Tag Archive | Trace Academy

Ride Into The Danger Zone–Or What Teaching Seemed To Me To Be

schoolhouseAt the beginning of last year, I set out to list 1,000 things for which I was thankful. I stalled out at 860. As we approach the end of the school year–and my first year of teaching 6th grade–I want to work on completing that list. Today’s are all school related, but the rest won’t necessarily be. Better late than never, so here goes the first of the last:

861. Jenni, my fun and capable co-teacher who has owned the science curriculum
862. Iris, my math teacher, because I would be totally unable to teach that subject, but she loves it
863. An hour at the beginning of each school day to gather my thoughts and consult with the teacher who has taught this curriculum for 16 years
864. 10 bright, happy students who have given their all this year
865. A grace-filled school that understands my limitations but entrusted me with this job anyway
866. That our school is right across the street from my house
867. For relatively little drama in my own house so that I could have the emotional energy to tackle this job
868. The Internet, which allows me to look up information on the fly when I have very little knowledge of the subject I’m teaching
869. My education, which taught me more than I thought about things like ancient civilizations
870. Julie, Michele, Sheryl, Christine, Gigi, Sheri, Cristina, Jo and Jill–my students’ moms who are also my friends
871. Carol, my stupendous teacher’s assistant
873. Mary Alice, the aforementioned previous teacher of this curriculum. Her input saved me many, many times
874. A management team who believed I could do the job
875. My husband, who put up with my hours of lesson planning and paper grading
876. Grace, both to do what I feel incapable of doing and to cover my many mistakes
878. Recess
879. Field trips
880. Latin curriculum so that I have tracks to run on
881. My iPad and Apple TV, which way rock over overhead projectors
882. Shari, our teacher mentor, for her input
883. Flexibility
884. Starting each week with teacher prayer
885. My students, because they’re engaged, fun, good kids with good attitudes and good hearts

That’s all for today. It’s good to look back and remember all the good that has happened. It gives me a renewed breath for looking ahead to next year.


A-Camping We Will Go

Every year for the last 11 years, our family has gone camping with our kids’ school, Trace Academy. Trace started this tradition the very first year it opened, believing that the “shared adversity” of tent camping with everyone would build unity. For our parent-involved, “family owned and operated” structure, unity is very important.

Some of our families had never been camping until they joined us, and some will never do it again after they leave. I wasn’t in the first group, but I may very well end up in the second after freezing at night for the past two years.

I am not built for the cold. I know, I know. There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing. That may be true, but, living in Florida does not lend itself to keeping cold-weather gear on hand. This year, I watched the weather report; I knew we were in for nights in the low 40s. I pulled out my ancient thermal underwear, got my fuzziest, thickest socks, piled on the blankets, had a little heater. Still, I froze.

Even my hot flashes weren’t helping.

There is nothing longer than a night with no sleep. O.K., I shouldn’t say NO sleep: I probably got a couple of hours scattered throughout the 7 hours I laid there shivering. The next morning, I was the teacher on for the day–and even before that, I was a part of the worship band during the assembly that starts our day. But God gave me grace, and I was able to get through it and even enjoy it. But man, when we got home, did my warm bed ever feel so good.

Now, before those in colder climes call me wimpy because anything less than 60 is cold to me, let me just state that all people are different, and I am one of those who would rather sweat than shiver. But, I want to look on the bright (think warm and sunny) side, so here are the things I like about camping with our school:

#1 sitting around the campfire with friends
#2 cooking outdoors
#3 the change of scenery
#4 knowing my kids are having such a great time with their friends
#5 once it finally warms up, I love the beautiful, Florida fall weather
#6 the assembly time, laughing at the MCs’ antics and being a part of the worship band

Next year, though, I’m seriously considering borrowing an RV. Our neighbors have one–about a 20-footer I’m guessing. That should do the trick.

Thankful today for

642. A weeklong break
643. Hair cuts
644. Protection
645. Coffee–not because I need the caffeine, because I drink only decaf, but just because I like it
646. Slow mornings
647. Health
648. My far-away family
649. S’mores

Teacher! Teacher!


The pressure is on. I’ve been handed responsibility for 10 new 6th graders who will start out their middle-school careers under my tutelage. How scary is that? I’ve had exactly two years of teaching experience. In 2nd grade. That’s a far cry from what I’m expected to do with these 11- and 12-year-olds. That God would trust me with my own 3 kids is one thing; that others would trust me with theirs, quite another.

In 2nd grade we studied the Olympics, U.S. sites and symbols, farm animals. I can talk to 2nd graders all day about such stuff. I could attempt to teach them about verbs and adjectives and hope they remember to start their sentences with capital letters and end with some sort of punctuation. Sometimes they did it, sometimes they didn’t. But that was OK; they were only in 2nd grade.

Now, I’ve got to try and talk intelligently about the ancient civilizations in China and the Indus Valley, Egypt, Greece, Rome and Sumer. I don’ t even know where Sumer is! I have to guide them into beautiful wiring with strong verbs and quality adjectives. (Or is it quality verbs and strong adjectives?)

And I have to teach them Latin.

The only Latin I know is carpe diem! And e plurbus unum. Did I spell that right?

Lord help us all. Good thing that’s what He does. I hope He’s not busy elsewhere this year, because I’m going to need a lot of His attention.

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV84).

Thankful today for:
564. A good start to my son’s sophomore year
565. After-school swim-team practice instead of 5 in the morning
566. A team with which to work
567. Trace Academy
568. Vista Community Church
569. Photos
570. Our avocado tree
571. My new iPad ūüôā
572. The weekend
573. Sunshine
574. Animals
575. Massages
576. Homemade chocolate chip cookies
577. The ability to keep making our mortgage payment
578. Gifts

Character Counts

Tonight, our school, Trace Academy, will hold our graduation and awards ceremony. Unlike other schools, we don’t give individual awards for attendance, or service or scholarship. Those often are just compiled by the few. Instead, we give each child an award for character. Each teaching team spends a lot of time praying and pondering on each child and what we have seen in them this year. We want to encourage those things. We pick a character trait that we have seen in them such as honesty or good friend or resourcefulness and present them with that at the ceremony, along with a ribbon and a magnet with that word and a Bible verse that goes along with it.

Character counts. It’s who you are when no one is looking. It’s not the persona of an athlete or a scholar or a good citizen who picks up trash or feeds the homeless or collects money for the starving children in Africa. Those are all good things. But in the dark, where only God can see you, are you humble and gentle of heart? Do you pray for the salvation and needs of the world? Do you love others like Jesus loved? Are you honest and pure?

I will be up on the stage tonight, handing to my  10 second graders blue ribbons and magnet cards, but what I really hope to hand to them is encouragement to keep letting God build in them good character, which is only produced by perseverance.

“Not only so, but we¬†also rejoice in our sufferings,¬†because we know that suffering produces perseverance;¬†perseverance, character; and character, hope.¬†And hope¬†does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love¬†into our hearts by the Holy Spirit,¬†whom he has given us” (Romans 5:3-5).

Thankful today for:

333. summer break!

334. our Incredible Journey plans coming together

335. the opportunity to sleep in, even if it doesn’t happen

336. my friend Sheryl, celebrating her birthday today

337. tonight’s event

338. sweet gifts and cards from my students


Today, we went with nearly all our Trace Academy¬†¬†families to Legoland. We’d never been there before, mostly because the cost is prohibitive. But this was an optional all-school field trip, and so the deal was unbeatable: four of us got in for less than it would normally cost for one child. I love deals like that. So today, instead of writing much, I’ll show you a part of our day.

First of all, we had to wait until all our families arrived before we could go in. Boy, nobody really wanted to be the last family to arrive. But somebody had to be–half an hour after they were supposed to be there. But by the time we entered, I don’t think anyone even cared that we had to wait that long.

My kids tolerated my taking their picture while we were waiting to enter the park.

I spent most of the day with Morgan, as she didn’t want to go on the rollercoasters her friends were riding.

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Here’s my beautiful girl by a waterfall, not made of Legos.

There were all these mini cities, my favorite of which was San Francisco. It was fun to see my favorite sights, made out of Legos, in the  middle of Florida.

Lots of walking, lots of sweating, lots of standing in lines for a couple of minutes of fun. But, we do it for the kids, right? By the time the place closed down, we were tired but happy.

Thankful today for:
132. my daughter’s good attitude all day
133. people I can trust with my kids
134. laughter

Bills, Bills, Bills!

I’ve spent most of the day entering receipts into my finance program and catching up on my budgeting. What a fun way to spend the day.

I say that with some sarcasm, but really, when I look at all we were able to do and buy, I am thankful for the ever present provision of my loving God and Father.

–we never went hungry

–we were able to give gifts to people for special celebrations

–we got to go on an anniversary trip

–we bought new shoes for Nathan

–we sent Morgan to horseback riding lessons every other week

–we sent Nathan to archery and fencing lessons

–we sent Justin to Tae Kwon Do classes

–we had weekly date nights with our kids

–we had our annual physicals

–we bought dog food and cat food and two hermit crabs

–we fixed our sprinkler system and paid for our lawn chemical applications

–we have a roof over our heads

–we have electricity and running water in our house

–we have working vehicles that have gas in them

–we sent our kids to private school every day (albeit the best bargain on the planet–Trace Academy)

Shall I go on?

We are very rich indeed.

Thankful today for:

105. God’s provision

106. technology

107. crockpots

If God is For Us

If God is for us, who can be against us? And conversely, if God is against us, who can be for us?

When a problem comes up, do you pick up the phone first and call the experts, or do you pray?

When you’re making a decision, do you list the pros and cons first, or do you pray?

When you’re having a meeting, do you just have it, or do you pray first and throughout that meeting?

Let me tell you a story of a time when we dramatically saw God work after we prayed.

Our school, Trace Academy, rents space from my church. At the beginning of this school year, our facility underwent a fire inspection. This is a regular occurrence. When I was the one in charge of the facility, I had the same inspector every year and we never had any problems. This year, a different inspector came. And apparently, this inspector thought very highly of her authority. She gave the usual laundry list of things to move, fix or improve for fire safety, but then she fixated on the fact that we had four or five preschoolers being cared for in the nursery while their moms were working on campus.

What she determined could have shut us down.

So after panicking for a few moments, we were called to pray. I specifically prayed that God would either change this woman’s heart, or that He would remove her from her position.

Long story short, several weeks later–we had a 30-day deadline–the person now responsible for the facility for our school tried to call this inspector. Time after time she was unable to get in touch with her. Finally, someone else in the fire inspector’s office told us that she was no longer with the department. (!)

Is that a God story or what? They sent a new inspector who gave us a clean bill of health, and we were able to Imagecontinue business as usual, only with a more clear sense that God is on our side, and that we are doing what He wants us to do. I believe as a direct result of prayer, that fire that could have devastated us was extinguished.

Honestly, no authority on earth could have shut us down if God wanted us to keep going. We believe what we’re doing is from Him, and a power-hungry¬†bureaucrat¬†is not going to be able to shut that down.

David and Goliath

Paul and the Roman guards

Jesus and the grave

What God wants to accomplish and whomever He wants to use can never be defeated.

Thankful today for:

93. glasses

94. the sound of someone else doing the vacuuming

95. date night with my younger boy