Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year Resolution?

For days I have been contemplating on the series of things that I need to work on this coming new year, 2013.  Reflecting on the past decades on the numerous New Year Resolutions I resolved to work on, I've never really stick to any of it.  Not even for a month!  So this coming New Year, I'm not surprised at all that I don't have a long list in hand ready to attack only on the first day of every year.   Lists are so overrated the more I think about it the wearier I get.  What I really need is a whole NEW ATTITUDE


My old attitude has been creeping me out with all the procrastinations, cowardations and debilitations.   I need a complete TRANSFORMATION.  Similar to that of some of the more common Amphibians that are able to shed the old skin and take or grow into a new one.  A total METAMORPHOSIS out of my old crappy self into a more VIBRANT, bursting with life self.  Be fearless and focus.  (This is actually getting me excited for the 2013).  Yes!

2012 has been more of a struggling year.  Growing awareness and realization.  Accepting and Forgiveness.  Having a solid assurance that there is no other way but only through God and Jesus Christ our Savior that we can survive this life.  That family and loved ones are our gems and not the glittering gold, silver and diamonds of the world.  That KNOWLEDGE is power and if I'm to make a change, I need to make goals and that lists are, after all, necessary to conquering the frailties of this feeble fatty body and mind where the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. 

With that, I could only endure to pursue a few goals this year.  Every year I'm overloaded, overwhelmed and in over my head with goals that are beyond my grasp and reach.  This year I've decided to be more realistic and set goals that through baby steps, can be reached and attained.

2013 looks promising even though we're in for a rough start.  No matter, every year it seems the only way to go is "UP"!   So here we go again.  The journey through 2013 will be nothing short of joyous, laughter and love.  At least these I'm sure of.  Finding joy in the simple things in life.  Appreciate and always, always be GRATEFUL

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Merry go Round"

Discovering Kacey Musgraves gives me the same pleasure as the time I discovered Bethany Pierce  http://notsoverthehill.blogspot.com/2012/02/discovering-bethany-pierce.html on a library shelf.  My daughter Sisilia introduced me to her song "Merry Go Round" as I was driving her to work and instantly I became a mesmerized fan.

The lyrics and simplicity of her song drives straight to the realities and cores of most of our lives.  Like a broken Merry go Round, we live on accepting, settling, even if the shoe is ill-fitting we wear it on until it becomes familiar and comfortable.   If lucky, we can become contend in our circumstances and then eventually GRATEFUL we're not worse off then others in the same situations!


"Merry Go 'Round"


If you ain't got two kids by 21,
You're probably gonna die alone.
Least that's what tradition told you.
 
And it don't matter if you don't believe,
Come Sunday morning, you best be there in the front row like you're supposed to.

Same hurt in every heart.
Same trailer, different park.

 

(Chorus)
Mama's hooked on Mary Kay.
Brother's hooked on Mary Jane.
Daddy's hooked on Mary two doors down.
Mary, Mary quite contrary.
We get bored, so, we get married
Just like dust, we settle in this town.
On this broken merry go 'round and 'round and 'round we go
Where it stops nobody knows and it ain't slowin' down.
This merry go 'round.

 

We think the first time's good enough.
So, we hold on to high school love.
Sayin' we won't end up like our parents.

 
Tiny little boxes in a row.
Ain't what you want, it's what you know.
Just happy in the shoes you're wearin'.

Same checks we're always cashin' 
To buy a little more distraction.
 
Jack and Jill went up the hill.
Jack burned out on booze and pills.
And Mary had a little lamb.
Mary just don't give a damn no more. 

I couldn't help but smile at the irony behind the song itself.   The usage of the all too familiar childhood rhymes:  "Jack and Jill", "Mary had a little Lamb",  "Mary Mary quite contrary",  gives an amusing twist to how our childhoods (as it should have been, fun-filled carefree and gay) ultimately transform into the adult life of marriage, adjusting and finally settling.   "Merry Go Round" sounds and appears like a simple song yet there lay the ironies of it all.




 
 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

One gift Christmas

Just when I thought teaching my children about the true meaning of Christmas was in vain, they actually surprised me and proved me wrong.  What I thought was a long forgotten incident resurfaces as my 15 year old daughter rehearsed an event that took place a few years back where they actually received more then one gift each.  That morning after the oohs and aahs over their newly received possessions, I said:

"Okay children, since you have more then your share of presents, please pick one gift to give away".

Talk about throwing tantrums, frowns, almost kicking and screaming!! 

"No, mom we don't want to give away any of our presents!"

"Why do you do this mom!""

"Uh uh you can't do this to us mom!"   Yada Yada Yada

I admit I felt an immense stab of annoyance and disappointment.  Bloody Mary but I thought I taught these children better.  Christmas time is about giving and sharing and here they are almost doubling over hugging their gifts tighter to their chests refusing to SHARE!  These children are doomed to hell for sure!  LOL

But as they nod their heads, smile their knowing smiles one Sunday ago, I realized that they haven't forgotten that incident because we ended up sharing after all.  They have learned the true meaning of Christmas but they like to drive me wild before admitting to me that they do! 

This Christmas, they do have a real life Santa Claus.  That is their big brother Leli for this boy lavishes them their little hearts' desires.  He's just sweet like that.  Beginning of this month, these 3 girls wrote their Christmas list and Mahonrai, being the man that he is even though he's only 16, is self assured that Leli knows exactly what he wants for Christmas.  He didn't write a letter.  Letters has been delivered to his room with many squeals and giggles.  He lives with my oldest son at his house with his wife.  

As for me and Christmas.  I'll get them exactly what they need.  Like the ox cart dragging the ox. 

Shoes for all the girls, they do have holes in the ones they're wearing now.  One shoe per year for school and if that gets worn out, then we replace them.  Unless they really really can't wear it anymore and can't wait for the next Christmas.
Shoes for Mahonrai, he desperate needs them.  He's wearing slippers in the snow.  It's a good thing his got those Polynesian muscular legs to carry him through snow and summer!
A pair of jeans for the girls for they always fight over their favorite pair of jeans.
And that's about it!   As for the older children.  I have a few surprises for them.  



 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Devastating Christmas

Yesterday and to-day I shed tears for the children in Connecticut.  The horrific devastation of those parents, I can only imagine.  A few times in my life, I've experience somehow the terrible panic and atrocious shock of loosing a child.  Like the one time I left my son Mahonrai at Walmart because I thought he was in the back seat of our 12 passenger van with everyone else.  We got home and after a while I noticed that he wasn't around the other children.  Then I got that call that the police have him in Walmart.  A friend of ours saw him crying as the police was questioning him.  He was only 5 or 6 at the time.  She assisted them in contacting us.  But I cursed myself a hundred times over for the negligence and it's a feeling I don't care to experience ever again. 

I wondered how they contacted the parents.  If the school got to them first or the media.  But this terribly grievous and shattering incident leaves us to contemplate the unstableness of individuals.  How psychotic and horrendous can a person turn or become.  What prone him to kill his own mother and then head to the school and massacred 20 innocent children and 6 or 7 adults!

This Christmas I will embrace and be eternally grateful for the fact that my children are happy and alive.  However, I will be in deep mourning with the parents who have lost their beautiful and innocent children.  I pray that they will find some kind of peace as their lives has been shred to pieces by this unexpected tragic tragic lost of their precious children and loved ones.

Not everyone can cope successfully with tragedy.  Some take it harder then others.  In all my child bearing days, I would be totally lost if I should loose a child.  I'm terrified to even entertain the idea of having to bury one of my children.  So to try to imagine what these parents in Connecticut are going through, is sheer torture.  All I can do is pray for them during this period of what seems to be the darkest time of their lives.  That one day,   they will emerge and bask in the light once again.    

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Just Like My Mother

It gives him endless thrill to always start up a guessing game.  Particularly when it concerns something special that occurred in school, church or during a game.  I never tire of hearing about his stories.  My son Mahonrai is a special boy and he's got the insights of a man beyond his years. 

In his Seminary class, the teacher had asked each of the students to make a list of all the qualities they would want in a spouse.  30 seconds was all that was permitted for them to write and everyone but my son, got busy with their papers and pencils.
"I looked around mom, and everyone was busy listing their qualities.  I only had one sentence to write and you'll never guess what I wrote."   His face lit up like the sun. 
Here it comes, I thought.  I had to pretend like I didn't know the answer to avoid disappointing him because by the way his face lit up, I didn't need to wonder what the answer was.  I knew.


30 seconds passed and the teacher asked the boys to come up to the board and write down their answers.  Mahonrai wrote his answer in very fine print.  Students that read his answers shot him funny looks and knowing smiles.  He gave them a challenging look that says:  "What?"  "Yes I wrote that, so what?".

When his teacher examined the board, his eyes took in the fine prints and right then and there, pointed to the board exclaiming:   "Who wrote this?"  Every eyes were on Mahonrai.  The teacher proudly declared:  "Girls, Mahonrai here is the top nominee of an ideal spouse".

"You know what I wrote mom?"  He beamed. 
I continued with the pretense:  "Umm, someone virtuous?"
"No", he shakes his head. 
"Someone lovely and beautiful?"
Again he shakes his head and said, "I wrote Just like my Mother."

Inside I almost burst with pride and joy.  What mother wouldn't rejoice in an answer like that?  How marvelous and wonderful to think that you've made a positive influence on your children.   That you do have good qualities that they see and look up to.  Even admire.  I gave him a  hug and a kiss. 
"Thank you son."  My two older boys will never stoop and admit to this.  They'll think it's too soft to admit in-front of the Seminary class.   Got to hand it to Mahonrai.  He comes straight out and say what's on his mind. 

Our Stolen Car

Nothing like waking up in the fresh early morning to an empty driveway!  First thing that popped into my mind when my son informed me was:  "Who in the world would want that piece of crap?"   I've never missed anything more then I miss our hefty crappy Tahoe right now.  It's almost like an old love.  You never know what you've got until it's gone.   Memories come flooding back of all our previous vehicles that has come and gone in and out of our lives.

Our beloved 12 passenger Chevy that use to fit 20 boyscouts.   The brand new Aerostar that my father in-law crashed into the back of my husbands old Ford truck and never recuperated from the damage.  That was years ago.  My husband's Dodge truck that got repossessed because of a title loan.  And let me not forget our little Orange 1973 Volkswagen Minivan that use to get me to work a few Winters ago.  And the list goes on and on and on.  LOL.  So we practically go through cars like we go through shoes.

This is not the first time this happens to me.  A couple years ago I took my dad to the hospital and came back out to the parking lot and his little Minivan, as old and raggedy as it has been, was gone from the parking lot.  Called the police and a couple hours later they found it down the street from the hospital with white high heels in it.  A girl must have needed a fast ride down the street.  I left the keys in there because I didn't think anyone would want to be seen in it.  Just like our van last night.  We don't see the worth in locking up and taking the keys inside the house because who would want to take it?

The disadvantages of not having a car:

*Now I have to walk the kids to school.  Really not a disadvantage because I really need the exercise.
*No more emergency toilet paper run.  Oh the joy!
*Just the thought of not being able to just get up and go whenever you want sucks
*Sisilia, my oldest is scared that she might get kidnapped.  LOL.  No chance in that happening.  She's simply too heavy to be carried away against her will.
*Now Auntie Peta won't ever want to stay home alone before someone decides to rob the house and she's defenseless.

I really do miss my car.  I do pray we get it back.  We can always get a new vehicle but that won't take the places of our old ones.  Each one claims a special place in my heart.  Just like people do.  Only things will always be things though and can never be compared to when we loose people in our lives.  I hope that whoever the thief or thieves are, may they have toothaches for the rest of their rotten lives.
 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Regrets and Resolutions

REGRET is a dreaded word.  Gives the mouth a sour taste whenever it says the word.  The could have beens, should have beens and would have beens of our lives.  No one is immune to it.  Now and then, here and there, once, twice, thrice or more, something's got to give and we make wrong choices.  A by the moment choice, or a purposeful choice just to end up embittered by regrets.  It could be a word said, and it doesn't have to be a mouthful of words.  A misdeed, mistake, miscalculation or misjudged.  Intent or with no intentions as to where the consequences fall.

The "IF ONLY" of our realities.  A second too late, a minute too soon could have altered what would seem to be a cruel fate or an unalterable doom.

The choices we make, the choices we make... echoes like chanting, cacophonous and oh so inharmonious with the impending corollaries of our mistakes.

Should have waited
Speak out
Curb your tongue:  Silence!
Patience:  "think before your act"
Just DO IT!

Can I take it back?  What I said, what I did?  Can I take it back?  TOO LATE!

R E G R E T S.

Yesterday while we were on our way to my Auntie Peta's Dr. appointment, we received a tragic call from a dear  relative of ours that his wife Nola, another aunt of mine, is in the hospital.  She was getting out of her car in the parking lot when another driver rammed his car into her, breaking both her legs.  Instantly my heart went out to my dear sweet aunt.  Could she ever walk again?  I wondered.  Or will she be bound to a wheelchair for the rest of her life, like my mother was bedridden!  A crack of a second, it was almost tangible, the agony and grief she must have gone through at that precise moment, suspended in time.  The REALIZATION!  Suddenly All my trivial pursuits and problems seem fleeing and insignificant in comparison  to what Nola must be going through at this moment.

REGRET feeds on self-pity, cowardice and weakness.  In our darkest moments, if we're not careful we'll be overwhelm and boxed in by our grief.  It'll seem as if the devil's on our back and we can't just "shake it off" as the song says.    Some are willing to go on an everlasting waltz with the devil.  Not allowing bygones to be bygones and let things go.  Instead they tangle on allowing the long, poisonous claws of regret dig deeper into their hearts.  Like an infested wound that won't be given a chance to heal.  Regret will become our demon if we let it wear us down.  Accept things as they are and move forward, learning from the past and striving for a better future. 

"With a Brightness of Hope". 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Ways Are NOT Thy Ways

The other day I went to visit her in the cemetery and was unnaturally shocked that it was covered with snow.  I don't know why I was shocked, after all it had been snowing!  I guess I've been so used to seeing her plot green and to discover it cemented with snow kind of dazzled me.  My flowers have been routinely removed for ever since the weather turned, I haven't been able to do my usual weekly visits.  Five days after Halloween has been long gone and her grave stood with no flowers as if I've forgotten about her.  I had to request that they remove the snow from her plot.  The gentleman in the office after taking down her name and my phone number apologized,  "Sorry for the snow".  I merely chuckled for I know he was being sarcastic.  As if he could have stopped the snow had he wanted to.      

Ever since her passing I've found myself constantly thinking about her.  I miss her gravely.  My mom.  Every now and then a song, an aroma, a person or nature itself turn my thoughts toward her and a flood of questions, old and new burns within my mind. 

Why did she have to die the way she did?  

Did she deserve to die in such a way?  Breast Cancer and Stroke leaving her paralyzed and bedridden?.

Was is a punishment?  A curse?  From her past? 

Could we have done more to save her?

Had God forsaken her?  Forsaken us? 

Wouldn't it had been better if she died right away.  Less pain, less worry?

With all the understanding I have of the Plan of Salvation and that in life we have to suffer through afflictions and sickness, how then, do I still dare to question or doubt God's will.  When my mother was still alive there were moments where she had begged for death.  It tore me apart to witness her in such a state because we have been pleading for her to live.  "Give us more time with her please" we've begged.  Not only myself but also my siblings.  And even when she lived, we still didn't make the most of her life and there were days where she felt anything but neglected by her children for she longed for them every day.

Visions of her in different stages of my childhood, comes to mind.  Her smiles, her laughter, her anger which was very rare.  The way she provided for us and the way she loved us.  I remember her in so many different ways. She had endured her afflictions well.  This woman, as much as her mind was altered by her stroke, she never ever complained or want to burden us with complains of pain.  Only towards the end, when her body was overcome with the disease, did we notice the strain of pain and the worry on her lovely face.

I can prolong these torturous questions that haunts my mind and may eventually bring the wrath of God upon my head.  Or, I can give in and trust in Him that everything happens for a reason and I don't have nor need to know the reason why.  That the Almighty is all-knowing and that my ways are never His ways.  To accept that in this life, there need to be an "opposition" in all things.  Pain vs. Pleasure.  Good vs. Evil.  Sickness vs. Health and Vitality and the list goes on and on.

Perhaps what I need to do most of all, is let go of these doubts and appreciate what I've been blessed with.   The fact that I'm still breathing is a MIRACLE on its own.  And for the rest of those I love most, how precious and exquisite this life is and to make it count.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

EDUCATION

The phrase:  "I wish I knew then what I know now", every now and then feels more like a dagger to my brain then wishful thinking.  Had I knew then what I know now I'd have done SOME THINGS differently.  And not reason them away like a smug and well prepared lawyer.   With that being said, SOME THINGS sums up to a mountain of one thing only and that is EDUCATION!  Yes! I wished I'd have stayed in college and finish up what I really came here to America for.  Moreover, why is the statement "Youth is wasted on the Young" rings more clearer now then when I read it as a youth!  Especially, indeed and of course when it comes to my children!

For some times now I've struggled to calm this immense hunger and thirst that torments my mind.  Like a piece of parched and deserted soil longing for water and nourishment.  Truly, some people including me, can refer to myself as an Educated Woman, just because I've put in a couple of years in college.  Why then do I feel deprived and gravely lacking?   I'm well aware of what I lack.  I lack the proper training and learning that goes on inside the great establishment of a SCHOOL.  With teachers and professors teaching you inside the confinement of a CLASSROOM!  And why is this thought of EDUCATION seems so appealing now that I'm getting old when it was somehow repulsive when I was in college?

Do I really have to wonder?  I refuse to discuss the reasons why I dropped out of college in the first place.  Sometimes those reasons makes me smile a Heavenly smirk.  Sometimes they make me want to poke myself in the eye and spit in the air!  Education has always been a household rule when I was growing up.  Mom and Dad couldn't pound it enough into our brains.  A lot of good that did us.  None of us took it to our hearts and our heads.  We're paying the price and it's a costly one.   I chose not to listen and dare I expect the same from the fruits of my loin?  It's almost like I've just shot myself in the foot.   

My husband thinks it's too late to go back to school.  Oh yeah?  I beg to differ.  If that's the case then why do I see people twice my age wheel-chairing back to school.  Some with canes and walkers, crutches and all.  If I have to crawl I'll do it because I can no longer deny this need to educate my brains.  It's been dormant too long and lately I've been feeling like I'm brain-dead.  So AGONIZING! 

To my children if you're reading this, I say:  STAY IN SCHOOL!!!  If you're not in school, make time to go back.  It is IMPERATIVE that you do.   Take it from one whose one and only regret is not finishing school.  I wish I'd have listened to my parents and STAYED IN SCHOOL!


Friday, July 27, 2012

Their Dreaded Questions

"Mom, how does this look?"


"Mom, does this look good on me?"


"Mom,  should I wear this or that?"


Blah Blah Blah


...Seriously, my opinion amounts to zero and yet I wonder why they keep on asking!   These dreaded questions my girls continue harassing me with, riles me up every single time.    Not that I mind answering.  Not at all.  It's the fact that what I think really doesn't count for anything whatsoever.  So why in all that's holy do they even BOTHER asking for my opinion!

It doesn't matter whether it's their hairdo, honeydew, clothes or makeup.  When I'm agreeable and express any type of delight in what they're wearing, they scramble to change like the devil is on their heels.

One morning my Sisilia dashes up the stairs searching for shoes to wear.  Her father was blasting the honk of the car, not wanting to be late to work.  It was only 6a.m. and the whole neighborhood was still slumbering away.  I threw her one of her younger sister Patiola's shoes.  She quickly slips them on and on her way out, looks back at me and asks, "Does this look okay mom?"   


Here we go again!   I thought to myself.   


Promptly I assured her, "It looks fine honey".  Sure enough, in a clipped tone she blurted, "I know it's ugly mom, but it's even uglier when you say it's fine".   
Oooooooooooooooh................. how I wanted to throw a flip flop on her head. 
But I'm the mother after all and I have to retain composure at all times every time and in all places.  
Sometimes, however,  my kids make me want to swear, curse and do flips and cartwheels out of anger and frustrations.


In time, I discovered a well worked out solution for all their dreaded questions.

REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY BABY.  Whenever they ask the questions, these are my answers:

Oh, that looks hideous my dear
Wow, that is ugggglllyyyyyyy!
Um, not so attractive sweetheart
Uh Uh, I wouldn't be caught dead wearing that darling
It makes you look like an old hunchback lady 


They thrive hearing my negative comments and so it works like charms.   After all, what do I know about fashion and style.  What's in and what's not?  Huh.  They think they know everything.  Right?

It's almost like I'm hearing them squeal in delight:

"Hell Yeah, mom thinks it's ugly so it really means it's fabulous".  WE ARE WEARING IT.

How's that for a solution!   Works all the time.   In my mind when they turn to go, I have a big grin on my face.  Oh yes, no one can outsmart mom.  Not you babies that were just born yesterday.  You have no idea who you're messing with.

Ha Ha Ha.....

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Cemetery

My great uncle Nuku remarked on our last family meeting after  my mother passed away that it's not so significant for us to visit our mother in the cemetery.  What's more important is that we should carry on the legacy that she has left with us in this life.

He said in Tongan:  "Mahina 'e tolu mei heni kou talaatu, he 'ikai temou toe 'asi kimoutolu ki mala'e ke sio ki ho'omou fa'ee."  
English translations:  "Three months from now, no one is going to visit your mother at the cemetery".

Instantly considering what he was saying, I said to myself:  "Don't presume to know what we are and are not going to do uncle.  You are talking about my mother here."

Ever since my mother died, I have been constantly visiting the cemetery.

Not to prove my uncle wrong but to be with her and remember her.

As a child I was terrified of cemeteries.  Too many haunting and scary stories left me horrified to even go close to one, let alone visit one.   Those experiences has long been changed.  Now I go to the cemetery to REMEMBER!  


I'm drawn to it.  It's like a bridge connecting me to those who have passed on.  A bond between the living and the dead.  Across the evergreen lawns of the cemetery is the buzz of life of the living.  So busy and noisy.  Here, is so peaceful, quiet and tranquil.  Like a garden.  All are resting in peace whether they died peacefully or not.   


What are the odds that my mother is buried right next to her mother-in-law and sister-in-law Mamaa and 'Ana Seini?  My grandmother and much loved aunt.  Coming from a far off foreign land just to end up being buried right next to each others.  How wonderful is that!  


When I visit, I feel like I'm in a cocoon of loving arms embracing me.   Showering me with sunny smiles and welcoming kisses.  I remember them.  All of them.  So my visits are never going to be far-and-few in-between.  They will be more often then not.


My thoughts when I visit the cemetery: 


Here lies my mother, 'Ana Patiola Fekitoa Tuita.  
This spot marks her burial plot.  
Her spirit may be gone but her body and bones linger on.
Right here she rests until that day
When her spirit will claim her body once again.
Until then, happy sleep, my lovely mother.  

Her headstone will be laid down a year from last month.  As for now her grave will be decorated with beautiful flowers and mementos to celebrate and commemorate her life.  


Dare I say I look forward to the day where I will join her again?  Death has always stirred a dark and frightening feeling in me when I was younger.  I DON'T WANT TO DIE.  Now, because I understand, it doesn't bother me anymore.  It's an inevitable step to the progression of our eternal spirit.  


Until that day however, I will live and celebrate life to the fullest.  And prepare myself for that day where I will be taking my last breath and joining those who are buried in the greenest of all places under the sun.


The Cemetery.  


'TIL THEN, INHALE, EXHALE, BREATH...... LIVE, LAUGH AND LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Common Courtesy

Does it matter what color of skin we have when it comes to Common Courtesy?  Is it innate or learned? 

I was raised in a culture that not only teaches Common Courtesy but people who culturally live it from day to day.  Most of these common courtesy are COMMON and universal:

Always say "please and thank you and excuse me".
Respect your elders.  People who are older then you.
Listen when someone else talks.
Honor your parents and don't back talk to them.
Share Share Share


One of these and perhaps the most common, is SHARING.  Particularly of food because we really didn't have much of anything else:

Because we lived in a tiny tinnie island and everyone knows one another, it's very rude for one, if they have a plate of food, not to offer someone else (if anyone is around) a share of it.  Even if what you have is a small portion, it's common courtesy to at least ask: 

"Would like a piece of bread?"
"Hey, would you like to have some of this?"
"Come and eat with us."

In Tonga, if one visits any house and they are having a meal, you are always invited in to join them.  Even if what they have is only enough for them.  Even if they really don't want you to... but they will always offer!  It's the polite thing to do. 

My sister-in-law has a house guest  that lives there for free, gets free transportation and is welcome to their food at any time.  She had asked them to take her in for about 2 weeks, during that time, she'll have enough money to get a car and go back to her apartment.  Right now, she works at the same place where my sister-in-law's daughter works, so they carpool.  This is the reason why she moved in the first place.  It's going on three months now.

Well, yesterday, we picked her up from work.  Sister-in-law needed potatoes from the store so the house guest was asked to go and buy the bag of potato.  When she came in, she had bought a plate of food and not once did she even have the decency to ask, "Hey, I just bought a plate of food, do you guys want some?"  Not that we were hungry.  But seriously, not one word!  I came to find out later, my sister-in-law says, she does this all the time.  Buys her own food, eats by herself and not utter a word to offer at least, if any one else wanted some.

How do you live for free in someone else's house, use their car for transportation, eat their food whenever you want to and forget to be courteous when it comes to your own food.  I don't get it.   Label your name on your own stuff yet your living for free in someone else's house!  How does one become clueless when it comes to that?  WOW...

One thing for sure, I know my children will never ever be this clueless because in our family and our home, you share everything! 



Monday, June 18, 2012

Superstitions

I don't consider wishing on a shooting star, superstitious.  It's just a wish upon a star.  That's all.  I did that all the time as a child and still continue to do so as an adult.  Whether my wish came true or not, I believed it would and I do it all the time whenever I gaze upon a shooting start.  It's a habit.

One night I was driving with my sister-in-law Sarah, and a "not-so-black" cat crossed the road.  To my surprise, she immediately pulled over to the side of the road.
I asked, "Why did you pull over?"
She answered, "Oh, I just want to wait it out a minute or two because that cat crossed the road".
I pointed out, "But the cat is not even black Sarah."
To which she replied, "I know, I just want to make certain no ill happenstance will occur if we keep on driving."  I just couldn't help but burst out laughing at this.

To Sarah, even though the requirement for this superstition that a cat has to be black to bring the bad omen to one, it didn't matter.  It can be a yellow, white and gray cat and she'd still pull over just to make sure nothing happens. 

An incident took place at my mother's funeral.  My stomach turns when I think about it but it took place nonetheless.  I entered my brother's house and saw my sister in deep conversation with a few older ladies.  Took my seat and what I heard blew me away.   My sister looked at me and informed me quietly:  "We have to go back to the Mortuary and take off mom's zipper from her dress and all the hairpins on her hair".  

Mind you, we spend sometimes at the funeral home fixing my mom's hair so she can look beautiful for her viewing.  I had to use hairpins to roll her little curly buns up on top of her head and put on her beautiful temple white dress.  She was ready to go!

It was a blow that had me reeling in anger first.  What the Bloody Hell!!!!   My mother will be rolling and screeching in her grave if we go back and rip that zipper off her dress and also took the hairpins out of her already beautiful hair!  (Of coure she's not in her grave yet but she's in her casket!  She'll roll and screech in there!)

I couldn't believe that these people are still clinging to superstitions that age back well over hundreds of thousands of years ago!   Are they kidding me?  Are you serious?  I looked at my sister in rage and couldn't believe she was even considering doing this.  It was too late, she looked like she had already made up her mind.  Then one of the ladies spoke to me.  This is Moala, Sarah's mom.

"Sela, please, you have to go and do this.  If you don't, there will be a bad omen that will befall your family.  It has happened before.  People had to go and dig out the grave to remove any kind of metal from the corpse to set things right.  You don't want to mess with this." She was almost practically pounding on her chest.  

I was speechless.  What do I have to say to that?  Never mind that this is the 21st century and we no longer believe in those tales.  Never mind that in this age and dispensation we have been enlightened by the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ and the devil be damned.  The lady believes we'll be cursed!  My sisters-in-law believes it and I was the only one hesitant to do it. 

Then she went on, "You have to go immediately and do this.  I don't want anything to happen to my grandchildren.  Promise me you'll do this!" 

Well if she puts it that way, what choice do I have.  I don't want my nieces and nephews to get sick and all fingers will be pointing at me, accusing me that it was my fault because I failed to go and cut the damn zipper from my mom's dress and remove every hairpin out of her hair.  In my mind I couldn't imagine going back to the Mortuary, cutting the zipper off and messing up my mom's hair.

Sadly, I had no other choice but to agree to it.  I'm such a pushover like that.  But ended up refusing to go and do it myself.  I told my sister, "You go and cut out mom's zipper and take the hairpins out.  I'm not going."  So, my sister and cousin Toli did the job.  Took a scissors, thread and a needle.  I called while they were doing it and she said that everything went easy and well.  Mom's hair remained the same even with the hairpins out. 

God forbid that they forget one hairpin in her casket.  I had to make sure, so I asked my sister, "Did you make sure you collected every one of those damn hairpins?"  
"Yes, I did.  I got all of it!"  

There are so many people who still clings to old omens and superstitions.  I hear all of it when I was growing up in Tonga:

Don't whistle at night, you're inviting the demons
Don't sweep your floor at night, it's not good.  Same reason as above
Don't open your umbrella inside the house, you'll go bald
Don't sleep with your head towards the door, you'll be welcoming the devil inside your home
If you dream of a wedding, there'll be a funeral in the family
If you dream of a funeral, it's vice-versa.
If you can't stop your eyelids from blinking, there'll be a funeral.
If a picture frame falls and crack, it's bad omen.  Funeral again.  
ETC ETC ETC.

What happened to my mom, is the first I've ever heard of such superstition.  



Monday, June 11, 2012

She's gone

For quite sometimes I've often wondered what it would feel like to loose my own mother.  I've seen people wept tears of sadness and grief on Mother's Day every year and I was always forever grateful I still had mine alive.  On Monday, June 4th 2012, I eventually lost my beloved angel mother 'Ana Patiola Fekitoa Tuita. 

She's finally gone.  A victim of breast cancer and a stroke.  I watched her until she drew her last breath and I will never ever forget that.   It was suffocating.  At the end of it all, it was a relief to see her go.  Free at last, free at last, from the bondage of sickness and diseases that both crippled and paralyzed her. 

The past few years have been rough and trying for her.  Her faith and love for her husband and children sustained her.  She endured all her trials with amazing grace and class.  My mother never once complained of pain or any discomfort up to the end.   I don't know how she had the strength to withstand all she went through without a flinch of pain or complain.  Surely this makes her an extraordinary and an exceptional human being. 

There were many times which she did cry.  Not from pain whatsoever, but from her pining and longing for her home and her children in Tonga.   From wanting to see her children here more often.  Moreover, from watching my father struggle to balance his own sickness and taking care of her.  Because my father was consistent in making sure that she's comfortable every second of the day.

I miss my mother.   Her physical presence so to speak.  However, to me, she's that star that continuously  twinkles in the night.  Still shining on us all.  That faint breeze that whirls swiftly by.  Her body may have been laid to rest.  Buried six feet under the ground, yet she still lives on in our hearts and our minds.   Her spirit lives on through us and through her grandchildren. 

I feel her everywhere I go.  I feel closer to her now then ever before.  All I have to do is say the word, "Mommy" and I'm reassured. She didn't leave us comfortless.  Unseen miracles happened through out the week of her funeral,  as we prepared programs and food for her services.  She had her hands in everything we wanted to do.  Everything fell through wonderfully. 

Until we meet again with our beloved mother, there is a great legacy she has left behind for all her posterity.  It's a legacy of faith, love, knowledge and music.   As children, it is out duty to carry on those legacies and never forget her and what she stands for. 

I love, love you mom.  I miss your lovely face and your gentle soul.  Your hands that toil to provide for us all.  The way you lift your brows to answer a question.  The way you smile through it all.  May God keep us all in His care until we meet again soon. 

Farewell






Thursday, May 31, 2012

What a Life!

Talk about fast and furious.  I feel like I've lived in a Race Car Tracks these past few days.    Zooming and zipping through life.  Navigating here and there between my family, my parents, work and my siblings.  Here are just a few things that took place while I wasn't here blogging:

*My son's Mixtape is doing great.  He's already getting a lot of positive feedback from the public and a lot of exposure.  This is his very first one and it's doing great.

*My husband is angry and will remain angry because our daughter Sisilia moved out.   The;  "When in Rome, do as Romans do" just doesn't fly with him.  Within our Tongan culture, there is no such thing as kids moving out until they are married and it doesn't matter how old you are.

*Son who's serving a mission got transferred to Mililani, Oahu in Hawaii.  He's got 2 more months before he gets to come home.

*Finally found a Zumba place close by to my new home so I've recommitted myself to Zumba.  Such an awesome workout.  It's at 5:30 in the morning and it's insane that I can actually get up and get myself there at this hour.

This coming up weeks are going to be super busy.  Graduations and all.  In and out of state.  







Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What Kept Me

Distracted, distraught and a little deranged.  LOL.  So many things have kept me from really sitting down and pouring my heart out on this blog.

1.  My mom has took a turn for the worse.  She can no longer chew her food.  Nor can she suck on a straw.  We have now resolve to using syringes to feed her.  I couldn't help but wept every time I visit her.   Just seeing her like this breaks my heart.    Her face signifies how much weight she has lost.  To-day I found out she had a fever so my sister-in-law gave her some baby Ibuprofen.  It aid in making her more comfortable.

My father calls me, because he still can't understand that there's nothing else that the doctors can do for her.  "Sela,  isn't there anything else they can do for her?"
"Don't they have any medication to give her strength?"
On and on he goes.  "Are we going to just let her die?"
I had to explain to him again and again that there's nothing else the doctors can do for my mom.
I just can't say the obvious to him.

2.  My son finally releases his first Mixtape.  Had over 1500 viewers in one day.  He  is so excited and we're all excited too.  Big things are happening for him.  He's got the talent and the creativity for music and I'm so proud of him.  Here's the link for his songs.  It's completely free as it is for promotional purposes only.

http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/sione-toki-iam-sionetoki-mixtape.54542.html

3.  Finally got a second job.  After interviews and interviews for different jobs.  Will be starting on the 29th and I can't wait to start.

4.  Daughter Patiola has been so sick with the flu.


5.  Almost done with unpacking.  Still more boxes to unpack but it's slowly but surely going.  


6.  Just called to be the new ward Organist and also Primary Pianist.  


I wonder what's coming in the next few months?  Nothing I can't handle I pray.   Looking forward to August for my son's returning from his mission. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Sweet Angel Mother



She kept an enormous Book of Remembrance when we were growing up.   In there I'd read good things about each and every one of her children.  She may not know it then, but those entries kept me striving to be the daughter she deserves.  There was nothing pretentious about my mother.  She was void of malice, filled with unselfish love and an example of virtue, modesty and hard work.

This woman, my mother touched the lives of not only her children, but so many others of her extended family.  Our home was never empty of her relatives, coming from Ha'apai, seeking education, employment and a better way of life.  She provided for us and provided for them.  Her, with the help of my father for she was one of the first women in Tonga to hold down a 9-5 job as a secretary for the high school across the street.  Liahona High School.

'Ana Patiola Fekitoa Tuita.   I miss the woman she used to be.  Always thriving in whatever it is she sets her mind to doing.  For 30 years she labored diligently.  Not only in her job but also in the church and our family.  She was a Primary President.  A ward Relief Society President as well as the Stake Relief Society President.  We never lacked for anything when we were growing up.  I've always wondered how it is that my father, who was an uneducated man, hooked up with my mother who was very much educated and extremely bright.  They brought a balance to our family though, that to this day, I'm still trying  to bring to my own family.

For the past four to five years, she has been battling breast cancer and had suffered a stroke that left her bedridden.  I think the only thing that keeps her here on this earth is the prayers of my father.  My father who prays like he's conversing with God face to face.  Whom, will simply wither away if she leaves him.  Their love is rare.  Bond by trust, honesty and kindness.  Sealed for all time and throughout all eternity.

I see her beautiful, sweet angel face.  I remember everything about her.   Her, always short and cropped hair, now so white and long.  Her skin flawless and fair.  Beautiful inside and out.  Thank you mom, for all that you have done.  Your legacy will continue on within us, your children, as well as your grandchildren and their children's children.  I pray I can be half the mother you were to us.  I love you mom and may you have a happy and blessed mother's day. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Moving On

It happens every time we move, I go through each and every room and bit by bit I reminisce.  My chest tightens as whiffs of memories soaks up my mind.  Traces and of them lingers and echoes in the emptiness of each room.  Like an old cymbal struck for the last time.  Once left behind can never relive.  They are growing with every move we make.  Leaving, leaving behind friends old and new.

Yesterday we said goodbye to friends and acquaintances.  Some, I know we'll never get to see again in this lifetime.  Some we'll see for sure but will be brief and fleeting as the wind.  This house, that house and every house we've lived in, bears every giggle and laughter, tears and words my children have ever uttered.

In the back yard our beloved dog Sinchee is buried.  Got a glimpse of my daughter Mele, sticking a letter on the tombstone we made for him.   It's a triangular piece of rock.  Not wanting to disturb her moment with her dog, I waited until she was finally gone the made my way to the back.

She wrote:

PLEASE DO NOT DIG HERE


I love you Sinchee?  U were the best dog me and my family has ever had!
We miss u so much.  Don't worry we will meet again!
I love you til no end!  Take care of Grandpa 4 me!
Love always and forever!  
Sept. 11
I will miss you
I will never forget you

Tears brimmed and fall.  Who can with-hold?  Her sadness and grief as we're about to say goodbye to her Sinchee.   I felt it and it sucked me in once again to that long September evening where I already know that by that time we get back home, he'd be gone.  Too sick but I didn't want the kids to see him die.  Tears me up that he died alone.

So long to our once called home.  Farewell to the youngs and olds.  We may be gone but once paths are intertwined will remain twined forever.  





Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Being Both

I entered her room and she motioned for me to sit on her bed.  With a piercing glare at me she declared,
"Listen to me and listen well.  I'll say this to you face to face."   Her countenance was earnest and I realize she wasn't trifling with me.  I can always tell when my Aunt Peta is trying to get an important point across.

"You my dear shouldn't dress up as a woman anymore.  You should be wearing pants from Monday through Saturday and wear dresses only on Sundays".  My mind races ahead and I knew exactly where this conversation was leading.  She continues with her hands flailing everywhere in the air,
"Look at your husband!'  Her face crave with worry.  "He can barely walk from here to there.  You have to be both the man and the woman in the family.  Wear pants so you can work with your hands, climb up and down when and wherever you need to climb.  Run here and there.  Make your hands strong like a man's for you and only you alone will carry this family."

My aunt lifted both of her hands for me to take a good look.   She has beautiful long fingers, slim and polished.
"Look at my hands.  My hands were once strong from hard labor and work.  When my father died, I had to be both the man and the woman for my family.   I worked day and night.  Go to the plantation and labor like a man.  You have to do the same.  You are not doing nearly enough Sela.  Not even half of things that I had to do when I was a young woman."

I asked myself, isn't that what I have been doing  for the past few yeasr?  Carry the family!  Obviously I haven't been doing enough.   But then again, Peta has an all knowing mind.  Wise and refined from her own life.  What she said was right.  I need to do more.   I'm still too comfortable in my own way.   Way too comfortable.  

As I walked out of her room, I was determined to be better.  Better mother, better woman and a better provider for my family.  Be both the man and the woman from now on.   

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Childhood Home

This is where I was born.  My beloved island of Tonga.  It's out there in the smacking middle of the South Pacific.  So small that you can barely see it on the map.  It's but a tiny dot on the World Atlas.

99 sq. mls.  So you can imagine, growing up surrounded by an endless Ocean with all sorts of Tropical trees and bushes.

As a little girl, I lived a kaleidoscopically adventurous life.  Where children invent our own toys and games to play with and finding food off of Guava trees, Mangoes, Papayas and Bananas trees.  The list goes on and on.  We can drink from our own cement water tank filled with rain water or the only water pipe in the middle of the village.  Coconut trees provided cocont milk.  I think I was the only girl capable of climbing a coconut tree.  I had to hide from my family though because girls were not suppose to climb coconut trees.  And I'd get into deep trouble.

So many years ago yet it lives on in my memory like it was only yesterday.  I can still hear the laughter of children as we play in the fields.   We had so little yet it was so, so much.  Barefoot, braids and ponytails.   Sometimes I wish my children could have experienced some of my childhood moments.  It was absolutely carefree and fun.   So full of love and laughter. 


Of everything I miss about my childhood home, this is perhaps the one I miss most.  The breathtaking scenes of the sun setting.   May be I was a little mature for my age, but in high school, every evening after school, I'd stroll to my favorite spot and sit there filled with wonders about my future, when I'll leave my lovely island as I watched the sun sink into the sky.   A glorious and magnificent site to behold.  I never got tired of it.

In high school, I couldn't wait to find my path in life.  One that would lead me away from my beloved Tonga.  I was growing and the island was getting smaller by the year.  Beyond the horizon where the sea meets the sky, I prayed for the day where I'd leave my home for good.  Honestly, I felt suffocated by the smallness of it all.

So here I am in the bounteous land of America.  Where everything comes in abundance and overflowing.  .  Raising my children and living out my life.  One day I'll go back and visit.  Take my children to see the land of their origins.  But as to living there, I don't think so.

 




Friday, April 6, 2012

ENVY

Are you delirious with envy?  Sometimes Green with jealousy?  Read on...

"Envy's a coal comes hissing hot from Hell",  by Philip James Bailey. 

Definitions of Envy.  
As a noun:   A feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or luck.
As a verb:   Desire to have a quality, possession, or other attribute belonging to (someone else)

I confess once in a while I feel the sharp piercing teeth of ENVY gnaws at me.  Especially when I start measuring myself against other women.   

Their success
Their shiny straight hair
Their matchless beauty and silky soft skin
Their size 0 bodies even after how many babies
Their big houses, nice jobs and hard working husbands that brings in the money.


That I forget what I have.  Yes!  Overlook, ignore and take for granted the blessings that God has blessed me with.  Because I'm too busy weighing, measuring and trying to balance what I have against the seemingly good fortunes of other women.


This past weekend, Elder. Jeffrey R. Holland took a stand on this matter.  He said, 


"May I plead with us... not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person.  We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those."

My head nodded in agreement and my heart repentant at just how forgetful and ungrateful I can be.   Nevermind that the Almighty has always given heed to my every beck and callYes,  He grants me everything I pray and  asks for.  There are times where a "NO" is the answer.  Usually it's a,  "No, not now" and makes me wait for the right time.  I have learn to trust in Him that He knows what is best for me and that everything happens for a reason.  I rejoice in that knowledge.

Later in his speech Eld. Holland said something so funny that got me shaking with laughter:

"...envy is a mistake that just keeps on giving. Obviously we suffer a little when some misfortune befalls us, but envy requires us to suffer all good fortune that befalls everyone we know! What a bright prospect that is—downing another quart of pickle juice every time anyone around you has a happy moment!"

The vermin of ENVY and JEALOUSY can be self induced.  Polluting our hearts with hatred and resentment.  Clouding our minds with dreads and bitterness.  It's a torturous and tormenting feeling that we can all do well without.  We simply do not have the time to dwell in them.

In conclusion, let me end with one last lesson from Eld. Holland:

"So lesson number one from the Lord’s vineyard: coveting, pouting, or tearing others down does not elevate your standing, nor does demeaning someone else improve your self-image. So be kind, and be grateful that God is kind. It is a happy way to live."

WA LA.   For this Easter Weekend.  Let us rejoice in His blessings and Be grateful for everything that we have and let there be no room for envy in our hearts and our minds.  Abolish any envious feeling or jealousy from our hearts and have the Love of God and of the Love of our Fellowmen light up our lives.   

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Don't Drive Stupid

Last night I attended a Driver's Ed school program from my 16 year old son.  It's a program called:  

 "DON'T DRIVE STUPID"

Their theme for 2012 is "Zero Fatality:  A goal we can all live with." here in Utah.  I only wish they had this program when my three oldest were still in high school.  It was an eye-popper for me as a mother because I have been so careless when my three oldest children began driving.  Because I've always thought it could never happen to me.

A few years ago, we headed out to California for a family reunion.  My father-in-law asked if I could drive him on their Astro van to pick something up from a friend's house.  I drove and one of my young son was laying down on the back seat sleeping, tired from our drive the previous night from Utah.

We stopped at a red light.  As our light turned green, I stepped on the pedal to go and at the corner of my eye, I saw a big fancy black truck coming from my left with the driver engaging on talking on his cell phone with his eyes looking down searching for something  and not even looking up at his light to see that it no longer is red.

I already knew what was coming, so I stomped on my gas pedal to speed up knowing that he will hit the back of our van and at the same time aware that my son's head is towards the oncoming truck's way.  I succeeded in speeding up for him to hit only the very back of our Astro van towards the backlight.  Luckily we had witnesses that stopped to testify that he ran a red light.  But the BANG of that crash vibrates in my head even until now.  This was years ago when cell phones just started to come out.   

There were a few videos showed and statistics used to show us parents and students how important it is that we drive carefully and safely.  Because not only do we put our own life in jeopardy, but also others around us.

                                                 5 Behaviors that are hazardous to drivers:

     1.  Drowsy Driving:  Just as dangerous as drunk driving.  Get off the road

     
     2.  Distracted Driving:  Deadly and against the law.  Texting and talking on the cell phone while driving.
                                           (23 times more likely to be in a crash then drunk driving)

     3.  Aggressive Driving:  Speeding, road rage and tailgating.  Getting angry and driving angry.

     4.  Impaired Driving:  Under the influence of alcohol and drugs either over the counter or illegally.
 Here in Utah do not tolerate alcohol whatsoever.  Zero tolerance.  Controlled substances also.

     5.  Seatbelts save lives:  It's the law to put on your seatbelt.  If you're the driver, you have to make sure and it's your responsibility to make sure everyone is buckled up in your car. 

                            "YOU PLAY STUPID GAMES, YOU WIN STUPID PRIZES"

There are 7% of teen drivers in Utah and 22% of accidents are teenagers.  They are inexperience behind the wheel.  As parents we can help by:
1.  Be involved
2.  Know the laws
3.  Set the Example

Every six years, 4000 soldiers die.  40,000 teens between the age of 15-19 dies of car accidents.

The crashes that they showed on the videos could have been avoided, had the drivers were responsible, attentive and careful. 

It may seem impossible to reach the goal of "Zero Fatality" here in Utah.  But with a program like this going on and enlightening both parents and students, the impossible may just become possible.

 Linking up with Shell's pour your heart out Wednesday.
 http://thingsicantsay.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/pouryourheart1-e1328022968330.png

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Zumba

For years I've been out and about with keeping myself physically fit.  Every now and then, far and in-between.  I've been trying to get myself to get back to exercising.  Have gained back the weight that took me years to loose by playing Racquetball and now that I need it the most, it's a heck of a struggle trying to juggle a sick husband, sick parents, a temple attending aunt, students in school and one vehicle.

Well, hallelujah, my husband is back on his feet.  That means he can deliver the kids to school and work.  Now I have time in the morning to attend Zumba with my friend Leo.  She's a blessing right now as she's the one that drives us back and forth from Zumba.  There are a few groups that we go to.  Its started with Betsy in the Magna ward a few weeks ago and twice a week.  Then, we decided to check out the EMZ (Early Morning Zumba) and there's another group, the MZL (Morning Zumba lovers). 

EMZ and MZL are all in the morning at 5:30a.m.  At first I thought there's no way on earth I can get up that early, especially working graveyard.  But then, I experimented and oh yes, I can do it.  I just don't sleep on Tues. and Wed. since I work until 4.  The rest of the week I work until 2am and get a few hours of sleep before heading out.  My body is loving it and I can sleep here and there and everywhere during the day.

My first day at EMZ an old acquaintance peeked over my way and said, "Are you Sela or Linda?"  My sister and I look alike and people often mistakes one for the other.  I laughed and said, "I'm Sela."  She gave me a funny look and declared, "You used to be skinny...".  I feel my face burning by the awkwardness of her remark.  I would never say that to anyone even if it's true.  Okay...what else can I do but bravely agree with her, "Yes, I know." LOL.   

Zumba has become a movement to many of my Tongan people here in Utah.  It all started by a Sinai Pauni who first got certitfied and then it just blew up.  She started the Early Morning Zumba.  Now there's a 'Elenoa Saafi with MZL that includes a number of other ladies going strong with the program.  It's so great to see this especially in the Tongan community where staying physically fit and exercising were much desired but lack a way to provide the people to get it done.  These women do it for free and it's just expanding at a lightning speed towards women from all over Utah and even from other states as well.  It's great and I'm finally able to participate.     

Friday, March 30, 2012

And so I ate

An old friend of mine invited me to her house to share dinner with.  I'll call her "N".  We went to the same high school, attend college together and we once were roommates.  She's my cousin as well as my long time friend.  Recently her husband left her with 6 children and after church, I needed a ride home and one of her friends gave both of us a ride.

On our way to drop her off first, she begged me to join her for dinner.  I thought I'd do a good deed and join her for dinner since her husband just left her and she sounds extremely desperate for company. So in we went into her house.  When she mentioned she made chicken casserole for dinner, I practically salivated because I know how yummy chicken casseroles tastes.  Suddenly the bake chicken I had made for dinner at home didn't seem too inviting.

As we entered her kitchen, she handed me a fork and a plate and pulled her Casserole from the oven.  Placed it on her counter and I couldn't help but just stare at it.  It looks like she cut up chicken and broccoli with no sauce in it.  Then dump white dry rice on top.

What!  this doesn't look like the typical Casserole.

An inner evil voice poked at me:

Well what did you expect Sela.  This is "N" and you've obviously forgotten she can't cook worth a trap

So I ignore that voice and sink my fork into the dish to scrape dry white rice, broccoli and pit and pieces of shred chicken into my plate.   I decided that "N's" version of Casserole is far off the mark from mine. 

In the process of scraping the food onto my plate, low and behold, a long, and I say looooooooooong piece of black hair got dragged up with my casserole.  "N" was standing right next to me and of course I couldn't just drop my plate into the sink and pretend I'm not hungry.  She watched as I lift my fork up in the air trying to dodge the hair that was stuck to my casserole.

"Looks like you lost a hair in there "N",  Swallowing my breath and wanting to gag already.
 "Oh I'm sorry Sela.  Here let me take it off"  So she removed the hair and I did what I thought was very brave.  I asked,  "Where's your Microwave?" She pointed to it at the same time stating , "Oh it's still warm from the oven". 
"Yes I know, but I want my food always hot hot".  I lied.

I'm going to burn whatever bacteria that hair left on my plate to oblivion. 
"Oh ok".   
So I microwaved my plate until I was sure all the germs are eradicated.  Then courageously swallowed every single piece of food .  "N" was watching me intently and I think she was making sure I eat everything on my plate.

That is the last time I'm ever going to eat anything at "N"'s house.  I resolved.

"You want some brownies?  She asked."
"Oh no thank you.  I'm stuffed".  Another lie.  I love brownies but my stomach just can't handle another bite. 

 The brownie dish was sitting on the kitchen table and I saw her two boys shoving their hands in it and eating right out of it with boogers hanging down their nose.   Uh uh, I'm not touching that. 

"How about a drink?  My "L" (her daughter) made some lemonade.

"Sure, I'll have one".  She brought it over but not once did I sip.  I was done in by the casserole.

Made up my mind that after all these years, some people just never change.  "N" never learned how to cook and I don't know how I could have forgotten it.  And I just ate food that had a long hair in it.  Yuck!  I didn't want "N" to think I hate her food.  That would be rude!  And I'm not a rude person.  So I ate.

I told my husband what happened and he almost flipped  laughing at me.

I love "N" to death but I'm never going to eat anything she cooks ever again.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

No Passion

 I've shunned feeling appalled by her indifference.  Her disregard for her God-given talent guts me and almost always reduces me to tears every time we discuss it.

But then I thought again.    

Whose dream was it anyway?   

From the beginning hasn't it always been mine instead of hers?

Sisilia is 21 years old.  She has been singing since she was 3.  I taught her myself because I was determine that my daughter shall become a great singer.  For years now we've been going back and forth.  Arguing and fighting,   Hollering and screaming.  Pulling and pushing like a tug-of-war game.  One minute we agree and the next we disagree.

First I was hysterical at the casualness of her answer every time I bring up the subject:  "Mom, why do you keep bringing up something I have no passion for."  No passion!  I thought, how can you be so blind and deaf to what you've got.  Do you know how many girls out there that would give anything to have your voice?

"Then tell me, what do you have passion for?  I want to know."  "What are you planning to do with your life?"  I glanced at her as she shrugs her shoulders, "I don't know yet".
"You're 21 years old, you need to make up your mind what you want to do."  At the same time felt my heart sinking at the unfairness of it all.  I have 3 other daughters who are dying to sing like her.  Who jumps at every chance they have to be asked to perform.  Yet here she is, sitting on the only thing she's great at.

Her voice

She is good and I'm not saying that just because I am her mother.  But she moves people to tears when she sings at church and at every event she participates in.  People pay for airline tickets for her so she could go and sing for them and yet, yet, here she is. 

There 's really no use denying it any longer.   For a while now, and as much as I hate to admit it, I DID this to her.  WE did this to her.  Her father and I.  Pushed a tid too hard and a tad too long.  She's simply burned out.  Exhausted and  worn out.  Now that she's old enough, she's fighting back and saying NO.

So for now, for now I'll bite my tongue and bid my time.  Allow her to map out her life the best way she sees fit.  Never mind that she has been blessed with a voice of an angel.  Forget that she has an instrument that can touch lives and change lives.   It's her time. 
and it's all up to her. 

I'm not giving up hope on Sisilia.  I know one day she'll eventually realize what the Lord has blessed her with.  A very special gift.  And if she doesn't, then who am I to judge her.  Her story always remind me of the story in the new testament.  The parable of the man who gave out talents to his servants.  To one he gave five, another he gave two and the last he gave one.  The first two doubled their shares whereas the last one, buried it.  Failed to make an attempt to even try.

I pray that my daughter will come to realize what a great gift she's been given.  I shudder to think that she might never realize her potential.  The year she graduated from high school, their theme was from a quote by Nelson Mandela:

 "There is no passion to be found playing small--in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." 

Need I say more?

Special thanks going out to Shell for her "Pour your heart out Wednesday".