DR 2012 — July 5th (Journal #7)

10:45 pm
Today we built the whole chapel! 🙂 Wow, that was SO fun. We worked with the Dominicans, laughing and enjoying each others’ company. We only had one injury (besides little scrapes) and that was when the penultimate roof panel started to fall in, causing the last truss to collapse inside the chapel and almost pin Chris, the missionary, underneath it.
When we got back we ate amazing chicken soup Dominican-style. 🙂
Tonight I led devotion. I decided to talk about prayer and communication with God. I explained “praying in color” (drawing my prayers instead of using lots of words) and we each did it individually, sharing the experience afterwards. Many in the group said that it was a wonderful, new way to pray. Thank You, Abba, for reminding me of that and giving me an opportunity to share.
The interns shared their testimonies with us tonight, too. Thank You for the ways You have worked in the lives of Ross, Ashley, Kailey, and Rachel. Father, You have particularly touched me through Rachel and the way we can relate to one another. Bless all of the interns and give each one of them strength and endurance for the rest of the summer here.
We get to sleep in tomorrow, Abba! Thank You for rest, Abba!! Goodnight. ❤

DR 2012 — July 4th (Journal #6)

(Ephesians 5) Father, thank You for cherishing me. Help me to love others as myself (by first loving myself in a healthy way). KILL my pride. Help me to care for the interest of my teammates above my own interests and draw closer to them. Mold and change my heart, Abba. ❤

7:15 am
(Matthew 5:9-12) Father, give me strength in my weakness to do all I have, all I am, for You. Give me energy to work hard today for You even though I’ve gotten a cold. Work Your grace in my heart and mind. Yes, as Your people we will be persecuted, but Your plan, the goal, is ever so much better.
Thank You for life. ❤

2:25 pm
I just finished writing little letters to Ricki, Angela, and Carmencita! They are women from Cercadillo that made the 2 headbands and small bag that I bought for me, mom, and Jenna. I can’t WAIT to play with all the children at Cercadillo and hopefully meet these and more wonderful ladies. Bless our time with them this afternoon.
I love You so much, Abba. 🙂

8:00 pm
It turns out that we couldn’t go to Cercadillo because it was pouring this afternoon. :/ You had a plan, though, Abba. We went for ice cream at Bon and stopped at La Sirena (which is similar to Walmart). I bought mom two neat potholders, Dominican vanilla, and a black, white, and green shirt for Reed.
We packed the truck for building tomorrow, too, and we will maybe hear the interns’ testimonies tonight as well.
The kitchen ladies were so thoughtful to make us a classic American dinner in celebration of the 4th of July! Cindy (the wife of the American missionary, Chris) even made an American flag cake with 50 blueberries, which we sang the Star-spangled Banner to! 🙂 It was really fun.
Father, I love it here! I love the people and the food, the children, Dominican interns, and places we’ve been. I have soaked it all in so far and enjoyed it all immensely. Working with Harold today was such a blast. We joked around, laughing at the mistakes each of us made in our respective foreign languages.
I found out from Noe that Spanish doesn’t have a word equivalent to “stubborn”! Hehe, I applied that to Jesús because he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer at dinner tonight. 😛

9:50 pm
I played with Elda and sang a little with Ashley and Kyle tonight! We get to go to bed a little early, too, because we get up at 4 tomorrow to go to the chapel site! So excited!! 🙂 We finally put up Your House, Abba. ❤
Bless our sleep and multiply the time to re-energize our bodies. Amen. ❤

SA 2012 — A Memoir

(started May 17, 2012 and finished today)

Thank You, Jesus, for this year,
Thank You for my beloved class.
We have shared our joys and fears.
These nine months have gone too fast!

Kerryn, my dear preschool reject,
You’ve been with me from day one.
God has blessed me more than I could expect;
These years have been such crazy fun!
Alex, bosom buddy, friend,
Thank you for your loyalty.
This year will not be the end
‘Cause we’re both going to NWC!
Sarah, Washington calls to you
and who am I to say something else?
I will definitely miss you, too;
Remember the trip to Wisconsin Dells?
Tabs, you bring life to any group,
especially Philosophy with DanD.
How in the world will I stay in the loop
Without you there to always inform me?
Abbey, pretty Tinker-bell princess,
I love your pens and sticker books.
Vicky, luscious golden locks,
How attractive are your sexy looks!
Kiersten, running motorcycle-fanatic,
Be careful driving in the big, wide world.
And dear Sydney, miss word-smith,
Someday your book I might hold!
Taylor, the sanity in our hurricane,
thank you for your entertainment.
Schwy, whoops, I won’t call you that again,
Though your reaction to me reveals your amusement.
Heather, dear, I always know
That with you I can be crazy and wild.
Steph, my tan cheerleader friend,
I’ll never remember you as boring or mild!
Laura, plant and environment advocate,
Your style never fails to be
New and funky, colorful and cute,
Sometimes fancy, but always unique!

As I come to the end of this poem,
I’m overcome by thankfulness
For knowing you all and loving you much;
Father God, thank You. I’ve been SO blessed!!

Magic of the Heavens

(written June 12, 2012 with editing input by H.L. Snead)

Up above the world I hang,
suspended in the air,
Peeking out the window
at all the colors there:

Checkered fields like calico cats
and floating cotton balls,
wisps of cloud like mermaid’s hair
I see from within these airplane walls.

Winding rivers and county roads
act as serpents and lazy snakes;
herds of hippos, white and soft,
vanish from their fluffy lakes.

Trees are stippled by His hand,
for this is His own magical land!

Salutatorian Address – Class of 2012

Andrea Joy Petersen

Commencement 2012 — Salutatory Address

Wow. Friends, this night is finally here! I’ve been picturing this day as a far-off imagination, not as a closely-approaching reality. I know that you all have been anticipating this, too, and while it may be with some hesitance and disbelief that we sit here tonight, it is also with great excitement and joy that we move on to new adventures and places. Before we get too carried away with future plans, though, I want to take a few moments to reflect on what we’re taking away from our many years at Schaeffer. The school focuses on Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. I’d like to take a look at some of the ways we’ve grown in these permanent things over the years.

Truth. We have grown up learning the truth of God’s Word through Scripture memorization, Bible stories and skits we performed in grade school, dressing up and presenting the armor of God in 5th grade, and so much more. I don’t know about some of you, but I know that I can still remember Psalm 23 from memorizing it in Mrs. Hanson’s 1st grade class.

We have also learned the truth of community and close friendships. As a class, about 64% of us have been together since Kindergarten, and all of us have been here for High School. We have learned how important it is to stick with each other, even if it may not be the easiest thing to do. During those crazy middle school years filled with flying pens, Stephanie’s pranks, Vicky and Kiersten’s plan for world domination, and the book of Leviticus, we managed not to get into too much trouble while still having a LOT of fun. We’ve persevered through many a finals week by studying at Panera, encouraged each other during long days of tests, and even worked swiftly together with Alex’s organization to pull off buying and filling all of those cups for our senior prank, which turned out pretty well and definitely surprised everyone!

We have learned how to seek and pursue truth in every area of life, especially this year in Philosophy. Mr. Daugherty’s classes never failed to leave us thinking, whether it be writing about how we know we exist or learning about Plato’s forms while we played with play-do and cookie cutters. We were always reminded at Schaeffer that truth conforms to God and His character, which makes it objective. This is very important for us to remember as we enter the bigger world where many people may try to convince us otherwise.

Beauty. We see beauty everywhere at Schaeffer Academy! The amazing artwork created by our peers that adorns the walls which we walk everyday is a unique aspect of our school that not many others get to experience. Two of us, Taylor and Laura, even have artwork joining the permanent art gallery this year. Our building is beautifully clean and tidy, thanks to the Whateleys, other maintenance staff, and our student council activity to clean the school as a community yesterday. We have learned how to look at the world the way God does in Mr. Arant’s class when we “moved from God’s Word to God’s World.” We hear beauty, be it listening to little kids practicing for choir as we pass the music room, hearing Sarah rehearse her solo for the coffee concert, catching the strains of fifth graders reciting their latest poetry in the classroom down the hall, or playing in the band, jazz band, or strings together. We even taste beauty, from Mrs. Lee’s brownie bake-off competition to trying each other’s pizza day desserts (especially your cheesecake, Abbey).

We have learned that beauty is not just what we personally think is good or nice, but what is lovely and admirable in God’s sight, which is of infinitely higher value. We have learned that, as much as most of us love to dress up and look pretty, God looks at our hearts and sees us as so much more beautiful than we may feel, fancy clothes or not, because He made us to be His.

Goodness. So many things about Schaeffer have been good for us! From difficult Lewis pre-calculus tests to Mr. Hunderfund’s discussions (and Tabitha’s entertaining comments in them!), we have been stretched outside of our comforts zones and challenged to grow. We have been taught that working hard and completing a difficult assignment can be a very rewarding experience. We have learned values such as integrity and honesty when Mr. Phillips asks us on tests if we completed the assigned reading. We have learned school spirit through great turn-outs to sports games and cheering our teams on, with the help of the cheerleaders and Lion mascot, of course. We have learned responsibility through the demerit system, as much as we may dislike it. It teaches us that everything has a consequence, for good or for bad, and that we will reap what we sow from our actions. We have learned from Mr. Harris and Mrs. Phillips the value of knowing our history, be it the history of our country, our school, or our identity in Christ. We have learned by wearing uniforms the value of looking within others for their identity, not for how they dress. As much as I know we will MISS them, our uniforms have played a small role in allowing us to focus on the wonderful and good things about each other without getting distracted by one another’s clothing. We have learned on sports teams the importance of unity. Winning may be fun and more exciting, but the community we have experienced through hard practices has been seen clearly in the teamwork displayed by Elizabeth, Heather, and the basketball team passing and shooting a basket or Kerryn, Sydney, and the rest of the soccer team’s dribbling to score a goal.

Schaeffer is such a blessing because as a K-12 school, we get to witness not only each other grow over the many years we’ve been together, but watch the younger students grow and mature, too. We have the honor of being role models for the elementary kids as they watch us in the halls, outside at PE or on the playground, and between classes. We have the privilege to influence their lives. I remember how much we loved our book buddies and gift buddies when we were younger, and I can only imagine how much the little kids love watching us around school.

These are only a few of hundreds of ways we have learned what Truth, Beauty, and Goodness mean. I am sure in the next few years we will appreciate even more the values our teachers have instilled in us and the huge gift our families have given us in this classical, Christian education. As we move our separate ways and pursue the things that God has made us to enjoy, let us not forget what God has blessed us with here at Schaeffer Academy. Through the good and the bad just remember: “Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it appears to be.”

Stars, Wings, Angels, and Winter

Here’s a poem I found while cleaning up for Graduation! I don’t know when it’s from because I didn’t put the date on it, but I’m guessing this is probably 4th-5th grade work. I think it’s pretty cute. 🙂

My friends are stars
around my dreams,
shimmering in the sky
like gifts, glittering
bright and beautiful,
my hope and my light.

Wings on Angels
like marshmallow dreams
our bright lights glitter
white and moon-like
on trees
snow sky winter dream
stars shine in the sky

My wings are light as snowflakes
like shimmering, dancing fluff
around the trees like marshmallow stars
in the winter sky at night

My friends are angels
shimmer and shine
glitter and white
like flakes in the sky
fluff and snow
sister and hope
dream, run, fly

Bright night, cold arms,
angel wings are like
my gift of snow
marshmallow fluff
white and light
jump at outside

Snow and I
we run and play
around the bright white trees
we dance and dream
like angel sisters
light and fluffy bright

Dreams are flying angels
like shimmering, beautiful snow
As we sleep contentedly through the night
Our dreams float down on wings

Shine and bright are friends of mine,
we hope, we dance, we play,
but of the friends I have today,
I fly on hope and light.

Glitter is my sister,
she runs on shimmer stars,
and Glitter’s wings, cold and bright,
are white and shining ice.

Jump and Play are angels
like stars up in the sky
And Jump and Play are shining friends
like snowmen skipping by

A Day for Change!

Today was a day full of big decisions and changes, so I thought I’d let you share in my excitement!

1) I started my first job (outside of my family) today! I am now working at Sargent’s (a garden center, nursery, and landscaping business) for the spring/summer. This should be a pretty fun job for me, considering that I’ll be working retail and I am definitely a people person! Not only that, but I’ve worked in the vegetable/plant field practically since I could walk, so this will be a place where I fit right in! I am eagerly anticipating helping customers with all of their plant questions and problems, and seeing how much I know compared with the other employees there. I’ll still be helping out some at the Farmers’ Market with my family when I’m not working, though, so don’t worry, those of you who see me through the family business will still see me around. 🙂

2) This morning (before 7 am, I might add!) I officially decided which college I will be attending in the fall!! I am going to Northwestern College with the intention to study Music Education (vocal emphasis). I am SO excited and relieved to have finally made this difficult choice. I didn’t realize how much stress I was carrying around from that tension until it was lifted this morning for good. Yes, there are still a LOT of things that I need to do to prepare to actually go, but I am very enthused to begin this new adventure with God and with all of the people He will put in my life beginning in August! Thank you so much, friends, for all of your prayers concerning this decision. Please continue to pray with me that God will work greatly in this place and in my heart and life in preparation for what lies ahead.

Reflections – Relating to Others

“The single desire that dominated my search for delight was simply to love and be loved.” ~Augustine (in Confessions)

Augustine was touching on a very important truth in this short, quotable statement. As human beings, what is the most common universal experience which everyone wants? Is it to not feel pain? Is it to get married? To have a high-paying job? To be famous? I would argue that none of these are the most commonly held universal truth. All human beings want to love and to be loved. Babies are born with this need and desire. Little girls dance around dressed in princess costumes because they connect with the fantastical idea of Prince Charming coming to sweep them of their feet. Adolescent boys try to find a manly way to show courage or strength to the pretty girl down the street because they want her to admire them. Elderly ladies call their grandchildren to talk for hours on end because they are lonely and want to be reminded that someone cares. Homeless men sitting on the sidewalks sleep with their faithful dogs because they find comfort in the company. Everyone needs unconditional love.

“Love is the divine way of relating to others and to oneself that moves through every dimension of our being and begins to restructure our world for good” (Revolution of Character, Dallas Willard). If only all of life looked like this! But unfortunately our world is permeated by this thing called sin, our fallen nature, which gets in the way of us experiencing love like Christ’s continually. Because of sin, there are two basic forms of evil in our relations with others: assault (attack) and withdrawal (distancing). Both show lack of concern and care for others around us: lovelessness. “He who does not love abides in death” (1 John 3:14). John is saying that the mere absence of love is deadly! Lovelessness is withdrawal from the LIFE of God Himself.

How can we change this?

  • See ourselves the way God sees us — as made in His image, redeemed, WHOLE, and His beloved!
  • Be willing to be known for who we really are — abandoning defensiveness and being open and transparent
  • Do away with all pretence — showing others genuine LOVE and compassion instead of trying to conjure up false feelings or pity for others –> ask God for the ability to be genuine
  • Open up our social life to include God’s work — serve others devotedly without fear, knowing our identity and worth is found in Christ

I think this is a very practical process for seeking the true, deep community that God intended for us (and in which He Himself participates in the nature of the Trinity!), for “the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16)

‎”An Essay on Friends” (In Imitation of Alexander Pope)

One perfect row of Girls in a straight line,
And one of Boys who all look mighty fine.
Unspoken rules say each line isolates
From the other, not to associate.
They go about the same old tasks each day,
But never speak or look each others’ way.
One girl feels daring to upset the Law,
And seeks a friendship with a boy she saw.
She carefully steps out of line with grace,
And smiles at the boy with friendly face.
“How do you do?” the boy she shyly asks.
“Extremely well,” he answers, quite a risk.
And so begins a friendship both find great,
But boy and girl are teased about “their mate.”
The jokes and fun are ever merciless,
So boy and girl, their friendship quite a mess
Decide it will not work; it isn’t best.
Their culture forbids any sort of quest.

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