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 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: - This story was originally published in the Service Folder of Rolling Hills Community Church to highlight community service. - Visit

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

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

"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:

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.


Hidden Lake


Cousins bicycling at Champeog Park

My Blog List