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.

\

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!

Artwork, Beauty, Cultures, Grandchildren, Hawaii, Parenting, photography, travel

Playdate with My Youngest Granddaughter, Lily

Yesterday was a very fun day. My youngest granddaughter, Lily, her mother, and I went to the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium. I had spent quite a bit of time with my other grandchildren this summer, but this was Lily’s time. It was a day of surprises, delights, and laughter.

There was a butterfly room where a guide would let you have a butterfly for a few minutes. Lily was excited. One flew over and landed on my shoulder.

Lily Ruth gets her middle name from me! She is a joy to our family and very precious. God sent Lily to us and we have learned so much from her. Before she was born, I knew I loved her! I was present at the ultrasound on her mother when it was discovered that Lily had spina bifida. But, that little glitch has not stopped Lily from making a big impression on the world she lives in and all of us! She is 10 and loves school, singing, and playing with Barbies! She also is great at playing tennis, basketball, and giving her brother a hard time!!

Lily’s father and siblings are currently on a long excursion with Grandpa to his tiny islands of Tonga in the South Pacific. Tonga is not very wheelchair friendly, so she stayed behind with her mother. So, we made a playdate to have some fun together.

People can be very curious about Lily but she is used to it, so she isn’t bothered by it. I’m so glad because it was annoying to me!

The local aquarium is located in Draper, Utah, not too far from where I live. You can more about it at thelivingplanet.com We got there around 1:00 pm and stepped into a world of wild and amazing creatures. I had bought Lily a blue dolphin and she carried it around the whole time we were there. She named it “Bubbles”. 

A crabby crab! Looking for a fight!

As you walk in, there are several huge whales hanging from the ceiling! The aquarium is huge and has many passageways into different areas. The first corridor we went down was entitled Discover Utah. It was cool! There were land turtles and huge river fish. Some fish had humps on their backs. Utah has a few endangered fish that are in the aquarium. There were also ducks, salamanders, tarantulas, and other land animals. 

Pretty jellyfish, but watch out – the sting is very painful!

I enjoyed the jellyfish display (could stare at them forever)! A running commentary about the critters and sea life went along with “oohs” and “awws”, and a few shrieks and cringes. Lily told us what she had learned at school about invasive frogs in Australia and the traps they make there. 

By far, my favorite displays (along with Lily’s) was a huge two level tropical room where birds flew around you and it felt like we had stepped back in time and space to Hawaii! The air was moist and warm. There was a tiny little sloth fast asleep in a little pouch. So cute!

Lily, you are a star in my book!

Also, there was a great wall where you could peer into the undersea world with sharks and other sealife. It is awe inspiring. 

Another favorite was the penguin window. The penguins wobbled, walked on water (it seemed), and swam to our delight except for one big chubby penguin that looked as though he thought he was the king of the lot (too funny)!

Lily and I at the aquarium enjoying God’s creations

We got to see two movies in 4D. One was about the melting glaciers and global warming. The other was a cartoon of Ice Age (hilarious). As you watched, air would blow at the back of your head from the chair! Just when I got relaxed, it would blow again (stop)!

There is so much to see at the aquarium and we loved seeing the variety of creations that God has made. The whole time I was taking video on Marco Polo (it’s an app) and sending it to Lily’s family in Tonga so they could experience some of it too.

In one station you could touch the round coral and see the stingrays and starfish (they felt like velcro). Lily got to hold a starfish! Then she wanted to get out of her chair and touch the huge turtle on the floor.

Lily loving on the turtle!

At one time, I asked a guide where the place was you could watch the dolphins jump! Silly me, that was Sea Life Park in Hawaii where we often took our older grandchildren. Maybe they should have one here any way.

Here’s Lily with an anaconda much longer than herself (cringe)! She felt bad for some of the turtles that were not moving under the water. 

Lily acting brave by the anaconda!

The last place we went was a tunnel under the water where you could see huge sharks swimming overhead. I felt a bit vulnerable, but tried to act normal for all of our sakes.

As for wheelchair access, the place was great, but some of the exhibits blocked the few at wheelchair level. That was very unfortunate. 

All in all, we had a marvelous experience! Love you tons, Lily!

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
Uncategorized

Hawaiian Holiday Recipes

Hawaiian Holiday Recipes

Here in Hawaii, the holidays mean great food. Yes, we usually have the traditional American food,  and, because there are so many different cultures living here, we also have a potpourri of other delectable food items to please all the guests and neighbors. So besides the turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, you may find on the table some Hawaiian Pork Chops, Hawaiian sweet bread, and one of my favorites, mochi. Here are a few recipes you might like to try.

Hawaii, travel

Free or Inexpensive Sights to See in Hawaii

The Hawaiian Islands offer much for the sight seeker. The island of Oahu, on which I live, boasts many gorgeous beaches and lush dense mountains.

There are many educational and fun things you can do in Hawaii that are inexpensive or totally free. We are all looking for a great deal. Whenever I have visitors from the mainland, I tell them about the sites they can see without spending too much in the Hawaiian Islands. This is not a comprehensive list, but it includes some of my personal favorites.

http://elayne001.hubpages.com/hub/Free-or-Inexpensive-Sights-to-See-in-Hawaii

travel

The Gathering Place in Lanai Hawaii

We just returned from a trip to the sixth largest island in Hawaii. Lanai is not your typical tropical island with coconut and rain trees, fragrant flowers on every corner, and rows of pineapple (although it once was the largest pineapple plantation in Hawaii). Instead, it is rugged, mysterious and isolated. The biggest challenge to the island is the lack of running water.

http://elayne001.hubpages.com/hub/The-Gathering-Place-in-Lanai-Hawaii

Hawaii

Volcanic Smog Affecting the Air in Hawaii

They are very fascinating to watch as the lava pours out of the vents and makes it way down the rocky slopes. I have traveled to the Volcano National Park and gone to the water’s edge to observe what happens when the lava meets the sea. At night it can be a very beautiful sight as the steam rises several feet into the air. We must be aware of the dangers also.

The sulfur dioxide that volcanoes emit mixes with other gases, sunlight dust and moisture to form vog.

http://hubpages.com/hub/Volcanic-Smog-Affecting-the-Air-in-Hawaii

Hawaii

Enjoy a Visit to the Honolulu Waikiki Aquarium

My favorite display by far was a tall wide glass round tube which held several beautiful jellyfish. Well aware of their dangerous potential, the jellyfish look quite innocent as they float with lacey ribbons trailing behind them.

There were blowfish, eels, squid, clownfish, seals and sharks. Literally, something for everyone. The glass displays are made of thick glass and are well kept and clean. I just love to see the various kinds of coral, all the beautiful colors and textures that they come in.

http://hubpages.com/hub/Enjoy-a-Visit-to-the-Honolulu-Waikiki-Aquarium

Hawaii, travel

Polynesian Cultural Center Most Favored Tourist Attraction in Hawaii

http://hubpages.com/hub/Polynesian-Cultural-Center-Most-Favored-Tourist-Attraction-in-Hawaii

I live within walking distance of the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii. Each day I hear the drums beating from the Polynesian villages, and in the evening I can hear the roar of the crowd in response to the night show in the big amphitheater.