[T]he water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. (John 4:14)

As we move into this last quest of the year, there is a buoyancy in the heroes.  Rather than limping toward the end of the school year, they seem to have an effervescence.  Perhaps it’s our weeklong Memorial Day break that’s refreshed them.  Perhaps our Outdoor Survival Quest has captured their imagination.

Perhaps our Balanced Year Schedule offers a sustainable pace.  Maybe they’ve come to own their education and they are set on finishing well.

Kevin Cusack, NOLS graduate and adventure trip leader, gave a hero talk on Wilderness survival and working with rope (pictured above).  His stories stuck with us all as he talked about the wisdom of identifying our assumptions and learning to adapt when things go wrong in the wilderness or in everyday life.  He deftly reinforced Journey’s belief that guides are there to offer you wisdom, to face up to challenges and to describe the map in front of you.

Even with our focus on finishing well, we find the fun welling up in our studios.  Thanks to Jonathan’s diligence, conscientious effort and service, he earned himself a costume ticket, good for one day in costume.  He brought me joy this morning as he bounded out of his dad’s truck outfitted in a self-inflating tomato-red jumpsuit and gave me the morning’s foot tap sporting his grin of mischief.

Just before break last week, our Entrepreneurship Quest culminated in an opportunity for heroes to show what they know at the Grand Rapids Children’s Business Fair.  Joining with young entrepreneurs from across the state of Michigan, offerings included garden fertilizer, snow cones and exotic ice cream.  One of my favorite stories of the fair came with Noah, in the blue shirt below.  Noah explored two different business proposals before settling on his third iteration.  When his dad asked him what he was passionate about, Noah did not hesitate. “I love coding.” With that identification, Noah went on to design and create his own Spaceship Laser game.  Charging fair-goers per play, Noah found his niche.  Fathers like Nate, in the green shirt below, vied for High Score. Nate enjoyed the experience so much that he introduced his young son Brooks to Spaceship Laser.  But the best part of Noah’s experience was when he got meet another Journey father, Cameron, who told Noah that he codes for a living.   And so the idea for a hero’s journey wells up.  May many be blessed.

The Grand Rapids Children’s Business Fair and our Journey Academy heroes had this opportunity to begin journeys because of sponsors.  We’ve been blessed by them and we pray for God’s blessing to well up and pour out on them as well.  Our heartfelt thanks go out to each and every sponsor.

May we all experience that spring of water on this day.

//Dr. T//




with God all things are possible.” (Matt 19:26)

The heroes contemplated the story of the rich, young ruler this week during Kingdom Time.  We talked about how creating wealth is a good thing and we talked about how Jesus loved the rich young ruler so much that He invited him to make sure that his wealth wasn’t his ultimate thing.  The heroes were struck how the ruler walked away from Jesus.  Will, in such a lovely compassionate way asked, “Did he come back to Jesus?” I responded, “That’s a great question Will.”

This Scripture coincides with our Entrepreneurship Quest.  As heroes like Isabelle (pictured above) take their initial steps on their journeys as entrepreneurs they are making plans, they are calculating costs, they are researching potential customers, they are designing display spaces, they are  dreaming big and they are trying to learn how to look at this all from a Kingdom perspective.  And as the story teaches, all things are possible.

The Grand Rapids Children’s Business Fair will be held on Saturday May 22 from 10a to 12p at the Ada Farmer’s Market. 7239 Thornapple River Drive, 49301.  All of our heroes, along with other young entrepreneurs from all around Grand Rapids will be selling their products.  As part of their quest, the Journey Heroes have learned about e-commerce and have developed their own on-line presence for their business.  The Hero Shop is now open!

To prepare for their internet debut, heroes wrote persuasively, staged images intentionally and considered an on-line presence.  Working with Journey parent Jason Sasso, they thoughtfully conferred with him and collaboratively crafted their page.  Viewers can use the above link to preview the merchandise and strategically prepare for what they can buy in-person at the business fair.  Viewers can also pre-order for pickup at the business fair.  Finally, Viewers can buy products  for later pickup at Journey Academy or for mail delivery (some products will not available for shipping).  With limited inventory, we do ask for patience with our delivery fulfillment timeline.  If you need delivery, select flat rate shipping at check out, and we’ll coordinate shipping with you.

The heroes have been learning about how to meet the needs of others as well as how make the products that meet these needs possible.  And they have learned how to seek God in the process.  Join us in eagerly witnessing what has been made possible at the Children’s Business Fair next Saturday.

//Dr. T//

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joy and listening


For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

To begin our entrepreneurial quest, the guides invited parent Mike Kalis to give a hero talk about marketing.  After an afternoon of selling bananas, building houses for special clients out of marshmallows and spaghetti as well as developing tools to convince parents about buying a pet, Mike reflected this with me out loud. “If they could walk away with two things I’d want them to think that business is joyful and it’s important to listen to people.”

The heroes found Mike persuasive as they built with joy and listened intently.

In the middle of the afternoon, Mike told the heroes, “You heard what Dr. T wants in a house.  He wants a huge dining room to have big dinner parties. He wants a porch for sitting.  And he threw in a request for a zip line and game room for his grandchildren.” You’ve got ten minutes to design it with the materials you’ve been given.” I was eventually persuaded by Carter’s group who came up with an innovative zip line and a multipurpose dining area.  They heard my heart’s value of innovation and multi-tasking.

Even with all of this collaboration, the vast majority of heroes are developing individual products for the Children’s Business Fair.  Conversations around slingshots, lemonade bombs, doll clothes, pillows and placemats have resounded during the week.  They have been bringing their initial plans and elevator pitches to colleague-heroes for feedback.

It’s this blend of personalized projects with social engagement that creates the dynamic flow of Journey Academy’s day.  The joy and the listening are at the heart of our endeavor.  And they will continue to accompany us for the rest of our journeys.

//Dr. T//


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“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?  And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’  (Luke 15:4-6)
Finding continues to be a theme in our session as well as our Forensics Quest. Heroes are discovering core skills like writing and entrepreneurial planning that they have developed.

During collaborative core skills, Carter and Elias developed a brochure for Carter’s business called Carter’s Craft Store. They are looking to custom design wood products like shelving, picture frames, plant holders, coat hangers and desks.  I’ve decided to purchase a picture frame for my Hero’s Journey print.  If any other readers are interested, I can serve as a communication conduit to Carter’s Craft Store. 

“I don’t want to eat lunch.  I just want to read.” Liviet has been working hard, meeting her goals in Core Skills and declared this as I was walking by.  Apparently, she’s found the draw to the word more enticing than her lunch (at least on that day).

The finding seems to extend to our Kingdom Time sessions.  On Monday as we reflected on the passage from Luke, the heroes talked about what might lead a shepherd to leave ninety nine sheep to find the one.  As they talked about the value that that sheep must have, we linked it back to the value that God must have for us discussing what the hug must feel like from the Father who finds you. As we transitioned to Core Skills, Ella pulled me aside and said, “While we were talking about hugs from God, I could actually feeling Him hugging me. And He’s Still Hugging Me!” In the swirl (and yes occasional chaos) of heroes driving their learning, these moments of discovery are the moments of rejoicing like the shepherd describes.

And these discoveries, thanks to our model, often have a firm grounding in real world learning.  This Thursday Deputy Omar returned as a consultant for our Forensics Quest to hear about the evidence that heroes are analyzing and to hear their tentative theories about what happened.  In a real world way, he asked clarifying questions based in his professional expertise. Looking back over the week, the skills they are developing equip them to step into a host of learning settings.

  • Phone interviews/etiquette
  • Scientific method
  • Careful observation
  • Problem solving through deductive reasoning
  • Reading body language
  • Creating reports based on their key conclusions

Included in this learning is an exposure to Forensics Vocabulary from Deputy Omar and his Crime Scene Unit including: Implicate, Search warrant, Privacy rights, GPS , Proof, Evidence, Latent prints, Fibers, Burglar, Point of entry, Point of exit, Disturbance, Alibi, Eliminate, Red herring, Whorls, Swirls and Deltas.

We Rejoice at all of this Finding and we invite you to join us.

May He Lift us up on His Shoulders.

//Dr. T//