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Oct 20 2018

Do You Know The Muffin Man? A tale of Muffins and Misogyny

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.


Jun 12 2018

Tradition

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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.

USE FOR ALL SOCIAL MEDIA-DO NOT edit crop out logo or print-90-Wegner Pizza Night March 2018

Thank you to Mike and Julie Storytellers for capturing this part of our Family Story


Mar 24 2018

The #metoo Movement in the Context of the Church

People will no doubt go round and round for the rest of all time about guilt or innocence of Bill Heybels, lead pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. We have been extremely close to the leadership of Willow Creek church over the past 25yrs. We love them deeply. We hurt with them and for them.

I have thought long and hard, as you probably know, about the #metoo movement within the context of church culture.

Sexual impropriety is a part of human nature. Just because someone is in church leadership doesn’t exempt them from being a part of what the rest of the world is drawing attention to.

I absolutely have been treated in the most respectful manor by 90% of men I have known in church leadership over the years.

Working and living close to the center of the circle of church staff leadership for 30yrs, I can say without shame or doubt that absolutely sexual harassment has happened in just about every church I’ve ever been a part of.

Nothing turns my stomach more than when I hear about a pastors or church leaders messing up. It’s just awful and sad. I’ve seen time & again what happens to the accused, their spouse, their & children—So incredibly devastating for everyone involved.

With that said, know how firmly I believe that PASTORS ARE PEOPLE TOO! They are imperfect just like you and I. They make mistakes. Give grace, give hope to them and their families. Give them privacy and space to heal.

Because they are not super human as many might think, please, please, hold them accountable just as anyone else you might care or worry about.

Love people who mess up. Don’t gossip. Don’t gossip about people that write or talk about their #metoo experiences within the walls of the church or out. Nothing is more hurtful to a victim than to be shamed for sharing their experience.

Peace to You


Jan 14 2018

This is Us

My family, my world. I am more grateful every day for the people God gifted me with, called family. We are not perfect. We are flawed–Pretty much all of us. But, we love. We forgive. We grant pardon, we embrace, we venture on, because This is Us. This is our family.


Jun 30 2014

Introducing…

Us!  The Wegner’s.

Wegner JeepWe moved from Indiana to Kansas on May 2.  Every single day since then, I have had a lesson in the form of humility from one source or another.  Every place I go, I have to rely on Siri or my instincts to figure out where I am and where I am going, and how to get there.  The days I rely on my instincts, I get lost.

Other than daily getting lost or finding myself driving down the wrong way on a one way street, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Kansas.  Our new church family, Westside Family Church, has welcomed us with grace and peace and so, so much kindness.

Every day is a new introduction.  A new something somewhere.  I am a deeply settled person.  I enjoy roots, predictability, and the peace that comes from knowing what happens next.  Learning the in’s and outs and shortcuts will take time, I’m sure.  

As I am being humbled by learning all things new, I thought I’d take a minute to blog about what I DO know. These are the people I know best in the world–their in’s and out’s, their shortcuts, what makes them who they are.  I’d like to introduce my family.  Understand these are bird’s-eye-view introductions. Each one of us is incredibly complex.  Our girls are very spirited–The dynamics of raising three girls in one family are intense, insanely fun, and keep Rob and I on an incredibly high learning curve .

Rob and got married 21 years ago when he was 21 and I was 19.  We were close friends from the time I was 12 and he was 14.  I still remember clear as day the first time I saw him.  He radiated joy and warmth and he was the funniest person I knew (besides myself, of course)

Rob at Jenny LakeRob is a phenomenally gifted communicator and teacher of Jesus and His ways.  He is a wonderful husband and amazing father to our three girls.  He is patient and kind with them, leading them by his example and courage to follow Jesus wherever He leads.  Rob is a guitarist and musician. Music oozes out of him wherever he goes.  It’s in his soul and spirit.  He’s a dreamer of really big dreams, and a huge believer in helping others implement their own.  I’m proud to be his wife.

Maddie-CameraMadeline (Nick names:Maddie, Madalina, Madeliney, Mads, Matt, Mattie Mick…etc)

Maddie is 15. She is an old soul in a young body. She’s an introvert, a Noticer, and deeply compassionate.  Maddie is wise beyond her years and can spot a faker in a second (someone who says they are one thing but really are not who they say they are).  She’s deeply intuitive and an amazing photographer.  She’s hilarious and fun, practical and precise.  She is a wonderful role model to her younger sisters.  I am so proud to be her mom.

Whitney-Headband

Whitney (Nick names Whit, Whitster, Whitaker, Wick)

Whitney is 14.  She is the tallest of our girls, and is made of solid muscle.  She’s a strawberry blonde beauty.  She’s intense, incredibly fun, an extremely strong leader, bold, loud, confident, and courageous.  Whit is the kind of kid who is a friend to literally everyone she knows and an underdog for the outcast kind of kids.  She has a gift for making those around her feel loved, included and important.  Whitney makes me laugh every day.  I’m so proud to be her Mamma.

BelleIsabelle  Joy(Belle, Isabob, Corndog, LIttle Mac, Is., Peanut)

Belle is 10.  She exudes joy and life like no one I’ve ever known.  From the minute she wakes up until her head hits the pillow at night, she oozes life and radiates joy.  She is so much fun, non-stop.  She is a Rainbow Loom genius, making bracelets and crafts several hours a day.  She is deeply sensitive, is easily hurt, but comes alongside those who hurt because she knows how it feels.  Belle is a best friend and buddy to whomever she is with.  She is the definition of joy.  Her smile and laugh light up a room like magic.  I’m so proud to be Belle’s Mamma.

Michelle-HeadbandMe – I’m 41.  I’ve written for several magazine publications over the past 10 or so years about family life and spiritual matters.  I am a mega introvert.  I need lots and lots of time alone, and people often misunderstand this part of me as snobbishness or aloofness.  I promise I am neither of those.  I love people.  I love Jesus.

I love my family with all of my heart.  I love anything artsy or creative or fun.  Driving my Jeep with the top down, taking photos along the way with the sun on my face (or even in the pouring rain) fills me up.  I’m often in nature alone, photographing stuff that point me to my Creator.  I see Him through my camera lens, and hear His voice in the wind.

That’s enough introducing for now. Your eyeballs are probably tired from this very, very long post.  Go take a nap and give your eyes a break.  It’s been so lovely getting to know you all.  Thanks for being gracious and kind as we humbly get to know you back.

~Grace and Peace.


Jun 14 2014

Over The Rainbow

So, suddenly here we are, over the rainbow…in Kansas! Who would have ever thought that we would end up in Kansas? I wouldn’t have! For all the people that live here in Kansas, I am ashamed to say the only perception I had of Kansas was a black and white one from my childhood-Dorothy’s Kansas with farms and cyclones and crazy wizards living in trailers in the middle of nowhere.

I have been overwhelmed by the beauty of this place, the blue’s are more blue, the green’s are more green. We live a few miles from several parks that are breathtaking in their beauty.  There are bluebirds everywhere, coyotes, and SNAKES!  We’ve had so many adventures in the month that we’ve lived here.  It’s been wild and wonderful.

Before Rob and I came to Westside to interview for his position, a friend texted me and said, “What do you think about moving to Kansas?” I replied sarcastically “I am NOT moving to Kansas”.

Famous last words.  Ha.

The girls enjoyed getting to know their new schools for the last few weeks of the school year. It was a bit hectic exiting their old schools and entering the new, all at the end of the school year and during a cross country move, but on the other side of it all, we are glad we made the decision.  They were each able to make some friends, as well as learn their way around their new schools and our neighborhood.

We love our new house.  Belle’s school is just outside of our back gate, which means she can get to school in under a minute in the mornings, but it also means we have a gigantic playground in our back yard, and a beautiful path to walk in the evenings.  We are beyond grateful.

We have also been getting to know our new church, Westside Family Church.  It is one amazing place, with a wonderful staff and tons of extremely friendly people.  Learning everyone’s names has been a challenge, especially in my now old age of 41, but people have been very gracious and patient.  🙂

We are still waiting for our house in Granger to sell, so if you know anyone who is interested in a fabulous house in Granger in an amazing school district, let us know!  Also, if you are a person who prays, ask God to send the right family to love that house and neighborhood as much as we did.

We are grateful for all the love and support of our friends and family in this time of transition.  It’s been an amazing ride to the other side of the rainbow, but we are happy, settling in, and finding our footing here as we march forward together as a family on this new adventure.

Shawnee Mission Tower