Friday, August 31, 2018

When Graham Kerr Came to Dinner

Graham Kerr at our front door

It began with my husband's simple comment. It sounded to me like a statement of resignation. "Well, I guess I'll never have a chance to be a sous chef for Graham Kerr." Is this a secret dream he harbors? I wondered. 

I knew that his interest in the Galloping Gourmet (what Graham Kerr was called in his early years as a celebrity chef) pre-dated our courtship. When I met Tom I learned that he loved cooking shows and was, himself, a fine cook. In the early years of our marriage we were in the studio audience for four episodes of his program, The Graham Kerr Show, produced by KING 5 in Seattle. What a delight to watch this charismatic man whip up a nourishing, beautiful, and delicious dish or two while connecting so well with his audience. Book signings and public presentations came later. We knew Graham Kerr, but he certainly did not know us.

Graham's newest book, this is a reprint of his first book,
written when he was 26 years old.

An idea began to form in my mind. In a few months Tom would be celebrating his 70th birthday. Perhaps Graham Kerr could come to our home and he and Tom could make dinner together.

I contacted Graham with the help of mutual friends and shared my idea. He agreed to my request and the planning began. The menu was worked out, Tom got his assignments for the meal prep, I bought a crepe pan for the event, and we cleaned the house. I called our friends Ike and Donna and invited them to join us. The dinner was scheduled for August 24.

Our friends Donna and Ike...

...and the beautiful flowers they brought for the table.
Notice the blackberries! Nice touch, Donna!

Tom and Graham made a fine team in the kitchen. Following Graham's own recipes, they created amazing crepes for our main course. Many of the salad ingredients came from Graham's garden and the dessert parfait was a perfect finish to our meal.

Tossing the salad

Arranging the crepes

Adding the sauce and the cheese to the crepes

Oh, so delicious!

Graham calls this The Patriot

When the day arrived, we were ready, but I'm not sure we were completely prepared—prepared to find in Graham Kerr such a charming man.

He is open. He told us about his assignments in the British military when he was a young man, including a stint in the unit's kitchen. "Follow me down this hall," said the cook. "I have your office ready for you." When he entered the room he faced a sink full of dirty pots and pans and he was charged with keeping them clean, a job that lasted for several months.

He's an animated storyteller!

He is adaptable. Before the dinner I had to call him with bad news. Our brand new oven had quit and the repairman couldn't fix it before our dinner. Since nothing on the menu required baking he said to me, "Don't worry! I have a blowtorch and I have been wondering if it will brown cheese as well as melt it." So we had blowtorched crepes!

Blowtorching our crepes!

He is gracious. Graham just seemed to be happy to be at dinner with friends. He wasn't trying to impress anyone, only to serve us.

But what we appreciated the most is his heart for Jesus and for people. He puzzled over a question through the evening. He wanted to know what people seem to be looking for in life—what are they pursuing? If we could put that into words it would make us more effective in sharing the life of Christ with them. He spoke of people he knows who are seeking God. His desire to walk alongside them and love them touched us both deeply.

Graham spoke of Matthew Henry, a pastor and author who lived from 1662 to 1714. He is known for his six-volume commentary, Exposition on the Old and New Testaments. In his entry on Matthew 11:29, where Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you and learn of me," Matthew Henry tells the reader that "it is a yoke that is lined with love." More than once that evening Graham used that quote to encourage us.

He prayed for each of us, one by one, when it was time to leave, and we knew that we had spent the evening with a dear brother in the Lord. The fellowship that we share as followers of Jesus leaves a sweetness like nothing else.

We'll look back on this evening in the years to come and we'll remember the anticipation, the preparation, and the scrumptious meal we shared together with friends. But even after those memories have faded we will still hold on to the feast it was for our souls.

~ Ginger Kauffman

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Exchanging Wildfire Smoke for Wildflower Beauty

Mt Shuksan and Reflection Lake
The wildfire smoke from Eastern Washington and British Columbia had hung in the air for days. It was beginning to feel oppressive. So we picked up my mom and headed to Mt Baker, where we traded in the wildfires for wildflowers.

I was excited for this day trip, although I didn't have much confidence that the air quality would be better at Artist Point (just past the ski area at Mt Baker) than it was at sea level, where we live. Nor did I understand how you can travel closer to Canada, where many of the fires were burning, and yet not have the smoke. But that's what we found.

To get to Artist Point, take Interstate 5 to Bellingham, and get of at exit 255, WA 542-E/Mt Baker Hwy.  Follow the signs (or you GPS) to Artist Point. It took us about two hours to make the trip from Stanwood. We drove through beautiful farmland and passed rivers, giant trees, and small towns. My body relaxed more with each mile. Although the drive up the mountain is winding and mostly without guardrails. the roads are well maintained and safe. The sky, free of most of the smoke, held  just enough clouds to provide drama for our photos.

My Grampa Blanton was a tall, strong man who spent most of his life in the woods of the North Cascades, cutting down trees. About 17 miles from our destination we found this bronze sculpture which was recently installed at the Glacier Public Service Center to honor lumberjacks. It gave Mom a perfect photo op as well as some special memories.

My first glimpse of wildflowers. (Notice the switchbacks far below the trees and plants.)
Somehow I had a mental picture of the fields being filled with wildflowers, everywhere you look, when you go to the mountains in July and August. The reality is that I have never seen such a spectacle. Still, there were many beautiful flowers as well as glorious mountain scenes that called for numerous oohhhs and aahhhs.

My favorite photographer with Mt Shuksan in the background

Mt Shuksan

And when it was time to drive back down the mountain we were filled up with the beauty and the fresh air and the time we got to spend together.

Mt Baker
~ Ginger Kauffman

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

How's You Love Life?

Genuine love honors others. It also honors Christ. Here's a slightly modified version of a list that made its rounds on Facebook several years ago and, although I posted it in 2011, it seems like this would be a great time to share it again.

1. Listen without interrupting. He who answers before listening, this is his folly and his shame (Proverbs 18:13). Ouch!

2. Speak without accusing. My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19).

3. Answer without arguing.  Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid (Provers 12:1). Don't justify yourself or make excuses. Listen for the truth. It just may be that the one speaking to you is offering you a gift that will help you grow.

4. Trust without wavering. It [love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:7).

5. Share without pretending. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is, Christ (Ephesians 4:15). Be real: live the truth; speak the truth.

6. Give without sparing. All day long he [the sluggard] craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing (Proverbs 21:26). If God did not spare his Son on our behalf, we can be generous with others.

7. Promise without forgetting. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12).

8. Forgive without punishing. Share with each other and forgive whatever grievance you may have against one another (Colossians 3:13). There's no room for "I forgive you, but..."

9. Enjoy without complaint. Do everything without complaining or arguing (Philippians 2:14).

10. Pray without ceasing. Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Love invites us to hold people up to God in all our thoughts concerning them.

Let all that you do be done in love (1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV).

~ Ginger Kauffman

Monday, August 13, 2018

Good Listeners, Wise Counselors

Many years ago, when I was feeling oh, so weary and lonely, I invited a visiting pastoral couple to my office for a chat. They stepped into my windowless little room and over peanut butter cookies and tea we talked about ministry and frustrations and dreams. They listened to me, asked a few probing questions, and bathed me in grace. Pots full of tough questions that had long simmered on the back burners of my mind began to find answers that day as a result of that brief encounter, and, for the first time in months, I felt refreshed. All because two people, gentle and wise, were willing to listen and point me to Jesus.

Recently I had a similar encounter. I had gone to see a pastor/friend about a concern that weighed heavily on my heart. Though I didn't know him well, I knew he was the one I wanted to talk to. As we talked it was like he heard things I didn't speak, things I didn't even know I felt. But he was right, you know. He listened to my words, and to my heart. His questions encouraged me to open my hands to God, and I left there refreshed.

I am so grateful for wise, discerning people who listen, both to the people around them and to God, and gently speak truth into our difficulties. I am grateful for the peace of God, and for the fresh breeze that blows through our hearts when he sets us free.

Are you weary? Frustrated? Lonely? Discouraged? Burned out? Weighed down by guilt? Broken hearted? Do questions swirl inside your soul that you can't articulate, much less resolve?

I pray that the Lord will speak his peace and grace into your heart today, giving your a freedom you can't even imagine. Maybe he will show up through the pages of Scripture or in the words of a devotional reading or on a podcast. Or maybe he'll use a friend who listens to your heart and lifts you to Jesus.

~ Ginger Kauffman

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

ALL: A Study of Psalm 145

"The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does" (Psalm 145:13b).

The Psalms remind us again and again to praise the Lord. But why praise him? How should we praise him? Does God really care about us anyway?

As I studied Psalm 145 the other day I found the answers to those questions. It encouraged me so much that I wrote a Bible study to share with you.

It will take about 20-30 minutes to work through it. God bless you as you study this jam-packed psalm which will remind you of the depth of God's love, care, and faithfulness. 

ALL: A Study of Psalm 145

Psalm 145
World English Bible

A praise song by David.
I will exalt you, my God, the King. 
I will praise your name forever and ever. 
Every day I will praise you. 
I will extol your name forever and ever. 
Great is Yahweh, and greatly to be praised! 
His greatness is unsearchable. 
One generation will commend your works to another, 
and will declare your mighty acts. 
I will meditate on the glorious majesty of your honor, 
on your wondrous works. 
Men will speak of the might of your awesome acts. 
I will declare your greatness. 
They will utter the memory of your great goodness, 
and will sing of your righteousness. 
Yahweh is gracious, merciful, 
slow to anger, and of great loving kindness. 
Yahweh is good to all. 
His tender mercies are over all his works. 
10 All your works will give thanks to you, Yahweh. 
Your saints will extol you. 
11 They will speak of the glory of your kingdom, 
and talk about your power, 
12 to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, 
the glory of the majesty of his kingdom. 
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. 
Your dominion endures throughout all generations. 
Yahweh is faithful in all his words, 
and loving in all his deeds.
14 Yahweh upholds all who fall, 
and raises up all those who are bowed down. 
15 The eyes of all wait for you. 
You give them their food in due season. 
16 You open your hand, 
and satisfy the desire of every living thing. 
17 Yahweh is righteous in all his ways, 
and gracious in all his works. 
18 Yahweh is near to all those who call on him, 
to all who call on him in truth. 
19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear him. 
He also will hear their cry, and will save them. 
20 Yahweh preserves all those who love him, 
but he will destroy all the wicked. 
21 My mouth will speak the praise of Yahweh. 
Let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Study Questions

1. Read Psalm 145.

2. Re-read verses 8-21. Circle every “all” or similar word in the passage.

3. Identify what each circled word refers to.

4. In a sentence or two, summarize these verses, focusing on the character of God.

5. Read verses 1-7.

6. David begins this psalm with his declaration of God’s greatness and our appropriate response: worship. List three or four ways David says people will worship.

7. In Psalm 145:1-7 David calls us to worship. In verses 8-21 he gives examples of why we worship. Which example(s) do you most identify with? Why?

8. Read through Psalm 145 again, personalizing it as if it came from your own heart rather than David’s. For example, read verse 1 like this:
“I, (fill in your name), will exalt you, my God the King;
  I, (fill in your name), will praise your name for ever and ever.”

~ Ginger Kauffman

Monday, August 6, 2018

Through the Bible in a Lifetime

(This post originally appeared on October 28, 2010)

We saw Tom's sister Marilee recently and she shared a couple of interesting stories with us.

When she was three years old, she and her mom (Lynda) went to visit Grampa Mills, Lynda's father who pastored a church in Ottawa.  Grampa asked Lynda to preach!  She felt totally inadequate for the experience, but as a result of her message, five children gave their hearts to Jesus!  Meanwhile, little Marilee sat in the pew by herself.  At one point her mom looked down to see that Marilee had taken the New Testament out of her purse and was biting on its spine.  From the pulpit, she could do nothing about it!

A few months ago, after Mom passed away, Marilee found that same New Testament, tooth marks and all, still in Mom's purse, and now she carries it in her own.

When Marilee herself was a young mother, her innovative pastor stood one Sunday among stacks of Bibles designed to guide readers through the entire Bible in a year.  He told the congregation that he would give a Bible to anyone who would commit to read it through in a year.  She took him up on the challenge and received a Bible.  At first she read to fulfill her obligation, then to not disappoint the pastor.  Eventually she read for the joy and power of the Word.  That was over 30 years ago, and she continues to read through the Bible each year.

You might say she is still sinking her teeth into God's Word.

~ Ginger Kauffman


Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.

Psalm 62:5, NIV

~ Ginger Kauffman