Duluth Underwear and Charcoal Toothpaste (And Other Serious Things)

On Wednesday next week the high will be -9 degrees. That’s cold! I’m learning to split firewood like a pro (although members of our Instagram Fam would notice that I put up a story where all I did was complain about the realities of being a lumberjack. Join our Instagram Fam here). In light of this, it’s important to not have holes in your underwear.

Janice has been reminding me that I need new underwear. She kept dropping hints like, “It looks like a bear chased you through a raspberry patch” or “Did you slide down a rose bush today?” or “Did someone shoot you in the butt with a shotgun?” You know, passive aggressive reminders that my five pack of Hanes I bought several years ago were getting past their expiration date.

I’ve been experimenting with buying fewer but higher quality things, especially if I use those things often. If you spend more on something that lasts longer, typically it’s cost per year is actually less than cheaper junk. Plus it does the job better. I decided to apply this logic to underwear. After all, I use underwear everyday. Surely something you use everyday for multiple years deserves more than a $8 expenditure.

The light bulb lit up inside my head when I found a coupon for Duluth Trading Co. Duluth makes work clothing in the same vein as Carhartt but with much more personality. Ever since I saw their very manly ads I wanted to buy some of their clothing but pesky things like poverty kept getting in between my closet and Duluth duds. However, upon finding a coupon for 20% off and then finding some boxers on sale in a forgotten corner of their website, I took the bait. I’ve never been more excited to get underwear in the mail. But life is meant for bigger things than Duluth undies and so let’s get to more somber subjects.

Take brushing teeth for example. You can always change your underwear but you can’t change your teeth and so, logically, teeth are a more important subject than underwear. Of course I probably didn’t have to tell you that – silly me! Sometimes I don’t give readers enough credit. Yesterday Janice informed me that she got some charcoal to brush her teeth with. I was puzzled.

“You mean you’re going to rub your teeth with charcoal briquets?” I asked. Janice has always had bad teeth and maybe I was finding the reason why.

“No! It’s cosmetic charcoal. It’s supposed to clean and whiten your teeth.”

“Cosmetic? You mean like remote tribes rub on their faces when they go to war? Isn’t that cosmetic?”

“Stop it.”

I shrugged my shoulders. Hey, I want to be a missionary. I should learn to try new and strange things. Rubbing my teeth with charcoal met both criteria. I took a generous helping on my tooth brush and vigorously applied it to every corner of my mouth. I looked in the mirror. It looked like a had guzzled five quarts of motor oil. Oh my. I hope it rinses off. It did. My teeth looked unchanged. Maybe I just have to keep doing it. I’ll let you know if it works.

In fact, this gives me an idea. Maybe I’ll bottle up ash from the furnace and I’ll sell it as toothpaste.

Brushing teeth with charcoal - Snader family with MMS Aviation
Not your average social media selfie, I guess.

I’d like to think that we’re always so concerned about natural remedies and toxic cleanses and organic pixie dust but I’m afraid Adi ruined that mental image last Sunday. We pulled up to an intersection on the way to church and Adi suddenly began earnestly begging for french fries. “Frey fry! Frey fry! Frey fry!”

“What on earth? Where’s this coming from?” Janice asked. Then I noticed we were beside McDonald’s. Apparently Adi has learned what the Golden Arches stand for which probably reflects poorly on our meal standards. It’s true, I’d eat pink slime if it tasted like a Big Mac.

Speaking of eating, I went out for breakfast with one of my mentors (who’s an older gentleman) and his friend, Howard, who was interested in hearing about what Janice and I are doing with MMS Aviation. Howard is 82 years old and has a 1982 Honda Goldwing he drove across America when he was 70. We ended up talking about motorcycles more than airplanes! We were similar souls born several decades apart. I don’t know how much support will come out of the meeting since I didn’t really ask for a financial decision on his part. I felt like a young whippersnapper and it struck me as disrespectful to come waltzing in and ask straight up for financial support. After all, I don’t know how to waltz very well. It wouldn’t surprise me if we meet again sometime though. The goal of this support raising phase is to establish long term relationships instead of flash-in-pan results. At the same time, we want to get on the mission field as soon as possible so it takes a balancing act at times.

I couldn’t help but notice that I ordered 2 pancakes, 2 slices of bacon, 2 sausage links, 2 pancakes, and enough coffee to drown a camel while the other two ordered plain oatmeal and cranberry juice and only got one refill of coffee each. I guess old age happens to everyone.

I honestly can’t believe how fast we’re raising support lately. It’s so humbling to have so many people investing some serious funds in this big idea God gave us and we’re eternally grateful (at the risk of sounding sappy and emotionally vulnerable). Seriously though, we’re 50% of the way to our support goal and 30% of that support came in the last two months! That’s astounding! What happened? Well, we’re focusing on one and one meetings but I think what truly happened, honestly, is prayer and specific goal setting. God seems to be respecting our goals and that’s mind blowing to me. Why does God care so much about a strange, unassuming couple living in Michigan?

In December I resolved to do a newsletter every month and to raise 15% support between each newsletter. Between the December and January newsletter we raised 16.5% support. Since the January newsletter we’ve raised 10% more support so we have 5% to go until the February newsletter. In a good month before all this, we’d hit about 3 or 4 % increase in a good month! Something has changed. I think God’s hand is clearly moving.

Of course, we can’t go yet because we aren’t at 100%. Sigh. Waiting is the worst but most necessary part of any plan. Unless that plan is to walk on hot coals or go massively in debt by buying limited edition action figures, then it’s probably better to wait.

Waiting is the worst but most necessary part of any plan.

God is also moving in other ways. I sold my land in Alaska! It wasn’t worth a whole lot but I did sell it for more than I bought it for, which is a plus. I had bought the land back when I was single. My plan was to pay the land off, then build a cabin on the hill overlooking the muskeg and support myself by writing or working at McDonald’s (most likely the latter). Then I met Janice and life went entirely a different direction. I’m very thankful for that. Anyway, I ran to the notary today to finalize the closing documents but the money will help us fulfill some financial obligations (a fancy way of saying debt) that we have. This is an answer to prayer!

Also, I was contacted by two people who have applied to MMS Aviation as pilot/apprentices. I am so happy to have a part in directing people to MMS Aviation, although in reality it’s God moving their spirit and I’m just the unwitting (and unlikely) messenger.

Anyway, enough serious stuff for today. Go enjoy your Saturday. Oh, and if you’re interested in becoming a part of this crazy story, get support information here.



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