Monday, September 29, 2014

Find Me-Frozen Inside


There have been times when I want to curl up and stay in the safety of a cocoon, much life a butterfly does.  I have had days when I  feel like I'm locked in a glass house with no way out, no key and no way to fly free--I'm emotionally healing so much slower than I expected I would.  I'm trying so hard to break out of these four walls, I wish I had someone to talk to. I'm losing my grasp, having a hard time being authentic.  I hide how tearfully hard it is for me not to be able to smile a full big smile, I feel my frailties are being masked, by a strong woman who has hard time admitting her weaknesses.

I ache at times trying so hard to hold back smiles or laughter for fear of what I look like to others.  I caught myself wanting to laugh when I heard Ezra's huge belly laugh--he is so cute--but I caught my reflection in the mirror of our entryway and suddenly realized "this is what other people see"  This immediately took me down to a low I can't explain.  I still feel so much happiness in my heart & want to share it, especially with my grandchildren but for some reason, I've let the adversary control my thoughts.  The confusion is a contradiction of what I feel inside,  I don't understand it, so I of course do not expect anyone else to understand it either.  I'm trying my hardest to Live Happy, going out and serving others, while I'm in the act of service it warms my heart and lightens my load.

I love the Happiness Movement the United Nations agreed upon, the 1st celebration was and will continue to  on March 20th.  I know and believe with all my heart that one person can make a difference, a rippling effect which can be wrapped over and around the hearts of people all over the world, no matter what race, culture, or religious belief.  I am an ambassador of Happiness, still I wonder sometimes if that too is a contradiction of how I feel on some days.  I feel like I am on display, I see how people look at me then quickly look away, I know because I too have done it.  I've said before on this blog, I don't believe people in general are vindictive or mean any harm, it's natural for a person to take a double look at something that is not what they are used to seeing.  I just never thought I would be the one on display.   I see them look, then look away and whisper to their friend, mother or neighbor, they both look and quickly turn their back to me, usually because they know I have just seen what they did.  The only thing that really holds me together is knowing He see's me, the REAL me--He knows I want to be me again, the sad part is because of what I've experienced I know I will never be the same again, and I believe this is a good thing.  Although, I didn't ask for this experience I'm living it.  I also realize at the same time, I do have control over how I deal with the inner aching I continue to feel. I may not be in charge of my trials, but I do have control how I deal with them, and I choose to take it slow, understanding all that is expected of me, then proceed forward in faith, and with desire to continue to be the best I can be.

On the days when I work at UsAirways, the security guard always asks me "how are you doing today Monya?" and my answer is always the same "better than I was yesterday" I wrestle with what has been lost in my life, It's more than just dealing with cancer with all of it's side effects.  I expect so much out of myself, I've always been a goal keeper.  I carry a crushing weight on my shoulders when I am unable to achieve  my goals.  I'm simply not able to do this on my own, my soul is tired and I need a rest.  I've pleaded for help so many times, I seriously think I don't have any tears left to cry.
I'm giving my all, but there are times I don't want to hear the answers. Saying I'm deaf is literally an understatement.  I am so vulnerable right now, I know I need to be willing to put all my trust one more time in the Lords hands.  I've been down this road before, I know this feeling.  It's difficult to take a step forward, and also hurts to look backwards. I want peace to speak louder than my fear. I have asked again, and again, and again "what am I supposed to learn" "What do you want me to do next?" I know when I'm finally ready to listen I will go and be or do what He needs me to be or to do.

I know this fear and pain that I am feeling needs to be turned over to the Lord, but for today, just for now I'm frozen inside.  No regrets, I've felt this pain before, and I will not bury it, I know I have to live it, feel it and when I'm living in those shadows He will find me, take me by the hand and lead me to a brighter place.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Finding strength in Adversity


I just can't seem to sleep tonight.  I am in Dallas, in a hotel room listening to my favorite VonSlade family sing to me, and then Josh Menden--I am tearful today.  I have felt the Lord's love, and I trust His plan for me.  I have seen angels in different faces lift me up.  Sometimes those angels come at the most unexpected times, today was one of those days.  A man by the name of Kym, he was my angel today and I know the Lord directed him to me for a purpose.  Kym has no idea how he helped me, I'm not sure he had any intention of helping me, but today because of Him. I learned that I DECIDE which life I want to lead, I am writing the story of my life and get to decide how it will end, don't worry it's a Happily Ever After kind of ending.

Many of my readers know me, some not personally but through my blog you have listened to my stories, we have laughed, cried and ranted together.  Right now sitting in this hotel, my heart is beating in my chest and it's hard to hold back the tears, my faith has taken deeper and stronger roots than I ever imagined I could.  I have never felt the peace I am feeling right now, I will never be the same as I was 5 years ago, there is no looking back I am forging forward.  I know what HOPE is, and I have so many good reasons to believe through my Faith and Hope, even if I am not completely healed when a person looks at me with the naked eye, I am beginning to heal from the inside out, He knows the strength I have, and the purpose of all things happening in my life.  Everyone around me who loves me and truly cares for me, sees the heart inside me, but I feel bad that they have to look at me with the look of anxiety and fear of hurting me.  I am dealing with this adversity a bit differently than when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer.  I'm not sure why, mostly because I too have bought into the belief a person's physical appearance is the first thing people see....the face.   I took my smile for granted, and I miss it. I want to laugh again, out loud with my friend Jenny, I want to jump on the Hotel beds and act like little girls again--but I fear that childhood innocence  is gone, I know too much, I've seen and felt too much to ever go back to who I was before the paralysis.

I do know the best is yet to come, I can look forward with faith knowing I have a responsibility to be me, the REAL authentic ME, that hasn't changed.  I wake up everyday, grateful for one that I woke up and two that it's always a good day to have a good day.  I've climbed some big mountains, and stumbled over a few hills, through every bend in the road I feel like I have done what is right when no one was around, I have lived with integrity.  I know my family, the girls including Chloe, and the boys including Blake, Brian, Scott, Jeremy. Eric, Recker and Ezra are number one's in my life.  I want them to learn to open their hearts and listen harder, look for a good purpose, help others who have less than us, give a smile, or open a door, say please, and thank you--when we do this together, we shine bright for the world to see that we can make a change, each of us day by day, tip toe by tip toe those good deeds when practiced daily, will soon turn into HUGE GIANT steps towards the YOU you were meant to be.  Choose your destiny, and remember your children are watching you, the choices you make they will mimmick, because you are their HERO's.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Making Connections

Ford Trimotor 


Today while working at USAirways, I received an incoming call from the cutest couple.  They were each on the phone line, one in the kitchen and one in the bedroom.  They made a reservation with me, and the gentleman asked me what type of aircraft it was, I told him it was a CRJ. Then he proceeded to tell me a story about when he was around 12 years old (he was born in 1928) he and his friends were playing in a farmers harvest, and the owner came up to the boys and asked them if they would like to go for a spin in his Ford Trimotor airplane.  He said to me "I don't think I ever did tell my parents that story"  When I asked him if it was because he thought he would be in trouble, his response was so sweet, he said "no, I knew they would not be upset, I didn't tell them because I didn't want them to be sad knowing they would never in their lifetime have the opportunity to fly" His wife was on the other end of the phone with the kindest voice saying "Oh darling, we need to let this girl get to work"  I loved to hear her laugh, while I was preparing their itinerary they were talking as if I couldn't hear them.  It reminded me of Vi and Ray--I asked them how long they had been married, and they laughed, both of them, so cute.  He said around 68 years, but that they had known each other since childhood.
This was such a great conversation, I think one reason why I loved it so much was because they had no idea what I looked like, a voice on the other end of the phone was being kind and considerate, as they were with me also.

They were going to the funeral of their son.  " I'm so sorry, It must be a difficult situation to have your son pass away before you do" she said "no, he was old,  lived a good life and was struggling with cancer the past few years, so we are glad he is no more pain, I wouldn't mind visiting him soon"  Then they laughed again....under normal circumstances I would of felt uncomfortable, and wondered what to say to that, but I didn't I fully understood.

This has been a difficult week for me, I really never thought It would matter to me what people think about my face, but it does.  I went to a spanish speaking meeting with one of my partners.  Have you ever felt like someone was looking at you?  You know the feeling I'm talking about, you want to look back at them just to see if your feeling was right.  I did, I looked at these two women who were talking about me in spanish, I know this because the older woman looked at me then whispered something to her daughter (I believe it was her daughter not positive) then they both looked at me, and the mother made this really strange face, again they both looked at me.  At that very moment I was more vulnerable than I had ever felt in my life.  I could not concentrate on the speaker after that happened, some of that was because it was completely in Spanish.  I wanted to leave, but I didn't I stayed stood tall and made it through. I don't see any changes in my face, and I know when I smile it is crooked, so it looks different.  I love to laugh, I love to smile--that has been taken away from me, hopefully temporarily.

I know I will never look exactly the same, I can recover and reprogram my brain; but I will re-form into a person different--hopefully better, stronger, happier than I have ever been. I trust in the Lord and the plan he has for me, it's just so dang hard on days like today when reality of how I look is slammed in my face by others.  I have a new journey now, one that I hope I can recover from.  Hopefully one day I will be on the other end of a phone conversation making a reservation and be able to smile with my heart like this couple did.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why are you happy?



I was recently asked "why are you happy, and how do you remain happy?" The truth is, I have to work on Happiness every day of my life.  I did not intend on being diagnosed with late stages of breast cancer, or the side effects that followed.  I thought at the time it was a joke,  I was still going to continue training for that Marathon I always wanted to run.  To me, I was happy, after all I had the life I always dreamed of, stay at home mom, room mother for all 4 of my children's classrooms, loved driving the girls to dance and Blake to baseball.  My life was surrounded with good friends, and a wonderful family.

 I have always been a runner, kick boxer, cycler, core trained and weight lifter, this was my life and I loved every second of it. The day I had to listen to a doctor explain to me what type of cancer I had I did not respond, Eric was crying it was such a blur, why was he crying? This is not real, we will get a second opinion and of course I will continue to train because this is not real. Even now when I look back at that day, it amazes me how I responded, no tears, no emotion at all.  Blake was at the airport flying up to Utah to see his girlfriend Lecith, and Kaitlyn was living in Utah going to school and loving life, she had found the man of her dreams and I could not be happier with her choice. Eric called Blake and asked him to come home, he wouldn't, he told Eric to just tell him what was up. When Eric told him, he was angry thinking we knew for awhile and just didn't tell him, I explained to him the doctor had just told me I had no idea....we did not hear from or see Blake for a week, he went to Utah and would not answer his phone.  We then called Kaitlyn to tell her, and she reacted just like I did, no emotion--however, Brian told me later that she was really upset, maybe she thought like I did, this was just a little thing that was going to go away.  Kayla, Jeremy and Haleigh met us at the house and I remember Eric standing at the kitchen sink, the kids and I were sitting at the table, I just said it "I have cancer" immediate silence entered the room.  Kayla started to cry, Eric was still crying, Jeremy was in a sullen mood, not sure how to react, but asked if I wanted a blessing. Haleigh, she was and is my baby girl, this announcement could not have come at a worse time for her, it was a week before her senior year of High School.

Since that day I have had to learn to smile with my eyes, and listen with my heart.  I had no idea what was about to explode in our lives as the Villain took over. The "things" that were so important to me, suddenly were insignificant.  The first 3 years I never went one minute of my life without thinking about the Villain, every appointment, bone scan, MRI, and test that was written out on my Mayo Clinic itinerary gave me anxiety.  I still get anxiety when I step off the elevator onto the 3rd floor of the Mayo Clinic, I can smell the chemo, the sickness is in the air.

Tonight, I just can't sleep my mind is racing, I feel unprepared for this trial I am having now.  I need some calmness in my life.  I just want to fall asleep and be with Eric's mom and Dad, dream of being in a safe place, with no pain, no hurt and in the arms of people who unconditionally love me.  I have to remind myself everyday of the many blessings I have.  I see my reflection in the mirror and want to cry. I don't expect anyone to truly understand.  Now, I have to learn to accept the person I see in the mirror, and remember to smile with my eyes.  I loved Elder Holland's talk about depression, I have read it over and over again. Depression is REAL, if you have ever experienced it, you know what I am talking about.  When Robin Williams took his life recently, so much discussion on how selfish he was.  I know I cannot completely understand his reasons, my heart was with him, how well he hid his depression and made us all laugh, while he was struggling with his own demons.

I don't think a person can actually go through some of the things I have endured and be unchanged.  So I say to the people who feel discouraged and mis understood, have faith,  hold onto the knowledge you have of Hope for a better day. I loved when Elder Holland said "above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can ever comprehend" It's amazing to me that the love He has for us never leaves, He will always love us, that love is unconditional.  I so wish I could say I am happy all the time, that simply would not be true, I struggle with it daily, but know it is a choice and it feels better than being depressed.You can wake up everyday and decide to make the most of the life you have been given. It does not  necessarily mean changing your world, but changing the way you look at it.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

What is a Saint ?

When I think of someone as a Saint, my mind immediately goes to Viola Williams, Eric's Mom.  In my eyes she could do no wrong, she actively would seek out the weak and weary and take them into her home for comfort from their worldly worries. Many times, the knock on the door was in the midst of the early morning, or late night, but she never turned anyone away, she loved unconditionally.  Life to her was beautiful, she was raised in humble circumstances, served a mission in Hawaii, and married the love her life Ray Williams. Ray was a postal worker, and she was an accountant.  I never saw them quarrel, they learned the art of laughter and happiness together as they struggled through life's challenges together, I miss them both dearly.   I look to Vi as my ultimate example,  and know without a doubt I will feel her loving arms around me again when I leave this life and start my new journey.

I recently had someone say to me "you are a saint" to that person I said "I am not a Saint, unless you think of a Saint as a sinner who just keeps trying to be better than they were the day before" 

Honestly, I keep tracing the steps of where I've been these past 5 years and cannot comprehend how I've been able to continue on.  I read some of my old blog posts, and I can see the Lord's hand writing those words, He has been with me every step.

With this past trial I am trying to deal with, there are times I feel very vulnerable, it's hard to speak sometimes to people, my eyes tear up.  The aching of this is so real to me, I remember not being able to get the Villain out of my head, it was a day to day struggle, fighting to stay alive.  I have poured out my heart and soul to the Lord at times feeling his loving arms around me, and at times feeling deserted and alone.  The feeling of peace, and knowing His grace remains with me,  has certainly gotten me through some unbearable times.

While talking to Doctor Northfelt, I told him it's hard for me to look in the mirror,  and be OK with what I see.  This is a change even I have to get used to seeing, and right now I am dealing with it my own way.  It's hard to feel attractive for my husband, in my head I wonder if I am sexy to him anymore. Will I be able to live with this face if I have to?  I asked Eric if he is embarrassed to walk with me or hold my hand in public, knowing already what his answer would be I still needed to ask.  This transitional period is hard, very hard.  I'm grateful for Dr. Northfelt, although not all of what I just shared here I shared with him, but he is always so good at listening.

 The people who know me, know my heart and that has not changed. I do feel a sense of loneliness sometimes, when I was going through chemo and radiation I had a support group, people I could talk to, who were either going through it themselves or had already been down that road.  We all had similar feelings and could help each other get through the bad days.  I don't have anyone to talk to, I  don't know anyone who has or is going through this life altering trauma.  I do my best to keep positive, but smiling is hard, because it looks so weird, one side smiles while the other is "normal"  Even when I am happy I catch a glimpse of what I look like when I smile and it is hideous to look at.  So this leaves me in a predicament, do I never smile or laugh again?  No, it does mean that I need to learn to smile with my eyes, and listen with my heart, knowing others who love me don't see that ugly smile they see the heart of the same ole' 'say it like it is' Monya.

 I quit trying to understand why, or how this happened.  I instead have been focusing on happiness, what does happy mean to me?  In December after my 1st ear surgery a dear friend called me, and invited me to a Nerium event, I think the 1st three times I said I'd be there but either forgot, or simply didn't want to know what it was.  I don't remember, but Shelli reminds me of it.  Finally, she invited Eric and I to the Barrett Jackson event, I really didn't want to go, but Eric wanted to get me out of the house.  I was still feeling post surgical pain, so I sat with the girls in Shelli's Nerium booth, I sat and observed (you know how I love to people watch) there were a ton of men coming up and buying this cream, at the time I thought they were probably just coming back because all of these girls are drop dead gorgeous. I observed the interaction these girls had with people, then I was approached by Liz Decker she said "so what do you know about Nerium?" I said "Nothing, but I want in, it's time for me to get out of this cancer world and I heard you mention you are all going to St Louis in April, sign me up for that too, I need a girls trip" I went to St. Louis had an incredible time watching person after person serve and help each other. It really was quite amazing, EVERYONE was so happy.  This was exactly what I needed, get out of my cancer world and start living my life with friends I had excluded because of my diagnosis.  Shortly later I had the emergency surgeries at Mayo Clinic, all those Nerium people came to visit me, that pierced my heart knowing these people are REALLY genuine. Then when I went to Cleveland Clinic for 7 weeks, they were so supportive and kept in touch with me.  I continued to share my thoughts about Nerium with people and even shared enough that I was able to sign up a partner from a bed with my computer.  I gave out Live Happy Magazines to everyone, day by day I could see and feel myself gaining confidence in who I am again.  When I came home, I was welcomed back with open arms and tearful eyes.  We took off again just where I left off, not skipping a beat, or feeling vulnerable at all with them, my face is different, I thought it would be a deterrent and was afraid to face them, this is an amazing anti aging company promoting beauty and looking younger, how in the world can I represent them?  Now that I look back on that, I can see the Lord's hand leading me and guiding me to this place I thought I could never be in again.  With that I have to say "thank you" to all my Nerium Family, who has truly loved me like family.  I may not be moving as quickly as I had originally goaled, I've learned the goal is still the same, the timing is just different, and finally I've learned that those who truly love you will never leave you, this my friends is unconditional love, so Saint I may never be, but trying to be better day by day, yes I can do that.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Botox....seriously?

Yesterday I was at work sitting at my desk, a girl walked up to me and said in a whisper "where did you get your botox done on your forehead" I whispered back with a shhh and finger over my crooked mouth as if to say "it's a secret so shhhhh, "are you kidding me? NO I DID NOT HAVE BOTOX" she said "then why doesn't your eyebrow move?" "Umm, because I have partial facial paralysis" she then said "Oh you were gone for awhile and I just assumed when I saw you that you must of had some  botox, or plastic surgery done" again I'm laughing inside, but I replied as I took of my reading glasses "look at me, I mean really look at me, does it look like I had plastic surgery? If this is the result of plastic surgery I got ripped off and jipped out"

Wednesday I had an appointment with Dr. Barr's at Mayo Clinic.  I was a little anxious to see him, and to see what his reaction to me would be.  I love him, and was worried he would be upset with me for going to Cleveland Clinic.  I couldn't of been more wrong, he came in with his big smile, arms out reached for a hug and said "as I live and breath, who is this beautiful patient?" Pleased as I could be I jumped up and hugged him back.  I told him I felt like I was HOME at Mayo Clinic, not that there was really anything I didn't like about Cleveland Clinic, but there is a reason Mayo comes in #1 every year with ratings from patients, and medical statistics.  I told him Dr. Haberkamp was great to work with, and that me leaving had nothing to do with him, it was more about the procedure the other doctor proposed at Mayo.  I was just jabbering, he shook his head and said "I was never upset or took it personal" even if that was not really how he felt, he was classy enough to make me believe him. He sat down on the chair in front of me and wanted to hear the whole Cleveland Clinic experience.  I also told him Dr. Haberkamp said he wanted us to tell Dr. Barr's his work on my ear was impeccable.
He examined my ear, and said everything looks good, but we will need to have MRI's a couple times a year on the head. Kathleen came in to visit with me, she is beautiful inside and out, and was so concerned about me, she embraced me as she left the examining room and said "I love you"

  My eye is still the biggest concern now, he agrees but I'm doing all I've been asked to do.  Cleveland Clinic is calling to schedule the next surgery, I told Erin (gastman's PA) I can't think about that right now.  That chapter needs to end, ironically enough I think it's just the beginning of the end.  This is so hard.

Today, Friday I had the privilege of seeing my oncologist Dr. Donald Northfelt.  I think for most cancer patients this is a bitter/sweet appointment to have.  I started to fret and worry last night, my mind has been so pre-occupied lately with all that has happened, I have not let my  brain think of today.  No panic attacks getting off the 3rd floor elevator today, that's progress. Maryann came in to see me, greeted me with a huge hug, we both had tears.  She is incredibly insightful, when I was in Cleveland she said a prayer with me over the phone.  We visited awhile, it felt warm and loving to be with "my" people again--I know both Mayo Clinic campus's like the back of my hand, but today being back was a feeling of reunion, rather than burden.  Anxiously waiting to see Dr. Northfelt, I am so grateful I listened to the spirit when I was led to him for my oncologist, I love him.  He went over my blood work and said it looks good right now.  For me, for right now, as in today, this is who I needed to see. Dr. Northfelt promised to be with me the entire journey and so far, he has, he gets it. Once he was done with his report and examination, he sat down looked at me, no words needed to be said, I could tell by looking in his eye's he could feel my burden was heavy. We talked a bit about the past few months, but didn't hover...we moved on to happier thoughts.  I told him about working with Nerium and how positive the atmosphere is for me.  I also explained to him about the Live Happy Movement trying to get more happiness in the world by spreading my own happy thoughts with others hoping they will also spread the word to BE HAPPY no matter what the circumstance. We had a great visit, I will never be able to articulate the feelings I have of HOPE just because he is who he is, not only a wonderful doctor but knowing he deals with people like me everyday, I always feel like I am his only patient, and that he loves me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to Work

I made the decision to go back to work, my doctors in Cleveland would of wanted me to wait a bit longer, but I can't sit around.  I look in the mirror and I am still not quite ready to accept what I see, I really thought I was.  Last week I finished my work, it was a difficult transition, my eye continues to be such bothersome issue.  Cleveland Clinic PA told me to massage the lower lid to strengthen the muscle, I have been doing that still it waters constantly to the point of not being able to see out of my right eye. Mayo Clinic says I have chronic dry eye, which is weird since it waters all the time, the are trying to fit me in this week.  Work was really hard, my foot is was so swollen by the end of each day, I have had a hard time getting my shoes on. I tried to spend the weekend elevating it, I don't have a strong education about how nerves all I know is it takes a year for things to truly heal.  If this last surgery did not work, this is what is next.  The will make an incision from my hairline, ear to ear, pull back my face and take the nerve from the left side and attach it to the nerve on the right side, then wait another year.

Being at work I felt vulnerable as I walked into the building, I usually like to smile and greet  people with a happy attitude. Problem a lot of people did not recognize me with my short hair and odd looking face.  I even had someone ask if I gained all my weight while I was gone....Yes I did...I was on 2 different steroids and ballooned up a bit.  I am now off of them and back to my normal eating habits so hopefully I can get back to my normal weight.  I know when others notice, then it must be an obvious change.

I am always amazed at what my brain can retain, and what takes time to recall.  My job at US Airways is in the International Reservations Department, there is a lot of information most people take for granted that they know how to do.  I've realized since being back, how amazing my brain is, reactivating those brain cells and muscles I have not used for a few months is slowly coming back without having to look at my notes.

Personally, I am struggling to keep my spirits up and stay positive. Some of the ways I do this is to continue to read from a good book everyday for 30 minutes...this gives me HOPE in my purpose in life. It is so easy to wonder "why" when that happens, I have to get on my knees and say "thank you for this trial,  I am trying so hard to understand, please give me guidance and strength to know what to do, now that it is done there is not much I can do to change it, but now it is time for reality and for me to live with it, I accept that, but please help me along the way, give those nudges of the spirit when I am bombarded with doubt" 

I marvel at my ignorance, I once thought I had all I could deal with as a youth, and that my Heavenly Father had given me quite a challenge to overcome, and when I finally did and was able to truly forgive and move forward I just knew that was it for me .....  I seriously thought if I could overcome that, I would be left alone for life...no more trials.  I think He really does give us what He knows we can handle, but I believe He is also trying to teach me something through all this.  I had a dream that allowed me to see and was specifically told that I have a purpose here on earth, it's just so hard to grasp what I've been asked to do and not say "why? why me?  I try to believe that I am of infinite worth and that I  should be saying  "why not" Maybe because I know all my faults and know the things I need to work on, I am not a special person, no different than anyone else, it seems the world is filled with people who are struggling.  There is a part of me that wants to negotiate my way out of this one.

Friday, August 15, 2014

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 Eric.  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.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Scars are tattoos with better stories


My hair has been falling out in chunks, more and more everyday.  I made the decision to call Jenny
Boyton, she or her sister have been styling my hair for over 15 years.  Kara Ellingson, Jenny's sister cut my hair the 1st time, while I was going through chemo treatment. It was a tearful difficult thing to do.
 Today there were no tears, I'm grateful for the knowledge I have that my hair does not define who I am, where I am going and who I want to be.

And what about those dang scars, well they each have a story, and with those scars they give me a constant reminder of the road I have traveled, I'm moving forward. I wish I could get my smile back, and maybe I will, Dr. Haberkamp said possibly 30% which is much better than 0%.  Miracles happen everyday, and with a positive mental attitude, continuing to tell my lip to smile, or my eyebrow to move everyday it'll happen. I told that today to a random person who was asking me about my scar, her response was "I'm sorry dear, but I work with doctors all the time and if your doctor told you 30% improvement he was not wanting to hurt your feelings" I felt like saying "You mean he didn't want to hurt me like you just did?" Instead I handed her one of my Live Happy Magazines and said good-bye. She was a coo coo, as Jeff Olson says.

 Taking chances and staying strong and positive is what get me through days and helps me to embrace that day as one day closer to healing and not necessarily a physical healing, but I'm talking more about an inner healing of my soul and being happy with who I am.  I will endure 3 more surgeries within the year--something that most of you who read my blog know I said I will never do again.  Each time, I think "what if it does work this time, what example am I being to my children and grandchildren if I just give up? It's like giving up on them" Tonight I snuggled with Recker on my bed, every once in a while he would want to take a look at my scars on my ear, neck and head but the ones he loves to stare at are the ones on my ankle where they took the nerves to replace the dead one in my face.  I love to watch him when he does this, I always wonder what is he thinking?

 I've learned that the life I had planned  for myself may not be exactly what I expected, but I feel blessed that I have learned from this journey.  There have been times when I didn't want to get up and go, I had so much pain and fear of taking those steps forward.  I have  sleepless nights, where I pray He will just take it all away, but He never does. I'm pretty sure it's because I'm a hard head and need to learn even more, or I haven't been listening, I mean listening with my heart not my ears....although sometimes that happens too.  ha ha

 So my smile is crooked and may never heal much more than it has.....let's just say that is true.....I am still extremely blessed with a happy life, a life that sometimes I don't understand but I would not change it for one dang minute.  My love for my family, for friends old and new have brought me finally to a place where I believe in myself, I believe in my self worth, I will not fall, or fail in a world that is so weak at times, I feel like I have to be strong.  We are living in a world with so many people who
"will not, or say I can't"  and what I mean by that  is that they don't take chances, they never stand up for what they believe in, they give up when things get tough. (I call them the followers) but if I can find those who want to stand up in this world of weakness, I will not change my values or attitude, chin up--Surrounding myself with those same types of people together we can make incredible changes in the world--it can be done.  I am one of those people who has a responsibility to help  others realize their potential for happiness, no matter what the circumstances. This does not mean I will not  have days when I am sad, or down, those are natural feelings we all have them.  If you have never experienced pain, how do you know what it feels like to be truly happy?

 I have mentally prepared myself for what is to come, the doctors have fully explained it all to me and made sure I understood, and I do.  None of this has to do with living a happy life, I take the opportunities everyday to spend alone time, read from good positive books, then I go out and put it to action.  I was so upset in the beginning, but have learned like I've said before, everything happens for a reason, and anything I have ever started has been hard in the beginning with each passing day I learn to listen with my heart, take the hard days allow myself to cry because I know that pain is so deep it will not be going away in one day.  I have learned how to deal with those days....during those stormy days, that's when it happens, when you least expect it, when you feel like it is never going to end, but then the clouds part, and the rainbows appear. I know when that happens it's OK because He has arrived to take it all away, His love slips through the darkness and I grab on hard to it as I walk with Him into the light, and realize tomorrow is a new day.....you are never a failure, I know for me I just have to remember I do have infinite worth, and start over the next day. Touch those scars, and remember where I've been and the legacy I'm trying to leave for my posterity.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Live Happy


A couple of weeks ago my dear sweet friend Liz Decker asked me to give a testimonial at our Nerium Event, I  knew I wanted to but was not sure what to say. How could I possibly inspire or be an example ? I have done ok with Nerium and fully enjoyed meeting new friends and taking my mind off of my cancer journey, but I am surely not an example of success in the Nerium world.  I had goals written down, simple things I wanted to achieve daily, weekly then monthly when the tumor in my ear arrived and killed the nerve in my face all my goals had to be put on hold. I had 3 surgeries in one week, making it 18 surgeries within 5 years. While I was in Mayo Hospital for 3 weeks, my Nerium friends came to visit--what a surprise that was to me, I barely knew these people. That act of service was a truly heartwarming experience, I realized I really am loved by other people than my own family.  These past couple of months have been incredible as I have fought my way through thick and thin to stay alive......right now I'm a little thick because of the steroids I am on, but guess what?  I simply don't care, if those steroids can help me get to a healing place, bring on the thick.
Look at these beautiful, happy successful women

Don't go anywhere without this magazine--every nurse, doctor
and resident got one from me at Mayo and Cleveland Clinic

Liz and Danny--great leaders, great friends
Love Danny's shirt, I have it too it says
TODAY CHOOSE HAPPY

This subject of Living a Happy Life has become so dear to me over the past 12 years or so.  Being raised in a fully dysfunctional home, then meeting the man of my dreams was quite an opposition from what I was feeling in my home , hearing Eric say "I love you" it was shocking to me.  I remember going home that night at the ripe age of 19, kneeling by my bed and promising the Lord I would live worthy of this man, if He would keep His promise and get me out of this toxic environment.  Promises made were not broken, we were happily married, blessed with 3 beautiful daughters and one magnificent son--they are all married now, and we have been blessed with 2 grandsons from my oldest daughter Kayla and her husband Jeremy--oh how our family has been blessed with great son and daughter in laws--I love them all-they make me smile.




So back to this subject of really Living a Happy Life, is it possible? There was a time I did not know what love was, not to mention true happiness.  But the second my daughter was born, I was instantly in love with her, my happiness was filled to the brim, nothing could or ever would compare to this.....wait 13 months later my son came along, big 9 lbs 8 oz, Eric cried, I wasn't sure he was crying because he was blessed with a son to carry on the Williams name or if he was just happy for that special moment of being told "congratulations, he's a handsome healthy boy" All four of my children have brought such joy and happiness to my life, they lived the young life that I was never granted and I loved watching them make mistakes, figure out the problem and fix it.

When Kayla had her 1st child Recker, the doctor induced her so that I could be there for the birth, I was going through my chemo treatment and didn't want to miss the birth of our first grandchild.  He was blond, beautiful and big--with a mixture of characteristics from both Kayla and Jeremy. Talk about happiness, there is not much more that compares to the unconditional love between a father, mother and their new baby, a gift from Heavenly Father, he has entrusted in parents to take special care of these special children of His.

Although those moments and days after a baby is brought home is such a happy time of life, trials do come to all of us.  My question, even to myself is how do we maintain a happy life through sometimes what seems to be an endless amount of sadness, sorrow, anger and disappointment?  I don't have much science to back it up, but would like to give my opinion on this subject. I believe each child is born into a family with their own spirit, some of those children will be born naturally happy all the time, smiles, giggles, hugs, kisses and eating may make him happy. Seeing both of my grandchildren laugh, giggle, run and play always changes my serotonin levels  and creates a smile or two from me too. Recker our oldest grandson was diagnosed with Autism at age 16 months, I had no idea how to feel about that, should I cry or should I feel blessed that he had been sent to our family to teach and help us grow in compassion, and unconditional love? Now Recker is 4 and a half, he still does not speak, but tries hard to communicate--my daughter and son in law are amazing with him.  Many times I have wept for them, not because of the diagnosis, but because of not knowing how to react when people are rude. I love to just watch him, no words, just watch....he seems so happy, he absolutely brings happiness to me.  I'm not sure he knows he is different, he laughs and plays and hugs and kisses us--he truly is happy.  Heavenly Happy.  
Ezra visiting bonbon at Mayo--he never stops smiling

My sweet little Recker boy, dirty from doing what he loves
playing outside--gave me the #1 for the RedSox
When I was a child my family called me BonBon, I've been told because of my super white hair, the only thing I can see is a likeliness is that the ice cream bonbon's are white inside, covered in chocolate on the outside. No matter, the name stuck with me and even now when I  repeat this name for my email, or to explain why my grandchildren call me bonbon---it always brings a smile to those who hear it. So does smiling mean a person is happy? I'm not sure that qualifies as complete happiness, but it sure is a great start. I believe there is power in a positive mental attitude.

When Eric and I first got married he would go around the valley speaking to hundreds of people about how to have a positive mental attitude....so weird that he and I ended up being married, because I was as far from a positive person when we met----maybe that's why it took 6 years of dating---I've learned so much about having a positive outlook from him.  Imagine this, when we first got married Eric would make me stand in front of the mirror and tell myself I was beautiful, I was going to have a great day, and that I was happy. Laugh if you want, I did too, in fact I was so resistant at times he would laugh at me and tell me "if you don't believe in yourself then no one else will either, so hold your head up high and repeat after me"
yep...where it all started--Frenchy is
still my #1 fan even when I have a funk day
Positive all the time, never heard a swear word
from his mouth in over 30 years. Believes
no matter what there is always good in
people, we just need to find it and let
them know, they are important to him.
It took me years, probably until I was about 36  years old to realize the power of words, they can hurt worse than any physical pain or abuse they sting your brain and can last for years or even life, or they can lighten a room full of people,  perhaps make one of them feel empowered to change their sad life to a happy one.  I know this from an experience,   I had an experience that changed my life forever.  One day I was wallowing in my own sorrow, feeling bad for myself, actually I'll just say it I WAS VERY DEPRESSED. It had been 7 years since my mother walked away from me, I tried so hard to figure out how to "fix" it, I took on the blame and felt as if I was a failure on so many levels, maybe I should of done something different.  Why couldn't I get this emotional baggage I was carrying around and put it on a plane going far far away? I was far from a happy place.  One of my friends came by the house with her children so they could play with mine. While they played, she asked me what was wrong, and that she had noticed an obvious change in me. I was sensing my mental anguish and decided to tell her a portion of what was going on in my life. Remember at this point, the only people I had to talked to about this was my parents, Eric and my bishop.  She looked me straight in the eye and said "I hope you will understand this when I tell you, but I took psychology at BYU and learned that the percentage of people who have been abused as a child is very high that they too will abuse, so I cannot allow my children in your home anymore, in fact we need to cut our friendship and not allow our children to play anymore." She went as far as to make sure our children were not in the same primary classes together.  Now, to most people this story sounds cruel and unbelievable but for me it changed my life.  I never wanted to be "that" person.  From that day forward, I chose happiness.  Well I have to admit, not everyday since then has been "HAPPY" actually far from it, however, I've learned to find something to learn from each experience that comes into my life.  We may not all agree on the parenting skills of others, or what our passions are but I believe we can all agree living happy is far better than the opposite.

My teenage years were fun with my friends Linda and Jami, I loved them so much and always found happiness, a joy in their presence, mostly because we were girls who made good choices and lived the rules and regulations not only of our faith but also our family rules.  As I have thought about this question,"What is Happiness" the past 8 months I have deliberately made a decision to not allow negative influences impact my life.  (The loss of a family member or family excluded), I allow myself grief but with that being said, I also believe the Lord wants us to be happy while we are alive and that we are promised a life happy after death, so happiness is never taken from us in life or death.  We are the ones who make those decisions, "will I be happy today? or will I be angry or sad?" I found after putting this purposely to action when I walked or ran on the treadmill I am either reading a book or watch the TV in front of me, more than likely I listen to music on an Ipod.  I noticed the difference, when a few years a go after finishing my chemo and radiation treatments my doctor told Eric and I it was time for me to look at my bucket list and start doing them.  We first chose to go to Paris, my husband speaks fluent french and it was a place I always wanted to go.  While in Paris I found my "happy place": Porte Jaune, we were in nature riding bikes being forced to see the Lords creations, to pay attention.  I believe getting back in touch with nature provides endless abundance of happiness. We stopped and picked fresh flowers and berries, we sat and watch as an older generation of men played a game of horseshoes or chess. Children holding handing with their parents giggling so contagiously we had to see what was going on, it was a fish in the stream they were concentrating on for  what seemed to be  15 minutes. Eric and I then joined in their happiness. Every surgery I have gone through before I go into the OR Eric says, now go to your "happy place, I'll meet you there" Do you have a happy place?
the man feeding birds-so peacefully enjoying his day

MY HAPPY PLACE IN FRANCE Porte Jaune

with my favorite frenchy--selfies 
  I am a Facebook, Instagram contiributor, I enjoy hearing the good things my friends are doing, or knowing that I need to pray for a family in need, however, I too believe too much time can be spent on those things. For me, I have made it a habit to read from a good book, or listen to a positive CD or music.  I have turned my car into a NO PHONE ZONE and will always be listening to self help or inspirational stations, or CD's.  Once I have done what I need to do to feed my own soul, then I will check in on FB or IG.
On my nightstand--tried to edit out the pill bottles sorry
I loved this so much, I gave the CD and book
to all of my son in laws, my son and husband

This is the book that can change
your perspective

Something I love to do this book
is a good way to change your
attitude towards the blessings
you have in your life-and share
it with others


You're never too young to learn how to
live
a happy life
In the most recent Live Happy Magazine I read "Does Happiness Matter?"  We've all heard that success won't bring happiness. But have you ever heard that the reverse is true? Choosing happiness is not just the right thing to do--it's the smart thing to do for your health, relationships, and believe it or not your business. A Harvard study proved happiness fuels success, happier people are healthier, and live longer, they are more satisfied in their relationships, and they experience less stress.  When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I had two different doctors ask me a series of questions one of the 1st questions asked was "did you have any childhood trauma or unneeded stress, or did anything significantly difficult happen to you as a child?" Whoa--that question threw me for a loop, I did not want to admit it, but yes I did live 25 years of total stress, and trauma,  keeping secrets, pretending to be a "Happy Family" if I didn't do that,  I would be the blame for a hurt I knew my mom could not handle, so I kept it in until I was 29. Besides a family history the only other symptom I had was stress--Letting that go and not only being true to myself, but true to my family has been a mixture of emotions--It not only opened up a huge wound, it put a lot of stress on my husband and family.  Being the optimistic, I actually thought confronting this issue was going to finally change my life for good, and we could get some family help, I was wrong.

My life from that time forward changed, it took time, I had to go through every emotion and allow myself to feel pain, hurt, anger, guilt until finally after many years I was able to forgive and feel what joy and happiness, I mean true happiness is.  I began taking my children for walks, going to the park, and being the mother I always wanted to have.  I changed, I made a difference by being involved with my children, I did not do the best job but I did OK, and I know my children are going to be even better than I am as a mother.  So the answer to the Question "Does Happiness Matter?" a huge resounding YES it does.

http://goodthinkinc.com/2012/01/harvard-business-review-positive-intelligence/

Researchers have found that "getting in touch" "earthing" "grounding" or "connecting with nature" regardless of what we call it, There is an obvious connection with a person's "we'll being, as well as our physical well being. So how do we start? One thing I have learned personally, there are like I mentioned before, some people who are naturally born with a happy positive attitude. I myself was not, I have had to work on this continually.  Many times children are born into a family that is very structured and teaches them organization, which in many associations in life and at home is very important.  I always wondered how people who taught their children at home could do it....I would of said to my kids "OK let's go to the park, or a movie, then we'll come home and do our math" In other words I am not a structured person--I love spontaneity--I look forward to doing small things for other people, I love to help people in need (which sometimes blows up in my face)  I believe a person who leads with a positive mood is contagious, I would rather surround myself with uplifting, positive, compassionate people than the person who never has a good thing to say, or is a pessimist.

8 months ago my mother passed away I was not close to her and had a difficult time understanding her thinking.  I decided at that moment I was going to take the next few months and do a kind service or something nice for for someone, anyone.  What I did first was get a clicker I carried in my hand, every time a negative thought came into my mind or out of my mouth I clicked. After a week I decided to check out the clicker.....oh boy was I disappointed, there were more clicks than I wanted to have. Now what do I do? I knelt and prayed that night and asked the Lord to please help me to change those thoughts and actions.  I've always been a little bit scared to ask the Lord for these types of helps, because if you ask for help He will give you more oppositions to increase your accomplishment of mastering this trial you have. So knowing this I pondered why I wanted to do this.
I reset the clicker and started clicking all of the service and good things I had done,  good thoughts or comments I had expressed to others, unexpectedly after a week I took a look at my clicker surprising my positive thoughts and service had tripled in numbers. I bought 100 clickers and give them to all the people who want to work with my Nerium team--one week doing the negative, one week the positive, then make the adjustments,  I started writing down my goals for the day, the week and finally the month. I check it everyday and re-evaluate whether those goals are realistic, in other words I don't set myself up for failure.  Failure isn't  falling down, it;s refusing to get back up.  I've learned if I had never experienced failure, pain or hurt, I would not appreciate the great blessings I have in my life.
Without ever feeling sorrow or trials--
you would never know what success
and happiness is.

Think  Happy-Be Happy-and the success
will come--it's more important for you
to love yourself love your life and be happy
with who you are, than it is to struggle for
financial freedom, this secondary to
your living happy

Being astonished by the results of my positive week, I continued with the clicking method and I keep track of those happy thoughts and how they effected not only me but others.  When I started this experiment I was 50 years old (essentially half my life over) Imagine if the people in the world all wore happiness clickers.  I am a partner in a company called Nerium International, one of the reasons I joined was they were on the same thought pattern as myself. You may ask what types of things do I do to help others have a happy day.  I started very slowly by opening a door for an elderly person who could not reach the door handle at Mayo Clinic. One day I was at a grocery store where all the floral's that
morning were being thrown out because they had a few brown spots on them, I asked the manager if it were OK for me to take a few, his response was "take them all", and I did.  I then went to a local park and began handing them out to all the people who walked by me, I  loved this, everyone had a smile. I went one morning and picked up trash that had been blown into the field where our children play soccer, I bought groceries for a family I knew needed them and dropped them on their door step, I bought lifesavers took them to a cancer facility and gave them to all the cancer patients, I gave a man a ride who was hitching, when I drove up and picked him up, he said "why are you helping me, no blonde woman has ever given me a ride, usually I hop in the back of a workers truck" I was listening to  inspirational music, he asked me if I was scared, I said "should I be? do you have a gun or knife?" he said 'no' then I said "then you should be scared" and we both laughed BTW MY FAMILY WAS NOT HAPPY ABOUT THIS ONE. I don't regret it.  Giving a smile to an unhappy person, telling someone  you love their blouse or outfit, does world of good and does not cost a thing. I remember a guy who was in chemo every time I was there, he looked so sad one week I brought him a bag of kisses, with a note, the smile on his face was priceless and we remained friends through email until one week he was not there anymore.....I cried the whole way home, but realized he is happy now, he won his battle--he gets to  continue his journey in happiness just not from earth.  I choose everyday to see happiness in others, I've found since doing this I get the rewards of contentment, no regrets, and simple joy. If you want to make the world a better place join the live happy movement today it's free to sign up and you will not believe the map you can follow of you paying forward, and then them paying forward it's global and I love it.  http://Monya.mylivehappy.com/happy-reach  go to this link and start today, it's free and so fun, when you get to the website click on join now from my website, so we can keep a count on the map of how many people we have reached.