about things that are sacred...

Here is a deep and beautiful thought from the writings of Frederick Buechner. Time and again he inspires my soul as I read the way he translates life through spiritual thoughts.
The following is from his book "Wishful Thinking".

I'd just like to say this first: I grew up in a Christian world where the sacraments were not heavily celebrated. Even communion was given in a more casual way than traditional Christianity would have it. It seems as if the sacraments carried a ritualistic feeling of dead demands. I grew up around people who had an attitude of freedom...freedom from the old religious rituals that feel void of meaning. I'm not bashing this more contemporary view...I understand the reasoning...but I guess I wonder what we are missing when we walk away from this sacramental designation.

Here's what Buechner says:

A sacrament is when something holy happens. It is transparent time, time which you can see through to something deep inside time. Generally speaking, Protestants have two official sacraments (the Lord's Supper, Baptism) and Roman Catholics these two plus five others (Confirmation, Penance, Extreme Unction, Ordination, and Matrimony). In other words, at such milestone moments as seeing a baby baptized or being baptized yourself, confessing your sins, getting married, dying, you are apt to catch a glimpse of the almost unbearable preciousness and mystery of life. Needless to say, church isn't the only place where the holy happens. Sacramental moments can occur at any moment, any place, and to anybody. Watching something get born. Making love. A high school graduation. Somebody coming to see you when you are sick. A meal with people you love. Looking into a stranger's eyes and finding out he's not a stranger. If we weren't blind as bats, we might see that life itself is sacramental.

In an article called "The Sacramental Imagination" by David Wygmans, this whole idea of respecting and responding to things that are sacred is expanded. I would copy the entire article for you...but then I know you wouldn't read it because it's too long :-) But he ends his article with a beautiful paragraph of summary.

The church has two (or seven) sacraments that it celebrates by way of living out on a small scale the universal sacramentality of life. We should celebrate the sacraments in ways that impart as much as possible a sacramental imagination, giving both vision and permission to those who partake as well as those who stand far off and observe. In this way, the church's ritual will say "We celebrate specific promises of God here in these rituals. We use normal, everyday elements because God comes to us in the normal and the everyday. And God's promises are all encompassing. 'I will be with you'. Who can ask for more of the sacred in the everyday than that? Therefore, all of life can be a rite by which we receive reminder and assurance of God's promises. We hold these things used today in these sacraments as sacred not because of some special control we have over them but because all of life is sacred. As you go from here, look for the presence of God in all that you come across, in all that comes to you. Live in these sacraments here in this sacred space so that you can go out and live sacramentally in all of your life, in the whole sacred cosmos.

Okay, so why does this have meaning for me? Why did I post this on my blog? What can we draw from it?

-If we recognize that God is with us always, and that this whole world is a sacred place created by him, then we can see that all of our encounters are encounters with more than just "stuff". When we see something beautiful in people, or art, or expression, or nature...that is a sacred thing! That beauty is there to remind us that there is something bigger and more powerful and more creative. That awe, is there to inspire us! Even so, when we maintain our schedules of habit, when we go to church, sing songs, take communion, volunteer, listen to people, eat together...These things that sometimes can seem mundane, are chances for us to recognize that all moments can be moments where we recognize God. As we experience our humanity, we should always connect that with the divine. Well...that's MY opinion anyway.

I think I believe that God is big, and God is everywhere, and God is all the time. And instead of asking God to come and bless, or inspire, or reveal himself through things that are natural, I think I'd rather take the time to recognize God WITHIN the things that are natural. Doesn't that make life seem more meaningful? Doesn't that make life seem more inspired? The snow on the ground, the warm spring breeze that we wish for, the late night heart-felt conversations, the joy of holding a new born baby, the special notes of encouragement received from a friend....these things are all sacred in their own way, just as sacred as communion or baptism.

What do you think?


i could have died or something!!!

A few days ago I was at home and I really REALLY wanted to make some toast with peanut butter on it. But guess what? I didn't have any peanut butter at home.
So I went to the store and I bought some.
But then I got distracted, and by the time I got home I didn't really feel like peanut butter anymore.

Then the next day at work there was a news report out about Peter Pan Peanut Butter. It caught my attention because that's my FAVORITE KIND!!! and that's the kind I bought.
The report said that salmonella was found in Peter Pan Peanut Butter's with the jar code starting with 2111. There were 300+ reports of illnesses.

When I got home, I checked my jar of peanut butter. INDEED, its code started with 2111.
Well, gosh...it's a good thing I had lost my craving for peanut butter toast!
I could have died or something!!!
So all of you people who have been really bad at writing back to me...just think of that! I could have died from peanut butter!!! You all should write me more often :-)


Hey guess what? I won ANOTHER vacation!!! Cool for me right?
Well, here are the details:

--It is a vacation for 2.

--I can choose between Las Vegas and Orlando.

--I have to pay a $299.00 service charge per person. (totalling $598.00)

--I have to pay for my own airfare to get to the place of my choice.

So...tell me again what I won? I think I won a chance to spend a lot of money!
I guess I won a free hotel stay, and maybe some free food or something.

I went to the wedding expo a few weeks ago. Yes..I went to a wedding expo. I know I won't be getting married for another 25-some years, but I want to be prepared ya know? Besides, if I want to do a vintage style wedding, it's probably smart to pick my favorite things now. That way they will be labeled "vintage" when I'm actually ready to get married. I'm so smart!!!
But anyways, I went to this wedding expo and I had so much fun signing up for all the free stuff. And I keep getting calls from different booths telling me that I won. Do they just give out a prize to everyone who signs up or am I really REALLY lucky? The only booth that hasn't called me back with a prize was the "naughty product" booth. Maybe I'm not THAT lucky.

But you know what is else is kinda funny? When they told me that I can choose between Orlando and Vegas I was just like "eh...cool I guess". I have become such a vacation snob! Come on, how many other amazing places are there to go?!!! How about a vacation to Antarctica? Or how about a vacation to the Czech Republic? Or how about a vacation to Spain or Greece? I suppose I could settle for Orlando and go to that one Disney park that has little quasi-countries. It could maybe sort of feel like I am traveling the world.

Whatever, I thought I'd share the good news with you! Don't you wish YOU could be this lucky?!


thought for the day

I really like finger food.
And I really like making ALL types of food into finger food.
Things just taste better that way!


poor dog!

For your enjoyment please enjoy the news story below. You can thank my dear sister Stacey for bringing it to my attention.

GIG HARBOR, Wash. -- Anni Sheriffius said she was trying to wash off what she thought was dirt on her dog Jasmine’s ear when the ear fell off. Then she realized her dog’s groomer cut off the dog’s ear and super-glued it back on.

“And I saw the ear float away, and it freaked me out,” described Sheriffius.

She says she couldn’t believe what she was seeing when she saw her dog, Jasmine’s, ear fall off during a bath.

Jasmine, a Shi Tzu, had to undergo treatment for an infection. Sheriffius said she still has the ear in a plastic bag and has been crying for weeks at the thought of someone hurting her dog.

Pierce County sheriff’s investigators are looking into possible criminal charges against the unlicensed dog groomer.
“Once they tried to hide it and glued the ear back on, that’s not good for the dog. There are all kinds of things that can happen, infection, it’s cruelty to animals,” said Det. Ed Troyer.

The shop where Jasmine was injured in Washington, J’Rae’s Pet Grooming, appears to have shut down according to KIRO-TV.

“I’d like her never, ever to touch another dog. That’s what I’d like to see,” said Sheriffius.

goals in life

Someone asked me, "April what are your goals in life?"
That's a question I have asked myself a million times but for some reason this time I was caught off guard. I thought for a few minutes. I'd like to share some of those thoughts with you.

In my twenty-four years of living I have accomplished some defining things. I take joy in remembering all of the places I have been and all of the people who I have met. These places, experiences and people have brought me step by step closer to the courageous and vivid woman I am trying to become. But then, as I review, I realize that most of these things were NEVER on my "goal list". In fact in most cases I have been places I never would have imagined myself. I never would have imagined myself studying in Seattle and pursuing a degree in Philosophy and Religion. And I never would have imagined myself leaving for Switzerland, traveling Europe, or growing so fond of Swiss train rides. And even now in my life, I never would have dreamt of being here in Milwaukee, living in my own little apartment, helping with a church launch, or working for a law firm. But who would I be today without all of this? Well, I suppose my original goal list would have made me into a music radio producer and a Christian counselor. And my original goals would have turned me by now into a wife and a mother. And my original goals would have never included travel.

Maybe my goals in life should have less to do with accomplishments and more to do with character.

I have all of these ideas of where I'd like to see myself in 10 years. I could quickly construct my ideal life and be very satisfied. But would I be? I want to know (and I think I'm starting to learn this) how to listen to God more. I wonder how often I'm too busy forming my perfect successful life. I wonder how often I miss moments of inspiration because the ideas don't fit in with my own ideas.

Will I go to graduate school? Possibly. Will I get married and have a family? I hope so... Will I ever teach? Will I publish? Will I do missions? Will I? Will I? Will I? I don't know anymore. But what I DO know is that I love my life. I love the feeling of living ON PURPOSE and being brave enough to do the things that seem crazy. Crazy doesn't have to be irrational. Crazy can be brave and new and inspiring.

So let's go back to the original question. "April, what are your goals in life?" I recently saw a quote on my friends MySpace page. It said, "I want to change the world around me--subtract around me". Cool huh? I'm starting to learn that my effect upon this world has little to do with the things I achieve. I am seeing that people care more about who I am. I want to BE great. My goal is to keep living every second with a few moments in between to stop and listen for new direction. Now, for those of you who are now concerned that this means I want to float from place to place for the rest of my life...that doesn't have to be the conclusion. I just don't want to be so busy gluing together my life that I fail to see all the things I'd rather become.

Okay. So what are your goals in life? Write me back if you feel like it.


chicken soup, long underwear, and what is love?

Last night I made a big pot of chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles! They actually turned out to be more like dumplings, but just as tasty!

Today I'm wearing long underwear under my dress pants. I feel chubby, but I kinda like it. Makes me feel a little more cozy behind this big desk. Makes my coffee taste all the more morning-warming. Makes me want to go sledding though.

Jason Mraz said "It takes no time to fall in love, but it takes a lifetime to know what love is".
Isn't that a beautiful thought? Doesn't that make you want to embrace every effort so much more because you know that it's only going to get better as time goes on? Doesn't that thought redeem our frustration when things seem more complicated than necessary?

Love to you dear friends on this one more day of unbelievable coldness!