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In a Nut Shell

In a Nut Shell


I’ll never forget the day I delivered each one of our four children. Each have their own delivery story, each came with a sweet scent of perfection, and a Heavenly presence. Those moments seem to have flown by, but I remember them so vividly like it was yesterday.

Frenchie and I had four children under the age of six, and I was overwhelmed. Just as one baby would go down for a nap another would wake up for play time. More than an hour or two of consecutive sleep was un-heard of. Before I knew it two were in school, then the third followed soon after. Knowing I was not going to have anymore children I tried to enjoy every moment I had with my youngest, Haleigh. We went shopping, out to lunch, played at the park and enjoyed watching movies together. The day I had to put her on the bus for her first day of school, I followed the bus to make sure they arrived safely. When I saw the route the bus took, I decided I could do it much better and have more time with her. From that day forward I took all my children to school and picked them up.

Now fast forward many years, they are all married. The three oldest have children of their own and my baby Haleigh is giving birth to her first child in November. The circle of life is happening, I never thought I’d love life this much–but I do.

In a nut shell, my advice is enjoy every bit of peanut butter and jelly that gets smeared on their faces, chairs and tables, leave the dishes one night and read a book to them, snuggle them tight, say I love you as much as possible and write it all down. Life moves so quickly, we cannot get it back look forward to tomorrow, lower your voice and soften your heart to the things that really won’t matter in a month or a year.

Monya Bonbon

Father’s

Father’s

This is Ray Williams, my father in law on his graduation day from Mesa High in Arizona. Oh how I love him, he passed away October 1st 2008. Today I sat in church holding Frenchie’s hand, listening intently to the speakers who gave incredible tributes to the father’s in their lives. I teared up thinking about how blessed I have been to also have men in my life who have been great examples.

Thinking back I remember Stan Johnson was one of the most influential men in my life during my teen years. He was my seminary teacher, no matter what was going on at home I always knew for one hour a day Monday-Friday I was able to get away from the stressful life I secretly lived and listen to things that were good and wholesome. I will always be grateful to him for his soft, kind demeanor and for helping to ground my testimony of Christ.

My brother in law Greg Watkins, another incredible man but often misunderstood. I always felt protected by him and knew he would do anything to support and love me in all my decisions. Sonya and Greg took over important roles in my life as I stumbled through difficult times of life.

Bob Turner was my bishop when I decided to speak up and tell about my abuse. He was gentle, patient and compassionate. Bishop’s are not trained to be psychiatrist’s or paid to give advice on the troubles that some people, like myself have gone through or are going through. They are not marriage counselors, no Bishop’s are called by God to guide and sometimes discipline those who come to them with undeniable problems. Bishop Turner suggested books for me to read, kept close touch with me weekly and referred me to a well trained counselor. I will always remember how sweet he was with me before and after I faced the stepdad–Bob is a good man.

Stephen Phelps, is another source of light in my life. I watched as a young mother not exactly knowing how to do this mother thing–I wanted to do it right but had no guidance. I watched many men an women in our church congregation raise their children Stephen and his wife Carolei are amazing parents I wanted to immulate many of their traditions and parenting skills. Interesting enough I found out later Stephen knew my mother and father in law Viola and Ray Williams. He had so many nice things to say about Viola. When I was diagnosed with cancer so many people were praying for me, Stephen wrote me a few emails that I will treasure forever. I love this man, he is an example of strength and humility. I cherish our talks and his ability to always lift me up when I know he is the one who needs to lifted during his battle with extreme back pain.

Ray Williams, was one of the most influential men in my life–He loved me and he showed that love by not only telling me but with words. Often times he would call me and ask “How’s my oldest son treating you?” There is no doubt he changed after Vi died, still he never forgot to let his family know they were loved–I loved having him as a father, he’d softly put his arms around me and whisper in my ear “thank you, I love you” I learned to love freely and unconditionally from Ray. Recently a dear friend of ours shared a story with me about Ray and Vi that didn’t surprise me knowing them, but it reaffirmed what I’ve always thought about them.
He said “Ray and Vi were the BEST parents I know. So loving and caring. They had the perfect amount of balance in their parenting and lived the gospel of Jesus Christ with so much vigor and quiet dignity.” He continued by saying ” I’ll never forget a seminal moment in my life in regards to the relationship I had with them. A teacher at Mesa Jr. High told Ray and Vi “You should be wary and careful of that boy Kurt hangs out with. He’s not a good influence and may lead Kurt astray.” He said “Despite the fact the teacher was friends of theirs Ray and Vi took this man to task and defended me. The thing is, I wasn’t a good influence on Kurt. But when I learned of how Ray and Vi had stood up for me I decided right then and there I would NOT disappoint the ‘Williams’ and I straightened up. They raised the bar for me and I instinctively raised my character to match their sentiments of me. Being Tongan many adults were suspicious of me because of my upbringing and being so poor. Ray and Vi treated me like I was one of their own son’s. I could eat whatever was in the fridge and sleep in their home anytime. I became a better person because of them, I owe them such a debt of gratitude…I LOVE Kurtie, Doran and Eric for always treating me EXACTLY as their parents had taught them. Those boys exhibit so many of their parents best characteristics. What a legacy!!”

One of the interesting facts about this story is the young man went on to play in the NFL, marry a beautiful woman and raise some amazing children. I was in tears hearing this story, it was so moving and true to the character of Ray and Viola Williams, everyone loved them.

Finally, my husband Eric aka. Frenchie has been the father I always dreamed of having for my children. He has a good mixture of humor, kindness, hardworking, and goofy. Many times I know he has not understood why I do some of the things I do, but he is still here.

Monya Bonbon

Mitochondria

Mitochondria

Well now, this is a new word I will be adding to my vocabulary. If there is one thing I’ve learned when it comes to my body, anything going in or out I want to know about. Nerium has recently developed two new products I’m simply in love with. Delving into the Health and Wellness arena with now three products, gives me a new reason to research. Nerium International has proven to have provided the highest quality in anti-aging products and proven to help me personally with my brain function.

So let me first explain what Mitochondria does: Mitochondria works as the digestive system of cells. They take in nutrients of cells and break them down. Mitochondria generate the energy that a cell needs to function properly. Simply put Mitochondria is the powerhouse of our cells proper productivity.They are also involved in signaling, cellular differentiation, cell death, the control of cell cycles, and the maintenance of cell growth.

Cells that have no mitochondria are unable to convert oxygen into energy. Human red blood cells don’t contain mitochondria, which prevents them from using the oxygen they carry. If these cells had mitochondria, they would use the oxygen instead of transporting it to other cells. Most unicellular that do not have mitochondria are parasitic, as they are unable to make energy for themselves and therefore must live off a host organism. Sound foreign? It did to me, so I needed it in visual form.

Youth Factor is a patent pending product that has changed the way I look and feel. With it working on a cellular level I am regenerating good cells everyday. Youth Factor gives me more energy, is a free radical defense, supports my immune system which I believe all people with auto-immune problems or who have gone through chemo and radiation need.

The truth is you don’t need to be energy-drained from drastic weather changes or jet lag or staying up to late to wind up with tired skin. The signs of an exhausted completion, saggy, dull, dry and wrinkled skin mimics the look of sleep deprivation but actually occur when the mitochondria runs out of juice and needs to be recharged. We also know age, stress, and drinking too much alcohol or smoking cigarettes can also drain the mitochondria’s power, but honestly the the biggest culprit is environmental toxins. We live in a more polluted world that is swimming with free radicals. This is the reason for the change in skin. Skin cells only have so much energy. If there are harmful chemicals in the air we breath cells use up that energy. When they try to fight them off eventually they become too fatigued and end up surrendering. This is when the damage occurs, it becomes difficult to build up collagen which in return turns into a worn out tired look. It’s a vicious cycle, but not to worry there is a solution. Youth Factor works from the inside out, helping on a cellular level.

With a previous diagnosis of breast cancer I am very select on what I put into my body I live with no regrets and need to feel confident in living the remaining years of my life feeding my cells with good nutrition and treating my body with love and care.

This is not a Nerium International ad, I am not being paid to write this; but I always post about the good and bad I absolutely love these products and believe I will add years to my life by cleaning it from the inside out. If you want more information please contact me I will personally speak with you.

Monya Bonbon

NYC

NYC

Frenchie and I had the privilege of visiting New York City a couple of weeks ago. I was invited by my publisher. Pitching is more like sharing your story-for me it was emotional.

I’m glad I didn’t realize before I went how many authors would be in attendance doing the exact same thing. I really wasn’t concerned until I heard some of their pitches–amazing! Not all are memoirs like mine, some were fantasy, drama, comedy etc. I have said it plenty of times but I am not a traditional writer, I started on a blog, raw and real but with plenty of grammar mistakes. These authors I was surrounded with were professionals–YIKES

There was one particular author that stood out to me, her name is K.M. Langdon the name of her book ‘Unsealed’. Her amazing story was original, true and emotionally charged it left me wanting to know more. I’m looking forward to reading it.

Frenchie and I decided to spend a few extra days in the BIG APPLE, we’ve been so many times but still never tire of the majestic architecture, the diversity in food, and of course people watching. Time Square is perfect for this, I could write an entire book on the things we saw, ate, heard, smelled and felt while being in this historic city.

My favorite travel partner is so fun, Frenchie loves to explore, see new things and eat. This makes a great combination for a world traveler–he loves to see it all.

Although I left the pitch fest feeling like it was a great experience, one I would do again if given the opportunity-I let it leave my mind knowing it was a FAT chance my story would be chosen. This week I received a letter from each movie producer, 8 out of the 8 producers loved my pitch and were amazed by my story–they want to know more. So for now I just sit and be patient, continue with my journey in life and trust the process.

Frenchie and I had so much fun in New York–I’m grateful to have his support and love in all I do.

Monya Bonbon

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

I’ve been asked by several people “How did you learn to forgive?” This question has caused me to really think about the process of forgiveness. I’m not quite certain there is a ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question.

When you are hurt by another person, especially if it is someone you are supposed to love–there is a confusion between doing what is ‘right’ and holding onto every bit of vengeance and anger you have.

For me personally I had to go through the emotions of, hatred, anger, sadness, depression, fear, shame and guilt. Each and every one of these emotions took years to overcome and I took it out on those around me. I rationalized how I felt by saying “He needs to acknowledge what he has done and ask for forgiveness.”

When I finally decided enough was enough, I realized I was allowing the person who offended me to still be in control. I didn’t want my life to be ruled by him any longer. I began by taking time for myself everyday to say out loud “I can forgive you” even if I didn’t honestly feel like I had forgiven I did this anyway. This was not any easy practice many times I stumbled on my words with tears running down my cheeks.

I read a book called ‘The Miracle of Forgiveness” and began to soften my heart. I believe, just like there are different levels of sin, there are also different levels of forgiveness. For example, if someone were to lie or steal from me I could forgive and move forward, I may not ever do business with them but I could accept them in my life. However, if someone where to abuse one of my children or grandchildren, it would take some work on my part but I could forgive them but I would never invite them over for dinner. There has to be a separation sometimes for safety and sanity.

I started to feel sorry for my offender, I even wondered if he had been hurt as a child. Slowly but surely I began to see myself through the eyes of God and knew He loved me and wanted me to heal, completely. The only possible way for me to rebuild my life was to fully forgive. I prayed for my offender everyday, and asked for peace to fill my heart. Remember this was a daily battle I fought for years, this did not come over night.

When I was finally able to let go of the expectations I had, I discovered all the wonderful possibilities I had been shutting out. Instead of living in a dark lonely place, I saw each day as an opportunity to make a change, to shift directions and to get a little closer to the things my heart desired. This was no longer about forgiving the offender. I now had the knowledge of how to do it, this was about my happiness. Once and for all I was able to say “I forgive you”

I think the only advice I can give now is live in the present, do not lose it to past regrets or future worry.

Monya Bonbon

Mother’s

Mother’s

 

What is it about Mother’s that make us celebrate and dedicate an entire day to them?  I loved being pregnant, was sleep deprived when they were infants, frustrated when they were toddlers and spent a lot of time on my knees when they became teenagers.

So, is there a secret to being a good mom? It’s the hardest, most exhausting job I’ve ever had.  I was never interviewed to determine if I met the requirements, I wasn’t given a manual when I left the hospital but I also never questioned the unconditional love I had for each one of my babies.

Did I make mistakes? Yes I did, I made plenty of mistakes, I still do.  Even though my children are now parents themselves I’m still their mother, I will always be their mother yet still there are times I want to be better.

The truth is motherhood is an amazing gift, not a competition I spent too much time comparing myself to other women who I ‘thought’ were doing a much better ‘job’ then I did.  I always dread sitting through church on Mother’s Day.  Every year, every speaker talks about how wonderfully perfect their mother is. I know none of my children can honestly say I was a perfect mother.

This year I loved listening to the stories about mothers.  I finally realize it’s ok to not be perfect, in fact it’s annoying to even try to be perfect.  I am perfectly imperfect and I’m feeling fantastic about it.  Frenchie and I have done our very best;  I have no regrets. Our four children are incredible but it has nothing to do with our parenting skills or lack of.

Each one of our children are unique and talented in their own way, as much as I’d like to take credit for their incredible attributes; I can’t. So to every mother out there who beats themselves up for not being the mom you ‘think’  you should be or could have been STOP THAT– Motherhood is hard for every woman, finding balance in every move you make is gut wrenching at times but at the end of the day if you can say “I did my best today” you’ve done your job. If you feel frustrated and wish you’d done something different, then do it; there is always tomorrow.

Monya Bonbon

 

 

Home

Home

 

I’ve been thinking about this little home in Tahiti.  Frenchie and I visited here a few years ago.  Just behind this small little hut is a beautiful ocean full of wonder and amazement.

As a child I lived in several different houses, none that I would call home. The anger and defilement left me with resentment and ultimate loneliness.  No one in our home was allowed to be or do ‘better‘ than the stepdad.  I always had to be smaller and less important he took it out on me with his words and when that was not fulfilling enough for him his rage took over, and ….well he always won. It had to be his way.

I never wanted my children to feel pain, sorrow or insignificant. I tried my hardest to shelter them from fear or need of love.  The truth is as a parent we make mistakes, I’ve made mistakes–I didn’t know how to comfort my own children when I was diagnosed with cancer.  For twenty five years I’d built four walls around myself, hating the very home I banked on dying in (my physical body)  I liked how it felt to not feel anything, it was my comfort zone–no one in, no one out. I’m not sure how I became the exact person I never wanted to be.  Unfortunately there are other’s out in the world who are feeling this nothingness right now.

We are all born and one day we will all die; I’ve learned it’s between birth and death that we make the most impact not only on our own lives but our posterity-the children who will come after I am gone.

I’m trying for the first time to see through the eyes of my children.  I’m beginning to imagine how hard it must have been on each one of them hearing their mother had cancer. I was not as sensitive as I thought I was, it is now apparent to me while the spot light has been on me I had no idea what they each were feeling and still don’t.

In an instant our lives changed when we heard “You have cancer” and for me even more when I heard “Your face will never be the same again.” For some reason I believe cancer was much harder on my children than the diagnosis of facial paralysis.  For them they are grateful to still have their mother around, I get that now.  In some ways I believe they are still processing those feelings.

However, for me the emotions are much different.  I don’t expect them or anyone else to understand. I am not the person I was five, even two years ago–and my children are not the same people they were five years ago either.  Heart wrenching hard times have fallen on our home, and now it is time to rebuild.

Tearing down that old house may or may not be harder than I think it will be–all I know for sure right now is just like this small cozy home in Tahiti there is wonderment and amazing things just around the corner.

With every crash of every wave I hear something now I never listened to before-I stand on the edge of the cliff listening and waiting for whisperings of what to do next.

Monya Bonbon

Beauty

Beauty

 

Tale as old as time? Perhaps, with a few modern changes. I’ve always loved the original animated movie. Kaitlyn was obsessed with watching. She’d wake up every morning, I’d hear the pitter patter of her little feet running as fast as she could to ask “Bu Beas?” I think we watched it several times a day, for over a year.  I thought I remembered the story and beautiful music, especially after allowing Kaitlyn to monopolize the television for days, weeks and months on end. I still love the music however, the meaning behind the plot of the story took on a whole new meaning to me.

The movie will live on forever because the message is about pure love, It’s not about how pretty somebody is, but about someone’s heart and soul. The love between Belle and the Beast is honest, and that makes the film so special. Another attribute I noticed about Belle I hadn’t thought about when my children were younger, is that she has the intelligence, humor,  a special spirit and she’s stunningly beautiful.

She’s an old soul,  she’s a nurturing person. She’s got a lot of compassion and forgiveness in her. And she has her stubborn side too, which makes her fun and charming. When you’ve experienced death in your family, then you realize how incredibly moving that moment was and how truly remarkable it was for Belle to give up everything for her father. It shows how courageous she is.

I left this movie feeling grateful and renewed for hope in the world.  Thank you Disney for re-creating another uplifting, beautiful story.

Monya Bonbon

Happiness

Happiness

These are my happy shoes..I only wear them on March 20th–International Day of Happiness. My favorite day of the year.

It is interesting to see reactions from people visiting our wall –Most who’ve followed my blog know how I like to people watch, today was a people watching buffet.  When asked to pledge how they will share happiness to make the world a better place, we were face to face with the reality that most people are not aware there is a way to be happy–While interacting with people when we asked them to make a pledge for happiness most said “What do I write?” or “What’s this going to cost me?”  Most were surprised when we told them it was FREE.

Imagine that…..happiness is FREE, you choose it or you don’t. I witnessed people actually walk away, grumpy folks.  I wouldn’t want to live my life this way, I believe there is goodness in the world.  We don’t have to seek out negativity it is all over the media, in our schools and even in the workplace.  It’s time to change this, make a pledge to share happiness to make the world a brighter place for people who are less fortunate, or who just need a listening ear.

There were a few stories that really stood out to me today.  When we announced that every pledge we get on our wall we would donate $1 to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Arizona, an interesting man approached us with his darling family.

Carlton brought a tear to my eye as he told of his experience with his “Big Brother” from 1970-1976. He smiled as he told of his memories of going to amusement parks, playing baseball and reading books with is BIG Brother.  He still has a connection with the family who helped raise him into an amazing man with integrity, strength and manners.

Another family I met was these boys and their grandmother.  They were so polite and grateful for our wall–their pledge was “I will share happiness by helping my grandmother with the hard things in her life.” Seriously?  I left today better than when I went, and this my friends is what we all should be striving for in our lives–to come home each day and retire to our beds knowing we either left the world a better place, or someone else taught us a lesson which left a stamp on our heart to want to be a better person.

Each one of us can make some very slight changes in our lives everyday,  be a bright light for another person.  We should never pass up a chance to glow, the beam of your light CAN and WILL make a life of another more vibrant.  I have been doing happy acts for over 2 years now, everyday intentionally seeking out ways to do good in the world by being fully, richly, and beautifully alive.  Happiness is the power within you to go out into the world feel bold and bright in all you have to offer–and above all let your light shine.

The most beautiful people I know are simply authentic to themselves, radiance is the way you were made, it’s part of who you are it is the very fabric of your ‘being’  Light is not so rare when you know where to find it–look within and find a way to be joyous in all you do.

Monya Bonbon

 

Critics

Critics

Throughout my life I’ve been given signs, I realized really quickly that those signs don’t always come with bright lights and glamour.  Sometimes, for me it’s been more like a quiet voice whispering in my ear and saying…”It’s time to believe in yourself, it’s your time to shine–it’s time to begin something new.”

When I was approached about possibly writing a book, I was opposed to the idea.  My life has been so private, I felt I had nothing to offer of any value.  The fear was much bigger than my faith at many times in my life. I didn’t think I could finish a book, go through cancer treatments, balance family life a job and physically have the strength to finish it.

Once I made the decision to go forward with the book, I was committed but advised it was going to take years to get done–at the time I had no idea I would be facing 36 surgeries before the book was finally finished. Upon being advised the book had gone public on Amazon and other websites,  an overwhelming and frightful feeling came over me knowing my life would be exposed, but sincerely feel if I can help just one person to take control of their life and live their dreams I have done my job.  I have no regrets in life, I live fully in the moment and enjoy the spontinaety of adventuring out into a world I have never adventured into.

I was asked by the publisher of I CAN-CER Vive to fly into New York City and present my story to a panel of 7 movie producers.  With much hesitation I agreed to pitch my story for a movie. Frenchie and I will be going to New York in May for this heart pounding event.

My fear became even more real as reviews of I CAN-CER Vive have been coming in.  Today I received the first of the negative views–I knew this would happen, I am not a writer and there were so many grammar errors not caught while in editing.  One particularly disturbing review came from a well known critic who said:

Williams’ moving story is sadly overshadowed by poor writing, including clunky transitions, excessive clichés, and spelling errors. Such distractions make it difficult to focus on the memoir’s raw emotion. When she tells of being crushed by the news that her cancer has spread, for instance, her language—“dang you, cancer”—doesn’t seem to adequately convey her anger and distress. Furthermore, her tendency to explain the emotional significance of each scene robs readers of the ability to experience the story by witnessing people’s actions, thoughts, senses, and feelings as they happen and make their own judgments. That said, one can’t deny that Williams’ story, as a survivor of cancer and abuse, is an important one to tell, and her determination to “live happy,” no matter the circumstances, is truly empowering.

An undeniably inspiring but poorly executed memoir.

The thing is, I want real, honest reviews it just stings a little bit to hear.  I will never write another book, this was extremely exhausting and I did the best I could with no background in writing or editing, I wanted the story to unfold as I felt was real as possible.  I’m learning a lot–in my audio recording those errors will be caught-highlited and hopefully the next print will have all those excessive errors corrected. Until then I take in these negative reviews as learning experiences to improve my writing skills.

Monya Bonbon