Tag: Blessings

Who Have You Helped Today?

Who Have You Helped Today?

I haven't always been interested in the well being of other people, I mean not to a point of making it an intentional part of my day. I wonder why it sometimes takes cancer, or a tragedy to help us understand the worth of every soul is great in the sight of God?  Is it even possible for us to comprehend the Love our Father in Heaven has for us? The only feeling I can think of that would even come close to that type of unconditional love is the love a parent has for their children.

I remember a night during chemo, I was so sick I'd lost so much weight and literally wanted my life to end. I laid on the floor begging and pleading for the Lord to take it all away. That didn't happen, but since that long dreary night I learned a lesson--He has the power to take away all of our heartaches and pains, but He doesn't because He loves us that much, He wants us to learn then go out and teach others. I imagine when He see's his children going through difficult times He wants to take it all away, I know when my own children have suffered I've wanted to do everything I could do to make it better for them.

Today as I drove into my subdivision toward home, a woman waved me down. She seemed to be frantic, I rolled down my window and asked her what was wrong. She replied while pointing "Do you know that young man?" I looked over and face down in the rocks was a young man covered in dirt. Not knowing if he was dead or alive I touched his shoulder and asked "Can I help you?" He didn't move but I could tell he was still breathing, again I gave him a little shove to wake him up when he turned over he was frothing from the mouth, he was not in good shape. I believed he was overdosed on something. All around him were graham crackers and ginger ail cans.  I asked him "What is your name? where do you live?" His response was "Don't call the police I don't want any trouble." I finally convinced him to give me his mother's address so I could go get her. To avoid the police he decided to walk to Jack in the Box and I would have his mom meet him there.

My heart was aching for this boy, I didn't know how his mom would take the information but prayed the whole way to her house that KC would get to the Jack in the Box without any harm. When I rang her doorbell I asked her "Is your name Susie and do you have a son named KC?" Obviously this boy had a history of running away. She flung the door open ran out to my car yelling "No not my boy, please God let him be ok"  On the ride there I explained what had happened. She wanted me to drive her by the place where I found him, then quickly we went to see if he was were he promised me he'd be. He was in such bad shape a part of me thought he wouldn't have made it a mile down the road without getting hit by a car.  The embrace between mother and son is not something I will soon forget. He could barely stand, he collapsed into her arms.

We made it to a table outside and I sat across from him, he looked at me and said "I just want to die, why didn't you just let me die?" My eyes filled with tears that drizzled down my face. His mom started to talk but I took my hands and lifted his head to look into my eyes, I wanted him to hear me I mean really hear what I was telling him. She could see I was trying to connect with her son and she remained quiet for this part. With watery eyes I told him "I understand how you feel....." he cut me off  in sobbing tears "How could you possible understand?" My heart was racing, I said a little prayer in my head asking Heavenly Father to please give me the words to help this boy. "I may not know exactly what you are feeling, but I do know what it feels like to want to be dead." "Why would you want to die?" "Well, KC I was abused growing up, physically mentally and sexually I didn't want to live through that. Then a few years ago something most would say is horrible happened to me, I was diagnosed with late stage breast cancer-it forced me to see life through different lenses. I will forever be grateful that I was able to forgive, now I look intentionally everyday for people who need help. KC do you believe in God?" He began to cry uncontrollably then said "Yes why?" "Do you know that God wants you to be happy?" What happened next penetrated my soul and I will never forget it. He looked me in the eyes and said "I was sexually abused" a gasp of air came out of me, I was not prepared to hear that from him.  His mom looked at me with tears, grabbed her son and continually said "I'm so sorry that happened to you."  I explained that none of what happened to him was his fault he was only 14 years old, but until he can get some help he will always be living the nightmare that man put him through. I could see he was delicate he started to hallucinate  I suggested we get him to the hospital. His arms were so swollen, the needle tracks showed me the battle field of his life. When we got him to the hospital he asked "Does God Really want me to be happy? I mean do you really mean that or are you saying what you think I want to hear?"  Once again I held his face in my hands looked him straight in the eye and said "I KNOW He wants you to be happy, and I also know He guided me to you today." KC will enter a rehab facility tomorrow and I promised him I'd visit.

I have had sleepless nights, unimaginable pain and yes thoughts of death. Now that I am where I am in my life, all that I have learned and am still trying to understand I would never trade my life for any one else's. The Lord has been preparing me for moments like the one I had with this young man. I have been given beautiful opportunities to see miracles happen in the lives of people who want to listen.

Recovering from this last procedure I endured has been really difficult. I wake up in a sweat dreaming about the unnecessary trauma I experienced-the people who have reached out to me are little angels the Lord sends, they don't even realize the relief I get, the joy I feel from a simple "how are you doing?" So forget about making millions, or following celebrity lives--sit with someone who needs you, listen with your heart and judge no-one. Don't let people take advantage of you but be open to making friends with someone who needs you. In the end of your life you want to know you made a difference in a life. Love yourself enough, be confident in who you are then go share it.

XOXO Monya Bonbon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Can Only Imagine

I Can Only Imagine

My body has physically been through so much trauma, I often wonder how I have survived it all.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of picking up Recker from school. My Heavenly Father knew I needed this sweet boy in my life, he was born just four months after I was diagnosed, I was blessed to be able to watch him when his mom (my daughter) went back to work.  I will never forget the day I stood at the top of my stairs and begged Eric not to go to work, the depression was so bad during chemo I wanted to literally die. Eric looked up at me and said “Your almost done babe, just keep fighting. Recker is coming over today you need to be here for him.”  I sat on the floor and bawled as I listened to him shut the door.  I couldn’t imagine one more day of throwing up, pain and depression.

When Recker arrived I dried my eyes and held him in my arms.  I’d make it through another day staring into his beautiful eyes, the focus on him kept me alive I loved taking care of him he needed me and I needed him.  Within a year he was diagnosed with Autism, although we were incredibly sad, we also had no idea what autism was or how it would effect our family.  Eight years later, I constantly wish I could be in his head and understand what he is feeling or thinking.

When I picked him up from school, he got in the back seat put on his seat belt–I looked back at him to make sure he was safe, smiled put my finger to my chin and said “I love you Recker” he then put his finger to his chin and said what sounded to be “I love you.”  We drove in silence, well except me talking to him about his day and how school was–he stared into the open air with no response.  When we arrived at my home he immediately put his swim suit on and was ready to dive into the not so warm water.  I sat and watched him swim for over two hours with no verbal communication.  He was perfectly content and so happy.

I realized while watching him, it’s us that are sad for him-he will eventually if he hasn’t already understand that he is different, but we try to teach him he is not less than any other child or person-just different. That night I went to see the movie ‘I Can Only Imagine’ a true story I recommend everyone to see.  It was difficult to sit through, this boy was abused physically and verbally by his father and so many parts of it reminded me of my younger years.

Tonight as I ponder the words from that song, I tried to lose myself in the words of the beautiful words. I can only imagine what it will be like to be in Heaven once again with Recker, both of us with perfect bodies and minds, no more trauma or mis-understandings just pure love. I will finally be surrounded by the unconditional love of a God who has reached down and pulled me out of difficult times. I can only imagine when that day comes my heart will be entwined with perfect knowledge of exactly what God see’s in each one of us.. I will probably have a hard time speaking, but we will not be able to get Recker to stop talking, it’s interesting in our lives we take so much for granted. I cannot image living in a world where you want so badly to communicate with people, especially the people you love most-family. Imagine how hard it would be to understand every word other’s are saying but not being able to respond. What a joyous day it will be for me to see Recker embrace our Savior and hear Him tell Recker what a special boy he is.

On a few occasions I have had the opportunity during surgeries to visit Heaven and see a glimps of what I believe is the most beautiful, perfect place I have ever visited.  Because of those visits I have been granted,  I want to live my life in a way my family will be proud of, I want to help and serve other’s I will do anything it takes to live there for Eternity once my body is ready to part from this world. It is glorious and beautiful nothing hear on earth compares to Heaven–I will be with Recker, Ezra and Theo and hopefully my entire family for eternity–I love that thought.

Love Monya Bonbon

 

 

Why Kindness?

Why Kindness?

Why choose kindness?  This seems like a redundant question, but in a world where so many are struggling between choosing right or wrong I’m grateful I learned at a young age how to pray for guidance. I have learned throughout life that my day is always happier when I give people a little bit of my heart rather than a piece of my mind. One of the greatest gifts we have is the ability to be kind to other’s. When someone is in need, lend them a helping hand, pray for them. Don’t wait for a ‘thank you’ True kindness lies within each of us, giving without expecting anything in return strengthens your heart muscles and creates beautiful people.

There is something magical about being kind, it has a beautiful way of reaching down into a weary heart and making it feel sunshine. Every act of kindness I give always has a way of helping my spirit to grow and I’ve never walked away disappointed.  Have you ever met someone who has the natural ability to give away happiness just by them walking into a room? My mother in law Viola Williams was my favorite person in the world, she had a smile and laugh that could always take any heartache or bad experience away.

I realized I was an unhappy person when I was diagnosed with cancer 8 years ago. The seed of kindness that Viola has planted in my soul helped me to start cultivating an attitude of gratitude for life, friends and especially for family. I had a friend Sheldon Cook who was so kind and gentle when he spoke to me. One day I was bald from chemo and he said “You look beautiful” the empathy he showed came from a sincere place in his heart as he too was struggling with cancer and has since passed on. I will never forget his kind words, he taught me even one small word of kindness can change someone else’s day. We need not be selective on who we choose to be kind to, those who are the most unkind people need love too, actually they may need it more than we realize.

There is of course times when we need to draw healthy boundaries, but we should use prayer and wisdom when doing this. Don’t be took quick to judge, and don’t give up on people too quickly. I have learned to forgive but refuse to be a doormat; in other words do not let people take advantage of you or your situation, the spirit will guide you to know when it is time to let go and let be.

The picture above illustrates a bird alone, I would rather be that one bird who chooses the right then the twenty five who follow the crowd.  I want to live in such a way that if someone were to ask my children or grandchildren the definition of kindness, integrity and loyalty, they’d respond with “My Mother, or my Grandmother; Bonbon”

XOXO Monya Bonbon

Happy Children

Happy Children

There are actually steps you can take to make sure you are raising children who will always look on the sunny side of things.

How many of you know happiness can be learned? Happiness is a skill trait rather than an inborn personality trait. We were all born with the natural ability to feel sadness, anger, and frustration. However, if we teach our children at a young age the language of happiness they will naturally gravitate to it first.

So many times children focus on their own needs rather than on helping others. When a child see’s their parents giving and helping other’s they are raised in an environment of intentionally looking for service to give. It’s interesting; children who are raised thinking when they ‘have’ material things they are happy vs. children who are raised to give usually end up being the one’s who get more.

When parents teach a child that making caring for other’s a priority by stressing kindness over happiness and provide opportunities for their children to actually practice caring and gratitude
it expands the child’s circle of concern to more than just a ‘me’ or ‘mine’ thinking.

This all starts with parents and grandparents attitudes. Children watched and hear everything we do and say. I recently attended a conference with Martin Seligman, director of the positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. One thing I wrote in my notes was him giving this advice as an example for parents to use rather than complaining that the line in the grocery store is too long, try saying “This line is moving so fast, we’ll be out of here in no time at all.” Optimism needs to be directed by the adults and the children will follow.

I also do not think parents should focus on perfection. Children need to hear that they should do the best they can. Psychologist say it’s more important to praise children for their effort and hard work than for their intelligence or skills. We need to teach our children that it is totally ok to make mistakes–teach them that most of life’s lessons are learned from mistakes that have been made. I was not a very great student and had a hard time focusing, I think a B+ is cause for a celebration. Perfection will and never has been achieved by anyone I know.

Some Do’s and Don’ts from my perspective:
Do: Allow your children some downtime–less stress equals happier children
Don’t: Be the mom who pushes her children to succeed at all costs

Do: Make some “me” time a happy mom leads to happy children
Don’t: Devote every second you have to your children, no matter how much they want you to

Do: Encourage quality time with their dad. Feeling loved by dad is more important than feeling loved by mom.
Don’t: Think you’re doing your children’s father a favor by handling all child-rearing responsibilities, we don’t live in the 50’s

Do: Customize your parenting approach to your child’s personality. Some children need structure, while other’s may flourish with authority. Every child is different
Don’t: Use a one size fits all approach to parenting or discipline

Do: Draw boundaries. Children thrive on routine, so stick to your guns and enforce bedtime.
Don’t: Try to be your child’s best friend

Do: Relish the messes. Too often I missed moments of joy because I was worried about small insignificant things like the dishes in the sink
Don’t: Be a neat freak, forgetting to have fun and quality time for a bunch of chores.

XOXO Monya Bonbon

Ellis Duane Bigelow

Ellis Duane Bigelow


There is such a thing as parent guilt….I know because I have it. I worked hard to earn a trip to Puerto Vallarta through Nerium, it was not easy but I soon found out there are things more important–I thought I knew this.

Haleigh and Scott were not due to have the baby until the first week in November so I figured I’d be ok to go on the trip and be ready for the baby to come when I got home. The time got closer for us to leave and Haleigh was already having contractions, but still not close enough to be having her baby yet.

We talked to Haleigh about going or staying, which was not the problem. Later she told me it was something I said that really bothered her. She said she was hurt because I told her if she had the baby we would fly home and then go back if we needed to. Seriously? How dumb is that?

The entire time we were gone we called everyday to see how things were going and what the doctor was saying. We continued to hear Haleigh was still moving slowly. We made it through the week but found out the morning we were leaving to come home she had already had the baby that morning.

Of course my motherly instinct set in and I was feeling very guilty for not being there. Moments after Ellis was born Haleigh started to feel short of breath–she knew right away something was wrong, she couldn’t breathe and felt like her throat was closing up. She began to cough and couldn’t catch her breath. Her lungs felt like they were collapsing and her oxygen levels were dropping really quickly. Her doctor took one look at her and immediately called for back up. She said the room went from three people to 25 within a few minutes. They started her on a heart monitor and rushed her in for a CT scan. She said her heart went from feeling an overwhelming amount of indescribable love and happiness to terror as they wheeled her away. They admitted her into the ICU, and her doctor told her she had blood and fluid in her lungs–somehow that fluid traveled up into her lungs causing pain in her chest. She spent quite a bit of time in the ICU away from Ellis.

Poor Scott was devastated standing holding his brand new baby watching the staff frantically rushing around Haleigh and finally rushing her to the ICU. I’m not going to even try to understand the emotions he must have been going through. I try to live with no regrets, but today I feel regret for not being there for my baby girl.

Boy do I make mistakes, I say things I shouldn’t and I’m continually apologizing to my children.
I would never intentionally hurt any of my children, all I can do is say I’m sorry and do better next time. I hope my children will be more in tune and better at motherhood than I have ever been.

Welcome to our world Ellis Duane Bigelow born October 28th, 2017 at 8:14 am. He weighed in at 6 lbs 14 oz. and 22 inches long.

XoXo Monya Bonbon

Thought Project

Thought Project

I’ve heard that the happiness in your life depends so much on the quality of your thoughts. I believe this is so true. For many years I was fed negative words I felt worthless and unimportant. The damage was incredibly damaging, I’ve taken the past seven years to transform my thinking by listening with my heart and acting on impressions I receive to help other people.

The brain is such a powerful organ, everyone likes to hear they are wanted, needed and important. I feel like I’ve been given a second chance to change my thoughts not only towards myself but to reexamine why people say and do the things they do.

I realize now if we all knew just how powerful they are we’d probably never think a negative thought again. I think the primary cause of un-happiness usually has nothing to do with the situation but more about your thoughts about it.

Recently Eric and I visited a few countries Italy, Croatia, and Greece. The day was absolutely beautiful, as I waited for Eric I watched a young girl (maybe 4 or 5) she played joyfully with a small souvenir her parents had bought for her. The look on the girl’s face was priceless as she counted in her cute English accent’ the times she was able to flip the ball into it’s carriage. Suddenly a grumpy old man walked passed just as she flipped the ball into the air, it happened to hit the man on the arm. He quickly turned to the little girl and said “You brat, how stupid are you?” What came next was amazing to watch. She turned and said “Sorry to have bothered you, I hope the rest of your day is better.”

In my opinion this little girl was taught very well, manners matter and she knew it. What the man said to her didn’t seem to penetrate her brain as it did mine. She continued on with a smile
she wasn’t hurt in the least by this immature, ignorant man. She realized it was his problem, she apologized and went about her business.

Changing thought process’s is very difficult, but it can be done. I’m working on it, everyday I watch and learn by the experiences around me. Is the situation really the problem? Or is there an opportunity to learn and grow? Thoughts lead to purpose–with purposes it helps us go forward with action–we know actions turn to habits–most habits decide our character, and character helps define our destiny. One thing I try to do everyday is for every negative thought I have I put money in a container, then at the end of the year I will give this to a charity of my choice. I am getting really good at releasing those negative thoughts before they enter my head and replacing them with positive ones, soon I will be replacing the negative thoughts with the positive and have a much larger amount of money to give.

Monya Bonbon

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

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