekly section of The Oregonian newspaper, 12-25-08)

I love these snow days home with kids.

Since the start of the winter storm that hit Portland area Sunday, I have been loving this time of forced slow down for us.

Initially, when the storm hit Sunday, I had a very busy week ahead, with church and a Christmas Tea and a concert and parent helping at school and Christmas concerts and holiday events. But, beginning with Sunday, I bowed out of all of them and most were eventually canceled anyway. I was thrilled for the change of pace. Somehow, I breathed easier.

Every day, my grade school children have been watching the Television to see if school is canceled, and they wait till the W’s to come across the screen; they want to see it over and over again: “West Linn-Wilsonville School District closed.”

What is funny is that they have known the night before as it was texted to my older high school son’s cell phone and we have checked online.

But, my children were so excited anyway to see it on screen. These days off have been so fun for them. And for me.

I remember growing up in southeast Portland and how thrilled I used to get having snow days. Back then, it didn’t seem like they announced the closures of school until the actual school morning, so we’d get up early as usual and turn on the TV or radio to find our school mentioned as closed. The buzz was memorable.

And, now, I get to experience this time with my own children. Each day home with them is a new adventure. It’s been great getting all bundled up in our snow pants and jackets and gloves and scarves and boots, and getting the sleds out to go play in the snow. We have been walking down our street and we see other people out walking with their children in the snow. And on Highway 43, we have seen people strolling, a cup of Starbucks in their hands and grocery bags in their arms, meandering up and down the street.

Generally, in this area, you rarely see people out walking, but this week, people are forced to, and I enjoy it. It is what makes a community. You meet new neighbors when you walk places. And, you see parents talking to their children.
Someone asked me if I am going crazy having the kids home this week and I said, though sometimes I pull out my hair when they fight, I am truly enjoying this time.

We have made cinnamon rolls together and roll-out Christmas cookies. We have walked to neighbors’ houses and stopped for a cup of coffee and hot chocolate at Starbucks and gone sledding and walked to the park. We have played card games and watched Christmas movies and had tea with neighbors.

I have heard people worry that they are not getting their Christmas shopping done as they would have this week due to the road conditions, but I say, exactly. Simplify. Cut back. Do our children really need all the material items we were going get?
The memories we are making with your children is a much greater gift. It’s one big adventure the week before Christmas. Something different. Something out of the ordinary. Schedules melting away to a more simpler existence. Allowing ourselves to relax and not be so busy. Being closer to home together means slowing down together.

And, that is exactly what Christmas season is about. Slowing down. Taking time to bake with our children. Taking time to have tea with friends. Taking time to walk places.

The snow storm happening so close to Christmas is a good reminder that we should slow down not just when we have to. But because we want to. Indeed, because we need to.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Parents complaining about having kids home? Come on people

In today's Oregonian newspaper, a story highlighted how (working) parents were frustrated with having schools closed this week due to the stormy weather conditions. Parents, please. Say it is not so.

We have so little snow in the Portland area and so few snow days off from school in any years- parents and people need to just chill. And enjoy this amazing time with your children.

It is so pretty outside, the snow reflecting off the trees. Christmas a week away. Kids excited to have a few extra days off.

Schools are doing what they need to do to keep kids safe by closing. Perhaps parents should be doing what they should be doing- taking care of their children --and not complaining about having them home. I love having my kids home and the schedule less hectic.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Art brings Mother and Daughter together

Here's a story I wrote for today's Oregonian's Clackamas County Weekly-

The smell of fresh-baked pumpkin bread fills Kim Millen's home.
Her 21-year-old daughter, Andrea Millen, a senior at Warner Pacific College, decided to bake while home for the evening preparing for their mother-daughter art show that runs through Dec. 27 at the West Linn Public Library.

"This is a miracle, that she is baking," Kim chuckled.

The pumpkin bread joins an already full plate. Besides taking classes, Andrea works at Starbucks, is doing an internship and applying to the doctoral program in clinical psychology at Pacific University's School of Professional Psychology. And she's preparing for a January mission trip to Honduras.

With all that going on, Kim is thrilled by her daughter's interest in doing their first mother-daughter art show.

"We have always been so close, it seemed like a natural progression in the transition in our lives, culminating into this," Kim said. "I was really excited that she discovered painting. She has always been more into drawing -- she is very accomplished in that realm -- and she has just started painting."

Andrea grew up surrounded by the arts, taking dance, theater and music at a young age.

Kim, 53, has painted since high school and also danced; she has a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Arizona. Kim's mother, brother, aunt and cousins are all artists or art educators.

Kim has focused on watercolor for 35 years and more recently turned to acrylics, specifically abstract painting.

"I take all the feelings I have inside and put them onto paper. I paint the way I feel," said Kim, whose art is featured at local Starbucks. She also has sold her work at the Portland Art Center.

Andrea, who has focused on charcoal portraits of people and animals, is beginning in acrylics. The art show will showcase their various works.

Kim turned to teaching art when she started her family two decades ago. She taught at Community Christian School, among other locations, as well as to home-schoolers in her studio.

"I am passionate about children and sharing the wonders of integrating art into their lives," Kim said, adding that she is looking forward to teaching adults. "My passion is sharing with others the wonder of what connecting with art can do in our lives, whether that be just being able to view a piece with more open eyes or daily appreciate the world's beauty on a deeper level."

Ultimately, she says, "my happy thing is helping others."

Kim and Andrea say their favorite place to paint is the bathroom converted into an art studio in Kim's home. "I feel good in here," Kim said of the studio. "Andrea comes home to paint here. I like the closeness."

Andrea, a 2005 Riverdale High graduate, says her long-term goal is to incorporate art into therapy. Her internship is at the Salvation Army's adult rehab center for men in Portland, where she goes two or three nights a week.

"It has to do with clinical counseling. The men generally have the option of going through the program or going back to jail or back on the streets," she said.

Andrea says her passion is "just understanding why people do what they do -- behavior, thought processes." She hopes to be able to combine her creative outlet with a career in psychology. "Art is therapeutic. I hope to tie art into it."

Shannon McBride, a Lakeridge High School art teacher who is on the committee that chooses shows for the West Linn library, said she liked the concept of a mother-daughter art show.

"What I was particularly enthusiastic about as an art educator was having a younger artist represented," she said. "It is important for the kids that come to the library to see someone younger showing their work publicly. And I like the inter-generational connection, of a mother passing on her art to her child."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kids Need Lesson in Morality not Technology

Today on the CBS Evening news with Katie Couric, there was a feature about students posting cheating tips on YouTube -

Is this crazy or what? Crazy in that students are taking so much time to think about and plan ways to cheat in school instead of just studying for the test. Kids are making new labels for coke bottles with answers to test questions. They are downloading term papers online instead of writing them.

But, their attitudes during the interview is what concerned me the most - when the interviewer asked about the morality of this, or whether they were worried about this for their future, the kids responded- no, only if I get caught. When asked it it is wrong they said-No, I was bored one day.

Parents- Give your kids some chores to do. Or have them get a job. And teachers, beware-

Monday, November 17, 2008

Trick or treating for Canned Food. . .

One came as a hippie, another as a pirate, still another as Willy Wonka. Then there were the three cowboys. Make that, cowgirls. There was the man with the cape – let’s call him the caped crusader. Still another came in a mask that has been in his family all his life.

About 15 in all for a fun filled Halloween night of trick-or-treating.
But these high school students and leaders were not in it for the candy.
Instead when they approached doors in the Tualatin neighborhood near church, they asked for mac and cheese. Or tuna fish. Or canned beans or corn or fruit cocktail or Campbells soup.

High School Ministry Youth Pastor Branden Campbell dubbed the evening Trick- or-Treat-for-Canned Food.

Last year, he’d done something similar with students from the Spokane church where he was youth pastor, and decided he wanted to get kids here reaching out as well. On a night traditionally all about what you can get, not what you can give.

“It was hilarious. You say ‘Trick or canned food’ – or Mac and Cheese and Tuna Fish,’ and you’d get a funny look at first,” Branden says. “Most did not listen and they’d put candy in our bags and we would stop them and we’d say ‘No we are collecting food for the Tualatin Food bank.”

They were collecting items for the Tualatin School House Pantry. With the economy in the shape it is in, Branden found out that the local food collection agency was in need. Rolling Hills partners with this local food bank, whose mission is to provide emergency food to those in need, to help eliminate hunger.
After an hour and a half of trick-or-treating for food staples, students and leaders collected 650 pounds of food.

Branden’s passion is outreach.

“That is the mission of Jesus. Look at who He came to reach out to. The prostitutes, the sinners, the broken hearted.”

Plus, Branden notes, “Outreach gets the focus of kids off of Planet Me. I think that the message of Jesus is selflessonly something we should do but who we are.”
For more information and photos and other service projects at Rolling Hills, visit : www.rhccserves.org

Friday, November 14, 2008

Musing on Gratitude and True Faith. . .

I had lunch with my good friend Kristi from Rolling Hills today at Manzana's (to celebrate her 21st - ha ha - birthday) - we spoke of gratitude and how you can build thankfulness into our kids' lives - too many of our children have this attitude of I deserve it all and why can I not have that new I-Pod and well they have it all.How do we teach kids to live selfless lives that are not about them all the time? How do we teach values?

One thought is that parents need to live values that they talk about. Delayed gratification when it comes to things we want/need. Do we buy things as parents whenever we want. . .

As for kids, they get new cars and do not pay for gas or insurance at age 16. She mentioned how some kids then say their parents are stingy and I think - Oh, my. Here, parents are trying to teach their kids values and not giving them everything and they miss the point. My parents did not give me everything and taught me the value of work by making me work. I wanted to live on campus when I was working on my undergrad degree at The University of Portland - but my parents lived 7 miles away and said no - and I did not have the money. So, I worked the next summer and saved up enough to live on the dorms. Did I learn the value of work!

We also talked about building true faith into our children's lives and mused on the fact that so much in today's church / youth ministry is watered down. She mentioned a guy named Paul Washer who is very strong in his belief about the church and how watered down the sermons have become. To tickle ears. . . I need to check it out and evaluate and discern. . . Are we as a church just trying to be liked and loved and are we just trying to sell books and get people inside our church building.

Food for thought. . . always asking questions and wondering...

Friday, November 7, 2008

You know the election has gotten to your family when...

So, I was listening to my 5-year-old recite his AWANAs verses from the Bible that he is memorizing and he says something like this: "These things are written that those who believe in the Son of God may have life in his name. . . "

Then I ask him where it is found and he says, "Jeff Merkley 3:21" and I laugh [Jeff Merkley just won a tight race to be an Oregon senator against incumbent Gordan Smith].

When I laugh my son then says,
"No, it is found in John McCain 3:21"- and then I know he is joking around. . .

Kids have been hearing all too many ads on TV as the rest of us...

Now if only the lawn signs would come down. I think we all just need to move on. . .

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

There's No Place like Well-Being

The man’s words just would not leave Kari the nurse’s heart. He did not have a safe place to go for a meal on Sundays.

During the weekdays he had a place, but not on Sundays. No safe place to just be on this most sacred of days.
Kari and her husband Les kept hearing the words and the words turned into a calling.

Open up The Well on Sundays.

Offer a home cooked meal.

Serve the home cooked meal on real china -- not on paper plates. Serve the home cooked meal on a table with a table cloth and warm candles burning and serve up sweet conversation.
Make it safe. With no judgments. Make it like home.

Call it Well Being.

And they did. And people came.

On the other side of town, another call came. This one for Dan and Sally Waritz.

Well Being needed help. Last minute help.

Would Dan answer the call?

Yes, he would.
”But, I’ll be the first to admit, when they told me who we’d be serving, I was hesitant at first. I will not pretend,” says Dan. “But after the one time, I knew this was where I needed to be.”

Now his community group comes back every month.

Last Sunday, they brought shepherd’s pie. And salad and dessert to share.

Kari and Les love having Rolling Hills Community Church helping http://www.rollinghills.org/ . It has eased the weekly burden, so they can focus on making those who need a safe place on Sundays to feel part of a community.
“For a lot of HIV positive people the church is pointing the finger. Here we do no preaching. We open up our church home to them. We serve them. It allows those living with HIV and AIDS to see that there are others in the church that care. Many of those who come have never stepped inside a church before. Some will then come to Sunday service. It is always in the background,” says Kari.

The people who come are etched into their hearts.
Dan says: “We notice that you see people each time you are here and all of a sudden you notice when they are not here anymore.”

And, you wonder if it is because of their health.

And, you are never ever the same again.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

From the Mouths of Babes. . .Kids and Politics. . .

My son’s political t-shirt arrived in the mail last week, announcing who he wanted for president.

Never mind that he’s 11-years- old and cannot vote for seven years.

He’s worn it every day since its arrival. At least my son makes sure it gets into the washer every day (or two).

At Bingo night at my kids’ school, a few moms came up to me who had seen my son wearing his t-shirt and said, “Good for Micki. That is so bold.”

A recent YouTube entry from Ron Clark Academy illustrates how bold and fun kids can be about politics -


But, I am the chicken. . .

As an adult I have been tamed by the realization that you have to be careful of partisan politics as they have become so divisive. In some cases, friendships have been severed. But, refreshingly, for kids it’s just another day at school.

Like asking which baseball team you are cheering on. It’s a playful nod to your favorite team then you move on.

A friend of mine said she was listening to her 10-year-old son’s conversation with another 10-year-old while carpooling to sports practice.

The conversation went something like this: “So, who are you voting for?”

“McCain,” one says.

“Don’t you want change?” the other says, and this mom friend of mine is listening and just cracking up inside.

The next minute the kids are talking about the upcoming game they will have on the weekend and homework that is due the next day and setting up a time to play after school.

I recently chaperoned a field trip for my fifth grade son and the boys were playing on their Nintendo DS’s and somehow they were messaging each other on these DS’s as to which candidate they wanted.

It was “NoCain” then “NoBama” and my son was hiding from me what he was doing, and when I finally figured it out, I chuckled inside, and just laughed and said, “Make sure it is nice comments.” The kids were fine about it all.

A month ago, my grade school children put a presidential bumper sticker on my husband’s car. The bumper sticker was given to them by their cousins. Neither my husband nor I really wanted it there, but our kids were so excited about it we did not have the heart to take it off.

But, I confess, I park backwards in our driveway so no one can see the bumper sticker. Do I sound like a coward, or what? It goes back to having some negative experiences in my past, so I am avoiding them right now.

However, in high school, I was bold to stand up for a candidate who was not very popular in the polls – or in the school hallways -- but ended up winning the presidency, and years later he is a respected president. Though I got flack for it back then, I stood my ground, along with one other friend of mine.

That is why I find my son’s innocent campaigning for a candidate quite refreshing. Seeing a child stick up for something they believe in is fun, as long as they are aware they need to do it respectfully.

Maybe we could learn from our children’s simplicity, and be able to state our opinions about political topics, then have a play date the following day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I wanted to savor every moment, every train trip, every sip of cappuccino, every conversation, every new city we explored, every smile with my daughter.
We had two weeks and one day.
Sometimes just thinking about leaving her made me cry.
Sometimes I just sobbed.
But, I would not let her know this. Not yet. It would be too hard.
On her. And on me.
She chose to go to Germany http://www.germany-tourism.de/
for her first year away to college and I was thrilled. This is the country of my birth.
My mother in law had asked me at one point: “Why are you encouraging Rachel to go to Germany. So far away.”
What I encouraged my daughter -- what I encourage all of my children to do – is seek after God’s will in their lives. To find their purpose. Their calling. To risk. To take adventures. To live. To laugh. To question. To live outside the box once in a while. To dream. To journey. To dream.
And for Rachel, going to Germany this first year out of high school was her dream.
The reality of it though for me hit about half way through our two weeks of travelling before I was to drop her off.
We had had our first few days of seeing London, Buckingham Palace, the Grosvenor Hotel, London Bridge, lunches out, Dusseldorf, family gatherings, Koln.
It was amazing, but at times, it felt a bit hectic, and she said something to me: “We haven’t sat down and had torte—German for cake—and coffee,” and I realized as I thought about what matters to Rachel is not seeing every cathedral or church there is in every town.
No, what Rachel remembers—and talked about the most from her visit to Europe a year ago—was times sipping cappuccinos at sidewalk cafes and walking places and bicycle riding around town. That is what meant something to her.
And here, our first few days, though really great, were filled with a bit too much rushing around. Seeing everything there is to see. And, sometimes we didn’t stop for meals or not until really late at night. Or we’d skip lunch. And I could tell Rachel did not like this. Sometimes it was not my fault as we were with relatives, but other times I did have control.
I desperately wanted the memories that Rachel would take from this trip -- from our two weeks together before I dropped her off for Bible college, http://www.bodenseehof.de/view.php -- to be wonderful. Sweet. Happy.
So, I changed directions in my mind. I decided that it was not so much about the finding but it was about the hunt. It was the journey. The very thing I talk about in my life a lot. The journey. The adventure.
As we continued on our two weeks, I made sure that at the first hint of being tired or hungry that we found a place to sit and eat. Or have Italian ice. Or watch the sunset.
We did not see everything in the Dresden area there is to see. We did not see every building or street in Prague that there is so see. Nor in Berlin. Just to be there was of course amazing, but I allowed myself to not be on such an agenda-setting course, where you forget to smell the proverbial roses.
The two weeks were not without a few small glitches –yes, my daughter and I actually had a short moment of impatience between us, which I regret having. Simply put, she was in a bad mood and just tired as there was a certain city – Weimar-that I really wanted to see because my mom told me to- and there was a certain Fortress I really wanted to stop at- Wartburg—again, cause my mom suggested it, but Rachel was tired, and I had really worked so much around my daughter and felt she could give a little as well. We worked through it and said we were sorry to one another and we moved on.
Frankly, I think God may have allowed that short not as pleasant moment between to make it easier to say goodbye.
The long goodbye was not easy.
As we got closer to the time I would have to say goodbye, just thinking about it made me sob. Weep. I wrote a poem about it –the goodbye-
To my daughter SunshineGirl
Sunshine fleeting, captured in the reflection of the sea, but only for a moment -
Then it disappears into the canvas of the sunset.
Sunshine will rise again. It will paint itself in the sunrise
Erasing the dark.
Sunshine will brighten my day, warm my heart. But it is only here for the day. Then night comes.
It appears with the rain in the rainbow, but only for a moment. When you look for it. When it surprises you.
You cannot capture a rainbow. It does not belong to you. It can never be yours. It belongs to God. It was created by the maker of heaven and earth. It lives. It breathes. It brings warmth and life into others.
Sunshine and rainbows fill the earth with tenderness and warmth and love but can never be owned. For a moment, a fleeting moment, sunshine’s rays are captured in a smile, in a look, in a snapshot, and then they go away, but they stay with you. You are never ever the same again.
The warmth. Lingers in your heart and though it is dark, the light stays with you. And you wait to see it again. You wait as long as you need to wait.
And you long for the morning.

- - -
The day came; two weeks and one day into our traveling days, when I had leave Rachel. To say Goodbye.

Bodenseehof in Friedrichshafen. I was able to see her room which had an amazing view of the Bodensee (Lake Constance) and I met the nice people at the school, and we had such a neat time at the lake and then we walked back, and I asked if I should go back into the hall with her and she politely said, “That’s okay Mom,” which was my sign to go out gracefully.

I turned to give her a hug and say a prayer with her and I could feel the tears welling up in me but I did not want to cry in front of her. Not that I cannot show emotion to my daughter but it was time for me to let go. To say good-bye.

I had prepared her 18 and a half years for this and she was ready. Was I?

I needed to be. I said a short prayer and turned around to my waiting cousins who had driven us here.

The Long Good-bye.

In the train I felt like someone was missing. I thought of Amy Grant’s song “Missing you” The words go like this:
“Missing you is just a part of living. Missing you feels like a way of life.”

Monday, October 13, 2008


Today I am on a plane to Germany to take my daughter to herfirst year of college.

(I wrote about it for my 9-11-08 Real-Life Mom column published monthly in the SW Weekly section of The Oregonian newspaper, also found online http://blog.oregonlive.com/writermom/2008/10/first_child_leaving_the_nest_l.html

It is bittersweet. Germany is one of my favorite places, and not just because I was born there. I love the German lifestyle of walking and riding bicyclesto places, and I am especially happy that Rachel chose Bible college forher first year away. http://www.bodenseehof.de/view.php

That is the sweet part.

But I find myself a bit lost as my first child leaves the nest,even if that is not permanent — yet. Part of the reason may be that she is my firstborn and part mayhave to do with her being my only daughter, in a family with four sons.

And perhaps part of the reason has to do with my identity as a mother. Ihave been a mom for almost two decades. I have been needed — and by mydaughter’s side — for almost half my life. My daughter and I are very close. I have coached her sportsteams and volunteered in her classrooms and led her high school Biblestudy and summer church camps. We’ve gone on mission trips and summerroad trips together.

Now she won’t need me as much. I know that is not entirely true, as she will still need me in different ways, but that is how I will feel on that long flight home, which I will not think about right now.

I have begun to realize — though it is hard to admit — that I have a tendency to become emotionally dependent upon my children,especially my daughter. I have found myself somewhat insecure at times unless my kidsare with me — again, especially my daughter. I am not talking about emotional dependency in the clinical sense, in which people hold others back in order to be needed.

And I am not talking about emotional dependency in the “living through mychild” kind of way, though that is an issue with some parents. I am talking about my basic emotional attachment to my children.

I suppose part of it is that I find fulfillment and enjoyment inbeing a mom. But you begin realizing as your children grow that they donot need you as much. And moving our kids toward independence is what we strive for from the day they leave the womb.

We celebrate every step towardindependence: The first day without diapers. The first time riding abicycle without training wheels. The first day of school. (It is wild tothink that my firstborn starts college as my lastborn startskindergarten. How’s that for coming full circle?) So, bittersweet is where I’m at. But is that not whatparenting is all about? The good with the tough; the blessings with thechallenges; the years together, the times to say goodbye.

Yes, it will be hard leaving my daughter, but sweet coming home tofour sons who still need me.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Do not let students who were hit walking to school stop you from walking or bicycling places...

Two students in Salem Oregon got hit yesterday in a crosswalk walking to school – on their first day of school. They were doing the right thing, crossing at a crosswalk designated for drivers to stop. http://www.statesmanjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080904/NEWS/809040342/1001

The driver did not stop. He was only cited for failing to stop at a crosswalk, not for hitting two children.

It was the first day back for students and perhaps drivers are not looking for students, but in general, it shows how we as an American society have a ways to go when it comes to people getting out and walking and bicycle riding places. It is such a rare thing in some communities that drivers do not think: Oh, crosswalk, beware of pedestrians.

Instead, drivers are in a hurry to make it to their next destination.

Part of the issue is that many people who drive frankly never walk or bicycle themselves so they just do not know what it is like out there. In suburbia where I live, it is harder to walk and bicycle anywhere. Sidewalks are missing or simply end. Bike lanes just stop as well.
Even in designated crosswalk areas, you are competing with cars to get across the street when the light blinks walk for you and is green for the cars.

What made me especially sad for the two Salem students hit by the car on their way to school, is their comment afterwards: “We are going to get a ride tomorrow to school. From now on.”
I do not blame them in a way, but really, instead, I wish more people would take up walking and bicycle riding to school – and to other places – so that it is not such an unusual site to see people walking. The more people that walk, the more others will watch out for them, the more cautious people will be.

I admire the yearly Walk To School Day, which encourages entire school communities to walk to school. http://www.walktoschool.org/
There is strength in numbers for sure. I organized a couple of these events for my children’s school at Cedar Oak Park in West Linn a few years ago, and we had a great time. It was fun to watch cars do a double take when they saw 100 students cross Highway 43.

And, one school district in Nevada is encouraging parents to walk their kids to school not just once a year but every day. http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2008/aug/28/district-asks-parents-park-walk-students-school/
Congestion around schools is incredibly stressful in many school districts, including this one in Nevada, which prompted this school to take action. The specific program is a first step in getting kids to walk to school; in this case, it has parents parking in a location away from the school then walking the rest of the way with their kids to school. Great start.

I would take it a step farther. Walk all the way to school with your child. Yes, it takes time, but the rewards are incredible. Fresh air. Exercise. Time with your child. Conversation.
Walking with your children – or bicycling with them – promotes exercise and togetherness, plus it saves the planet and gas money.

I find it quite interesting how school buses pick up kids who live so close to school. I think kids who live a half mile away from school should walk or bicycle. Also, school buses stop every third or fourth house sometimes in certain districts. My sister has told me about this in her district.

Let the kid walk to a neighbor’s house to catch the bus. Some districts, due to higher fuel prices are doing just this. California has eliminated school buses for thousands of children. Washington state and elsewhere are consolidating school bus stops. http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/wayoflife/08/20/walking.to.school.ap/

In Germany, kids always walk or ride their bicycles to school. There is no school bus and parents do not tend to drive. It is a whole different way of looking at transportation. In American suburbs, it will take time to get people to think about walking and bicycling places; it will take grass roots efforts.

I hope the situation in Salem will not hinder but instead encourage more students to walk or bicycle to school. Yet, as these students found out, even at a crosswalk, you still have to be careful. That is what I teach my kids as they begin to venture out on their own, walking or bicycling places. Even when you have the right-of-way, still watch out.

But do not give up. Instead, ask others to join you, including your parents.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Woman Vice President Candidate gets People talking about Juggling Motherhood and Family Life

Tonight, Alaskan governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin gave her speech at the Republican National Convention. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=94258995

She was sharp, she was funny, she was smart, she had things to say. She showed compassion and she has a Downs Syndrome Child whom she adores and is just as proud of as her other four children.

I loved how she started the speech by saying that the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull is lip stick. She talked about all she did as governor - the biggest things related to taking on big government and that was impressive.

The luxury jet owned by the state of Alaska she sold on e-bay for 2.1 million dollars! Got to love that one.

Wow. As governor, she got rid of the personal driver and personal chef, all luxuries she could have taken advantage of as governor of Alaska. These were examples of how she nixed the wasteful government spending and saved hard working tax payers half a billion dollars.

The talk has been so much about how this woman can juggle being a mom of five children and vice president at the same time. She has already proven herself.

And, as former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani said just prior to Palin speaking, we would never question a male politician's ability to lead based upon the number of children he has. Interesting thoughts. I venture to add to that- a democratic woman. . . just asking...

As a working mother of five myself multitasking is par for the course. I readily admit, and have written about, that it is never easy to juggle, and sometimes you cannot have it all. Something does give and a supportive family helps. It is Palin's choice to work and we should never question her ability to ability to work based upon the number of children she has. Nor, her ability to parent based upon her job.

Republican or democrat aside, give Sarah Palin a chance to show what she knows. And what she can do.

BACK TO SCHOOL. . . kindergartener is my last child

I told my 5-year-old who started kindergarten today that he could not grow up so quickly.

He says, "I have to."

He is my youngest. I am sad. I am happy. I am reflective. I am conflicted.

On the one hand, I will have a full 17 and a half hours a week to myself... What will I do with myself. I have not had that much time to myself since my second oldest, now 17, started kindergarten 12 years ago. I will have quiet. Time to be still. To work in peace. Uninterrupted.

But, it means change and kids not as dependent on me and my little circle at home being not the same any more.

Back to school. What a fun time. Especially for our youngest in the house. . . I reflect more on this in my Oregonian blog - oregonlive.com KIDDO page WriterMom blog on the following link- http://blog.oregonlive.com/writermom/2008/09/kindergartner_in_school_means.html

Saturday, August 30, 2008

World Meteorite Day in West Linn Oregon

Here is a link to the info and photos of the first annual World Meteorite Day held in West Linn to commemorite what may be West Linn Oregon's largest [literally] claim to fame - Photos included... http://westlinnbook.blogspot.com/2008/08/world-meteorite-day-photos.html

and the link to the city's website regarding Fields Park . . . http://westlinnoregon.gov/parksrec/parks/fields-bridge-park

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Olympics. . . Michael Phelps honoring Mom

I Love the Olympics. . . I am glued to the TV during these two weeks every two years, alternating summer and winter Olympics. My favorite are the Summer Olympics - this year's in Beijing has been amazing. I say that every time about the Olympics - http://www.nbcolympics.com/swimming/index.html

I love gymnastics especially and was really moved by Nastia's Olympic gold in the women's all around. I still remember the 1972 Olympics watching Olga Korbut -and in 1976, Nadia.

This Olympics as a Mom of four boys, I was particularly touched by Michael Phelps and his winning 8 gold medals in swimming and each time honoring his Mom. His single mom. What a tribute. As mom I love to see children honor their parents and, though many criticize the over - coverage of Phelps, he did win 8 golds, besting Mark Spitz's record of 7 golds in one Olympics. Then, to have Phelps continually thank his mom for all her sacrifice, I was really impressed.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

INTO THE WILD . . . letting our ducks go today...

We let our ducks go today…into the wild.
At first they would not leave us, and my husband actually had the kids begin the round them up to bring them back to our creek; perhaps they were too young after all, and not quite ready to leave the nest. But then I saw an older duck hanging around the cage where we had put them again, and I thought, perhaps this is the momma duck recognizing her baby. I suggested letting out ducks out again, just to see.
And sure enough, our two ducks swam toward the other duck and they were off. Pretty cute.
But what I was watching just as much was my three boys – Augustin, 5, and Wesley, 10, and Mickael Josef, 10 – as they interacted with the ducks.
Really, it has been all five kids I have been watching interact with the ducklings these past five weeks. It was Rachel, 18, who first discovered the two barely born ducklings, sans their mother, in our backyard near our creek. She was on our trampoline and heard some duck-like noise and when she went looking for them she saw a mother with eight ducklings waddling down the creek. All of a sudden, three got left behind in our yard.
They were about the size of a fist.
Rachel was able to rescue two of the three babies which the mama deserted – we never found the third one. After that point, all of the kids got involved with the taking care of the babies.
My husband made it a weekend project to build a large cage for them. They bought duck food and took them to the creek every day to watch them play. They cleaned out the cage; they dug out the creek to make a pond area. All of the boys out there with their shovels. They held the baby ducklings. Twice a day, they changed the ducks water and filled the food container. Their friends and cousins came over to see the ducks.
They nurtured the ducklings and christened them “Wildflower” and “Feisty”. The ducklings seemed comfortable with the kids. “They’re so cute,” I heard. They did not run away, and they were not afraid at all it seemed. Each night, Rachel brought the ducks inside the house to protect them from predators, and she put them outside again in the morning, at 6 am, before leaving for work.
The ducklings grew so quickly. Soon, little buds came in that would become their wings. Wildflower and Feisty began flapping. And they stopped being so cozy with the kids. They loved being in the creek, splashing around, chasing one another, and they really did not want to go back into the cage. They ran away and it was a bit of an effort to catch them.
It seemed like they wanted to be free.
As Wildflower and Feisty became more independent, the kids’ interest lessened a bit. My husband said it is time to consider letting them go.
Today was the day.
We picked Cedaroak Boat Landing nearby and we held the little carrying case cage as we walked through the long grass to the river. We picked a spot near the island, that was away from the loud boats and people.
As we let Wildflower and Feisty out of the cage and into the river, they looked happy at first. They swam around, ducking their heads in after bugs. But, there were no other ducks around, and soon our ducks came back out to where we were. They seemed lost in the wild. Perhaps they were not ready.
But, then, they saw the other duck. It was time. Feisty and Wildflower followed after the other duck as if it was their mother.
“We found the mother,” Augustin said. “Look, Wildflower and Feisty are following her.”
“I think that is the mother for sure,” Mickael Josef said.
“Look, there are other ducks over there. Maybe they are all related,” Wesley said.
We watched from the shore. We snapped photographs. We waited to be sure they would be okay.
Feisty and Wildflower got separated for a moment from the other duck. “Maybe we should take them back home,” Wesley suggested. “It is a bit too late for that,” Chris said.

We found a log to sit on where we could observe from a distance. We saw other young ducks about the same age.
“I think those are the brothers and sisters,” Mickael Josef said.
Finally, it was time to leave. To leave the ducks in the wild. To trust.
Chris and Augustin and Wesley went ahead while Mickael Josef took his time. Wanting to be sure Feisty and Wildflower were okay.
Sure enough – our last view of our ducklings they were diving under water with several other ducks, looking for dinner. It was time to go home and get ready for ours as well.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Outdoor Summer Concerts define summer....

We attended the Bridgeport Village outdoor Concert last night listening to Aaron Meyer - Oh my goodness. Amazing...I blog about it on my Oregonian Oregon Live WriterMom blog at the following link:


Thursday, August 14, 2008

REAL-LIFE MOM - Twins comparing each other down to the glasses they wear—or don’t….

Twins comparing each other down to the glasses they wear—or don’t….
REAL-LIFE MOM for August 14, 2008 SW WEEKLY OREGONIAN newspaper–
By Cornelia Seigneur

I finally took my 10-year-old Wesley to the eye doctor this week. His fourth grade teacher Cheri Weaver had said at the last parent teacher conference that Wesley, though a great student, seems to be struggling to see the board.
Wesley’s twin Michael Josef has had glasses since last fall, and Wesley has resisted getting glasses.
“I don’t need glasses,” he’s said to me for months now, and repeated to the eye doctor while sitting in the chair to be tested. The doctor asks him to read the top line of the chart.
After he confidently reads the first large letter row, the doctor instructs him to decipher the next row, which features smaller letters and numbers.
“Can you read those Wesley?” the doctor probes.
“No,” he grins.
None of the letters below the top row?” the doctor asks.
“No,” Wesley admits, like he’s been had.
The doctor says, a bit playfully, “No, Wesley you don’t need glasses at all. You’re only at 20/200.”
Ever since his twin got glasses, Wesley has not liked them on his brother. He’s felt they do not look good, and has said so in indirect ways. He’s been determined not to get them himself.
He’s at the age where he notices his looks. And cares about his looks and has opinions about looks and what is cool and what is not and he really wants to fit in, and to not be different.
And Wesley got this idea in his mind that glasses are not the “in” thing, and that somehow they would make him inferior. For some reason, the glasses situation up until now gave Wesley the one-up on his brother. Micki was fine with his glasses. And, now, glasses for Wesley puts the boys on the same playing field.
I have talked about getting Michael Josef contact lenses for a while, and so during the appointment getting Wesley’s glasses, I decided to order Michael Josef contacts. And Wesley as well.
So, really, Wesley will never know what it is like to have only glasses, though I thought it might not have been a bad idea. I want him to realize that having glasses does not make him a different person. Or an uncool person. It just helps you see the white board.
But I decided to get him contacts (and glasses) at the same time, hoping that would cure the comparisons between the twins.
Little could I believe then that a new kind of comparison started, comparing prescription strengths.
It sounded something like this: “Well, my eyes are better than yours,” and “Your eyes are worse than mine,” and, “Well, having worse eyes means you are smarter,” and I am thinking, Man, here are my identical twin boys with the same DNA comparing themselves and I have to remind them that being identical means they are from the same stock.
Same genetics, same bad eyes, same sweet boys. On the inside. Which is what I am trying desperately to teach all of my children.
But when you are 10, you have a different reality. It doesn’t mean that I won’t continue to remind them anyway.
West Linn writer and mom of five, Cornelia Seigneur’s, Real-Life Mom column appears the second Thursday of the month. Reach her at inaword@comcast.net or visit her Mom blog at: http://blog.oregonlive.com/writermom/

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Girl in China singing was not really singing

So, the girl wowing the crowd with her amazing singing at the Olympics opening ceremony was only lipping the words. The real singer was off camera, not pretty enough for the country of China, which is hosting the Olympics to show to the world. The actual singer's voice was beautiful but her face not.


This is a shame. Sad statement about life and what is deemed pretty enough. The government of China has this quote about the situation:

The national interest requires that the girl should have good looks and a good grasp of the song and look good on the screen. Lin Miaoke was the best in this. And Yang Peiyi's voice was the most outstanding," says a member of China's government about how the 9-year-old mouthed the words while the 7-year-old sang.

I can only imagine what this will do to the little girl singer years from now. Her self esteem damaged by this. Does she even want to tell people about it? I sang at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But, my government did not think I was pretty enough to show the world. What does a parent do in this situation? Does the parent have a choice?

Something is wrong here. The Olympics for China is all about a show and the national interest. What does how beautiful a young girl singer is have to do with national interest? Who defines beauty? How is it determined. A little girl with crooked teeth singing like an angel, is that not beautiful? I say yes.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

You Cannot Have it all. . .

It is summer. I am working. I missed going to see Kungfu Panda with my kids last week Monday. Our older daughter and son took the little ones as an outing while I worked.
I also missed going to see Wall-E with my kids two days later. My good friend knew I had a lot to do for my book (Images of America: West Linn) deadline and she offered to escort them. I was torn but also realistic. I had too much to do. I was happy that they would have fun without me.
Sort of.
I also skipped a musical at the University of Portland with my daughter and husband three weeks ago and an outing with my sister and kids.
Then on another recent weekend, my husband took the kids camping, again, sans Mom.
Usually, my work as a freelance writer and editor allows me to have flexible hours where I can go to the movies, go camping, go see musicals, but with this deadline looming for my book (which I actually had to extend), I have had to cut back way back.
I love my job. I hate missing out.
I don’t care what they say -- you cannot have it all. To borrow the title from the 2003 movie with Jack Nicholson, “Something’s gotta give.”
My friend, Shelley Mathewson, who is a professional musician and mom of three, struggles with this all the time. She wants to be there 100 percent of the time for her children, ages 18 to 9, yet she loves her music. She thrives on performing, stretching herself, growing creatively.
Yet, she hates missing out on activities for, and with, her children, which sometimes is required.
Every summer Shelley and her family travel to a music festival where she performs for the week. It is a family working vacation of sorts, and her musician husband also plays at the festival some years.
Shelley has wondered if she should give this summer activity up, but realizes it is a way to combine her work—her art and her passion—with her family life. To expose her children to the world of music.
During that week, though she has her kids with her, she does miss out on activities they do while she practices.
But, her children see her commitment to her art and how she’s living out her dream of being a professional musician. When work and our passion intersect, what a gift.
This summer as I labor toward completing my first book – a dream come true – but miss out on some family fun, I remind myself that my kids are seeing me complete a goal. Realize a dream. Do something I love. It does take sacrifice.
A couple of years ago, as I planned my “business trip” (okay, writer’s conference), my husband decided to take the kids canoeing and fishing and bicycle riding. There was talk of Smore’s to eat and crawdads to catch. All this fun to be had while I would be “working.”
I asked my husband (teasingly) if he could wait for me to go with him. While I was away, he could stay home and work around the house until we could go together. I just hate missing out.
He reminded me -- You cannot have it all.

My book website is www.westlinnbook.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Get children outside to nurture their insides
-- Rather than overschedule your kids this summer, leave time for the outdoors

Thursday, June 12, 2008 SW WEEKLY - The Oregonian newspaper

Meet Phil Finch. Grandpa Phil, that is.

My daughter, Rachel, and I were introduced to him while hobbling through the Newport Marathon last month. As he caught up to us at Mile 12, he commented on Rachel and me looking like sisters. Flattery will get you everywhere.

Talking to Grandpa Phil helped keep my mind off how tired I was. This was his fourth marathon this year. He is a big believer in the outdoors, in recreation, in physical education and in a movement called "No Child Left Inside."

Grandpa Phil is teaching his grandkids to enjoy all aspects of the outdoors, from running for recreation to gardening to birding. He volunteers at schools to talk to children about nature's significance in our lives, something I strongly believe in.

Having kids outdoors more would cure so many ills in our society. Childhood obesity. Attention deficit disorder. Hyperactivity. Depression.

I told Finch about a book recently featured on National Public Radio called "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder," written in 2005 by Richard Louv. It helped launch the movement to get kids back outdoors.

The outdoors provides adventure for kids. It gets them away from neon lights and intensity. It does something for the soul. In our modern suburban world, we are sheltering our kids too much. We worry that they'll get hurt or mugged or hit by speeding SUV drivers. I worry, too.

Louv believes that perhaps the No. 1 reason kids are not exposed to nature is that parents overprogram children. Every last minute of children's schedules is packed with sports practices and music lessons and clubs, leaving little room for spontaneous outdoor adventure.

One mom I talked with recently remembers twirling her baton for hours outside as a child while daydreaming. Let's bring back daydreaming, unstructured time.

The weekend Rachel and I were in Newport running the marathon, my husband and his dad took our four boys fishing. I loved knowing they were outdoors, appreciating nature.

With summer ahead, it is easy to book every minute with camps and planned activity. Let's be honest: The kids can drive us batty fighting, squabbling and messing up the house. Trust me, with five kids, I am there.

But I try to resist the temptation to overplan and to just allow flexibility. To be able to wake up and say, "Hey, let's go on an adventure. Let's visit a new park. Let's see what we can discover."

It takes slowing down and retuning and retraining ourselves and our kids, but it is worth it. A few weeks ago, while we were riding our bicycles on the Old Columbia River Highway, my daughter discovered a rattlesnake nestled in the lupine. I didn't even realize there were rattlesnakes in the Columbia Gorge.

The things you discover when you are not left inside.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Should kids pay for the sins of their parents? I say, let the kid play ball...

So, a mom misses her shift at the Little League concession stand and the league benches her son, her 7-year-old son, who just wants to play baseball.

I say, Let the kid play ball.

The recent incident occurred in Massachusetts

and brings up the question: Should children be punished for their parents’ shortcomings.

In this case, I understand that parents are required to serve at concession stands and such, but their children should not be punished when their parents do not show up.

Perhaps, instead they could have an extra down payment on their sport fees that is later reimbursed upon fulfillment of their work duties.

That is what they did for my son’s ski team. We made a $ 150 payment at the start of the season which we received back in full after we had done our two volunteer sessions at the mountain.

When sports start getting so political, so about money, that they punish children, it gets ridiculous.

In the case of this Massachusetts Little League, maybe they need reevaluate their policy. Or figure out different ways to raise money.

Keep it simpler. Keep it about letting kids play baseball. Not selling concessions.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Here's Looking at you KiddO -- The new oregonlive.com blog

Here's a link to the new Oregonlive.com KIDDO [ie, kid- friendly, family friendly] blog, where I am a community blogger- WriterMom -- http://www.oregonlive.com/kiddo

My first two blog topics - Dear Miley: It's Called NO
and My MOM: The original environmentalist...

Cornelia Seigneur

Thursday, May 8, 2008

GIVING HER WINGS - Real-Life Mom Oregonian column

REAL-LIFE MOM - SW Weekly Oregonian
By Cornelia Seigneur
Daughter's wings to take her far, bring her back
Thursday, May 08, 2008
The Oregonian

M y mother-in-law said recently, "Why are you letting Rachel go so far away to school next year?"

My daughter plans on attending Bodenseehof Bible School, a Capernwray college, in Germany -- the country of my birth -- this September.

I responded that I have to let her go. It is what she wants. I try to give my children wings, and I'm happy that my daughter has goals and dreams.

Yet now reality is hitting.

Rachel has applied to work full time this summer with Clackamas County. She says this will help her earn a chunk of money for college.

Problem is, Rachel working full time means we forgo our usual family road trip and the summer spontaneity I love.

I should be happy that Rachel is so responsible, caring about helping pay for college. Instead, I have mixed emotions. I'd rather she just continue her part-time, work-from-home, flexible-hours writing and transcribing jobs, which are just right for us to plan a family getaway, something we have done each summer since Rachel was born.

I'm realizing this could be our last summer together. There's so much inside me that doesn't want things to change.

Yet I know things must.

We have a creek in our backyard. We bought our house 18 years ago for the yard and have stayed here because we love it so much.

The creek is a draw for wildlife, and every year two ducks fly in to bathe there. We have a family story that the same ducks come back each year. When Rachel and her brother Ryan, a year behind her, were toddlers, they named those ducks Cora and Chester -- Chester was the name of an elderly gentleman one block over.

We purchase cracked corn at the farm store for the ducks. One year Cora laid eight eggs in the ivy behind the creek.

In midsummer, Cora and Chester fly away. But once the cherry trees bloom again, Cora and Chester return, confirming spring's arrival.

I've always wondered what makes them fly back every year. Is it the flowing water? Is it the calmness of our yard, nestled in woods and ivy? How do they find their way back?

As I think about Rachel leaving this fall, going so far away, I ponder: What will bring her back? What will remind those wings to point in the direction of her family?

Perhaps it is providing a place of acceptance and letting her know that this is always home. No matter how far she goes, and no matter how long she is gone. I have to let her fly with the wings I have given her.

I am glad she is using them.

And, hey, as I told my mother-in-law: In the meantime, I have an excuse to book a flight to my home country.

Cornelia Seigneur is a West Linn writer and mother of five. Her column appears the second Thursday of each month. Visit her blog at www.corneliaseigneur.com or e-mail her at inaword@comcast.net http://www.oregonlive.com/metrosouthwest/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/metro_southwest_news/1209866102227020.xml&coll=7

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Last night Crystal and my Bridge Senior Girls Bible study along with Dave Newborne's senior guys group and my twin boys, age 10, drove to N. Portland to take Jima's 6 siblings to the park for a good old fashioned sports camp. While walking to the park, we saw other kids and invited them along. The weather held up and we ended up playing one amazing kick ball game, perfect for the wide age of kids who were there. It was a great time, just interacting, laughing, hanging out with these kids from a totally different world. The mom was at work. I want to do more of this, perhaps this summer, like a Vacation
Bible School. It reminded me of the Sports Camps in Mississippi last year with the youth group, with Rex Dodge and Pastor Jerry - we would pick up kids in the projects and they would come hang out at the church. Swimming, playing games, eating, FusBall.
What was amazing about last night is how God held out in the weather department. It had been an iffy day, but it cleared up for us, and at the time we needed to leave to get kids back to church, it started raining. Perfect timing.
I was worried about Dave's group thinking it wasn't planned out enough but he told me afterwards his group loved it.
Cornelia Seigneur

Monday, April 21, 2008


On Saturday a few girls from my senior high church Bible Study that I co-lead with Crystal Fricker met in Canby Oregon to assist at Saturday School which Claudine started for her struggling 3rd graders. After helping the students with school work and feeding them breakfast and lunch as they had not eaten that morning, we dropped them off at their apartments at about 1:30. Okay, we have so much in our comfortable lives, and sometimes we do not realize it until you see how others live.
One of the boys named Angel, what a sweetheart of a 9-year-old, so polite, lives in a small apartment with his mother who has health issues and cannot pick up the apartment. When you walk in the apartment, the blinds are all closed and it is dark in there and you have to straddle over clothes and shoes and food and toys and crackers all over the floor in every room, and Angel’s room had no sheets on the bed, which was two mattresses on the floor; his young mom has two other children who are younger and one is in diapers and she had run out of diapers.
Every room needs help, bless their heart, and we are going back tonight as a Bible study to assist in some small way. We only have about an hour plus, but with several of us we can get a lot done and bring her some hope. The mom said she is embarrassed to have us see her apartment but she is so overwhelmed. May we bring some light into her home and life.
Cornelia Seigneur

Sunday, April 20, 2008

On Juno the movie

RacheL and I watched the movie Juno last night. Some students of mine at George Fox have talked about it a lot this semester, but I was still skeptical. Another teenage pregnancy movie. No thanks. So, when I watched it last night I was surprised. It was fresh. It was funny. It was thought provoking. As Rachel said, it did not glorify anything. It did not preach anything. It just made you think. It did not have a perfect ending, though tears came to my eyes when Juno gave brith. There is something beautiful about birth, no matter how messy it is. I loved how Juno chose Life – after going to an abortion clinic which was creepy. The prolife person outside of the abortion clinic was human. A girl from Juno’s school. Again, they did not try to make her out to be a weirdo, like most of Hollywood does with anyone who is pro-life. A refreshing movie about a girl that did not fit into the norm and was fine with being different.
-Cornelia Seigneur

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Mom pulled four ways has a single solution
Thursday, April 10, 2008 SW WEEKLY OREGONIAN

Home from our traditional spring break trip to the beach, we decided to watch a movie after unpacking, and I once again found myself in a dilemma -- how to meet the desires of five kids at four ages.

Without being told I favor one over another.

Our 5-year-old, Augustin, was clamoring to watch "Cars," for, like, the 100th time, saying, "Because I'm sick and I get to choose." The twins, 10, wanted to watch "I Am Legend" with Will Smith. Ryan, our 16-year-old, who had seen "I Am Legend," asked for the Oscar-winning-but-violent "No Country for Old Men." And Rachel, my outdoorsy 18-year-old, was placing her vote for Sean Penn's "Into the Wild."

Whose movie do I pick? We have one good TV, and no one likes to watch movies downstairs; plus, I like to do things as a family. I do not want to look like I am playing favorites. It's always such a conundrum.

I struggle with making everyone happy all the time. I do not want to disappoint any of my children, and when I hear one of them announce I play favorites -- ouch!

It sounds like this: "Augustin is spoiled," and "You always give in to Ryan," and "The twins always get their way" and "Rachel never has to do chores."

While growing up, I also accused my parents of favoring my brother and sister. And I have proof -- I kept meticulous notes of my growing-up years.

One journal entry from seventh grade declared: "Mama always favors Martin. Can you believe she gives him the same amount of allowance she gives me and I do so much more work? He never does any work."

If my brother and sister had kept diaries, they'd have their own versions of our growing-up years. Good thing I was the writer.

My mom always wanted to be fair with us. Though she was an only child, she saw how favoritism in my dad's family affected my dad, one of five children.

Looking back, I do think she and my father were -- and still are -- fair. Ultimately, though, as my husband's parents would say, parenting is not about being fair. It's about meeting needs as they arise. And making each child feel loved.

Back on family movie night at the Seigneur house, there were just not enough TVs, or hours, to watch each of the movies my kids wanted to see at the same time. So, we watched Cars with Augustin first then Into the Wild, and the next day, Ryan's movie.

Without the little ones, who said it wasn't fair.

Cornelia Seigneur is a West Linn writer and mom of five children. Her column appears the second Thursday of each month. Visit her at www.writermom.net

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Cheerleaders beat up fellow teen- One mom needs to rethink response

I woke up to the news about the Orlando Florida cheerleaders who beat up another cheerleader for 30 minutes and posted the beatings on YouTube.

When questioned about it later they said, Oh, I guess we might miss cheerleading practice and, Oh, I guess we will not be going to the beach this weekend.

The girl they beat up has sustained hearing loss among other injuries. At the hospital where the victim was taken, her parents could hardly recognize her.

One of the girls’ moms, who was interviewed on the Today Show about the incident, said her daughter did not do the beating, but also did nothing to stop it, though the mom said her daughter warned the victim before hand. The mom’s initial response was that the incident was blown out of proportion, a comment which Matt Lauer of the Today Show did not let pass lightly.

Good thing. This mom should have been so sad that her daughter was involved in this horrific crime. Sure, she did not do the hitting, but to do nothing and watch, well what good is that. The mom finally did say her daughter should have called police.

This was very serious and no joke. And, that these girls posted it on YouTube tells you how they viewed it. They wanted to be famous. What comes next? A book deal?

The mother who was interviewed should not have downplayed the incident. That was almost as troubling as the incident itself. She should have been so ashamed of her daughter and her daughter’s friends and said so right from the beginning -- not only later when questioned more in depth by the interviewer.

There was note that the girl who was beat up had said some mean things previously to the other girls, and somehow that was reason enough for the beating, which the police called “animalistic behavior,"

No one deserves this kind of beating up. And, no parent should be defending their child who had any involvement in this whatsoever.

Cornelia Seigneur

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Returning to Sunday family dinners
By Cornelia Seigneur
Thursday, March 13, 2008 OREGONIAN SW WEEKLY
Last month my daughter, Rachel, and I traveled to San Francisco to apply for her German passport. We added to our weekend a visit with my college friend Meri Bartolomucci and her husband, Ray Bartolomucci, who live in the area.
When Rachel and I arrived on a Friday, Ray, a restaurateur, announced he would cook a Sunday family dinner for us and a few others.
The Bartolomuccis go to church Saturday nights, so Sunday began not with preparation for church but with prep for dinner. Meri and I returned from a morning run at 11:30 to the aroma of garlic, sausage and onions. Dinner would not be until 7.
Though Ray's back was injured, there he was preparing a multicourse meal. Meri said, "Sunday dinner is an all-day labor of love for Ray."
Said Ray, "I grew up with Sunday night dinners."
Meri, Rachel and I went off with one of the Bartolomucci children to tour -- and taste -- two of the restaurants Ray and Meri recently opened. Meanwhile, Ray continued preparing the meal, including boiling potatoes -- 10 pounds of potatoes, to be exact.
"Those are for homemade gnocchi," Ray explained on our return. He taught Rachel how to roll them out by hand.
As family and friends arrived, we found our spots at the table. After Ray's thanksgiving prayer, we began sharing our Sunday dinner. It felt like family.
The evening inspired me to want to begin our own Sunday dinners, a tradition my husband, Chris, grew up with.
After Chris and I met in college, he'd take me to his parents' Sunday dinners in their cozy Milwaukie home, a tradition he shared with his sisters. remember the winter dinners especially, with the wood stove burning and the smell of a roast simmering and potatoes bubbling. Chris' dad greeted us with a hug and we'd hear a warm "Welcome" from Chris' mom in the kitchen.
So, even before Chris and I married, I felt very much at home with his parents -- like family.
After Chris and I married, we could not always make the Sunday dinners. Then the kids and life got busier and the dinners stopped.

Chris and I have created other family traditions instead. But Meri and Ray's Sunday meal inspired me.
Upon my recent return from San Francisco I told Chris, "I think we should make Sunday dinners a tradition like your folks used to do. It's a great way to kick off the week, and the kids could invite their friends. It'll create lifelong memories, as you've had and Ray has."
Chris liked the idea. But he said, "Ray's shoes are hard to fill -- Ray owns restaurants. Plus, I like my Sunday naps."
"Well, I'll be the one cooking," I countered.
"But someone will have to clean," he reminded me.
I'll worry about that part when we get closer. For now, it's all about family.
Real Life Mom appears the second Thursday of the month.
Visit Cornelia Seigneur, a West Linn writer and mom of five, at her Web site: www.writermom.net

Sunday, March 9, 2008


My daughter Rachel and I were in San Francisco last weekend to apply for Rachel’s German passport as well as visit my college friend Meri and her family who live in Pleasanton. During the weekend, Meri’s niece Hillary had a basketball game in the Oakland Coliseum Arena, which was a huge deal. Meri’s sister Teri –Hillary’s mom - invited family members to come watch, and they all came from as far away as two hours.
Hillary’s team creamed the opposing team by about 15 points, and usually Hillary gets substituted into game in the second quarter, but in this game, she was not allowed to play at all.
Zero. Zip. Not a minute, not two minutes, not 20 seconds. Nada. This was bad enough and then I found out that a couple of other girls, who were seniors, also did not get to play during this game, part of some championship series.
That is ridiculous. I mean, the team was ahead, way ahead, and being able to play in the Oakland Coliseum is a huge deal, an opportunity that comes along rarely – unless you are a professional athlete. What were those coaches thinking? Did they think that they would lose by letting members of their second string play? If they are on the team, they must be decent players.
Those coaches were missing the point of the game. Sure, it’s fun being on a winning team, but those girls who were not allowed to play will always remember that they missed this chance. Years later, it’s not about winning so much as it is about how you play the game, and it is just not fair to leave players on the bench the entire game – that is not a good way to play the game. If the coaches were worried about winning, they chould have substituted during the second or third quarters or figured some way to let all have that once-in-a-lifetime chance.
In the end, those coaches are taking the love of the game out of those girls who were not allowed to play. Sure, they celebrated, sure they were happy to win, but deep down, I am sure they were thinking and wondering, what is wrong with me? I am sure they felt out of it. I am sure they felt not a part of the team. Because playing makes you part of the team. Those coaches missed the point and did those girls wrong.
I say – Let the girl play ball!

-- Cornelia Seigneur

Monday, February 18, 2008


I will be presenting "25 Tips for Freelance Writing"
at the Oregon Writers Colony - OWC Presents! - Monday February 25, 2008 - 7 p.m.
at Powell's Books Store, located at Cedar Hills Crossing in Beaverton Oregon - -
Address is: 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd - OWC events are free;
Visit www.oregonwriterscolony.org/owcpresents.htm for information.
These are fun events, low-key, last about an hour!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Chris Miles’ simple heart and a bold phone call

By Cornelia Seigneur

As the handful of homeless folks streams into God’s Living Room located for a week in the Back Room of the church, Chris Miles welcomes them as old time friends. He scurries about, making sure the lasagna made by Mauro is in place, the tables are ready, and the clothes are in order for those with need.
On this second day that Rolling Hills hosted God’s Living Room, the down-to-earth Chris feels comfortable calling this place home. It was his bold phone call that got the ball rolling just one day before.
It was a bone-chilling Monday at 3:45 with the wind chill factor dipping temperatures into the teens. Chris was worried about those with no place to call home, those who feel they don’t belong, those with hunger pains wondering where they will lay their heads for the night. Those with little hope.
Chris knows what it’s like to be in a place with no hope.
He was there the day he took a wrong turn, and ended up driving by Rolling Hills. So he thought, ‘I’m here, why not stop in and talk to someone?’
That someone was the pastor on call, Aaron Doerr. Chris wept while sharing his story. God was filling his empty heart with Christ’s hope.
After attending church, the men’s retreat and the singles Bible Study, God was becoming Chris’s new place of refuge.
But real life didn’t get miraculously better; Chris had little employment and he found himself in need, receiving food from the Tualatin Food Bank, run by Linda.
Linda shares: “Chris started helping me and I told him about the emergency shelter I wanted to do, but we just didn’t have staff to spend the night, and Chris was like, ‘I might be able to do that.’”
And he did. The emergency shelter was held at the Tualatin Methodist Church, with Rolling Hills volunteers. But -- only available on weekends.
With Monday morning’s record-breaking lows,
Chris just couldn’t think of leaving the homeless on the streets.
So he made that phone call to Faith: “Can we open up the church to the homeless this week?”
There was no program in place, no committee meetings, just a simple man with a simple heart, wanting to make God’s Living Room available.
Church members came, bringing community and food and overnight assistance. And the homeless came.
“I let them know they can come. I want this to be a place of refuge. We’ll take anybody as long as they are not rambunctious. I have had the same issues; I have had the drugs, the loneliness,” says Chris.
He bought food for God’s Living Room with the Fred Meyer Gift Card someone gave him for his personal use.
Chris talks about doing God’s work.
“I try to use my story to help others. I try to communicate that God can forgive you,” Chris shares, “and that He gives you hope.”
And a place of refuge from the cold.
Sometimes literally.
Cornelia Seigneur’s website is: www.writermom.net - This story was originally published in the Service Folder of Rolling Hills Community Church to highlight community service. - Visit www.rollinghills.org

Friday, February 15, 2008

Love from a 4-year old on Valentine's Day- REAL LIFE MOM column in Oregonian

Love from a 4-year-old on Valentine’s Day...REAL-LIFE MOM COLUMN

Real-Life Mom
By Cornelia Seigneur

Originally published 2-14-08 The Oregonian SW Weekly

Childhood - Their time together faces some changes with kindergarten looming T he phone rings and I can tell I will need to concentrate on this call, so I tiptoe into my bedroom and close the door. But I am discovered -- my littlest one, 4, follows me like a magnet and then my twins, 10, crash in as well, hopping onto my bed and laughing.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
I let them bounce on my bed even though they should not and I slip out of my room, but all of a sudden jumping on my bed is not fun if I am not there. They follow me, ignoring glares that tell them Mom is in the middle of an important call and they should be quieter.

Later I talk to my husband about being followed everywhere I go. He teases, "You're so loved." I roll my eyes and smile, and he adds, "You always wanted shadows."

Our youngest will start kindergarten this fall. Registration forms are due now, and I am trying to figure out whether to put him in all-day or half-day. My husband wants us to register for half-day.

"He's so young. Keep him home with you longer," my husband says. He views Augustin as so sweet and innocent that he's not ready to hit the big world for so long.

Age 4 truly is precious, and I tell my little boy while tucking him in that I love him so much. I am enjoying this time, yet admit that like most moms, during certain moments I just don't want to be engulfed by the surround-sound of kids.

Augustin knows he is getting older -- he'll be 5 next month. He also knows that my heart is torn because he won't be my little baby anymore. He looks at me with his deep dark-brown eyes and says with giggles, "I'm getting bigger and bigger."

I tease him: "No, I won't let you get bigger. I am going to hold you down."

He says, "Well, my feet are getting bigger." I take his feet and squish them.

He says, "Well, my tummy is getting bigger," and I take his tummy and squeeze it.

It is our little song and dance.

I tell him to not turn 5 so quickly, and he says to me, "I have to -- I get my knife." A guy thing with his dad.

I think Augustin knows and feels, in his little, preschool way, how important he is to me. Kids need that. As parents, we want to communicate verbally and nonverbally to our children that they are the most important, most valued, most beautiful human beings in our lives. That no matter what happens -- friends leaving, friends changing, jobs changing -- Mom and Dad are there and they love you.

Even when they are trying to get away for a moment of peace on the telephone.

West Linn writer Cornelia Seigneur, a mother of five, can be reached at inaword@comcast.net

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Father-son Create Faith-based super hero Book series

This was originally published in The Oregonian newspaper on Feb. 7, 2008 in the SW Weekly section - a link is found at www.oregonlive.com

"Able to teach Christian lessons in a single bound"
Thursday, February 07, 2008CORNELIA SEIGNEUR

This is a true story.
Braden, 7, sees a customer drop a $20 bill at the West Linn Albertsons and, after picking it up, looks for the man.
The boy returns the money. It is the right thing to do and it is the very thing that a superhero would do.
A faith-based children’s series is born, with Braden as the real-life hero, Evan Jelic, a play on “evangelical,” as in evangelical Christian.
Braden’s father, John Curalli of West Linn, a marketing executive for a telecommunications consulting company, is co-writing the series with his second-grade son, believing it was divinely inspired.
“In my prayerful relationship that I have with God, this vision came to me for this book series, like a trumpet blaring when you get an idea, a firestorm of an idea, this concept. The name ‘Evan Jelic’ popped into my head,” Curalli said.
He is sending his seven-book series, based on Braden’s real-life experiences, to a publisher and a literary agent who have requested it, he said.
Curalli said the way he and his son write goes something like this:
“Braden tells me stories. He’ll say, ‘This is what happened to me today,’ and I say, ‘That would be a great story for the book.’ I observe and I begin to write, who says what and how it went and this is what happened, and he critiques it.”
The books, which are 12 to 25 pages each, are designed for parents to read to children ages 4 to 8 “as a tool to educate their children about their Christian faith,” Curalli said.
“I believe there is a need for parents to be able to install in their children three areas of Christianity — the armor of God, the fruit of the spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit,” said Curalli.
The first book, “Born Again,” sets the stage for the other six about the “armor of God,” Curalli said.
The premise is what he calls people’s “innate desire to achieve meaning and purpose in life.”
“We had this in the Garden of Eden and lost it when we fell,” he said. “For children, this desire manifests itself in a desire for superhero powers and adventures.”
In “Born Again,” Evan acknowledges this desire and tries to satisfy it by becoming “God’s superhero.”
The second book, “The Breastplate of Righteousness,” is based upon Braden’s experience at Albertsons.
“It’s about good character,” Curalli said. “The power of the breastplate is the ability to do what is right, no matter what the personal cost. Such as returning a $20 bill.”
In the end, good character is rewarded. Evan gets a cash reward and purchases his favorite candy, Laffy Taffy.
Father and son are field-testing the books.
“Braden’s best friend Ian Cruickshank has to keep these by his bed because he loves them so much,” Curalli said.
And for Halloween, Ian dressed up as Evan Jelic. “His mother went out and found a soldier costume,” said Curalli. Braden dressed up as Evan Jelic at a Harvest Party a year ago.
Said Braden, “Evan is very fun and I like the armor because my friends and I can play together and fight bad guys.”
And that’s also true.
For more information and to watch the progress of the book series, visit the website: www.evanjelic.info

Monday, February 4, 2008

Missing Harry

After my second visit to the Happy Rock Cafe in Gladstone Oregon, Harry already knew me by name.

"Where's Augustin, Cornelia?" he asked.

On other occasions, he'd wonder, "What article are you writing right now, Cornelia?"

Always addressing me and every one else who entered Happy Rock Cafe by name was just Harry's style. It showed he cared. It showed his warmth.

Every time I'd walk into Happy Rock Cafe in Gladstone, there he was, playing Cribbage with the other guys. But Harry stood out. He had fishing stories and tales of his family in Gladstone and thoughts on life and questions as to how I was doing.

One time, he asked me more about my writing. I told him I write faith and inspiration stories for The Oregonian newspaper among other articles. The faith stories intrigued him -- one day I came in with my lap top to write and he was between cribbage games and told me to come join him on his table. He wanted to talk about the faith stories I wrote.

"Are you religious?" he asked and we talked about God and faith in Jesus Christ and I shared with him my personal journey coming to Christ in high school and Harry was honest. "I don't like people shoving religion down my throat." I believe in doing good and being kind to people and that he was.

Lately I have been very busy with my new teaching job and working on my book, so I have not gone as often to Happy Rock Cafe, and I happened to be there a day after Harry died and I found out he passed away from a heart attack the night before while taking his dog out at 11 at night and I was shocked. 62 years old.

Happy Rock Cafe will never be the same.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Rolling Hills Community Church opened its doors to the homeless last night and will continue through Thursday night’s with the temperatures dipping into the teens. My daughter Rachel and son Wesley and I went over to the church to help and see what is going on tonight and we were absolutely amazed at how this has come together in just a day.
It started with Chris Miles, a Rolling Hills member, who had been organizing at another suburban church in Tualatin to provide a warm place for those without a home during last weekend’s cold, and he started thinking, “what about during the weekdays?” This week weather forecasters predicted record breaking cold temperatures and so he called Faith Carter yesterday at Rolling Hills and asked if something could be set up at Rolling Hills during the week as the other church in Tualatin was opening up its doors on the weekends. . .and Rolling Hills made it happen. Grass roots.
Mauro Cettina offered a big pan of his homemade lasagna and a meal was created. A family of three, including a 7-year-old boy, came by with the help of Bowls of Grace Ministry and two other homeless people were going to spend the night. Several church members were going to spend the night as well.
I spoke with Chris Miles and he calls this outreach God’s Living room. A warm place for friends and food and fellowship.
Someone asked him about last weekend’s numbers at the other church, which he helped coordinate, and he said on one night they had (only) one homeless person spend the night and someone said to him, “well, that is not many people, does that mean it was a failure? and Chris said – “No, not at all. If we help one person, it is a success.”
Jesus himself said he would leave the 99 sheep to search for the one that was lost. I think Chris Miles would agree.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Serving even when it is not "Required"

It’s a January Sunday morning, Keenan Booher’s month off from his every-other month volunteer “Greeter” position at the church.
You’ve probably met him. He’s the tall gentleman, with wisps of a beard and dark brown eyes, who opens doors for folks at church. For both services.
And though this is his month off, there he is, at the front of the church entry near the high school ministry, warmly ushering folks into 11 a.m. church.
You really feel like he cares that you are here.
“Good morning ladies, how are you?” he says to a mother and daughter.
“Hey, dude, how’s it going?” he asks of a high school student coming for 11 O’clock Amplify.
On another church member he notices, “Those warm boots.”
“Good morning! Are you cold?” he asks playfully as a young gentleman, sans jacket, shivers by him.
Why, you might wonder, is Keenan greeting folks on this, his month off?
“There’s a need and I enjoy helping when I can,” he says cheerfully.
That is why he joined the youth ministry’s mission trip to Mississippi last summer and leads a Bridge Bible study on Monday nights for 11 th grade boys this school year.
And, precisely why he spent a weekend in December serving at 5 Rock Ranch, a retreat center that ministers to youth and families. He and his community group offered to be available for whatever work needed to be accomplished at the ranch.
During the day, the men installed new shower heads in the ranch’s 24-room hotel, and they mounted soap dispensers, replaced flooring, laid new plywood and put in an automatic towel rack in the bathroom.
The women helped clean the kitchen and assisted with other tasks.
In the evenings, they gathered around the fireplace, singing songs and sharing stories.
“They told us stories about how state organizations are locking up offenders and how their ministry is helping reach families and introducing people to Christ,” Keenan shared. “5 Rock Ranch wants to teach men how to mentor others to be a father to a young kid, to teach a boy to become a man, and to help young women.
Keenan came home from the working weekend at 5 Rock Ranch by 9 a.m. on that Sunday in December, just in time to be a Greeter at church.
It was his month on.
But, I have a feeling; he would have been there either way.

- Published in the service folder of today's 1-20-08 Rolling Hills Community Church

Serving even when it is not "Required"

It’s a January Sunday morning, Keenan Booher’s month off from his every-other month volunteer “Greeter” position at the church.
You’ve probably met him. He’s the tall gentleman, with wisps of a beard and dark brown eyes, who opens doors for folks at church. For both services.
And though this is his month off, there he is, at the front of the church entry near the high school ministry, warmly ushering folks into 11 a.m. church.
You really feel like he cares that you are here.
“Good morning ladies, how are you?” he says to a mother and daughter.
“Hey, dude, how’s it going?” he asks of a high school student coming for 11 O’clock Amplify.
On another church member he notices, “Those warm boots.”
“Good morning! Are you cold?” he asks playfully as a young gentleman, sans jacket, shivers by him.
Why, you might wonder, is Keenan greeting folks on this, his month off?
“There’s a need and I enjoy helping when I can,” he says cheerfully.
That is why he joined the youth ministry’s mission trip to Mississippi last summer and leads a Bridge Bible study on Monday nights for 11 th grade boys this school year.
And, precisely why he spent a weekend in December serving at 5 Rock Ranch, a retreat center that ministers to youth and families. He and his community group offered to be available for whatever work needed to be accomplished at the ranch.
During the day, the men installed new shower heads in the ranch’s 24-room hotel, and they mounted soap dispensers, replaced flooring, laid new plywood and put in an automatic towel rack in the bathroom.
The women helped clean the kitchen and assisted with other tasks.
In the evenings, they gathered around the fireplace, singing songs and sharing stories.
“They told us stories about how state organizations are locking up offenders and how their ministry is helping reach families and introducing people to Christ,” Keenan shared. “5 Rock Ranch wants to teach men how to mentor others to be a father to a young kid, to teach a boy to become a man, and to help young women.
Keenan came home from the working weekend at 5 Rock Ranch by 9 a.m. on that Sunday in December, just in time to be a Greeter at church.
It was his month on.
But, I have a feeling; he would have been there either way.

- Published in the service folder of today's 1-20-08 Rolling Hills Community Church

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Visit the website


for updates on the book!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


My husband and I moved to the wonderful community of West Linn in 1989 when I was pregnant with our first child, Rachel, who was born in 1990. We bought a house on a creek in the Robinwood neighborhood and have been here ever since. We’ve had five children since moving to West Linn, with four of them currently attending West Linn schools. Rachel will graduate from West Linn High School with the class of 2008!

I love walking places here and meeting people in the neighborhood. We take strolls to parks and the local coffee shops and to visit friends, and we truly feel blessed to be part of this amazing community of people.

As a freelance journalist and columnist for The West Linn Tidings and the local section of The Oregonian since 1996, I have had the chance to share the stories of the classy people and neighborhoods and businesses and families and festivals and organizations and schools and churches in this wonderful area.

And, now, I have the privilege of continuing the story West Linn in book form. I have signed a contract with Arcadia Publishers, a national publisher of local history books, to pen Images of America: West Linn, and have started this blog to share more information. I would like to give as many people as possible the opportunity to be featured in this heirloom-like book, which will be published later this year.

Bravo! West Linn’s going national!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

What a joy teaching College Students

I am a teaching a communications course (Intro to Public Relations) at George Fox University this spring semester and it began this week. I love teaching college students. They are so open, so enthusiastic, so real, so down to earth, so wanting to learn. . . .

On the day I was meeting to interview for the open position last December, a student saw me looking at the directory at George Fox and he asked me if he could help me find a building. How nice is that?. . . What fun being around college students. . .

My dad taught for most of his career at the University of Portland. I loved being on campus then when he brought us to work for various functions.

It is a joy to be teaching the next generation. . .
~ Professor Cornelia Seigneur : )



Sunday, January 6, 2008


New Year’s resolutions –
Ø Walk in the morning before the kids are up, like I used to.
Ø Lose the 10 pounds I have talked about losing since my baby, who is 4, was born.
Ø Do my strength exercises.
Ø Read more to my kids
Ø Tuck them in more often.
Ø Make sure I always say “Gute Nacht, Read your Bible and say your prayers and I love you” every night to each of my five kids.
Ø Continue reading through the Bible this year from back to front, and actually get through it.
Ø Hang at the breakfast table and talk more without always having to go do something.
Ø Have more game nights.
Ø Have people over for dinner once a month-okay, every other month-okay, for dessert
Ø Keep bathroom cleaner in case people stop by unannounced for dinner or bagels after church
Ø Play more board games with my kids
Ø Make dinners in the morning for the evening so after school times are not so rushed.
Ø Write hand made notes
Ø Blog more often even if it is short
Ø Light candles at every dinner.
Ø Have tea every afternoon.
Ø Don't rush so much.
Ø Be on time - early - to places.
Ø Get a book published
Ø Write more.
Ø Send out more book proposals.
Ø Pray more, in the morning, before everyone is up
Ø serve hurting people more regularly
Ø Keep my office clean
Ø Keep my car cleaned
Ø Keep the sink emptied.
Ø keep the house cleaner and less cluttered
Ø Get rid of the clutter so it quits coming back.
Ø Finish more books that I have started
Ø Play the guitar again
Ø Take my 4-year-old to OMSI every week- okay, I’ll be happy every other week, okay, once a month
Ø Do another marathon this year, this time with my daughter
Ø Go to Europe – which means I have to save money, which means I have to work more or get take-out less
Ø Eat take-out less
Ø Not connect to the internet on Sundays
Ø Rest on Sundays
Ø Write homemade, snail mail cards to tell people I am thinking of them.
Ø See my parents more often
Ø See my in-laws more often
Ø See my friends more
Ø Get stressed less, Be calm more, Love God and others more.

Ø ~ Cornelia Seigneur aka Nellie aka WriterMom

Ø www.writermom.net

Ø www.myspace.com/corneliaseigneur
Ø www.writermom5kids.blogspot.com


Hidden Lake


Cousins bicycling at Champeog Park

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