Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sturdy Thirties

Ok so maybe this blog post should've come last year but I was too occupied freaking out about turning 30 and it's taken a whole year for me to truly embrace this decade of my life.

Yesterday, I turned 31 and I am not wasting another day worried about getting older. I never had a fear of turning 30, or so I thought. A little more than two years ago, I was begging to be let into the third tier, desperate to leave behind the immaturity, self-doubt and growing pains that made up most of my twenties.

Then I hit 30 last year and I suddenly began to have mixed feelings. Thirty just sounds so old but truth is, I don't feel old. Matter of fact, I don't even feel grown. Partially because I still don't have solid plans on a career BUT I can see my destination and most importantly, I am optimistic about the future.

What I've discovered in my first year of fabulous thirties is, I was able to let go of all the expectations I had about my life and just live it.

So, in honor of my thirties, I made a note of just a few things I learned the past 30 31 years:

  • Enjoy being alone. You can't expect anyone else to enjoy your company if you don't.
  • Trust yourself. People will tell you a ton of stories. If it sounds like a lie, it probably is. If it sounds true, it may be. Go with what makes sense to you. 
  • Love is an action. Having the emotion means absolutely nothing if it's not followed through with action. 
  • Learn how to treat people how you want to be treated. You're not perfect and neither is anyone else. 
  • Learn from your mistakes. Try not to apologize for the same thing more than once. 
  • See the world. Visit other continents and cultures. Learn to appreciate your own.
  • Embrace getting older. Young people eventually get old too. 
and last but not least... 
  • Smile. It's a curve that sets everything straight!

Gonna relish in this decade and determined to make it my best!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Leti's Happiness Project 2012

It was another date night Uela was in charge of and I knew we would be spending the evening at B&N. Over two months ago, I got Uela a nookColor. Besides the fact that there's an ever growing library all around me, I got the nook thinking we could save money on buying books since ebooks are cheaper...epic fail! He still would rather have the book. I love B&N when I find a good read but every other month when Uela is in charge is a bit much. It's always suppose to be low-budget date night. I always find it fun to browse around, and flip through books and magazines with no intentions of buying them. But one of us always has intentions of buying. Only this time, it was me.

I came across an interesting book. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It's part memoir and part self help book. It has practical "how to become happier" advice in each page of her personal story--a year-long project--than most self-help books. Her month-by-month plan, wide range book reading and everyday details of how she discovered what worked for her and what did not has been inspiring to say the least. I understood her discovery of learning most, not from studies, but from several individuals approach to happiness had the most relevance for me too.

So thanks to date night and Uela's obsession with books and B&N, I will be working on my own Happiness Project for 2012, a new way to set my resolution(s). I will be blogging about it to keep you all posted. Although there's not a whole lot I would change in my life, but I think there is always room for more happiness.

GIVE PROOFS OF LOVE "There is no love; there are only proofs of love. Whatever love I might feel in my heart, others will see only my actions."

For more info click here


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Engagement: Kaeo & Glo...up on my photo blog!

I recently did an engagement shoot with the beautiful Glorianna and Kaeo. Check out the rest of the shoot here on my photoblog!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Devyn's Heaven

Right before bedtime Devyn says to me, "Mom I'm scared to die." I was speechless for a moment, trying to play things out in my head before speaking and wanting to keep things as simple as possible. I explained, "You shouldn't be scared honey, everyone will die but we have the chance to live in heaven with Heavenly Father." That didn't put her worries at ease. She inquired about heaven. I was moved with her enthusiasm to be taught about something that appeared so complex to me. I finally realized, Devyn wanted to know the details of heaven to see for herself if it's somewhere she wants to live after death. Inquisitions poured out that took me by surprise...
  • Is there a park with a playground in heaven?
  • Is Jayda (my sisters daughter) gonna be in heaven?
  • Am I gonna have this body or a clear one?
  • So we will be awake in heaven? We won't be laying in a box?
  • Is Jesus's mom gonna be there? I never hear about her.
  • Will Satan be in heaven?
  • Will Jesus be in heaven? Does Jesus talk?
  • So, I won't ever get any owie's in heaven?
  • Will we have cars in heaven? Cause I want a BIG truck with purple and pink stripes.
After what seemed like a million questions, Devyn finally finds bliss in her newfound understanding of heaven. She turns to me and says, "Mom, I guess I'm not so scared of dying. Heaven sounds nice."

I am amazed at her insights and questions about heaven. And I must agree--parks, playgrounds, colorful trucks, cousins, a heavenly mother--her heaven sounds nice and oh so sweet! Lord, make my heart like my child’s--pure and simple.

A big piece of Devyn's heaven, her cousin Jayda


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dear Devyn

We never dreamed you'd be so beautiful...
in all of the times we tried to imagine every last detail of who you would be,
thru all of the nights we spent quietly thinking of how we would feel when we first looked at you,
we patiently waited and silently wondered, we hoped and we prayed and we tried to imagine...
but we never dreamed you'd be so beautiful.

Happy Birthday!

♥ Mommy

Monday, October 17, 2011

Keepers of the Legacy

Did I mention I come from a huge family? Or families? Cause it's not just one side but every side there can possibly be. My grandmother on my dads side is a Tapusoa and about a year ago it was announced that we were going to have a Tapusoa family reunion and Utah families would host. Within no time, meetings were called, committees were formed, funds were being raised and plans were underway for the descendants of Talitau and Fetoai Tapusoa (my great-grandparents). I didn't really put much thought into it at first but it was a huge undertaking, especially given that we had less than a year to pull it off. But, it was a whopping success! 

I lost my grandmother exactly one month before her side-of-the-family reunion. She decided to attend another reunion. One with my grandfather who awaited her arrival in heaven. After I returned to Utah from her services, I struggled to pick up the pieces of my responsibilities as part of the activities committee. Almost a year of planning and the thing that kept me engaged was the image of my grandmother's sweet smile and the happiness she would feel being around her siblings and their families. I was devastated! All I could think was..."Oh, Mama, you couldn't wait for just a couple more weeks?" 

The reunion was fast approaching. After almost a week of ignoring calls and emails about plans for the reunion, I had a quick change of heart. One day, as if my grandmother were standing right in front of me, I realized-- more passionately than ever--that I am an extension of her and a keeper of her legacy. I understood completely the theme we had chosen for our reunion, "Keepers of the Legacy." That day, I promised myself that I would represent my grandmother the best I could and see it through. Wholeheartedly.

I now realize what my grandmother was trying to teach me that day. She lived a long life--90 years--and left a great legacy for me to follow. Her family reunion wasn't for her. It was for her posterity. For my posterity, my precious child. It was for me. To help me family...happiness...and life in the in between. And to also remember my grandmother's legacy. Though no one mentioned it, we celebrated her life and relived her memories with every prayer that was said, every sip of koko Samoa and every spoonful of food. And, believe me, there was food. Tons of it.

The sounds of Samoan music danced through the crisp Mt. Timpanogos air and we all laughed, yelled, and as we spoke over each other, there was love. Lots and lots of love. It is four days I never want to forget because life is short and in a blink everything can change. In that moment, seeing all my family together having dinner--steam from koko Samoa, the divine curry chicken resting happily on the white rice, and our breakout flash mob to LMFAO's Party Rock Anthem--I was happy. So incredibly happy. It was if life stood still. And I? I felt invincible. I stepped back and took a picture in my heart. It is embedded there forever. It's in these moments I feel alive.

Every morning, I blink my eyes open. I lay for a few seconds, then squeeze them real tight. And thank God. For everything. My pillow, my blanket, the sun, the pile of folded clothes that needs to be put away, the new vanilla air freshener in my car, my precious little family, my family's health, the box of Cheerios in the pantry... This list goes on. I simply start the day by expressing appreciation. When I think back to this picture of my family reunion, I can't help but feel thankful. For my bed, for my life, for an amazing family and everything my grandmother instilled in me. And this makes me squeeze my eyes shut every morning and appreciate life's most extravagant blessings.

To my dear family, thank you for reminding me that life is best felt when you're alive, in each moment.

And to think we had a lot more missing from this picture.
The biggest and coolest family tree ever!
We all stayed at BYU's Timp Lodge. Absolutely beautiful. Got to appreciate God's creation and am thankful.
Everyone old and young got into their team spirit! 
Yup that's my girl doing her siva Samoa and Aunty Suvi doing thriller
Australia & Vegas entertaining the family
801 Holding it down during Talent night!
Every one of my dads siblings was here :)
801 putting on a show
Minute to Win-it
Orange Team


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

You Satisfy My Heart

Over six years ago, I was the luckiest girl in the world because that was the day I was able to call you mine. All mine. And when I think back to that day, I realize I married an incredible man.

I knew he was the one when he would send a card with beautiful handwritten love notes. I knew he was the one when he would let me talk for hours over the phone. I knew he was the one the moment he made me laugh, like a crinkled-nose-and-squinted-eyes kind of laugh. I knew he was the one when I learned he does laundry. I knew he was the one when I began to dress up and smile more. I knew he was the one when one fateful night, I finally realized he satisfies my heart and made room for only him.

I knew when I met Uela, that was it. It being my ability to function without him. My heart is at peace knowing I'm walking through life with a partner who knows and accepts everything. Wholeheartedly. Not too long ago we celebrated six years of love. We promised to accept and love each other. Forever. And right then I knew life was nothing short of perfection.

Six years later, still, completely satisfy my heart and soul. Thank you for loving me in ways I can't possibly understand.

I seriously need updated pictures. Hopefully this holiday season!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Whisperings of my Heart

So here I am sitting on my laptop, my husband is reading and Devyn is spending the night at Aunty Sala's house. She goes to school with my sisters kids because our work schedules don't permit us to drop her off and pick her up from school. In these quiet moments, I can sit and ponder the whisperings of my heart and the people that occupy it.

"God, I know you can hear me up there, please slow the time down. I'm kind of a wreck with Devyn not spending the night at home. I feel like a terrible mother and a little aggravated that my job has enslaved me. I'm missing my babygirl tonight. I'm not sure if or when it'll ever end, but Devyn still sleeps with Uela and I. I know I should be annoyed having her on our bed still, but it's the best part of my day. The second her soft, sweet little head snuggles perfectly under my neck, there is no wrong in all the world. Oh, please let her be my baby always! If you can't slow time, will you atleast help me remember these small moments that have filled my heart with more joy and magic and love than I ever could have imagined?"

I began blogging in 2008 because I didn't want to forget. The sound of my child playing and laughing and singing in her perfect little girl voice is the soundtrack of my days. Those sounds will someday fade and later it will just be me and my sweet husband. As much as I know I will love that day, I am determined to remember the ones in between. 


Monday, September 12, 2011

Finding myself, Despite myself

WHERE IN THE WORLD AM I? I've been asking myself this question lately.

In the busy-ness of the everyday--being a mother, wife, daughter, sister and employee--I sometimes feel scattered all over the place by the habit of multi-tasking and the ‘need’ to be in at least two places at once.

Sort of being everywhere. And yet nowhere.

And somewhere along the way, I un-learned how to simply be. Right where I am… (So maybe, in a way, I've lost touch with myself).

Instead, I've been sort of projecting my mind or my thoughts out into other spaces – to my workplace, to my hopes, to my obligations and responsibilities, to my worries.

My wish is to simply let all of that stuff fall away. Let my thoughts and wishes and distractions and concerns go for a moment or two. Set them down and just experience who I am. Where I am. As I am...

So that I might find out what this actually means for me. Find out what my body is noticing. Find out what my heart is saying. Find what this moment, this particular time in my life, really feels like. Or find a space to breathe amid the multi-tasking.

And maybe even find myself in the process.

Yes the beach is where I want to be :)


Monday, August 29, 2011

It all starts with Kindergarten

Today was truly a momentous occasion and it came with a whole flood of emotions. Devyn's first day of Kindergarten! I guess until very recently I’ve kind of mentally blocked the kindergarten thing. Now all of a sudden, it’s upon me. It’s funny how life sneaks up on you when you’re not paying attention. I’ve been reading different posts on Facebook this week about various friends and family sending their children off to college. I keep thinking what that must be like. No doubt it’s a mixed bag of emotions. How wonderful it must be to watch your children grow and thrive. How gratifying it must be to know they are pursuing an education and you helped get them there. And yet, how bitter it must be to drive away from that campus and send them off into the world. And it all starts with kindergarten.

It was hard to predict how she would handle separation on the first day of kindergarten. When Devyn was young, she obviously went through what they call separation anxiety — whatever that is and whoever “they” are. I couldn't even take one step away without her screaming at the top of her lungs. I remember thinking, "Someone PLEASE TELL ME THIS IS NORMAL!" As she grew older, she got much better. So when I finally had to prepare for today, it was very unnerving for me. I imagined her clinging to me in terror, or skipping happily off without even a parting glance in my direction.

The morning started off great. I woke up to find that my husband had taken the day off just so he wouldn't miss her first day of school. I wasn't surprised, for the past 5 years, he's babied her. Devyn seemed excited and anxious. As I was in the bathroom getting ready, she walks in, sits down and has this terrifying look on her face. "Mom, I think I want to be in the same class as Jaice now" (my nephew who also started school today) and then "Mom, I'm scared" over and over again. My heart dropped. Just as we're about to leave, she starts to freak out! So, I had to pull out the Coach Mickey in me and give her a good pep-talk.

Devyn also gave me a hard time about wanting to fix her own hair. I was devastated. It was the first day of school and she would be gone for a few hours and now she doesn't even want me to do her hair-which I always did. I felt emotional because she's growing up and she wants to do things on her own. She's not going to need me soon. I was very excited for my babygirl, but I wanted to be a part of it! It would have been great if I could just sit in class with her. I felt like I was missing out on what was going on in her life somehow.

For nearly six years now, I have had the privilege of being home a lot with Devyn. In those early days, it was just me and Devyn most the time. We have a special bond. I love this little girl fiercely and can’t wait to watch her grow. And yet, I’m sad because a chapter of my life is ending. She started school. She will be out of my sight every day. That mama bear instinct is rearing its head. I want to protect her always. I want to spare her from disappointment. I want to shield her from bullies. I want to let her know we are there supporting her even when she can’t see us. The best I can do is continue to nurture her and hope that we will provide enough of a foundation for her to succeed.

Letting go has got to be one of life’s most difficult challenges. I know it's time for me to let go and send my kindergartner off into the world. I’m excited for the road ahead and excited for my babygirl. I’d be lying though if I said I didn't get teary. It was that first symbolic step from the nest — for both of us. Devyn saw how excited my cute nephew Jaice was and everything was smooth sailing from there. Today was a great day.

Happy first day of kindergarten!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

What every woman needs!

Woke up this morning not feeling so well and got online to find the most pleasant thread of emails. It made my day! :)

Everyone needs a break, but lets face it, women need it more. For the past few years, a few of my girlfriends leave the guys and kids behind for a little R&R. In February, we met in Vegas and emails are now circulating on location and dates for next year. I gotta say, I'm so stoked! And maybe because my life has been crazy busy lately but our retreats are always so spiritually uplifting, inspiring and full of laughter and love. Lets not forget all the shopping and consumption of food that goes on.

As women, when it comes to doing something for ourselves-we always feel guilty. I'm always feeling selfish or narcissistic before leaving on this annual getaway but I've come to realize that the exact opposite happens. By doing something for myself, I become a better mother, employee and spouse. I believe that it's absolutely essential to do a little something for yourself every once in awhile, or you become bitter and resentful.

I am looking forward for the uninterrupted grown-up conversations, the chance to feel 16 again and stay up late in pj's and black masks, sleeping in, to laugh, cry and talk about life til our heart's content, to being around girlfriends who help me get and stay clear about who I am as a person...and if we get around to it-to practice on my photography! :)

Sage Fried Chicken Benedict at Hash House is to DIE for!!!

All those cameras, and this is the best group shot we got in Vegas. In the elevator on the way to Hash House! lol
See you ladies soon!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Sweet Farewell

Just a couple pictures up of my Mama's final day, up on my photoblog.
Check it out here!


Monday, August 1, 2011

The woman I call "Mama"

I’m not sure how to express just how much my grandmother means to me. Not that I haven’t been inspired—I just haven’t had the emotional fortitude to put into words what I’ve been feeling lately. You see, my Mama died a couple days ago. She was the last of my grandparents and lived almost 91 years. She led an ordinary life, but to those who loved her, she was extraordinary!

Call me selfish: I wish she were still alive.

As I was reminiscing and pulling up old memories, I naturally started thinking about her house – her humble home in Laie, Hawaii on Lanihuli street that sits a top Iosepa street. The home all her grandchildren grew up in and the only house I had known her to live in during my lifetime. In my mind, I started revisiting each of those rooms. And it occurred to me that each one held memories that seemed to characterize some part of her personality.

So, let me just share with you a few of the memories that Mama’s house evokes for me.

The living room. One of the first things a visitor would see were all the pictures in that room, mostly of the grandchildren, and later the great grandchildren. Mama was so proud of all of us. As each of her grandchildren grew, pictures updated as we graduated or got married and had children of our own. Mama loved being a grandmother and a great grandmother and her living room was a testament to that.

Mama’s kitchen. Her way of nurturing you was to feed you. And when she wasn’t feeding you, she wanted to make sure you were eating. Even up to the last time I visited her this past mother’s day, she asked if I was eating okay -– I am 30 years old, living in Utah with a husband and a daughter of my own. Somehow, I’ve managed to take care of myself all this time. But she still wanted to make sure I was eating. It was her way of telling me that she cared and still worried about me no matter how old or capable I might be.

The last room I’ll mention is Mama’s bedroom. When I was a little kid, that room seemed so special and almost magical to me. But, that room must also have been a sanctuary for her -– a place for quiet reflection and prayer. There's a distinct spirit you feel in there. It was peppered throughout with symbols of her faith. Mama was a woman of unwavering faith and I imagine she sought grace and peace in that room. Her bedroom also reminds me of her protection and love for her children, especially her boys. Everytime we would go with dad to visit her, I would hear her call for him. My dad would walk back to her bedroom and prop himself on the bed next to her. I watched from the hallway as she dug through her purse to sneak cash into his hand as if he were her little 5 year old boy again. That will be one of the sweetest memories I will always hold dear to my heart.

I have so many other recollections of her –- there are some familiar to many of my family, like the way in which she would mangle the English language, except for when she sang her famous "I have a testimony", or the way in which she kept the television up to ear-splitting volumes, especially when she was watching the Rock on Monday night Raw. And there are recollections more personal like when she visited us in Utah in her 80's. My choices didn't always reflect what I had been taught but, I overheard her counseling my parents that the most important thing is to LOVE, regardless of the heartache we put them through. A grandparents love is so unconditional and that's one of the things I'll miss most. These memories represent but a tiny fraction of the woman I call Mama. She was a woman who knew hardships: at times struggled to keep her family afloat, took care of my ill-stricken grandfather for more than 10 years before he passed, and buried two of her own children. But she knew great joy too. She married, got to watch her children grow up, and see her grandchildren come into this world. She was lucky enough to witness the birth of many of her great grandchildren! She cherished her close relationships with her siblings and she had lifelong friends. Mama was devoted to her church and had a constant testimony of the law of tithing.

To me, my grandmother, Vaelua Tapusoa-Purcell, represented the epitome of love, strength, and loyalty. She was strong in character, and had a tender, loving, and generous heart. Mama was the backbone of our family. She lived, loved and spoke with the awareness of Christ pulsating through every part of her being-and did so up to the very end. But the greatest gift my grandmother gave me was to witness her display of commitment and love for my grandfather. I will remember my grandmother for her strength and loyalty towards my grandfather and the many years she took care of him with such love and devotion. Even after his stroke which left him dependent upon her, she never left his side. Mama cooked his every meal and took care of his every need. She hated being away from him even when she would visit her children and grandchildren here in the mainland and it became more evident in her deteriorating health after my Papa passed on.

Thank you Mama, for showing me what True Love looks like. I don't want to forget it, ever.

In the hurriedness of life, pain causes a person to stop and reflect. My Mama has enriched my life tremendously. She left behind a legacy of children, grandchildren, love for her faith, and an eternal impression on the many people she helped during her life. I hope with all my heart she left knowing how much of an influence she had in my life and just how much she means to me.

She leaves a big void in my heart but I know she would want me to fill it with all the love and happiness I can muster up. I begin with the happiness and joy of her reunion with my grandfather. I love you Mama!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011


My husbands hobby-i'll call it-is reading. Uela's interpretation of date night is going to Barnes & Noble and walking down those long, quiet aisles in search of a good read that usually consumes my every waking moment. So, I blame my husband...for the pile of laundry growing in my bedroom, for the collection of dust that can earn its own spot in the Guinness Book of World Records and for neglecting my child the last few weeks.

Uela came home with it one day and I didn't want to put it down. It soon became one of my favorite books. Driven the Autobiography of Larry H. Miller. In all my years of living in Utah, I've never taken a real interest in anything he has done. No, not even the Jazz-I know I'm pretty pathetic. As I read this book, I realized I'd had almost no idea of the breadth of his influence. His story is fascinating and compelling, to say the least. Many times in the middle of the night, I had to wipe away tears. To learn of his experiences and about his heart of gold, was so moving and inspiring. What a wonderful legacy he has left. So glad I had the opportunity to learn about his life. Wonderfully written!

Other good reads...Hunger Games is awesome! Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is also a series but more for adults.

Happy Reading


Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I know, I's like the second, ok maybe third time I've gone MIA and then like magic, re-appeared in the blog scene. I'm like the stretch mark that fades away-so you think-and then returns in full force. You can never get rid of me. The fact is, I'm terrible at keeping up with my blog-among other things-but I love to write and I absolutely love going back and reflecting on past experiences. So, here I am again, making yet another attempt to document my way of life on blogger. So much has happened since 2010 mother's day (date of my last post) steps! :) I won't torture you with lengthy, mind-numbing accounts of my life within the past year cause truth is, I don't want to end up on the list of the world's most chronically boring bloggers. And if I hate reading more than 2 paragraphs of someones blog, I'm sure you do to. All I have to say is, I have much to be grateful for. Welcome to

"My Sweet Disposition!"

And because posts are so much better with a picture, here is my little surfer girl. Mother's Day 2011 in Hawaii!