{Leave Your Troubles At The Gate by Spirit Family Reunion}

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Meet Spirit Family Reunion. They be all kinds of homegrown musical goodness.

No Separation - Spirit Family Reunion

{Husband's Letters}

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dear Mrs. Loerke, in a few weeks you'll be the only girl on a trip with me and a few guys to fly fish the San Juan River. Why are you so hot?? Dear Rickshaw, today we reunite after a 3 week hiatus. Glad your hail damage will be no more! Dear Guy/Girl Time, seven years into marriage and you are still essential to helping my relationship with Em thrive. Grateful for time on the river this weekend smoking pipes and fishing with Mack. Dear Emily Anne, have I told you lately how proud I am that you are trying to stick to the Whole30 lifestyle? You may have some non-Whole30 food every now and then, but you keep gravitating towards your almond flour and coconut milk. You look more and more radiant as the days pass us by!

Have you had any girl/guy time lately?  Tell us about it!

{Today's Letters}

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dear Mr. Loerke, this weekend you ate your weight in wibs at The Salt Lick, paddled the Blanco River, and took afternoon naps in your Kammok. So thankful for your dudes and how a weekend spent with them can rejuvenate your soul. Dear Gunther Holtorf, for the past 23 years you've traveled over 500,000 miles in your Mercedes Benz G Wagon documenting your journey with two old 35mm Leica cameras. Can we be friends? This video of you has changed me forever. Dear Brookies, Browns, and Bows, I'm thankful you don't live in ugly places. Thanks for giving us an excuse to travel with friends to New Mexico and Asheville this Fall. Dear Timothy James (who always gets two letters), more than the stirring in my heart to see the world and the forgiveness we extend each other each day. I love you.

Happy freaking Monday, Homies! Anyone else already looking forward to Fall? Flannels, leaf angels, and pumpkin everything oh myyyy! What do you love most about Fall?? Ps- If you've signed up to sponsor a child through Food for the Hungry would you mind letting me know? I wanna talk with you! Thanks!

{The Pen Project by Ian Schon}

Sunday, July 29, 2012

As a long-time letter writer who's married to a penhoarder I couldn't have been more excited when Ian Schon emailed me about his latest Kickstarter Project. (Which is doing quite well, btw).

Ian is a recent Boston University grad who also likes to fabricate his own cyclocross bike frames. I think he's brilliant for designing a pen we only have to buy once but can use forever. Pretty sure Edward Lytton would thank him for reminding us that "the pen is indeed mightier than the sword." Job well done, dude.

{Ode To The Peach by Roost}

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Growing up in Kansas City made me fall in love with the four seasons (esp Fall). Living in Texas made me fall in love with peaches. Can't wait to bring a flat of these home from the Farmer's Market this morning. Need just enough to make my car smell like I spilled a bottle of Sun Peak Peach Boone's in the back seat. Happy Saturday, littles. Come over for cobbler and the luge later?

Through & Through - Wild & You (feat. the Tangarine Twins) - EP

{Fist Pump Friday!}

Friday, July 27, 2012

{Andrea Manz : Bryan College :  Summer Internship : The Monastery : Petra, Jordan : July 2012}

{Alicia, Blake, Kelsey, James, Natalie, Tori & Jenna : Auburn Univ : Great Wall of China : July 2012}

{John & Caroline : Auburn University : Bavaria, Germany : The Alps : Summer in Vienna : July 2012}

{Josie, Amanda, Sarah, Rachel, Alex, Hannah, Alli : Kampala, Uganda : Kanakuk Staff : June 2012}

{Anna, Jackie, Laura, and Stacy : Truman State University : Meramec River Float Trip : July 2012}

{Nick & Molly Bellanco : Phoenix, Arizona : Hiking Camelback Mountain : June 2012}

{Hannah, Emilee, Anna, Kyra, Taylor : Pokhara, Nepal : Tiny Hands International : July 2012}

{Shade, Andrea, Siarra : Camping in Bailey, CO : Bonus points for having 2 kids with dreads : July 2012}

{Samantha & Elaine : University of Missouri : YMCA of the Rockies : Estes Park, CO : July 2012}

{Kate & Derek : Honeymoon : Cliffs of Moher : Ireland : July 2012}

{SIFAT Camp Director Addison Shock & Fellow Counselors : Lineville, AL : July 2012}

{Lisa & her daughter Jana : Grove Park Inn : Asheville, NC : College Visit : July 2012}

{Kelly & Andrea : Recent Taylor University Grads : Brooklyn Bridge : NYC Road Trip : July 2012}

{SIFAT Staff Hamp & Becky : Lineville, AL : Bonus points for sleeping in that hut for the 4th of July}

{David, Crystal, Daniel, Alysa, Alli, Paige, Alece, Lindsey, Kristen & FH Staff : Ethiopia : July 2012}

Thanks to Anna, Jackie, Laura, Stacy, Shade, Andrea, Siarra, Lisa, and Janna we've now completed two more of our FPF challenges! Take a photo of you and your Homies 1) while riding an elephant 2) with your mailman 3) in front of Antique Archaeology in Nashville 4) with Twinner at Local123 5) at your favorite BBQ joint 6) at the Pyramids in Egypt 7) at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo 8) after running a marathon 9) in front of the Sistine Chapel in Rome 10) in front of your sorority / fraternity house 11) at the National Cherry Blossom Festival in DC 12) with your grandma or grandpa 13) with your favorite professor or teacher 14) at Caine's Arcade 15) by the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco 16) with Katie Davis in Uganda or at Catalyst Dallas 17) on a sailboat 18) while cheering on your favorite team at the ballpark 19) in front of the Sydney Opera House in Australia 20) camping with friends 21) at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC 22) at Old Faithful in WY 23) with Naomi, Josh, Eleanor or Samson Davis of Rockstar Diaries (bonus points if it includes Kingsly at the dog park) 24) at the World's Largest Peanut in Ashburn, GA 25) at the Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox Statue in Bemidji, MN 25) while fly fishing or 26) at the Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City. To participate email photos to em@todaysletters.com. And most importantly, Happy freaking Friday, Homies!

PS, Each week we receive several FPF photos that can't be posted on the blog due to photo quality. We'd love to encourage you to 1) take your FPF photo horizontally (when possible) 2) use an SLR camera (no blurry cell phone pictures) and 3) take your photos in the daylight. Thanks!

{Ethiopia Day 6!}

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On our last day in Ethiopia we spent an afternoon on Lake Ziway.

We piled into this boat.

All 18 of us, oh yes we did.

And put hope in our boat captain to take us to see hippos.

And hippos we did see!

We also saw eagles, herons, cranes, and lots of Egyptian ducks.

I even got to fly fish on two different islands.

Daniel and I didn't catch anything but we had an amazing time trying.

Looking back I still can't believe I got asked to be on this trip.

{Photos by David Molnar}

The FH Staff (Daniel White, Crystal Hutchinson, Paige Orth) reminded me the importance of being present, committed, and available to serve and love those in need. Everything they did down to the smallest detail was done with excellence. Wow. Never have I been on an overseas trip that has been so well planned and prepared. So humbled by these guys!

And the bloggers I traveled with (Alli Worthington, Lindsey Nobles, Kristen Howerton, Alece Ronzino, Alysa Bajenaru) ... Sheesh. Amazing! All so different, so wise, and such talented writers. My heart and brainbox will be able to draw from the things these 5 women taught me for months to come!

Thank you for experiencing this journey with me over the past several weeks. Your emails and comments have been humbling to say the least. I'll continue to give you updates on FH's child sponsorship program as well as keep you posted on our sweet boy Moti!

Happy Wednesday,

{Ethiopia Day 5!}

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

On our second to last day in Ethiopia we visited a few more of FH's Child-Headed Households.

Littles always ran out to meet us.

Old souls consistently welcomed us with warm smiles.

And Rovers pushed to listen in.

We met a 17 year old boy named, Bona, who lost both of his parents to AIDS. He shared with us that through his FH sponsorship he's now first in his class, studying to take his 12th grade exams, and dreaming of one day becoming a doctor. This dude's life has literally been changed as a result of being in FH's child sponsorship program for the past 7 years.

We also met 16 year old, Mehret, who is currently caring for her two siblings, Bedilu (8) and Lydia (14) who are both HIV positive. FH stepped in 2 years ago and has been providing food, clothing, legal support for their inheritance, a lavatory in their house, and has since trained Mehret to be a hairdresser so she could help provide for her family. Three lives, once marked by suicide and darkness, now being embraced and cared for by their community.

Lastly, we spent time with an amazing 13 year old boy named Jibril. He lives in a hut with his 4 younger siblings, acting as the head of their house. No parents. Just him. He is currently in the 3rd grade thanks to having recently been given the opportunity to attend school through his FH sponsorship. Pretty sure I've never met a stronger 13 year old boy.

In fact, every child we met impressed me with their strength ...

Their bravery ...

Their humility ...

Their determination ...

Their meekness ...

And their joy. 

{All photos taken by David Molnar}
After being home for almost a week I'm still trying to process all that I saw and experienced in Ethiopia. I feel encouraged, broken, and grateful for all that FH is humbly helping those in need. Lives are truly being changed!

I know several of you have already signed up to sponsor a child. THANK YOU! I can't tell you how much of an impact your letters and monthly financial commitment are going to make. For those of you who would still like more information on FH or about sponsoring a child or an entire Child-Headed Household go here.

And thanks for being patient with me as I get my last couple of Ethiopia posts written! I was able to spend the weekend at the Ranch with a dear friend doing a bit of reflecting and resting, and am now happy to announce that I'm officially over jet lag. Praise the Great Lion of Judah.

Happy Tuesday, Homies!

{I'm back} from Ethiopia!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hey Homies! I'm sorry it's been awhile since I've posted anything on the blog! My laptop crashed in Ethiopia and so I'm a little behind on catching you up on the last few days of my trip. (Which were AMAZING btw!). Note to self: always back up your shiz. I'm lucky that I had everything stored in a cloud somewhere so that I'm not currently banging my head against the wall or drowning my sorrows in a box of 3 month old stale Girl Scout cookies. Sheesh.

Tim picked me up last night at the airport. It was so good to see his face! After 8 days of being apart (and not having showered for the last 4) he was gracious enough to still tackle me in Terminal D. That dude ... he's the only man I know to think about having my car washed, house vacuumed, and a pound of bacon waiting for me in the fridge. I freaking love this man!

It's good to be home.
More soon,

{Meeting Moti} Ethiopia Day 4

Friday, July 13, 2012

You know those moments that impact your life and leave you forever changed? Got to experience one of those yesterday after meeting our sponsored child, Moti.

As soon as I stepped out of the van I recognized him leaning up against a fence post. My first thoughts? Why so handsome and why so tall??

After hugging Moti for what seemed like forever, I got to meet his parents and siblings. They were absolutely precious! My translator and I sat 
inside and showed them pictures of my family and friends back home.

Moti thought it was pretty cool I have a twin sister. When he finally understood that I was only a minute older he laughed.

He also told me that he wanted to be a mechanical engineer when he grows up. Not at all surprised after finding out he recently attended an awards ceremony at school for finishing 3rd in his class. #soproud

Before leaving I got the chance to whisper something very important in Moti's ear. For those who have been tracking with us for awhile know what this was. 

After one last hug we said our good-bye's and promised to continue to write each other letters. I'm so grateful for te opportunity I had to meet Moti face to face. It helps my brain box be able to picture where he lives, what his family looks like, and where he sleeps.

All photos in this post were taken by David Molnar.

May we all do our best to love and care for the orphan, the widow, and the poor. The good news is we don't have to be anyone special to do it. 

Much love,
Em & Moti
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