Tag: Frenchie

Memory Of Cleveland Clinic

Memory Of Cleveland Clinic

Every 3rd of July I am reminded of fighting for my life in The Cleveland Clinic. Four years ago today I was in surgery, literally hoping for a miracle. Little did I know the miracle was sitting right here in Arizona, with Doctor Lettieri.

On July 3rd 2014 I was rolled into surgery, Eric gave me a kiss on the forehead as they wheeled me into the operating room. Tears rolled down my cheeks onto the pillow, nurses kindly asked what they could do to help; shaking my head, watching them walk away I knew there was nothing anyone could do. Not even with the best surgeons on the face of the earth, no one could be able to bring my smile back.

The worst was still ahead of me, waking up in the recovery room after an eleven hour surgery I felt my head. It was full of staples, like a train track from one side to the other and down the back of my skull. My ear was pounding and swollen. I just wanted to see Eric and go home; after seven weeks in Cleveland I was depressed, sad and disoriented.

The next day, the fourth of July 2014 is a day I will never forget. No attending’s were in the ICU, the residents were in charge for the Holiday. Pain beyond my belief was surging through my body; a senior resident forgot to put orders in for pain medicine; I thought I would die on that day. I was prepared with letters to my children and dear husband. When the resident did not answer page after page to come to the ICU-I went further and further into a deep dark place, actually wanting my life to end because the pain was so bad. Nurses rubbed my legs and listened to me sing “Be Still My Soul” and “I am a Child of God” over and over again. It was an hour and fifteen minutes the senior resident finally make it to my room, followed behind him were other junior residents. He questioned my pain like I was faking; wondered why I was crying, and asked me too many questions; which I believe now was a senior resident showing off for the junior residents. I was gasping for air I couldn’t speak without trembling, he finally gave me the pain medicine. Even after the pain medicine was in my system my body shook like a baby, composing myself was difficult.

This is one of the junior residents Brendan Alleyne-he came to visit me after that incident and held my hand. The compassion he showed was nothing I will ever forget, I wish I could tell him what his acts of kindness did for my faith in the future of medicine. I’m thinking about him today, Dr. Lettieri is constantly telling me about the ego’s of residents, just like the senior resident I encountered at Cleveland Clinic. They forget who they are serving, I often wonder if he would have treated me different if I had been his mother, wife or child. Thank you Dr. Alleyne wherever you are today, I believe you are caring and sharing for your own patients now and hopefully learned something from this experience that will help you always remember patients are real people, with real families and a story to tell.

XOXO Monya



I love this picture of Frenchie (Papa) with 5 of the 7 grandchildren–the joy on his face was priceless.  Most of you have probably heard this “Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.” I think this is a true statement My birth father was not around when I was a child, but I believe if he could do it all over again, he would have been an incredible dad. I have been blessed with some very good examples in my life of strong courageous men who didn’t have much to offer financially to their children, but provided them with love, and kindness. They taught their son’s to work hard and play hard, and taught their daughter’s to be bold, brave and to go after their dreams.

I have three son in-laws and a son who I’m proud of, they teach their children to go forth in faith-learn to laugh and enjoy life; but also give them the discipline they need to grow to be righteous and live with  integrity. Children have a respectful amount of fear for their father’s because they don’t want to let them down, their father’s are the super hero’s who they strive to become; a healthy amount of respectful fear is ok. I was a stay at home mom; I remember when my children were little they were so sick of me they’d run to the door to greet Eric yelling “Daddy is home” by the time they were teens it was a different story when the garage door opened and they knew he was home they scattered like mice to make sure they had homework done, rooms cleaned etc.  This is not to say Eric was a bad father or that they didn’t love him he told them everyday how much he loved them and still does but it’s that ‘respectful fear’ I’m talking about.

My oldest daughter Kayla and her husband Jeremy are  amazing, as I watch them raise their children with Autism I am in awe at times and wish I would have lowered my voice and softened my heart more. Blake, my only son has a good mixture of myself and his father in him. I’ve never seen a daddy more interested in his little daughter as he is, if I am watching little Weslie, Blake calls for me to do a Facetime or asks me to send pictures. His wife Chloe is a doll, I love her so much and am eternally grateful she is part of our family; very funny, smart and knows how to communicate, something I struggled with at her age. Kaitlyn, will forever be Phoenix’s and Archie’s mom….they love her and I love watching her, she is the most like me. When I watch how well she is with her boy’s I once again wish I’d done somethings different. Apparently it is true dad’s are their son’s super hero’s just ask Phoenix, he’d rather be with his dad than anyone else in the world. In his eyes’s Brian can make no mistakes and can do anything.  Haleigh is our youngest daughter, she has a son with her husband Scott they are such patient, soft spoken parents. Of course I understand little Ellis is only 8 months old but I’ve never seen them upset or filled with anxiety like I was with my first child. I look forward to seeing the personalities of all my grandchildren grow as they watch their parents and learn from example.

The truth is, I have no regrets every moment of motherhood I’ve loved.  Did I make mistakes? Ummm…YES I did, many, but right now at this moment I am in love with being a grandparent. I can’t have a ‘do over’ so I go from here, I still make mistakes, say too much, react too quickly then say “I’m sorry” Parenting is hard, according to the handbook I received when they were born I did everything wrong; but all my children are perfect to me, they found their way I did much better than my mother did and they will do even better….it’s the circle of life.

Monya Bonbon


His Grace

His Grace


So Much To See

I remember taking this picture in 2015, just a year after being diagnosed with facial paralysis. Frenchie took me on a trip between surgeries; funny I can’t remember where we were. We’ve been on so many trips together trying hard to mark everything off of my bucket list. I do recall looking out of the window far above the clouds and seeing this breath-taking view; it was at this moment I realized I have taken so much for granted; our world is beautiful so many nooks and crannies we will never explore, but just knowing they are out there gives me hope and a sense of a spirit much larger than my soul can imagine.

There is so much to see in this beautiful world of ours; but my favorite place to be is with my family, there is no other joy and peace I feel watching my children grow into happy, healthy adults who cherish one another and understand the importance of time, time together making memories to last for eternity.

I started back to work yesterday, it was physically painful however I’ll take the pain over depression any day any time. There is something about being through so many surgeries, procedures, pokes and tests that make me wonder once again what I am supposed to be learning.  I am well aware of all my weaknesses-I say damn and hell every once in a while, I judge people when I should be reaching out to them, I’m simply not perfect and not ready to die. I try daily to be better than I was the day before and so often fail in my attempt; but one thing I never do is leave my Heavenly Father out of my daily routine. He guides me and helps me to become the woman I strive to be.

This was me on May 1st, 2014 I thought I was so happy, look at my smile, my beautiful teeth. Oh how I loved to smile.  I’d finished chemo, radiation and several surgeries and was well on my way to being ‘ok’ with living with cancer. I see some wrinkles, but mostly I see joy in my eyes for the happiness I felt being alive. Then life came to a screeching halt and I was once again faced with an unfortunate life altering transfiguration.

On May 15, 2014 this was me lying in the Mayo Clinic hospital fighting for my life.  There was a sadness I had never experienced. My life would never be the same, my face would show the sadness and sorrow. There was simply no one on earth who could possibly understand what it felt like to hear my surgeon tell me “I’m sorry to tell you, your face will never be the same again, you need to get used to the new you”

That task seemed daunting and unachievable I didn’t know how I could face a world where physical beauty had become the main focus for so many people. I never realized I was one of those people, I was vain I wanted my smile back I wanted to be normal, heck I’d even take typical. With help from Dr.Lettieri teaching me grace comes from within, I have been able to somewhat come to accept who I am, what I am meant to do here on earth; and it is definitely not to be a fashion model. My Heavenly Father has so much more in store for me and I’ve come to understand true authenticity and absolute beauty comes from knowing who you are and where you are going, it comes from first loving yourself no matter the circumstances life throws at us.  It certainly sounds easier than it actually is to do, I have spent 3 years working on myself, studying and trying to teach our  youth to love their life. If all of us could see ourselves through our Father in Heaven’s eyes I think we would be surprised to know what He sees in each of us; I believe He knows my heart, He feels my pain but mostly He understands I am trying everyday to become a worthy woman of infinite worth in His eyes.

This was me just a few days ago at Shane Wright’s luncheon after his funeral; I love this picture with Archer, still bruised and swollen looking at this picture I realize my grandchildren will never know the face or person I used to be they only know Bonbon exactly how I am today, and they love me unconditionally as I do them. The woman in this picture has come a long way with still so much to learn about herself and other’s. There is no better Hope than knowing I have many years to learn and teach other’s how to cope with unforeseen circumstances and to accept to love themselves in away no one on earth can understand. I am truly blessed and Amazed at the grace He so fully offers all of us.

Monya Bonbon



Is there anyone out there who despises IKEA more than me? I mean really what is all the hype over it, why are there lines of people waiting to get through the doors like everyday is BLACK Friday? Apparently I am missing something. We recently acquired some rental property we need to get furnished, so off we went bruised face and all to IKEA. On our way there I told Frenchie “I really don’t like this place, but for supplying kitchen, bathroom and essentials it’s perfect” I had to laugh at Frenchie on our way in we both had carts, if you’ve been to IKEA you know THE CARTS. I laughed and said “Oh you think this is bad, wait until you actually get inside–they slide across the floor and you have absolutely no control.”

This looks simple enough right?……..WRONG!! This is a diagram of the store outlay, however it is on different levels and remember you are pushing a cart with a mind of it’s own. It’s actually pretty funny to watch–oh and you do have the option of carrying a BIG yellow bag to put your items in, but when you are buying like we did for two rentals we both needed carts.

Don’t let the weight of that child fool you, the more weight you put into those carts the crazier it gets….just look at those shiny floors, wet those babies down and you’ve got a slip n slide like no other….for miles. My grandchildren would love that.

We bought these shelves and a bunk bed a few years ago…..they come in millions and I mean millions of parts. Good thing I have a son-in-law, Jeremy who put it together. There is no way on this green earth I will ever buy furniture or anything I have to ‘put together’ again from IKEA. It seriously took hours, than days before it was all done. I love my Frenchie but he is a very good business man, not a ‘put things together’ kinda guy.  After about an hour in the store, we both looked at each other and simultaneously said “I’m done” I said “Follow the arrows and the fabulous smell, then we will be out”

In conclusion we both decided we are too old for this store, I was exhausted by the time we left. Target is a much easier shop for me, and yes Frenchie smelled the cinnamon rolls, starred them up and down but walked away. Check out was a new experience for Frenchie-“Would you like a bag for an extra $1.29?” He looked at me and I immediately said “Why yes, yes we would in fact we would like to splurge on two” Then I separated everything out into both bags for both rentals, made it to the car and darted home.

Monya Bonbon

Dr. Lettieri (Update Post Op)

Dr. Lettieri (Update Post Op)

This morning Frenchie drove me to Mayo Clinic to have a little visit with Dr. Lettieri and Lindsay his resident (she’s super sweet) This is what I do while I wait, I sit in Dr. Lettieri’s chair and pretend to be him  until he walks in with his big smile and with no hesitation starred at my face, starts to examine-he didn’t even recognize I was sitting in THE CHAIR–the same one I’ve received amazingly bad and good news from many times, not necessarily from him but Dr.Kreymerman.

As you an see I still have some significant swelling and that dang hematoma–not my best look-but still grateful for an exceptional surgeon like Dr. Lettieri. He stuck his fingers in my mouth squeezed (that hurt) We sat and laughed, he asked Frenchie about business blah blah blah. Then made an appointment for me to get an ultra sound guided probe to look for liquid. So many surgeons have tried to help me and I adore them, especially Dr.Kreymerman who I am still friends with, but at this moment Dr. Lettieri is my hero–We discussed a sinus reconstruction…I told him since the chemo broke my septum I cannot breathe, I carry a Kleenex ALWAYS no matter what winter, spring, summer and fall…I need it to go away it is disrupting my life. I simply cannot live with it like this dripping and clogging. When I am pubic speaking my nose runs–then later I get a the comment “get that lady a Kleenex, that is disgusting” I am not living a quality life with this problem. More about that later.

Next stop my favorite Audrey–she’s been with me at Mayo since day one, cheering me on. She is a dear friend now with so much to offer the world. Her smile lights up any room and she always greets me with a sincere hug and kiss on the cheek.

After meeting with Audrey we headed to the next appointment on our itinerary–an ultra sound check for the hematoma. Frenchie and I got checked in and I told him I wanted to take a picture of this lit up sign. I proceeded to take the picture from down the hall and a security guard walked up to me and said “Um, you can’t take pictures in here” I replied “Since when?” She said “Since forever, it’s never been allowed, even if you were outside taking a picture we would ask for you to delete it.” I was so flabbergasted I ssid “How long have you worked here at Mayo Clinic?” she then looked at me and said with pride “I’ve been here a year” I looked her in the eye and said “Guess how long I’ve been here? …… 8 years, and I have pictures from every department I have ever been too” She very politely said “Well it’s against the rules” Just then I heard the registration and admittance lady call my name. I registered got my hospital hospitla band, showed the proof of insurance etc and asked the woman “Why am I not allowed to take pictures around here anymore?” She asked “Who told you that you couldn’t?” I pointed to the security guard, then the kind lady said “Unless it’s a new rule I don’t know, let me go check with my manager” She soon came back and said “Honey you can take pictures of anything you want, and if anyone gives you a problem tell them to see Jason”  I went and sat down to tell Frenchie about it and he went to the security guard and said “I am going to take a picture of my wife in front of that Mayo sign” She tried the same thing on him, but he quickly said “Go see Jason if you have a problem” …..well I got my picture and decided since we had a couple hours of down time I was going to take pictures of everything.

I love Mayo Clinic

Suddenly a flock of new baby 1st year residents came bubbly walking through ready for their lunch break. During this recovery I did some binge TV watching Grey’s Anatomy–totally reminded me of that.

I love this piano, especially when it is being played, but I also spy Frenchie taking a little nap. This is a perfect example of why I usually go so-lo to my appointments, it always makes me feel so bad when people have to sit around and wait for me. Frenchie is never bothered, but it does bother me when I know he could be out doing something fun on his one day off.

I’ll never forget Eric sitting in this room just after we were told my face would never be the same again….I wandered off with a pic line handing from my chest in a total fog…..

While ‘Code Blue’ was being called to the entrance of Mayo Clinic, Frenchie told me to stay away but I walked towards it..I needed to see what was going on.  What I saw was a person who dropped down on their way out. They worked very hard to keep this person alive, but right in front of me they took their last breath right here ⇡. The worst part….I was jealous, when I look back on that it was a dark and dreary time; I don’t feel like that any longer. I have 7 grandchildren now, and a chance to become better for the hand I have been dealt. Still when I walk through this area I always remember that day.

I decided to take a little walk while Frenchie took a little nap. There really is so much to see in this massive building.
Through these doors many lives are saved and many are lost. I’m still around and no security guard is going to tell me I cant take a picture of my second home.
I walked by this area and had to stand, stare and laugh. I used to meet Heather and Dr. Kreymerman quite often for lunch. One day I brought lunch from Paradise Bakery, text them and told them I was waiting whenever they were ready. Soon I received a text from Heather saying “Where are you, I can’t see you anywhere” My response “I’m outside, it’s beautiful let’s eat out here” When Dr. Kreymerman and Heather showed up they laughed at me, when I inquired why it was so funny. Dr. Kreymerman said “You know this area is for Attendings, you know doctors? Patients don’t eat here” Well, to say the least I didn’t move; we ate with the docs.
If you’ve ever been to Mayo Clinic finding a parking place is like finding a needle in a haystack. I parked here front and center many times while going through treatments. These are actually coveted parking places, well only to the radiated or chemo patient.

My beeper went off and I darted to wake up Frenchie and get admitted. When we walked in they called me immediately. The Technician took me back had me lay on a table and began asking questions “So why are you here? We have no notes from a doctor” I rolled my eyes “Do you know Dr. Lettieri?” “Nope never heard of him, what are we supposed to be doing today?” I explained about the hematoma….not a word out of nurse crabby face. She called in Dr. Patel I asked him “Do you know Dr. Lettieri?” “Well of course, I have his orders here. We are going to use an ultra sound guided way to find exactly where the hematoma is then we will extract the blood”  He asked me how much I liked Dr. Lettieri….right out of my mouth before he could even finish I said “Oh, I love him, he’s brilliant, I’d never let anyone work on me but him” …”So how many surgeries have you had with him?” …”Ummm, too many to count” Then he said something I won’t forget…”I like you, you have a great sense of humor, I’m sure Dr. Lettieri likes that about you” Then he said it was time to clean the area and insert the needle. I love when they say “This will only sting a little” After inserting the needle and having nothing come out, he said “Sorry I need a bigger needle and you are going to feel some pressure” Since I was facing the ultra sound screen and could see the needle being inserted I asked for my eyes to be covered until they were finished. End result…it felt like he was adding all his weight to the needle the pressure was so intense but I made it through. All of the hematoma could not be removed so unless they spread I will deal with them until I see Dr. L again.

As Eric and I walked out to the car, we wanted to stay out of the sun so we strolled through the new Cancer Center–I told Frenchie “we are walking straight through, not going to the third floor” He looked confused “The chemo lab, the smells…not today”
One of the original Mayo Clinic ambulance’s. I love the wording on the railing “Swiftly and Safely-Transporting Patients to Mayo Clinic” — how cool is this?

last picture on our way out through the cafeteria area–Next time a security guard tells me I can’t take pictures at Mayo Clinic…Go see Jason.

I will see Dr. Lettieri in a couple of weeks and when the swelling goes down and there is still a hematoma then Dr. Lettieri will make an incision in my lower cheek area and clean out the blood clotted area.

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





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




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






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



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 Beez?” 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