Tag: Travel

The Risks

The Risks

I spent 5 days in Las Vegas, which is probably my least favorite place to be.  I was there for a conference on how to grow my network marketing business through social media.  While I found the event to be highly effective and I learned a crap load of information about marketing, I seriously hated walking through the smoke filled casino just to get a bite to eat.  I will never understand the attraction people have with gambling their money away.  Some of these people stay up all night long, just hoping for that BIG win only to walk away empty handed, shattered and depressed.

As I walked through one morning I wondered “Did these people get any sleep at all? Do they have any money left? Where are their families?” I’m certainly not a ‘debbie downer’ I like to have fun, but not with my money or my future.  There is a lot of money in the world, plenty for everyone but working for it gives a sense of accomplishment and joy. I could not imagine sitting hour after hour putting money into these slot machines, money they probably worked hard for.

This is a danger zone…..with gambling addiction rising, people losing their homes and families this is not a life I would choose.  Boy was I grateful to get home to my safe haven, quiet and calm without the constant ringing and clanking of change dropping into the machine.  I decided I’m all about the sure thing, like a new pair of shoes….yes, I will take my money and buy something tangible and useful.

Las Vegas can be fun, but for me one day is enough and I want to walk away with some value being taken from it.  If I spent on shoes what some lose in those machines I could own a shoe store!!! Bottom line, what I learned?  I love my life and wouldn’t trade any of it, not even for a billion dollars.

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

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

Home

Home

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monya Bonbon

Girls Road Trip to Los Angeles

Girls Road Trip to Los Angeles


A couple of weeks ago I went on a road trip with Kaitlyn, Haleigh and they each brought 2 friends. We left on Sunday and came home on Monday. We had such a good time, shopping and visiting with each other.

 

Kaitlyn and Eric Hiking the Mountains!!!

Kaitlyn and Eric Hiking the Mountains!!!


Kaitlyn and Eric went for a little hike up Usery Pass, the wind caves. She said it was really fun and Eric said it was a good time to spend talking and joking around with her.

Eric in Paris with the Girls

Eric in Paris with the Girls





I found this picture of Eric and thought it was funny. When I first met him he had a mustache and I didn’t like it at all, I was not sad when he got rid of it for good. A couple of years ago he took my girls on a trip to Paris, he wanted to show them the place where he served his mission. He came home with this thing on his face, he looks like a French Man, or something. The girls loved that trip with him and when they got home they told me all about it for weeks. Eric would only let them eat French food and how he bought a loaf of bread (baguette) every morning and ate it with a piece of cheese (he loves cheese) they finally talked him into getting them a McDonalds hamburger they said it was the best tasting burger they ever ate, I think it tasted good because they were force fed French Food for so many days. I love to travel with Eric because he really enjoys the culture of where ever we are visiting, I am sure the girls did not appreciate it as much as I do. He is a good traveler and I am glad that the girls got to have this experience with him, they will treasure it forever. We thought we had lost all the Paris pictures so I am glad we found them.

Dr. Sal Lettieri Eye Surgery

Dr. Sal Lettieri Eye Surgery

Tomorrow morning I will enter Mayo Clinic Hospital for my 26th surgery.  I’m having a lot of anxiety with this  upcoming operation.  I forced it so far into the back of my head knowing we were going on a family vacation, suddenly on the plane ride home  it hit me.  I’m not quite sure if it’s because I realize what recovery is going to be like or if I am just so done with all of this silly nonsense–it’s like groundhog day, over and over again.

I cannot wear my cochlear device it is excruciatingly painful ringing in my head and gives me terrible migraines and dizziness.  However, I’ve lost most of my hearing in the left ear (the good one) I can’t hear my alarm go off in the morning (usually I can hear that thing ring throughout the walls of my home) I can’t hear music, people talking, everyday things I have taken for granted.  Although, it is annoying I will have to wait until after this surgery tomorrow with Dr Lettieri hopefully he will be taking the gold weight out of my eye lid placed in at the Cleveland Clinic (wrong size) and being upgraded to Platinum–I like to consider it an upgrade–GOLD to PLATINUM–and I think I will save the Gold Weight–let’s just see what Dr. Lettieri thinks about that……I paid for it, why not take it home?  That’s the easy part, the more in depth portion of the eye surgery is basically to fix the chronic dry eye–I actually didn’t want to know the details about how that is done, Dr. Lettieri likes me to be informed of procedures–I frankly don’t care or understand all that doctor jargon, so I told him “I trust you, just do it”  I love and do trust him, I’m in good hands tomorrow.  Heather will be scrubbing in too….bonus for me I love that girl.

Time to get to bed now I have 5 hours before it’s time to check in.

Favorite Things

Favorite Things

All week I’ve been thinking about how hard it is to describe FAVORITES…. weird thought I know.
Favorites for me have sometimes come and gone in a flash.  Depending on the age, the people in my life at the time and the circumstances for which they become my favorites.
When I was a little girl I watched The Wizard of Oz every year when it came on TV.  I thought Judy Garland was beautiful even in black and white.  I will never forget seeing the movie for the 1st time in color–it was so vibrant and alive–I loved it–I despised the monkey’s, they scared me.  My favorite part of the movie was when she sang Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Somewhere over the rainbow way up high
There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue
and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true
One day I’ll wish upon a star
and wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where your troubles melt like lemon drops
way above the chimney tops, that’s where you’ll find me
Oh, somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly
If birds can fly over, the rainbow, why, then oh why can’t I?
One day I’ll wish upon a star
and wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Way above the chimney tips, that’s where you’ll find me
Oh, somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly
If birds can fly over the rainbow, why, then oh why can’t I?
If Happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can’t I?
The first time I heard this song, I loved the melody, but the first time I listened to the lyrics I became obsessed.  It was difficult to imagine daring to dream of a happy place, or that dreams can come true. Since those days, I have always been in awe of Rainbows.  When Haleigh and I saw a double rainbow in Hawaii just a couple of weeks before I was diagnosed with cancer, it later became a

I’m trying ….

I’m trying ….

I have missed out on a few blog posts so today I will probably post 3.  First I went to Cleveland Clinic had my surgery with Doctor Gastman then flew home with Eric to recover.  I’m getting really good at this.  I do not like the pain medicine, Eric gets upset if I don’t take it, but I try to muddle my way through without using it.

I received an email message from one of my physicians who reads this blog, so this is for him…. “You made a mistake on your blog, that was your 21st surgery in less than 5 years” “Well excuse me for the miss count, btw your nosey” “No, just want you to be exact” so there you have it, yes I have nosey physicians.  It’s a good thing I love him enough to care that he was kind enough to correct me, and that I never say anything on this blog I wouldn’t be proud for them to read.

I want to add this little tender mercy to this blog post because it is another one that truly took me by surprise.  I have been involved with a company I feel the Lord placed in my lap a year ago for a reason, He knows how much each of us can handle, and knowing what was about to make a life altering change to my life, He knew I needed to be with people and circumstances that could bless my life, and it has in such a precious way.  I have made lifelong friends, who never knew me before my paralysis or cancer diagnosis.  Most don’t know my story.

I recently was invited to listen to a conference call by a woman who I had already admired, for her down to earth, funny, humble way of telling the story of how she and her sweet husband have gotten to where they are today.  Like always I was sitting on my bed with my phone on conference mode with my notepad ready to take notes, learn something that may also help me in my venture.  I was not prepared for the emotion I would feel when I listened in.  So many who have followed my story know I use the word HOPE so much, I have studied it, pondered it, lived it and tried to wrap myself up in the warmth of that word.  Mariel began to speak with her team, (everyone on the call is muted) that’s a good thing because it was not a minute or two into the call when I began to blubber like a baby.  It was as if she was speaking to me directly. (this is not the case she had about 800 people on that call)  I am not going to go into all my notes, mostly because I stopped taking them at this point.  She was directly delivering her message to me.  Graceful and gently she spoke of HOPE.  Giving HOPE to others during a time in life when so many just need to know there are people in the world who care, who want to help make a difference. It’s been 6 month’s that I have dedicated myself to doing something kind for someone every single day, I have been successful doing this, and it has changed my life. It doesn’t take away my own needs and realities, but it has helped me to become a better person, to learn that when I fall I can be lifted up and reminded of my potential.  I’ve been reminded once again time after time as I’m guided to people daily that I have so much to work on, so much to learn but by taking the hand of others like Mariel and Frank I can be lead and guided with thoughts of goodness and mercy, and do it with humility and grace.

I had a few days off for recovery after surgery, but started back to work last week.  I love my job at USAirways.  I really had a breakthrough last week while working.  Probably not the place I thought this would happen, but anymore I am never surprised at what, where or who touches my life in a significant way.

I was taking a reservation for a man, just doing my job when out of no where he asked me if I was OK.  Not knowing exactly what he meant I asked “Yes I’m OK, does it seem I am not doing my job, or have I offended you?” “Oh heavens no, just the opposite you are lovely to talk to and today I feel grateful it was you who answered the phone” a little stunned I thanked him and finished up his reservation, when I asked if there was anything else I could do to help him he said “Yes, you can” thinking he was going to either change the reservation, have me send him to rental cars or add his dividend miles number, you can imagine my surprise when this is what he said “Did you recently have a stroke? I don’t mean to be nosey but your voice sounds a little staggered” for the first time I was finally able to hear the truth from someone, a stranger and for the 1st time a light went off in my head I replied “No sir, I didn’t have a stroke but I do have partial facial paralysis and sometimes it is difficult to speak clearly, I’m sorry if you had a hard time with me today” I felt this sweet peace come over me, I am healing, from the inside out.

Facial paralysis has been by far the most challenging misfortunate obstacle I have had to come to grips with.  I’ve felt so many times that I just can’t do this anymore, begging for relief, for a complete physical healing.  I have definitely felt broken, alone and misunderstood. To finally say out loud to a perfect stranger “I have partial facial paralysis” may seem so insignificant to other people, but for me it was HUGE.  My physician’s have been perfectly honest with me.  Right now, there is not much  hope for a full recovery without more surgery, which I was told from the beginning.  I like to think I want to hear the full truth, the bottom line, then I can deal with it.  Boy, was I surprised at how much I didn’t comprehend my own understanding of what difficult was.

I have so many people say “…but you’re beautiful”  for some reason that “….but” hesitation has penetrated my heart too many times.  I know there is not one person out there that has said those words to me who is comfortable saying it, but I’ve come to discern they love me and really just don’t know what to say, and that is OK, I don’t know what to say either.  The absolute truth is, my soul is trying to heal, and it will take some time for me to be ready to accept this new life I have been offered.