Defending my faith with everlasting kindness

On the desktop of my ancient, barely functioning, needs-a-power-cord-plugged-in-to-work laptop, is a picture of Eric and I at a restaurant in Idaho Falls. We had decided to get married earlier that day, and our conversation that evening buzzed with excitement as we planned for our future. IMG_2874

My life since then has been wonderful. I love this man. Frankly, I can’t believe how well and how deeply he loves me in return. Just tonight, in fact, he came home with crunchy Cheetos and marshmallow Peeps. I instantly started crying at how kind and thoughtful he was. I’ll blame the pregnancy hormones for the enhanced display of emotion, but truthfully, that’s how I feel so often. Loved to a degree that leaves me speechless.

As we get closer to welcoming our daughter into our lives, I’ve become more and more reflective on the kind of life I want her to have. I want her challenges to define her the way they have defined me. I want her triumphs to outweigh the challenges, lighting her path for a strong sense of self-worth and an unyielding belief in herself. I can’t wait for her father to love her as perfectly as he loves me. I hope to be the mother she needs and the mother she deserves.

But mostly, if you were to ask me right at this moment in time, I want her to be kind. Compassionate. Patient. Faithful. To be more, Savior, like Thee. I feel that pressure already starting to mount as Eric and I prepare to make the daunting leap into parenthood.

And here’s why.

Lately, I’ve been noticing that the majority of the articles I see circulating on social media have been filled with comments of personal attacks. In most cases, sadly, it’s stranger against stranger, belittling and degrading one another behind proverbial masks of anonymity. I see it everywhere from local garage sale sites to news outlets to radical left or right-winged bloggers’ Facebook pages.

Tonight, I saw it on a link someone had shared for an article on Ordain Women. Curious, I read through the article. I felt differently than the author did on the subject matter (Sister Oscarson’s talk from the women’s session of General Conference). Looking through the comments, some agreed with the author, some didn’t.

And in the midst of the attacks to “convince” one side or the other of what is right, what is doctrine, what is their personal revelation, I took a deep breath and thought about the sweet daughter growing inside of me.

How is she going to navigate through this? I wondered.

My thoughts turned to Sister Bonnie Oscarson’s talk. She invited women in the church to defend the following:

  1. Marriage between a man and a woman.
  2. The divine roles of mothers and fathers.
  3. The sanctity of the home.

In my notes, I asked myself, “How can I better defend these?”

Naturally, my thoughts turned to writing. That seems to be the way I can best express my thoughts and feelings. And I hope that what I write shows my faith and my beliefs in the best way possible.

But I want it very clear. Defending my faith, values and beliefs does not come by tearing others’ down. In fact, more than once in my notes the words “love” and “compassion” appear. How can I call myself a disciple of Christ if I do not follow the counsel from His servants in the way He himself would live it. Christ was firm. He was unyielding. He didn’t make exceptions for people. He didn’t make excuses for lives that were not lived in harmony with his commandments.

“Go and sin no more,” was his command, in fact.

But before I start calling out the inconsistencies of humanity with His teachings, I have to look at the large gaps in myself. That will take a lifetime to mend and mold.

And I hope I can teach my daughter the same thing.

That before we go to work “fixing” other people, we try and fix ourselves.

That she can defend her beliefs and still be kind.

We believe in marriage between a man and a woman, I will tell her.

We believe that mothers and fathers each have divine roles – parts that God needs us to play for Him as we serve in His kingdom, I’ll teach her.

We believe that our home is a sacred, special place. A place where we want to be, a place we want the Savior to be, I’ll do my best to show her.

And when she meets someone who doesn’t feel the same way, I’ll teach her to love them. As purely and genuinely as the Savior did.

Because we are all children of God.

And as she one day begins to plan for a future of her own, I desperately want her to know this sacred truth.

February 13

Friday was a special day in the Whitlock home. For a couple of reasons.

February 13 has always been special. That is, since Eric Whitlock came into the picture.

Let’s go back a couple of years. Two, to be exact.

Eric and I were in school at BYU-Idaho. It was my last semester, his first. And we had been dating for several months. To say I was head over heels for this boy was an understatement. He was rapidly becoming my world. And I loved it. But I was fearful for what the future could bring. Graduation was looming over my head. I had applied for a couple jobs in New York, but knew that was not where I wanted to be.

Though I’m sure Eric would have followed me if I had asked.

On that February 13, Eric and I made our weekly temple trip. Nothing out of the ordinary really. We sat through a session and thoughts of life after graduation filled my mind.

We had mentioned that stress-filled “M” word, but never discussed a life together too seriously.

But as we sat in the celestial room of the Rexburg temple, the final walls I had built up started to come down.

I told him my strong impressions that were leading me toward the Deseret News. That’s where I need to be, I told him.

In true Eric Whitlock fashion, he never questioned but supported me fully.

Girls, find an Eric Whitlock.

Our conversation progressed and it seemed like my future was as well. One thing I knew for certain. The only place I wanted Eric Whitlock was by my side. Forever.

Happily enough, he felt the same.

That February 13 changed my life. I walked out of the celestial room hand in hand with the man I knew would one day be my husband.

And I’ve loved him more and more every day since.

Especially this February 13.

Eric and I sat in a sterile exam room in a doctor’s office down the road from the Rexburg temple. I looked into my sweetheart’s eyes, ready for how our life was to change once again.

As the ultrasound tech glided her probe across my growing belly, my heart skipped a beat as the littlest Whitlock appeared on the screen in front of us.

“There’s your baby,” she said.

She showed us our baby’s perfect face.

“I love you already,” I thought to myself. I glanced at Eric. I knew similar thoughts were going through his mind as well.

Finally, I looked at the nurse.

“You’re having a girl,” she said.

I smiled through my watery eyes, and looked over again at my elated husband.

I couldn’t have imagined two years ago that I would love Eric Whitlock like I loved him in that moment. I couldn’t have imagined that I would love our daughter like I love her today.

I’m grateful for the February 13ths in my life. They are the brightness when the sun doesn’t shine, when the winds won’t cease.

Later that night we were able to celebrate with close friends at our gender reveal party. Eric and I can’t imagine our life in Rexburg without them. We can feel very far away from our family at times, but I’m grateful for our adopted Rexburg family who we can laugh, cry and celebrate our greatest joys with. To the Puidas, Potters, Lukes and Andersons — oh, how we love you.

To our sweet baby girl, you are loved more than you can know. Thanks for another life-changing February 13.
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Punkin’ heads

Hello again, blog.

It’s been a long time. And because I have a to-do list a mile long today, I’ll have to skip the lengthy update and simply to with this.

The highlight reel:

• Em’s teaching a class at BYU-Idaho and is a reporter and designer for the paper.
• Eric’s working at Flips gymnastics and Broulim’s.
• We’re still in Rexburg.
• We’re still in love.
• We now have fish.

That about sums it up.

And speaking of Rexburg, Southeastern Idaho is really killing this fall. October has been magnificent. We’ve celebrated with an embarrassing amount of candy corn, crock pot meals, #rocktober and Netflix.

We are also pretty excited for Halloween this year. Our costumes are going to be epic. Today we went to the pumpkin patch in Rigby. Unfortunatley, we realized we had forgotten our wallets… so we snapped a few photos at the patch, and picked up our pumpkins at Broulim’s.

Hope you’re having a magical October as well.

Here’s to one of our favorite months of the year.

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Thanks for the throwback, Maya

I was genuinely sad this morning when I checked my phone.

A CNN report told me that Maya Angelou had died.

My throwback Thursday came a day early.

I was suddenly sitting in the dimly lit room of my eighth grade English teacher, Mrs. Young. It was always dim in that room, as she had only two floor lamps lighting the cave-like classroom made of bright white cinderblocks. I was reading out of our textbook a portion of Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”

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This is my eight grade self in all of her awkward glory.

I couldn’t tell you what it was about without a quick refresher from a Google search.

But I’ll never forget a line I read.

“I was liked, and what a difference it made.”

Perhaps the reason I cannot fully remember the context of this poignant line was because whatever Maya Angelou was writing about was swallowed whole in the relevancy of my own life to this very epiphany.

I had just come out of a dark abyss called depression.

I had moved to Georgia, repeated seventh grade, reentered another day treatment and about a dozen different medications. It was not the best time for Emmilie Buchanan.

For part of my second seventh grade year, I was pulled out of school and put on what was called “Homebound.” Basically, I was deemed too sick to attend school, and had a tutor come to my home on Braidwood Run a few times a week.

I remember spending hours in my room playing Monopoly by myself and carrying on full on conversations with my cat, who ironically enough was named Chat.

Somehow, I can’t fully remember, I started to come out of it.

I planned to go back to school for eighth grade – what would end up being my last year in Atlanta.

It was with a newfound confidence that still bore the wounds of past fear and failures that I started school that Fall.

I was the healthiest and the happiest I had ever been.

I was just a little worried about the friend department.

All of my life, I had desperately wanted to be “cool.”

Well if you know me now, you can probably guess that back then I was about as awkward and goofy.

In fact, I vividly remember uttering more than one tearful prayer to God that I could be popular.

It’s funny how God has a better way of answering the deepest pleas of our hearts.

Which brings me back to Mrs. Young’s dimly lit dungeon.

One day, it couldn’t have been too far into the school year, we started studying Mya Angelou. I instantly loved her writing. Her vivid description made me feel physical emotion — something that few writers had done for me thus far.

Then came the day we read that immortal line.

“I was like, and what a difference it made.”

Somehow, it became my own words. I realized that I was loved by so many people. I had countless friends who knew about my struggle with mental illness, and many who didn’t. Those who knew had stood by me during the dark days of my struggles, and those who didn’t found in me a friend, despite what I felt were glowing inadequacies.

The fact that a handful of people at Lost Mountain Middle School could call me friend — well, that was more than I had ever hoped for. And it was real.

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That hair tho

 

This moment in my English class was a pivotal one. For many reasons.

I started to realize my own self worth, I discovered the power of well chosen words and found that I had a knack for choosing them myself.

Looking back, I’m thoroughly convinced that Mrs. Young was a gift to me from God. It was Mrs. Young that first taught me to write. I mean, really write. Her editing process was called “The Wash” and I remember more than once, staying up late into the night perfecting my personal narrative or expository essay. It was Mrs. Young’s class that taught me to write about my life. My rich and blessed life has given me ample amounts of content over the years, and I have that dark classroom to thank.

Mrs. Young gave me great confidence, too. I wrote an expository essay on the Treble clef once, and got a 92 percent on the paper. I remember the grumblings of my fellow classmates as they got their papers back.

“Did anyone get an A?”

“Emmilie did.”

To be honest, it was the pride in her voice that made me beam. I had not felt that I was good at something in a long time. It was that moment that I knew I wanted to write. And write. And write.

I’ve never had the chance to say it, but thank you, Mrs. Young. You changed my life.

Mrs. Young loved Maya Angelou, too.

I know she will be just as affected by her death.

So thanks to the greats in my life. Maya Angelou, for connecting with a finding-her-way-back eight grader, and one of the most talented teachers I have ever met, for making a writer after all of this awkward, goofy girl.

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom. 

I hope to meet you one day, Maya Angelou.

Until then, I’ll keep singing my song with outstretched wings. Thanks for giving them to me.

Glamping, reception dancing and the joy of memorilaizing

I looked at my calendar for May today and was suddenly tired.

What a month.

It’s been so beautiful and so busy all at once.

Eric and I have been actively trying to fill our time with good things. Bye bye, Netflix.

And the result has been so fulfilling. We have served at the temple, built great relationships with dear friends and gotten sexified at the gym. We feel great about all of these things.

I also feel great that Southeastern Idaho is starting to get with the program and Spring is finally here.

Our first weekend in May we packed up and hit the road to Mud Lake, Idaho.

It was beautiful.

The 45 minute drive out of Rexburg was refreshing. It’s drives like that one that remind me why I fell in love with Idaho in the first place. And Spring was just totally nailing it. Life is literally flowing back into the land – the rolling hills and endless fields – and I find myself completely mystified by them each time I see their beauty. I love you, Idaho.

Our besties, Brennan and Emily met us at the Mud Lake Wildlife Preservation, and after some accidental offroading, we found our campsite. It was $Free.99 and we got to campy by the dock of the lake. We saw some birds I couldn’t possibly tell you the names of and about a gazillion bees. Eric Whitlock informed us that they were leaf-cutter bees. Apparently Montana taught him right in the bee department.

Thankfully, BYU-Idaho lets you rent just about any outdoorzy equipment you could imagine. (Except fishing gear…) So we were fully equipped with the cutest two-man tent. Our air mattress took up the entirety of the tent and it was the funnest sleepover I’ve ever had with my best friend and dearest love.


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Mud Lake. She’s a beaut, ain’t she?

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What a cutie. And thank goodness for air mattress pumps. And cars.

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boo.

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Hi. Meet Brennan and Emily. They are our best friends and I can’t imagine Rexburg without them. Too bad we’ll have to when the move to Connecticut for the Fall! We’ll miss you, Puidas! Come back to us soon! #puitlocksforever

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Camping selfie.

Because fabulous camping in fabulous.

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Clearly, Emmilie is loving this whole outdoors thing.

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Every come see how cute they are.

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And how pyro they are. It’s fine. Also, please note the joy on Eric’s face. Priceless.

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This happened for breakfast and no one was mad about it.

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Especially him. Just really livin’ life.

This was one of the better camping trips I’ve taken. Love you Em and Brenz. We went camping again over Emily’s birthday to Green Canyon Hot Springs in Newdale, Idaho. It was fantastic. The hot springs were so great, especially in the chilly rain, and we had a great time practicing our Spiderman poses underwater. Don’t worry. It’s a thing.

Thanks for letting us celebrate your birthday with you, Em! Hope it’s a great year for you!

On Sunday, Eric and I returned back from a long weekend in Arizona for one of our favorite couple’s wedding. It was a perfect trip.

We flew in Thursday night and Eric was reunited with his best friend, Jordan Taylor. This was significant for me, because I have only ever seen pictures of Jordan and Facetimed him. Jordan recently returned from a two-year mission in Chile, preaching about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. While I wish dearly that he could have been at our wedding, I’m so grateful for his service and sacrifice.

I saw another side of my dear husband as he met up with is best friend. For the first time in our marriage, I suddenly felt a little jealous and all weekend I referred to Jordan as “the other woman.” #onlykindofkidding #bromance

We love you Jordan. Come visit us!

Afterward, we met up with the bride and groom, Bri and Nathan, for their bachelor and bachelorette parties. It was a good day.

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After a great day of relaxing and shopping on Friday, (that H&M though) Eric and I went to the temple with some of Eric’s family. It was so beautiful to be in the temple with family we love so dearly. Though it wasn’t the whole Whitlock clan, (we missed those who couldn’t make it this time) I felt the spirit so strongly, testifying that families are eternal and that the pure love of Christ is what binds us together. I am so blessed to have such amazing in-laws.

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Because the Whitlocks know how to party, on Friday night, Eric and I showed off our lip syncing skills, taking home first and second place. #wedoweddings

Sometimes I forget that I married the boy-version of myself. I feel so great about it.

Nobody parties but us. And every other Whitlock.

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On Saturday morning, I got my nails did with the girls and Eric tried to get into a local gym. #doyouevenliftbro? Well, not that morning because he couldn’t get in. Poor soul. So he hung out with the girls at the salon. Good thing they all love him too. Then we were able to visit his grandfather, Wayne, the sweetest man and epitome of a missionary, in the hospital. We’re sending prayers your way from Idaho, Grandpa Wayne! We love you!

Nathan and Bri’s sealing was later that afternoon in the Gilbert Temple. Guys. It was beautiful. I’ve cried at every sealing I’ve ever been to. (None were as bad as my own though… #boogercry) It’s a trait that Eric tells me is very endearing. I just think I’m a boob.

Either way, thank you forever, Nathan and Bri for inviting us to be a part of your special day. What a beautiful, sacred ordinance. You two are such a powerhouse couple. I can’t wait to see what good you bring to the world. We love you.

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A little secret about Emmilie Whitlock – I love wedding receptions more than is probably healthy. They are so fun, and generally, filled with people I love. And nothing is better than celebrating two friends who are in love.

It’s also an excuse to dance with my handsome husband, something that tops the charts of my favorite things to do.

And while I’ll probably never get the “I’m so fancy, you already know” lyrics stuck out of my head, or about a dozen bros screaming “Turn down for what?!” out of my head, it was worth it to have the last dance of the night reserved for my husband. That was bliss. I love that man. Here’s to years of dancing into the night, Eric Whitlock.

Congrats, again, Nathan and Bri. You’ll love marriage. It’s the happiest thing I’ve ever done.

We flew back into Idaho Falls Sunday evening. And I’ll be honest. I’ve had a hard time loving Idaho as much. I fall more and more in love and enchanted with Arizona every time we visit. We may or may not have already bought tickets to go back later this summer.

One day, Gilbert will be my home. And until then, I’ll dream of endless sunsets and nights under the warm skies.

It’s funny to me how the business of this month culminated with Memorial Day yesterday. We had a barbecue with some of our friends, and started chatting about the history behind the holiday. It’s a day to remember soldiers who have fallen in the battle for freedom. How blessed I am to be able to live a life of memory-making because of these men and women.

Thank you for the freedom you have given me and everyone I have ever loved. Thank you for their sacrifice. Thank you for allowing me to have such a beautiful life filled with laughter, dancing and eternal joy.

#ericturns23

Birthdays are more like a marathon than a day.

There is something so magical about taking a whole day to celebrate someone you love, why not make it last the whole week.

Eric’s birthday was this last Tuesday. I’ve been planning and looking forward to it for weeks. Honestly, probably more than he has.

Like, to the extreme. The night before, I was so excited I couldn’t sleep.

Eric, the actual birthday-boy, was out like a rock minutes after we went to bed.

So… clearly nobody parties but me.

On Tuesday morning I got up earlier than I had in probably over a year. 7 a.m. It was awful. But that’s called love.

I decorated our cute little apartment with all of my finds from the dollar store and baked this divine offering of the Internet – bacon wrapped cinnamon rolls. I know. You probably just died a little. And rightly so. They are amazing.

And super easy. Cook 8 strips of bacon for about 3-5 minutes until slightly done and pink. Then, unwrap a Pillsbury cinnamon roll (I used the regular ones from the can. Also, there no such thing as unwrapping. I took scissors to the little devils.)  Place the slightly cooked bacon strip on the dough and roll it back up.

Bake as directed on the package and prepare for your life to change.

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They are seriously so good. I ate two in all of their gluteny goodness.

Luckily, my husband’s superpower is sleeping, so I didn’t even worry about waking him up while I was getting everything ready. He had an early morning work meeting and a full day of classes so I knew I wouldn’t see him too much. And because everyone should have cake for breakfast on their birthday #emmiliewhitlockrule, I decided to give him the next best thing.

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I don’t actually think Eric knew what was happening until I had finished singing “Happy Birthday” to him. Then he just sort of laid there. But I think he liked it.

He told me later, when he was conscious, that all he was thinking was, “What the heck did she stick a candle in?!” Eric doesn’t have a sense of smell, and he is pretty darn disoriented in the morning, so the poor guy just had no idea. But he loved it when he was awake enough to speak.  Love that guy.

He did tell me to get away from him when it first woke up. My perkiness was killing him, he said. I actually get that more often than you would think. #finewithit

 

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And then when I couldn’t wait another minute, Eric opened his presents.

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Success.

That night, we met up with some great friends for dinner at a little burger dive in St. Anthony, Big J’s. Turns out they also have fantastic pizza as well. We had a blast with some of Eric’s old roommates, mission friends and new friends from our ward here. We were so blessed to have so many amazing people celebrate with us.

But first we’ll take a massive selfie.

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I think Kheldon ordered the entire menu.

 

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We met up with our good friends Brennan and Emily afterward for cake and ice cream, and let’s be honest, Eric’s new N64 game. Thanks, Jason for your wise guidance. He loved Smash Brothers.

Also, he’s probably the cutest ever. And turns out he never wishes for anything because he can’t ever decide. Bless him.

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Emily and Brennan are the bees knees and got Eric a knife (for an upcoming camping trip) and pokemon cards. Apparently it was a great booster pack. #pokemonwife

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We finished off the birthday marathon with working in the temple Wednesday night, Skeeter’s hot dogs with best friends, camping and Spider-Man 2.

But for real though, guys. I love this man so much. He is the greatest husband I could ever have hoped for and he deserves every good thing this next year.

I love you, Eric Whitlock. Thanks for giving me such a beautiful life.

Happy birthday.

 

Catch up

Hi. This is a little awkward. I made this blog, you see. And then never wrote on it.

Some vortex happened that sucked all of my time.

It’s called Rexburg.

We moved here in January for Eric to finish school. We are loving it.

We have a cute apartment that has a great view of Main Street and the beautiful Rexburg temple. Our home is cozy and happy and filled with love — just a few of my favorite things.

I good friend and I were recently chatting about how happy and blessed our lives are, and we expressed the need to document it.

So naturally here I am. On the Internet for everyone to see.

Please don’t mistake me.

Our life is not perfect.

Far from it, actually. Mostly because we are not perfect.

But I believe in goodness. I believe in light. And so help me, I’m going to spread as much sunshine as I can from my little corner of the world.

So this blog is dedicated to my husband, Eric. He is the joy of my life. No other soul can lift me as high as he does. I’m eternally and unspeakably grateful for him.

With that being said, here’s a little update about what’s new for the Whitlocks.

January 

Kelly Canyon Ski Resort

The end of 2o13 was filled with boxes, Red Bulls and the exodus to Rexburg. Emmilie finished her book sales, thanks to the amazing help of Eric and Landon and Holly at H&L Publishing. We sold over 100 copies of Hipster RM. Eric often encourages Emmilie to start working on a second book, but any major writing plans are on hold for the time being.

Thanks to the help of Emmilie’s dad and step-mom, we got our copious amounts of stuff up to a frigid Idaho.

Emmilie started work on January 2 at the local newspaper, the Rexburg Standard Journal. She’s their only full-time reporter right now and is staying very busy running to school board meetings, commissioner meetings, city council meetings and planning and zoning meetings. #meetingsfordays

But she loves her work, and enjoys writing a weekly column for the paper, Quick Whit. It funny. Mostly.

Eric started school on January 6. He did awesome his first semester back, balancing a job at a local jewelry store and a full load of credits. He loved his visual media class, and created some fantastic work. Not to brag or anything, but Eric’s professor told him that his final project was one of the best in the class. #proudwife #talentedhusband

We quickly settled into our new ward with callings. Eric was called as a gospel doctrine teacher #oldtestament and Emmilie was called as the enrichment coordinator. #partyplanner.

We made some great friends in our ward, Jake and Josie, and even hit up some night skiing at Kelly Canyon.

It was a good start to our life here.

February 

Emmilie auditioned and got accepted into a local student-led choir, From the Heart, and she and Eric spent their Sunday evenings at weekly firesides on campus. Eric was our groupie. And the choir fell in love with him.

Oscar Party 2014

Because everyone needs a little bit more glam in their lives, we had an Oscar party with our good friends Brennan and Emily. #beesknees

Please let the record show that Emmilie beat the pants off of Eric at guessing the award winners. #winnerwinner

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Also, thanks to Emmilie’s serious seasonal affective disorder, Eric was a champ at coming up with amazing things to do. Like repainting this dresser. #diy Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to making Whitlock Manor a little more like home.

Mesa Temple

Mesa Temple

At the beginning of February, we drove all night to beat an Idaho snowstorm to get to Gilbert for our friend’s wedding. #sydsfeelingchurchy

We loved celebrating with Nathan and Sydnee! We even got to do a little DJ-ing. Ain’t no thang. But first we had to take a selfie.

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For Valentine’s Day, Emmilie sent Eric on a scavenger hunt across Rexburg to find her. #whitlockfindshiswife Eric surprised Emmilie with flowers at work, chalkboard paint and a tie dye kit. We ended the night with a burger (as per tradition) and cleaning the Rexburg temple. It was a perfect first Valentine’s Day as a married couple.

March

Well, it happened.

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I’m pretty sure we attended this banquet/silent auction for Emmilie’s job.

It probably snowed too.

April  

President and Sister Gardner | Sandy, Utah

President and Sister Gardner | Sandy, Utah

We started off April right with a trip to Utah for a mission reunion and General Conference. It was so wonderful to be reunited with our sweet mission president and his wonderful wife. We love the Gardners. We saw so many friends, and it felt like a heavenly reunion. We are forever grateful for Montana in our home.

Eric finished up his third semester at school with fantastic grades.

Emmilie has stayed busy with work and From the Heart. She was put into the presidency of the choir, and is keeping up their social media pages during her service as secretary to the choir.

Eric attended a sales conference for work #businesstripp #grownupjob and Emmilie was so happy to have a visit from her mom and step-dad while Eric was away.

Emmilie was released from her calling as enrichment coordinator, and very happy — albeit surprised — to accept a calling in the primary presidency of her ward.

Eric started his fourth semester. It’s been two days — that sneaky devil pulled off having all of his classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays — but he’s liking his classes so far, and really thinking about his plans for the future.

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Eric and Emmilie also started serving in the Rexburg temple as ordinance workers once a week and absolutely love it. It’s such a boost to both of our weeks.

Emmilie has been busy the last few days with auditions for her choir and keeping up publicity for that. She and Eric are thrilled with the great couples they have met through From the Heart and the good friends they are becoming.

Yes, Idaho has been good for us.

We have grown as a couple through challenges and blessings and are excited for whatever the future may hold.