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!

Beauty, health, Uncategorized

You Are Better Than You Think You Are, Motivational Thoughts

I will be paraphrasing some of Ardeth G. Kapps words. We often have feelings of being less than what we want to be. In fact, even reading some scriptures make us feel inadequate. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt 5.48) The scripture was not meant to discourage us, but rather to see that we have a destiny which is possible, but it takes one step at a time. We should feel glad that we have a loving Heavenly Father who has a plan for us.

Even though perfection is distant, by understanding our potential, we can have hope, faith, and even anticipation. In Romans 8:17 it says: “And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” .That scripture gives me so much hope.

Why would we demean ourselves or lose confidence knowing the Savior has paid a great price for us?

An Old English weaver said “Oh God, help me to hold a high opinion of myself.” It does not mean we should be haughty, conceited or arrogant, but have a self respect and belief in our own worth, our worth to God, and our worth to man.

If we build up those around us instead of demeaning them and ourselves, we will be much happier in this life.

Ardeth Kapp told of a time she went to Washington, D.C. to participate in a national leadership task force. There was a great diversity in the women in attendance (age, culture, faith, language) yet they were all united in a cause to help protect the family and society. One of the women made an observation and said “One woman is helpful; ten women are influential; one hundred are powerful; one thousand are invincible.” Unity brings strength. That is why it is so important that we build others up instead of tearing them down. A good woman can feed those – including themselves – who hunger at times for a feeling of acceptance.

We are not good judges of ourselves as we reach for goals that may belong to another season of our lives.

A word of sincere commendation is like a ray of sunshine that brings a smile to the face and a warm feeling to the heart.

Ardeth Kapp mentioned that when she was the General President of the LDS Young Women’s Organization, she felt that she was not adequate for her position until a dear friend said to her “You Are Better than you think you are.”

Sometimes we set unrealistic goals for ourselves and become discouraged when we cannot reach them. We do not have to be so hard on ourselves. Just keep going.

Writing notes of appreciation for small acts of kindness, a great presentation, or to someone who followed through on something they promised, can be all they need to make their day. Our husbands, children, family members, friends all need a little encouragement from time to time. The effort it takes to write a little note or whisper a kind word can go a long way in cheering someone up.

At one Young Women celebration, they were asked to write brief message of love, hope and testimony and attach them to helium-filled balloons.They included their names and contact information. Then they all released them at the same time. Their messages were carried by the winds far and wide. Some were released in Ireland, Turkey, New Zealand, Bolivia and other areas.

One young woman who had released her balloon in Arkansas received a response from a man in Kentucky. He said that he had found the note while cutting hay in the field. He noticed a note and got off his tractor to look at it. He was so happy to have found it and said that it made him feel so good inside knowing there were still good people left in the world today.

What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visit him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. ~ Psalm 8:4-5

The Savior himself tells us to “be of good cheer.” (John 16:33) He is the one who will judge us and knows the intentions of our heart. He tells us also “I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:16). He personally understands what we are going through and how much we suffer.

She quoted Elder Neal A Maxwell who said “Some of us who would not chastise a neighbor of his frailties have a field day with our own.” Sometimes we are too critical of ourselves. We need to be constructive critics, especially to ourselves.

From Elder Richard G. Scott, she quotes “God is not a jealous being who delights in persecuting those who misstep. His is an absolutely perfect, compassionate, understanding, patient, and forgiving father.”

She has a book titled How to Make Yourself Miserable . It suggests you always ask yourself about the past “if only”, the present “how come”, and the future “what if” to make you feel miserable. We should be more grateful for what we have, what we are and pray for the future.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. ~Ecclesiastes 3:1

Have you stopped long enough today to catch your breath and awaken your senses to the beauties of this season?

She quotes Elizabeth Barrett Browning who gives this insight:

Earth’s crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God;

But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,

The rest sit around it and pluck blackberries

Are we distracted in picking blackberries and miss the magnificence of this time?