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Hi I'm Kia "Tilly" Westwood

I grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I'm the mother of two boys, a roller-coaster lover, and a corporate trainer.

About Me

I'm a creative brain. I love crafts and reading and writing. I am working on a personal jewelry business in addition to my day job as a corporate trainer. I studied English and Creative Writing in college and went on to earn my Master of Arts in English and Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing - Poetry, working my way through school as a graduate teaching assistant. Though my two boys and job don't leave much time for writing anymore, I love to read poetry and fiction. My home is filled with art books, and volumes of poetry and short stories. You'll find the largest collections of fiction by Flannery O'Connor and William Faulkner on my bookshelves. I spend a majority of my time in the corporate training environment as a full time Operations Trainer for a payroll company. I love the challenge this position brings as well as the personal connections I make with my co-workers. I am very fortunate to say that I have a job I love coming to every day. I am constantly challenged with new material and how to present it to adult learners in an exciting and understandable way. And while I love my job, there is no more fulfillment in my life than hanging out with my two sons, Luke and Parker. (And maybe exploring all of the wonderful scenery that New England has to offer.)

Why I am a Mormon

I was not raised in a religious home. In the summers, my parents and I would travel to Alabama to visit both sets of grandparents. I remember always going to a small Southern Baptist church with my Mom's mom. We would attend the service where the entire congregation consisted of about 7 people over the age of 80. But I loved that little church. I knew that God existed. In fact, at age 18 I decided to get baptized in that church because it was what I thought was right. But I never felt like the puzzle was complete. I went on to attend college and stopped going to church regularly. In graduate school I met my husband who had been raised in the church but was inactive at the time. When I met his parents, I realized they were very different from most people. Warm, inviting, trusting... always willing to give you whatever they had if you needed it. And they were very active Mormons. They invited us to attend church whenever we visited, and, having a mother that raised me right, I accepted. I knew instantly that Mormons were doing something right. Everyone I met was equally as warm and cheerful as my soon-to-be in-laws. In 2008, my husband and I were living in DC with our oldest son when I was laid off from my publishing job. Since my husband was in grad school at the time, we were in a tough spot. That's when his parents invited up to move to New Hampshire and live with them until we could figure out what we were going to do. Five years later, we are still living in New England! While we lived with the Westwoods, I continued to attend church because i enjoyed the people. However, I began to notice that the messages presented each week were like they were written just for me. Not long after, we had the missionaries come over to teach me. I read the Book of Mormon and I prayed about it, like the missionaries asked me to do, and I knew... I had already known, that this was indeed God's true church and where I belonged.

How I live my faith

I come from a teaching background so being a member of the church fits right into my culture and lifestyle. I love learning and teaching and I have had several callings in the church that have helped me in both arenas. I have served as the Gospel Doctrine teacher, as a counselor in the Young Women's organization, and as the music director. I love being around people and the Relief Society in church always has something going on. Once a month there is an evening event where we can do any number of things. Last month it was how to make strawberry jam, the month before that it was interior design for your own home. I love our ward activities the best because all of the members work together to make something wonderful. Just this month we had a lasagna bake-off that included a trophy for the winner (a gold lasagna noodle!). The people in my ward are always so warm and uplifting and help me to recharge my spiritual batteries each Sunday. No matter my mood when I come to church, I always leave fulfilled and happy.