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The Other Side of Heaven 2

The Other Side of Heaven 2 Main actor Christopher Gorman

We went to see the movie, “The Other Side of Heaven 2”, and I thought it would be good to share my impressions with you.

We were fortunate to be with a group that previewed the movie before it was shown to the general public. The theater was filled with relatives of one of the main characters in the movie, Tonga Toutai Paletu’a. The story was about his conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his relationship with his family prior to that decision and after.

Elder John H. Groberg was depicted in the movie as the LDS Mission President at the time who had served his first mission in Tonga. My husband happened to be one of his missionaries. This movie has special significance to us and to our family. Another interesting fact is that our daughter married the grandson of Tonga Toutai Paletu’a! It was very exciting to have so many connections.

We had been anticipating this movie since we found out there would be a Part II, having loved the first movie ten years earlier.

One thing I was interested in was that the same actor who played John Groberg’s part also starred in the second movie. He had hardly changed in many years and did an excellent job in both. Anne Hathaway who had played his wife in the first has gone on to become quite a Hollywood star, so they chose another actress, Natalie Medlock to play the part of his wife. I thought she did a marvelous job!

Natalie Medlock

I enjoyed the movie from start to finish beginning from when it showed BYU TV and Kolipoki Pictures. Those of us who have lived in Tonga or are somehow affiliated with it will know the significance of the name Kolipoki. It is “Groberg” Tonganized.

Us and the Grobergs

The actors chosen to play Toutai Paletu’a and his family were all excellent! The man who portrayed his father even made me dislike him very much for his portrayal of a very strict minister who would not admit his own faults.

There are many lessons throughout the movie that can benefit all people. Respect, forgiveness, love of family, hard work, the power of prayer, and fasting, Christlike love, and many more.

The fact that I personally knew Toutai Paletu’a and his wife made the movie so much more meaningful. When we lived in Tonga, when you met President Paletu’a, it seemed as if he could see right through you. He knew that I was having a very difficult time adjusting to my new life in the little islands. He told me if my husband ever gave me a hard time, he would talk to him. Somehow he sensed my culture shock and was trying to help me out.

The person that played our late prophet Thomas S. Monson has an uncanny likeness to him. I almost forgot it wasn’t really him. Kudos to the person who found him.

My favorite movies are those based on true life heroes. This was definitely one of our family’s favorites. One of the stories portrayed in the movie took me right back.

The Grobergs had several daughters until they moved to Tonga where they were blessed with a son, John. The baby became very ill and was close to death when the Queen and all the people who knew them fasted and prayed for him to get better.

When we lived in Tonga, I gave birth to my first son. He was very small and became so ill that he was unconscious. We rushed him to the hospital which was a 15-20 minute drive from where we lived in Liahona. I tried to wake him up all the way there, but he would not. Once we got him to the hospital, Dr. Havili gave him a shot of adrenalin. We were so happy to finally hear his little cry and knew he would be alright. I relived this experience through the movie.

The Grobergs worried over their sick son in the movie.

Myself, our missionaries, and my husband when we served in the Tonga Nuku’alofa Mission 1989-1992

Spoiler alert: Why was the movie rated PG-13? I was a bit concerned taking my grandchildren to see it because of the rating. The fact that the father threatened his son not to come home ever again and asked his other son to throw a piglet into the ocean (substituting the pig for his son). The other part that was offensive, and I understand it did not really happen, was when the father buried one disobedient son in the sand at the beach and then there was a big storm that could have drowned him, but somehow he escaped. The other scene is when their baby was thrown to a person from the boat to the shore. My little granddaughter was quite upset about that. Someone mentioned the plucking of dead chickens as being offensive, but I was used to that when I lived in Tonga (try eating one of those rubber chickens)!

President Groberg and his son in the movie

My favorite part besides the adorable children’s interaction with their father was when the wife of Paletu’a’s father called him a stubborn pig. Because, he was!

I urge you all to see the movie and you will come away with a new awareness of life in Tonga and a greater appreciation for those that stay true to their beliefs despite many hardships. Congratulations Elder and Sister Groberg on fulfilling President Monson’s wish of a comeback!

Beauty, Cultures, Grandchildren, Hawaii, health, Parenting, travel

Seven is a Lucky Number!

In one year (2003), we were blessed with three beautiful grandchildren! They grew up together and became good buddies. The following year we received our seventh grandchild and fourth granddaughter. Little Eryn was born in Hawaii and unlike her older sister, she was very mellow and low maintenance. At least that is what we thought…

Eryn Moana (her middle name means “ocean” in Hawaiian)

I remember when she was only a month old we went with her and her parents to Turtle Bay to watch the fireworks for the 4th of July. She slept through them all and never fussed at all. We were wondering why she wasn’t crying at all. When we felt her little head, she had a raging fever! Oh, no! She was taken to the emergency room at the nearest hospital. It was not very well known for excellent service, and our new baby was rushed to Kapiolani Hospital in Honolulu. That was pretty nerve shattering!

Eryn stayed in the hospital for quite some time. She had a bad urinary tract infection which would be the start of many more to come. We each have our trials and this appeared to be one of hers and her parents. We all took turns taking the long windy road from the North Shore of Oahu to visit or stay with Eryn during her time in the hospital. Thank goodness for modern medicine!

Eryn at the beach in Hawaii, Digital Art by Ruth Kongaika
Have a thermometer on hand for baby!
Beauty, Grandchildren, Hawaii, health, home, Parenting, travel

Polynesian Maiden

Our only daughter came to live with us in Hawaii while her husband finished school. It seemed that sea level agreed with her when she announced she was pregnant with our sixth grandchild!

I had hoped for an easy birth for my daughter knowing that all of mine had been quite difficult. Her husband was a big Polynesian man and so I expected the baby would be pretty big. She had worked right up until her delivery as a nurse at a local hospital. Because her doctor was going on vacation, she was induced. This probably was not the best alternative.

I was with my daughter the whole time while she suffered with labor. Even though she was given Pitocin to help her labor move along, she was not progressing. After much labor without a baby, (just like I had experienced) the doctor suggested the other “C” word (Caesarean section). We were both a bit worried!

By then her doctor had left on holiday and another doctor took over to do the operation. Rachel Ileina made her appearance while I observed her through a small window into the operating room. It was not at all how we had expected it to go, but we were so grateful that the baby was healthy! She was a real beauty!

Baby was ready to go home, but mother was not doing as well. They both had to stay in the hospital for about a week to get Mommy’s vitals stable.

We were so grateful for our new Polynesian maiden and have loved watching her grow into a beautiful young lady.

Hula Girl, Digital Art by Ruth Kongaika

Baby Products

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Artwork, Beauty, Cultures, food, Grandchildren, Hawaii, health, home, Parenting

The King Has Arrived

Both sides of our family come from nobility. We are royal! This finally came to be manifest in our fifth grandchild. His name was James Ali’i (means “King” in Hawaiian). His parents were living in the mainland USA when he was born. He was a beautiful baby and has certainly lived up to his name. He is very handsome and bright despite his short stature.

The King, James Ali’i

When he was a newborn, he would not drink his milk very well. His father would rock him and try every way to get him to take his bottle, but without success. He became desperate and started feeding him ice cream. Now, if you ask him if he wants to eat ice cream, he will always say “no”!

James KeAli'i with his father
James KeAli’i with his father

Here is a watercolor I did after Ali’i joined the family. I try to create something for each of my grandchildren while they are young.

Watercolor by Ruth Kongaika . Showing Israel, Princess and Ali’i.
Baby carrier
Cultures, Grandchildren, home, Parenting

Two Girls and Two Boys

I came from a family of one boy and three girls, so I was surprised when our fourth grandchild was a boy. That made it even – two girls and two boys. We were waiting patiently outside of the hospital for the great news, and that is probably a good thing since little Jakey had the cord wrapped around his neck. I would have been terrified! He was a little squirt but had stolen my heart yet again.

Presenting… Jacob Tupou…

Jakey’s parents stayed with us for a while before they stole my little baby boy and moved to TVA! I become very attached to the babies when they are little. At least they didn’t live too far away.

I remember that Jakey had the saddest cry. But, he was a good little fella and didn’t give any of us much trouble. He didn’t want to speak for a long time and would tell us what he wanted by pointing. Our second son was like that. I now believe it was a sign of intelligence as they don’t want to spare words. My son ended up majoring in Communications and Jakey ended up being a writer!

Watercolor: Baby Jakey by Ruth Kongaika
Keep your baby save with a monitor


Cultures, Grandchildren, Hawaii, home, Parenting

My Third Grandchild and Second Granddaughter

Once I had one of each kind (boy and girl), I was not very particular about my third grandchild. I was very excited just the same! My daughter-in-law invited me to the birth. I wanted to be there since it was my son’s first child. She did great and we soon welcome little Anna Luiza.

Pretty Anna

This baby was special in that she had a very high-pitched cry that even got the attention of the nurses. Perhaps it was because her mother was a high soprano or because she wasn’t too happy to be here!

We soon knew who was going to be the boss in that home! Anna was born with reddish blond hair and cute little pixie ears. She also was my first grandchild to have blue eyes (like me)! Her middle name was after her great-grandmother Luisa, only the s was changed to z. That started our Z craze! Luiza, Zion, and Izabella! Oops, I am getting ahead of myself.

The only way we could get Anna to sleep was to bounce her up and down, so we made great use of our yoga ball. Cousin Ileina also enjoyed being bounced later on.

Beauty, Grandchildren, Hawaii, home, Parenting

My First Granddaughter

After totally spoiling my first grandchild and abusing his parents, I decided that I better learn how to be a proper grandmother. I purchased some books and looked online, joined a grandparent blog, and talked to other first-time grandmothers. I think I am better informed and hopefully will not make the same mistakes.

Princess

I enjoyed my firstborn grandson, but I wished for a little girl that I could dress up and play with. when I found out the next grand baby would be a little girl, I was thrilled. However, after the first experience, I believe her mother would just have her during lunch and not invite me again. So, she was born in just a few hours while I was at work.

My husband is from the royal line in his society, it was only fitting (and also a common name in her mother’s country) that our new granddaughter was named Princess. I loved her so much and she was as cute as could be. Princess was a happy, smiley little girl, and very easy to take care of. She seriously is a joy to all who know her, even now.

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So You Want to Have a Baby

http://hubpages.com/hub/So-You-Want-to-Have-A-Baby

Having a baby or not is truly an important decision. It can be the most exciting, thrilling, happy time of your life. Having a baby can also totally rock your world. No longer is it just about you. In fact, you now take a supporting role. It is now all about the little prince or princess that just joined your family. Their demands take precedence over anyone else.

I have never regretted my decision to have a child. Actually, I didn’t think that much before having a baby – it just happened. Only married for a couple of days, our first little girl ended up being a honeymoon baby (born nine months and two days after our marriage date). Here are a few things that I discovered while I was pregnant.

You worry a lot when you are pregnant. At least, I did. I worried if I was eating the right things. I also worried if I was gaining too much weight. Would the baby be cute, happy, healthy, etc. Then there is the morning sickness – although you could have called mine the evening sickness. I felt great every morning, went to work and by about 4 pm I started getting sick. The smell of the gas stove in our little apartment made me very nauseous. I could not eat much in the evening and was exhausted. So, of course, my husband ended up finding his own dinner most of the time.

You compare yourself a lot when you are pregnant. At least, I did. I would look at others who were pregnant and compare stomach sizes after asking how far along they were. I found that some ladies have very good genes and can hide the fact that they are pregnant for most of the duration. Not me, I looked like I had a huge watermelon inside my tummy that was lying on its side. People would ask me if I was having twins and I would reply that there was only one.

You cry a lot when you are pregnant. At least, I did. You cry over your lost youth, you cry over your lost figure, you cry over your inability to control your emotions, you cry when you are in labor, then you cry for joy the first time you see your baby. You sort of forget the pains you just went through, otherwise you probably wouldn’t do it again.

You feel a lot when you are pregnant. At least, I did. You feel the sweet stirrings of the growing baby inside of you, you feel deep concern for the baby, you feel a strong love for someone you have not met yet, and you feel a bond with the child that will last for the rest of your existence.

You learn a lot when you are pregnant. At least, I did. You learn that life is sacred, you learn that every thing you take into your body can affect the baby, you learn to take better care of yourself, you read a lot of books about pregnancy, new babies and parenting.

You pray a lot. You pray that you will be a good mother, that the child will be healthy and strong, that you and your husband will be able to support the baby, that you can protect the baby from all that is evil in the world.

Before you were conceived I wanted you
Before you were born I loved you
Before you were here an hour I would die for you
This is the miracle of Mother’s Love.
— Maureen Hawkins