Once a year I have a very festive and fun open house for the Art I’ve been working on throughout the year. It’s been so fun to get to know neighbors & new friends better through these events in our home. If you live in the KC Metro area, swing by and see our updated gallery space while eating holiday treats, coffee, coco, etc. If you don’t live local, visit www.illuminatetheordinary.com to find great gifts as well. 😊
Our new baby. KC Underground Our new dream, baby, vision.
A team of visionaries has been dreaming about a church spread throughout the city with One dream, One focus, One vision.
The Church in Kansas City has always been that–ONE church. ONE church to bring the help, healing and hope of Jesus to the people. To see Heaven come down and the streets filled with the light of the True Love of the Gospel.
Jump into our dream! If you are alive and breathing, there is a place for YOU!
Join us for one of two informational meetings at Westside Family Church, November 18 at 12:30pm or November 25th at 6pm
God is on the move. We are ready. Let’s go…
Visit https://www.kcunderground.org/ for more info.
My true baptism into living-alive-in-beauty happened upon landing in Kansas five years ago to this very day.
Every morning in this new-to-me place, I woke up to the endless possibilities of mud on the trails and backwoods barbed wire fences just beckoning me to cross. I laced up my 15 year old hiking boots, and just walked far, wherever they would take me.
I spent a year walking through every season, trekking through the forest. I walked off old hurts and injuries, strength returning to the broken places. I came upon venomous snakes, had a few stare downs with seemingly rabid opossum, turkeys, deer, beavers, more snakes, old barns, and a mysterious house that only revealed itself after our first autumn here, so cloaked it was In vines, ivy and shrubbery.
I startled at the site of a coyote one day, and his primal gaze on mine, two feet from me forged something new in my being of wild adventure. Fear had no place here on this new pathway. I had lived fear for my whole life. Fear abandoned me and clung to the mud, sticking there, covered up now by layers and layers of Kansas dust and wind.
Shame had always left me winded, until it blew away one day while walking across an abandoned open prairie while I strayed as close as I could to the embankment by the river. I picked up a feather, held it to the sun, saw the light through impossible networks of lines and colors. Illuminated, I let the feather blow on the wind, twirling and swirling through the air, then landing in the river, mysteriously carried along with it my shame and regret. Gone, and I hardly understood why. How could a moment of my whole being alive to beauty change me so deeply?
In the evenings, I’d venture across the prairie to the Sunset Tree, holding up the western sky In all of its glory, strong arms, carrying the weight of the glory that comes with Kansas sunsets. Marveling upon colors new to me, golden leaves clapping and slapping in the wind, the sunsets stretched from sky to sky, as far as my eyes could see. Down, down the sun sunk, the color of the sky changing moment by moment. Each breath a new color, a new tone. Mesmerized, I stood up in the glory of the most alive beauty I’d ever known.
My anxiety set with a hundred of those sunsets, carried with the sun to an unknown place, far from here, away from me, I now walk in the glory of that sun. It is my secret strength, the mystery of it, the glory of it wrapped in new grace forming around the edges of my heart.
Joy sprung out at me with an echoing surprise one day as I walked down the muddy trail. A Storm siren waled in my ears annoying my solitude, until I heard something I had never heard and maybe never will again. A pack of wild coyote pups howling and howling, matching the storm siren in loudness and favor. I stood dumbstruck as I listened to the patch ahead of me, to the six pups howl away. I never realized I had been passing their den within a few feet day after day. I laughed with joy so deep down in my spirit, something new like life awakened me. The sleepiness of my weary soul, finally alive to joy and beauty, unexpectedly.
I miss the wildness of the Kansas we came to, the wide open plains, the wildflowers stretched from east to west, the sun setting behind the sunset tree-The owls hooting at me as I passed their secret spots in the woods, sneaking up on to beavers happily swimming for joy in the pond.
The prairie is cleared now, mud paths now asphalt. There are tractors swiping lines of dirt day by day. Piles of mulch ten feet high stand where the barn and old house used to be. The old well I found, that was so very mysterious is now filled, gone forever. A deep sadness with the loss of these images, my mud path that lead to so many adventures. But it is a new day….
I finally wore down my old hiking boots, sunk way down into the thick Kansas mud one day, the tread giving way as I lifted up my foot, ten pounds heavier with mud. I got new boots. They’re sturdy, have walked new miles, excited to find new horizons.
I am alive and bold and strong and good. God is great and he is the Lord of the Prairie. His sun shines in me and echoes of joy are now mine, and I am happy.
He walked with me as I became Alive to Beauty.
I love men. I’m married to one. I love my man’s masculinity, his strength-physical and the strength of character. I admire his stoicism in whatever life throws at him. I trust in him, depend on him, and look up to him. He’s my favorite man.
For today’s purpose, know I am talking about a way different kind of man—not a bad one, just a misinformed one.
I remember back in the 90’s there was this movement calling men from in front of their tv’s to large stadiums of sweaty testosterone-thunderous men, praising Jesus together while they learned ways to stand up and lead their families with character and discipline. It was phenomenal. I’m too lazy to look up the numbers, but thousands upon thousands of men met in stadiums all over the country over the period of a few years. My own husband attended a few of these, and he returned from them profoundly and utterly changed. He was a wonderful husband when he left, but he came back on fire, blazing with light and joy and passion for Jesus and living a holy life. The fire spread to his friends, our church, community, and so on.
A few of my friends and I were so moved by the changes we were seeing that we decided to go to one of these events to serve however we could. We were open to anything, anywhere we were needed.
As the day approached, we realized we would have to leave around 3am to get to Indianapolis by 7am or so. We were excited. We were happy. There really is no joy that compares to giving time to help others and volunteer to make a difference in some small way.
I believe it was early spring in Indiana, which usually means cold as winter with an occasional glimpse of the sun. This special day was dmn cold. Not just a little cold. Dmn cold. On top of the cold, it was raining. None of us realized we would be working outside the entire weekend, so none of us were dressed for the weather. I had a wind-breaker on , a sweater underneath, jeans, sandals. My first memory of that weekend is jolting around in a golf cart that came to pick us up and take us to our stations. It was raining, as I have mentioned. The golf cart bumbled along with all six of us holding on to each other for balance. I was on an outer edge and as we hit each bump, muddy rain water from the damp earth splashed onto my jeans and coat. We laughed and laughed because otherwise I may have cried.
The golf cart driving man grunted at us to get out under a tent that said “Volunteers”. We found where we were supposed to go. None of us had eaten breakfast because they said all food all day would be provided for us women folk. We assumed we’d grab a quick breakfast before the day stared. The volunteer leader walked us to an area where six cash registers were set up in a tent with resources and books on how to be a good man piled everywhere. He pointed to the cash registers, just a few feet from the edge of the open tent. There you go. He said. No instructions. No encouragement. No food! My clothes were soaking wet at this point, my hands icicles. It was only 7am. We knew we’d be there well into the evening and the next morning as well.
We started ringing men up on the cash registers, smiling, nodding, telling them we hoped they were having a great experience, etc. Pretty much all of them were smiling and very kind. It was nice. I was really happy to be there. The air was electric with the buzz of revival and new life. It was palatable. It was also cold, very, very cold. The open tents created a sort of wind tunnel, so the air blowing at our backs was icy, rainy and freezing.
Around 10am, none of us had eaten yet. There was a table with muffins and orange Kool-aid on a table in a corner with a group of men who were volunteering in the tents stood around the table, consuming MANY muffins and as many cups of orange Kool aid as they wanted. We assumed this food was also for the women volunteers. I was afraid to ask, because the guy in charge of us was grumpy from the cold too. Finally. One of my friends asked him, and she relayed to us that “One trip” to the table was all that was allowed. We took turns waking to the table to grab a muffin and orange Kool-aid. The man hovered over the well stocked table of muffins, glaring his disapproval and obvious disgust at us eating the mana from his stock.
One by one we went, grabbed our little muffin, unwrapped the muffin paper, ate the two bites of muffin, then licked the muffin wrapper before throwing it in the trash, the man gazing with fiery eyes at us. After the third one of us went to the muffin and Kool-aid table, he began the questioning. “Is this your first trip? One trip to the table per person. Period.” With shaking and freezing hands, each woman replied a quiet “Yes”, grabbed a muffin and ran. He continued glaring at us while we rang up men buying stuff. We’d blow on our hands between each customer, trying to keep them from going numb.
We started to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation. We did laugh and laugh. We were so hungry. There was no lunch. No more Kool-Aid. No more muffins. I don’t know how we did it, but we worked all day long until we went back to the hotel and fell asleep before our heads hit the pillow. I don’t remember eating that night.
Just as we closed our eyes, our alarms went of and it was 3am again, and time to get up and ready so we would be back to the stadium and in our places by 6am. Once there, it was the same routine as the day before. The muffin man held his place by the muffin table. We stoically marched one by one, careful to be seen taking our one and only one muffin and cup of orange Kool-aid. The muffin man truly did not like us. We were not men.
It was a joyful experience for all of us, despite the muffin man’s zealous and watchful eyes. It is obvious to me, that as well meaning as his own volunteerism was, he was missing the whole point of the men’s movement. We got it, the other men got it, but the muffin man did not.
Do you know the Muffin Man? If you do, pull out a chair for him, grab a plate of muffins and a pitcher of orange Kool-aid. Tell him he’s alright. He’s the best muffin table watching guy that ever was. Then maybe tell him it’s ok to share his muffins with the women.
Family. Home. These words remind us that we have a place. That we have a space and people to come home to that is safe and warm and full of grace and hope.
Home is a place to come and heal after mistakes are made, or to recover injuries from ugly words thrown around like darts at our heads. For us, family is about being the best “us” we can be for each other in times of joy and sadness.
Quite often, we forget. We get selfish, run behind, pour into the important and pass over the eternal. We fight. We stick with our correct and rightly defended arguments. We fuss over silly things and make room for unreasonalbitlty when our own self gets in the way.
Family is hard. Five personalities stretching and pulling and growing to boundless dreams and limits and further in to independence pulls at all of our hearts. There is pulling, stretching and hurting as growing pains do often hurt.
In these times, it is important for us to practice long held traditions. Practicing our family traditions remind all of us what makes a Wegner a Wegner.
One especially fun tradition Rob and I have kept since moving away from Chicago and deep dish pizza in 1993 is creating our very own likeness of our favorite. We make the pizza together, and eat. Our tradition has gone from the two of us, then Maddie helped us. When Maddie was old enough she would show Whitney how it’s done and pour the cheese like a pro. When Belle was old enough, she had four people to tell her how it’s done, so she usually does it her own way, which is what makes it even more special.
Since the girls were old enough to hold a spoon and stir, they have been our little helpers. Everyone matters in our family. Everyone is equally important an is needed to fulfill this task. There have been years our pizza barely made it through the process of being made because there were spills, tears, dogs grabbing a sausage and running away, but these are the real moments that make family family. We laugh so much when we are all together. Watching my girls grown in independence, creativity, boldness and humor have been the biggest joy filled surprised of my mommy-hood.
We come home at the end of the day to life, to love, to tradition, to family.
Thank you to Mike and Julie Storytellers for capturing this part of our Family Story
My babies. The most precious gift I’ve ever been given and the hardest ever to give away.
Wherever you are in raising your babies, hit pause. Take it all in, the chaos, the noise, the mess…breathe it all in. The fun moments, the heart to heart talks, the fields of millions of fireflies under a full moon when you stood speechless, knowing the miracle was as deep for you as it was for her….
Breathe that in.
These precious souls are in our care such a short time. Just have fun. Let joy lead you. Live your own life alive as you watch them spread their wings and fly.
Trials will come, but Love will win.