We Have Big News! (No, not baby news. I’m sorry, mom)

Aaron gave me a mother’s day card last Sunday (I’m not a mother yet — he’s just super thoughtful) but the greeting AND his own written message was entirely in Spanish! You’re probably wondering why he did that. It’s partly because he thinks he’s funny but let’s just say he’s taking all the opportunities he can to teach me how to speak, read, and understand Spanish because…. THE BENNETT’S ARE MOVING TO PERU!!! Yes, yes. It’s true. It’s okay to still be in shock because I am too.   If you’re interested to know how this happened, here’s the low down. Aaron was offered a full-time job with KPMG after he graduates with his Master’s degree this December of 2017. BUT, his start date isn’t until August of 2018. This means we have nearly nine months of “down time” after he graduates before he starts working in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. A few days after Aaron received this offer, we began tossing around ideas of what we could do/should do to fill our time before he starts working. While driving in the car one afternoon, he said, “What would you think if we moved to Peru??” I looked at him, stunned, and

7 Insights I Learned While Earning My $40,000 Piece of Paper

Perspective is one of the most valuable insights I have gained in the last four years as an undergraduate student at Utah State University. I received my share of embarrassing exam grades, worked lousy jobs, lived with roommates who never did their dishes, and experienced really rough break-ups but as I think back to it, these have all been opportunities for my benefit. My years as an Aggie have been the most influential of my life and I would like to share my 7 insights for anyone seeking to make college (and life) a valuable experience: What you do matters. There are always consequences for what we do and the choices we makes each day but what I mean is in the way of long term consequences. During my first year of college, my classes were much more difficult than I anticipated them to be but I often skipped them to hang out on the quad with my friends instead. I stayed up past 2 a.m. almost every school night with my roommates and the boys across the hall rather than studying for my human anatomy exam, and I went to basketball games instead of my 7:30 p.m. study groups. If you

My Secrets to San Juan, Puerto Rico!

It’s good to be back again, guys! As most of you know, April was a crazy month. Aaron and I were going a billion miles per hour between the final weeks of his accounting internship with KPMG in Salt Lake City and our babysitting jobs (best birth control ever!) which made posting here kind of tough. We were ready to slow down — to have him home by 6 o’clock to eat dinner together, to kneel side-by-side for nightly prayers, and to binge watch our favorite Netflix series. That totally didn’t  happen, though. We’ve still been busy but a different type of busy. Within the last three weeks, we have ventured to Washington State, Oregon, California and last the best of all the game: SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO! It was a vacation of a lifetime for us. I’m not a travel expert by any stretch, but if you were to go to Puerto Rico, these are the things I would hope you’d do. I’ve never been to Hawaii, either, but we loved the Puerto Rican island so much that I’m confident enough to say it’s probably just as good – if not better – than Hawaii. For one thing, flights

“Voices of early-returned LDS Missionaries: The Daily Universe”

“Overtime, I learned that I served exactly the time I needed to serve and taught the people I needed to teach.” When I was thirteen years old, I attended an EFY (Especially for Youth) the summer before eighth grade and my counselor had asked us on the first day to think of questions we wanted answers to. They could be gospel related, familial, or academic – anything we wanted – and she promised us by the end of the week, if we sought for answers from the scriptures and prayer, we would receive an answer. The question I wrote was: am I meant to serve a mission? I had watched my older brothers prepare and serve and I felt that experience was something I wanted. During the week, I read a particular scripture in Doctrine and Covenants that influenced my decision. The spirit was so overwhelming in that moment that I knew I had my answer. From then on, I tried to live my life in a way that was preparatory for a mission and read that scripture on a daily basis. I served in the Illinois, Chicago mission for exactly seven months. I entered the MTC on July

How Shopping At Target Taught Me Compassion Today

I tucked Tessa and Navy into their beds, kissed them good night, and closed the door behind me. I watched Aaron across the hall as he gently laid blankets across Lewis’s small 3 year old body and we met at the top of the stairs, greeting each other with a high-five. “Nice job! We had another great day,” I said. “Yeah,” he smiled. “They are great kids.” It was our fourth night babysitting the Stringham family but the first in a long time that I’d be on my knees at all hours of the night praying for a miracle. … The commotion of Sports Center buzzed through my ears as I slowly peeked open my eyes. I could feel that something was wrong. Aaron lay next to me wide awake with the remote firm in his grip. The clock on the night stand read 12:03 A.M. I leaned off the edge of the bed and unplugged my phone, swiped the unlock screen, and was frightened by the little number 4 on my messaging icon. Four unread messages. Something is wrong.  “Hey Marlee.” Whitney wrote. “Did you see the text about Krystal?” My stomach immediately flipped. I pressed the back button,

Easter Is a Time for Quiet Moments Where We Can Focus on Him

This morning I was able to share a precious moment with a 6-year-old little girl. Aaron and I are here tending for a cute family of three kids while mom & dad are taking a little TLC in Costa Rica and I woke up this morning to this sweet little thing who had a bad dream. I cuddled with her on the couch and pulled out my phone. My mom had messaged me the link to the LDS church’s Easter videos and I asked her, “Navy, do you want to watch these videos with me?” She kindly smiled as we tucked ourselves underneath the white, velvety blanket. I loved teaching her new vocabulary words like “tragedy,” “gratitude,” “sculptor,” “hostile,” and “perspective” throughout and after each two minute video, I wrote down a few of my thoughts in my blue journal. Navy looked at me and said, “I have a journal!” I excitedly responded, “Do you write in it often?” “I mostly just draw pictures,” she told me. After watching Jon’s video about gratitude, I wrote down his words: “I have so much to be grateful for that I’d be disrespecting God if I wasn’t happy.” Navy wrote, “I love

Our Last Day in Sunny San Diego: Old Town Trolley

Hey, guys! We’re back in Utah even though it took me three potty stops during the drive (sorry, Aaron) and a 40 minute detour because we missed an exit (again, sorry Aaron. I’m not the best navigator). We still love each other anyways! Before I get too carried away with life and its responsibilities, I want to tell you the last few activities we did while in sunny San Diego. Mainly because I’m suffering from vacation withdrawals and also because some of you might find it fascinating. Wednesday was our last day there so we woke up bright and early to catch the Old Town trolley in no other place than Old Town, San Diego. We bought our tickets on our first day at a ticket booth in Seaport Village but there are other booths around the city and you can also purchase them online. Plus, the tickets are good for any weekday and they never expire. Isn’t that cool? Throughout the trolley tour, you are taken through the city to seven different “ports” that are narrated along the way. Your guide tells you about the historical landscapes, why San Diego is called “America’s Finest City”, and see the

My SoCal’ed Life: Good Morning from San Diego!

We are loving it here in sunny San Diego! After spending a few rainy days in Washington State and the weekend in cold little Logan, Utah, it’s nice to be in a place of palm trees. Sunday after the morning session of General Conference, Aaron and I drove straight from Logan to Draper to say a quick hello to my parents and switch out our rain jackets for swimming suits & sandals. We nibbled on some left over Olive Garden (have you tried the Steak Gorgonzola?! It’s delectable) then off we went. Sunday night we boarded at the Virgin River Hotel & Casino which was actually nicer than where we stayed at for our first year anniversary — haha! We’re cheap. Monday morning began bright and early with our remaining excursion to California. Our original plan was Las Vegas but it didn’t take much flirting for me to convince Aaron to spend six more long hours in the car to come to…yes, SEA WORLD!! But before I get to that, we are huge fans of airbnb, anyone else? We use it on all of our trips and we are staying in thee coolest spot! It’s like our own little oasis here in

Why LDS Women Must Proceed With Confidence in Their Choices

Did you guys love love love love General Conference like I did? Wow. My devotion to God and my love toward all of His children completely expanded! I can’t remember the name of the speaker, but he was a mission president in Washington. One of the missionaries under him came to him saying, “President, I just don’t like people!” Ha! I totally laughed out loud. Sometimes it’s hard to get along with people but I was taught throughout this conference that I need to more earnestly love others as God loves and take seriously His call to “be of good cheer.” There were several other thoughts I was able to apply to my personal spiritual development but one I feel I should mention is Elder Ronald A. Rasband’s talk from Sunday morning. He spoke of the divinity of the Holy Ghost and how we must act on the first prompting and be confident in it. We dismiss or question divine council if we avoid even the second or third prompting. He also said, “First promptings are from heaven to help someone in need, family and friends in particular.” I don’t know who, if anyone, might need to read what I’m about to

“This Is The Place I Was Telling You About!”

HOW IS EVERYONE?! Oh, I have missed this — sitting down at my computer with a bowl full of snacks (today it’s carrots & club crackers) and having so much to say but lately, I’ve had exactly zero time to say it. The good news, though, and the update about us is: WE SURVIVED THE INTERNSHIP! For those who are just tuning in and haven’t read previous posts, my husband has been interning with KPMG, an accounting firm in downtown Salt Lake City, for the last few months. Let me tell ya, it wasn’t something easy but what good comes from easy things? Sure, it was long, exhausting hours for him to work and to be away from home but together we were able to find ways to keep our relationship strong and our love so passionate. I’ve been humbled by him, too. Somehow through all his responsibilities, business trips, and coming home to cold dinners, he was able to find time to nurture me and treasure those precious moments we did spend together — morning prayers & pillow fights while making the bed, to name a few. The last three months have taught us a great deal and