Mona's Musings Mona's posts and podcasts share how to create and sustain married love: follow her romantic twist on a turn abroad... Sat, 15 Nov 2014 21:11:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A Fifth Generation Olympian Sat, 25 Aug 2012 18:03:01 +0000

“The spell survives, and just as powerfully as if the natal spot were an earthly paradise. So has it been in my case.” Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter


I was one of those teenagers who left the old home town at the first opportunity, but not because I wanted to. Opportunity called me away. I still have very deep feelings for beautiful, quirky Olympia, Washington and am glad my parents still live there. After spending last weekend at my 35th high school reunion, seeing all the old faces, I felt more in love with Olympia’s east side than ever. So here’s my little IPhone homage to the capital city on the bay, Puget Sound’s postcard.

My daughter, Hannah, is a professional genealogist who works for the Oregon Historical Society. She has created a blog about our fascinating ancestry in the Pacific Northwest, dominated by mariners:Pioneers on the Waterways of the Pacific Northwest.  As for related Musings, you will enjoy Where I Love Best: America’s Pacific Northwest about my feelings at our homecoming after 13 months in Europe, as well as this tribute to my parents including their origins and commitment to Olympia: No Place Like Home.

Wife for Life: The Power to Succeed in Marriage update: Over 65,000 words, 2 (out of 10) chapters to go. Digital publication, website, and social sites coming soon!


]]> 6 Photo Finish Sun, 29 Jul 2012 15:40:07 +0000 Finally, proof that the generation gap is a myth… (none of this was staged!)

Related Musings:

It’s Smashing Being Grandma

Let’s Hear It for the Boy

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The Emergence of Wife for Life Mon, 07 May 2012 12:58:48 +0000 While it may seem I am a little slow on the uptake here at Mona’s Musings with a Hint of Romance lately…there is GOOD reason!  Miracles and mayhem have me spinning–but  at least I’m spinning  FORWARD.

With the backing and direction of a top New York literary agent and with the support and expertise of my recently assembled “DREAM TEAM”,

my new book….


is coming together FAST and I beg you to stay closely tuned for all kinds of thrilling announcements coming very soon via Mona’s Musings on Facebook and at Twitter including BRAND NEW accounts at all three. (YES! that includes a brand new blog and website!)

In the meantime, you can spin along with us by following the Dream Team at Bri Colorful. Bri will be keeping everyone abreast of the process in the coming forth of WIFE FOR LIFE. Her first post is Old World Authorship Meets New World Collaboration and she will have another out this week introducing the DREAM TEAM.

I would also LOVE it if you would enjoy my WIFE SUPPORT series at MMB Community, which has been running for about six months. The latest…


posted just today.

Stay with me and stay in love. I’m going to need you!

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Let’s Hear it for the Boy Fri, 13 Apr 2012 00:03:34 +0000 Twenty-six years ago today, a baby boy was born.

He was worried.
Mostly about what he might be when he grew up.

A fireman?

A jockey?

Maybe a gymnast.

His Grammy thought he should be on Broadway.

For a day or two, there was golf.

And swimming in an Olympic size pool.

They even bought him an astronaut uniform.
Just in case.

The most serious consideration was a Ninja.

The least serious was a catalog model.
(Too much holding still.)

For all the fuss and nail biting though..

he already knew…
deep down…
all along…
what he wanted to be…

most of all:

to a little boy
who could be anything.


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Just the Perfect Blendship Fri, 23 Mar 2012 20:44:59 +0000

“It is because of the years invested that
friends are able to put us in touch with happy times in the past”
Dr. Wonnell Cowan & Dr. Melyn Kinder in Women Men Love, Women Men Leave


I’m so happy. Dale and I are in California for the next couple of weeks. It’s not a vacation. In fact, I’m going to be holed up working at the Residence Inn in Palo Alto while he’s working at company headquarters in Mountain View. But that doesn’t matter. The happiness comes from being both apart and together: apart in doing what we are passionate about and together in being passionate about each other.

In the old days, I couldn’t travel with Dale. Not often. But in these new days, when we’re old, I can go with him and he really likes that. I really like that. We like it so much because we are friends.

Best friends.

It’s a sad thing to think how many marriages dissolve before friendship can ripen. You have to pass through fall and winter before spring—and finally summer. And it ‘s a funny thing how many people think you can’t be friends and lovers at the same time.

Best friends make the best lovers.

After one of our easy evenings this week, after conversation bubbled and ebbed and spurted and stilled, after we edited my book to death and then solved the world’s problems by putting our brains together, I wanted so much to put our lips together.

I leaned back in my chair so that the feet came off the floor. “Hey, you know what?”

He stood up to go to the fridge. “What.”

“We’ve been friends a long time.”

He looked at me with a grin and a gleam. “Mark your calendar.”

“For what?” I let my chair settle.

“For June 13th. It will be 35 years.”

“Since what?” I slid forward.

“Since our first kiss.”

He disappeared into the fridge. I sat back to wait.

Today’s kiss would come.

Best friends are very reliable that way.


It’s friendship, friendship,
Just a perfect blendship,
When other friendships have been forgot
Ours will still be hot!


Related Musings:
The Secret of Youth
The “Fantastiks”
Forever Backwards, Forever Forwards, Forever Now

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Declaration of Intent Wed, 18 Jan 2012 17:16:39 +0000 It’s scary: going head to head with the tidal wave of forces that tear apart families, beginning with marriage. I feel a little like David against an army of Goliath’s. Anxiety dreams plague me every night, and by day, I am consumed with thoughts of what more I can do. There is no resisting it.

I have just finished studying my fourtieth book on marriage and am to the point that I’m ready to write my own book. In fact, I’ve finished the first several thousand words. It is completely different than anything I have written on romance and marriage; it is spilling out of me like magic – clear as a bell – non-stop; a whole new paradigm I have not heard or seen anywhere, plunked down, the full score, in my brain. I have, in fact, sat at the computer for three days straight without getting dressed.

When it’s over, the battle will have just begun. Though I’ve been doing some speaking already, I expect to put a lot more energy and resources into reaching wives, especially young wives, in live presentations, webinars, and conference calls. My blog will go VERY live and I’ll pump out the podcasts and newsletters. I expect it will be my personal focus and passion for the next ten to twenty years of my life–next in importance to my own relationships. And though I will be just one voice, I visualize becoming mann voices: wives supporting wives.

In the meantime, I’m withdrawing from as many of my regular activities as possible so as to concentrate on writing the book: serious musing. It’s the great wrestle of the writer to find time and space and privacy, a match  I refuse to lose this time. This is a hill that I will not retreat from, not until I can wave my book from the top! I will bring you with me, post updates on the way. (Do you know how scary it is just to say that out loud? But commitment is the name of THE game, isn’t it?  Got to commit.)

Spring is the time for new beginnings, and my new book.

Please wait.

“If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple: Know what you are doing,
love what you are doing, and believe in what you are doing.” ~ Will Rogers

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May Your Days Be Merry and Bright Sat, 24 Dec 2011 17:13:50 +0000

“Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings,
all the snow in Alaska won’t make it “white”. ~ Bing Crosby



]]> 10 Let’s Keep Sailing Fri, 16 Dec 2011 17:30:38 +0000

Lean into the wind
Let it freshen our sails
Give us strength and energy
A love so born of trial and storm
Will last all eternity.

On the best, most thrilling day of my life, I wore my mother’s wedding dress. Snowflakes cut out of plain white paper decorated the walls of the gym. Guests ate homemade sheet cake. I wore a ring bought by his father. And thank goodness someone took a Polaroid photo.

He had promised to give me “a beautiful life” and I believed him. Though he was nineteen without a rudder and I was eighteen without a paddle, we set sail anyway, thinking our waves would be ripples and our winds nothing more than breezes.

The storms came of course, and we held on with a white-knuckle grip. Shouting through the howling mayhem, our faces drenched with the salty spray of tears, ducking the wild yardarms of fate and circumstance and false expectation that threatened to toss us overboard, we managed to stay afloat by batting down the hatches.

And when the doldrums left us depressed and dangling in seas disturbingly still, we sweated it out until an invisible force swelled the sails with new purpose.

Of course, we had to work hard, if not frantically, at keeping our hull intact; sharp rock formations and icebergs hid on every latitude. We did our best to avoid them, but when our ship took on water faster than the two of us could bail it away, we dove below the surface to assess and repair the damage.

The greatest challenge I think though – when two little people try to sail around the world – is the tendency to  fight over the wheel and the compass. We overcame near mutiny time and again by taking turn at watch and remembering that every ship needs a captain and a smart, loyal mate.

So, here we are, thirty-four years later, heading into the sunset of our lives.

Your cheeks are ruddy my dear, from weathering the toughest stuff nature can throw at at man, and my hands are calloused from scrubbing the deck, but I think we are beautiful.

Let’s keep sailing.


 Happy Anniversary to Captain O my Captain!

Last year’s anniversary Musing:
Forever Backwards Forever Forward Forever Now

Photos by Mona
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Climbing Mt. Forgiveness Wed, 30 Nov 2011 21:14:39 +0000

“A good marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” – Ruth Bell Graham

If I were writing a book about marriage (and I am), the very last chapter would be on forgiveness. That’s a figurative way of saying that forgiveness is Advanced Living 500; it is the graduate school of relations. The smartest, most spiritual, most mature people on earth grapple with ascending this Mt. Everest, but like those who make it to the top say, the view is worth it.

Standing at the summit, with the crystal breeze blowing in my face, I think I can say, that, really, to be just about perfect, and therefore to have a just-about-perfect marriage, we only have to master two things: PURE LOVE (which includes a hefty amount of self-sacrifice) and FORGIVENESS (which often includes a significant measure of repentance).

At this precise moment, I am feeling mighty fine about my progress on both counts. The sky is clear, no clouds on any horizon. I feel fairly acclimated to the rarefied atmosphere. As my boots dig into the ice and the flag of truce waves triumphant, it seems my membership in the elite club of Superior Spouses is secure.


Thunder rolls out of nowhere, the earth begins to shake, the mountain opens up, and suddenly – I am in a familiar crevasse – not that far actually, from base camp (my wedding day).

I have to choose again. To ascend or not to ascend. To forgive or not to forgive. To repent or not to repent. To love or not to love.

I have to choose again. And again. And again. And again.

And so does he.

Thankfully, forgiveness is not an emotion; nothing so elusive as that. It’s a choice. And I can make a choice. So, I scrounge through my backpack of mountain-climbing paraphernalia and pull out the three tools that will get me out of here, back into the sunlight.


Accept that he’s not a monster just chomping at the bit to toss me over the edge; in fact, he’s in his own crevasse right now, dreading hypothermia as much as I am.


Put away the ice ax and screws.


This snow bridge may take time and careful testing. Important: get an early start. These slick slopes are easier to cross in the “morning” of – soon after – an incident. As the “day” (week, months, years) wears on, the mushier (more difficult) they get.

If practice makes perfect, my husband should be a world champion mountaineer by now. We both should. The rumbles and tumbles keep coming, but I think, after 34 years, all in all, we are increasingly expert at reading the weather and side-stepping falling rock; spending less energy crawling out of crevasses, and more time enjoying the summit. Thankfully, we have survived this thing called “marriage”: unquestionably the most daring undertaking in the human experience, because we refused to be buried alive by our avalanches of pride.

(Experience has taught us that if one climber falls, the whole expedition is in jeopardy.)

So, fellow adventurers: no need to fear! Though you may not always like being tied to the same rope as your partner, as long as it’s a line fixed on conquering together, anchored in forgiveness, you can avoid the hazards and minimize the risks.

And believe me – it’s all worth it. The view IS SPECTACULAR!


“Acceptance of what has happened in the past is the best way to change the future. You cannot change the fact that it happened. Why not accept that it did—face reality—and go from there?Joe Beam, Becoming One

(*For more on the three steps of forgiveness see the book and author cited above: 2010, p. 119, Simon & Schuster, Inc., Kindle Edition)

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Tripping the Light Fantastic: Flexibility and Intimacy Thu, 17 Nov 2011 20:42:39 +0000

“The question is, is it really working? Husbands and wives are often comfortable strangers rather than courageous intimates.” Dr. Juliana Slattery, Finding the Hero in Your Husband


My husband and I met during the disco-ball seventies. Fun meant a Friday night dancing non-stop with the BeeGees. We married and the eighties came along. Though we could still point an index finger and jut out a knee at precisely the same moment, the swing became more our style. It took a little more teamwork than Travolta madness, but we mastered it. Clear the dance floor – here come the Z’s.

That dance served us for years, but when the stake offered ballroom classes – why not? We can dance, right? Woah! Waltzin’ and fox-trottin’ were harder than we thought. Making our feet conform to foreign patterns took concentration. It was tempting to revert to our good ole’ swing, but we hung in there and eventually added a few new moves to our Fred and Ginger repertoire.

Only recently, as I’ve been musing about what elevates marriage to the level of true intimacy (“the ‘very within’ place of the relationship…looking beneath the surfaces”, as author Thomas Moore puts it), have I realized how critical it is to be a GOOD DANCER.

We all admire trained dancers — men and women: the way they flow, the way they flex, the way they give and take almost effortlessly. Watching two ballet dancers, or two ballroom dancers, or even pair skaters, move gracefully apart and then together is thrilling: she’s in the air, then he’s in the air; she’s twirling while he’s circling, harmonizing perfectly his strength and action against her beautiful posturing.

A man and a woman combining all their balance and energy into an exquisite dance is a lot like a world-class (or rather, celestial-class) marriage. Both dancers know how to lead and both know how to follow. They are comfortable taking turns in the spotlight; sometimes spinning alone, sometimes spiraling so close, they become one. With fluidity, they meet needs and express needs.

The secret, as my honey and I learned with every new cha-cha-cha, is staying flexible. Rigidity in your relationship or personalities can keep a marriage earth-bound; the partners find it difficult to experience heavenly intimacy: the kind of connection that allows a man to feel so brave, he can lift and lean and leap knowing his wife will be absolutely on her mark; the kind of belonging that allows a woman to trust her husband so fully, he can hold her above his head with one hand.

The question is: is it time you two learned a new dance? Has the music changed so that your current two-step is out-of-step with the new circumstances in your lives? Sure it takes two to Tango, and sure it will require stretching — you may even bruise each other’s toes to start — but the mindset required to learn a new dance is the same one required to achieve real emotional intimacy in marriage…

vulnerability and forgiveness.

Why not give it a whirl?

“A major part of soul-work involves just getting out of the way so that life can go on. We may hang on fiercely to our own interpretations and programs, as if we knew best what we should do, but care of the soul is more a process of listening and following…

It recognizes that we all have old stories, guiding voices, raw emotions, and unfathomable natures that make our lives ultimately inexplicable and rich beyond imagining.”
Thomas Moore, Soul Mates: Honoring the Mysteries of Love and Relationship


*In addition to Musings here and on Mona’s Musings on Facebook, check in at MMB each week (posts Monday) through the rest of the year for new and more specific/practical Mona’s Musings about understanding men and marital intimacy!

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