Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Vonderhaus!


It's a world-wide birthday party!!
Happy Birthday Jesus!
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Just a quick video of Christmas Day at the Vonderhaus...

Yes, it's true...Micah got a cap gun. He's been making everything into guns lately, and I thought he might like something that makes loud noises. And truth be told, I loved cap guns as a kid, and couldn't wait to share caps with my kids. As soon as the snow melts, we're going outside with a roll of caps and a hammer, and I'll show them what fun that is!

However, "all-boy" Micah with a gun is one of those funny/scary things. When he opened it, he explained, "Shoot people! Kill people!" Oh geez... Don't worry, we set him straight. Shoot animals, buddy. Kill dinner.

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My heart fights against the consumerism and forced good-will towards men during this season. It wasn't until I was wrapping presents and assembling stockings last night that I started to get that giddy Christmas Spirit feeling. And then baby Jesus showed up in the nativity scene and we sang "Happy Birthday". And I realized that because of one little baby, who just happens to be the world's Savior, God is doing miracles all over the place, sometimes where God wouldn't have otherwise been invited in. So seasonal good-will or a genuine act of worship, I'll take it.


Thank you, God, for sending your Son.

As a baby.

To be with us, to show yourself to us.

To save the world!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tranquilizer

Want a taste of my life? Go hang out with a roomful of preschoolers hopped up on Christmas cookies for an hour, then come and watch these videos. If that doesn't make you feel sleepy, I don't know what will.

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Minutes later...

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That is why I don't get much done these days... I'm tranquilized!

(Which, by the way, reminds me of this. The only part of that movie that makes me laugh 'till I cry! "YES!! That's AWESOME!!")

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Marginalized

I just made some changes to the blog. I did this because it's been a long time since I blogged and I wanted to make a little mark. Carve "wendy wuz here" on the wall. I didn't expect to write a whole stinkin' article. These things keep me up too late. I only came here to make some little changes... Like the awesome title picture of my kids, taken by our friend Aaron Courter. He did a whole fall photo shoot for us, and I think he has a great eye for the personality of the world around him. His pictures aren't just well taken, they are interesting, like they tell a story.

And I changed the description of me and what I do. What do I do? It doesn't feel like much these days. I feel a little bit like a bee trapped in an overturned glass. There's so much work to be done, but I'm stuck with a very limited flying radius, and I can see where I want to go. Half the time I can't think straight. Is it the winter weather? Is it the late-night addiction to catching up on LOST? Is it nursing a baby? Is it all the driving back and forth between home and school and school and home and back to school, then home again, then school, then home...and yes, that's the routine every day, sometimes with an errand or a visit with friends thrown in. Thank goodness gas prices came down recently! Is it the early-morning burping and diaper-changing? Maybe the toddlers that still come in about an hour after that early-morning baby feeding to get into our crowded bed to announce they've wet the bed? Maybe... where was I going with this? I've forgotten; I'm so tired.

I've been thinking recently about marginalization. No, that doesn't mean the making of margarine. (Ha! I'm hilarious!) I'm talking about the things that make us feel marginalized as people. My friend Jessi did a class project on the marginalization of moms. It's really cool and I hope you click on the link and check it out. After watching the video, I went about my day as usual: make-up-less, hair half-straightened, donning my uniform of maternity pants and a baggy sweatshirt...but with pride! For a couple of days I didn't care what I looked like, or how I compared with the mainstream world, my peers, or even my own lofty expectations! I listened to my mom friends as they hinted at their shortcomings, their tiny disappointments that were just part of their daily lives. Big to-do lists, figuring out their children, dealing with relatives. The more I listened, the more I wanted to shout, "WE ARE O.K. JUST THE WAY WE ARE! STOP FRETTING!" Our lives as moms seem too often to be a constant striving uphill. There is so much to do, and although we will never keep the laundry or dishes done, be totally self-sustaining, eco-friendly and p.c., lose all the weight and stop the wrinkles, parent our children and respect our husbands perfectly, find the perfect balance of family and volunteerism so that we can impact the world just so, and then blog about all of it in the hopes of getting at least a single comment to affirm that we're not unseen... we continue to strive. There is a lingering sense of dissatisfaction, because when it's all said and done, we are still just moms. There are no Emmys or Oscars for being a mom. No one gets rich and famous being a mom. And I'm not telling you anything that hasn't been said before. But we carry on because that fuzzy feeling of love for our children or our husbands, or even for God outweighs the struggle. Sometimes we get tired, and that "mom" name tag seems really heavy But like giving birth-- which started this whole thing in the first place-- you can't just give up and walk away. The hard work needs to be done and you are the only one who can do it.

So I decided to start reading Jesus in the Margins again. It's written by my pastor, Rick. He points out that Jesus can relate to the margins. He even arrived in the margins. Recently in a sermon he pointed out that Jesus even showed up here subversively...not like you'd think God would arrive. He says that Jesus "comes to the scandalous margins of society in order to identify with those of us who live in those places." Not only does Jesus identify with me in the margins, but he's there to rename me. "Yes, society names you, but there's another who names you, someone whose perception of you is ultimately more powerful than anything society can label you with," Rick says. "Which means, if you want to observe the glory of the Lord, if you want to witness the display of his splendor and his work, you have go to the margins to see it. Because it's in the margins where [moms do their amazing work]. Jesus says that they are the display of his splendor."

Now, I could tell you stories about how God has been renaming us here at the Vonderhaus. That is something I really understand. And so I start to see mothering-- and my identity in mothering-- in a whole new light. What I do in the margins for the glory of the Lord will look different to the world. It won't be competitive, not even in the form of "good ideas". It might look downright subversive at times. But what I will be doing for the glory of the Lord will be listening. A LOT of listening. I will be listening to God, calling me by the name He's picked out, giving me an agenda that has nothing to do with my dust-bunnies, my bathroom scale, the school fundraiser, or the huge piles of laundry around the house. "Jesus will be calling me out of the margins and into the fullness of divine love." And dang, it won't be lonely...you'll be there with me. Imagine, a Mom's Community in the margins, touting our new names, displaying the Lord's splendor and his work! Our own little club, "all about Jesus' love being poured out into and through your life to others." (still quoting Jesus in the Margins)

So as I walk around like a zombie with my newborn, forgetting to call you or show up at parent meetings at school, as I skip out on parties and volunteerism, and if you come to my house and it smells weird and I look as messy as my living room but I have a smile on my face, just know that you may be looking at the Lord at work! If you talk with me for a few minutes, may you see a glimpse of the Lord's splendor... and not an endless struggle to push a boulder up a hill....