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.

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

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



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!
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.

Uncategorized

Christmas Family Pajama Tradition

Christmas Family Pajama Tradition

Many families have a tradition of getting new pajamas or nightgowns every Christmas. These nighties are given on Christmas Eve, so they can be worn during the gift opening on Christmas morning.

You may have a tradition similar to this. Christmas traditions help bind the family together. Some industrious women enjoy making new pajamas for the holiday, or they can be purchased quite inexpensively.

Parenting

A Voice of Warning

To me that means many different things. We are daily bombarded by different “voices of warning” . The media is full of them – newspapers, TV talk shows, talk radio, financial, political and weather news.

To the latter-day saints, the Book of Mormon is a voice of warning to this generation. It warns us against pride, indifference, procrastination, the dangers of false traditions, hypocrisy, and unchastity. Moroni’s last words to the members of the Church are written as a voice of warning.

http://hubpages.com/hub/A-Voice-of-Warning

home

Keep the Lower Lights Burning

http://hubpages.com/hub/You-Keep-the-Lower-Lights-Burning

We must keep our homes sacred so they may be the lower lights in our lives.

Each Sunday I try to spend my time in worship. It is not always easy to set aside the worries and work of the week, but we are told to rest on the Sabbath from our labors.

One message that I enjoyed learning about in church was regarding Lower Lights . We often sing a hymn entitled “Brightly Beams our Father’s Mercy” that did not originate in our church, but has a profound meaning.

There is a story behind the hymn, and I will share it here.

Parenting

How to Connect with Your School Aged Children

Reword your questions

As a parent, you need to be there for your children to help alleviate the anxiety they are experiencing. But, instead of asking straight out what they are worried about, think about rewording your question. Ask them what their friends are worried about.They may share more with you if you approach it indirectly.

Visit the school before school starts

Some kids have difficulty with new situations, and may need more help getting adjusted than others. For these children, it may be best to visit the school before it starts and invite a friend to go with them. At least, then they will will be somewhat familiar with the facilities.

Some teachers will meet with students prior to school beginning and give them a little tour of their classroom so they can get an idea what to expect.

Parents can share some of their personal experiences such as what they remember about starting school in a new place. Also tell them stories of the fun things you remember about school and making new friends.

Making friends

Some children have difficulty making new friends. It would be good to make the teacher aware so that they can arrange a buddy for them to do activities together. That way they will not feel totally alone.

Letting go

Parents sometimes have as hard a time letting their child go to kindergarten as their child does leaving them. It is up to the parent to help them feel confident. A friend of mine was quite sad that her oldest son was going to go to kindergarten. He became worried about his mother and told her “don’t worry Mommy, I will come back from school, and we can spend time together and I will help you.” Put on a brave face and give them a big smile telling them how proud you are of them.

Transitions

One of the biggest transitions seems to be when children advance to middle school. They go from being in only one classroom for the bulk of the day, to going to several classes with many different teachers.

Then again, when students start into high school, with their hormones increasing, their insecurities seem to resurface. At this age, their biggest issue seems to be trying to figure out their own identity. They try to find which group they fit in with.

Their peers become more important. Family should still be important, and it will be if the child is given the love and security from the parents they need, without being overbearing. They may have more relationship problems with friends and family members. Adolescence is usually the time that anxiety disorders are made manifest, some of which may need intervention with a specialist.

Individual Needs

Be aware of the child’s unique personality. You cannot treat all of your children the same and get the same results. Get to know what sets them off, so you can know when to step in and alleviate their fears, before the problem becomes clinical.

Make time for them

With the number of working mothers and fathers in this difficult economy, it takes extra effort to develop a rapport with your child so they trust you with their problems. If you act interested and try to connect on a daily basis, without getting upset, you will be more successful.

Many times it is difficult for children to verbalize what they are feeling. You may need to approach them when they are doing something they enjoy, rather than when they are stressed, to get the best answers.

Parents should try to play with their children a few minutes each day on an individual basis. Let them take the lead. Do not be judgmental or critical until you have am ample understanding of their feelings about a subject. You can then navigate their child’s emotions and prevent behavioral and conduct problems.

Difficult Behavior

If your child is acting out, or has behavioral problems, it could be just the back-to-school anxiety, or it could be something else. If it persists and interferes with their ability to function, you can have your child evaluated by a child psychiatrist. You can even go as a family to have family counseling. The child will usually react positively knowing they are being supported by a loving family.

If they are having difficulty fitting in socially, or having no academic success in their class, you need to catch it early, and try to help them before it affects their desire to go to school.

Establish a routine

If the child knows what is expected of them, they will most likely try to follow your schedule. Making sure they have a study time, meal time, chore time, play time and bed time will help them get in a good routine.

If the child knows where all of their things belong including their backpack, clothes, shoes, books and supplies, they will not be stressed unnecessarily. You can get things prepared before they go to sleep the night before so they will be in a good mood when they leave your home.

You may need to limit television, computers and video game use to help your child do better in school as well as finding time to be with friends more.

Some children need extra help getting ready for school, so it will not help if you are anxious yourself, but speak in a calm controlled way, and be as supportive as possible.

Conclusion

A child will be more likely to succeed if they are supported in their efforts by their parents. Even with all the demands on your time, you need to take time to connect with your school-aged children.

http://hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Connect-with-Children

home, Uncategorized

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