Monday, March 24, 2008

"Studyin' about that good ol' way..."

So, we’ve been busy this weekend and the week before preparing for it. Bishop Joseph, the current bishop presiding over the western diocese of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, came to visit our church and spend time with the other Orthodox churches in the area. It was a great blessing.

On Thursday, we picked up “Sayidna” (Arabic for “master”) from the airport around noon. The following day, he spoke to a number of different groups in the area combining the three churches (Christ the Savior, St. John’s and St. Nicholas). This time was for Sayidna to be asked questions, and he would also talk to the different groups about specific things. He talked to the woman first in a luncheon at Christ the Savior with tea and a brunch. I went to that, but unfortunately I didn’t get to hear him talk, because I was baby-sitting for all the little kids. Later that evening Sayidna spoke with the teens. They prayed over a soup dinner and got to hear him speak for awhile about subjects apropos to being an Orthodox young adult in the world. A couple questions were asked and answered and Sayidna moved on to the more important group… my group!

The younger kids (13 and under) got to spend an hour with Sayidna before Akathist. He didn’t talk much but there were lots of interesting questions. I asked him if it was okay to pray for animals, even if they aren’t human beings. He told me that we should pray for and respect all creation. Referring to the rug that the bishop stands on during the service, one boy asked, “What does the eagle mean on your rug?”. Designed onto the rug is an eagle flying over a city. Sayidna told the boy it meant that the bishop was like the eagle, higher than all other clergy or people in the church and responsible for protecting them.

Early Saturday morning the family (minus Jordan who was at work) went to Christ the Savior for liturgy. Afterwards Sayidna talked on how we should not care about where people come from and focus less on a person’s outward life, but more about their inside. When a flight attendant asked him what accent he had, he explained to us that if you get to know a person, talk to them for a while you would find out. But you should learn more about the inside, instead of focusing on their outside. That night there was Great Vespers at St. John’s. He talked about how we should not shush the babies while we are in church. They have excuses: they are tired, they are excited, “whatever”. Because of this, we should never be angry at them. They are young and this too shall pass.

Sunday was a very big day. We celebrated a hierarchical liturgy and it was beautiful! Afterwards, the ladies of St. John’s provided a stunning feast of ethnic Arabic food and we kids provided some entertainment. We sang three songs: John 3:16, Walking in the Light of God and the favorite, Down in the River. Also, we presented a gift to Sayidna, a collage of pictures taken of the kids at St. John’s, all in the shape of a cross. Sayidna enjoyed the singing so much that he thought that we should make a CD! The choir sang as well, song composed by our own Rdr. Michael. It was beautiful.

Last but not least, people from Christ the Savior and St. John’s joined the parish of St. Nicholas in a vespers service on Sunday night. Fr. Barnard (pastor of St. Nicholas) was elevated to Archpriest and it was wonderful to spend time with their congergation. We said good-bye to Sayidna but hope it won’t be too long before we see him again…

(Title lyrics from "Down in the River" an old gospel song)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

"We can’t forget, these are the days…"

We’re back… What a crazy week! Sorry to leave you alone for the week. Ellena is right now working on a post for tomorrow about our amazing weekend: it will be a two-part post over a couple days. For now, my to-do list for the night includes,
  • download all the pictures I took over the weekend w/ my new AMAZING camera
  • finally, get some sleep!

(Title lyrics from "These are the Days" by Sugarland)

Monday, March 17, 2008

"Look at this photograph. Every time I do it makes me laugh..."

Clu-click, clu-click, clu-click… Some of you may not be familiar with this sound. This sound is from a rare and beautiful thing that has recently become part of our family life, and more particularly, my own. It belongs to a EOS 20D, Canon, Digital Camera. With 8.2 megapixels and a 4GB memory card, I am finally getting to pursue my dream of photography. Here’s the story:

For over a year I had begun to develop a love for photos. My younger siblings gave me ample opportunities for taking out the family’s small digital and getting some great shots. When in need of better quality, a wonderful man from our church and family friend who is very invested in his photography hobby would let us borrow his impressive Canon digitals. My mother and I fell in love with these astounding manmade creations! They were so fast and the quality of the images was spectacular.

So, I began my hunt for a camera of my own. It was only last week when I spoke to Mr. Townsend (the man from our church) about his resent upgrade to a newer version of the EOS. It was during this conversation that he offered to sell his retired, but still in great shape, camera (now the one sitting on my bookshelf). Mr. Townsend made us an amazing offer (less than half what the camera was selling for on eBay) and the end of last week, my parents and I co-bought the camera together. I told them that I wanted to buy it myself, but my mother wanted to guarantee her share of time using it, so we spilt the cost two ways (I paid 66.667% and my parents 33.333% :P).

The point of the matter is, you are all going to see the outcome of this amazing camera here on the blog. As I begin to expand my horizons in terms of photography (and upgrade to more hard drive space to fit it all on my computer), this blog will be decorated with lots of my numerous shots. Please let me know what you think!

So long for now!

(Title lyrics from “Photograph” by Nickelback)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

"The good Lord gave us mountains so we could learn how to climb..."

After two months of hard work and three weeks of utter chaos, scrabbling to get the project completed, Regional History Day was over after we performed at 11am. How did I reward us for all our hard work? I started a blog.

Our goal in this blog is to keep you updated on the ins and outs of the Schaefer life. With most of the literate members of the family as contributors, we hope to have fresh posts for you to read consistently. Be sure to comment and let us know what you think!

Back to History Day: For those you for who don’t know the story, after being told repeatedly since September that we would be doing a project, Joel, Isaac and myself (with our WONDERFUL mother and grandmother as leaders, helpers and counselors) finally started research on our topic in January. We had chosen as a topic, John Adams and his part in the Boston Massacre of 1770.

At the moment, as much as I’d like to, I can’t share with you about all the interesting facts we did learn about the situation and the events that lead up to, happened on and followed after March 5th 1770. What I can tell you is our Wiki page that we used during research, is being built up and should be available for browsing in the not-too-distant future. We’ll update you as soon as that is up and running.

March 15th, 2008 was our deadline and the date of Idaho History Day’s regional competition. From those in the audience and the judges, we are told that the performance was wonderful and of amazing quality. Each of the three judges gave us fantastic marks; simply gushing about the depth, superiority and measure of our research and then the quality of the performance and the actual acting.

For better or for worse, we were the only Senior Group Performance at Regional, which means we had no competition. But we were given a “well deserved” first-place and are heading to the State Competition in Caldwell, ID (Albertson College) on April 11th. Your prayers as we continue to develop our project and finalize our research would be greatly appreciated.

(Title lyrics from "Mountains" by Lonestar)