I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth.-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Mona's Musings

February 12th, 2010

Love Makes the World Go Round

Major changes always come with premonitions…for me. I knew two years ago I would be living on another continent, that I would be carried away, however impossible at the time. It came while reading Abraham:

“I have come to take thee…into a strange land…which thou knowest not of…”

Every so often the vision haunted me, but since — every so often — things turn out splendidly, I let the future, which was just a wisp anyway, take care of itself.

Today is the future and the wisp is whipping into a wind; the kind that turns your umbrella inside-out and scatters your papers across the street: the bluster that shoves you down the sidewalk and makes you spin into people who look at you like, hel-lo, where did you come from?

My Beloved is taking me to Europe. To live. By corporate assignment, we will begin a little life in a London flat this spring. One summer, one fall, and one winter from now, life will be bigger; too big for me to comprehend. I have to suppress the enormity of it, to reduce the world to a plastic globe (which I twirl every night while sitting in bed, using my index finger to trace the forty-fifth parallel: how does London connect to Moscow, to Madrid, to Johannesburg, to home?)

I soaked in the drama of it all one night, sitting in the tub no less, weeping on the phone to my friend: this change is so much…too much. She absorbed my fear like a soft towel, wrung it out, and then wrote me:

“I can’t help but think how glorious it will be for you to be WITH Dale when the time comes – the two of you have always been the epitome of soul mates and while I know you are each so powerful… as individuals with works to focus on, there is the WE-ness of “Dale and Mona” that is honestly so very unique in this world, and it just doesn’t seem right for you not to be together, I think how it will be for you – oh – like a long drink of cool water after a desert sojourn! You will never tire of it, it will never become mundane – if ever it may have, after all these years so often apart, it will never cease to feel the most tremendous blessing – little moments when you are traveling together on a train or something, getting ready for the day, sitting across the table from him during a meal – just having you with him, oh how I know he will appreciate it beyond what words can describe, and vice versa.  What a gift this whole opportunity for Ashley is going to be!!!!!  So whatever pangs you may ever feel, darling, remember that.  Mother that you are, Mona Mona Mona – oh to give your-all again to just being a wife!  That part of yourself – that very best part of yourself.  I have to admit that I’ve never even tasted that at all in my life, and there is something akin to reading a marvelous romance novel – that vicarious experience you anticipate with deep emotion when the hero and heroine finally are together – you must do this Mona – for yourselves and the world that pines for unrequited love.  I am serious.  And then write about it.”

Decades ago, he promised me a “beautiful life”; his prophecy, put together one day at a time – ten thousand mornings spun down into ten thousand nights. Here is another day in our story; an intimate revolution…on our plastic globe.

Muse with me: He just asked me if I want to go with him to Estonia in June. Where is that?

Hint of Romance

“Love, like a river, will cut a new path whenever it meets an obstacle.” Crystal Middlemas

What did you think of this musing?

Join the discussion!


  1. Olivia says:

    London! Estonia! The world is yours, Mona. Grasp it and give thanks. Music will fill your heart and love will be in the air! Just think how it will be to feel like you have stepped into a Jane Austin novel every time someone greats you with a ‘Hallo’ I think I would have to giggle every time and then pinch myself.
    World travel is difficult and leaving home is an adventure until you actually find yourself in a foreign country and wonder how on earth you ever got there. But let it be another chapter in your book of life that you cherish.

  2. Rob says:

    What an exciting journey! You see, I’ve never wanted to journey to other lands because I love being with my family, but what a fun opportunity to go to other lands WITH your family. One of my most cherished memories is when Jacki and I got to journey to Israel together for a week. Of course, being in Europe now, you’ll probably have journeys throughout the continent all the time. We’ll miss you in person but we’ll love hearing about your adventures right here :)

  3. Bri Z says:


    I really enjoyed this combination of your new style and old style of writing. It has so much of YOU in it.

    I really liked all the spinning/time symbolism – the globe, the wind, time, seasons; it had my head spinning with your own excitement of all that is about to happen to you.

    I think your friend is right about the little “mundane” things. It just feels right for you and DadZ to have this. In an adult development class I transcribed, they talked about this period of life, where the two of you are together without the kids again, as an exciting and pivitol time in your relationship … Hey, there’s another spinning metaphor! You two are pillars but there’s something about being wrapped up together… something more chaotic and undefinably beautiful… just as a circle is different than a square. We are just as excited for this new season.We love you!

  4. Bonnie Holt says:

    Oh Mona I’m so thrilled for you and because you will write about it–and take us all along for the journey! Imagine—Estonia!

  5. Debbi says:

    I watched a wonderful film about Estonia – you must watch it – The Singing Revolution – I rented it from Netflix

    You will love it. How appropriate that you and Dale will go there!


  6. How thrilling! I just visited the UK a few months ago. It was my second time there and I soaked it up. But living there?! WoW! How huge is that?

    Enjoy this new adventure, and if possible, take us with you (if only in blog land!).


  7. Heidi says:

    And I thought my life was full of changes. I am envious of you, though. London. England. EUROPE! I toured Europe for a month, but never made it to the one country I wanted to see most: England. What wonderful experiences you will have. And best of all–you’ll get to be with your husband! Good luck with everything! I know you’re brightness will shine any where you go in the world.

  8. Christy says:

    So are you going to Estonia? Rich just traveled there in December. Said it was very cold and very beautiful.
    How exciting for you to travel to a new home and to meet new people. What is the rest of the family going to do while you to are living abroad?
    Will loving following you on your blog.

  9. Bob says:

    I served my mission in New Zealand and got to learn the adventure of driving on the other side of the road and learning that words that meant nothing to me were now swear words, and visa versa. I got to find out why people in commonwealth countries thought steak and kidney pie was so great, and learned that a slice of tomato in a grilled cheese sandwich is actually quite good. I also got to appreciate that my Yankee view is not the only one, and learned to appreciate how a cousin culture to my own could have a richness to it that I had never imagined.

    Now you will get to make these same kinds of wonderful discoveries. The difference that I envy is that you get to make them with your eternal sweetheart and you have someone to share the memories with forever. I have to cherish them up in my heart.

    Enjoy this chapter of your life. Never miss an opportunity to go see something new. One day you’ll be back in the states. Don’t spend years wishing you’d visited ______. Go out and do, and see, and experience! I’m really happy for you guys and the fun you are about to embark on.

  10. Sarah E. says:

    I hope in your preparations and stay that you will feel peace and joy. What a beautiful experience ahead! We will pray for you!
    Love you and looking forward to the posts from England:)

  11. iTiffanie says:

    WOW! If you ever make it over to Madrid and you’d like any fun hints..I know the place quite well. I’d love for you to see where I served my mission….. the temple is beautiful!!! I’m headed to England in May, possibly. when do you head out?

  12. Lisa says:

    What an amazing opportunity! Embrace it and enjoy it. :)

  13. Lilia says:

    Congratulations! What an exciting oportunity to live and learn having company. There is no way to compare the experience of living in a different country to just learning about it through books and movies. You will love it! Go for it! You’ll be making tons of friends and sharing your goodness and your talents with those you meet.

  14. Lindsay Dade says:

    Darling Mona, you write so beautifully … Because we’ve talked about it, I know something of how huge this is for you – but also so right. And I’m not surprised that you had a premonition of this journey because I know something of the depth of your spirituality. For you, this will be a journey in so many different ways – not just to new places and new people. And to be fearful even while you’re excited is simply to be human.

    As you know, I have a daughter who will make her future on the other side of the world. That’s hard and it hurts. But my comfort is that she’s only a day away and that she doing what she has to do – moving forward with her life, not leaving the life she had behind. Our children can be very wise and I’ve learnt so much from mine. Perhaps the most important is that love is not a function of place. Your love for those you ‘leave behind’ will not be changed by a change in where you are physically. And your love for them can only be enriched by the new experiences you are opening yourself up to. You are a deep well of love and compassion, and I suspect that so many have taken comfort and strength from that over the years. That will not change, because if it did Mona would no longer be Mona, and that’s unthinkable.

    I feel a measure of trepidation posting here because I’m not part of your church community. But I hope those in that community who care for you so much will realise from this post something of the love you and Dale will be greeted with here in the UK, and that that will be a comfort.

    Safe journey, Mona – in every sense of the words.

  15. JD says:

    Wow! I haven’t kept up with your blog- I’m barely keeping up with my studies- but this is really exciting news! Closest I got to England was Paris, but a lot of the French people speak English, with a British accent! I hope Ashley makes some friends over there. Also, bring ALL your cooking supplies, or you might find yourself re-writing/converting your delicious recipes into metric units (if you haven’t done so already). You remain in my heart wherever you are, and there are so many European souls that you can touch and share the light with, so for the next phase in your lives, I’ll leave you with a familiar phrase (said over there more than here), “carry on, carry on, carry on!”

    Cheers, JD

  16. Jill says:

    It was like reading the first chapter of a new novel and I can’t wait to read the next. I’m so excited about the adventures that are to come for you. Your writings will be become even more colorful with the different lifestyles, travels, and how you are a part of it all. The best of all, to share this with each other. Thank you for also sharing it with us. Love you…………enjoy!!!!

  17. Grant Z says:

    Mom, I’m so excited for you two. I love being reminded how the Lord takes care of each of us at different stages of our lives. We will miss you, but our excitement for you is greater!

    • mona says:

      And a few more precious email bites:

      “That is great news and we are thrilled for all of you. Enjoy Heavenly Father’s wonders. I loved my 4 years of living in Germany. keep us posted. Rick

      “I would kill to be in your shoes!! I have lived in London a few times and traveled there a few more and I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!! You will too!! Go with it! It’ll be the best ever! love ya, cathy

      “My daughter says that London is her fav big city so far and she’s been to quite a few; very clean and easy to get around and, she adds, “They speak a language I can understand!” Have fun with the round-abouts and driving on the “wrong” side of the road. It’s not too bad on the straightaway, just takes a bit of getting used to at intersections. My best wishes to both you and Dale as you begin this new chapter in your life. I have no doubt that you’ve felt the Lord’s hand in this move. May He continue to be at your side every cobblestone step of the way! Bon Voyage, Martha P.S. The train ride from downtown London to the Temple is particularly lovely in the spring during lambing season.

  18. Jodi says:

    I am just thrilled for you! What an amazing experience! I have lived overseas in Munich with my husband and daughter for a little over a year and half. It has been one the most wonderful things that we have ever done. I understand that it can be scary and hard to leave family, but some many doors will open for you and Dale. We have been able to travel all over Europe and to some other unique places, like Thailand and Egypt. It has really opened my eyes to the world. A two hour plane ride can take you almost anywhere. We have been able to get to know another culture and we are working on another language.
    What a fabulous experience this will be for the two of you! I love England and we have talked about living there at one point in our life. There is so much to take in in London and England. I have not been to Estonia yet, but I have cousin serving a mission there and she loves it. If you happen to be in Germany or around Munich you are always welcome to our little flat!
    Good luck on your many adventures!

    • mona says:

      Another lov-er-ly thought by email:

      “Just read your big news and I think it’s wonderful! A little bit of a challenge maybe but knowing you and considering that it’ll be for short periods of time, it will seem like a wonderful vacation. I’m sure your kids will come to visit while you are there and will think it’s great to go see mom and dad and tour the places with someone that “knows”. Lilia.”

  19. Dave says:

    Hi, Mona –

    Amie and Matthew have reached about the same ages that Josh and Gid were when I took them along for a business trip to Tokyo. So I’m actively watching for that chance when the younger two will get to go on an overseas trip with Dad. Amie said she’d rather see some place in Europe than Asia.

    Sometime this past week I dreamt that Stacya, Amie, Matthew, and I had just driven from the continent through the Chunnel to London. In the dream, we had shown them the sights of Switzerland, Germany and France, but now they would see that varied beauty and history of the UK. They would see Wales and the Potteries where I served my mission, the Roman walls of Chester, and the arc of English castles from Conwy to Harlech. We would hike the moors of Yorkshire, awe at the ancient circle of stones in Salisbury’s plain, and revel in the theaters of London. It was a really nice dream, to stand there perched on the edge of a grand adventure, surrounded by my family.

    I’m sure that, when it happens, our actual trip to Europe won’t be nearly that long or expansive. But if you find us knocking on your door some odd morning, don’t be too surprised.

    I’m thrilled for you all, and for the adventures that lie ahead.


    • mona says:

      A “lovely” (got to think British) comment which came my way by email:

      “Who would have thought it? The little girl who played in trees on Garrison Street is on her way to live in a foreign land. I remember when you got married and how happy I am that you are both still saying, “I choose you”. My love goes with you. But do keep blogging. Judy

    • mona says:

      Wait–there’s more…..

      “we are so excited for your new adventures! What a marvelous opportunity. Please keep writing about your experience – we’d love to follow along.
      Thanks for sharing! Lisa

      “CONGRUTULATIONS about going to England! That is so exciting!!! I can’t wait to hear all about it! Kristi

      “Congratulations! What a grand adventure this will be. To live in one of the great cities of the world, and to be able to understand the language too, will be so wonderful. Love, Sue

      • mona says:

        And this “brilliant” (VERY British) piece of information reminds me to invite ALL of you for a visit!!!!!!

        “Mona, How fortuitous that you should be going to London. So are we. Hazel and I will celebrate our 50th anniversary here June, then we are flying to London on July __. We will be staying…in Central London…Wouldn’t it be great if we could share a meal together while we all are in London? Bert and Hazel”

        Ahh. YES~! YES~! YES~!

      • mona says:

        And my favorite email comment of all:

        “Hey Mona, what does your husband do? Marquita”

        Is it too mean to say “keep reading MM to find out”……?

  20. Valerie M. says:

    What an exciting adventure!! I know that change is hard and it will not all be easy, but what a wonderful opportunity.

    My brother went on a mission to the Baltic States, which includes Estonia, although most of his mission was in Lithuania and that’s the language he learned. He absolutely loved it and wants to go back some day.

  21. Ryan says:

    Well-done! Cheerio!

    This change will soon make you an ambassador in lots of ways!
    > For the Lord (every area welcomes new people who are well-grounded in the Spirit, in the Gospel and in the ‘governance’ of the Church);
    > For your country. Get ready to hear what a delightful /funny /strange accent you have!
    > For your Husband (you will help be the social branch in his career);
    > For Life (your zest and vigor will help draw out the staid, reserved British).

    I learned from my mission not to criticize the things the locals do that appear really dumb or senseless at first. They have their reasons! Have fun discovering them!

    A word of advice: Don’t get so caught up in “fitting-in” that you forget to keep your “tourist” mind-set, always looking for the delights of new discoveries.


    • mona says:

      More email…

      “I’ll offer a suggestion for you as you prepare for your adventure. Buy a good oven thermometer and take it with you. The Brits have a non-standard scale for regulating oven temperature – at least, they did when I lived there. It is ‘gas numbers’ or something like that. That made it very difficult to bake until I had made my share of mistakes and asked around a bit on how the locals used the system. Yes, I learned to cook as a teen. So as a missionary, my companions dined well. Dave”

      “Congratulations–what an exciting adventure for your family! You and your extensive talents will be sorely missed. And I enjoy reading your blog, just another of your gifts! All my best, Lisa”

      • mona says:

        Love this one…the “unexpected” for sure!

        “hi mona, I had two guesses. A grandchild on the way or a move out of state. Didn’t expect out of the country! How exciting for you!!! What a great adventure you are on. I am trying not to be jealous :-) carol”

      • mona says:

        More SAGE advice via email:

        “Wow! What an opportunity for both of you! Remember that the gospel is an anchor in your life. And the church is certainly there in England and lots of other countries, as well. I don’t know much about the church in Estonia, I have to say. And just THINK of the great MUSIC you will be able to hear! My sister and her husband have traveled in Europe, stayed in London many times (they are going there this week to visit their new grandbaby) and they LOVE to attend plays and other productions in London! I’m sure you will make lots of new friends wherever you go. I was only in Europe for a few days, once, and recitals were everywhere. Many were free, too! I cried when I walked into cathedrals and heard the organ music. Just an everyday thing for them., I suppose. I was saying to myself, “Why did I have to grow up in northern Idaho?” Even now, I don’t check out the organ recitals in Portland often enough. Work, work! Gets in the way of what life could be. Oh well, ahead there is retirement, sometime. I guess the downer is that you will miss your grandchildren (and children), who, I assume, are going to stay in the states. Well, thanks to modern communication, you can stay in touch, do Skype, and planes DO fly back for visits. Carol”

      • mona says:

        More (via email) on cooking in the UK:

        “Be prepared for differences in UK cooking. You will find that UK units of measure don’t exactly match US units. So keep that in mind, and keep some US measuring cups hidden but handy to match your recipes from home. In US homes, we use active dry yeast almost exclusively. England has several kinds of yeast, and they behave differently. So that’s something else you’ll have to learn. When I made pizza dough the first time there, I told the fellow at the shop how much flour I was going to leaven, and he gave me the amount of yeast to match. If you like home-made muffins, take along your muffin tin. They aren’t common in the UK. If you like Mexican food, learn to make tortillas by hand and take some taco spices along.

        I will envy your ready access to Bird’s custard, custard tarts, canned curry sauces, trifle, fish & chips, Whole Orange drink, Quattro soda, haggis, chicken & mushroom pies (NOT steak pies), Yorkie bars, Yorkshire Pudding, Christmas Pudding, roast lamb with mint sauce, Doner kebabs, and hedgehog-flavoured crisps. I better stop there, before I wax REALLY nostalgic. Dave”

  22. Colleen Tolva says:

    WOW! Ramona and Dale! We are so excited and happy for you, our dear friends. We have learned so much from you and will cherish our musical moments together. You have soooooooo much to give and the Lord has work for you to do in England.
    I’m sure you will adjust quickly and make new friends in and out of church, be missionary minded, and have many new theatre adventures. Your talents are remarkable and your love profound. We love you so much and will miss you terribly. Isn’t it marvelous to know that Heavenly Father is at the helm. Thank you for being who you are – a beautiful, precious daughter of God! Fasten your seat belt and enjoy the ride! Best wishes and lots of Love, Colleen

  23. mona says:

    Thank you my friends. Your responses give me fresh courage! I love you.

  24. Wow, I am thrilled for you. I lived in London for 6 months and it was the most amazing experience of my life. I can’t wait to move back someday. Tell Dale to hire my hubby or something!! :)

  25. […] Musings shares a three-decade romance (if such a thing is possible) which has aged in the way lasting, lovely things do. In this latest chapter, new people, new views, new continents are on the horizon–we are being sent from America to live in Europe! Follow our trail if you consider yourself a romantic, or would like to be one. START. […]

  26. Amy says:

    More email…

    “I’ll offer a suggestion for you as you prepare for your adventure. Buy a good oven thermometer and take it with you. The Brits have a non-standard scale for regulating oven temperature – at least, they did when I lived there. It is ‘gas numbers’ or something like that. That made it very difficult to bake until I had made my share of mistakes and asked around a bit on how the locals used the system. Yes, I learned to cook as a teen. So as a missionary, my companions dined well. Dave”

    “Congratulations–what an exciting adventure for your family! You and your extensive talents will be sorely missed. And I enjoy reading your blog, just another of your gifts! All my best, Lisa”

  27. Wendy Scarlett says:

    You will have an amazing time in England! You will have the theatres in the West End with all the amazing musicals….The Royal Ballet…..Royal Albert Hall….History…..museums…….and you will be just a short plane hop to Paris – Rome – Athens – Barcelona – all perfect for your romantic soul!!
    Cant guarantee you will get 2 bathrooms though here in the UK but you will get to see some beautiful places if you travel around our little Island.. Carpe Diem (Seize the Day)and Carpe Amorum (Seize Love)

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