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

God Bless the Child Who Suffers

Baby Lily Ruth

The lyrics from a Shania Twain song beseeches God to bless the child who suffers. Halleluiah! Every time I hear it, I cry a little. It reminds me of my youngest granddaughter. In the womb, her backbone did not develop correctly so she would never be walk alone on this earth. I know that we all have something wrong with us, either physically, mentally, or otherwise. None of us are perfect. Our DNA may be tainted so that we are predisposed to certain conditions. God give us hope. We all need someone to hold our hand and help us through this life.

My journey with Lily began before she was born. Her birth was abruptly followed by two surgeries, one to close her back and one to put a shunt in her head to drain out extra fluid. She has had no feeling below her waist since then. Lily and her family have made the best of what she was given.

Lily was a poster child for a wheelchair company

Lily has a pitch-perfect voice and she is not too shy to sing alone on a stage before hundreds of people. Thanks to Friend to Friend, she is able to participate in musicals every six months.

Now it is ten years later and she just finished three surgeries. She has been blessed with goodly parents who have raised her to participate in many activities, no matter how hard. She has played softball, basketball, tennis, wheelchair dancing, and she recently rode in a hot-air balloon! There is hardly any limit to what Lily can do.

Lily skiing.

Lily had been so active going up and down stairs unassisted until her leg got swollen and it was discovered that she had broken one of her legs. Because of where her leg was broken, that leg stopped growing.

Lily is outgoing and makes friends easily. Her personality overcomes any obstacles that may get in her way.

Lily is very expressive in her dancing.

Lily’s father and siblings recently made a trip to the South Pacific with her Grandpa ‘Isi. For those with disabilities, traveling internationally can be very challenging. Third-world countries rarely have ramps or doors that open for wheelchairs. Lily stayed with her mother and waited for news from the islands. America is quite aware of and make efforts to help people in wheelchairs, but not all places are accessible. The LDS church just put out a video which is quite telling.

Thought provoking video.
Lily loves the beach. This was on a visit in Hawaii!

Lily’s family, including both parents and siblings, were born and raised in Hawaii. The medical care there was not sufficient to handle the needs of a child born with severe spina bifida. So, the family moved to Utah.

Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City as well as Shriners have helped immensely when she got sick or needed special medical help.

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Lily has brought so much to our family. More empathy, more kindness, more understanding, more service, and so much more. I can’t imagine my life without Lily!! I love her so much!


She has enriched our lives and make us feel closer to heaven. She recently gave me a ride on her chair lift up and down the stairs. Her parents have done all they could to meet her needs.

Lily Ruth Kongaika

We are so grateful she came to earth and look forward to a time when Heavenly Father will bless her with a whole perfect body.

Here is an exceptional young man with spina bifida who made the best of things, Aaron Fotherinham!

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

Baby Stuff on Amazon
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.

Cultures, Grandchildren, Hawaii, home, Parenting

The Oldest Grandchild

The day you officially become a grandmother is the day you will never forget! For me it was a little over 21 years ago! I was with my daughter-in-law who invited me to the birth. It was a gruesome few hours for her and I admire her strength and tenacity. When the baby finally decided to surrender (albeit the force of the suction cup), we were all in high spirits. The triumphant arrival of the first male grandchild and his parents first child and son is a moment that will live forever in my mind.

Isiboy

One moment I was just a Momma and just like that I was Grand!! How cool is that! I tend to think of it as having graduated from Mommy school. After all the laughter and tears of raising my four beautiful children, I had earned a degree sort of like a Bachelor of Motherhood. Maybe (if I am lucky) I can get my Masters of Motherhood (great-grandmother).

Grandma, Grandmother, Nana, Mama, or whatever the title is – I love it!

My little Isiboy stole my heart. I doted on him whenever he was around. I spent so much time showing him everything and teaching him all I knew. I talked to him constantly when he was with me. He was my new toy. I loved shopping for him and dressing him up. I don’t remember being this excited with my own children, but this was different – I had no labor pains, postnatal blues, or responsibility! This was totally fun!!

The only problem with all the attention I gave my first grandchild was that he became very attached to me. His parents had a hard time taking him to their own home. He would start crying when he knew he was leaving and kick and scream for Grandma all the way home. Sorry about that!

So, how did you feel about your first grandchild? Were you as crazily in love with yours as I was with mine? I feel so blessed to have this amazing experience of Grandmotherhood!

Please share your thoughts in the comment section please! Thanks!