Friday, August 8, 2014

Pressure


The pain in my chest woke me up at 4:30am this morning. The pressure and stress of it all is too much. I can’t remember a time in my life when I could feel emotional or mental stress, manifest itself physically. My mind is racing when my body just wants to rest.

All of the little things that we’ve complained about in the past, don’t seem so bad when you’re at risk of losing it all. Our once, tiny apartment with not enough storage or counter space; no closet or pantry, tiny refrigerator and nowhere to put a microwave; all of these things and more, I would give anything to guarantee they would still be ours!

My inability to perform, and be a good student has put us in this predicament. Again.

I knew it would be difficult trying to juggle family life, school life, work, bills, and all the responsibilities that come with student family life, but I had absolutely no idea that it would be this difficult.

The hardest part is the uncertainty.

Should we keep trying? Is this even what I should be doing? Is it too late to do anything else? If things don’t work out, where will we live? Where will we go? How will I provide for my family? Our kids love it here, and we just registered them for school. Kime is so excited to finally go to school with his older siblings at the ‘big kid’ school. For the first time we will only have one kid at home in the mornings.

Our tiny apartment is finally coming together. It has never felt so much like home, and it all could change within the next week.

It’s terrifying.

The worst part? I’ve let everyone down. My family, my friends, my kids. My wife.

I hope things workout, and I get another chance. I’ve done well these last few semesters and finally got a system going that works. But this class that I took last year, like an old festering wound, continues to haunt me.

At least we can say we tried. If that even means anything.

I’m so sorry to everyone that I may have let down. Especially my sweet wife, who was stood by me throughout these struggles, from day one. Sorry Love.

I tried.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Everyone Needs A Daughter


I had surgery less than a week ago that left a 7-inch incision on my abdomen, just at the belt line. Because the abdomen muscles were cut, it makes many simple motions, like standing up straight, coughing, sneezing, and laughing, a lot more difficult and painful. Today is Fast Sunday and I had a difficult time waking up on time as I didn’t finally get to sleep until 6am. I don’t move very fast, and still get a little light headed every now again for no reason. I know. Weak-sauce. Lol.
My wife decided to go to church without me and just take three of our four kids. I would’ve left my youngest son, Heikoti aka Koko-bear, because he’s the hardest to deal with in church. He hates sacrament meeting, hates nursery, and especially hates it when you’re sitting quietly in class, actively engaging in the lesson.
This is the precise moment that you hear a three-year child screaming at the top of his lungs, being escorted down the hallway towards the Sunday school class to be comforted by his parents. You recognize the cry as your own child, but sit quietly and wait for the teacher to come to the door and whisper your name and hand him over to you. Once in your hands, he smiles with victory as if his plan worked. We need another baby, so this one can be dethroned, but that’s another blog lol.
Instead of leaving my youngest, to make it easier for her, my wife left my 2nd oldest child, and only daughter, the ever-so sweet Salote. Leaving my daughter to care for me shows the type of person my wife is; selfless, nurturing, always thoughtful, always considerate. Her daughter is exactly like her.
While still in bed, I gently call her name “Salote-hunny” (my nickname for her) “Yes Dad?” she lovingly replies and rushes into my room and stands at my bedside ready to assist. “Can you please get my medicine?” I ask in a raspy morning voice. She rushes to the kitchen, brings my medicine and tall glass of water. “I’m staying home from church today to take care of you. Do you need anything else?” she very politely asks.
She is just like her mother. Many times, during the hectic semester schedule, I find myself so exhausted after returning home from school, that I can’t seem to stay awake long enough to make my way to my bedroom. I walk into my home, greeted by my adoring children with hugs and kisses, and then plop! Right on the couch in the living room. I wake up, sometime later, laying down on a pillow with a thin, cool blanket over me. I apologize to my wife for knocking out, and thank her for the blanket and pillow; she tells me it wasn’t her that covered me with the blanket, it was my daughter Salote.
Not that sons aren’t capable of this, they most definitely are! This maternal instinct, to care for, to love and nurture, is just much more prevalent in my daughter. I’m grateful for this.
While sitting here watching tv (I know, it’s Sunday, I shouldn’t be watching tv, but it was the awesome ‘80’s and it was fascinating) my Salote-hunny, snuggles up next to me, kisses my nose and tells me she loves me. I hope she always feels this way. I hope she takes cares of my wife and I when we’re old. I hope she knows this, because I don’t want my sons to lol. They’d see me in my old age, sitting on the couch, throw me the remote and ask “You good Dad?”
I hope that we’re blessed with more daughters to come, but if we’re not and my Salote-hunny is my only earthly daughter(refer to my first post, you’ll know what I’m talking about lol) then I’m glad that I have an amazing daughter like her, that is just like her amazing mother.
Everyone, needs a daughter.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Path of enlightenment

Homosexuality. This post isn't about Church doctrine. It isn't about LGBT rights. It isn't even about changing your views or beliefs. Rather it's a post of my journey towards personal enlightenment and this never ending path of bettering my self. I wanted to post my comments as it's own post, be realize this topic isn't for everyone, and those interested, have already posted on this thread. Discussion is welcomed:

We had Dr. Bill Bradshaw, a retired Microbiology professor speak to us earlier this week. He is a former Mission President of the Hong Kong mission, served in the Stake Presidency and various other church positions as well. He presented to us studies, tests and real life evidence of how early embryonic development can drastically change the outcome of a child. How various testosterone's introduced during specific stages of development cue the body to begin developing cells that are exactly the same after fertilization, to begin specializing into various organs like a liver, stomach or heart. The absence of these testosterone's can have a huge a effect and the cause as wide spread as a cell not receiving the signals, or perhaps the testosterone's are unable to enter the cells during this stage. He presented tests that heterosexual men and women generally did better at, and how homosexual men and women seemed to follow the exact patterns of their heterosexual opposite. If you're gay or know someone who is, you can relate to these findings, and know exactly what Dr. Bradshaw is talking about. What he was trying to prove, was homosexuality is not a choice. People are born gay. To say that people are "not born gay because that means God made a mistake, and God doesn't make mistakes" is an outdated fallacy, and one that can be extremely hurtful. What I took from his presentation is, life is far too complicated for our feeble mortal minds to comprehend. There is no one answer. He presented a case of an individual that looked (physically) like a women yet she suffered from a disease called AIS (androgen insensitivity syndrome) which prevents an embryo to develop the male organs, even though the baby has XY chromosomes and should develop into a male, develops into the default sex of a female. Most people don't are unaware of this until they hit their teens and their parents take their daughter in to the doctors as to why she hasn't began the female processes that come with adolescents and tests will show that genetically she is a male. Again, the complexity is beyond our comprehension.

Later in the week we had a panel of 3 gay students here at BYU who are also LDS. "Jeff" who is gay, "Mike" who is bisexual and "Jenny" who is lesbian. Both men were converts to the church at ages 15 & 16. Both knew they were gay, and knew the church's stance, yet could not deny their testimonies and knew that they wanted to serve a mission someday to share the gospel message with others. One served in the Netherlands and the other in Ukraine. After their introductions I was the one who asked most of the questions. I asked questions like, Does it offend you when someone says 'that's gay'?, How did your homosexuality affect your mission and who on your mission knew? and the question that affected me and our panel the most that I asked was, How will the path of your sexuality and the path of this Gospel, cross and at which point will you decide, if you decide at all, that the paths must separate?
Jeff responded that he will put his future in God's hand. If there is a female that he is to be with, than he wants to know, a sign from God. If it doesn't work out that way, he'll deal with it at that point. Jenny said that she envisions a day when she and her wife, will be able to pick their kids up from primary, and sit together as a family in sacrament. To most of us these might seem a far way out or impossible at that. What got me was Mike's response. He said that he knew that he would eventually find a man that he loved and wanted to be with forever, and marry. He knew that by doing this, this path and the path with the church would end and he knew that he would be excommunicated. He knows without a doubt, that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and he did restore the gospel in these latter days. He also can't deny these feelings. If it is a "challenge" as some say, can you change your attraction towards the opposite sex? Because I was the only one in my class with children, Mike's answer affected me in a very different manner than it did the others.

I have children, that I love more than life itself! I would literally lay down my life for them, and promise to do everything in my power to help them live a long, healthy, happy life. I would have such a difficult time knowing that my child has a testimony of the church, yet knows that he will have to be excommunicated if he acts on these desires. The church's current stance for homosexuals is abstinence or celibacy. I just had a hard time putting myself in the shoes of the parents of these students. I love my wife and the relationship that we have. I couldn't imagine one of these students having to go through life, without a spouse or partner or at least not sharing the type of loving and nurturing relationship my spouse and I have, whether it's with the same sex or not. This is perhaps why Mike knew that he would eventually get married, even if it meant excommunication.

There is a woman in my class, who confided in me, that she was in fact gay. She is married to her husband in the temple, but loves him for the person that he is and the person he makes her by bringing out the best in her, yet she is attracted to females. I'm not sure how it all works, but for them it works, and I'm happy for her that she was able to find a person and a way that her path of same gender attraction and path of our church doctrine was able to co-exist. Many people are not able to find that compromise in this journey.

I grew up in a Tongan dominated, west side Salt Lake neighborhood of Glendale that was not very conducive to homosexuals, and the truth is we just didn't know much. Maybe it's not homophobic, but it sure isn't talked about. Not in our culture, neighborhood, or religion. The beginning of my enlightenment, surprisingly began with my military service which was a very homophobic (I hate that word by the way) yet I served along side many soldiers who essentially saved my life in certain situations in Iraq, and it wasn't until after our deployment that I learned they were gay. Had I known they were gay, maybe I wouldn't have gotten to know and appreciate them as a human being first, because I wouldn't have been able to get over that barrier, albeit was only a barrier for me, not them. Then I came home and married my wife, who was many cousins that are gay. Specifically when I met her first cousin Eldon Johnson, he absolutely changed my entire outlook, as I gained a love for him because I saw how much he loved everyone else around with, without judgement and very Christ-like even to those that judged him and even shouted vulgarities to him and his boyfriend, without even knowing what an amazing person he is. So, to Eldon, Thank you for helping me come this understanding, when I first joined the family over 10 years ago!
 

The most alarming part was the statistics of homeless young adults on the streets that come from LDS families, the statistics of young adults who contemplate or attempt suicide, who are members of our own families. I can't imagine what any of you had to go through when dealing with these questions. Noni, Kaho, my family who I love, I wonder about your stories as well and know that you are surrounded now by loved ones who matter. I admire your strength. This post was just about learning to love our family for who they are, family. Because some day, if your own flesh and blood, your own child, comes to you to tell you this, first I would be happy that we have a relationship where my child is comfortable enough to talk to me about this and secondly I would love them. Because we loved them before we knew this, why would it change? It shouldn't. To call yourself a follower of Christ, then turn away from a loved one, is incomprehensible. That's all folks. I hope I haven't offended anyone, again these are just my opinions, nothing more. Just love each other without placing judgement because many things are beyond our comprehension and understanding of our mortal minds. Our just, loving, Father in Heaven, knows all. This I do believe.

Monday, March 24, 2014

When Loved Ones Leave

Again, with all my other posts, this one is unedited, raw emotions and thoughts put down while I have a short break in between classes.

When a loved one leaves this life, especially unexpectedly, it's difficult because many times it leaves us with many unanswered questions. It leaves a void in our lives that can never be filled because that spot was created by and for the person, over years and years of laughing, crying, late nights joking around, walking to Sev for a nachos and Big Gulp, sharing secrets and all the little things that you shared together.

We all have a belief or a hope of what happens after death. If you're LDS you believe that there is absolutely life after this and the reunion with our friends and family on the other side is one filled with happiness and joy. We believe that if we live righteously we can be with our families together forever. We can take comfort in knowing that our loved ones no longer suffer from this cruel, painful earthly life, but rejoice in the belief that they are now with our loved ones that have passed on before us.

All of these beliefs bring comfort to the pain stricken, mourning soul......but sometimes, especially immediately after receiving such sad news, no words can help. There isn't anything that anyone can say that will help with the pain that you're feeling right then and there, and that's OK.

Sometimes it's just best to cry, be sad, reminisce and think of all the good times you had. Picture their smiling face and the way they always greeted you with a hug to brighten your day. Remember how important they always made you feel. Miss them. Cry for them......and nothing else. For this reason, I have no words of wisdom at the tragic news of the loss the Tua'one family is having right now, because when I lost close family members, I didn't want to be reminded that families can be forever. I didn't want to think that my grandpa who battled valiantly with cancer is no longer in pain. I wanted to be to left alone, and think of how badly I missed them, and I just wanted to cry, and be sad. And be mad at myself for not taking every opportunity to tell them I loved them, even though I already knew, that they knew, how much I loved them.

There will be a time for all of that, later, and comfort and healing will come in due time; but for now, just cry. Cry, be sad, mourn the beautiful life and positive impact that was left behind. I have no words of comfort. I will however pray, on your behalf, for comfort and peace and for the speedy recovery of my cousin Junior Keiaho. Ofa lahi atu famili Tua'one.

Kime

Monday, July 22, 2013

Insecurities....blah!


Definition of insecurity (n)
in·se·cu·ri·ty
 [ ìn sə kyrətee ]   
  1. insecure condition: the state of being unsafe or insecure
  2. unsafe feeling: a state of mind characterized by self-doubt and vulnerability
  3. insecure phenomenon: an instance or cause of being insecure

Insecurity is a state of mind characterized by self-doubt and vulnerability. From personal experience, I’ve come to realize that another definition of insecurity can be an individual’s over-awareness of a physical attribute that they cannot immediately change. For my entire life, I’ve struggle with my smile, specifically my teeth. They’re crooked. And I’m the only one in my family that has this problem! My parents, and all my siblings have beautiful smiles, with gleaming white, straight teeth!

To any of you that have straight teeth, this may not seem like a big deal, but only because you have straight teeth, so it’s not something that you have to worry about! But to someone who has suffered with an imperfect smile, due to crooked teeth, pictures are always such a stressful event for me, because now that I’m married, my beautiful wife, and thankfully my children as well, have gorgeous smiles, with wonderfully white, straight teeth!

About a year and a half ago, while working for FedEx and having awesome insurance, I got braces! I was so excited about it, that I even wrote a blog about how having straight teeth would change my life! Lol. Yeah, I thought all my problems would be solved because obviously people with straight teeth have no problems at all!! Lol.

Since moving to Provo, attending BYU, which meant quitting FedEx over a year ago, I haven’t had insurance, which meant no orthodontist appointments, which means broken brackets, and missing wires in my mouth. Having all this hardware in my mouth is really just an insecure young man trying desperately to hold on to the dream of finally have straight teeth!

It’s been over 1 year since I’ve seen an orthodontist, and I’m finally accepting the fact the I may never experience, at least not in this lifetime, what it feels like to have straight teeth. What it feels like to smile with confidence! What it feels like to stand next to your beautiful wife and kids while a photographer tells your family to smile, and not feel completely insecure, and as the definition states: vulnerable.

Perhaps when I’m completely done with school, and am in a position financially I will get this taken care of. By then I’ll be in my late 30’s and I’m sure, I will not be any more secure or confident with myself then, than I am now, but only time will tell. Maybe then, I’ll be bald and over weight as well suffering from other ailments associated with aging, that my smile will be the least of my worries lol, who knows. If I could just find an orthodontist that could at least take these useless brackets off my teeth so I can finally enjoy biting into an apple or corn on the cob!

Until then, I will enjoy the beautiful smiles of the little ones that call me dad, and hope they never get crooked teeth! And in the likely event that they do get crooked teeth, I hope I’m in a position then to get them braces early on. I’ll just keep my lips closed, hiding my insecurities in each family picture, until I have insurance again, or when our earthly bodies are perfected in the next life. Which ever comes first :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

What's in the Name?

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When President George Albert Smith was young, his deceased grandfather George A. Smith appeared to him in a dream and asked, “I would like to know what you have done with my name.” President Smith responded, “I have never done anything with your name of which you need be ashamed.”

What’s in the name? My name is Kime Tuipulotu Lao. I was named after my maternal grandfather, the late Kime Tuipulotu Kinikini. I share his first & middle name. Because he was such a well known and well loved man, I am often mistakenly called Kime Kinikini by the older generation Tongans that knew my grandpa because the unique names are synonymous with each other.
             The name Kime is very much a family name, in fact I’ve never heard of any other person or persons with that name except from my grandpa and the many relatives, such as myself, that were named after him. I’m not even sure where he got his name from, although I’ve always speculated he was named after an early Christian missionary that may have visited the friendly island kingdom of Tonga, from which he originates.
            More times than I can count, upon hearing my name, strangers immediately knew my family history and genealogy, my parents, grandparents and from which village in Tongan each came from. It was amazing! I can remember riding the bus home in 3rd grade and walking home to my grandparent’s house during a snowstorm. A young Tongan woman pulls up to me, rolls her window down and asks my name. I politely tell her my name is Kime and she interrupts and says to me “Oh, Kime! I’m your aunty! Get in the car and I’ll drive you home! I know where your grandparents live! How are grandpa & grandma doing?” And without hesitation I get into a complete strangers vehicle, and luckily she takes me right to my grandparents house!
            This exact scenario has played out many times in my life, and later as a young adult I would run into people who knew my grandpa and who’s lives had been touched so deeply by him, they continued to break down as they shared their connection and story with me, about my grandpa.
            For this reason, I’ve always felt nameless. Not like a person without a name, but more of an individual blessed to call myself after my grandpa Kime, an amazing man. I felt that the name was still his, not mine. I am called Kime, but the name is still his. It’s like running outside of your house into a rainstorm, and you grab your father’s jacket to wear to protect you from the storm. Even if your father let’s you keep the jacket, and no matter how long you have the jacket, in your mind the jacket is always your father’s.
            Likewise, my name has never really felt like my name. I have always felt privileged to bare my grandfather’s name. Like the modern day LDS prophet George Albert Smith, who had a dream that he met his grandfather, of the same name, hoped that he had made him proud of by his works and kept honor and dignity to his name, I too hope that when I meet my grandpa Kime again, I will be able to look him straight in the eye and say ‘Grandpa Kime, I’ve tried my best to uphold the honor and dignity of your name, by living a similar life of love and service.”
            I hope that my son (who I named after my grandpa, Kime Kinikini Lao, and not myself) has similar experiences of strangers walking up to him, upon hearing his name, and say to him “Kime….I knew a Kime once, he was a very kind gentleman.” I hope that my Uncle Kime and my several cousins that bare the name Kime Kinikini feel the same responsibility that I have and choose to honor our grandfather’s name accordingly.
            For this reason, I can remember taking great offense when others would intentionally mispronounce my name. It is an unusual name and very easy to confuse with many names more feminine like ‘Kim’ or ‘Kimmy’. Few things in this life could bring as much anger in my heart than to have someone purposefully make fun of my name, not because I feel like they’re making fun of me, but because I feel they are making fun of my grandfather’s name, who was a wonderful man! Of course they don’t know the weight that is tied behind the name, or the meaning or importance that I carry with it, which is the reason I can stay calm amidst other’s ignorance and lack or respect for a name.
            As I began, what’s in the name? For some, it’s something that sounds nice, or pretty. For others it’s completely random, spur of the moment type of decision. For many it’s to commemorate an event like a sibling on a mission, or other momentous event going on during their life. For my little family, each name is tied to an individual that mean a lot to us. My older brother & grandpa Sateki, whom my oldest son is named after, my wife’s maternal grandmother Salote Lasini Wolfgramm who was battling cancer when my daughter was born and who’s name my daughter now shares, my grandpa Kime Kinikini, who my 2nd son is named after and my youngest son Heikoti, born when my youngest brother was serving his mission in Texas, the only missionary of us siblings. Everyone has different reasons behind the question, What’s in the name? 
           

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My strength through the storm. My Wife :)


           As a family we’ve run into struggles, obstacles and difficulties that we did not expect. We had been living the family/student/work/church life for the last two years in West Valley while attending Salt Lake Community College and although we struggled, we always came through ok. I believe we will be ok regarding the current issues we’re dealing with because God is always aware of us, and our struggles. We face these struggles each day for a reason. It’s difficult to see the reason while you’re facing an obstacle. In fact, I can’t tell you the purpose of what’s happening now, but I know we’ll be ok if we keep pushing. The key to life is to never give up. I wish I could say that I’ve never wanted to quit or give up but that would be a lie. Which is why I’m writing today.
            Without going into too much detail, we are now facing struggles bigger than we have in the past. I have again started to question the path we’re on and the direction we’re headed and wonder whether or not we have what it takes to pull through. One thing I’m so grateful for is the problems we’re not facing! We are all healthy, all six of us! My relationship with my wife is wonderful, healthy, growing and ever evolving! Looking at the problems you’re not facing is a great way to be grateful for all that you do have.
            Last month, I had enough with this college life. I let the situation get the best of me and I wanted to give up. I just wanted to surrender. I wanted to quit; and this time I was very serious. White flag in hand and at the ready position to start waving in surrender. This is certainly not the first time I’ve wanted to quit, and most definitely wont be the last but this time I had no strength or will to see past the storm. I wasn’t able to look at the silver lining as I have done so many times in the past. This is where my wife comes in. She fills me with confidence and encouragement when I cannot find it from within myself. If it weren’t for her, I would have quit a long time ago and returned back to Salt Lake and started looking for a job and plan B or plan C.
            You see the value of a healthy, loving marriage is immeasurable. How can you put a price tag on words of encouragement? How can you put a value on a relationship where the other person involved makes you want to be a better person every day? You can’t. At the end of a tough day, week, semester she believes in me. When I am full of doubt and question, she holds steady and reassures me that we’re in the right place at the right time doing the right thing, and if we can just weather the storm everything will be fine.
            You see as the head of this family, it is my responsibility to keep calm amidst the chaos. And for majority of the time I play that role as best I can. But those few times where I am emotionally, spiritually, physically exhausted from the struggle, she comes through with that extra wind. She’s my reserve energy to finish the race. Like a marathon runner hitting ‘the wall’ at mile 13 with another 13 miles remaining in the race and they suddenly get that 2nd wind and finish the race strong, that’s what my wife is to me. However she’s much more than my 2nd wind in this marathon; She’s my 3rd and 4th and 5th wind because this race we’re in isn’t defined with a finish line, it is however a series of races and obstacles that we face day in and day out.
Along this race we will need to continually push each other, finding the good in each day, taking the lessons from each conquered obstacle and applying it to next steep hill placed in front us. We have to stop occasionally to smell the roses on the side of the road to the top, appreciating the beauty in this journey. We have to boost each when we see the other is struggling. Metaphorically place their arm over our shoulder and continue to run. Remembering always that when we’re both struggling we need not look any further than into the eyes of our most prized blessings, the ones who call us Mom and Dad, and understand that although we are not perfect, and we do have faults, in their eyes we can do no wrong. I am so grateful for my wife and everything she does for our little family.
I can see why our church leaders push our YSA and RM’s to get married. Not only is it about happiness and love, it’s about having a partner that can push you through the difficult times. It’s about being that support for them on their rainy days. I’m grateful for her and search everyday for the reason why the Lord blessed me with such an amazing eternal companion.
I consider myself blessed each day I come home to my beautiful wife and kids. It’s my prayer that we can continue to be that rock for each other, and I pray that others can find what they are looking for as well, to experience this happiness and completeness that I feel with my family. Just feeling blessed through the storms and thought I’d write these random thoughts down.

Again, as with most of my blogs, these thoughts are mine; unedited, no revisions or rough drafts; Straight from my mind, through my fingertips and onto the computer screen as a reminder of what I was thinking or feeling this particular moment in time. Have a blessed day family!