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

March 30th, 2010

My Cup Runneth Over

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“It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another…” ~ Thorton Wilder’s “Our Town”

I looked over at him in the driver’s seat. The angle of the sun back-lit his profile, making the white of his beard and the silver of his hair shine. His eyes were on the road of course, but his vision was of a full orchestra fanned out before him. With a slight hand on the wheel, he kept us moving in the right direction. With the other, he conducted his musicians.

“What is this? I love it.”

“The greatest piano concerto ever written.“ He paused for the accentuated downbeat he knew was coming…

Every feature of his face was enraptured, animated. He was so masculine, so beautiful…never so beautiful as in that moment. I marveled how age becomes him.

We met when I was eighteen. The troupe of players that we performed with in the summer of 1977 traversed Yellowstone in a big, old van, and the suave, skinny kid from Houston was always at the wheel. How he earned this designation above all the other boys, I never knew…I assumed it was the same way he got cast as the leading man in both musicals: just something about Dale…

So…because the van was made for fifteen and there were sixteen of us, I procured the engine case which protruded between the two front seats: Mona’s Spot.

“Sometimes in the evening, when you do not see, I study the small things, you do constantly, I memorize moments, that I’m fondest of..my cup runneth over with love…”

Time has done its ‘wonderful work’ since then of course–but he is enriched by it, all the more delicious, all the more appetizing. On the lovely rare evening when he falls asleep before I do, I can’t help tracing his cheeks, his nose, and his lips with a feather touch. I stroke his forehead and finger his hair. And in the middle of the night, when he rolls over and I get a full view of his face, his precious wrinkles accentuated by the pressure of the pillow, I can hardly refrain from waking him with kisses.

“In only a moment, we both will be old…We won’t even notice the world turning old…And so, in these moments, with sunlight above, my cup runneth over with love…with love…with love.”

My cup runneth over for the callow boy who has mellowed and ripened; a cup that magically refills itself with nectar that is old and new, familiar and fresh, experienced and innocent. He is mine…and more beautiful than the day we met.

(“My Cup Runneth Over” from “I Do, I Do”, vocal and harp performed by Pamela Bruner)


Related recommendation: Watch RKO’s The Enchanted Cottage” (1945). A scarred veteran (Robert Young) and a homely woman (Dorothy McGuire) are transformed by love. It’s all about how love makes a couple beautiful to each other: one of the most romantic films ever made.


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Hint of Romance

We all know beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Chose to “behold”.

What did you think of this musing?

Join the discussion!


  1. Hannah says:

    My cup is running over with how beautiful this is! I cannot help but weep at the feelings this creates. I am literally without words. The word “beautiful” just isn’t enough. I keep listening to this over and over! Our world is so filled with not only breaking families and dis-satisfaction in relationships, but also the wrong kind of love. You have captured the real meaning of “true love” better than I have ever seen or heard. When we can let go of the negativity,let go of the “bad,” and only see the good and the beautiful, THEN we will experience “true love.”

  2. Laura says:

    Oh Mona, that was beautiful. You remind me of the important and good things I have. And I LOVE your podcasts. They are so well done. Thank you!

    • mona says:

      Laura: We ALL need that kind of reminder and writing these posts reminds myself! I highly recommend writing out a description of your husband — in your journal perhaps — just for yourself!

  3. 11 years ago this month, two crazy kids who barely knew each other ran off and got married. We had met only 3 months before, but we knew we were in love- so why wait?

    Last night, as I was sitting in the audience watching my husband’s short scene in Annie, I was taken away by how much I love him. I felt so proud to see him up there, and when he began singing, my heart melted. I was thinking about how crazy we were back then, how I thought I couldn’t possibly love anybody more than I loved him at that point in time. Well, the love and adoration that I hold for him now, after eleven years of growing together, would have been impossible for me to comprehend back then. And I am sure that 11 years from now, it will be even greater.

    Love this podcast!

    • mona says:

      Carrie: I remember that disappearing act you two pulled! And it did seem crazy at the time. However, I have never felt worthy to judge others’ romantic starts, since we were so young ourselves — NO ONE thought it would work. Well, it worked — or rather — WE worked and THEN it worked. I know you know what I mean….

  4. Leah Jorgensen says:

    Mona, your writings are so beautiful… but your podcasts are even more so! I love the life & emotion & music shared. Thank you for these special messages! :)

    • mona says:

      Leah: You are a wonderful example of a young marriage off on the right foot — I love how you are such a devoted wife and mommy. Stay in love!

  5. Rebecca Webb says:

    Interesting. . .

    Right now I’m pregnant and sick. When normally I’d be running a hundred miles an hour I’m instead suddenly forced to lay back on the couch and let my husband take over most of the time. It’s funny. I’ve been able to watch him so much more–how he takes care of me, how he takes care of the kids. Never complaining. And me? I’m too tired to even nag or point out the things he missed or may be doing in a different way than I would do it. While I’m feeling yuckier than ever, I’m feeling more and more love for this man–he, is MINE! I hope I can remember . . .

  6. Debbi says:

    I can picture every part of this, both due to your clear description, and to the fact that I have been there to watch from the very beginning. It is a special treat to hear your most unique and powerful gift put into words with music – which is . . . you see as a poet – you always have, now you are finding a voice for that gift.

    You have always seen past the mundane and obvious details – especially when you look at others, and probably most of all when you look at Dale. While the rest of the world is plagued with the mortal tendency to experience only with the five physical senses all manner of distracting and largely irrelevant particulars, you see the eternal nature and beauty in those around you, and I believe it is because you both see it and respond to it – you magnify it and reflect it back to the people who know you, so that we begin to see it and feel it too – and oh how we thrive on this rare view of ourselves that you provide. Which is why Dale and I, who are really so much alike, treasure you so.

    You have provided him with the perfect soil to grow into his potential, which you alone could see – beyond his mere 19 year old charm and delightful stage presence – his wit and his naughtiness (which is probably more the reason he was put in charge of the van – our wise leader figured Dale would be more likely to stay out of trouble if he had the entire cast depending on him all the time, and, perhaps he also had your gift for seeing the potential in others).

    Maybe, dearest friend, what is really happening is the veil is thinner for you – you see us as you knew us before – for eternities before – and therefore know who we really are, even when we hardly know it ourselves. Maybe you recognize our eternal parents in your spirit siblings as well. Maybe that is the gift of the poet, and what delights you as you observe us growing up to become more like them. And also, what breaks your heart as you see some of us straying so far from what we are meant to be.

    In your spot on the van console, only you could see Dale’s face – and I could see you. I really did not see what you saw, but eventually, I had to admit that you saw something that was just as real as what my eyes saw, and so I became an advocate of your vision. Your very nurturing has created a reality out of your 18 year old vision . . . with beautiful eternal consequences.

    All the world pines for a mirror like you Ramona. By sharing your poetry, maybe you can help us all bring out our own ability to see through eternal eyes and love and nurture the potential in our own most important relationships. Spread the vision, spread the nurturing.

    Your witness and friend,

    • mona says:

      Debbie: YOU are the one with the gift my friend! Farrrrr more than I! I love all you say – hearing your perspective – although I would rather this discussion not center on ME! (The portions about Dale are, of course, allowed.) Thank you for seeing more in me than I see in myself! Who’s the mirror truly?

  7. Valerie M. says:

    That is so very sweet!

    I’ve never heard of that movie. I’ll have to look for it some time.

  8. I like the sense of youthful love here as much as the simple appreciation of a spouse. My wife and I are 22 years married and we are mellowing in, as it were, and recognizing a sort of deep ballast that comes with having traversed a lot of difficulties together. I think your approach is a tasteful and respectful one while at the same time being a passionate one. A hard blend, and one that should be healthful for Mormons (among others). As a bishop, I struggle a lot with struggling marriages, and sometimes I think we’d solve a lot of problems by talking more publicly about our spouses — at least in the passionate and positive way that do here. I like the spouse appreciation genre. My wife has done some spouse tribute posts (http://kazzysponderings.blogspot.com/search/label/husband), and I’ve been reciprocating in my own way on my poetry blog (http://opensourcesonnets.blogspot.com/search/label/uxorious%20sonnets). I think it’s a healthy genre.

  9. Kara says:

    Thank you for the touch of insight that radiates with love and gentleness. Age if viewed with love is truely beautiful! We spend too much time in early marriage worrying about which way the toilet paper roll is hanging and other such non-sense. And as we grow in wisdom and Love we learn that our spouse is really trying to be better just as we are. So our petty disagreements do nothing to grow our affections and understanding. Our love and affections grown when we practice serving and viewing our spouse with eternal eyes. I know it because we’ve done it. Thank you Mona for your time and thoughtful words and music. My eyes are moist with appreciation.

    • mona says:

      Kara: You read so much into this simple little piece…which is so true and so wise. All good things take time and maturation — ESPECIALLY marriage. You HAVE done it my friend.

  10. Lisa says:

    Mona, this is so lovely. I truley enjoyed it!

  11. Sue Simper says:

    Mona – this is brilliant! It is fun to see you and Dale take care of and admire each other.
    Before I finally found Evan, I just imagined it must be the most amazing thing to HAVE someone that would be “mine” to nurture, love, and hug whenever I wanted! Time definitely adds to the depth of admiration, too. Your thoughts have made me think about the all the ways my man is just so cool!!

    • mona says:

      Sue: I remember feelings euphoric when I fully realized what you are talking about: someone to hug and nurture whenever I wanted (and sometimes when I didn’t want to – part of the contract) :) And your choice of the word “adoration” is beautiful – that IS what men crave: admiration, adoration. They will do just about anything for the woman who treats them with both.

  12. Sara Lyn says:

    I LOVE how you put your “hint.” “We all know beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Choose to ‘behold.'” That says it so perfectly. When Morgan and I got married, we got a lot of great advice. (Actually, I’d been receiving advice for years and he had been watching and learning for years, too.) One great piece of advice I got was to always speak highly of my spouse to others. (With the obvious exception of if he was abusing me.) I have tried to do this, not that it’s very hard in my case, and hope that no one has ever heard me speak of him in a way they perceived to be negative. I have found that this makes all the difference in the way I “behold” him. When I speak positively of him, I see all the beautiful and wonderful parts of him. When I speak positively of him, it’s hard to see anything but positives about him. I often tell him the things I love about him, put notes in his pocket to find later or whatever. He tells me the things he appreciates about me. It’s hard to be mad at a person who’s always telling you how wonderful you are! I identified so well with this post, albeit I’m seeing less age in his face. :) So many times I have watched him enjoy something. So many times I have watched him sleep. So many times I have watched him doing something he does well. In those moments, I enjoy feelings of adoration. And those feelings of adoration seep into our other interactions. People often say we need to put work into marriage and I’ve found when I do, I am blessed to find that that “work” becomes a joy to do.

    • mona says:

      Sara Lyn: I hope I was one of those who “advised” you about only speaking positively to others about your spouse. Thankfully, I learned that early in marriage and it is the glue that makes our secret club OUR secret club. No one else has the keys. Good girl and lucky man.

  13. Bob says:

    There’s not much I could add to the discussion of how wonderful and timely your essay is. I told you privately how they touched me.

    As a former broadcaster and sometimes audio engineer let me tell you here what a terrific job you did with this podcast. Your music selections were wonderful, your transitions between cuts was seamless and helped the listener stay focused on your words, and your balance between voice and background was always just right. This piece gets an ‘A’ for audio engineering. Your vocal interpretation (made easier since you know what the author meant, of course) was full of energy and drew me in to the piece with an eager excitement. This is the type of audio performance I expect to hear on some FM radio station’s “Sounds of Sunday” program that focuses on heart and home.

    Terrific job, my dear friend!

    • mona says:

      Bob: Your praises for my technical prowess mean more than excitement over content right now since it is a whole new world for me to push the buttons and I have thought myself inept compared to IT pros like you. It is SO fun! THANK YOU THANK YOU.

  14. Grant Z says:

    Wow Mommy! You almost made me cry thinking of your love for dad. You know, though, I can tell it’s not just about that. It’s about choosing to love someone with all your heart through anything, especially growing older. There is so much to love in a spouse that we should never let anything, like age, effect the love we have for them!

    Once again, the podcast was soooo good! Brought out the emotion so well. Thank you!

    • mona says:

      Grant: Oh sweetheart! You are so right about age — I wish I could better convey my conviction that age is sweetness and should not be dreaded or feared or covered up. There are drawbacks physically, but even that offers opportunity to let others grow in service – as spouses, we can offer compassion in a way no one else can. Age is truly a crown that is earned and should be gloried in.

  15. Bri Z says:

    In the first year of marriage in our first ward as a married couple on a certain Sunday, a very sweet gentlemen stopped where we were sitting and teased “All right you two, no kanoodling in the pews.” In all honesty, I couldn’t think of a better place to kanoodle (definition: Grant’s arm around me, my head on his shoulder, looking at each other, and sparkling; not exactly PDA here.) I hope it is always apparent to others how much we love and respect one another. :) :)

  16. Rob Archibald says:

    While listening to LDS General Conference today, I couldn’t help but think that many of the comments today were about family. They were imploring all of us to more fully invest our time, energy, thoughts and prayers to this important work and joy. As Elder Ballard said: “the home is the best place to prepare our youth to be the future mothers and fathers and leaders of the church”. I see from your podcast and all of the enthusiastic replies of many of your children and friends that you’ve done a fine job over the years of role-modeling a happy marriage. You’ve clearly raised children who now are seeking to create that kind of relationship with their spouse. Keep up the great work and I look forward to many more excellent podcasts inspiring all of us to focus on the deep, lasting, joyous, sweet and ever growing love we each can enjoy in marriage.

  17. Heidi says:

    That was so sweet and beautiful. And I loved the song that you put with it. I am a huge Dorothy McGuire fan, so I’m looking forward to watching this movie. I look forward to filling my life with romance someday. For now, I’ll just learn all these great lessons from people like you with years of experiences and memories, so hopefully I may naturally be more like this when I am married!

    Though I can somewhat apply it to my current loved ones now!

    • mona says:

      Heidi: YES! You can! And how wise you are to study, if you will, and learn and prepare. I think a big part of the problem today with marriages and parenthood is that everyone assumes it comes naturally. Of course, it doesn’t. Those who succeed do not rely on chemistry, but LEARN the skills necessary to build and sustain a loving relationship. Good for you.

  18. Mona, dear Mona.
    Without the internet, my internet jaunts are few and far between. Thank you for reconnecting me with your beautiful site.
    Just before listening/reading to your post today I got an email from my mother letting me know that her divorce is final and she doesn’t want to talk about it right now.
    How sweet it was to hear your lovely voice entwined with the orchestration expressing yourself so beautifully and helping me to have a glimmer of hope in my moment of sorrow.
    I have lost my ‘model’ to follow. I suppose my ‘model’ was never that perfect to begin with. I have made a marriage out of ‘what not’s’ rather than ‘what’s’. It is sweet and good. However, sometimes it is necessary to have pattern to follow, a role model, of what you want to emulate. Thank you for being that role model for me.
    I will cherish this podcast, so beautifully spoken, so rich and so colorful. So eloquent and full of Spring and happiness. Such a contrast to the sadness and disappointment that surrounds me.
    I do thank God daily for a sweet and loving husband. And I also thank Him for my trials that have made me who I am. Thank you Mona for following your heart. For sharing it with all of us. And for loving us enough to do it all.

    • mona says:

      Olivia: Oh sweetheart! How sad for you! How heartbreaking! You are right – we ALL need role models and mentors and I am deeply grateful for those who have been mine through mine through many, many years. I will gladly be yours if you will promise to be one for others.

  19. Colleen Tolva says:

    The first time I met Danial was at a church dinner and he was a new investigator of the church. We got into a fight over the olives! I liked him immediately and we formed a mutual friendship along with my husband. My husband and I had been called to be Ward Missionaries at the time and helped teach Danial the Gospel along with the full time missionaries.
    Months later my husband left me and also the church! Having been married for seven years and having been treated respectfully for part of that time with love notes and flowers, etc. it was disappointing to have this happen; however, indeed when the Lord closes one door he opens another.
    Danial was the second person I called that Sunday when my husband left a note for me and was gone when I got home from church. The next morning the sherrif was at my door with a summons for divorce.
    Danial didn’t waste time. He had love and respect for me and after prayer and always having an ability to let go and move on I soon felt the same way toward him.
    Our courtship was very sweet. We shared our musical talents with a dying 94 year old woman and visited with her almost everyday for the three months before she died and a few weeks before our wedding.
    When I first knew Danial I felt his sweet spirit. I also knew that being legally blind he had to struggle a little harder than most with his disability; but his independent spirit, humor and talents proved to be gigantic.
    At first I wasn’t physically attracted to Danial. He wasn’t really tall, dark and handsome. One night we were walking through a beautiful neighborhood and the moon was full and the fall that year was the most beautiful one I’d seen in the Pacific Northwest since I left Wisconsin years before. The air was crisp and the leaves were dancing in the moonlight as we walked hand in hand. All of sudden I looked at him and saw through the Spirit and moonlight the most beautiful man. Danial has lovely blue eyes and that night they were glistening. My heart was filled with love for him and I knew Heavenly Father had a hand in it. It was like my first love ever. It was pure and delightful. We were in harmony one with another, not only our spirits; but in music.
    After twenty years of marriage we still have joy sharing the beauties of nature and music in all it’s glorious melodies of the ages. Our marriage isn’t always perfect. Sometimes there is discord; but everyday love is expressed and there is always freedom to develop our unique talents which seem to harmonize with each other. I thank Heavenly Father for him for he is a gift to me.

    • mona says:

      Colleen: That is such a beautiful account of your romance and such a tribute to the very principles I was trying to testify to in this post. Thank you for sharing. I love you so.

  20. marzee says:

    I love the fact that beauty is more than seeing but feeling and sensing as well. My husband is physically beautiful but that is only magnified by the tenderness we feel toward each other. The sensing comes from knowing not only him physically, but spiritually as well. Beauty is more than in the eye – it’s a full body and spiritual experience.

  21. Sharon says:

    I can’t even begin to express how beautiful this is. Listening to it makes me cry and just fills me with more love for both of you.

  22. maritza ardila- perez says:

    What a wonderful notes.You inspire me a lot , love to both of you!!!

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