Tag Archives: home

Substitutions

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Substitutions

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

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There is a healing that prevails….

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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…. “

Airport and Asthma Attacks

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My most memorable 4th of July celebrations weren’t actually ever celebrating the birthday of one of my passport countries. Beyond that, most of those memories weren’t even in the USA. I can remember the first time I ever associated lighting off fireworks with July 4th. (And it wasn’t until I was in 5th or 6th grade!) My Jewish friend and her family took me to an Indian reservation that everyone called Boom City. The most exciting part for me was that you could haggle back and forth over price. Other 4th of July’s that have been memorable were in other countries, with a small contingent waving flags or decorating in red, white and blue. Most gracious were the American Airlines flight attendants and gate check in staff who gave me flight wings and stickers. Then there was the patriotic services that my church does, and being Stateside for one of those was always a joy — especially as I was older and grateful for the religious (among others) freedoms that this country I’m meant to call home afford. I’m proud of the opportunities that many people seek here. I remember cartwheels in hospitals, due to my sister being unable to breathe due to her asthma. I remember sitting on a step staring at the ocean in Okinawa listening to country music and taking a run along the beach before making chocolate chip cookies and playing with sparklers. One of the best times was the party at the US Embassy in China. Talk about a birthday party! Or how about celebrating 春节 by watching the movie Independence Day?

On Facebook today, my friend Mike Pollock  asked “What does patriotism mean to TCKs?” I wrote a fairly long answer, however, I think that one of the best parts of being a TCK is I can be excited for celebrations of freedom, no matter WHAT the country.

Today I’m in the States, and I’m excited to celebrate. Not so much the 4th of July, as to celebrate friends and family and togetherness. Of celebrating making a home where there are those you couldn’t do life without. Cherishing moments with those I love, and cherishing the independence and freedom that I have in Christ.