Manathon XIIIs: What we ate

Manathon Series: Where we wentWhat we talked about, What we saw

Meal time during a Manathon is a mini adventure in itself. Each cooking and consuming portion is a mixture between the reality shows “Fear Factor” and “Hell’s Kitchen.” If you are a picky eater, you may want to bring along a few granola bars.

Manathon Meal

In the past we have experimented with different types of wild game that I am able to get my hands on. My father-in-law, who writes over at, has supplied us with bear sausage and other wild game. A friend donated venison for chili one winter manathon. To the pot we have also added grey squirrel, and this summer, snapping turtle.

Hot water

Not all meals are that “gamy.” In the Boundary Waters we have several staples around which we build every meal:

  1. Sausage from Menards (it comes in pound packages that you can buy for $1. Tough to beat)
  2. Oatmeal
  3. Dehydrated potatoes
  4. Rice
  5. Pancakes
  6. Hot Chocolate

Take one, or all, of those elements and you can make any breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Normally we pack in a package of Bar S Franks for the sentimentality factor since it is never considered a true activity until we pull out the “cheapest package of hotdogs manufactured.”

The goal is not gormet, but with the right grease fire or hail storm, any meal can be memorable.


Manathon SausageManathon mealManathon pancakes


Manathon XIIIs: What we saw

Manathon Series: Where we went, What we talked about


The Boundary Waters is a great place to experience wildlife. Last year we saw a bear, this year on the way up we almost hit a deer. The sad thing was it was in downtown Duluth.

Manathon Sunrise

While up in the woods we saw eagles, hawks, loons, beavers, etc. This year we didn’t see any big wildlife like moose or bear, which may have been just as well! I am not sure we really wanted to come face to face with either.

Manathon Sunset

Perhaps one of the best parts of the Boundary Waters is what you don’t see. We didn’t see houses, cars, or highways. We were not woken up by car horns, barking dogs, or the ringing of phones. Out on the lakes you don’t see speedboats, jet skis, or those floating mountains you are supposed to climb. Getting away from all the visual and audible noise makes you realize that things can be a lot more quiet. That is one reason why I view these Manathons as so valuable. They offer the opportunity to see and hear what is drowned out by busyness.


Manathon XIIIs: What we talked about

Manathon Series: Where we went


We had four main sessions during the week, each of them revolving around the manhood principle – “A true man expects a greater reward, God’s reward” (taken from Robert Lewis’ “Men’s Fraternity”).

Manathon study

We approached the principle from the angle of the final goal by studying John 18:1-11. In this short passage we can see how the ultimate goal of Jesus Christ was how he remained strong in the face of incredible trials. He had many options in various circumstances, but he chose only those which would lead him to his final goal.Around the Fire

The application of the lessons was the formulation of the “Man Plan.” Each guy filled out a portion of this plan each lesson:

“In order to arrive at the end of my life and consider it effective and meaningful, I will need to have accomplished/gained/done/etc. _____________________. This is my final goal, and right now my current location reveals that in order to reach that, I need to ___________________. Before me I have these available options ____________________________. I am going to take this option, _______________________, and begin by ___________________________.”

Manathon study

In addition to our studies in John 18, each young man also presented a biographical sketch of an influential man of history such as George Washington, Jackie Robinson, Eric Liddell, William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Chuck Colson, and Martin Luther. They had to read a chapter in Eric Metaxas’ book, “7 Men” and then compile more information from other sources. We focused on the goal of the individual’s life, where they began, what obstacles they faced, and what possibilities they passed on in order to achieve their goal.

I think we had a good mix of Bible study, teaching, and contribution. The guys did a great job at presenting their biographies.

Manathon XIIIs: Where we went

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Last week we went on our second manathon to the Boundary Waters.

 Sunday night we left from Liberty Baptist after the evening service and headed north. Up through Duluth, followed the north shore, took a left on the Sawbill Trail. We pulled out a tarp and sleeping bags someplace in the woods about 1 am and got some sleep. Temperatures dropped into the thirties, which neutralized themosquitoes, but not thespiders. Seems like they wanted to snuggle.

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The sun came up Monday morning and we had hot chocolate and oatmeal for breakfast. Picking up our permits at Sawbill Outfitters, we quickly got our gear loaded and started the long paddle. Our goal was Cherokee Lake. We paddled and portaged, paddled and portaged. We divided the crackers, sausage, and cookies for lunch, all of which was inhaled by the guys.Sometime in the afternoon we got to our campsite. The guys set up tents, collected firewood, and prepared supper.

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The same trip was repeated on Thursday morning as we got up early, packed all the belongings and worked our way back home.


Paintball and Pain: another activity idea

Once or twice a year (fall and/or spring) we gather the guys, dig out the wrist rockets, and shoot each other with paintballs. This was something I used to do with friends back in jr. high and high school, and it is just as much fun now, plus, I’m a better shot. The problem is, the guys are getting to be better shots (see photos).



Various Face Shots

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I counted 17 visible welts on me after our 3 hour event. I think the guys have it out for me.

After – a little less spunk


You can do this with paintball guns, but there are three reasons I don’t.

1. Cost: the whole activity costs about $50. That is the price of the paintballs, replacement bands, and the customary Bar S hotdogs that accompany any youth activity. Take that in comparison to roughly $30 a person at a course.

2.Location: we play in the swamp behind the church. No driving. No one is running a special course.

3. Realism: we play with wrist rockets because I think it registers differently in my mind than if I were to look down a barrel at someone.

Hospital Stay: How God used you in our lives

While in the hospital this past week, we had the opportunity to be receivers. Normally I don’t like that. I like to think of myself as capable and self-sufficient. I would rather do things for other people than have them do something for me. I don’t want to feel indebted to someone else.

But I am.

I am not capable. I am not self-sufficient. I need others. That is why there are so many “one another” passages in the New Testament.
One of the lessons that God worked on in my life this past week is that sometimes the best gift I can give to someone is to receive theirs.

Here are some of the things that people did for us that we greatly appreciated:

1. Sharing that you were praying – in between tests, procedures, and doctor’s meetings I would read texts, emails, comments on Facebook, and tweets to Crystal. Sometimes I would read 30+ different messages! They came from family, friends, and strangers. We had daily messages from all over the USA, Peru, Brazil, France, Indonesia, Tanzania, etc. That was incredible.

2. Sharing Scripture with us – we had various people text, post, or read verses to us, reminding of us of God’s incredible faithfulness. I can’t tell you how much this meant to us.

3. Praying Scripture with us – Hearing a friend pray to God on our behalf makes me cry. Every time. What a privilege to hear someone else take you before God and plead with Him. And it doesn’t have to be awkward. I think some people think that there is this hierarchy of who is allowed to pray with someone else. “If this person is 1) older; 2) more godly; 3) a more faithful church attender; 4) a Bible-reading fiend; 5) wears a tie; than I can’t pray with them for them.” FALSE.

4. Leaving voicemails and saying “don’t call me back, but I wanted you to know…” – this was a relief because I really couldn’t answer or return calls readily.

5. Staying with us – we had family drop what they had and stay with us. We had many more offer.

6. Sitting with us in silence and listening, asking what we were thinking or how we were doing

7. Bringing me lunch, dinner, or cookies (emphasis on the cookies!) – I had to eat a hospital TV dinner. Read that again. It was very thoughtful that the hospital staff would find one for me, but the fact remains, it was a HOSPITAL…TV…DINNER.

8. Cleaning our house while we were in the hospital – this greatly relieved Crystal. I thought it was fine, but Crystal was still thinking about cleaning our bathrooms while I was trying to figure out how I would ever give her a shot. She should have been more worried about that. She knows that now.

9. Picking me up to run a few errands so I didn’t have to drive – after the car accident, birth, and stroke, you should all be thanking the person who did this and kept me from getting behind the wheel! My nerves were shot.

10. Bringing/sending flowers, cards, and balloons – One older delivery guy knocked on our door on the Stroke Floor (7th) and handed us some flowers and a balloon. He then stopped and said, “I need to check and make sure this is the right person.” The nurse walking by, looked up at the balloon that said “Congrats! It’s a girl!”, and told the delivery man, “I’m pretty sure its theirs.” Apparently we were the only new parents on the stroke floor!

So these are some (only a few of the many) of the things that you did to encourage us. We thank God for family, friends, and strangers who lived out Colossians 3:16 – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thanksgiving in your hearts to God.”

God used you in our lives.