Two Years Later: 15 Things I Love About Our Marriage

It’s not like me to be without the right words, but it’s taken me a few days to type this one out. You see, I feel like I don’t have endless advice to offer about marriage and I can’t articulate how it has changed me over the last 2 years for the better. I have given my experiences I’ve shared with Aaron much thought but as I sit at my laptop in our two bedroom apartment listening to the clanking of our dryer down the hall, these are the things I think as I contemplate our marriage… I’ll never forget how I drove to the Salt Lake temple two years ago on a snowy morning only to realize…I FORGOT MY WEDDING DRESS!!! Poor Aaron, the first time he saw me on our wedding day I was crying, so I can only imagine the thoughts that were going through his mind! I told him the situation and he simply hugged me & held my hand through my tears until the problem was solved. I love…love love love my new last name. I’ve finally learned how to write it cute, too. We are rarely happier when we’re curled up on the

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

Marriage Needs More Than Just a “Date Night”

I’m going to go out on a limb & make a sweeping-generalization-type-of-statement: Aside from the glimpses we get online about marriage from freshly-penned blog posts about life as a newlywed, Instagram photos of a shiny stone, a perfect manicure, and an “I said yes!” caption — all tastefully filtered in Amaro, of course — most of us base our assertions, values, and desires surrounding marriage off of our parents’ relationship. Today my parents celebrate their 32nd “wedding birthday”, as Aaron calls it, and for some reason, this year’s milestone seems particularly significant to me. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched several of my own friends get married, and I have also seen their marriages fall apart. Or, maybe it’s because I am nearing my own anniversary of marriage, and after two years, I can say that I’ve received an accurate depiction of what it’s like to be married. In my (almost) two years of experience, marriage requires these 3 things: Expression of love, more than just a “date night”, and…yes, I’ll say it. Hard work. Expression Of Love Let’s face it. Most of us are not Shakespeare. We have all the feelings, but not so many words. I say that even as

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

“We are Daughters of our Heavenly Father”: A Testimony of The Young Women Theme

Hi friends, it’s been a while (like, a month & a half while)! I thought writing + my blog was on the top of my priority list, especially after quitting my day job but — HA! Yeah right. It’s not, but at least it’s still a once-in-a-while hobby. I think we need those, our own “once-in-a-while hobbies” to energize us and refocus us. Mine are running, getting a pedicure, writing in my journal (or, if I have a few hours, on my blog) and napping. We need these activities because life is full of surprises. Some are amazing, some are imperfect, but we find fulfillment from our crazy, chaotic lives in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For the past 13 days, and the following 15, I am living out my husband’s gigantic worn-out missionary suitcase moving house to house as I tend children of various families while the parents go out of town for mini getaways or work-related trips. I refer to myself as “The Travelling Nanny” because it’s who I am, really! It’s a fun gig where I’m able to meet so many cute little kids, drive them to and from school and soccer practice in a snazzy

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.

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

“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,

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