Tag: Service

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

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










Miracle in the Desert

Miracle in the Desert

In 1954 Reverend Jim and Vera Dingman had a desire to give their lives to caring for children who were hurting and who had faith that God would provide all they needed. Today, Sunshine Acres still is a place of hope for children. No matter the reason why children come to Sunshine Acres – parents in prison, a parent too ill to care for the child or homelessness – they can count on this miracle in the desert for a safe place to call home, food, clothing, activities and, most importantly, love. No child is ever turned away for financial reasons.  

Since 1954 Sunshine Acres has been home to more than 1,600 children and still today children will not be turned away for financial reasons. They do not receive government support for the children and though they are donor funded, they do no fundraising or solicitation for themselves. Many friends, businesses, churches and volunteers contribute and host fundraising events on behalf of the home, and God is still working miracles!
The Dingman’s out of pure faith bought 150 acres in the desert of Arizona for $125,000. On Thursday I decided I wanted to drive to Sunshine Acres to find out more about their mission, how many children were currently being housed and how I could help.  As I entered the front office I was greeted with a friendly smile.  I asked if it would be possible for me to assemble easter baskets for all the children.  The happy sweet lady said “Of course, the children will love it.”  There are 70 children currently housed, 40 boys and 30 girls.  
Last night I told Frenchie what I was doing, he was surprised I had chosen Sunshine Acres because the builder he works for, Jeff Blandford has donated a boys and girls home on the property and is currently building another boys home.  He asked if he could come to help for a little bit.
This morning I arrived at Sunshine Acres around 9:30 and began to assemble the baskets.  When Frenchie showed up a sweet peace was in the room where we  began to place love into each basket.  He could not stay long but I appreciated the time I had with him.
I am Blessed



I wanted each basket to be perfect, as if it were for one of my own children or grandchildren.  Some of these children have been abandoned, when they arrive it is reasonably difficult for them to open up and trust.  They have been so hurt and disconnected from a real home.  Sunshine Acres is a shield of protection for them.  They teach the children how to be happy, no matter the circumstances. Yes, it is hard, most definitely lonely at times but soon they begin to understand no child is so damaged that they can’t change.  They learn that God will always provide a way.  Eventually they discover they are loved, they have purpose and that they do have something to give to the world.  I see Sunshine Acres as a healing place.  From the very beginning it was all about loving a child.  When we give a child love it will change hearts.  We have the power within us to help change the next generation showing them their potential and purpose in life, stopping the cycle of abuse and neglect.
Entrance to the boys home


The Petting Zoo


Donation from Jeff Blandford


Girls Home, named after Jeff Blandford’s
mother Bonnie


One of the canvas pictures in the Girls room






The Kitchen storage area


The beautiful kitchen
All the neighborhood children were hanging
out at Bonnie’s today!!
Sunshine Acres is solar powered, and what a beautiful view


The front of Bonnie’s girls home
The entrance to the church where
every child attends on Sundays


I love that everything including the Church
is on the property.


I was able to take a tour of Sunshine Acres, I was not allowed to take pictures with any children but I can tell you they are happy!!  I was extremely impressed with the cleanliness of each home, and the polite lovable children I met. Today was a great day, I decided my family will all be included next time; a new family tradition.

#365 Days of Happiness

#365 Days of Happiness

Today is the International Day of Happiness. I began my day by attending church, during our services today the speaker talked about Happiness being a choice.  He asked if any of the congregation ever see people in their car as they are driving, Happy? He said once in awhile you’ll see a person moving and singing to the music but for the most part people tend to drive focused and not looking too happy.

While I believe we all need to be aware of our surroundings while driving, it would also do us well to smile while we are driving, put on happy music, turn and smile at the person next to you the stop sign or light.  I think I will try that tomorrow and see what reaction I get. I asked him after the services if he knew today was the international day of happiness, his response was “No way?” I said “Yes, way!!” We both laughed and he loved it.

After our church meetings I went home and prepared to serve.  I knelt next to my bed and asked for the spirit to be with me today. Yesterday I bought happy face cookies from Sassy’s Cafe.  I took cookies to share with friends and a few neighbors who have really supported and cared for me and my family over the last few years.







As I headed to the Assisted Living Home, it brought me to tears knowing today marks 730 consecutive days I have performed #happyacts for other people.  I began this happy acts campaign with selfish reasons hoping it would help me get out of my own world of problems by helping another person.  Well, it turns out it has helped me, it has changed me.  I don’t believe it is selfish any longer. Yes, it has definitely helped refine me but I no longer do it out of an obligation to myself, it has now become who I am. I have self branded myself as the happiness queen. Not a bad branding to have considering I could be called a lot worse.

Today these people were gracious and kind, they were delighted when I asked them if I could explain what the International Day of Happiness was.  Then I asked them if I could read to them a few stories from the new Live Happy book by Deborah Heisz, they loved it and didn’t want me to leave. I promised them I would return to visit-and I will, in fact I look forward to it.

There’s a funny thing that happens when you reach an older age….you have no filter, and it seems to be acceptable.  Today it brought me both to tears and laughter. One of them asked me why I ‘waste’ my time sharing my time with other people such as them.  This question not only shocked me but it brought me to tears.  I took her by the hand and told her because she is important to me. I explained how infinitely important all of them are, and the contributions they have made to life mean something to me.  One laughed and told me I was crazy, this is when I laughed,  the other’s said “Don’t mind her she doesn’t understand what she’s saying…..”  I asked them if they had family who visit with them.  They all said “not really, once in awhile we see one of them.” I assured each one of them how special they are, and that they have a choice each day when they wake up to be happy.  They were sad to see me leave, but even more important I was sad to leave.







I spent the evening like we do every Sunday, as a family surrounded by my grandchildren, and their parents.  We ate dinner and enjoyed cake from Sassy’s Cafe.  We made our own family Happiness Wall and I took pictures (the best we could) with my grandchildren.  I loved everything about today.



This month we were challenged to post on social media a happy act everyday…..this part was particularly difficult for me to do.  I have always been taught when we serve we do it quietly and with out expecting recognition.  I still do believe this, but for the month of March if wanted to truly make a ripple in the world I think it is important to share those small acts of service.

The Outcasts

The Outcasts

Ok first before I start blabbering my thoughts, I have to blog about this while it is fresh on my mind or I’ll forget. (Most of the time I have a note book with me to write down the weird, interesting and funny things I see) I just got home from Sprouts, got a couple bags of nuts, different kinds that I like, you know the self serve buckets? I love the brazil nuts, raw almonds, and one bag of mixed nuts for Frenchie.  Then I picked up a few fruits I liked and was on my way out the door.  This lady was standing by the door, she looked confused so I asked her if she needed any help…..she said “why, do you work here?” I said “no I just thought you might be looking for a cart, you can have mine if you would like it.” I tried to smile, but let’s face it my smile these days is not beautiful to look at, she looked at me and said “are you a weirdo or something?” I couldn’t help it I started laughing, I replied “yep, I am now what do we do?” She was so flustered she didn’t know what to do, I just looked at her and said “Here’s a bag of mixed nuts for you, and a Live Happy Magazine…..enjoy your evening”  I got to my car, oh no she did not…..yes she followed me….she said “why did you give me this?”  I said, “because I thought you’d enjoy reading about something happy today” she threw the magazine back but kept the nuts…..???? Seriously, I think it was the best day I’ve had in a long time. Let’s be honest, would you keep the magazine or the nuts?  I’d keep the magazine before I’d keep the nuts, because I’m weird like that, I would not take food from someone I don’t know–germs–all that stuff.  That was funny.

Now on to some more serious matters.  I can’t get this kid off my mind, I met him, or actually I saw him walking along the road, all alone.  I was waiting at a light that took three green lights to get through, for some reason my head was totally consumed with this kid.  He was walking with his head down, he looked so sad, his clothes were tattered and torn, I wondered  the light turned green and I moved a few inches, I noticed he was going into a Circle K. Yes, I did, I pulled into the Circle K–(something I never do) a little stalkerish, but I was so intrigued for some reason in this kid.  I keep saying kid, I think he was 17-19.  I walked into the Circle K just before him and held the door open , he quietly said “thanks”
“your welcome” I responded.  I pretended to be shopping, yeah right, like what am I going to buy at Circle K” I just watched him, 1st he went into the bathroom–oh great now I have to wait even longer and there is nothing I need from this store.  I asked the person behind the counter “do you carry those, um Troli gummy eggs?” (my son in law loves them) the clerk was very friendly he said “no we don’t, sorry”  great, even more time–then I said “can I get a HUGE cup of your ice and pour water in it?” “oh yes, people do that all the time”  Just as I finished filling my cup with water, the boy came out of the bathroom.  He looked as though he had combed his hair and washed up a little. I proceeded to the counter, when I heard the boy ask “are you hiring?” the store manager looked up. gave the boy a look like he was crazy….”Uh, no we are not hiring” again the boy put his head down he looked desperate.  I was so touched by him, I have no idea why, I went and filled another cup with a cherry coke slurpy, paid for it and handed it to the boy. I just told him it was hot outside and I noticed he was walking, maybe the slurpy would help him cool off a little.  To my astonishment he looked down at me and said while looking right at my face “thank you mam” I have not stopped thinking about him, upset with myself that I didn’t ask more, or do more.  I don’t know why some of us are more blessed than others, but I will never let that happen again.  I feel like some of them are blown around, maybe some poor, homeless, some by choices they have made, maybe by choices out of their control.  Either way I feel like if we don’t ask Heavenly Father to help them, no one will.  I believe we are all children of the same God.  I’ve always said I don’t believe in LUCK, we are blessed, not lucky…..lucky is for Las Vegas.

I am usually not one to fear talking to people, and I was in no way scared of this young man, actually the opposite.  It reminded me of kids in school who are or were seeking for friends, but pushed away because they weren’t “cool enough”  For some reason the poor and unblessed, the weak and the somewhat odd,  are miss understood and outcast from circles.  I know we are all children of God and need to watch out for each other.  Some would say I am crazy, and that I need to stay away from the outcasts, but it makes me that much more interested, I don’t know if I can help or not, but I do know it’s my responsibility to at least try…I may get a bag of nuts, or a magazine thrown at me, but when this feeling I’m having will not go away, I KNOW I should of done something for this boy–I left there feeling really uneasy–thinking and knowing-that our Heavenly Father created these children and I know He will never cast them out–and I know He will show them the mercy they did not get here on earth.



April 13, 2010

Haleigh, Maddy Brown and Alyssa Brimhall all went to Guatemala with Habitat for Humanity, Haleigh said it was a life changing opportunity. I am so grateful she was able to go and enjoy serving other people.

Last Day of Chemo

Last Day of Chemo

February 22, 2010

Today was my last chemo treatment….the significance of this milestone is overwhelming to me. I am not feeling well today, but I know I need to get my feelings down on my blog, because as it usually goes the week of chemo I get more sick as the days go on, and it makes it difficult for me to concentrate (mostly because of the drugs)
My day started with Tamy picking me up at 9am checking in at 9:40, we sat in the waiting area visiting with each other and having a spiritual talk that I will not soon forget, I love Tamy. I was explaining to her how much I feel un-prepared spiritually for this trial.
I am really so far from being done with this journey, as I look back on the past 6-7 months it is in some ways such a blur, and in some ways it has brought my eyes, and heart wide open. I have so much to be grateful for and I am looking forward to 6 months from now when I can say “I am cancer free”

I did not want to go to chemo, it is grueling and makes me so sick, but today I knew it would be my last and I was ready to conquer. It was a rainy day, and after hours of the chemo being pumped into me, the nurse came to say I was done, the chemo was done draining. Tamy looked out the window and said “look at the beautiful rainbow”
tears filled my eyes, because I knew it was the Lord giving me a sign, it was like the rainbow I saw with Haleigh in Hawaii, just 2 weeks before I found out I had the VILLAIN in me, except for one thing we could not see the end of the rainbow this time. The cancer is still lingering over our house, but I am still here, trying to survive. I believe the end is in sight, but I have a little more work to do.
The nurses came in and celebrated with me, I cried as I hugged each one of them and Tamy. Now I have the month of March off, only 2 doctor appointments, they will do the mapping to get me ready for radiation in April. I am so looking forward to being with my family, we are going away from here for spring break and I am going to enjoy every minute of it.

Mayo Clinic Cancer Center: https://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/mayo-clinic-cancer-center

The Best Gift Of All

The Best Gift Of All

December 25, 2009

Woke up this morning ready for a good day, it’s Christmas Day and the anticipation of being able to talk to Elder Williams is undeniably overwhelming. Checked all the phones in the house 2 well maybe 3 or 4 times just to make sure they worked, in fact Eric bought a new home phone this week just for the occasion ha ha I guess he might be just a little excited too. After all the phones were checked and double checked by me then Eric woke up and did the same routine I did, nothing is stopping us from talking to Blake today. I made HOT CHOCOLATE, a butter braid (thank you Haleigh for reminding me to set it out last night) We ate a little, but honestly we just wanted the phone to ring, it’s like waiting and watching your garden to grow, we each had a phone next to us staring at it. Finally just like clock work, the phone rang on the exact time he said he would call 10:00 am, all three of us answered at the same time and when his voice came on I cried, unable to speak, Eric took over and talked to him for a bit, Haleigh, Jeremy and Kayla took turns talking to him, we even took off Reckers diaper knowing he would cry on cue when so Blake could hear from him also. Finally composed as I could be I spoke to Blake, he sounded so good and had a lot of fun explaining everything he is doing he lives in a very small village with no running water, they take a bucket shower a couple times a week from water that the Reverend of another church fills and gives to them, they also have no electricity so most of the lessons they teach are either during the day or they teach by candle light. I remember reading one of his letters saying “this is exactly what I wanted my mission to be like” WOW if I knew if would of been that easy to tame him I would of sent him to a small village on an Island in the middle of nowhere along time ago ha ha …… note to anyone with struggling teenagers.
Blake sounded so happy, finally he sounded like he belonged, like he was more certain than anything else in the world that the Mission in the Dominican Republic was custom made for him. For a mom sending a child off to teach the gospel is the very most rewarding gift you can be given, however it is the hardest thing I have ever done I miss him so much but know he is being blessed, he is becoming a man, fully aware of what he has left behind here in Gilbert Arizona yet still willing to give up 2 years of his life, knowing that the Savior gave his life for him, he knows it is the least he can do to show his love and dedication to the Lord. When he gets home it will be an awesome reunion and he will look back at these two years with fondness and remember them as the best 2 years of his life.
So tonight as Eric and I sit in a quiet home just the two of us, we are so grateful once again for our wonderful family and for the 1st phone call from the DR. It was so dang hard to hang up knowing I will not get to hear his voice again until Mothers Day, but I am trying to be strong, I broke down a couple of times while talking to him but hurried to get it together. Life is once again good in the Williams home and we all found out today that the best gift of all came for us over the phone in a simple conversation today with Elder Williams…… (3 months down, 21 left to go but only one more Thanksgiving and one more Christmas)

I lost 5 pounds today

I lost 5 pounds today

December 16, 2009

I am on day 3 after my 3rd round of chemo and very concerned. This morning around 2:30 am I woke up very sick, I immediately weighed myself as I knew I was not going to get through this quickly. By 5 pm I have lost over 5 pounds, I called Dr. Northfelt and they too are concerned but told me to drink some Gatorade and see if I can hold it down for 24 hours, if not I will be admitted into Mayo Hospital for some IV infusion to get me hydrated. WOW I thought it would get easier as I went along, knowing what I am facing every week I have gotten a lot of anxiety but usually around Saturday I start to get excited knowing I will be feeling much better by Monday of the following week. I feel so weak today, it is difficult for me to do anything but lay in my bed, any time I get up….I get sick. I know this is just part of the process and I am going to be able to endure it fine, but it is a little concerning, most of the time I lose around 3 pounds for the entire week, so 5 pounds in one day worries me. I pray tonight for some fluids to stay down, the last thing I want to do is go to the hospital, and again I thank Heavenly Father everyday for my blessings. Today I am grateful for Sister Ruthanne VanWagoner who brought over some Powerade, and to Anita Sheffield for bringing a wonderful dinner to my husband and daughter.