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.

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.”

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.

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…


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”.


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


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”.

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 from where 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 picked 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 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…




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…


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.


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.

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. ( 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.

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash