The title of our blog has reference to the location of our first home together, here in southeastern Idaho on a little ranch in Sugar City,"where only sweet things grow".

Friday, October 22, 2010

A White Smile Wearing Royal Blue

Just before training began at work this week, my co-worker arrived wearing a royal blue t-shirt. Immediately following my realizing she was wearing a vibrant royal blue shirt, my attention was then drawn to the exceeding whiteness of her smile.
“Wearing blue makes your teeth look whiter!”
 I realized then that my family system must be symbolized by a healthy, white smile, wearing royal blue.
The assignment for my Family Relations mid-term paper was to describe the Hodgkin system using a metaphor. The morning after having learned that blue accentuates your smile the light bulb moment struck me. I was in the middle of brushing my teeth when the ideas came flowing in. At the beginning, writing this analogy quickly became frustrating. As I pushed through my inability to put in words what I felt while maintaining my own dental hygiene, I was fortunate to establish some really fun, yet realistic, correlations.

A real smile can cause another to feel joy and smile back. Another variable of a healthy smile is the presence of all our teeth, thus allowing us to consume the food that keeps us alive.  Those who’ve raised children understand how difficult it can be to persuade your children to establish a good habit of brushing well. When I’ve watched my nieces or my cousins little children brush, they apply the paste to the brush, wet the bristles under running water, knocking the paste off and into the drain, and then they quickly scrape the little teeth just in the front, spit, and on a good day they might brush their tongue at the end. The reason I mention the challenge of motivating oneself to go to the washroom and brush, and do a good job of it, is this; parents will be most successful and happy when they intentionally lead out in the rearing of their family. This is something new that I have learned in my study of marriage and family. Families are going through the motions when rearing young lives. Fathers and mothers succumb to this complacent parenting style because they are exhausted, stressed, ignorant, or preoccupied.   

This is what I’d like most to share here. This is my epiphany (gained at the conclusion of writing my paper):

Unlike my parents, who’s parents and siblings left mortality while they were still young, I still have both my Dad and Mom. Along with my parents all of my sisters are living and involved in my life. Like the presence of my family unit, a mouthful of healthy teeth can bring about great things. I believe my personal progress is influenced by the lives of my individual family members.

I will be more diligent in thanking the Lord for giving me a family here on earth. They are so good to me. They share their lives’ with me and this gives me a sense of belonging. Their desire to be a forever family is like the royal blue t-shirt, it gives us (the white smile) divine purpose and enhances what is good in us, as we remain unified in our discipleship.

I’m grateful for all my teeth, as I am so thankful for every member of my Hodgkin family. I love the Savior’s teachings that make us strong together. And I just may wear the color blue more often.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Preparing for Marriage

Week 5 of Family Relations we read the chapters entitled, "Getting Involved", "Falling in Love", and "Selecting a Life Partner". I would like to share the following personal experience I had on campus just last week- I feel it fitting to what I've been studying.

On my way to my last class of the day I bumped into a couple "BF" girlfriends. They cordially greeted me with a hug, and the first inquiry they made was, "how is the married life". My response was that "I'm very happy", and that I was "loving the married life". Their tag-team reply to the expression of my happiness was the accusation, "you wanted to be married so badly", which of course I lovingly accepted. 

Unfortunately, I took offense to this comment because I was taken off guard by, what I felt to be, an unkind conclusion on their behalf.  I shouldn't have been surprised given my past experiences with these two young ladies- I'm referring to their emotional maturity. Knowing that both girls are fairly frustrated on the matter of dating and marriage; having heard it from their own mouth in past one-on-one settings- where we find our peers more likely to let down their guard; I wish I would have replied as a prophet of the Book of Mormon would've, with teaching and testifying with the Spirit of the Holy Ghost as my guide.

After having pondered for a moment, this is my heart-felt reply to their accusation of my "badly wanting to get married":

I did...badly...want to find the best woman for me! By no means was I desperate to get hitched. If these two girls knew and interacted with me during my twenty-first to twenty-third years of age, I'm certain their perception of my being "desperate for marriage" probably wouldn't have been cognitively evaluated at all. 

I value my growing experiences as a young single adult. I'm grateful for my self-motivated desire to educate my mind and heart through books about navigating the path toward lasting love, and preparing for temple marriage. Discovering my preferences for an eternal best friend, companion-spouse, and mother to our children was a priceless realization! My years of "playing the field" was one heck of a journey, frustrating at times, yet heartbreaking too. This season, I whole heartedly believe, is absolutely necessary for all young adults seeking to gain the attributes crucial to the union of marriage and family.

May I dedicate my blog-message to the youth who are establishing uplifting friendships and young adults who are seriously seeking out marriage, be watchful and vigilant during these days which are given to prepare for such a sacred covenant-- the bond of matrimony.  Take this time seriously! Encouraging my single brothers and sisters to be jovial and have fun in their dating pursuits doesn't feel as needful. 

God speed gentlemen. Be true!