5 free holiday playlists

5 free holiday playlists

Now that it is past Thanksgiving, I believe we are in safe from all those grinches and safe to freely and fully celebrate Christmas!

I’ve been building these playlists since July (I just couldn’t help it!) and I want to share them with you!

Instrumental Christmas is pretty self explanatory, a bunch of favorites sans words.

Christmas Party features some more favorites, but mostly pop versions.

Soothing Christmas is all of those songs that make you want to curl up in a blanket with some hot chocolate.

Christmas Classics is, well, the classics!

And Indie Christmas is my favorite playlist of them all! Enjoy!



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I Need Thee Every Hour

“We truly need Him every hour, whether they be hours of sunshine or of rain.” -Thomas S. Monson


Marissa (in the middle of the picture above) truly is an angel on earth and I am a better person because of knowing her. I was even lucky enough to be her roommate for 2 semesters. This spring, she was diagnosed with Lymphoma. From the beginning, I knew that she would handle it better than just about any other person out there. You see, this girl has an unshakeable faith and the best outlook on life. One of my very favorite things about Marissa has been illuminated even more these past few months: her ability to genuinely serve.

While living with Marissa, there is one day I can remember that I can describe in no other way than pathetic. April and I shared a room and for some reason, we could not get out of bed for the life of us. I don’t remember exactly what was wrong except that I passed out every time I stood up. April and I laid in bed alllll day being our pathetic serves. Marissa and McKinley, another roommate, came in, talked to us for a while, and were bewildered by our absolute pathetic-ness. Marissa disappeared and we figured she had gone to the kitchen or something because she couldn’t handle the amount of pathetic in that room. A little while later, she showed up with vanilla ice cream for April and steak cut fries for me. An angel on earth, I tell you. It sounds small, but it was the absolute best thing that anyone could have done for us at that point. Marissa is just exceptionally thoughtful like that. She knew that vanilla is April’s favorite flavor in the world and that the salt from the fries would help me stop passing out (because of my stupid low blood pressure).

Since being diagnosed, Marissa has served everyone more than we could possibly serve her. She somehow manages to make the simplest things matter. Like a text message. A couple of days ago I told her that her text had made me laugh out loud while I was sitting in class. She responded that that was her goal. To make me laugh. And she does on a regular basis. Texts from Marissa are pretty much on the same level as Sunday naps. Marissa is the perfect example of doing what she can from where she is.

Earlier this week she was hospitalized because she caught pneumonia. Her last round of chemo was supposed to start Thursday, but that didn’t happen. Even while she was in the hospital, she was still trying to uplift other people. While I was in class Thursday morning, I found out that she had been transferred to the ICU and was getting worse. I had to fight back the tears while I was in class. Immediately I started praying and pretty much didn’t stop all day. Praying that her parents would be okay. Praying that the doctors would figure out why she wasn’t getting better. Praying that everything would work out with her last round of chemo.

I had been up late the night before finishing a paper so between a lack of sleep and hearing this news, I really just wanted to go home and take a nap before my afternoon classes. I usually go to the temple on Thursdays, but I was exhausted physically and emotionally and really didn’t want to walk all the way there. (Side note: I say “walk all the way there” because it really sounded like a trek in the moment, but really I am so incredibly blessed to live sooo close to a temple.) I remembered something that came up a lot last year. From several different speakers, I heard the same message, “make a time to go to the temple and then don’t let anything get in the way.” I realized that there probably wasn’t anything better that I could do than go to the temple so I made my way to The House of the Lord.


“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

While in the temple, I found the peace that my troubled heart had been searching for. Even though I still waiting for answers concerning Marissa, I wasn’t really worried. I handed that burden over to the Lord and replaced my fears with faith. While I was walking home, I found out Marissa had been sedated and intubated, but still I felt peace.

I went to my other classes and then found out that Marissa was only partially sedated even though she still had the breathing tube. She was semi-awake and able to communicate with her parents. The medication she was on will cause amnesia so she won’t even remember any of this ordeal. It was a small improvement and the doctors still didn’t know exactly what was wrong, but my heart was filled with gratitude.

While writing this post, I got another update. The original diagnosis of pneumonia was wrong and the doctors figured out the real problem. Her lungs will recover over the next few months and, the best news of all, she won’t need that last round of chemo. Her body is cancer free!

i need thee every hour-01

The hymn, “I Need Thee Every Hour” has always been one of my favorites. It’s pretty easy for me to recognize my constant need to rely on my Savior, especially on days like yesterday. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to go throughout life without a knowledge of the Gospel. I wouldn’t make it through the day without knowing that I wasn’t doing it alone.

A couple of sisters in my mission changed the words to the hymn, which changed the entire meaning. Not only do we need Him every hour, but He needs us. Every. Hour.  The words are meant to be read as if they are from Christ to us.

I need thee every hour
Thou child of God
Come follow me; hold fast
The iron rod
I need thee, o, I need thee
Every hour I need thee
O, seek ye now my kingdom
I wait for thee
I need thee every hour
Stay thou nearby
Allow the still small voice
To be your guide
I need thee, o, I need thee
Every hour I need thee
O, seek ye now my kingdom
I wait for thee
I need thee every hour
Thy voice be heard
Proclaim and testify
In deed and word
I need thee, o, I need thee
Every hour I need thee
O, seek ye now my kingdom
I wait for thee
I need thee every hour
Pray oft and fast
Return to me; What joy!
Come home at last!
I need thee, o, I need thee
Every hour I need thee
O, seek ye now my kingdom
I wait for thee
I’ve thought so much about this and decided that I want Him to be able to rely on me as much as I rely on Him.
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happy sunday!

happy sunday

“You need the strength that comes from faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ if you are to fulfill your duty “to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.” In times of trial you need the comfort offered in the holy scriptures, which assure you that when you have the shield of faith you will “be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ prepares you for whatever life brings. This kind of faith prepares you to deal with life’s opportunities—to take advantage of those that are received and to persist through the disappointments of those that are lost.”

-Dallin H. Oaks

read more here

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act accordingly | the whole story


I am constantly inspired by the simplest of things and I get ideas from the most random of places. I have random notes all over the place—notebooks, sticky notes, notes in my phone—with various ideas, some better than others.

One Sunday I was watching a snapchat story and the text on someone’s shirt was backwards since they had used the front-facing camera. It got me to thinking about intentionally printing something backwards so that it would read correctly when taking a selfie or looking in a mirror. On a sticky note, I quickly wrote down “reflected words” and moved on to something else.

That night when I said my prayers, the idea came back to me and I started thinking about what I would want to print backwards. I figured it would probably be some words of affirmation or something about self-worth.

IMG_7596 2

My favorite game to play is truth or truth. When I think of questions, I add them to a list I keep in my phone. I went to add a question and I saw one that I had added about 6 months ago. “If you had the chance, what message would you share with the world?” That’s when I remembered the idea of printing something backwards and realized what I wanted to say.

The next day, I could not get the idea out of my head. I was so distracted in all of my classes thinking about what message I wanted to share with the world. I read countless talks from General Conference since those speakers do actually get a chance to share a message with the world. I started making a list of what it was that I wanted to share.


That night when I prayed, I felt this incredible feeling and then this image filled my mind. I saw exactly what this project was supposed to be. I saw some of my friends standing in front of a mirror reading a book. I saw the room. And I had this overwhelming feeling and the thought came to my mind, “this is my project; I need you to help.” I realized then that this simple idea was so much more than I had envisioned up to that point. I just started crying (the first of countless tears that would be a result of this project) because I knew this project was bigger than me or anything I could do by myself. It was no longer my idea or my project. It was Heavenly Father’s and He just needed me to help out.


The room that I saw in my mind was so perfect, but I had no idea where it was or where I was going to find it. The next day, I remembered that I had seen this room before, once very quickly when a group of friends and I played a game in a building on campus. Now this building is known for being an unnavigable abyss and I had no idea where this room was. I was actually headed to a class in that same building when I realized that I had left 10 minutes before I actually needed to. I knew there was no way I could find that room in 10 minutes, but I decided to give it a try. I spent a few minutes wandering and then the thought came, “If this is my project, don’t you think you ought to ask for my help?” I immediately prayed about where to find this room and then I walked straight there. I could hear someone in the room so I didn’t go in all the way, but I saw enough of it to know this was indeed the room, the room I had seen when I prayed. I just started crying (crying became a reoccurring theme throughout this project) because it was proof to me that this really was God’s project.


I spent the rest of that day and the next adding to that list of things I wanted to tell the world. It got really long. And overwhelming. I prayed again and then I started writing the final text. I spent hours making that list, but it literally took 10 minutes for the final text to come together. I couldn’t believe it. I was already obsessed with this project, but I hadn’t really told anyone about it. I finally told my friend April all about it and showed her the text I had written. We both just sat there in awe because we knew that the text on my computer screen had been divinely inspired.


The next day, I formatted all the text, reflected it, and got it ready to print. I had seen in mind people reading a book in front of a mirror so I had an idea of what it was going to look like. The next morning I had it printed and bound. I was obsessed. I couldn’t stop thinking about this project. To give a sense of the timeline, I had the initial idea to print something backwards on Sunday, and had a printed book in my hands on Friday. It was insane and I know the only reason it came together that fast was because it wasn’t my project.

After finding the room where I wanted to film, I stalked it for the next few days, figuring out exactly when it would be available.

I went home for a couple of days, but when I got back, I started filming on Sunday, one week after this whole thing had started. Things were going so smoothly and so quickly. And then the next day I got a concussion and couldn’t really look at screens for 2 weeks. And then I had to put the project aside even longer while I focused on catching up in my classes. It was crazy working with people’s schedules, but I was able to film 14 more people over the next few weeks. Despite the setbacks, things still happened much quicker than they should have been able to. I have never edited something this long or complex, and yet it went so smoothly and quickly.


I spent a long time trying to figure out what I wanted to call this project. Remember that game called truth or truth? One time the question came up, “What is the most important thing you have learned from your parents?” About 20 different answers came to my mind, but the one I went with is something my mom has always said, “You are a child of God. So is everyone else. Act accordingly.” And that’s when I figured out the title. Act accordingly. I want people to know just how awesome they are because when you realize your own worth, you behave differently.


And now, 2 months after that initial idea, the video has been posted. I can’t tell you what it means to see it finished. To see people commenting and sharing. I can’t imagine that it means to anyone else what it means to me, but I hope that it will have an impact on the way people think about themselves.

I teared up nearly every time I filmed someone because I sincerely mean every word that is on those pages. You are awesome. You are loved more than you can understand or imagine. Act Accordingly.


If you made it all the way through this post, you are a champ and most definitely deserve pizza for dinner.

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Maryn - love love love love love

act accordingly

I don’t even know where to start. I am a crazy, crying mess right now and it’s all because of a video. A video that has been my baby for 2 months now. I can’t even put into words what it means to finally be able to share it. I want to do a whole behind the scenes explanation including the whole story of how this project came to be, but for now all you need to know is that somehow I became a part of a project that is much bigger than me. I wrote a book and printed it backwards. I had people hold it up in front of a mirror and read it. I’m so excited to finally share and hope that it will mean something to you!


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free fall printable

free fall printable | kensiekate.com

I’ve been holding this grudge against fall since really it’s just a reminder that winter is on it’s way, but I’m trying not to be such a hater. I’m buying more sweaters and designing fall prints to help get me in the fall spirit.

So whether you’re a recovering fall Grinch like me or you really do love the season of pumpkin flavored everything, here’s a free fall printable.

pumpkin spice and everything nice

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why I served a mission even though I didn’t want to


I was 18 and a half when the age change for missionaries was announced. That meant that within a couple of minutes, I had friends announcing on Facebook that they were going to submit their papers as soon as possible. Honestly I just remember being in shock.

I was one of those lucky freshman who went to college knowing exactly what I wanted to do. I had a plan of what the next couple of years would look like for me, and serving a mission definitely wasn’t a part of that short-term plan.

The possibility of serving a mission had been in the back of my mind. I was planning on graduating from BYU right before I turned 21. Depending on what was going on in my life in that time, I considered a mission a possibility. I definitely hadn’t made up my mind, but I hadn’t ruled it out either.


After the announcement, my initial reaction was excitement, especially for all my friends who had decided to serve. My next reaction was fear. I was not ready to jump on board with my friends who had already announced their plans to serve.

I stayed scared. I wasn’t old enough to go for 6 more months, so I decided not to worry about it too much, but it was such a prevalent topic, that it was hard to ignore. My gut feeling was that I did not want to serve a mission. I don’t think I ever admitted this out loud because it seemed so selfish. The Gospel had brought me so much happiness. Why wouldn’t I want to share that with others? I felt so guilty, but that desire just wasn’t there.


Over the next month or so, I felt little nudges and the topic of serving a mission always seemed to come up. I purposefully didn’t pray to ask God if I should serve because I wasn’t ready for an answer.

Finally it got to the point where I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I had felt so many promptings and at that point, I was pretty sure God wanted me to serve a mission. I was terrified to pray, since I pretty much knew what the answer would be.

My dad scheduled a doctor’s appointment for me, one of the first steps of the process of submitting mission papers. I guess at that point I had decided to start the process, hoping that as I did so, I would feel a desire to go.


The first week of December, I finally humbled myself enough to pray.

All my life I had been taught that the spirit speaks in a still, small voice. When I prayed to ask Heavenly Father if I should serve a mission, I couldn’t even finish the question before I heard a booming “YES!” There were times in my life where I wasn’t sure how to recognize answers to my prayers, but this time there was no denying it. I just started to cry because I knew without a doubt that Heavenly Father wanted me to go on a mission, but I was still so scared.


I met with my bishop and then a couple of weeks after I said that prayer, my world was rocked. On my parent’s anniversary, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Surely the Lord wouldn’t want me to leave given this news, so I decided to pray again. Once again, before I could finish the question, I heard the same “YES!” The spirit literally yelled at me. I know that’s not how people commonly describe the spirit, but I think God knew I was going to need a very clear answer in order to have the faith to actually go on a mission.

I continued the process of filling out the paperwork and meeting with my bishop. Honestly, I think in the back of my mind, I was still hoping that this would be a situation like Abraham’s. I thought maybe the Lord was testing my willingness and then He would say, “never mind. You don’t actually need to serve a mission, but thanks for trusting me.”

That wasn’t the case.


The process was long and there were a lot of hiccups, but finally I received a call on May 8th to the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission. When I opened my call, I was hoping for an overwhelming feeling to come over me that would lead to a strong desire to go.

That wasn’t the case.

I was emotional and excited, but I was still scared out of my mind.

Ultimately I had decided to go because I knew without a doubt that God wanted me to. I was hoping that the strong desire that I had seen in so many of my friends would come, but it didn’t. I knew serving a mission would be one of the hardest experiences of my life. I knew that I had better come up with a good reason for why I was going, if I wasn’t going because I wanted to.


I remember reading my patriarchal blessing one night. It mentions my “many, many children.” That night I decided that if I wasn’t going to serve for me, I was going to serve for them and because God wanted me to.

“When you have a good enough why, you can bear any how.”

My future children became the why. Whenever I was scared, I just thought about how much I want to be a wife and mother.


Up until the day I went to the MTC, I still did not want to serve a mission. If it had been completely up to me, I wouldn’t have. But it wasn’t up to me. It was up to God and the plan He had for me. I wanted to follow that plan and so, even though I was scared out of my mind, I left my family at the curb of the MTC for what would be one of the hardest, greatest experiences of my life.

The lessons that I learned while serving absolutely taught me how to be a better mother. They also taught me to be a better member of the Church, and ultimately, a better disciple of Christ.

I know that serving a mission is not for everyone. I know that God has a customized curriculum for each of us, meant to shape us into what He wants us to be. I also know that God wanted me to serve. Whatever it is that God asks of us, knowing the why helps us get through the how. 




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Holly - When we submit to God’s will miraculous things beyond our comprehension occur. X

Lori Hinsdale - I loved this post! I was one of those missionaries too! When people asked me why I was serving (and this was back in the 21 year old days) I would like “ummm….because God wants me to? Even though I hate skirts” :) I learned more in those 18 months than I did before or in the years since. I actually feel a little sad for people who don’t serve- it’s not the path for every girl- I know that- but you learn so much and there are few opportunities in life for such intense personal an spiritual growth. Thanks for serving! I live in the PPM and work with the sisters all the time! What areas did you serve in? :)

kensiekate - Yes there are definitely lessons you learn as a missionary that you just wouldn’t any other way! I served in West Philadelphia.

if you have a good enough why



Scenario A: Someone asks me to do 1000 pushups for $10. There’s not a snowball’s chance in h*ll that I’m going to do 1000 pushups for $10.

Scenario B: Someone asks me to do 1000 pushups for $10 million. I start figuring out how to do 1000 pushups.

So what changed? The task remained the same, 1000 pushups, but the reward increased. My desire to fulfill the requirement came only when I saw the higher reward.

 If you have a good enough why, you can bear any how. 

My application for graduation got approved yesterday. The next 6 months are going to be pretty brutal. I have a lot of work to make up from missing so much school and I’m taking a lot of intense classes next semester. But knowing that I’ll graduate makes whatever it takes worth it. All of the long days and late nights will fade away once I have that pretty little diploma in my hands. Right now I have a pretty good why, so I’m willing to do whatever how it takes to get there.

Our relationship with God involves a similar principle.

When we don’t understand the reasons behind them, the commandments of God can seem like burdens and limitations.

But when we learn what God promises in return for keeping those commandments, we do our best to do what He has asked of us.

We are willing to keep God’s commandments only when we  learn how high the rewards are in relation to what God asks of us.

What God has promised us is worth a whole lot more than 10 million dollars. He has promised us that our families can be together forever. That we can be exalted and live in His presence. Those are the most incredible whys which means they’re going to require some hard, but oh-so-worth-it hows. 

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Why are you worried?

why are you worried-01

Last month I got a pretty nasty concussion. I hit my head on the ground hard enough that there were mic-fractures in the back of my head and my physical therapist thinks I broke my neck in a couple places. The hardest part was not being able to do anything and worrying about all the things I wasn’t able to do. For a couple weeks, I couldn’t look at my phone, read, watch TV, be around a lot of people, be anywhere loud, or have stimulating conversations. Basically I just slept a whole lot. I spent a fair amount of time worrying about school and how on earth I was going to catch up. Even though I knew everything would work out, I was frustrated that it was taking so long to recover and I just wanted to be able to do things again.

While I was watching General Conference, there were so many messages that felt like they were just for me, but one in particular has continued to stand out. While listening to this talk, I could hear a voice in my head saying “Why are you worrying? Don’t you think I know what’s going on? I will take care of you.”

As much comfort as that brought, that is not to say that the last couple of weeks have been devoid of stress. Finally returning to classes has been an adventure in patience with myself and the physical limitations I’m facing. It’s been a crazy time trying to figure out if I am still on track to graduate in April. Though the rest of this semester won’t be easy, the words keep coming to my mind, “why are you worried? I’ve got this handled.”

Now normally I am one to ask “What’s the best that could happen?” but when I went back to classes, I asked myself, “What is the worst that could happen?” The worst would be that my brain can’t handle this and I drop out of college. I realized that if that really is the worst thing, then it’s all going to be okay. I don’t need a degree to do what I want. I’m learning things at college that I probably wouldn’t learn any other way, but I don’t need a degree. Not that actually dropping out is a prominent possibility at the moment, but it’s comforting to know that the worst isn’t all that bad.

No matter what comes next, I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and He has certain lessons He wants me to learn from all this. I know that He has a plan for all of us and He doesn’t want us to worry. He’s got it all under control.


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Maryn - You are amazing.