{Happy Anniversary} Timothy James!

Monday, April 30, 2012

To celebrate 7 years of marriage we ...


Filled up the PriusC ... {our first time in over a month!}



Road tripped it to Gruene, TX.



Stopped in Waco for coffee at Common Grounds.



Got our fishing licenses.



Stayed at the Gruene Mansion's restored 1870's cotton plantation barn.


Took naps in our Kammoks.


Ate dinner at the Gristmill.



Danced here.



Shopped at The Gruene Antique Co.



Fell in love with this guy.



Skipped rocks.



Ate at the Gristmill {again}.



Saw signs that reminded us of sweet friends.



Went fly fishing.



Caught 12 lb carp.



Small mouth bass.


Rainbow trout.


And more rainbow trout ...


We also exchanged anniversary gifts {this year's traditional and modern gifts were wool & brass}.



Left our mark.



And watched a movie out on the front porch.


Overall, we had an amazing time being back in the same small town where we spent our honeymoon.


And no road trip would be complete without stopping at Gourdough's in Austin for donuts.


Tim ordered the 'Sara's Joy' in honor of Twinner. I would have tried the 'Razzle Dazzle' or 'Son of a Peach' had it not been for the dern Whole30. What would you have ordered?



So without further ado, Happy Anniversary to the man who makes me want to be at my best whenever I am with him. The past 7 years have been an incredible journey filled with lots of adventures, forgiveness, laughter, and grace. I would not be the woman I am today if it weren't for your enduring patience and unconditional love. I'm head over heals for you, dude!

Xoxo,
Em

{Shaker Hymns by Dry The River}

Saturday, April 28, 2012



Required Saturday morning listening. {Inspiration found at 2:12}.

Shallow Bed - Dry the River

{Fist Pump Friday!}

Friday, April 27, 2012


To kick off this week's FPF photos we have Taylor University students Corry, Kayla, and Lindsey who threw fist pumps and leg kicks at Inch Beach in Ireland. Níl aon tintéan mar do thintéan féin, Littles!

Next, meet Texas A&M Pi Phi's Afton & Emily who threw fist pumps and leg kicks at the state capital building in Austin. Nothing better than formals that require road trips to one of the best cities in the world!



Our next photo is of Jenny and her flight Instructor Chief CFI, Adam. Jenny is working on getting her commercial flight certificate while attending Middle Georgia College. Fist pumps for Piper Seminole's!



Next, meet Aggies Lynsi and Meg who threw fist pumps and leg kicks while kayaking at Lake Bryan near College Station, TX. Bonus points for getting outside and enjoying this beautiful weather, Homies!



Lastly, remember when I said I'd buy a #54 sundae from Ivanhoe's to the first person who sent in a FPF photo with my college president, Dr. Jay Kesler? Well, mission accomplished! Meet Taylor University alum, Angela who threw fist pumps and leg kicks with Jay with his sweet wife Janie. Ang, expect Mr. McFeely to deliver your sundae sometime this week!

FPF Photo 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) throwing fist pumps with your grandma or grandpa (because grandparents are the shiz) 13) with your favorite professor or teacher 14) with Katie Davis in Uganda or at Catalyst Dallas 15) with Naomi, Josh or Eleanor Davis of Rockstar Diaries (bonus points if it includes Kingsly at the dog park) 16) at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco 17) in front of the Sydney Opera House in Australia or 18) at Cain's Arcade! 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 2) use an SLR camera (no blurry cell phone pictures) and 3) take your photos in the daylight. Thanks!

{White Center by Kim Janssen}

Thursday, April 26, 2012



Kim Janssen covering "White Center" by Damien Jurado. {Win and win}.

Ancient Crime - Kim Janssen

{Today's Letters}

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Today's Letters: Dear Mr. Loerke, after last night's speaking engagement we took this picture in honor of officially being on vacation. Only 1 more hour until we head south while listening to Van Morrison with our feet up on the dash! Dear (almost) 32 Year Old Self, yesterday you wakeboarded for the first time in 11 years. And you didn't even lose your bather. #AWESOME. Dear Kim Janssen, iTunes tells me I've listened to your newest album 37 times in the last two weeks. I. need. help. Dear Timothy James, nobody could ever replace you. Ever.

What have you been listening to lately?
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Whole30 Day 24: Strawberries, Bananas, Salad, Turkey, Apricots, Justin's Almond Butter, Salad, Naked Burrito from Chipotle (barbacoa, grilled onions, pico, guac, lettuce), Banana Ice Cream.
Overview
: Get familiar with the bulk bins at your local grocery store! You can buy almond flour for these killer muffins for $2.20 instead of paying $14 for a 1 lb bag!

{An Exploration in Craft: Tanner Goods}

Tuesday, April 24, 2012



Because everyone needs one of these to pair with their favorite belt buckle.

{Husband's Letters}

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Husband's Letters: Dear Mrs. Loerke, your methods for catching insects fascinates me. Who would have thought vinegar and a funnel would save our fruit? Bill Nye needs to hire you. Dear Pre-Marrieds Class, we meet again. Em and I are looking forward to speaking at you tonight! Dear Teeth, Dr. Morgan says I grind you a lot which makes me have cavities. I told her it's because I get excited every day about work. The price you pay when you love your job! Dear Emma, a few nights ago you had a nightmare that woke both of us up. I held you close and then you fell asleep in my arms. Know that I'll always be here for you!

Over and out,
Tim

What are you fearful of? Confession. I'm afraid of bugs. I will sometimes even have Em kill them for me. I know. How can a man who loves blood and guts be so terrified of insects? I have no idea.
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Whole30 Day 23: Breakfast Smoothie, Cherry Pie LÄRABAR, Roasted Almonds, Jazz Apple, Apricots, Banana Muffin, Snappy Salad's Sweet & Smokey Salad (no cheese), Banana Ice Cream.
Overview: Yesterday I felt pretty crummy. Not sure if it was from the acidity of the tomato paste I introduced into my diet or if I'm just eating too much fruit, but this girl could barely stand up straight. I've begun to realize that reintroducing dairy, grain, and sugar into my diet will have to be a slow process. Thankfully, I don't have much of a desire to return entirely to the way I was eating before. I think for the first time in my life the thought of eating a bag of Sour Patch Kids makes my belly ache. #mourning

{Today's Letters}

Monday, April 23, 2012


Today's Letters: Dear Mr. Loerke, this weekend we went to the market, had a lazy Saturday morning, ran on the trail, and learned how to make sweet potato leek soup. Loved this weekend. Dear Sarah Elizabeth, you are my new 5 year old neighbor from Memphis who likes strawberries and playing in the dirt. I think we're going to be great friends. Dear College Seniors, may these last few days of school be your most memorable yet. Keep making your days count rather than counting your days. So proud of you! Dear Husband, whoever said diamonds are a girls best friend was smoking crack because the mango you left me under our giving tree yesterday was L-E-G-I-T.

What was the best part of your weekend?? Hope it was filled with people and places that bring you joy. PS, if you're planning on running with us this Saturday in the Sudan Footrace you need to register under our tribe ASAP! So far 42 of you have signed up. Way to go, home skillets. And if you're able to join us for breakfast after the race we'd love to meet you at Cafe Brazil (University Park location). Get ready for the best migas and fruit pancrepes of your life!
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Whole30 Day 21: Strawberries, Pineapple, Blueberries, Chili Lime Cashews, Banana, Odwalla Smoothie, In-n-Out burger animal style (no sauce), protein style (no cheese), 2 scrambled eggs.
Whole30 Day 22: Three Banana Muffins, Strawberries, Banana, Roasted Almonds, Sweet Potato & Leek Soup, Jazz Apple, Justin's Almond Butter, Spaghetti Squash.
Overview: Week 3 definitely flew by the quickest. This week I hope to finish strong even though I know I'll be tested like crazy as Tim and I road trip it to the Hill Country. No alcohol, no chocolate, no donuts from Gordough's in Austin and no ice cream from the Gruene General Store. Wah. On a more encouraging note, several of you have emailed saying you're starting Whole30 this week. I'm so proud of you! Trust me, if I can do this shiz, anyone can. You're gonna do great!

{Happy Earth Day!}

Sunday, April 22, 2012

"The Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed." -Ghandi
Happy Earth Day, Homies. Because nothing says Happy Earth Day like cake.

PS, to make just buy a box of yellow cake mix and use food coloring to make 3/4 batter blue and 1/4 green. Pour the blue batter on the bottom of a greased cake pan and add the green on top. Once the cake has completely cooled, slice off the top layer using a serrated knife and voila! Earth cake.

{Grain Free Banana Muffins}

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I have one word for you: MAKETHESEFREAKINGMUFFINS. Seriously. After tasting one I almost cried ... how could they be dairy and sugar free yet taste so good? Get ready to stuff our boca with these hockey pucks of banana greatness.

Ingredients:
3 Ripe Bananas (spotted like you'd use for banana bread)
1 1/2 Cups Roasted Unsalted Cashews
1 Cup Almond Flour
2 Tbs Walnut Oil
2 Eggs
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
Coconut Oil (to grease your muffin tins)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Grind cashews in a food processor until you get a fine cashew meal.
3. Add walnut oil and blend until until well combined (making cashew butter).
4. Next, add the bananas and blend until it forms a sticky paste.
5. In a medium bowl whisk eggs, then add cashew / banana mixture along with almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Mix until it forms a batter.
6. Pour batter into greased muffin tins and bake for 12 minutes or until muffins are cooked through.
7. Let muffins completely cool on a rack before storing.

Recipe inspired by this Paleo Banana Bread French Toast recipe.

{Where I'll Be by Horse Feathers}

Saturday, April 21, 2012



Two years was well worth the wait for this new album. {You can check out our other favorite songs by Horse Feathers here and here}. Happy Saturday, Littles.

Cynic's New Year - Horse Feathers

{Happy 2 Year Blogiversary Today's Letters!}

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I can't believe it's already been 2 YEARS since our first post. I remember that day we had 237 page views. I thought we were famous. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that less than two years later we'd be averaging 450,000 page views per month.

The past two years have been a sweet reminder that words are powerful. They don't need to be complicated, or pretty, or perfect. Just real. It's been an unbelievable 24 months and we're so grateful to have shared parts of our lives with you. So THANK YOU to those who have stuck around since the beginning, as well as those who are new and continue to Google phrases such as "Woobie Cape" and "Fartbox." We're beyond grateful for your kind words, inspiration, and support.

Much love,
Em & Tim

And just for fun, here's our ...

Top 5 Most Read Posts to Date:

1. {10 Things} That Have Made All the Difference In Our Marriage
2. Weekly Questions
3. Campfire Orange Cakes
4. A Small Metal Box
5. Our Story

Top 5 Favorite Blog Highlights (with one more to come this summer ... stay tuned!):
1. Stories of marriages restored and lives changed.
2. The friendships we've made via the blogisphere. 
3. Meeting the couple who found our hidden letter in the Seattle Public Library
4. Fist Pump Friday's. Need I say more?
5. Top Blog 2010

Top 5 States Who Read Our Blog:
1. Texas
2. Alabama
3. California
4. Tennessee
5. Georgia

Top 5 Countries Who Read Our Blog:
1. United States
2. Canada
3. UK
4. Australia
5. Germany

{Today's Letters}

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Today's Letters: Dear Mr. Loerke PA-C, your last PA blog post was one of my favorites yet. So encouraged by the way your medical journey has grown you over the past four years. Dear Ranch, there is a deep longing within for sunburned shoulders, an afternoon of fishing, and falling asleep on your back porch. {Soon, I hope}. Dear 6AM, each morning you greet me with a view of the ocean and a one-armed plastic Jesus that my dad found on the banks of the Missouri River when I was 10. This makes me smile. Dear Boobie Baskets, sometimes the best part of my day is coming home and taking you off. That's all. Dear Favorite Sidekick, out of 7.008 billion people in this world I met you. Can you believe it? #Blessed

What's the first thing you see when you wake up? Does it remind you of some place special?
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Whole30 Day 17: Fruit Smoothie, Chili Lime Cashews, Banana Bread LÄRABAR, Spicy Kale Chips, Dehydrated Mango, Smoked Turkey, Brisket, Green Beans, Guacamole.
Whole30 Day 18: Banana Bread LÄRABAR, Jazz Apple, Justin's Almond Butter, Dehydrated Mango, Grilled Chicken with Green Beans Wrapped in Bacon Woobies, Banana Ice Cream.
Whole30 Day 19: Strawberries & Pineapple, Roasted Almonds, Grilled Chicken, Justin's Almond Butter, mas Pineapple, Salad.
Whole30 Day 20: Fruit Smoothie, Almonds, Jazz Apple, Justin's Almond Butter, Cherry Pie LÄRABAR, Pork Chops & Peaches (we used pears), Bacon Brussels Sprouts, fruit from Yummilicious.
Overview: A few things I've learned ... 1) If you're going to do the Whole30 you have to have access to a blender. I've used my Magic Bullet at least twice a day since I started this gig 2) Get your knives sharpened (your avos will thank you) 3) You'll spend more money on groceries but save money on eating out ... it all balances out in the end 4) Saturday afternoons will be spent prepping food for the week. Listening to a James Taylor LP can make this time much more enjoyable 5) Don't trade one addiction (Blue Bell) for a another addiction (Banana Ice Cream) even if it's healthier (I'm totally guilty of this!) 6) Eat to live, not live to eat 7) Buy spinach for your Breakfast Smoothies in the bulk lettuce bins. It will stay fresh longer and only cost 50¢ instead of $3 for a bag 8) Carry a toothbrush and toothpaste in your satchel. Gum is no bueno and your co-workers will thank you 9) Try new recipes (often) and 10) The Whole30 is not about weight loss. In fact, I've been intentional not to mention my weight out of a heart to honor our readers who may struggle with body image and / or eating issues. My prayer while documenting my Whole30 journey is that it wouldn't trigger any sort of unhealthy eating habits for my readers. Often I've had to remind myself that this cleanse is more about growing in discipline and establishing a healthier relationship with food than it is about physical transformation. A helpful book I've been reading is Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas. Be sure and check it out!

{Husband's Letters}

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Husband's Letters: Dear Mrs. Loerke, our living room is starting to look like eBay headquarters from all the stuff you're selling. I love your heart to creatively bless family in need. Dear Integrity, you are most challenged when the mind is tired and the will is weak. Who would have thought a lesson in thorough charting would have sharpened me as much as it has? Dear Anniversary, after a little research I learned that the traditional and modern gifts for 7 years are copper and wool. This is supposed to be a sign of progressive fortitude and deepening commitment. Sounds good to me. Dear Little, last night I found a special envelope with a coupon inside for a free round of golf for me and one of my dudes. Thank you for knowing the things that energize me, and for encouraging me to get outside and play!

Over and out,
Tim

How many years of marriage will you be celebrating this year? 
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Whole30 Day 14: Fruit Smoothie, Chili Lime Cashews, Banana Bread LÄRABAR, Spicy Kale Chips, Dehydrated Mango, Smoked Turkey, Brisket, Green Beans, Guacamole.
Whole30 Day 15: Banana Bread LÄRABAR, Jazz Apple, Justin's Almond Butter, Dehydrated Mango, Grilled Chicken with Green Beans Wrapped in Bacon Woobies, Banana Ice Cream.
Whole30 Day 16: Strawberries & Pineapple, Roasted Almonds, Grilled Chicken, Justin's Almond Butter, mas Pineapple, Salad, Baked Coconut Carrot Fries.
Overview
: Lately I've been having crazy dreams. I don't know if it's because I'm finally sleeping better or what, but last night I dreamt that Macy's was selling peach pies for $1.25. I remember circling the dessert table four times before finally walking away. I woke up thinking, "Victory! I have slayed the pie dragon!" And last week I dreamt that I crashed a car full of my co-workers into White Rock Lake. Oddly enough, I came out of the water wearing a name tag with a picture of beef stew on it. What the what? Someone get this girl some freaking cheese and a hot buttered roll!

{Holmes' Bonfire, 1666 by Kim Janssen}

Monday, April 16, 2012



Rarely do I buy entire albums anymore. Kim Janssen's was an exception. Wanna find your happy place tonight? Listen to it on repeat.

Ancient Crime - Kim Janssen

{Today's Letters - iPad has SOLD!}

Monday, April 16, 2012

Today's Letters: Dear Mr. Loerke, yesterday you affectionately started calling my Shittake Mushroom Chips, "sh%t chips." Good thing I have a crush on you. Dear 16GB iPad2, you were our unexpected major award. After watching you sit unused on our desk for a month, we feel that it's time to pass you onto someone much younger and cooler than ourselves. Thanks for being sexier than the old man's leg lamp. Dear Self, on Saturday you spent a much needed 4 hours reading, journaling and writing. A great reminder that a peaceful heart can give life to the body. Dear Timothy James, t-minus 13 days until our Hill Country road trip. Can't wait to stuff our bocas at the Gristmill and dance with you at Gruene Hall!

Happy Freaking Monday, Homies! What's your favorite kind of chips? Pre-Whole30 I would have said Jalapeno Kettle Chips dipped in Thousand Island dressing. (Don't knock it 'till you try it). Tim's favorite? BBQ anything.
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Whole30 Day 11Fruit Smoothie, Chili Lime Cashews, Cherry Pie LÄRABAR, Strawberries & Pineapple, leftover Pulled Pork with lettuce, tomato, lime, salsa and plantain chips.  
Whole30 Day 12: Fruit Smoothie, House Salad (no cheese) from Brother's Pizza, Jazz Apple, Justin's Almond Butter, Banana Ice Cream, Chili Lime Cashews, Salad, Peppermint Tea.
Whole30 Day 13: Fruit Smoothie, Jazz Apple, Justin's Almond Butter, Green Beans Wrapped in Bacon Woobies (sans brown sugar and butter), Grilled Chicken, Shittake Mushroom Chips.
Overview
: Before starting the Whole30 I had grown accustomed to expecting certain meals without even thinking about it or evaluating it. Now, I'm much more mindful about what I eat and how much I eat. I've also noticed that I've become hungry less often, and that my desire for sweet things is no longer holding me captive. But maybe that's because of all the Banana Ice Cream I've been eating?

PS, If you're interested in being the owners of our new iPad2 email me at em@todaysletters.com. We're throwing in a $150 ClamCase Keyboard for free. It can all be yours for just 400 bills!

{Calling All May Sponsors!}

Sunday, April 15, 2012

It's that time again! Our blog receives over 450,00 page views per month and would love to have you listed as one of our MAY sponsors. Just contact us for our current rate sheet!

In the meantime, you can check out these great bags from our friends Mack & Kate. Stop by their shop and receive 15% off your order when you use coupon code LETTERS at checkout! XOXO

{Chisel Making by John Neeman}

Saturday, April 14, 2012



I could sit here and watch this all. morning. long. So many great illustrations and lovely music to boot ...

Re: Stacks - For Emma, Forever Ago

{Fist Pump Friday!}

Friday, April 13, 2012

To kick off this week's FPF photos meet Taylor University students Corry, Kayla, and Lindsey who threw fist pumps and leg kicks at the Glendalough Monastary in Ireland. Bonus points for studying abroad, Homies!

Next meet Rebecca, Michelle & Allison (UT sisters) and Harrison, Lorien, and Grant (A&M siblings) who threw fist pumps at Allison & Harrison's surprise engagement party. Pretty sure this marital union is going to give a whole new meaning to family rivalry. Hook 'Em and Whoop!


Our next photo is of Texas State seniors Kerri and Julie who threw fist pumps and leg kicks with their favorite professor, Barry Stone. Ferris Buehler would be so proud of you for staying in school.



Next meet Dave who threw fist pumps and leg kicks after running 40 miles on his 40th birthday. He also recruited people to sponsor 40 children with World Vision. Talk about a memorable birthday!

Our next photo is of Em and some of her homies who threw fist pumps while waiting for a taxi in Kampala. These guys spent the last few weeks working alongside Uganda youth from All Saint's Cathedral.

Next meet our friends Matt and Caitlin and other members of the Pine Cove Forge who threw fist pumps while floating in the Dead Sea. Bonus points for visiting one of my favorite places on Earth!

Lastly, you might recognize Jocelyn (Taylor University) and Brittany (Utah State) from this FPF photo back in December. Over spring break Brittany was badly injured in a climbing accident that resulted in multiple leg fractures, a broken foot, broken tibia, and two breaks in her spine. 



After 9 hours of surgery she's since started her road to recovering at a rehabilitation center in Denver. Jocelyn and Alyssa (Marquette), two long time friends of Britt's have been a great source of encouragement to her as she works hard to get back on her feet!

Thanks to Kerri, Julie, and Barry we've now completed one more of our FPF challenges. Here's to accomplishing some more! 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) throwing fist pumps with your grandma or grandpa (because grandparents are the shiz) 13) with your favorite professor or teacher 14) with Katie Davis in Uganda or at Catalyst Dallas 15) with Naomi, Josh or Eleanor Davis of Rockstar Diaries (bonus points if it includes Kingsly at the dog park) 16) at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco 17) in front of the Sydney Opera House in Australia or 18) at Cain's Arcade! 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 2) use an SLR camera (no blurry cell phone pictures) and 3) take your photos in the daylight. Thanks!
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