Where I come from
Because I was born in Germany, I like to joke and tell people that I was an alien for much of my life -- until I became a United States citizen in 1996. Indeed, that is what they called me till then. My parents are both immigrants and wanted one of their children to be born in the fatherland, and I was that child. While my dad was working on his Ph.D. and looking for teaching positions at universities, we moved around a lot until he finally settled at the University of Portland, his alma mater. I have been in the Portland area ever since, though I travel overseas as often as possible, visiting my daughter who now lives in Germany. I came to Christ during my high school years, and love to be able to encourage and inspire youth and others in their walk with Christ.
I have been writing since I could hold a pencil in my hand. Growing up, I wrote everything down. I have two 25-gallon-size Rubbermaid boxes filled with journals and diaries. It was natural for me to major in English during my undergraduate years and I also wrote for the college student newspaper. My childhood dream was to write for The Oregonian, which became a reality in 1996, when I began penning stories on faith, culture, family, and community interests for the local paper that was delivered to our doorstep everyday. I now also write for Christianity Today, The Huffington Post, and Multnomah’s Cultural Encounters, among other publications. In addition, I am the author of The Adventure of Motherhood and Images of America: WEST LINN.
Why I teach and serve as student media advisor at Multnomah
Ever since I met David Kopp, the former faculty adviser for Multnomah’s (now-sunsetted) student newspaper, The Voice, I have had the dream of serving as faculty advisor of the student publication at Multnomah. Multnomah has such a wonderful reputation for training students to learn about, and communicate the truth of, God’s word. And with its history and association with the high quality Multnomah Publishers, I knew I wanted to use the gifts God has given me to serve here. That dream was fulfilled in 2011 when I was asked to serve as faculty advisor for the new student publication here at Multnomah -- We christened it MUSE, which stands for Multnomah University Students Engage. In addition, I have loved teaching classes at Multnomah, my first being American Literature through the Degree Completion Program. I have also taught Article Writing, Newspaper Workshop, New Media, and Persuasion here.
Current ministry outside class
I serve as the Founding Director for the Faith & Culture Writers Connection and Conference. I also lead a Writers Connection ministry at my church, where I aim to inspire, connect and encourage others in their desire to make a difference with their words. In addition, I disciple high school youth through our church and work as an advocate for refugees from Sudan. I also serve as a mentoring mom in the Hearts at Home ministry at church. Whenever I am asked, I speak to moms groups, singles groups, Bible Study groups, library groups and any other organization that asks. I have been involved with the Portland Leadership Foundation’s Act 6 program as well as writing about outreach events that ministries are involved with. I view writing as a ministry.
Education and research
I had the privilege of attending Reed College for a year while finishing up my high school years at nearby Cleveland High School. I always loved school and learning. My undergraduate degree in English is from the University of Portland, where I also earned my Teaching Certificate. Ten years later, I earned my Master of Arts degree in German from Portland State University’s Summer Immersion program, Deutsche Sprachschule am Pazifik, held at Lewis & Clark College. I love theology and have taken a couple of courses at Western Seminary.
People who inspire me
I must like the name Martin - The reformer Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr. and I gave my youngest son Augustin, the middle name of Martin (which is also my brother’s name, whom I admire). Harriet Beecher Stowe is another person who comes to mind. And thinking of others who inspire me, those who are humbly willing to stand up against injustices, John M. Perkins, Shane Claiborne, Francis Chan, and Richard Stearns come to mind. My kids for sure! And, of course, Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior is my ultimate inspiration.
Favorite book in the Bible
I love Jeremiah. As a writer, I resonate with how the book begins with such honesty: The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” “Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. (-- Jeremiah 1: 4-9)
My favorite authors
As a writer, I love to read everything, from non-fiction, to essays, to fiction, to poetry. So many books and authors to soak up. Luci Shaw, C.S. Lewis, Kathleen Norris, Francis Chan, Shane Claiborne, Timothy Keller, Billy Collins, Emily Dickinson, Joyce Carol Oates, Herta Mueller, and Donald Miller for starters.
I love power walking and have run/walked seven marathons. I enjoy going on adventures with my children and working out at the gym. Camping and bicycle riding and road trips top my summer fun things to do list. Whenever I get the chance, I travel to Germany to visit my daughter who is going to school at the University of Mainz. Reading and writing and watching movies are my down-time go-to activities.
I have been married to Christopher since 1986, whom I met during my undergraduate years at the University of Portland, and we have five beautiful children: Rachel, 22, Ryan, 21, identical twin boys Wesley and Mickael Josef, 15, and Augustin, 9. My daughter Rachel is now married so I add a fifth son to the equation--his name is Stefan, and he and Rachel met at Bodenseehof, a Torchbearer Bible School in Germany.