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:


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


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:  


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.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


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.