Artwork, Beauty, Cultures, Grandchildren, Hawaii, health, home, Music, Parenting, photography, Religion

Treasures of being Grandparents

One of the main reasons we moved to Utah after we retired was to be closer to our grandchildren. We wanted to attend their concerts, plays, recitals, musicals, etc. It has been a delight to watch them participate in their activities.

Here are a few of our favorite pictures and videos from performances or activities our grandchildren have been involved in.

Isi sang in the BYU-Hawaii Concert Choir. It was thrilling to watch and hear him sing.

Princess has also sung in school choirs and has a beautiful voice. Ali’i .has an amazing voice also!

Most of our grandchildren play the ukulele, piano, guitar, or other instrument.

Jacob Tupou is into writing and loves books. He has sung in some performances at school and keeps a website going called allthewriting.com

Ileina has lived closest to us since we have lived in Utah so we have attended several of her performances. She was in a Polynesian dancing group together with her cousins, Anna and Eryn.

Ali’i and Robbie are very skillful in sports. Ali’i has excelled in volleyball and Robbie in basketball. Check out their dancing skills here, especially Robbie!

https://vimeo.com/383135198

Eryn has been learning the guitar and she loves riding her horse, Flash. She participated in a horse competition.

Zion is a good speller and has participated in spelling bees at school. He was recently in a musical and always fun to watch.

Joseph played baseball when he was younger and he has earned his black belt in karate. We were able to be there when he received it.

Izabella is so full of fun and participated in plays at school. She loves to dance and is a very sweet happy girl.

Lily has shared her singing talent in Friends to Friends and on numerous occasions. Her parents have let her experienced wheelchair dancing, sports, and being in plays at school.

We feel so blessed to be with our grandchildren during these important times in their lives. I remember my grandparents and they lived an hour away, so they didn;’t attend any of our activities.

Artwork, Beauty, Cultures, food, Grandchildren, health, holidays, home, Parenting, photography, Religion, travel

2019 Year in Review

Winter in Utah

It is always good to reflect on the things that we accomplished during the last year and to feel gratitude for the bad and the good. One thing for sure is that our grandchildren are growing up. This has brought tears of joy and sadness. They each work hard to enhance their talents. We try to attend as many concerts, performances, recitals, plays, birthday parties, and celebrations as we possibly can with our grandchildren. These thing bring us so much joy and happiness and keep us grounded. Liana, Ileina, and I flew to Las Vegas just to watch a Celine Dion concert and it was fabulous!

Our last family picture of 2018

‘Isileli has spent the majority of his time driving cars for Budget, working as a sealer in the temple, and giving Patriarchal blessings. I serve as his “scribe”. During the spring and summer months, ‘Isi and I  are usually found working in our yard and garden from which we had a good harvest this year.

Poshmark Ad I created showing some of my jewelry

I have spent much of my time teaching English online in Asia for iTutorGroup. I also started selling on Poshmark. This latest venture has been fun but now my home is beginning to look like Goodwill! I learned a whole new terminology as a “reseller” and spend much of my time “thrifting” and sharing my “haul” to interested buyers. I also sell Avon, mainly so I can get a discount on their products. I occasionally do some painting, write posts for my blog: grandma bloggers.com, and write blog articles for smarterparenting.com

Healthwise, this has not been our best year! Both ‘Isi and I are starting to “lose it” and have a hard time remembering where we put things, names of common things, how to swallow – things like that! We don’t drive at night. Getting old is not fun at all, but we are grateful to still be alive. We are fortunate to have our own personal Dr. Kinikini (Liana) nearby who has dealt with our frequent complaints and aches. My shingles returned and Grave’s disease continues to haunt me.

Desperate times demand desperate measures. We have tried “tapping”, “natural” medicine, hormone therapy, counseling, etc. Actually, we are ending the year on a high note (crossing our fingers)! Next on our calendar is cataract surgery! I remember when my mother and grandmother had that. Yikes!

A highlight of the year was attending my 50th year reunion from high school. Yep, I graduated in 1969! I got to meet old friends and had a wonderful time. Meanwhile, ’Isi traveled to Tonga together with Joel, Anna, Eryn, and Joseph. They enjoyed the time together and the kids learned so much about their Polynesian heritage. 

We visit with Dad often. He is doing quite well for a 93-year-old. Jacob and family live in Lehi so we get to see them often. They are all so talented! Little Big Jakey is writing and Zion making a computer! Wow! James Ali’i is amazing at volleyball and Robbie loves basketball! 

Our latest venture was to Arizona and this time I made it all the way there! We had a stopover in Lake Havasu and then went on to the Scottsdale area where we had a Kongaika Reunion. We spent time with all of our grandchildren during the reunion. We just had Israel and Princess visit us on their break from university. 

Lily was recently in a Christmas Performance with “Friend to Friend” This group is made up of children and adults with special needs. It always helps to remind us of the real meaning of the holidays. Lily still holds her own single solos in the program!

We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas! and a Happy New Year 2020!!

Artwork, Beauty, Cultures, food, Grandchildren, health, holidays, home, Music, Parenting, photography, Religion, travel

Kongaika Reunion Our Roots Run Deep 2019

We recently returned from our family reunion in Arizona. My favorite part of the reunion was being with most of my grandchildren. We missed having our oldest grandson who is studying at BYU-Hawaii.

We ate, danced, ate, talked, ate, visited, ate, played fun games, ate, sang karaoke, ate, played sports, ate, etc. representatives from each family shared their talents at a talent night. It was an awesome reunion.

Traditional puaka tunu.
Yummy lumpia made by Abi
Kareoke Kids

We are so grateful to those that were in charge of this year’s reunion. The Theme was “Our Roots Run Deep”. A t-shirt was designed by our son, Jacob. Scriptural references: Colossians 2:6-7: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” and Jacob 5: 46-47: Allegory of the tame and wild olive trees.

Our grandchildren that were at the reunion.
Robbie showing his bad skillz!

Rob had prepared some fun games that the children, youth, and a few adults enjoyed. Then came one game that brought out the beast in a few of our otherwise sane family members.

The game that makes sane people crazy!

Near the end of the reunion, we took photos. I hope someone will post the whole family picture. I only have a picture of our own family.

Isileli Tupou Kongaika family (missing Israel Kongaika)

’til next time famili! Ofa lahi atu!

Artwork, Beauty, Cultures, food, Grandchildren, Hawaii, holidays, home, Parenting, photography, Religion, travel, Uncategorized

Christmas Past

I decided to look back on our time as grandparents and Christmas celebrations with the grandchildren. It took a bit to find all the pictures, but here are some of them.

One year we went as a family to visit a dear friend in his 90s, Elder Glenn Rudd. He had been our Area President when we served in Tonga.

Since Lily joined our tribe, we have been going to her Friend to Friend productions which are a highlight of the holiday season. She has never been afraid to get up and sing in front of an audience and astounds us every time.

One year we had the children dress up and we did the nativity scene. It was very fun and special.

One of our favorite places to visit during the holidays is Salt Lake Temple Square.

We have two birthdays in December and one anniversary.

Christmas decorations at BYU-Hawaii
One of my Christmas Days with my brother, Kirk in Orem, Utah

A few more pictures…

Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without grandchildren! We are so blessed to have our grandchildren!

A Hawaiian Snowman!

Wishing each of our friends and family a very Happy Holiday. Christ is the reason for the season.

Beauty, Cultures, Grandchildren, Hawaii, health, holidays, home, Parenting, photography, Religion, travel

Attitude of Gratitude

As I approach my 70th year of life on this earth, I feel the need to show my gratitude to all of those who have helped me along the way. First, I know my Heavenly Father has directed our travels throughout the world and protected us from accidents, major sickness, and has blessed us with a beautiful family. He blessed us with loving, caring children and grandchildren, for whom I am incredibly thankful. I’m so glad that all of our children love and support one another. How incredibly blessed we feel.

We have been led to Tonga, American Samoa, Arizona, and Hawaii during our marriage. I’m not sure why we moved so much, but here is a rundown of our moves: (I have previously written some articles about our experiences which I will link below)

Provo, Utah 1972-1974 ~ I worked at Utah Valley Hospital while ‘Isileli Tupou completed his Bachelor’s degree at Brigham Young University – Provo. We had Liana Olivia Kongaika six months before graduation. https://letterpile.com/personal-essays/Man-You-Have-Come-A-Long-Way-Baby

Liahona High School, Tonga 1974-1977 ~ We were hired to work at the College in Liahona. ‘Isileli Tupou taught Industrial Education including Architectural and Mechanical Design, woodworking, and metal. ‘Isi became the Department Head of the Industrial Education Instruction. We had Robert James Kongaika in 1973 in Tonga. https://hubpages.com/relationships/Friday-Night-Date-at-the-Movies-in-Tonga https://hubpages.com/politics/Do-We-Want-Social-Medicine-Just-Like-in-Third-World-Countries https://hubpages.com/relationships/He-Wrote-Me-a-Love-Song

Provo, Utah 1977-1978 ~ We returned to BYU-Provo to work on Isi’s Master’s Degree. We had Joel ‘Aholelei Kongaika while ‘Isi was going to University. ‘Isi’s field project was a Pictorial Instruction on How to Operate a Metal Lathe for Tongan Students.

American Samoa 1979-1980 ~ ‘Isi was hired by the American Samoa Department of Education to work in Leoni High School as well as at American Samoa Community College to prepare teachers for certification. We had Jacob Epikopo Manuia while working in American Samoa. I attended American Samoa Community College while I was expecting.

Arizona 1981-1982 ~ ‘Isi was hired by the Pinal School District to work at Coolidge Middle School and taught MIE Industrial Education classes.

Tonga 1982-1992 ~ We returned to Tonga to work again at Liahona High School. The last three years we served in the Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission as Mission President with our family. https://hubpages.com/travel/My-Visit-to-the-King

Hawaii 1992 – 2013 ~ We were hired to work at Brigham Young University – Hawaii. First, as Foreign Student Advisor and then as Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students. Our children were growing and Liana left to pursue a degree in Nursing at BYU Provo. Robert stayed behind with Lu’isa in Tonga. Our two boys, Joel and Jacob completed high school at Kahuku High School. I worked in the Fine Arts Departments as well as in the School of Education. https://hubpages.com/family/intercultural-families https://hubpages.com/politics/Not-Every-One-Wants-To-Be-A-US-Citizenhttps://hubpages.com/travel/Visit-Hawaii-and-Catch-Local-Festivities

Utah 2013 – 2016 ~ After 20 years of working at BYU-Hawaii, ‘Isi and I retired to Utah. We lived with my father one year and then lived in South Jordan near Liana and Siope Kinikini. We were happy to be with our children and grandchildren closer. https://hubpages.com/money/Changing-Climates-in-Retirement https://hubpages.com/travel/Fun-at-Lagoon-in-Northern-Utah https://hubpages.com/family/Write-Your-Family-History

In between our moves, we have been able to travel to many other parts of the world. I believe our lives have been enriched by being exposed to so many different people and cultures and love our friends throughout the world. https://wanderwisdom.com/misc/How-to-Get-the-Most-out-of-Your-Adventures-Abroad https://hubpages.com/travel/Scenic-New-Zealand https://wanderwisdom.com/travel-destinations/City-of-Music-Vienna https://hubpages.com/travel/The-Magic-of-Italy https://hubpages.com/travel/Southern-Germanyhttps://hubpages.com/travel/The-Magic-of-Austriahttps://hubpages.com/travel/Exploring-Egypt-in-a-Time-of-Transition

God has always been in the picture as we have moved from place to place. There have been trials, sickness, and disappointments, but as we look back on our life, It seems to all have been orchestrated for our own good.

Cultures, food, Grandchildren, Hawaii, health, holidays, home, Music, Parenting, photography, Religion, travel

Our Grandchildren’s ‘Ulumotu’a

According to Tongan culture, the oldest male son in the family is the ‘Ulumotu’a. Here is a link to read more about this.

https://www.eua-island-tonga.com/Tongan-Culture.html

This role is inherited by the eldest male line. In our case, our oldest son is Robert (Lopeti). It just so happens to be his birthday this month. He has shown his ability to be a leader in his family, while serving in the Air Force, and in his ecclesiastical responsibilities.

His role (as far as his siblings are concerned) is to officiate at family activities, funerals, weddings, and special events. The ‘Ulumotu’a has the final say on these events when it comes to the family.

According to this custom, the Ulumotu’a in my husband’s family is his older brother, Sioeli. He helped to bring most of his siblings to the United States and has supported several of them while they made the transition. We appreciate all he has done for his brother while at school and for our family.

Robert James Kongaika was born October 2, 1974 in Tonga and he eventually became fluent in the Tongan language. When the family left Tonga to move to Hawaii in 1992, Robert stayed behind and lived with his grandmother, Lu’isa so he could graduate from Liahona High School.

Similar to John Groberg’s son in the movie, The Other Side of Heaven 2, Fire of Faith (2019), Robert nearly died at one point in Tonga. He had a very high fever and lost consciousness when he was less than a year old. We tried to wake him up, but nothing worked. We were frantic and the doctor (Salesi Havili) met us at the hospital. Baby Robert received a shot and he finally started crying. I was so relieved to hear his cry. Since then, he has been strong in body and strong in will.

Robert was named after his grandfather, Robert H. Anderson. My Dad taught him all about airplanes, having been a pilot in World War II. Robert soaked it all in and it stoked his desire to serve in the Air Force.

Robert met his eternal companion, Abi, at BYU-Hawaii. They had four children, Israel, Princess, James, and Robbie. They have all supported and followed him throughout his career in the military. We are all thankful for the time and effort he and the family have put into helping to keep America free and safe.

We are grateful Robert came to our family and appreciate his great example of service! We wish our family ‘Ulumotu’a a very Happy Birthday, !

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My Grandchildren’s Fahu

I am a very fortunate mother. I say that because I have been blessed with a very loving and caring daughter. Many people want a son as their first child, but I believe it is better to have a daughter first. This is a tribute to all loving and caring daughters everywhere, but especially to my own. She was raised in the South Pacific Island of Tonga and is the eldest of four children.

My daughter was born after a very long hard labor, but when I first saw her cute little face, all of the pain and misery left. She actually was a honeymoon baby, born nine months and two days after we were married.

Over the years, we have become best of friends, and at times I feel that she is more of a mother than I am. I had a very troubled childhood and tumultuous teenage years. Perhaps my daughter learned from my mistakes, but she has never been any trouble and has always been there to lift me up.

I am eternally grateful that the Lord saw fit to bless me with such a beautiful and thoughtful daughter. I see the trouble other daughters cause in their family, including myself, and know the Lord was watching out for me when he sent this special spirit to our family.

The saddest day I remember is when my daughter left me to go to university. It took me a long time to get over and her absence was literally painful. But, I knew she had to find her own path and future. Her caring nature carried over into a career. She chose to be a nurse, and I have heard from several of her patients who remark about her loving character. Now she is a Nurse Practitioner and she is a doctor to many, including me.

My daughter and her husband have been blessed with their own beautiful daughter, who is also a sweet and devoted child that bring all of us many smiles and so much joy.

Daughter, I love you so much, more than I ever thought I could love another human being. I am so happy to call you my daughter and hopeful for the mother that I am becoming through you and with you. Thank you for helping me in times of need. I can never repay you for all that you have done for me.

For always and forever, you are the biggest part of my heart.

My daughter’s new daughter
How precious and sweet
Beautifully perfect
From her head to her feet

Ten tiny fingers
And ten tiny toes
All dressed up in lace
With a cute button nose

I look at her face
And I see her bright smile
I have to admit
Takes me back quite awhile

I remember the day
Brought my own daughter home
More precious than anything
I’d ever known

Our daughters are the most precious of our treasures, the dearest possessions of our homes and the objects of our most watchful love.
~ Margaret E. Sangster

A daughter is beauty at its finest.
Heart of an angel, soul so pure, and sweet.
Daughters are one of God’s most precious gifts that he has bestowed upon the world.
Angels in Heaven do not compare to thine beauty, and grace my ever so beautiful, and lovely daughter.


Seeing you at birth brought more joy to me
than all the money in the world could ever do.
You are morning, bright, and shining,
you are noon, you reside at the highest point in my heart,
you are the dew kissed night.
You are my daughter, heart, and soul.
~anonlymous

Art by Ruth Kongaika

So, you may wonder why I entitled this post as “My Grandchildren’s Fahu”. In the Kingdom of Tonga, the eldest sister in a family is revered and given many responsibilities as well as many rewards. https://www.mercyworld.org/_uploads/_ckpg/files/mirc/brief/SenolitaVakata.pdf
This document explains so much about the culture of the Fahu.

Liana has already taken upon herself the “burden” of being our family doctor. Whenever we are sick, she is right there to make sure we get the best care. She will stay up all night with us until she is sure we will be alright. If she really wanted to, she could ask any of her brothers for one of their children (although I’m pretty sure she won’t). She also asks them to take responsibilities by preparing food or giving money for a family member and they oblige willingly. I’m so glad that my sons respect their sister and help her when they can. Although we don’t live in Tonga any more, Liana is a very good example of service to the whole family.

My grandchildren’s fahu,
Liana Olivia Kinikini



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Tribute to My Mother-in-law, Luisa Olivia Kongaika

My husband’s mother, Lu’isa Olivia Brown, was born on September 9, 1916. Her father was James Herbert Brown and her mother was Ema Lu’isa Manu Tupou. She was half Caucasian and half Tongan. She was a very beautiful lady with many gifts. She could sew, cook, dance, and she always had a smile on her face when I saw her. Besides her eight natural children, she took care of many other children who consider her their mother. She and her husband served several missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She also worked as a dorm mother at Liahona High School in Tonga and for much of her life she took in sewing for others.

When we lived in Tonga in the 70s, I would often leave my children with Luisa and Viliami. I was often surprised when I returned to pick up the children to find she had sewn them brand new outfits. She was an excellent seamstress and would sew without patterns. She could also bake delicious cakes and then decorate them beautifully. She lived most of her life in Tonga until her husband passed away after which she remained in the United States, living with her children and their families.

Lu’isa never had much in the way of material goods, but she was an elegant lady, always trying to look her best.

When I think of Lu’isa, I think of someone who was always helping others. She fed the missionaries and shared her food with neighbors. She loved all people and they loved her. She was invited to the Tongan Palace because she was a very close relative to the royal family. She was very humble and went only on occasion. She loved her sisters, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She and Vili helped many other children than her own.

Lu’isa and her husband, Vili, sacrificed many things to go to the temple to be sealed as a family. Vili passed away before the Tonga Nuku’alofa Temple was built.

Her children rise up and call her blessed: her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all. ~ Proverbs 31:28-29

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. ~ Proverbs 31:30-31

I shall never forget my mother, for it was she who planted and nurtured the first seeds of good within me. ~ Immanuel Kant

Beauty is God’s handwriting. ~ Charles Kingsley

Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed. ~ Storm Jameson

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. ~ Proverbs 22:6

The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom. ~ Henry Ward Beecher

My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her. ~ George Washington.

Let parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence. ~ Plato

There is an enduring tenderness in the love of a mother. ~ Washington Irving

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. ~ W.R. Wallace

I’m so grateful Lu’isa was my mother-in-law. She was always a good example to me and our children. She raised a fine son who is my husband, and we try to live the way she and the Lord would want us to.

Sayings and quotes from Mother, I Love You by Helen Steiner Rice.

Artwork, Beauty, Cultures, Grandchildren, home, Parenting, photography, Religion, travel

Children are Like Flowers

“Children are like flowers. Let them bloom by giving them your warm smiles, your soft gentle words falling on them like rain and your art of confidence. You will be amazed at your own garden.”

Abaida Mahmood

I love gardening and watching flowers bloom in the spring and throughout the summer months. I have noticed how our grandchildren are much like flowers. When you care for them and shower them with love (and food), they blossom into such beautiful creatures. This blog post will be about the similarities between grandchildren and flowers. All the pictures of flowers were from our garden or flowers I received. I will compare them with pictures of our grandchildren. Some pictures I have embellished or used another app to enhance their beauty. I also do it sometimes with the grandchildren, although they don’t need it as much! I also include quotes about children and flowers.

Oftentimes, we like to actually decorate the children with flowers or foilage. So pretty!

Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression. Children in a family are like flowers in a bouquet: there’ s always one determined to face in an opposite direction than the way the arranger desires.

Some children get crowded out, just like some flowers!

I enjoyed putting this post together, especially seeing my beautiful grandchildren. They are the flowers I dream about and pray for every night.