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, Grandchildren, Hawaii, holidays, home, Parenting, photography, Religion, travel, Uncategorized

Bridging the Generation Gap

I totally adore my grandchildren. Each day I try to think of how I can best help them so they will enjoy a productive happy life. They all have wonderful parents and I don’t want to overstep my bounds. I would like to share a few nuggets of wisdom left by those who have gone before me in this great adventure of being a grandmother.

Granddaughters playing with dolls. Photo by Ruth Kongaika

My own paternal grandparents gave me a feeling that I still long for from time to time. They allowed me to feel that their home was my home. I remember roaming their little home and farm, watering the plants, getting the eggs in the chicken coup and enjoying the peas in Grandma’s garden. They also raised sheep and I remember a time when Grandpa put a saddle on one of the sheep and let me ride her. My grandparents always encouraged me and made me feel warm and sunny inside.

My parents, paternal grandparents and Great-grandmother, aunts and uncles. My father is holding my older brother.

In this world of so many voices, I think it is my responsibility to plan some time to interact with our grandchildren. They need to feel close to us and hear our stories. Each time I see my grandchildren, I try to single each one out of the group to talk to them and reinforce my love for them. Hugging is a way of showing your love for each one. I remember my maternal grandfather used to plant a kiss directly on my lips. That was a bit uncomfortable, but it is what it is.

My maternal grandparent behind myself on far right with an aunts, uncle and cousins.

Grandchildren each have a unique personality and their demands are different. I have a couple of grandsons that are happy just to give me a quick hug and then they do their own thing. Some of the other children need me to listen to every word they say. It takes effort to really listen, not just pretend to listen. I learn so much from them and they sometimes say funny things. One thing for sure, they are honest about how you look when they are young! Alll but two of my grandchildren are taller than I am! The other two are 10 and 11. Wow!

Three of my grandson we visited when they lived in Egypt. Aren’t they handsome?

I may not see some of the grandchildren because they live miles away, but I do remember them daily in my prayers. I also try to talk to them every weekend by phone or send an email to check how they are doing. Sometimes I just share fun things I find on social media

My oldest granddaughter! Isn’t she lovely!

When we are together, I try to do what the grandchildren want to do for a while. In the past, we played card games, dominos, board games, went to the park to swing, or played ball. Now that I’m getting older, they usually go out for a walk around my block together. We still watch movies, play board games and eat goodies. I think it is important that we laugh with our grandchildren. That is a priceless, wonderful gift.

Two sporsters!

My husband tries to get the grandchildren to help him around the yard and in the garden. Hopefully they will remember him as a hard-working person. They try to get away from doing any work while they are with us, but it is important that we teach them the value of work. Recently, the older grandchildren have begun asking for money so grandpa has them mow ing the lawn, cleaning the window wells, or other chores instead of just giving money to them.

The ability to love unconditionally and to show it are the most important qualities a grandparent can possess. It is hard when you see your grandchild being disciplined for something they did wrong, but it is important not to interrupt the way their parents have chosen to deal with their children. I have learned this the hard way. Only give advice when asked.

Christ said “Suffer little children…to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14) Here, suffer is a verb. It is an action word. It means to allow or to experience. Christ instructed his disciples to let the children come, and then provided a great example by drawing the children to Him. Because of the children’s purity and innocence, He said we are to become as they are. We draw the children to us to enjoy and learn from their faith, innocence, and trust. From us they can learn how to live in a corrupt society without being corrupted by it.

Artwork, Beauty, Cultures, Grandchildren, holidays, home, Parenting, photography, travel

Cousins Being Bad!

Nothing makes me sadder than cousins being bad (mean) to each other! Some of my grandchildren have been staying with me this summer and once in a while they say or do something that puts down another child. Life is tough enough without the support of your cousins!

Cousins being kind!

When I notice something being said or done to another child because they think they could do better, it is very difficult for me to be quiet. Almost immediately, I mention how that may have hurt another child’s feelings. I suggest to the child that they apologize and always show love and support to their cousins. Instead, they should have their back!

No sibling rivalry here!

One thing I learned in Tonga is that cousins stick up for each other. They support one another and treat each other as brothers and sisters rather than just relatives. I love that part of the Tongan culture. Also, aunties and uncles are more like parents to their nieces and nephews. One big happy family!

No sibling rivalry here, either!

I remember as a child being compared to my cousins. Since I was always the shortest, and not quite as bright, this became a common topic amongst the adults. It didn’t really help me to grow taller or smarter! Just think if all of my aunts and uncles had supported me more in my efforts, who knows what I may have been able to achieve?

Siblings enjoying being together.

For the most part, I love seeing my grandchildren together. They play well together and help one another. But there are those times when a little more kindness could be shown. As their grandmother, I leave this admonition to my grandchildren: love each other and build each other up!

The same goes for siblings. I have watched older siblings picking on the younger ones and probably that is quite normal, but it really isn’t fair. Why not pick on someone your own size?

Three siblings getting along!

Well, I’ve shared my thoughts. Please take my advice. Think of those cousins you may have offended and make it right! Apologize and be better for it. You will not regret it when you are in need of help.

Happy Cousins!
Robbie (Robert Mateialona) being baptized at the Red Sea with his father Robert and Grandfather Robert.
Artwork, Beauty, Cultures, Grandchildren, Hawaii, home, Parenting, photography, Religion, travel, Uncategorized

I Can See the Light in Their Eyes

I believe children come from heaven to us. They come with light in their hearts that shines through their eyes. I have witnessed this light many times through my grandchildren. When they are new to this world, so innocent and pure, they find joy and delight in small things. I want to share some of the pictures that portrays that light.

Our youngest grandchild

Jesus honored children and taught us about their spiritual development. In one instance, He motioned to a child, held the little one in His arms and said, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me” (Mark 9:37). 

Three of my grandchildren sharing the light!

Children can give us a glimpse into heaven, if only for a moment. Here is a talk by one of our dear friends and an apostle of God, James E. Faust in a talk, The Light In Their Eyes: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2005/11/the-light-in-their-eyes?lang=eng

Doctrine and Covenants 93:2

And that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world;

When the children are loved and shown love, they reflect it back through their eyes and actions.

That is why many of us find our truest joy through having and loving children.

One of my granddaughters with a “gift” for me

Here is a picture I painted depicting how I feel about children:

My Precious, by Ruth Kongaika

Loving and caring for children help us to rely on a power greater on our own. These children can say things to us that remind us we have a heavenly home. We have one granddaughter who would always remind us to say our prayers. It was very humbling to have this little “conscience” at our home.

I hope I never intentionally compare my grandchildren or do anything to make them question their self worth.

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
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