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Once Too Often

About the Song

Words: Sally DeFord
Music: Sally DeFord and James Loynes

Here’s a rarity for this website: a love song. This one has a short story behind it that taught me a much-needed lesson. It begins like every good story should: Once upon a time…

…there was a beautiful young woman in high-school. One night she came home from a date to find her dad and I playing Scrabble (yep… we’re exciting like that). I watched her walk in; I watched her as she foraged for a snack in the fridge; I watched her and watched her and I thought to myself, “She is just sooo beautiful and graceful and amazing and…”

And I said… *nothing.*

The next day is when I realized I had something to learn. She assures me she didn’t do it, but when I sat down at my computer, her online journal was open in my browser screen. Being the considerate mother that I am, I started reading. (Hey, if it’s on my screen, it’s fair game.) This was her take on what I was thinking:

“Tonight when I came home, my mother just stared at me like I was some sort of freak…” And it went on from there.

Needless to say, I was appalled. The contrast between what I was thinking and what she thought I was thinking couldn’t have been greater, and it was my own stupid fault for not just putting it in words.

Lesson learned: when you leave the good things you think unspoken, the silence tells big, fat lies–especially to our young people who are constantly bombarded with negative messages throughout their already-insecure teenage lives. When we see the good in others, we need to tell them, right out loud, in words. Our kids… our spouses… our parents… not one of them is a mind reader.

So this is a love song for my daughter. Maybe it’s a love song for yours… or your spouse.. or your parents. Maybe it’s one we should sing every day of our lives, because when it comes to telling our loved-ones about the beautiful things we see in them, there’s no such thing as “once too often.”


The sax on the track is by the amazing Ryan Janus.  It’s improv… no score… sorry.

Sheet Music Downloads


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Spotify, Soundcloud (inc. free downloads)

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Recording featuring vocals by James Loynes:

Accompaniment track:


If I tell you once too often that you’re beautiful
If I tell you you’re my every wish come true
It’s just because I wonder,
Do you really know what I see in you
When I look at you?

If I tell you once too often that you’re beautiful
And the only perfect dream I ever knew
It’s just that when I’m counting my blessings
I begin with you
And I end with you

If I tell you once too often that you’re beautiful
Will you pardon me for all the times I tried
When I couldn’t say the words my heart was singing
And the silence grew
And the silence lied

The days and years will gather up behind us
All our dreams may turn to dust and be forgotten
But I want you to remember that you’re beautiful
So forgive me if I tell you
Once too often

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    This is the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard. It speaks my heart! Thank you for all of your wonderful music!
    I sent this to the most wonderful person I know. She has the voice of an angel. We regularly take one of your songs and perform it at church. I rearrange a cello, flute or viola part for trumpet and the results are beautiful! Believe it or not, the trumpet can play a quiet harmony that most people do not associate with it.
    We are currently working on Miracles and Whole Again. We recently did Because You Prayed For Me. Such a beautiful message you have. “Our Little Trio” is my greatest joy! Thank you for putting into song what I have in my heart!

  2. Cyndi Spaulding

    What an Unbelievably Beautiful song.
    Thank you for this… <3
    Daughter's need to hear this more often.

  3. Don-Juan Pedro

    wow thanx Sally for this nice piece of music. this what I want to sing to my wife one day.

  4. Angela

    Oh Sally, This is beautiful. I was a teenage daughter once and now I have one of my own. We can’t tell them too often can we?

    • Sally DeFord

      No, we certainly can’t. Thanks Angela. 🙂


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