Most Sundays I bake. Primarily so that I have something to offer if someone stops by and because on Mondays all the dishes get cleaned and the house spotlessly tidied so all of the pans and bowls from the day before are not mine to worry about.

I’m actually not all that good at baking but I enjoy the process and the majority of my stuff is edible. My problem comes when I start making substitutions.

Today I was out of butter so rather than the several logical options (half the recipe, drive to store, go ask Amber for half a cup of butter) I made half butter half coconut oil. Then I naturally reduced the sugar from 3/4 cup brown and 3/4 cup white to maybe 1 cup overall. I realised that I’ve been literally doing this recipe wrong every time and using baking powder over baking soda. I changed the powder to baking soda, figuring if I changed everything else I could at least use soda over powder.

It didn’t work.

Well, it did and didn’t at the same time. It spread out and mushed into one large cookie. It cooked quickly and sort of browned as the coconut oil bubbled and made it chewy. I added more flour and tried again. Better. Still not what I was going for. So I went upstairs and asked Amber’s opinion. Came back down with a Pyrex and attempted cookie bars instead of actual cookies. Taste tested yielded all cookies edible… In fact delicious. But they weren’t how I intended them to be.

I wonder how many times we substitute fake things for the real stuff. Laziness, lack of resources, settling, or thinking we can do it on our own and it won’t change the outcome to be too far off from what the original intention was. But what of the good, perfect and acceptable will ? How many substitutions before the end result cannot be salvaged ? Souls are much more high stakes than cookie dough. Life and its path not as forgiving as the treats in the oven.

1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2


Complete not Perfect


I sat at my dining room table last weekend across from a friend, computer screens up, papers strewn all about and the click click click of our keyboards typing. I didn’t have a mirror, but I can tell you our expressions furrowed with frustration and productivity. I was writing curriculum. I was (am) having a hard time getting into the computer screen the carefully thought out creativity that had turned up in my classroom. But I am working to be complete, not perfect.

If my gaggle of second graders learned something at all this week with their posters about their marble tracks, they learned that consistent results in an experiment don’t always mean the experiment worked. But we weren’t working to have our marble track creations be perfect, we were working for them to be complete.

Well then, what about incomplete and imperfect together? I can attest to the consistency of me being that. What about wanting to write and then a having writers block at the same time ? What about living without water for a week and then when the water comes back on it coincides with one of the most tragic events for the country you’re living in ?

I’ve been thinking about the Sewol ferry disaster and my response to it. I am of course deeply saddened by the fact so many students and teachers were involved. I am living in Jeju , the island where the students were travelling to visit. I am not Korean , so as sad as I am, I can’t begin it imagine the national grief that this ferry sinking has brought to South Koreans. I cannot grief completely or pretend to. I can sit with my students … Who are mostly too young to fully grasp it … And answer their questions about what happened but not why.

I’m really affected by the vice principal who was rescued but then took his own life because of (presumably) guilt. Complete, but not perfect. I don’t even know where to begin with my emotions about that situation. It seems the most tragic to me… Like the girls in the Asiana crash last year who made it off the plane and then died on the Tarmac afterwards. But our life’s, they are this way. Complete but not perfect. Nothing can seem to change that this side of life and death. Can I be content in the way this day began and the way it ended? Can I live the most complete I can, knowing that perfection was never really the goal?

I think I can if I live in between gratitude and grace. That’s the real goal anyway.

A’maze’ing Adventures so far in March


On March 2nd, I was so acutely aware of the fact the sun was shining and I was not in a hospital bed. I am so grateful that my year has included hospital VISITS and appointments but no overnight stays for my wrist or for my asthma. GOD IS GOOD! I think I need to say it more often. GOD IS GOOD! When things are busy and uncertain and plans are changed (like today on our field trip!), God is still good. He is still with us. I’ve had a song in my heart the last couple weeks and I hope it stays there. And time just fast-forwarded from March 2nd until the beginning of this week.

What is special about this week you ask? It is the annual KIS Elementary Service Leading Week. This is my third year doing this and every year it has been ‘something’ out of the ordinary. The first year I was pretty much jet-lagged since I just arrived at KIS and I hardly knew my own students, much less ALL of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders. Then last year, I was in the hospital because of my wrist surgery/asthma and everyone scrambled to try to execute the sections I had been in charge of handling. My role was just in support and planning, not in participating. Our theme has been “Peace” all three years, in various ways and forms.  This year I was determined to have nothing standing in my way to stop me from a peaceful and smooth Service Leading Week. We don’t go on international trips like the older students do, but we plan just as much busyness into our week and our schedule is disrupted. It’s hard for me to believe that today is already March 13th.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday we had rotating sessions and I did my bit about peace and sports. We are doing rotating sessions so I have the same lesson and project five times. It is really well organised and my team has done a great job. On Tuesday and Thursday we have field trips. Tuesday we went to the Botanical Gardens and Jungmun beach. The weather was fantastic and I had a great time just enjoying my students and walking through the peaceful gardens that are themed by country.  It ended up that I did have one bit of craziness for this year’s service leading — I missed Wednesday due to taking 4th and 5th graders to a Battle of the Books competition in Seoul. I think we all had a good time and learned a lot for how to prepare better next time. We did really well, but the biggest problem was our hands were just often split-seconds behind the other team. Still, our loss was not by many points and I am extremely proud of them and all of their hard work.  Today we went to the Gimyoung Maze Park and then the lava tubes. In the maze, I was reminded of how there are so many different solutions to problems we encounter (or ways that countries can work to achieve peace) and they all might look the same, or some might look promising and then not work — or others still might be long, winding, never-ending processes. However, the many paths ultimately led to the centre and the end of the maze. I had a student who got lost and was crying in the middle of it. From up above, I was able to talk to her and she and the two third graders with her problem solved and found their way out. I couldn’t go to her, but I could comfort her with my words and my presence from the top platform bridge. The friends walking beside her held her hand and didn’t leave her. It was a humble reminder of the friends God has placed in my life, to help comfort and guide and the confidence that even if I don’t feel Him there, He is guiding me with His voice. 

Well, I guess that’s all for now. I just wanted to update. I want to be better at that and get back into the habit of reflecting on how good God is to me. 


Put on the New Self  Colossians 3:16 – 17 
…Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.


Losing Expectations


Do any of you have a memory where you will recall lyrics or other once-memorized bits at the strangest times? I was at the acupuncturist Thursday night lying on my back with 20 or so needles in my back and the verse about the word of God being sharper than any two edged sword came to my mind. I could picture it, and could say nearly the entire verse but I couldn’t recall exactly where it was located. 

I had a student say something and I started singing a song to them with words similar to what they had said, but I couldn’t quite remember all the words to the song.
I had a story and a memory come tumbling back to me, in an English department meeting of all places when Milo started talking about imaginative sympathy. When we read, we are changed. There is neuroscience to back this up. We can empathize with the characters and that’s how we connect with literature in a powerful and often, positive way. My mother used to tell this story about the first book I ever ‘felt’ instead of read, as a kindergartener in the back of the car traveling to North Bend. 
I had a picture of how my life would go, and I assumed I could memorise some of the words but I couldn’t… there’s no way to remember how the rest of it will go.
I had an expectation that I was meant to live up to, but they got lost along the way…. misplaced like what I do with my work ID or my favourite pair of earrings or my passport before I need to travel. Sometimes the misplaced items or lyrics or verses come back to me. Sometimes I find them because I am looking for them. Sometimes I find them because I forget about it for a while and I stumble back across it. Sometimes they don’t come back. 
…. and then, what do you do? 
As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. Philippians 1:20

Booked Tickets


It’s ticket booking season and I am in the process of trying to finalise a trip to Bangkok in March using miles and a trip to the States using company money. OF COURSE it’s not easy! I should have bought my one ticket last week, when it was a price I could afford! I’m trying for open jaw tickets this summer (ICN – SEA then after a week SEA – ATL and return ATL – ICN on 1 August!) and I am finishing a trip to come home to….. MY FRIEND ERIKA! She’s flying in from Wuhan the same day that the Brennemans and I fly back from our Thailand EARCOS trip.  The joy in thinking I will be sad leaving the airport, but that I will be back the same day to pick up my dear friend makes it so I can hardly sleep! And my sister is hopefully *fingers crossed* coming to visit me too! The last time I saw her properly was on my layover and before that, in England. I am thinking of throwing a weekend trip to Seoul in for my sister, but I don’t think she’s interested in the Costco run that I would want to make. 🙂 

This TCK heart is glad for ticket booking season. I have an assignment that my 2nd graders are working on right now, and part of it included brainstorming the names of favourite amusement parks. Our list included parks in over five countries (Malaysia, USA, Japan, UAE, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore). It made me want to go on a trip….. HOW’S THAT!?! for an international school. 🙂 

How fitting is it then, that in the smack dab center of ticket booking season, all the verses I’ve been reading lately have had to do with waiting on the Lord???!? Hopefully it’s waiting in an airport gate, getting ready to board somewhere grand on my adventure with God and not waiting like stuck in a traffic jam due to inclement winter weather. I’ll let you know when I find out myself.

19 Hard Things You Need To Do To Be Successful


I am really going through a difficult time with understanding why I chose to stand up in a situation when backing down would be easier. This blog reminded me it will all be okay!

The Luthas Corporation

My goal is for all of us to be happy, successful and grow together.. you can find much more daily motivational material like this here:

My InstaGram page: @DameLuthas

Twitter: @DameLuthas

Enjoy the list below 😉

You have to do the hard things.

  • You have to make the call you’re afraid to make.
  • You have to get up earlier than you want to get up.
  • You have to give more than you get in return right away.
  • You have to care more about others than they care about you.
  • You have to fight when you are already injured, bloody, and sore.
  • You have to feel unsure and insecure when playing it safe seems smarter.
  • You have to lead when no one else is following you yet.
  • You have to invest in yourself even though no one else is.
  • You have to look like a fool while you’re looking for answers…

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There is a healing that prevails….


So many moments happen on the floor for me.  

Let me explain. I have a quilt top that I purchased at the five day market when I first arrived here in Korea nearly two years ago. It is beautiful and I loved it so much that I placed it on the floor as a sort of rug rather than on my bed.

The rug has almost become a place of refuge with me many time.  Myself and guests alike come into to my home and gravitate toward it. I love just laying on it after a long day and talking with someone. I’ve prayed on that rug there, prostrated and poured out my heart to both God and trusted friends. I’ve fallen asleep watching movies, or enjoyed evenings watching Downton Abbey. I’ve had Bible studies with women sitting cross-legged with their Bibles open and book club meetings with a glass of wine discussing our latest novel. Children like playing on it — whether my friend’s 1 year old playing pots and pans older children playing Minecraft on my iPad.

When I was in the hospital last year because of my wrist and all those complications, there was a room with me, eight other people in hospital beds and about 25 people sleeping on the floor. People who had committed to taking care of their loved ones who were sick and needed someone to do things for them. Food, medicine, changing bed sheets, even going to the bathroom and back. There is no nursing care. It was a labour of love, true love and friendship. Many people came to visit me and bring me things I needed. There were also those who slept on the floor for me. Every night I was there, besides the first night (and Leslie Facetimed with me so I wasn’t alone that night either) someone was there. Amber and Melanie both slept more than one night. Wendy and Stephanie came too. Cathy and Jerri came faithfully, so did Lisa and Byron and I can’t even begin to name everyone. So many people came to just sit on that floor in that crazy million degrees hot room to be with me. But laying on the floor and “sleeping”  through the night meant a lot.  I was in the most pain and the most confused/not feeling well at night. I couldn’t intervene on my behalf. Language barriers were the least of my worries at that point.

And I’m a lower-elementary teacher, so the floor is where I conduct the majority of my time at work as well. Independent work stations, small reading groups, Smart-board lessons, you name it. I like grading work and making the floor command centre for “paper passing out” time — yes, we’re constantly on our rugs, in our beanbags on the floor at school.  The floor is not an odd place to conduct yourself in many cultures, but it might be somewhat silly to those not familiar with that way of life to say it’s one of my favourite places.

When a place becomes familiar and comfortable you can sometimes take it for granted. I was with one of my close friends on Monday night and after supper and board games, the kids were in bed and we were on her floor with our computers listening to music and talking.  We had just spent prayer time together there on that floor, all five of us lifting up our hearts to God just moments before and He met us in a real way that I often take for granted. Those moments of calm peaceful assurance that just pass me by. Why? Maybe it’s because they are so natural and integrated into every day but I miss it. The busyness creeps in, often taking away what a truly special thing it is to have community. The majesty of it and the presence of the Holy Spirit fell as she played a song for me by Sara Groves. ( I posted it in the post before this one. ) That Sara Groves song reminded me of another song that my friend Amanda gave me several years back, “He’s Always Been Faithful.” And He has. Even when I haven’t, not consciously, but just by life becoming comfortable and familiar. 

There on the floor was a moment that meant more to me than anything could right now.  I realised why the floor was so powerful. It was simply about presence, and about being there. No words were needed. Nothing needed to be wrong or right with the world, the in-between grey was okay. A strange little bit of my heart that wasn’t hurting at the time and I didn’t even know needed healing was healed in that moment. A little peace of home was permanently etched onto my soul. That this past two years and next two years are just where I am meant to be.

 “Love washes over a multitude of things…. “