Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Planning a Camping Menu

Fact: Food tastes better when it's cooked and consumed outdoors. One of my favorite parts about camping is all the great food I bring with me. If you're new to the idea of spending a weekend or more out in the woods or if you're just looking for a little inspiration, here are some helpful tips on planning meals- along with a few of my favorite foods.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review: The Warrior Ethos

The tenets of honor and valor have been around the battlefield for thousands of years. Author Steven Pressfield, a former Marine and author of Gates of Fire*, takes a look at the similarities and common threads of warriors that transcend time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wooden Propeller: The Plans

Its no secret that Ruedi and I are huge aviation fans. Propellers are an icon for the golden age of flight when airplanes were simple and extraordinary. Ordinary men like the Wright Brothers, Manfred von Richthofen, and Charles Lindbergh were catapulted into stardom- the heros of young boys and grown men alike for generations to come. If you know what I'm talking about then this project is for you- bring a pice of aviation history into your home (or man cave) and try your hand at the lost art of propeller carving.

The Essential Toolbox List

One year when I was growing up, my dad had the great idea to help us start building a tool collection. That Christmas, all four of us little tykes (my sisters included) got a hefty, Craftsman tool box. Every year since, we get a little something to add to our box and by the time I moved out on my own I had tool boxes with enough tools to tackle most household chores. So if you find yourself using a butter knife to screw in hooks for a picture frame it might be time for a trip to one of men's favorite shopping grounds.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Native's Guide to Chicago Deep Dish

My wife has on many occasions, called me an elitist. I prefer to think that I'm just assertive in the things I like. If I want a burrito it means I want a barbacoa beef, black beans, and pico de gallo. If I want a cold one it means grab me a Boston Lager. When I want a pizza- a real pizza, I'm talking about Chicago deep dish. If your travels have you headed through my old stoping grounds here's a guide to help you find the ideal pie- and I'm not talking about anything with apples, try to keep up.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wrestle Until Death

I got the news over six months late that a friend of mine passed away. He died just a few days after I left for Basic Combat Training last fall and I was cut off from the outside world. The unexpected news hit me hard this morning. We lived on a tight knit floor of about 40 guys in college and he was a freshman when I was a junior. My buddy was wrestling with what it meant to follow Jesus, to be out on his own and making his own decisions. That's a good place to be- especially for an 18 year-old. And the group of guys on that floor known as the 2A Titans couldn't have been a better place for him to wrestle.

I got to mentor a few underclassmen that year and whether he knew it or not, he was one of them. Most of those freshmen I met for breakfast on a regular basis and we'd talk about life, but this guy wasn't ready for that. So I worked out with him, took him skydiving, and brought him along to the occasional Bible study. The next year he decided the school wasn't for him. We didn't talk much after that and the last I heard before this morning was that he spent his summers on a fishing boat in Alaska and went to another Christian school closer to home.

I haven't mourned in a long time, but I stood in the kitchen this morning and just let the tears stream down. No sooner, could I hear the voice of my Lord reminding me of the death of his friend Lazarus and how he got there too late- his friend was in a tomb and Jesus just wept. I know the rest of the story and that Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, so I asked him, "Why were you weeping for your friend when you knew you could do this?" And he answered me, "because this is not how it was supposed to be." When Jesus breathed life into Adam he never intended on one day taking it from him, but the penalty of sin is death. Jesus wept because he was a man who lost a friend he loved and that wasn't part of the plan. Not for Lazarus, not for my friend, or for you or me.

The news of his death hit hard because I don't know what happened to him in the last few years, I don't know how his struggle with the Lord was going or if there were any other godly men that stepped in and walked with him. It makes me think of my own brother and how he has been wrestling with the same questions- or if I am completely honest, with my own life and how I still choose to do things my way. The Lord reminded me this morning that just like I know the end of the story with Lazarus, I know the end of this story too. In the end, love wins. Not in a Rob Bell kind of way where everyone gets a free pass to Heaven, but in the way that Jesus described it to Lazarus' mourning sisters: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die." In the end we are perfected by Jesus' love.

I'm at peace knowing my friend placed his faith in Christ, and that my brother has, and that I have. From there I pray that we would all continue to wrestle with who Jesus is. Take the blows and the punches, the highs and lows all in stride as our savior shapes and refines you to be more like himself. Let the Lord strip away any false pride that you have have that would lead you to believe that your own righteousness is any less filthy than your brother next to you. Believe in the one who came to save you and wrestle with him until death.

His name, Josiah, means "healed by Yahweh" and right now, the same Jesus- the same Yahweh that started a good work in him has carried it out to completion and Josiah couldn't possibly be any more healed than he is now. See you soon brother.
2nd Titan Airborne

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring Cleaning Part II: The Grill

Imagine digging into your fridge and grabbing some foul smelling ground beef then going to town to make some patties, or pulling out some hot dogs that are marinading in a dark brown sludge that smells like roadkill. Not exactly the ingredients you want to serve up to your friends or family... but generally we don't think about those things once they go on the grill. It's hot- so it has to be clean, right? To keep your food tasting as good as possible and your grill working to it's best it requires some maintenance. For this project we'll look at tackling the best part of our backyard- the grill and getting it ready for this year's cooking season.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Operation: Blue Wolf- The Review

I'm all for making plans and making them happen. Thanks to a church leadership that sees the value in guys spending time together, and a few key individuals that helped me plan and execute the mission I'd say Operation: Blue Wolf was a huge success. In the outline, I promised I'd give more details on how it went down, so before I forget everything, here's the practical side of how to pull of one of the coolest man-trips I've been a part of.

State of the KTF

In the two months we've be live we've doubled our hits from 400 to 800 per month so thanks for spreading the word around the globe. We really appreciate the feedback we've gotten so far, it has been influential in shaping the direction we go. Don't be afraid to be the one to start a discussion on a post or to disagree with our opinions, different perspectives help temper the limited view that each author has. We always welcome any ideas our readers have, so keep them coming.

For the time being I still feel like the Lord is encouraging us to keep going with this (I can't speak for Ruedi, but I'm guessing he'd agree), so that's what we'll do.

Wanted: Guest Authors, Artisans, Test Pilots, and Shameless Promoters
Have an a idea you'd like to share, a how-to, or a review of something? Ruedi and I would love the help of some guest posts to help bring relevant content to our readers. Let us know if you have something to write about here.

 Are you a graphic artist, photographer, web developer, or media type? If you like what we're up to here and want to be part of the team we'll offer you double what we're currently paying you to read the blog. But seriously, we could use your help.

Are you actually trying what we're writing about? Send us reviews, tutorials, or improvements so we don't get too academic here.

Finally, we could always use human advertising. If you enjoy something, post it to facebook, Google+, twitter, forward it to your entire contact list, or mention it that myspace you still have... We've been read in all but the following states: AK, AR, AZ, CT, FL, HI, ID, LA, MA, ME, MS, NH, NJ, NM, NV, RI, UT, VT, WY. Okay, so the list looks shorter when you look at a map, but if you know people in those states, spread the word.

NEW: Publishing our personal email addresses here would be silly, but here's our new blog email address, if you want to get in touch.