Being Mormon

Happy International Women’s Day!!!

This is the talk I gave in church last Sunday. I just wanted to share it with you.

In the spring of 1842 Sarah Granger Kimball and her seamstress, Margaret A. Cook, discussed combining their efforts to sew clothing for workers constructing the Latter Day Saints‘ Nauvoo Temple. They determined to invite their neighbors to assist by creating a Ladies’ Society. Kimball asked Eliza R. Snow to write a constitution and by-laws for the organization for submission to President of the Church Joseph Smith for review. After reviewing the documents, Smith called them “the best he had ever seen” but said, “this is not what you want. Tell the sisters their offering is accepted of the Lord, and He has something better for them than a written constitution. … I will organize the women. .. after a pattern of the priesthood.”

Good Morning Brothers and Sisters. I’m so excited to stand before you today. For those who don’t know me, my name is Kaylynn and I’ve been a part of the Footscray ward now for seven years. I’m married to a non-member and I have two beautiful children who have decided they wanted to stay home with dad…for now.

Today I’ve been asked to talk about the Relief Society Moto and what it means to me in my life. The motto of the Relief Society, taken from 1 Corinthians 13:8, is “Charity never faileth.”

Relief Society Purposes…

  • Help all women to increase their faith and personal righteousness.
  • Help strengthen their families and homes.
  • See out and provide relief for individuals and families in need.

Twenty LDS women gathered on Thursday, March 17, 1842 (almost 177 years ago!) in the second-story meeting room over Smith’s Red Brick Store in Nauvoo to discuss the formation of a Ladies’ Society with Joseph Smith, John Taylor, and Willard Richards. Smith, John Taylor, and Richards sat on the platform at the upper end of the room with the women facing them. “The Spirit of God Like a Fire Is Burning” was sung, and Taylor opened the meeting with prayer. The women present were Emma Hale SmithSarah M. Cleveland, Phebe Ann Hawkes, Elizabeth Jones, Sophia Packard, Philinda Merrick, Martha McBride Knight, Desdemona Fulmer, Elizabeth Ann Whitney, Leonora Taylor, Bathsheba W. Smith, Phebe M. Wheeler, Elvira A. Coles (Cowles; later Elivira A. C. Holmes), Margaret A. Cook, Athalia Robinson, Sarah Granger Kimball, Eliza R. Snow, Sophia Robinson, Nancy Rigdon and Sophia R. Marks. The women present were proposed as the initial members and the men withdrew as the motion to accept all present was considered. The motion was passed and the men returned. Then another 7 names were proposed by Joseph Smith for admission. They were: Sarah Higbee, Thirza Cahoon, Keziah A. Morrison, Marinda N. Hyde, Abigail Allred, Mary Snider, and Sarah S. Granger. The men again withdrew as the women considered and passed the motion. Smith then proposed the society elect a presiding officer and allow that officer to choose two counsellors to aid her. They would be ordained and would preside over the society. In the place of a constitution the Presidency would preside and all their decisions should be considered law and acted upon as such. At appropriate times, the body of the society should vote and the majority opinion of the sisters would be honoured as law. The minutes of the meetings would serve as an additional guide to their governance. Whitney motioned and it was seconded that Emma Smith be chosen President and this passed unanimously. Emma Smith then chose her two counsellors, Cleveland and Whitney. At that time Taylor, who had been presiding over the meeting, vacated that honour to Smith and her counsellors. The men then again withdrew as Smith chose a secretary and treasurer. The three members of the Presidency were then ordained and blessed by Taylor.[13]

Smith stated “the object of the Society—that the Society of Sisters might provoke the brethren to good works in looking to the wants of the poor—searching after objects of charity, and in administering to their wants—to assist; by correcting the morals and strengthening the virtues of the female community, and save the Elders the trouble of rebuking; that they may give their time to other duties, ect. in their public teaching.”[14]

It was proposed that the organization go by the name “Benevolent Society” and with no opposition the vote carried. However, Emma Smith made a point of objection. She convinced the attendees that the term “relief” would better reflect the purpose of the organization, for they were “going to do something extraordinary,” distinct from the popular benevolent institutions of the day.[15] After discussion, it was unanimously agreed that the fledgling organization be named “The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo”. Joseph Smith then offered five dollars (worth $150 today) in gold to commence the funds of the Society. After the men left the room, Eliza R. Snow was unanimously elected as secretary of the Society with Phebe M. Wheeler as Assistant Secretary and Elvira A. Coles as Treasurer. Emma Smith remarked that “each member should be ambitious to do good” and seek out and relieve the distressed.[16] Several female members then made donations to the Society. The men returned, and Taylor and Richards also made donations. After singing “Come Let Us Rejoice,” the meeting was adjourned to meet on the following Thursday at 10 o’clock. Taylor then gave a closing prayer. Of his experience Joseph Smith recorded: “I attended by request, the Female Relief Society, whose object is the relief of the poor, the destitute, the widow and the orphan, and for the exercise of all benevolent purposes. … [W]e feel convinced that with their concentrated efforts, the condition of the suffering poor, of the stranger and the fatherless will be ameliorated”.[17]

The new organization was popular and grew so rapidly that finding a meeting place for such a large group proved difficult. Under Emma Smith’s direction, the Society was “divided for the purpose of meeting” according to each of the city’s four municipal wards.[18] Smith and her counsellors continued to preside over the groups. Visiting committees were appointed to determine needs in each ward. Young mother Sarah Pea Rich, wife of Charles C. Rich, recalled, “We then, as a people were united and were more like family than like strangers.”[19] By March 1844, membership totalled 1331 women.

***

Photo by Levi Guzman on Unsplash

This subject could not have had any better timing coming off of International Women’s Day last Friday. As my kids and I were getting ready for school on Friday, I hugged my 14-year-old daughter tight and wished her a happy IWD and told her I was very proud of her and how she was growing up to be a brave, strong, amazing woman. Then my son asked if there was an International Men’s Day? I cheekily said, ‘every day’. But then I explained to him how important this day was for women because of the history women have been through; how a long time ago (before Anne of Green Gables) that girls were not even allowed go to school because they were destined to just clean, cook and look after their families. How once upon a time women didn’t have the right to vote and how now the fight today is for equal pay. But it’s not just about that. IWD is all about recognizing the women in your life and how they contribute to molding who you’re growing up to be. So I told him to wish his teacher a happy IWD and we practiced him saying the mouthful. My son is in the back seat repeating the words and I congratulate him on getting it right. Then he said ‘No mom, I’m saying that to you.’…he’s catching on.

It’s so important to raise strong girls who will grow into strong women who are not afraid to use their voice. But it’s just as important to raise a little man who honors and respects women, especially when it’s hard for women to find that strength on her own. She might need a respectful man to help her find that strength.

Women are so important. More important then a clean house, a meal made, or makiing sure little teeth are brushed. Heavenly Father knew exactly what he was doing when he made us. We are daughters, sister, mothers, aunts, cousins, and wives but we are also complicated, moody, strong, soft and have superpowers. 

The Relief Society was formed in 1842, 51 years before New Zealand became the first self-governing nation to grant women the right to vote, followed closely by Australia in 1902. The United States, Canada, England and many other countries did not follow suit until shortly after World War I in the 1920s. In Saudi Arabia, women were only allowed to vote in December 2015, less than 4 years ago.

On August 26, 1920 American women won full voting rights but the ground work started in 1840 and I know the women mentioned above had a big hand in bringing that to fruition. I stand before you extrememly thankful for those strong brave women.

We are part of a very progressive and oldest women’s organisations in the world where all women are welcome.

Being a part of the Relief Society has had a big hand in molding who I am today. I have sisters I can go to for help as well as give assistance when I think they need help and mostly it’s giving a hug (of course), a listening ear, or going for a walk but we are here for each other. Women are here for each other in ways that men can’t be. Some of us are all doing the same job or have done the same job; raising little people to be big people, holding a corporate job, trying to sort out the bumps relationship or trying to put yourself out there to catch a relationship.

Relief Society is a safe space to share some of your deepest feelings, experiences and spiritual desires. It’s comfortable like stepping into a warm bath or hugging your mother.

I remember going to Relief Society the first time after I was 18. It felt weird, award and full of old ladies. And it still is, I’m just now one of those comfortable old ladies.

Being a part of this church has changed my life for good and being a part of the Relief Society has helped me change other’s lives for good.

I say these things, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Feature photo by Sam Manns on Unsplash

Being Mormon

Hello, huggable New Year!

“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been” 

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As it’s a fresh New Year, I thought now was the time to introduce my fresh new blog name.  “The Melbourne Mormon is in the process of rebranding to “Confessions of a Serial Hugger”. It’s still me though…

Back in August, President Nelson (president of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) asked us not to refer to ourselves as “Mormons” anymore. Just to clarify, we are still Mormons and our faith has not changed.  Everything’s the same, except for the nickname that we’ve called ourselves for years (read more about it here). Oh and we shaved off an hour of church starting this year.

Change is always good. I even cut off my long hair.

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New Summer hairdo in the bathroom mirror selfie

One of my favorite things in the world is hugs. It’s been said that a hug is a handshake from the heart. Whoever said this is speaking my language. I am a hugger. Hugs make everyone feel better. Quick, hug someone right now…come on, I double dog dare you.

I hug everyone…especially those who say they are not huggers and even people I’ve just met. Sometimes I warn them I’m about to hug them and sometimes I can sense they are a hugger too. Hugging is a win win.

Who doesn’t love a good hug?

Americans seem to be more huggers and Australians are more kissers. Aussies do the cheek kiss as a greeting.  So when I first moved here, I didn’t know how it worked. I got nervous when I’d arrive somewhere and the lean-in greeting would come my way. What if I lean to the wrong side? or turned the wrong way? What if an intended cheek kiss turned into an accidental lip-lock? Now that I’ve lived in Australia for nineteen years, I’ve learned that men usually kiss the lady’s cheek and we just kiss the air. Or its kind of a go cheek to cheek thing and both kiss the air. It always seems to be right cheek, so tilt your head left. But if you’re kissing a European, you kiss both sides. CON-FUS-ING. But a hug, I think, has no rules at all. Just open your arms and invite them in.

So welcome to the first blog post of Confessions of a Serial Hugger…at least that’s the name I think I’ve decided to go with…I did play around with hug-a-holic???

What do you think?

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Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Happy New Year Everyone

♥♥♥♥♥

Feature photo: by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

 

 

Being Mormon, Growing pains

Wash Day Soup–My Grandma’s solution to an easy dinner on a busy day

 

At my house, we grew up eating ‘Wash Day Soup’. From memory, it was cooked vegetables cut up and served in warm milk. I know right. I’m sure there was more too it but it’s a recipe I never asked for because I was not a fan. It was my grandmother’s invention because back then, doing the wash took an entire day of scrubbing and handwashing clothes. This soup was the only thing of hers that didn’t agree with me.

My grandma made it once a week on washing day for her family when my mom was a girl and in turn, my mom made it for us. She made it because it was easy, fast and cheap but mostly she made it because of the memories. I remember the first time my mom made it for us:

“Mom’s whats for dinner?”

“Wash Day Soup.”

“What the?”

I was sure it was made from the water she just used to wash our dirty clothes.

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 Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash

We all ate it begrudgingly but we loved listening to my mom’s stories of when she grew up on the farm. The most famous one being the time my grandpa made her drive the tractor when she was 5-years-old. She had to stand on the pedal to make it go but when she started going out of control she didn’t know what to do. Her older brother (who was only 9 at the time), had to quickly run alongside the tractor and pull her off. Once she was off the pedal, the tractor stopped in its tracks. Such a different world to the world I was growing up in.  In my mind, I imagined her growing up on Little House on the Prairie…a show my own children have never watched.

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Photo by Markus Petritz on Unsplash

Like most families, especially Mormon families, we all gathered together at my grandma and grandpa’s house on Sunday nights.

After church, we’d change out of our church clothes, have dinner then the six of us would pile into the car.  My mom would drive all the way up 3900 South, she never took the freeway. When we got to Foothill Drive there was a massive hill we needed to conquer. It was best to get a running start at it. My mom would always try to make the green lights but even if we made the lights I would close my eyes, hold my breath and say a silent prayer every single time we drove up that hill. I knew one day our old brown wood-paneled station wagon would fall backward on top of itself with us in it.

If we were the first to arrive we would score a parking spot in the driveway. Grandma always holding the front door open and greeting us with a big smile and open arms. I embraced her hugs as everything was always better in her arms. She made me feel like I was the only thing that mattered in the whole world. I had lots to tell her and she always listened happily. Grandpa would quack and wink at me. He was always dressed in his ‘coveralls’ ready to do another job around the house. He hardly ever sat still. Grandma would take us into the kitchen to make us our favorite snack…white buttered bread with a dusting of sugar on top. By the time we finished our snack the other cousins had arrived and were there waiting for Grandma to make theirs. We would run downstairs to play because we didn’t want to hear grandpa’s grumpy comments about how loud we were. “Oh Don, they are just kids. Let them play” grandma would say.

My Grandpa

My grandpa always lived his truth. He went to bed early and woke with the birds. I’m an early riser, just like he was. He was hardworking and incredibly smart with his money. Some people might say frugal but I say smart. He was never a businessman but had a head for business. He never really spoke about his feelings but showed love in other ways. When his heart was touched he was the first to cry and not a silent cry. The first time I saw this I didn’t know what was happening. The sobbing would start and finish within a minute. We all just gave him his space because in a few minutes he would blow his nose (sounding like a trumpet) and start grumbling about something else to change the subject.

He loved my grandma so much he built her a three bedroom double story house x2. He built a duplex but it felt more like a mansion. They occupied one side while tenants rented the other. I remember they were an older couple who never had any grandkids come to visit. My grandpa was not a big chatter but what he had to say was always important like, “Kaylynn when it comes time to buy a house, buy a duplex because the rent from the other side pays your home loan”, I think I was 10-years-old.

Grandma’s House

My Grandma’s house was amazing. The biggest yard to run around in, a laundry shoot,  a sewing nook, two living areas, built in plant boxes above the stairs, a big basement to make up games in, a downstairs chest freezer (all good things came from the freezer) and the way she decorated it for Christmas was magic. We spent all holidays there, together. My grandpa built the house for all of us.

They only had the two kids at home by the time my grandpa built the house. The three older kids were married and started families of their own. There was grandma and grandpa’s room, Aunt Glenda’s room and Uncle Larry’s room. By the time I came along, my aunt and uncle had moved out with families of there own, however, their rooms always remained the same. When no one was looking, I always snuck into Aunt Glenda’s room to see the big pink teddy bear and into Uncle Larry’s room to see the covered wagon lamp.

Rose Garden

My grandma had a big rose garden with every colored rose. In the middle of the garden was a statue of a little black bear. Once, I walked into the kitchen to see my cousin Heidi crying and the mom’s tending to her cuts and scratches all over her legs and arms. When I asked what happened, Heidi said: “I wanted to pat the bear”.

Sewing Nook

My grandpa made my grandma a sewing nook. You opened two doors to reveal a sewing oasis. It was beautiful and orange. It had a built-in sewing machine, a table that extended out into the room and shelves of boxes to keep her sewing stuff in. My grandma covered the boxes with a black and orange fabric. Everything matched. The boxes were full of patterns, needles, fabrics and threads of every color. On the shelf, she also had big jars full of buttons. Every type of button. Gold ones, diamond ones, shiny ones and colored ones. Sometimes she would let me pick a favorite, a treasure to take home. I would watch her sew. Fixing tears, patching holes and picking the hem out of my pants so I could get more wear out of them. She said to me. “Kaylynn, take sewing classes whenever you can. It will save you lots of money when you have your own family one day.”

Magical Doors

In the kitchen, there were magical doors. Behind them were where the makings for hot chocolate lived. I liked to help her make the hot chocolates because I knew where the marshmallows were and she would let me get them out for her.

You opened the two double doors with built-in caddy’s full of jars of jams, boxes of cookies, and bags of chips. There were shelves full of containers of flours, sugars and bags of goodies. The back wall were two more doors. You opened them to reveal an even deeper space with more shelves full of canned goods. The marshmallows were on the right. It was nothing like I had ever seen before and won’t see again. I still remember the sweet smell of her pantry and the sound the doors made when opened.

Homemade Ice Cream Saturdays

When the weather turned warm, my grandpa would turn the covered carport into a patio. He would roll out the fake grass and pull out the outdoor furniture from the shed. There were two chairs, a double sofa that would sway back and forth and my favorite a lounge chair, where you could extend your legs out and almost fall asleep. I would lay there listening to the adults talk as the canyon breeze swept through the conversation.

My grandma gave my grandpa an ice cream maker one year that looked like an old wooden bucket. We would each take turns cranking the leaver. It was hard work, lucky there were lots of us. It was always grandpa’s job to check to and see how close it was to being ready to eat. We wore that machine out and they got a new one that plugged in. I remember it was red, white and blue with stars and stripes, just like the flag. It felt different not having to crank the handle. We just had to be careful not to trip over the cord and listen to it making ice cream then. It was different but the ice cream still tasted delicious. We wore that one out too. I think they went through at least four of them.

Cousin Fun

All the best memories I have with my cousins were made at my Grandparent’s house. While all the adults chatted upstairs, we made up games downstairs or played outside on the grass. I learned so much about life from my cousins and feel so blessed to have them still in my life.

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Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

The hours spent with my cousins flew by like minutes and time to go home always came too quickly.

We played carpet tag, board games and made up dances outside on the front lawn. One of our favorite things to play on was grandma’s exercise machine. I don’t even know if it was an exercise machine, that’s just what we called it. It was like a large folding lounge chair thing, that you would lay down on and it would bend at the waist. It would move in and out. When it was in, it would fold your legs to your torso and when you pushed away or out it would stretch you backward working your stomach muscles (I think?). We, of course, used it in the way it was not intended for. Two people would hold it open while two others laid down on it. Once laying down the kids on the outside would move it up and down really fast trying to knock you out of it. We all had our fingers pinched in it so many times.

I remember coming upstairs hot and sweaty from running around. I would sit on one of my grandma’s sweet little stools near the couch and watch my mother laugh and interact with her siblings.  They were fun and happy times for all.

My Grandma

My grandmother was a journal writer, just like me. She was a special lady who always brought her family together with love, generosity and her food. She was the best cook; fried chicken, lasagne, and we would fight over her homemade rolls. She had so much compassion for children, especially the ones that belonged to her. I don’t know where she found the energy. She had five kids (having my Aunt Glenda in her 40s) of her own. Then those kids had kids. I may be out on my numbers but my grandparents had 21 grandkids, 46 great grandkids.

Once when I slept over at my grandma’s house, we stayed up watching Thoroughly Modern Milly while waiting for our hair to dry after our showers. We cuddled in our nightgowns and laughed together. She had the best laugh and was always laughing.

I’m sad that my two kids never knew her but I tell them all the time that she took care of them up in Heaven while they were waiting for me to become a mama.

Wash Day Soup

Now that I am a busy mother, I understand the need to find easy healthy meals and it got me thinking about what my ‘Wash Day Soup’ is. I think my wash day soup is spaghetti. I wonder if my children will be sick of spaghetti by the time they have their own kids to feed.

Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa for always loving us and being our heroes. I feel so blessed to have had two such shining examples in my life growing up.

Thanks for going down memory lane with me. These are just some of my memories but of course, a blog post can’t fit them all in.

So what is your ‘Wash Day Soup’?

 

Feature photo above by Jennifer Burk on Unsplash

Being Mormon

Easter is here…what does Easter really mean to you?

When I was young, Easter was all about the bunny and the chocolate, of course. Then when I married into another family, it was all about being the first one to find the fifty-dollar note hidden inside the plastic egg–An Easter egg hunt for their adult children (I’m holding onto this idea for my own kids and their future partners).

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Now that I’m older and have my own testimony, (A testimony is a spiritual witness of what you believe or know to be true D&C 80:4). I finally have the insight to sit and ponder on what Easter truly means to me…I am overwhelmed by love and it brings me to tears.

I know some of you who read this blog are not religious and my posts don’t usually tend to have a solely “religiousie” flavor to them but this one might…wink wink that’s my warning about reading further, but I still hope you do.

I’m a parent. Maybe you are one too or have a niece or a nephew–a child that’s close to you. Think about this for a minute…how would you feel about sending your child away to do something you know is too much to ask for? It has to be done, you can’t do it for them and only your child must do it alone. If this great act is not done, all of mankind will not be saved.

That is what Heavenly Father did to Jesus and the heavens wept because of it. On the day of the crucifixion. Jesus was whipped, spit on and nailed to the cross. HAMMER AND NAILED. When they nailed his hands, they thought it wouldn’t hold so they nailed him through each wrist. Death by crucifixion back then was the most lingering and most painful of all forms of execution. The victim lived in ever increasing torture, generally for many hours, sometimes for days and most of them were only tied up with rope.

But not Jesus. Hammered and nailed to the cross with a crown of thorns pushed hard upon His head. He bled from every pore. EVERY PORE! and it still wasn’t over. The soldiers sat mocking Him saying; “He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him”. (Matt. 27:42) and one soldier made a sign that hung above his head with accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. (Matt. 27:37) To see if he was still alive after a time, he was stabbed in the side with a sword. He was still indeed alive.

The sun went silent for three days. His father upset? I think so. For three hours, THREE HOURS, the earth trembled leaving a massive mess; Mountains appeared where cities use to be. Buildings crumbled to the ground. The temple was destroyed. Graves uncovered and opened up–Dead bodies everywhere! If that’s not a sign the people did something wrong, I don’t know what is.

If you’ve never had the chance to read the story from the bible. Take the opportunity now.  Click and read the story for yourself…(Matt. 27).

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Jesus was perfect, kind and literally loved the whole world (still does). He only spoke the truth, “I am the king of the Jews–Son of God”, and they killed him for it. But it had to be. Our older brother carried out the infinite atonement. He never fought them, tried to explain himself or changed his words. Broken, bleeding, dying  he said: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34).

Jesus in all his torture and agony died for all of our sins, including all the people that put him on the cross. The sins none of us had even committed yet. Heavenly Father and Jesus love us that much. He died for us so that we can be resurrected and go home to once we came from.

♥♥♥

Right now the shops are full of pastel-colored eggs, flowers, and bunnies. That’s because Spring is about to take off in full bloom in the place that I came to full bloom in…and Easter totally matches Spring. Here in Australia, we are coming to the end of our good weather. March 1st marked the first day of Autumn (why they don’t do solstices here I will never understand?).

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Photo by sergee bee on Unsplash

Here, we know Easter is close when the bakery’s start showcasing their yummy Hot Cross Buns. Except there is a bit of controversy about selling them out of season–like seeing Christmas decorations up before Halloween.

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Photo by Meg Kannan on Unsplash

Spring is a time when most of nature’s babies are born and the hibernating animals wake up. I wake up. Winter is long and dreary but Spring welcomes new possibilities…new life. Spring is a symbol of rebirth. I miss my early morning rows on Albert Park Lake as the sun came up. The best was springtime seeing all the new ducklings following their mama duck around learning new things.

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Photo by Rhys Moult on Unsplash

So why do we use associate eggs with Easter?

Eggs have long been associated with Easter as a symbol of new life and Jesus’ resurrection. Eggs are a forbidden food during Lent, making them a welcome return to the menu on Easter Day. Easter is a Christian festival. For Christians, the custom of giving eggs at Easter celebrates new life. Christians remember that Jesus, after dying on the cross, rose from the dead.

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Photo by Kelly Neil on Unsplash

For three days…

For three days Jesus’ broken bloodstained body laid in a tomb behind a massive stone that blocked the way–nothing could get in or more importantly, nothing could get out. Jesus told them He would be resurrected in three days. They didn’t believe him but they were worried someone might steal his body in an attempt to trick them.

On the third day, an angel came and rolled away the stone.

Mary Magdalene and the other women had come early in the morning of the first day of the week with spices to prepare the body and found the stone rolled away. As they looked in, an angel told them He had risen. He told them to go to the disciples and tell them He had risen.

Mary found and told Peter and John. They came running. John, the younger, arrived first, looked into the tomb, but did not enter until after Peter had entered. The body was gone, but the linens were there, neatly folded. John and Peter then returned to their home. “For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” (John 20:9.)

“But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,

“And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

“And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

“And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.” In a voice so familiar to her she could not mistake it, “Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” (John 20:11–17.)

The other women who had come to the sepulcher had been told by the angel to go tell the disciples that He had risen. Jesus met them on their way, “saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.” (Matt. 28:9.)

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Photo by Bruno van der Kraan on Unsplash

I hope you can spare a thought for Jesus and what he did for all of us as you have a happy and safe Easter spending time with the people you love♥♥

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Photo by Chang Qing on Unsplash

Feature photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Being Mormon

How is your relationship with yourself? 

By the time we rang in 2007, the tsunami had already started to pull me under. I was waterlogged, out of breath and had lost all sense of who I was. What happened to her? That strong girl who had an opinion, who had dreams, hopes and was going places. I was the one who was going to change the world! I really liked her.

I had fallen apart at the seams. I couldn’t keep a straight thought in my head. I couldn’t follow through with anything worth meaning. I was a mess. I had become quiet and insular. I faded to a whisper. When I looked in the mirror I didn’t identify with who was staring back at me. I had lost my sense of self, my mojo, ‘my muchness’—you know those God-given qualities down deep that makes you you? Those unique qualities that people are drawn too. Well, that was missing.

Who was I? I was a mother of one (back then) and a wife. I filled my world with busy mother things; feeding my baby good food, bathing her, taking her to activities just like all the other mothers were doing. I kept the house tidy, planned the meals and cared for my little family. All these things seemed to be my scaffolding—the things that kept me upright from the outside.

On the inside, what I kept hidden, was hollow Kaylynn, a vacant and confused Kaylynn. I loved my life–I had a beautiful home, a beautiful baby girl, a husband who loved me. But I didn’t enjoy being alone—I couldn’t be alone. When I reflected back on this, I was aware that this was a problem I’ve had for some time. Pre-kids, but married, I remember needing to leave work at the same time as my husband because the quietness of the house was too loud and it caved in on my soul.

I was not whole without another by my side.

What? How long had I been like this?

Since dating age, I was rarely without a boyfriend. Whenever I broke up, there was always another on the sideline ready to stand in. What did this mean? I was from a big family. Was I just so used to having people always around?

When you’re alone, you can hear your thoughts. I didn’t like being alone with my thoughts. My thoughts were not kind. If I stayed busy I couldn’t hear them because the secret truth was…

I didn’t like me.

I used to like me but the confidence drained out of me years ago.

In an effort to run from myself, I started a career, because it was much easier to see other people’s problems than my own (and what’s not more messed up than an office full of politics and imperfect humans?).

So, I’m working for Sensis, Yellow and White pages Australia and I’ve got a nice title to hide from myself behind and I was doing fine. I didn’t have to deal with my own stuff because, at work, there was never enough time in the day to get things done and working late hours became the norm. Sound familiar? Anyway, one of the big bosses started a lunchtime meeting called ‘WoW’—Women of White. Once a month we would gather in a conference room, eat our lunch while listening to some amazing woman talk to us about her journey to greatness. We had a vast line up. Entrepreneurs, mothers, CEOs, assorted panel judges, etc. The one thing we all had in common was that we were all women. I really enjoyed these meetings.

During one of these meetings, Bev Brock came to speak to us. She’s the surviving wife of a very famous Australian race car driver named Peter Brock, who sadly died in a car accident doing what he loved in 2006.

Bev Brock said something that echoed in my ears “You need to work on your relationship with yourself because, at the end of the day, you only grow old with you”.

OH, MY GOSH! Yes! It was the wakeup call I needed, she was spot on with her statement and it was not wasted on deaf ears.

There are no guarantees that you’ll grow old with the person you love. My grandmother outlived two husbands and in the end, spent her last days in a retirement village and she was happy. So, I needed to work on my relationship with me and that was that.

This was the start of me finding my own testimony and coming back to the church. I started listening to what my body needed and this is what it told me…

Rekindle my relationship with my Father in Heaven. 

Find me time—do things just for me.

Enjoy my kids—play with them not just do the mom things.

Listen to more heart lifting music.

It’s ok to spend a little money on myself.

It’s ok to say no.

It’s ok to voice your own opinion and own it.

Laugh out loud more.

Love more.

Hug the world.

Reach out to others often. 

Listen to more Oprah. 

(I love Oprah Winfrey…Come on, who doesn’t love Super Soul Sunday?)

By slowly honoring my needs and really listening to my heart, I came back to me. I reconnected with that feisty twenty-year-old, that scared ten-year-old, that lost thirty-one-year-old, that bruised eight-year-old and gave them all a voice, a united voice, one voice, my voice. I let those little fires inside me have oxygen again. I do what makes me happy not just what I think others want me to do. I’m not afraid to ask for what I want instead of being the passive one who agrees with everything. I’m slowly figuring out how to be my most authentic self and I’m enjoying the rocky journey that it is. We all need to do this for no one else but ourselves.

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Photo by crabtree on Unsplash

All relationships need weeding.

Pull all those noxious weeds that grow in your soul because they are releasing toxic poisons that want to do away with your muchness.

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Photo by Nine Köpfer on Unsplash

So what are you going to do? Reconnect with yourself? Or just keep living the same way you’ve been rehearsing?

Go on, make your own list of what you want to do with your life. What do you want out of life? You only get one. Listen to your heart and start working on one of the most meaningful relationships you can have. A relationship that won’t end in splitting up your records.

Feature Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

Being Mormon

High School changes everything

Junior High School ended with teary goodbyes. Snotty noses and group hugs with big promises to see each other as often as we could. And we meant every word. But what we couldn’t understand at fourteen-years-old, was how high school changes everything.

I grew up in West Valley City. The west side of Salt Lake City, Utah, the underprivileged side of town. But I didn’t know it was the poor side until I got to high school.

When I was only five years old, the seven of us maxed out our two bedroom Tudor style house on the hill in the east, and traded up (or down) for a four bedroom, two living room house down in the valley in a new up and coming suburb. The west side grew very fast. We had three elementary schools that fed into two junior high schools that feed into one high school. Granger High School, where we were all meant to end up.

In the middle of ninth grade, some of us ‘west siders’ had a lifeline thrown at us, well that’s how I saw it anyway. We had a choice of two high schools, Skyline or Granger. Skyline had very low student numbers and fearful the school would close down, they offered to bus kids from the overcrowded westside up to the east side of town—the Westside Greasers vs the Eastside Socs (ok a little dramatic but The Outsiders is one of my all-time favorite books. Haven’t read it? Do yourself a favour and go to the library today, right now! Go!) 

Granger High School was where my older siblings went and where I was destined to go, however, something inside me wanted more.

I had been to elementary school and junior high with the same lot of people and a change of scenery seemed refreshing. Skyline High School was up on the hill, on the rich side of town and it came with its own risks. A lot of westside students choose to take up the opportunity, but by the time the first day of school came around, only a handful of my friends stayed with their choice.

I had been nervous about high school all summer but the week before school started, the stories started floating around. ‘Don’t tell them where you live or they will flush your head down the toilet and give you a swirly!’ The same stupid untrue rumors that still float around the halls today, 30 years later.

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

I woke up early on my first day of high school. I walked down the road to my stop and a few mins later the school bus rounded the corner. With only a handful of us on board, the loose parts rattled and echoed in the emptiness as the driver drove to the on-ramp of the freeway. This was the first time I had ever been on a school bus on the freeway, it seemed completely wrong. Forty minutes later we pulled into what looked like a used car lot of prestigious cars. It was full of Mercedes, BMWs, Audis, Saabs and Alfa Romeos. My heart raced with fear and doubt settled into the empty space of the bus around us. Its potency almost making my eyes water.

We stopped right in the front of the school, right in the front! Horrified we quickly filed out, our covers blown. I thought about what my hair would look like after a swirly. With brand new backpacks full of new folders, notebooks and pens we found our lockers. Before the first bell rang, we split up with maps in hand, searching for our first-period.

“Good luck”, we said.  “See you at lunchtime.”

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Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

When I finally found my first classroom, several students had already taken their seats quietly waiting for the teacher. Not wanting to be in the wrong room I stood in the doorway, double checked my schedule and looked again at the classroom number high above the door.

Without even thinking I blurted out, “Is this Sophomore English?”  Startling everyone. One person said, “yes, I think so” rechecking their own schedule.

“Good,” I said confidently as I walked into the room, “because I don’t want to be in the wrong class.”

You could feel the tension in the room loosen and let out a sigh. Some students shifted in their seats as they chuckled. With the room a bit more relaxed, I took my seat next to a boy who was smiling and seemed nice. He was short, had straight light hair and wore a blue sweater. His name was Greg and in an instant we became friends.

Greg was from the east side and had every reason to be at this school, whereas I was a total fraud. He had the right to be confident, secure and assured, whereas I had none. Looking back on this day, it’s funny knowing now how nervous we all were for different reasons. But it was the first day of High School and so I faked it. I acted as though I had the same right as anyone else to be there (and of course I did, but I didn’t know that). I think this is where I learned to hide my insecurities with outspokenness.

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Photo by Roman Mager on Unsplash

I was one of five and my parents were divorced when I was eight. Divorce happened but it was not as common as it is today. We lived with my mom barely scraping by financially. My dad cried poor and only paid child support a few times. He called it ‘The Dead Horse’, he was paying for the horse he never had (my dad was a cowboy, the city kind though. He wore all the right stuff, cowboy hat, bolo tie, big belt buckle, but never really rode a bull. We loved him for all he was). We learned how to care for ourselves. When my mom was not at work earning a living for us, she spent nights and weekends behind her closed bedroom door dealing with stuff none of us kids understood.

Us three younger kids were feeding ourselves before we knew how to cook. Bread was our friend. I would ball up a slice of bread and pretend it was an apple. I would roll out a piece of bread like dough using the tiny kitchen utensils from our hand-me-down Easy Bake Oven. I would cut tiny cookies out of it, put it on a tiny plate and serve it to my younger brother and sister. My little brother’s preference was to take a bite from the middle of a slice, then peek his eye through the hole. My little sister liked to sit the piece of bread on the back of her hand and take little bites all the way around the bread. She could make it perfectly round right down to the last little bite. It wasn’t until I learned how to cook that I finally did #2s without any pain (seriously, no joke. It took me ages to push out a poo. Too much information? Sorry.)

Greg had a hard-working father and a mother who was home to ask how his day was. He came from a family that loved each other His mother made him a lunch every day and often with a little note. His family had a roast dinner together every Sunday. He had his own room, a mother who would randomly buy him something she thought he would like and it would be sitting on his bed when he came home from school. She would also pick up his dirty clothes off his bedroom floor and wash them. He was loved. He was one of five but never doubted his place in his family or in this world. That’s when I first saw a real family caring for each other outside of Brady Bunch reruns.

When the six of us met back at lunchtime, there were three that already changed their minds about the school. As the last three standing, we eventually met other west-siders who didn’t catch the bus and soon we started carpooling with them. None of us wanted to take the bus.

I can’t even remember if I told Greg I was from the westside or if it was the ‘Skyliner’ that gave it away but it seemed to never be a concern for him. The ‘Skyliner’ was an address book with every student’s name, address and home number in it. You couldn’t hide who you were and we stopped trying. We were what we were. Of course, there were some who were ‘too good for us’ but we got to know the people worthy of our friendship and we found comfort in that. We lost friends but gained many more. We learned how to be ourselves and discovered the world had a place for everyone.

So I did my best to blend in. I was friendly, paid attention in class and learned what I could. I tried out for the pep club (Cheer squad) with my westie friends and we made it! This was good for our confidence levels and we made some great friends from it.  Friends that got to know us for us and not what zip code we lived in. I was proud that I had the confidence to do something brave and take a path less traveled. 

Greg became one of my very best friends and we remained super close all through high school. His friends didn’t mix with my friends and I never got invited to the same parties but he taught me a lot about friendship and what it means to be a true friend.

 

Feature photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Being Mormon, Fluffy life stuff

Are you living your life in a bubble?

It’s Kaylynn soapbox time…

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In my teens and early 20s, I walked around living life in a bubble. I was only concerned for the world I created and the world where only I mattered. I only realized I even did this years later when I noticed others doing it. You know the ones that care only about themselves. We all know some of these people and if you don’t know them, are you one of them?

We’ve all been there. Once upon a time, we were all teenagers. We stopped listening to our parents because they knew nothing about being in high school today. We would drown out their voices with our own thoughts, eye rolls and blaring our ‘rock’ music on clock radios (today in my house the only difference is its done with earbuds attached to an iPhone). Most of us thankfully grow out of this bubble, however, some don’t. There are adults still walking around inside those bubbles. They’ve created a life seeing only what they choose to see (I can think of some I know right now). They turn their heads when nothing is in it for them…it is outside the bubble. They choose not to see the needs of others around them and over time…well, practice makes perfect. They don’t even realize what they are missing out on.

When our focus is only on ourselves, we stop seeing the beauty around us and I think we stop growing into the person we are meant to be.

“There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others .”                                                                                                  –Mandy Hale

 

Are you in a bubble?

Are you a Mormon living in a bubble?

Are you an active or passive church member? Are you engaged with your ward and its members or do you just go through the motions? When you do decide to come to church, do you sit in the back trying to be invisible? Do you arrive at church in a good mood smiling thinking ‘how can I share my light today’ or do you come with expectations of ‘what can they teach me’ or ‘I’ve heard this before’? Would you notice if there was someone new sitting there and would you go out of your way to say ‘hello’? Do you listen to the talks/lessons people have prepared all week, really listen and think about how you can apply what you’re hearing to your own life right now or are you tuned out watching the clock or possibly distracted by Facebook during your meetings? Do you take the time to thank them for their words? Have you fed the missionaries lately? Do you extend yourself in your calling or just barely do the minimum hoping your flying under the radar? Did you notice who wasn’t at church, are they ok? Should you give them a call later, visit them or send them a little text to let them know they were missed? Do you act on those little promptings? Do you invite the spirit in and feel its comfort whisperings or are you contemplating whether you even stick around for Sunday school because you can’t be bothered today? Do you really keep the Sabbath day holy? Is the temple a priority and part of your regular routine especially during this busy time in your life?

Even if you’re not Mormon ask yourself this…

Are you an active or passive person? Are you engaged in your life and the people around you or do you just go through the motions? Do you go out of your way to say hello or meet someone new? Do you notice when someone is struggling? Would you ask them if they are ok, or do you think ‘it’s none of my business?’ Do you arrive at work/school/gatherings in a good mood smiling thinking ‘how can I share my light today’ or do come with expectations of ‘I don’t want to be here’ or ‘How long will this last’? Do you listen to people, really listen and think about how you can apply what you’re hearing about to your own life right now or are you distracted by your phone? Do you follow up on some of the conversations? Check to see how their Dr visit went, how is the renovation going, wish them a happy birthday? Or do you just get on with it without another thought? Have you cooked for someone else besides your own family lately? Do you invite the positive energy in and feel its comfort whisperings or can’t you be bothered? Do you have a day where you take time out for you and unplug from the outside world?

You are a good person, right? You live your life by the golden rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

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But what about that person that just gets under your skin? That person at work/church that gets under everyone’s skin.  Maybe they have treated you badly in the past and you can’t let it go? Forgive? Even to be in the same room with them gets you in a bad mood. I’m guilty of having my own nemesis in my time. The people who are takers– always asking you for favors and its hard to say no. For me, my nemesis was another mother. She was the perfect mother. House always clean, a great cook, she could even sew and to me, I felt she was always bragging about how great she was and how perfect her kids were. But when I think back on that time, she never really said that. I put us in a competition. Her vs me.  I shared my thoughts with other mothers to make myself feel better (gossip!). I wanted them to agree with me and be on my side. This poor mother had no idea there were even sides. It was my own insecurities as a mother that I projected onto her.  Once I realized it was my issue, I was able to let it go and see her for who she really was. A beautiful mother trying her best like all the rest of us. I stopped giving away my energy to something that was not even real. Energy I couldn’t afford to give away.

Now I’m not asking you to spend time with someone that makes you feel less because I’m

DEAD. SET. AGAINST. THAT.

I’m just asking you to reexamine why you might feel a certain negative way towards someone. And if they have done something, is it time to clear the air? Forgive?

Here is a challenge for all of us…can you try it for at least a day or even a week? Just see how this makes you feel.

  1. When you talk to people see the beauty within. Especially those that get under your skin. Help yourself to stop giving away your energy to something that may only be in your head.
  2. Have only ‘REAL’ conversations. Speak honestly about things that matter to you. Don’t waste your time on a ‘fake’ conversation. Be real. Don’t agree with things and concepts you don’t agree with and be mindful not to engage in gossip! Engage with people on an emotional level. Get beyond the superficial. That is where real conversations start and meaningful friendships are formed.
  3. Hand out compliments often. How many times have you thought of something nice about someone but kept it to yourself? TELL THEM! We all need to hear the good stuff about ourselves, the stuff we can’t always see. Tell that waiter what a great job they did, tell that random lady at the grocery store you like her dress, tell your children ‘thank you’ for using their manners. Compliments are no good to anyone when they are kept, give them away!
  4. Try and meet at least one new person a day. For some of us, this is easy because of the line of work that you’re in but this can be a hard challenge for some introverts out there. I often meet new people through introductions from friends but try and go and introduce yourself to someone new. Some of the best conversations I’ve had are with strangers that I’ve only met once. On an airplane, bus, walking the dog. Open yourself up to all the new possibilities and wonder that the people around you have to offer.
  5. Forgiveness. Don’t let it be a stranger. Explore this concept. Give yourself permission to forgive even if whatever happened was really nasty and has left a bad taste in your mouth for years. Clearing the space around you with forgiveness lightens the heavy load that you are carrying around in your whole body.
  6. Start your day with a prayer. Ask for the courage to do what you feel you can’t. Ask to cross paths with someone who needs your help today.                                          Or if you’re not a pray-er, start your day off with something positive that makes you smile. I like to listen to music in the morning. It changes the mood of crabby tired kids getting ready for school immediately. I play songs we all know. Soon I hear them singing as they get ready and kindness toward each other spills out —of course I still have to remind my youngest to get his shoes on 10 times, but I’m kinder, less yell-y when I remind him ;).

If all of us tried a bit more to come out of our bubbles, or better yet pop them for good, we would all be much better off. A stronger ward, a stronger community, a happier people.

Pay attention to the way you talk to people, be engaged in the now, let your heart listen to what’s going on around you, slow down, look for someone to share your light with today. After all, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Featured Photo above by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Being Mormon

Forgiveness will set you free

What do you know about forgiveness?

I thought I knew how to forgive until one day I had an experience that I will NEVER forget and it has changed me forever.

After I dropped my kids off at school and daycare, I met my cousin for breakfast. It was something we tried to do as often as our lives would permit (so not that often). At breakfast, my cousin shared with me a story, a rumor, that a family member had shared behind my back. It was hard for my cousin to tell me but only told me out of concern for my family. I was completely shocked. Speechless. There was no way that what I was hearing was true.

I played it cool during breakfast and once I got back to my car I made a few phone calls. It was true. The lie was so outrageous it was hard to get my head around. As I drove home reality set in. I could feel the anger rising within, my forehead red with heat. I thought about the ‘why’s’, the ‘how comes’ and the effect it will have on all the people involved. I couldn’t believe this person would say such a horrible thing.

With tear-stained cheeks sitting at a red light only a few minutes from home, I heard the word “Forgive” whispered in the air. I said out loud, “Forgive?, no way this is unforgivable!” The light turned green and I drove on. Then my thoughts turned to…

‘Forgive?’ to 

‘Can I forgive?’ to

‘Maybe I could forgive?’ to

‘I think I can forgive?’ to

‘I can forgive’ to

‘I forgive’.

When I said ‘I forgive’ out loud to myself in my car, I felt my heart actually skip a beat and let go. In an instant, I was released from all the anger and resentment that had taken me captive. I was free. Then I heard, “Just because she is your ___________, doesn’t mean she needs to be your friend”.

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Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

This family member and I have had our differences my entire life but in an instant, I had clarity of the relationship and I only felt love for them.

Then I heard, “This is not your lesson to learn” and I knew I needed to let it pass through me. I was just a pawn, a bystander in a lesson that was never meant for me. How many other times had I miss read the situation? Mistaking someone else’s lesson for mine and trying to ‘fix’ it when it only made it complicated and messy.

I was able to honestly forgive and feel peace but also change the path of a longterm relationship that always felt like a runaway train. For the first time, I was able to draw a line in the sand and protect myself when that boundary was overstepped.

♥♥♥

A few years ago, I heard a story that has stayed with me. I can’t remember where I heard it from but I think I’ve retold it a hundred times to my kids and others I felt needed to hear it.

A university professor walks into the room holding a glass of water. He asks for a volunteer. Expecting to be asked the “half empty or half full” question, lots of hands went up. The professor chose a strong physically fit person. That person came up to the front of the room all smiles.

The professor held up the glass and asked, “How heavy is this glass of water?”  addressing the class. Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz. He replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long it can be held” then handed the glass over to the student volunteer.

The professor started his lecture while the student stood there holding the glass of water. By the end of the hour, the student was extremely relieved to put the glass of water down. Their hand was cramping and arm was very sore. “I felt like I was going to drop it”.

The professor finished the lecture “If held for a minute, it’s not a problem. If held for an hour, you feel cramping and soreness. If held for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer it’s held, the heavier it becomes.” He continued, “Holding on to a grudge is like that glass of water. Hold them for a while and nothing happens. Hold them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you hold them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.” Forgiveness is the key. Forgiveness allows you to put the glass down.

I love that story. Why on earth do we allow ourselves to carry around bitterness and heavy burdens that fester? It is so bad for our health and wellbeing.

Think about your life. How many glasses of water are you carrying around with you? How long have you been carrying them? Don’t you think it’s time to put the glass down?

 

Do you have a story of forgiveness that you are happy to share? I’d love to hear it.

Being Mormon

I lost my muchness, but I’m back with a vengeance.

Hello, 2018! I’m finally ready for you. Are you ready for me?

Today is no different from any other day except that today I finally feel like writing.

When I logged in here to see when my last post was, I was shocked to see that it was…one, two, three, four, five…FIVE MONTHS AGO!

Apologies.

Apologies to myself (and to you). If I want to call myself a writer, I must show up and do the work. I’ve not posted because my writings not been ‘worthy’ of a post but that’s just the excuse I’ve been feeding myself.

The truth is I lost my muchness. Sometimes that happens to me…

depression

dɪˈprɛʃ(ə)n/

noun 

feelings of severe despondency and dejection. “Self-doubt creeps in and that swiftly turns to depression”.

That dreaded word that I hate using to describe myself. But just like Alice, I got through my darkness and my muchness has returned…thank goodness! Phew!

So my secret is out. Sometimes I get sad and my muchness drains out of me but what I’ve learned as I get older is we all have our moments of unwellness and don’t let it define who you really are.

So I ride the dark wave as best as I can. I try my best to do all the “healthy” things and I stop looking at Facebook. I trim my life down to the basic necessities and cut out all the extras (like feeling the need to keep up with my blog), until one day I wake up and I feel like me again. I want to shout from the rooftops…

“I’M BACK BABY!”

So this is just a short post to say Thank you.

Thank you for still following me.

Thank you for your patience and thank you for not giving up on me. The last half of 2017 kicked my butt a little but it didn’t defeat me.

♥, Kaylynn

 

 

 

Being Mormon

Living my truth – This Mormon is voting YES!

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Live your truth.

This is the only way to be and here is my truth.

I grew up in a loving home full of chaos, tragedy and heartache. Attending church each week gave us stability. It gave me something strong to hold onto. But I’ve always been the type of person who cared too much about what everyone thinks. I need to be liked and being a Mormon was not always the cool or popular choice. Even in Utah where Mormons grow on trees, there was still pressure to be different and it got the better of me. One day my family just stopped going to church and instead of being the encouraging one, I went with the flow, secretly happy I could now sleep in on Sundays. Maybe we were sick of being the ones without the pretty church clothes or being the ones who were always late or had enough of being the poor ones that benefited from fast offerings. I was a Beehive but never a Mia maid or Laurel.

Going to church doesn’t come easy for anyone. You need to put the effort in. Who wouldn’t want to just take the easier option? In my family effort was getting up to change the TV channel. For my mom effort was getting five little kids ready for church. Harder still was convincing five older kids to go to church. (Mom, I am now at this stage with my kids and it breaks my heart when they chose to stay home with W). And Sometimes effort is just willing yourself out of bed in the morning.

I tried to come back a few times but for whatever reason, it didn’t stick. That is until many years later, as a mother of two, I fell in a messy heap on my kitchen floor one morning. I had a child who just started school and I had another who had just turned one. My muggle (non-member folk) husband, came downstairs ready for work to find me sitting on the kitchen floor crying uncontrollably over a half-empty box of cereal. I had completely lost the plot.

At that moment, I felt how invisible I had become in my own life. Call it sadness. Call it depression. Call it anxiety. But the truth was I was spiritually starving myself and denying myself what I needed in life. I let the world tell me who I was and I listened, I believed it and fell flat on my face.

What I now know for sure is this…

I need my Heavenly Father, I need to say my heartfelt prayers out loud, I need to read my scriptures daily and I need to push my reset button every Sunday by taking the sacrament and attending my meetings. I am not perfect. I am far from it. But gone are the days where I was afraid to move from the same spot I was standing in for fear of churning up the people’s lives around me. It’s so important to ‘live your truth’ even if it means wanting different things from the person you love.

SO I CAME OUT.

I came out to myself first, then my husband. Told him I needed the church in my life. This changed everything. I was not the person he married. We struggled, we fought and amazingly we pushed through our differences. I came out to friends and what I learned was most people liked me for me and didn’t care if I chose to go to church. New friends that I meet now know that I’m Mormon. I own it. But there was a time not that long ago when I use to hide it, afraid of admitting to the world who I was. No one wants to be the weird one, the odd one, the one people whisper about. For some people I meet now, I’m the first Mormon they’ve met. I make it my business to set the bar high.

I’ve been back at church now for six years and not faltering. Loving my callings, loving the people I serve with and happy to serve the Lord. Earlier this year I came out to the world with this public blog purposely putting a Mormon label on myself.

So I know who I am and I know what I want out of life…But here is where a struggle lies within, a struggle the world seems to be having at the moment no matter what religion you are dedicated to.

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Photo by Kaleb Nimz on Unsplash

Here in Australia, we are about to go to a vote. A vote for EVERYONE to decide whether same-sex couples can legally be married. My religion tells us marriage is between a man and a woman only. I love my religion but I don’t share the same views on this subject and I don’t have too. Elder Christofferson stated that members would not be disciplined should they wish to support same-sex marriage. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XybDk3CEoHg from 4:10)

I believe some people are born gay. So if God made you that way then why would he ask you to be something different? God wants us to be happy. He wants us to be respectful. He wants us to serve each other, help each other, lift each other.

I’m not here standing on my soapbox to say what is wrong with my religion or religion in general. We need to surrender ourselves to God’s will because even though we think we know what that is, it’s really up to God to have the last say and decide.

LOVE is love and that’s why this Mormon is voting YES.

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Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash