The Best Gift You Could Ever Give To Your Parents

I’m sure there’s been several moments when my parents have said to themselves as they raised me, “Some day she’ll thank me for that!” Their parents probably had the same experience! So here’s my question: have I thanked them for that? Have I thanked them for teaching me humility? For allowing me to make mistakes but always holding my hand through the process of mending them? For pushing me in school (and paying for it)? Have I thanked them for always answering the phone when I call? For always providing me with new school clothes, a cute childhood bedroom, and yearly tours with my dance team? The list of what I need to thank them for is incredibly long, and as I have grown into adulthood, I have truly been able to acknowledge the love and sacrifices they continue to make for me day by day. But one I have felt so strongly about lately is to thank them for the gift of allowing my grandparents to be part of my life. That’s not a typical thought you’d have to thank your parents for, right? The last few years though I’ve had the strongest yearning to build a deeper relationship

It’ll Be Tough to Say Goodbye to You, 2017

Just this year, I launched my blog and spent many weeks traveling to Puerto Rico, New York, Portland, San Diego, St. George, and Michigan. I moved 3 times, welcomed 2 baby nieces, ran 3 half marathons, and watched my husband earn his Master’s degree. But every December I find myself wondering how the new year could possibly be any more exciting?! I thought that in 2015 when I got married, and again in 2016 when I graduated college. These accomplishments were hard to put behind me because I was scared of not knowing what was next. The one thing I do know about the future though is this: typically, our worst fears rarely come true. Most of us worry ourselves over things that are most likely never going to happen, and if they do, we learn how to survive them. In 2009, I survived a life-threatening battle with Anorexia Nervosa. In 2010, I survived being grounded from running my car into a mail box and asking a boy to the Sweethearts dance. In 2011, I survived a knee injury that placed me out of my dance team’s Winter Showcase. In 2012, I survived my first year of college (although, **DISCLAIMER**

If We Loved The Savior More

I don’t thank my Savior enough. Even though it isn’t the popular thing to do on the internet, it is necessary for me today, and especially during this special time of each year. Yesterday was my Grandpa Ray’s 93rd birthday and I love him with every ounce of my being. But sometimes I worry about him. I worry about his health. I worry that he might still carry emotional pain from serving in World War 2. I worry that he is lonely. As I listened to my Grandpa Ray’s cute, squeaky voice over the telephone, I was reminded of this story by Robert D. Hales from October 2016: “Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel was in the hospital recovering from open-heart surgery when he was visited by his five-year-old grandson. As the little boy looked into his grandfather’s eyes, he saw his pain. “Grandpa,” he asked, “if I loved you more, would you hurt less?” Today I ask a similar question of each of us: “If we love the Savior more, will we suffer less?” -Robert D. Hales I wondered the same question; if I loved my Grandpa more…if I called him more, sent him post cards more, prayed for him more…would

3 Easy Dishes You Can Cook For Thanksgiving (Even If You’re Not A Cook)

Thanksgiving….I can smell it already! It’s all about family, friends, and fooooood. I’ve never been one to really spend much time in my kitchen, but lately I’ve had the desire to be a better homemaker and learn new skills. However, after an ambitious week of babysitting three kids for a few days all while trying to move into a new apartment, I have lost the motivation to cook. Some nights (alright, most nights) cereal or Chic-Fil-A chicken nuggets for dinner felt like a major culinary accomplishment. So to slow down my life for a brief moment, I thought I’d make this quick and easy. If you’re learning, like me, these 3 simple recipes will help you round up the ones you love around your table for a wonderful and delicious Thanksgiving celebration!   Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes Ingredients: 1 head of garlic 4 pounds medium red potatoes 1 ½ cups hot whipping cream Choose at least 3: Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Chives, Parsley 2 to 3 tbsp butter Salt & Pepper to taste Directions: Place garlic in a small baking dish and roast in oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until skin is brown and sides give easily

8 Acts of Kindness You Could Give Today

I woke up at 8:28 a.m. to a text message from a gal I used to work with at Rage Salon in Logan, Utah. I quit working there in August due to the demand of my nanny jobs but she asked at 8:05 a.m. if there was any way I could work her shift today, starting at 9 a.m. She was throwing up and feeling terrible. My quick response was, “Sorry girl! I just woke up! I can cover you!” I jumped out of bed, brushed my teeth & hair, threw on deodorant and a dress, said morning prayers with Aaron, and ran out the door. Never in my entire life have I gotten ready in 10 minutes flat. It was a true miracle! I sent Alex (the girl who is sick) a text letting her know I was on my way to the salon. Shortly after she responded, “Marlee, you are a saint. Honestly I am crying because I am so thankful for you right now. Thank you. Thank you.” Now I’m no saint, she was just fuzzy from her cold medicine. But it did get me thinking: What are acts of kindness we can do for someone

Friday’s are for Journal Writing (or Reading)

I love Friday’s. Particularly this Friday. Aaron and I stayed up until 2:30 a.m. last night because, HELLO, Stranger Things Season 2 premier! I’m not big into sci-fi, or even fantasy or adventure fiction for that matter, but this show is strangely addicting (ha, see what I did there?). Because of our late night we both slept in until about 10:00 this morning. #heaven Due to the late start, Aaron decided to stay home with me today and do his school work here so we’ve been sitting at the table together now for about 3.5 hour pecking at our keyboards. Well, he has. I’ve been entertaining myself by reading my journals from 2008 & let me tell ‘ya something…I was totally a teenage girl! My life was all about boys, Target, dance, work, high school friends, EFY, girl’s camp, etc. etc. And about every other journal entry I wrote something like, “Life is good! Gram & Papa bought a condo in Saint George, I passed my history test, and… I gotta pee so I’ll write later!” Some things really never change. In my journal from Sophomore year in college, I found an entry about my experience attending a funeral

25 Quarter-Life Lessons (& Realizations)

Happy 25th birthday to me! I almost went out and took pictures in a dolled up little black dress holding gold balloons to look Instagram perfect. Sometimes as a blogger I feel that’s what the internet expects of me, but let’s keep it real. I woke up early for a morning run, packed my husband’s lunch, met with a dear friend for lunch (she drove 2 hours just to come see me. Gosh I love her), read a book on the grass in the backyard, and spent the remainder of my day pecking at my keyboard in sweat pants, hair pulled back, no make up and my thick purple glasses eating Mike & Ike’s. That’s real life for an aspiring writer. I’ve been contemplating this milestone for about a month now, and it’s made me feel a little nostalgic to think back through all the years that have flown by. In 25 years, there’s plenty I’ve realized, and even more I’ve learned. So here it is: 25 lessons I learned by age 25. 1. Life is really what you make it. Be creative. We so easily get lost in the mundane routines of life. It can be boring and

Face Plants and Prayer: Why It Takes all the Energy of our Hearts to be Converted

At a Women’s Conference I attended earlier this year, a speaker expressed this thought: “Prayer keeps us converted. It’s a commandment because He wants us to seek proximity to Him.” We are constantly on the path to conversion and it takes all the energy of our hearts to become converted, to become like our Savior. Sometimes, though, life feels like a constant face plant. See, just like this, and they hurt. We experience stresses of mortality (illness, arguments, death, financial problems, work difficulties, sleep deprivation, parenthood, media overload) that have the ability to numb our eternal vision. We judge others and hold grudges, we’re jealous, impatient, and experts in self-doubt. Each of these are referred to as our “weapons of rebellion” and it may begin to feel nearly impossible to become as He is. A weapon of rebellion in my life recently has been demanding answers to the “if’s, why’s, how’s, and when’s” of mortal life. Aaron and I are anticipating some significant changes within the next few months (change is still the only constant in our lives and probably will be forever) and we have found ourselves overwhelmed with doubts that have only led to fear and arguments.

From a Father to a Daughter, These are the Lessons I’ve Learned About Real Love

I’ve spent many of my recent quiet moments reflecting on my father and my special relationship with him. Some of his lessons come from conversations, but most come from observing how he interacts with the world, and with me. From a father to his daughter, these are the lessons I’ve learned about real love. Real love was making me Minnie Mouse pancakes on Saturday mornings. Growing up, I’d often have cousins or friends sleep over on Friday nights. My dad would pitch up the tent in our backyard (or we’d camp out in the living room) and he’d stay up late with us teaching us about the constellations, telling us funny stories, and wake up early to prepare our favorite pancake breakfast.  He’d pour the batter by hand in the specific shape each kid wanted: monster trucks, letters, and soccer balls, but I loved my Minnie Mouse pancakes and I loved even more that my dad would make the time, and the mess, to cook them for me. Real love was sneaking a note in my lunch when he knew I had an important test at school, a dance performance, a late-night shift at work, or simply felt I needed a little extra

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