Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dr Ethan's Cliff

Cliff jumping terrifies most people.

But not everyone.

Truth is, when Dr. Ethan Larson jumped off his professional cliff, he wasn’t the slightest bit nervous. Instead, he put his wife Dolly and their two youngest children on a commercial flight, waved off the moving truck and headed their mini-van west—across the American Frontier. It was hardly a covered wagon. But, accompanied by his two oldest kids, Ethan headed out. A cross-country car trip would make most dads a little nervous. Taking an associate position in a new community would give some professionals a stomach disorder. Leaving friends and colleagues for the great unknown would cause many to grieve.

But not Ethan.

Ethan was so certain of his future, so happy to leave behind the academic rigors of post-graduate life behind that he called his wife from the state line.

“I’m gone,” he said.

It wasn’t that Ethan hated school; he didn’t. He’d been widely recognized for his outstanding contribution at the University of Alabama dental school. He’d garnered academic honors and awards for his professional skills. In fact, he’d even designed and manufactured a new orthodontic appliance used in the Ortho program there.

They called it the Larson Aligner.

“I was so excited about the next step. I knew that coming to Puyallup was what I wanted to do. Dr. Sutherland’s practice was exactly the kind of orthodontic practice I wanted to be a part of. I couldn’t wait to get started.”

With a bag full of “trip toys,” a one day layover with friends, and the kind of determination that makes men forget to stop for gas, Ethan and the kids made it to Washington in only five days. In April of 2012, Ethan will celebrate his first full year at Smiles by Sutherland. These days, Ethan and Dolly can find their way around Pierce County without a GPS. They’ve found a church home and are starting to make new friends. They look forward to putting down roots, and fully embracing their new community.

For Ethan and Dolly, there will be plenty of new cliffs to jump. New adventures. New challenges. Ethan will be a lucky man if all of these are as easy and exciting as the decision to join Dr. Sutherland and the Smiles by Sutherland team, here in Puyallup, WA.

By Bette Nordberg


  1. This story is a true statement of faith- faith that we all should strive for in all areas of our lives. Thank you for the inspiring story!

  2. MDailey, so right on! Those moments of "stepping out" don't always terrify us, do they? Sometimes, they just feel so absolutely right that we have this surprising boldness. Confidence. I guess the lesson is that we can't use the "emotion" to determine if we are or are not following God's will. Yes? Emotions can be deceiving!