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The Dating Games

Posted on April 28, 2017 by

Dear LDS Midsingle Competitors:

You are hereby officially invited to attend this year's Dating Games being held right in your own city! These exciting events will challenge your intellect, patience, inner strength, determination, motivation, and perhaps your very sanity. But, I can promise you that if you hold true and faithful to your core values, focus on your goals and keep moving towards the finish line and exercise all the faculties within your possession that the prize at the end of this "race" is more than worth it. 

Along the way you will meet your fellow competitors on the field of play. Many of these individuals have given their best in life and found themselves here at the same station you are in; be patient with them, and remember that they are human beings who come to the table with flaws and strengths, courage and fears, love and pains. That said, we remind all competitors that cheating, unsportsmanlike conduct, and unnecessary roughness of any type will not be tolerated. Indeed, those who attend these Games merely to play for their own amusement at the expense of others will find themselves answering to the highest authority, our chief judge.

Now, that said, remember that these Games are meant to be fun and productive; don't overthink them or place all your value in their outcome. You were meant for wonderful things in this life and your participation in these events are just a piece of that journey. While we all dream of wearing those special rings, know that your day in the sun will come and that all the glory you have worked for all these years will be yours.


It was happening again. No matter how hard I tried to avoid it, change it, deter the circumstances from occurring, it was happening again. They were going to ask THAT question, the one that I had smiled and shrugged my shoulders at so often throughout my life, the same inquiry you get from friends, family members, neighbors, coworkers, teachers, the grocery store clerk, your mailman, strangers on the street and visiting aliens from outer space: "Why are you single?" Even Facebook, that beloved social network/big brother, asks our status. "Single"; thanks for pointing that out, Mark Zuckerberg.

It's a question that has no great answer. We may say, "Oh, I'm focusing on me (or my family or career or education) right now", but even those are not satisfying responses for others (plus, President Spencer W. Kimball was pretty direct about marriage-avoiding rationalizations). Others may smile and nod, yet the look in their eyes belies continued concern, as if we may actually be "menaces to society". It's as if our single-hood is a problem to be solved, a disease to be cured. In all seriousness, these loving parties usually ask because they care and want us to be happy and we should demonstrate gratitude and humility for their desires to see us blessed with love. 

Yes, we can live a happy, productive, and satisfying life as singles. And yet, not a week passes that I do not hear about midsingles' plights when it comes to dating and relationships (or think of my own). There are tears, anger, frustration, disappointment, discouragement, plenty of wisecracks, some depression and far too often a resignation to living the single life because "dating is too hard" and "I'll never get married (or re-married)." So yes, we throw ourselves into careers, educations, service projects, the kids, talents, hobbies, and so on. We tell ourselves that we are doing OK because we still attend the midsingle wards and trips, the cruises or the dances, not to mention the fantastic conferences; we like the "fun" stuff of our single-life culture, but if we were being truly honest with ourselves, they may be good activities we partake in without really wanting the potentially-there solution to our single status. As my friend who visited from out of town asked at a recent midsingles activity, "How are all the beautiful and handsome people not married? My ward has sixty people. This valley has thousands of potential dates for them to pick from." 

We enjoy our incredible friendships and the good memories we share along the way, but my friend was hinting at a hidden truth that many singles do not want to look at: we could be avoiding the level of dating that has the specific intention of finding someone to marry. We play the game without a committed desire for the game to end, like neighborhood kids playing ball on Summer's last night before school starts. 

The Greatest Gift We Can Give

Posted on December 14, 2016 by


On December 25, 1944
a long line of ragged American paratroopers of the 11th Airborne "Angels" Division made their way down a slippery jungle trail. They had been fighting non-stop since November 22 and estimates state that the Angels destroyed over 5,700 of the enemy. They were hungry, tired, and ready for rest. They had buried their dead by the trail-side, marking graves the best they could, and all were suffering from undernourishment with ulcers on their feet and legs.

They slowly, yet carefully, plodded along the trail, ready to put the demands and dangers of combat behind them. As each trooper moved forward, lost in his own thoughts, a quite whisper slowly made its way down the line.

"It's Christmas."

andrew j carricoHeaven gained another angel on October 13, 2016 at 11:04pm, Eastern Standard Time. Please consider reading his official obituary here, but first let me tell you a little about that angel, my hero, 1st Lieutenant Andrew J. Carrico III, who would have turned 99 this Halloween had God not called his servant home. 

He was not my biological grandfather, but that never mattered to him. Nor me. He was the man who taught me to swim in the ocean off the South Carolina coast. He taught me to dive off the diving board on Hilton Head Island and took us on bike rides around the gold courses when they lived there. He stole our silverware during dinner and hid it when we weren't watching. He allowed us to sit on the back screened porch during their terrific thunder storms and he used to transport the squirrels he caught to the other side of the island and let them go. He taught us how to dig for sand dollars and squirt water jets out of our hands. He taught us to watch for different birds in their kitchen and he loved his tuna sandwiches. He was kind, loving, and strong. Grandy (never Grandpa to us) was courage embodied and taught me so much about what it means to be a husband, a father, a grand father and a hero.

Grandy would never accept that term, "hero", but a hero he was, to me, to you and to the world. Like so many others during World War II he answered the call to serve, to defend liberty, to fight for what is right through the jungles of the Pacific. When I asked him how he felt on his first jump as a paratrooper, one of the United States' most elite soldiers, he said, "Scared; but you had to go." He fought the forces of Imperial Japan through the jungles of Leyte, he fought through the streets of Manila, on beaches and in the hills. He was wounded by a Japanese machine gunner and lost his ring finger and the bullet lodged in his shoulder. Grandpa was tough, brave, efficient, and a natural born leader. From everything I have studied about his military experience he was concerned for his men, calculated each mission carefully and never shrank from his duty in the line of fire. You can read more about his war experience in this article or at the bottom of this post you'll find an audio interview I did with him a few years ago. Please take a moment and listen to it in his honor. 

He had seen so much in war that during a hurricane one time on the East Coast Grandy fell asleep while everyone else in the house stayed awake terrified. Grinny woke him up and said, "Andy, if we have to go through this storm you're going to be awake with me!"

There were many times in my life when I was afraid I was facing, when I was not sure how to proceed. Times when I felt lonely or even perhaps unloved. But Grandy and Grinny (my grandma) would send a card or call. I hope this does not sound cliche, but sometimes I would ask myself what Grandy would do. I know he wasn't perfect, but he was the perfect grandfather to me. I wish I had told him that more. I wish I had called more, written more emails or letters, even done video chats which I meant to teach Grinny how to do, but just never made it happen. 

I believe that tonight he is being greeted by his comrades in arms, by all his friends from over the years, and by his family who went before him. I imagine he is receiving a hero's welcome down the streets of Heaven in a way no earthly parade could ever match. Most of all, I believe he is being embraced by our Savior, Jesus Christ, who we both have strong faith in, and by our Father in Heaven who watches over us all. 

Grandy belonged to the 11th Airborne Division, the Angels. As such, Heaven has gained another Angel to give the forces of evil as much Hell as possible. I love you, Grandy. Please watch over us and be my own personal Guardian Angel. Don't forget to polish your boots, Lieutenant. We need you to fight for us now. Until I make the "final jump" as see you again, God be with us both. 

-Jeremy

When Grandpa Reports to Heaven
by Jeremy C. Holm

There are people who believe 
that angels don't fall.
But let me tell you of one angel,
who always stood tall. 

We knew him as "Grandy,"
our grandpa was he.
1st Lieutenant Andrew J. Carrico.
he was our hero, you see.

He defended the world,
from the forces of evil.
As U.S. Army paratroopers,
these angels fought like devils.

Across the Pacific, 
they fell from the skies.
They fought in streets and on beaches
and in jungles full of flies.

With two purple hearts
and two bronze stars,
he was a leader of heroes,
and commanded them far.

After the war ended,
he lived a long life.
And my beloved grandma,
he made her his wife.

He taught me to swim,
and dive in the pool.
He called every birthday,
Grandpa was amazingly cool.

He always stood firm,
he always stood tall.
in my eyes, then and now,
He never could fall.

No matter the storm,
Grandy never did break nor bend.
But this life is fleeing,
and we all know it will end.

Ninety-nine years, 
on this beautiful earth!
Now his spirit's in Heaven,
and rest his eternal berth.

He's reported to St. Peter, Sir,
his former comrades saluted and embraced.
And in God's loving care,
there's a smile on the Lord's face.

A hero's welcome he was given,
a crown of glory he has earned.
his spirit is with us always,
our hearts within us burn.

Heaven gained another angel,
a warrior of truth and light.
And now in his God's service,
for each of us he'll fight.

He's taken his final jump,
on the final flight he can be seen.
And while we say goodbye to grandpa,
he enjoys Heaven's canteen!

So throw one back for me, Grandy,
although I do not drink.
Until I die, a day won't go by,
that of you I do not think.

 

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