Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ahh, it's graduation season. . . ahead

Ryan will graduate a week from tomorrow. We are in the thick of things, planning for the party, getting invites out, end of year things, the all-night party, senior "kisses", end of year events, concerts, projects and. . . college ahead for our second child and our first deciding what to do next year. . . all the while, keeping up with our youngest three and all their is all good and fun and a whirlwind. Trying to help our children make life long decisions - what college, where to go, what jobs to find. Trying to help them get scholarships to fund the college of their dreams...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Is it a Christian novel? . . . Then, it's boring. . . Ouch

I was at the church library to get some books for my husband to read to our 6-year-old. My husband had asked for some new books as he was getting tired of the same old same old.
As I looked around, I also thought of our 11 year old twin sons who love a good story.
I ended up with two books in a series of young teen novels for the boys.
When I picked up the twins from their church musical practice after finding the church library books, I told the boys that I had some new novels for them to read.
“Are they Christian books?” one of my twin 5th grade sons asks me.
“Yes, they are from the church library,” I answered.
“Then, I don’t want to read them. Christian novels are boring,” he answered.
“Why do you say that?” I probed.
“Because there is no plot and there is no mystery. The always give all the answers,” he replied like a literary critic.
It did get me thinking about Christian literature and sometimes the moralizing that takes place within those books. Or has in the past.
I have not, I confess, gotten into Christian adult literature for some time as I just have not found the story line in them. Not since I was into Frank Peretti's This Present Darkness and that series. . . I know I have not tried as hard, but to have my 11 year old son say it so honestly made me think about Christian literature and the importance of creating quality art for kids and adults. I know it is getting better and better and I am excited to meet Christian writers and their excitement. I just hate to hear my twins say that they think Christian lit is boring.

I think sometime about the market and how maybe I need to be the one to create quality literature with good morals without the story being moralizing -- and boring.

And keep looking for those who already are.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thoughts on Big Church and kids leaving the church

I have heard of a statistic that notes how a large majority of kids are leaving the faith as they get beyond high school and move on to collegiate life.

I think of church life sometimes and have to wonder:
So much of our church is segregated times.

The grade schoolers are in one section, the junior high in another, the high schoolers in still another area.

There have been times when I am in big church and I think, I wish my high schooler was in here. Or my grade schoolers.

A couple of weeks ago, our pastor was giving an important talk and we kept our grade schoolers with us for the first church service instead of sending them to their fifth grade Sunday School class. I love their teacher Mr. Tate and I like a lot of the things they do in the class, but I also like my children with me to hear the service. With us.

And when it came to the second service, which I was staying for as well, I had told my high school son, who attends the high school service during the second hour, that I wanted him in “big church” with me, but he had said he wanted to go to his own high school class. I had thought about going to his youth leader and saying I think the high schoolers need to be in “big church” this week, but then I did not do it.

Soon,I found out that the high school class was canceled so the teens could be in with the “big church” as the youth leader also saw it as an important service. I was so happy that my son would be hearing the things going on in big church.

Maybe if we would incorporate the high schoolers and other students into the “big church” more often, they would not leave church as they move into college. Because they will have already found a place in big church while still in high school and earlier.

We do a combined service every few months which sort of does this. I hope we do more of these. Bringing everyone together. Into one body. One church. Big church.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Now it's Greece. . .

Rachel is close to being done with her 7 weeks -- count them - of traveling. . . I am keeping up via the internet. . .she is in Santorini Greece right now then by Friday back in Duesseldorf Germany with family- my sweet cousin Christiana's family - and in two weeks from today she will be home!!

Playing Jesus. . . for real

Jim Caviezel who played Jesus in Mel Gibson’s 2004 movie, The Passion of the Christ – wow, what an amazing man Jim is. And that his initials are JC and he was 33 years old when Mel asked him to play the part.
He spoke at Rolling Hills Community Church last weekend and was so passionate about Life and sticking up for Christ no matter what. Counting the cost. That was the message I took away from it. Pastor Dale from Rolling Hills interviewed him during the service.
Dale asked Jim what it was like playing Jesus. Jim was actually on the physical cross for the filming of the movie. He was up there for hours. He actually almost died of hypothermia. His shoulder was dislocated. He notes that he could not have played the part without his heart being there. With his head alone, he would not have had the strength. With God’s strength.
Playing the part of Jesus in a film had such an impact on his life that he is careful how he lives his real life. People come up to him and say, “There’s Jesus,” and that is a hard act to follow in real life, but he takes it seriously. And again, he says, not in his own power.
He and his wife adopted two children over the past few years. The children both had brain tumors and would have not been adopted very easily by others. His passion for life and the unborn and standing up for doing the right thing is refreshing.
His current project is the release of CD of the entire New Testament Bible being spoken and narrated by various actors.
Not surprisingly, JC plays JC.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Writers Connection Meeting Monday May 18

We are having our next Writing & Culture Connection meeting this coming
Monday May 18, at 6:30 pm - at Rolling Hills Community Church, in Tualatin, located at 3550 SW Borland Road. The meeting will be in the conference room- all writers are invited to share inspiration, what they are working on,
publishing opportunities, current projects, dream projects, upcoming writing
conferences, poetry.

I have a fun writing prompt we will do.

The meeting is a great connection time of encouragement-We will gather for about an hour

The link on the church's website:

http :// www . rollinghills .org/writing-and-culture-connection-meeting

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mom's Salary- $ 122,000 is actually PRICELESS

If given a salary for their daily duties, moms would earn $ 122,000 a year, were they to be paid the current market prices for their day in and day out job.

This is the ninth year that the website has calculated the Annual Mom Salary Survey showing the 10 most popular job functions of a mom.

Multi-tasking might best define how moms see their work, including day care center teacher, psychologist, chief executive officer, laundry machine operator and janitor. Those responsibilities add up to a $ 122,000 income.

This survey came in just in time for yesterday's Mother's day celebration. I think that survey is interesting that they do at, but the things that a mom does just do not come with a price tag and are not the things that children remember about a mom. And the things that children remember about a mom are the most treasured and valuable things.

During a wonderful Mother's Day, where my husband made crepes for both our mothers and for me, I read my home made cards from my four sons, cards that brought tears to my eyes. I had told my kids that is what I wanted for Mother's Day-home made cards and poetry. I love homemade cards as they express personal sentiments.

One of my 11-year-old twins said, "Thank you for being a wonderful mom, who loves, and cares about me and a kind mom." And his poem says- "Your face shines like the sun, you're as beautiful as a rose and your heart is as bright as the stars. ...made for mom because she shines like the sun and she's the kindest person ever made by God."

And from the other twin - "Thank you for being my mom. Thank you for your help and for making cookies. Thank you for making y life more easy."

And from my high school son: "Thanks for all the little things you do that make my life better."

And, my six-year-old expressed it simply in a card that had a picture of me and him on the cover and inside, simply, "Thank you for being my mom."

I cannot resist using the slogan that American Express made popular with their television ads: priceless.

You just cannot put a salary on the job of Mom

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Where in the World is Rachel. . .

So, we are trying to keep up my 19 year old daughter by googling countries and cities she is in, and I, as someone who has felt compelled to record every detail of my life since I was in fifth grade (my twins' age), am posting a couple of photographs of where my daughter is and has been the past couple of days, to share with family and friends in our lives (which blogging helps me do. I realize I have not done enough of this regarding Rachel's year abroad). The bottom photograph is of where Rachel just arrived - In Dubrovnik Croatia -on the Adriatic Sea - and the top photograph is of Hvar Island in Croatia where she was prior to Dubrovnik. I cannot wait to see photographs of Rachel actually in these places when she returns . . .

Rachel says I would love some of the places she has been able to visit during this extended after-school traveling adventure she is on, and she wants to take me to these places she is visiting (dreaming here). She has seen so much of the world (Europe that is) -- I am learning my geography through my daughter!

She is enjoying traveling with her two new friends from Bodenseehof Bible college -- Becky and Rebecca -- and Rebecca's brother Richard joined them in Venice on May 1-another spot I have yet to see. . .

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Missing Rachel. . .

(Photo I took of my sunshine girl Rachel while taking her to Bodenseehof Bible College on Sep. 26, 2008. . . I am so missing her. . . )

I just spoke with my sweet adventurous daughter Rachel Marianne today who is an ocean away, in Croatia on the Hvar Island as part of a 7 week traveling trip after her six months in bible college.
I am missing her so incredibly much. I think about her return in less than four weeks all the time.
I have not seen my sweet only daughter since I left her at Bodenseehof Bible College in September.
When we spoke today it was like she was right there and yet so far away. It is hard to discuss life and love and the future and friendships and God and school for the fall in all of the few moments we have on the phone or via e-mail. But it is what I have right now, and I will take any way shape or form to communicate with my daughter as I can.
I think as June 3rd is getting closer and closer, I keep missing her more and more. It’s like I am allowing myself to miss her now as June 3rd gets closer. I think about her all the time. I pray for her all the time. I weep for her all the time. I talk about her all the time. I think, what would Rachel think of this movie or this book. Or, Rachel would love this sunset right now. Or Rachel would notice the flowers I planted outside. Or I say to her baby brother Augustin, “Rachel is going to be so amazed at how much you have grown” and “When Rachel sees you she is going to take you into her arms and twirl you around and hug you,” and Augustin just smiles. He misses her too. We all do.
I walk into Rachel’s sunshiny room on the creek side of our house, the room with the hot pink painted walls and the sunset painting on the wall and the rainbow and the photographs of Africa from magazines on her closet door and the framed photographs of her and her friends everywhere and all her books and her bulletin board with more photographs of mission trips to Mexico and Mississippi and the wall where she has painted sayings about God and life and loving people and the Mother Teresa quotes everywhere and I weep. I see the painted sayings, “We all need some mercy” and “Can you love?” and that is her mantra. Her life. She is the most amazing wonderful sweet compassionate person. My daughter. And am so grateful she is coming home for the summer.
Chris tells me things are changing this summer as our two oldest children will be 18 and 19, but I do not want to think of any of that right now. I just want to think about picking up my daughter at the airport in less than four weeks and hug her and talk to her and see her beautiful smiling bright sunny face which makes me smile and I want to think about the summer ahead with my daughter, and going on weekend adventures with her and having more than just a few moments and e-mails to communicate, but extended times, sipping coffee on our deck with the creek below us and talking about God and life adventure and living life to its fullest and taking bicycle rides to the park and going on drives to the country. That is what I want to think about. And to say, I am so incredibly thankful to God for giving me my daughter Rachel Marianna Seigneur.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The poet Billy Collins

A while ago I discovered the poet Billy Collins, who, in 2001, was named the United States U.S. Poet Laureate. He will be one of the four plenary speakers at the Christian Scholars' Conference 2009, called "The Power of Narrative" which isJune 25-27, 2009 at Lipscomb University

Collins' poetry makes the ordinary extraordinary. It makes real life magical. It shows the wonder of the day to day every day.

Here is a poem of his called Flock:

Flock By Billy Collins
It has been calculated that each copy of the Gutenburg Bible
required the skins of 300 sheep.

I can see them
squeezed into the holding pen
behind the stone building
where the printing press is housed.

All of them squirming around
to find a little room
and looking so much alike
it would be nearly impossible to count them.

And there is no telling which one of them
will carry the news
that the Lord is a Shepherd,
one of the few things
they already know.

and here's another:

Invention By Billy Collins

Tonight the moon is a cracker,
with a bite out of it
floating in the night,

and in a week or so
according to the calendar
it will probably look

like a silver football,
and nine, maybe ten days ago
it reminded me of a thin bright claw.

But eventually --
by the end of the month,
I reckon --

it will waste away
to nothing,
nothing but stars in the sky,

and I will have a few nights
to myself,
a little time to rest my jittery pen.


Hidden Lake


Cousins bicycling at Champeog Park

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