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ISSUE 3 JULY 2011

The state house that Huey Long built Our visit to Louisiana’s capitol


ISSUE 3 JULY 2011

table of contents 4

17

OPENING THOUGHTS

2

The roller coaster of life

3

January–June 2011

4

Dustin | Development Initiatives, Inc.

6

The Louisiana State Capitol

By Dustin | Life over the past three months has been full of ups and downs.

WHERE WE WORK

A VISIT TO

By Dustin | The home of Louisiana’s governor and legislature is one of the best examples of art deco in the world.

By Lynne Ticknor | Dustin was interviewed for a piece in Washington Parent, June 2011.

On the cover Front: Susan and Fiona at the Louisiana State Capitol, 19 April 2011. Back: These photos accompanied “Fiona discovers her love for water” (page 19) when Susan e-mailed it to family members on 27 June 2011. These photos were taken (clockwise from top left) 28 May 2011, 17 June 2011, and 30 May 2011.

FOCUS ON FIONA

Sans serif text is set in Hypatia Sans Pro. Serif text is set in Adobe Text Pro.

By Fiona | Fiona loves water in all its forms.

The motif color used in this issue is C=20, M=0, Y=100, K=0

FIONA UPDATES BY SUSAN

This issue was designed on a HewlettPackard G62-340US laptop, with 3 GB of RAM, a 320 GB hard drive, and an AMD Athlon II P340 dual-core processor with a speed of 2.2 GHz. The software used includes InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator in Adobe Creative Suite 5, as well as Microsoft Word 2010. The operating system was Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.

16 Splish, splash, I love takin’ a bath

17 10 May Fiona continues to be amazing 18 19 May And there are teeth! 19 27 June Fiona discovers her love for water OUR TIMES

20 United States kills Osama bin Laden 22

Our family Susan Jane Hibdon Joyce Dustin Tyler Joyce Fiona Claire Joyce

MILESTONES

14 The growth and development of new parents

16

COLOPHON

A transcript of President Barack Obama’s announcement that military special forces had killed the world’s most-wanted man. WE BELIEVE IN CHRIST

22 The house of the Lord is our home, too

By Dustin | The temple is our guide and a model of the home we should try to build. CLOSING THOUGHTS

Dialann is published quarterly, in January, April, July, and October. dialann@seoighe.net http://www.youtube.com/DialannTV Published by Seoighe 202.643.0403 | http://seoighe.net Printed by Blurb http://www.blurb.com

24 Farewell, Katie Dawn Joyce

circa 15 March 1995–22 April 2011

Did you know? At 450 feet (137 meters) and 34 stories, the Louisiana State Capitol is the tallest capitol in the United States. When it was completed in 1932, it was Louisiana’s tallest building; today it is the state’s seventh tallest. SEE PAGE 6


OPENING THOUGHTS By DUSTIN

Life over the past three months has been full of ups and downs.

A down: On 6 April 2011, Dustin was feeling a bit sick to his stomach. But he had a meeting with the management of the Parent Encouragement Program in Kensington, Maryland, which he went to anyway with Fiona in tow. On the way home, while riding the L8 Metrobus south on Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Dustin realized his stomach wouldn’t contain itself any longer. At Rosemary Street he pulled the cord, got off the bus, and had just enough frame of mind to dash around the corner, where he threw up five times. With Fiona in hand. Here’s a photo of Dustin sitting in Susan’s sister’s van in the aftermath of the fiasco.

J U LY 2 0 1 1

The roller coaster of life

F

or Susan and me, there is one big rift in our marriage. I like roller coasters. Susan does not. In the one year Susan and I had season passes for Six Flags America, I could never get her to ride Superman: Ride of Steel, a 208-foot-tall (63-meter) roller coaster with a maximum speed of 73 miles per hour (117 kilometers per hour). That is just one of several roller coasters Susan has refused to ride with me. (I guess I do have to give Susan brownie points for the times she has ridden coasters with me. And Susan has to admit that there was one roller coaster she actually enjoyed: the Big Bad Wolf at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia.) Funny thing is, I didn’t used to like roller coasters. At all. I avoided them at any cost. Even if it meant standing around all by myself while everyone I was with queued up and rode the ride. I mean, I was afraid of riding the Scooby Doo at Carowinds, which is probably the tamest roller coaster physically large enough for an adult to ride. I know: I was pretty lame. My point in mentioning all of this is to say that our lives over the past three months have felt a bit like a ride on a roller coaster. We have felt many exciting ups: happy, fun times we’ve spent together and the joy of seeing Fiona grow and learn. But we’ve also gone through a larger-thanusual number of downs—times of worry and concern as we try to figure out our future and what’s best for our family. Our trip over Susan’s spring break to the Deep South (and, on the way home, Chicago) was our first big family vacation since Fiona’s arrival. It definitely generated some memories— and plenty of photos—that we’ll cherish for a long time to come. Fiona had a blast, riding in the sleeper car on the train, going to the top of Vulcan’s pedestal in Birmingham, and being enthralled by New Orleans’s French Quarter. Spring has turned to summer, which in Washington, D.C., means high temperatures, dreadful humidity, and a breeze that, when it blows (which is rarely), feels like the exhaust from a dryer vent. But it also means long days and trips to the farm to pick strawberries, cherries, and blueberries and Sunday evenings at the drum circle in Meridian Hill Park.

It also means Susan is off on summer break. Which this year may prove to be indefinite. See, Susan’s last day at Bladensburg High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland, was Monday, 20 June. Not only did she submit her resignation, but she can no longer teach in Maryland after last school year. Her five-year Maryland teacher certification expired, and she chose not to renew. On the other hand, I started a new job as an “outreach organizer” (I’m still learning what that means) at the Transportation for America campaign here in D.C. on Monday, 2 May. In the end, it is all this with our jobs that has made the last few months feel like a roller coaster. We are both actively looking for new jobs—Susan has had a few interviews, and my current position is guaranteed only through Friday, 28 October. We don’t know what we’ll do beyond then. So, how did I get past my fear of roller coasters? It was simple: I realized I wasn’t going to get hurt on them. They are designed to thrill you—and maybe even scare you—but they aren’t designed to hurt you. That would, after all, be bad business for those who make and operate them. I realized that I could have confidence in the safety systems: the safety harness would hold me in, the cars wouldn’t come flying off the track, and the brakes would stop us at the end of the ride. I have now ridden many coasters since overcoming my fear, and these safety features have worked—and I have escaped unscathed—every time. So, how will we get through the roller coaster of life we’re riding right now? The same way: having confidence that everything will work out. I suppose that there’s no guarantee we’ll be “unscathed;” we will undoubtedly have stress and hard decisions to make, and we may even experience unemployment for a time and have to dig into our savings to get through. But that’s one of the reasons we have savings, right? One of us will ultimately find the right job, in a place where our family will be happy and have amazing opportunities to grow, learn, and have fun together. I don’t know when it will happen, but, like any roller coaster—they’re always too short—I bet it will be over before we even expected. We’ll soon pull in to the station and be on solid ground, moving forward with our lives and exhilarated by the thrill of it all. d


January–June 2011 Jan Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo

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holidays events in our lives

travel events in the Church

MILESTONES

birthdays world events

Dustin’s birthday

February 15 Dustin’s final day of work at Development Initiatives, Inc. 25–27 Family to Greensboro to visit Dustin’s Aunt Linda March 5 11

Linda Joyce Hedrick, Dustin’s aunt, passes away at age 61 Earthquake and tsunami strike northern Japan

April 2–3 12 14–22

181st Annual General Conference 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War Family to Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana; and Chicago, Illinois, for Susan’s spring break 22 Katie Dawn Joyce, Dustin’s dog, passes away at age 16 The 15th anniversary of the passing of Dustin’s grandmother, Sylvia Joyce 24 Easter 27 A tornado devastates Tuscaloosa, Alabama—through which our family had traveled just 10 days earlier on our way from Birmingham, Alabama, to Jackson, Mississippi—killing 47 residents. The tornado was part of a three-day outbreak that produced 336 confirmed tornados and killed 346 people in the Southeast 30 The United States kills al Qaeda head Osama bin Laden May 1 2 2 16 19 22

25 June 20

Amtrak’s 40th anniversary Dustin starts a new job as an outreach organizer at the Transportation for America campaign 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible The space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on its final mission Katie Couric, the first solo woman anchor of a major network’s nightly newscast, presents the CBS Evening News for the last time An EF5 tornado strikes Joplin, Missouri, killing 159 residents and causing upwards of $3 billion in damage. Thus far, 2011 has been the deadliest year for tornados in the United States since 1936, with 1,681 tornados reported and 546 deaths The final taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show airs; the show was on the air for 25 years Susan’s final day working at Bladensburg High School


WHERE WE WORK

Dustin Development Initiatives, Inc. 1620 I Street NW, 3rd floor Washington, D.C. 20006 202.861.6759 djoyce@dinitiatives.com djoyce@usmayors.org

These photos were taken 19 February 2011, the day Dustin moved out of this office. J U LY 2 0 1 1


5


A VISIT TO

THE

Louisiana State Capitol J U LY 2 0 1 1


O

B AT O N R O U G E , L O U I S I A N A

n Tuesday, 19 April 2011, during our spring-break trip to the Deep South, we took a daytrip from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s capital. The primary purpose of this excursion, of course, was to see the state capitol—the 28th in my quest to visit all 50. That evening, after our visit to the capitol, Susan and I also attended the Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple. The skyscraper form of the Louisiana capitol is a unique feature shared by only two other state houses, those of Nebraska and North Dakota. (Nebraska’s capitol was, in fact, the inspiration for Louisiana’s.) The building was conceived in 1928—the height of the Roaring Twenties just before the start of the Great Depression— during the successful gubernatorial campaign of Huey Long. The illustrious Mr. Long was one of America’s most colorful political figures. He wanted a beautiful, modern building that spoke of what Louisiana was and aspired to be—a modern, powerful, prosperous state. It’s probably also fair to say that he wanted a permanent public work that matched his own ego. Ironically, Mr. Long never occupied the governor’s office in the capitol whose construction he championed. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1931, shortly before the dedication of the capitol on 16 May 1932. In a strange twist of fate, Mr. Long was assassinated in the corridor outside the governor’s office on 10 September 1935. In the end, however, I think Mr. Long got in this building what he wanted. The Louisiana State Capitol is one of the best examples of 1920s art deco in the world, and among all the state capitols I’ve been to, it certainly ranks among the most beautiful. d

By DUSTIN

7


 The Senate chamber

 This bronze relief map of Louisiana rests in the center of the lobby’s floor. It displays the state’s major products and is encircled with the names of Louisiana’s 64 parishes. (Counties in Louisiana are called “parishes.”)

 Fiona and Dustin in the House chamber

8


ďƒŠ The House chamber

9


10

ďƒŠ Fiona on the observation deck It was really windy when we were up there. Fiona loved it.


background: Forty-nine steps lead to the capitol’s entrance. The names of the states are inscribed on the steps in the order in which they joined the Union. The top step is inscribed with e pluribus unum, flanked by Alaska and Hawai‘i, which were admitted to the Union in 1959, more than two decades after the capitol was completed.  Two views from the front of the capitol—one from the observation deck (left), the other from the front steps—show the capitol grounds and the towers of downtown Baton Rouge beyond. In the photo on the left, the Mississippi River can be seen in the upper right.

11


The lobby The flags that hang from the balcony above the elevators include those of the various nations that have ruled Louisiana throughout its history: Castile and Leon; France, with both the flag of Bourbon France and the modern French tricolor; Bourbon Spain; the United Kingdom; the Republic of West Florida; the Louisiana national flag; the third national flag of the Confederate States of America; Louisiana’s modern state flag; and the United States of America, with both a 15-star flag and the modern flag.

12

 The capitol’s dramatic front entrance


13


The growth and development of new parents By LYNNE TICKNOR Ms. Ticknor usually puts “M.A.” after her name, but we find Washingtonians’ use of such honorifics excessive, so we have excluded it here.

Susan and Dustin both think the photo on the magazine’s cover looks—how shall we put this delicately?—ridiculous.

N

ew parents are often overcome with a range of emotions—excitement, love, anxiety, fear, uncertainty. A trip to the grocery story with an infant in tow can reduce the normally confident, take-it-all-instride parent to tears, thinking that every other parent “naturally” knows how to care for a newborn. But let’s be honest—parenting comes “naturally” to very few people. So far, I haven’t met a single one. “Admittedly, both my wife and I felt a little intimidated at first,” says first-time dad Dustin

Joyce, of Washington, D.C. Joyce, an at-home dad of a 9-month-old daughter, says he was caught off guard at first but quickly learned through trial and error what works in parenthood. The nursery may be beautifully decorated, the crib assembled and the diapers stocked, but confident parenting takes more than buying the necessary supplies. Parenting with grace and courage requires practical knowledge and emotional preparedness, something most parents don’t consider before becoming pregnant. Here are a few suggestions for building your confidence. Practical knowledge Studying up. Get your hands on a comprehensive, up-to-date resource, such as Your Baby’s First Year, by the American Academy of Pediatrics or Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality, by Laura A. Jana and Jennifer Shu. You’ll turn to it repeatedly. Feeding. Whether by breast or bottle, it is generally recommended to feed on demand. When your baby gives you hunger cues (crying, making sucking noises, turning his head from side to side), go ahead and feed him. Newborns eat as often as every two hours. Burping. During feedings babies swallow air, which can lead to gas pains and fussiness. Burp your baby every time you switch breasts or after every two to three ounces from a bottle. Always support your newborn’s head and neck with one hand while patting his back with the other. Soothing. Babies cry—sometimes for no apparent reason. All babies need soothing at times, and if your baby has colic (defined by doctors as excessive crying for more than three hours a day at least three days a week for three weeks or more in an otherwise healthy baby), you’ll learn all the tricks there are to calm a fussy baby. Because every baby is different, calming techniques vary and include rocking, singing, bathing, swaddling, listening to white noise, such as the vacuum cleaner or dryer, sucking and

wp1106.indd 1

14

5/18/2011 2:20:00 PM

 This article ran on pages 42–44 of the June 2011 issue of Washington Parent, a magazine here in the D.C. area with advice and resources for parents. (This was the first—and is so far the only—article Susan and Dustin have read in this magazine.)


As opposed to the magazine’s cover, this is a really cute photo.

AGES & STAGES

N

Practical Knowledge

Feeding: Whether by breast or bottle, it is generally recommended to feed on demand. When your baby gives you hunger cues (crying, making sucking noises, turning his head from side to side), go ahead and feed him. Newborns eat as often as every two hours.

Burping: During feedings babies swallow air, which can lead to gas pains and fussiness. Burp your baby every time you switch breasts or after every two to three ounces from a bottle. Always support your newborn’s head and neck with one hand while patting his back with the other. Soothing: Babies cry—sometimes for no apparent reason. All babies need soothing at times, and if your baby has colic (deďŹ ned by doctors as excessive crying

The Growth and Development of New Parents By LLynne By ynne T yn Ticknor, ickn ic knor or,, M M.A. .A A.

for more than three hours a day at least three days a week for three weeks or more in an otherwise healthy baby), you’ll learn all the tricks there are to calm a fussy baby. Because every baby is dierent, calming techniques vary and include rocking, singing, bathing, swaddling, listening to white noise, such as the vacuum cleaner or dryer, sucking and massaging.

Taking care of yourself: This is one of your most important jobs as a new parent. You can’t properly care for a baby if you are running on empty. Rest, eat, shower and get plenty of fresh air and exercise, even if it’s just taking the baby on a stroll around the block. “Even though parenthood is mentally exhausting,� says Joyce, “I’m amazed at how much mental

Loss of connection with your partner: Many couples feel a sense of disconnect after having a baby. There never seems to be enough time to spend together and, even if the time is available, most couples ďŹ nd their energy is drained. Although arranging child care and going out might be a low priority, it’s important to nurture your relationship. Bonding over the baby is terriďŹ c. So, too, is taking time to appreciate each other and remember why you fell in love in the ďŹ rst place. Do things you both enjoy—without the baby. Your baby will beneďŹ t from your strong, close relationship.

Healthy Housekeeping Safe for Kids & Pets!

Depression: Postpartum

                               



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wp1106.indd 43

massaging. Taking care of yourself. This is one of your most important jobs as a new parent. You can’t properly care for a baby if you are running on empty. Rest, eat, shower and get plenty of fresh air and exercise, even if it’s just taking the baby on a stroll around the block. “Even though parenthood is mentally exhausting,� says Joyce, “I’m amazed at how much mental focus I do have and how much I can get done in a day.� If you find you need help, seek out support from family members, friends, neighbors, babysitters or even an experienced preteen who can act as a parent’s helper. Emotional preparedness Loss of self. Parenthood often brings on an upheaval of identity. “The vast majority of mothers with young children are overwhelmed, disappointed, stressed and suffering from adjustment issues directly related to their new roles,� says professional life coach Heather Sobieralski. When the D.C.-area mom of two became a mother, she lost herself in the process. After struggling to find her way, Sobieralski now helps other parents feel connected and energized as they begin this new stage of life. Loss of connection with your partner. Many couples feel a sense of disconnect after having a baby. There never seems to be enough time to spend together and, even if the time is available, most couples find their energy is drained. Although arranging child care and going out might be a low priority, it’s important to nurture your relationship. Bonding over the baby is terrific. So, too, is taking time to appreciate each other and remember why you fell in love in the first place. Do things you both enjoy— without the baby. Your baby will benefit from your strong, close relationship. Baby blues. Women who have recently

the American Medical Association reported that up to 10 percent of fathers may experience postpartum depression. In rare cases, a woman can develop postpartum psychosis. If you have thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby, get help immediately. Remember, competence leads to conďŹ dence. With experience and weathering a few diďŹƒculties, you’ll learn that you can handle the new challenges, and your conďŹ dence will rise. “As long as what we do comes from a loving and caring viewpoint, then we can’t mess up too badly,â€? says Joyce. Babies are resilient. They will forget your ubs and forgive your false starts. There’s no magic formula nor any one right answer to most parenting situations. Follow your (educated) instincts and, like your child, you’ll develop skills you never imagined you’d need. Lynne Ticknor, M.A., is a certified parent educator with the Parent Encouragement Program (PEP) in Kensington. PEP offers classes and workshops for parents and caregivers of children of all ages. Visit PEPparent.org or call 301-929-8824 or 703-242-8824.

     Â?Â?Â?Â?Â?  Â?­



Web Resources for First-Time Parents

             Â   

• AskBaby.com: comprehensive information on pregnancy and baby care • Babycenter.com: often referred to as a one-stop parenting site • DrGreene.com: up-to-date, accurate information on health-related topics • PEPparent.org: local parenting classes and support • Zerotothree.org: parenting children from birth to age 3, with an excellent section on behavior and development

June 2011 washingtonparent.com 43

5/18/2011 2:22:58 PM

depression, which can occur days, weeks or even months after childbirth, is an illness that requires treatment. The symptoms can include sadness and frequent crying, loss of appetite, low energy, decreased interest in pleasurable activities, feelings of irritability, anxiety or worthlessness, having little interest in the baby, and sleep disturbances. Adoptive parents also can experience depression. Post-Adoption Depression Syndrome (PADS) is just starting to be studied, and early ďŹ ndings show that as many as half of adoptive mothers are aected. Think dads are immune? A recent study published in the Journal of

CONTINUED ON PAGE 44

42 Washington Parent June 2011

wp1106.indd 42

recently given birth often go from elation and joy one minute to crying the next. Irritability, nervousness, worry, anxiety and feeling trapped are all typical symptoms that tend to dissipate shortly after delivery. Postpartum mood swings are perfectly normal, aecting 60 to 80 percent of new mothers. Baby blues also are common in adoptive parents.

Emotional Preparedness

Loss of self: Parenthood often brings on an upheaval of identity. “The vast majority of mothers with young children are overwhelmed, disappointed, stressed and suering from adjustment issues directly related to their new roles,â€? says professional life coach Heather Sobieralski. When the D.C.-area mom of two became a mother, she lost herself in the process. After struggling to ďŹ nd her way, Sobieralski now helps other parents feel connected and energized as they begin this new stage of life.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 43

Baby blues: Women who have

focus I do have and how much I can get done in a day.â€? If you ďŹ nd you need help, seek out support from family members, friends, neighbors, babysitters or even an experienced preteen who can act as a parent’s helper.

New parents are often overcome with a range of emotions—excitement, love, anxiety, fear, uncertainty. A trip to the grocery story with an infant in tow can reduce the normally conďŹ dent, take-it-all-in-stride parent to tears, thinking that every other parent “naturallyâ€? knows how to care for a newborn. But let’s be honest—parenting comes “naturallyâ€? to very few people. So far, I haven’t met a single one. “Admittedly, both my wife and I felt a little intimidated at ďŹ rst,â€? says ďŹ rst-time dad Dustin Joyce, of Washington, D.C. Joyce, an at-home dad of a 9-monthold daughter, says he was caught o guard at ďŹ rst but quickly learned through trial and error what works in parenthood. The nursery may be beautifully decorated, the crib assembled and the diapers stocked, but conďŹ dent parenting takes more than buying the necessary supplies. Parenting with grace and courage requires practical knowledge and emotional preparedness, something most parents don’t consider before becoming pregnant. Here are a few suggestions for building your conďŹ dence.

Studying up: Get your hands on a comprehensive, up-to-date resource, such as Your Baby’s First Year, by the American Academy of Pediatrics or Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality, by Laura A. Jana and Jennifer Shu. You’ll turn to it repeatedly.

The Growth and Development of New Parents WA M U .O R G

5/19/2011 3:02:30 PM

44 Washington Parent June 2011

wp1106.indd 44

given birth often go from elation and joy one minute to crying the next. Irritability, nervousness, worry, anxiety and feeling trapped are all typical symptoms that tend to dissipate shortly after delivery. Postpartum mood swings are perfectly normal, affecting 60 to 80 percent of new mothers. Baby blues also are common in adoptive parents. Depression. Postpartum depression, which can occur days, weeks or even months after childbirth, is an illness that requires treatment. The symptoms can include sadness and frequent crying, loss of appetite, low energy, decreased interest in pleasurable activities, feelings of irritability, anxiety or worthlessness, having little interest in the baby, and sleep disturbances. Adoptive parents also can experience depression. Post-Adoption Depression Syndrome (PADS) is just starting to be studied, and early findings show that as many as half of adoptive mothers are affected. Think dads are immune? A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that up to 10 percent of fathers may experience postpartum depression. In rare cases, a woman can develop postpartum psychosis. If you have thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby, get help immediately. Remember, competence leads to confidence. With experience and weathering a few difficulties, you’ll learn that you can handle the new challenges, and your confidence will rise. “As long as what we do comes from a loving and caring viewpoint, then we can’t mess up too badly,� says Joyce. Babies are resilient. They will forget your flubs and forgive your false starts. There’s no magic formula nor any one right answer to most parenting situations. Follow your (educated) instincts and, like your child, you’ll develop skills you never imagined you’d need. d

5/18/2011 2:23:03 PM

Why is this article in here? Because its author interviewed Dustin for some quotes. (Look for his name throughout the piece.) Dustin was interviewed for this article on 6 April 2011. For more on something else that happened that day, check out page 2.

Lynne Ticknor, M.A., is a certified parent educator with the Parent Encouragement Program (PEP) in Kensington, Maryland. PEP offers classes and workshops for parents and caregivers of children of all ages. Visit PEPparent. org or call 301.929.8824 or 703.242.8824. 15


FOCUS ON FIONA

Splish, splash, I love takin’ a bath

By FIONA

And it’s not just baths Fiona loves. Fountains, fire hydrants, broken water mains—you name it, if it has water, Fiona wants to get in it.

TOOTHTRACKER

UPPER

LOWER

11 May 2011

16 May 2011

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n this issue, I’ve been asked to discuss one of my favorite things: water. As far as I can tell, water comes in many forms, and I love them all. My first encounters with water were in the bath, and I found it unpleasant. Of course, you have probably seen pictures of me screaming at the top of my lungs during my very first bath in the hospital. Later, Mama and Daddy gave me baths in this little plastic tub. One of them held my head up while the other one covered me with soap and then poured water all over me. It felt very restrictive—not because of the water, but because my parents wouldn’t let me move around.    Though my initial experiences were sometimes traumatic, they quickly improved. Once Mama and Daddy started letting me get into the real bathtub, I could lie down on their knees and wiggle around almost as much as I wanted. After a few more weeks, I started kicking them in the stomach, which inspired them to allow me to take a bath by myself in the bathtub. I soon learned that I could cause splashes with my feet and, later, my hands. It was such a feeling of freedom and power to lift up my legs and slam them down into the water!    Bathtime now is even more fun, since I can roll over, crawl, and even stand up in the tub. I’ve slipped a few times, but Mama seems to have given up on trying to convince me to stay seated. Sometimes I get to take a shower, which is mostly fun, but the water sprays right in my face sometimes. I’ve gotten pretty good at closing my mouth and sputtering the water out.    My favorite kind of water is in a fountain. I’ve never met a fountain I didn’t like. The best ones are the ones I can get into or splash in, of course—like the play fountain at Columbia Heights, or the one outside the IMF building. We also saw one near the White House that is so tall that we got wet from the mist blowing towards us.    I’ve noticed water in other places, too. A few weeks ago, Mama and I were walking downtown to meet Daddy for lunch when we saw something she called a “river” in the gutter. I think that must have been some sort of figure of speech, because I’ve seen the Potomac River, and the water in the gutter was nothing like the Potomac. Anyway, we decided to follow the river upstream to see where it came from. Mama said it might be an open fire hydrant, which sounded pretty cool to me. But when we came around a corner and crossed the street, I saw all this glorious, splashy-looking water nearly spouting up out of the ground. It was perfect for playing in—right at my level! I was so excited I jumped up and down in my stroller and waved my arms. But for some reason, Mama wouldn’t let me play in it. I was so disappointed.    I’m looking forward to finding other kinds of water. We’ll be visiting the beach and Donner Lake in a few weeks, so I’m planning to play in ocean water and lake water. I would like to try sitting down in the middle of a rain puddle sometime. And, I’m told, mud is a really fun variation on water, so I’ll definitely crawl around in some of that first chance I get. d


THE PHOTOS ON THIS PAGE ACCOMPANIED THIS UPDATE WHEN SUSAN E-MAILED IT TO FAMILY MEMBERS. THE PHOTOS WERE TAKEN (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP) IN THE TULIPS AT MARRIOTT WARDMAN PARK, 2660 WOODLEY ROAD NW, WASHINGTON, D.C., 11 APRIL 2011; IN THE MARRIOTT WARDMAN PARK TULIPS, 11 APRIL 2011; OF FIONA AND HER FIRST BALLOON, 13 APRIL 2011; AND 29 MARCH 2011.

FIONA UPDATE

Fiona continues to be amazing

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ello, everyone! Fiona continues to be amazing. She is so adept at crawling around and pulling herself up. She has learned to clap and wave and play her pacifier like a trumpet. She even picks up books to look at them, rather than chew on them. The bathroom is her favorite room. She’s not allowed in there most of the time—we have to keep the door shut, because she likes to bang on the scale, climb over the scale and play with the plunger, chew on the toilet seat, knock the trash can over and pull out all the contents, unroll all the toilet paper (and tear it into teeny-tiny shreds), and open up the cabinet under the sink and remove everything. It was very impressive to see her figure out the cabinet—it’s not that easy to open when your arms are only eight inches long. She has it down now, and knows exactly where to sit so she will be able to pull it open without needing to move. That, of course, is why she’s not allowed in the bathroom unsupervised. But she knows what the bathroom door sounds like. The other day, she was lying on the dining room floor having a bottle (she can hold them herself, but only when she’s lying down), and I opened the bathroom door. A split second later, I heard her bottle hit the ground, followed by excited puppy-dog panting and the slap-slap of little hands crawling as fast as possible to see if she could get there before I shut the door. While we were on the train to Chicago a few weeks ago, she learned to “cruise,” which apparently is what it’s called when babies pull themselves up to hold onto a chair (for example), then move over to hold on to something else. She doesn’t do it very often, though. She also decided that she likes sleeping on her tummy. I thought it might have just been the rocking of the train that sort of knocked her over when she was lying on her side, but now she rolls over pretty regularly when she sleeps. On our trip, we had to rent a car to go from Birmingham to Montgomery and from

New Orleans to Baton Rouge (to see the state capitols). So that was the first time that Fiona rode in a car. She didn’t like it at all. She hadn’t been strapped into her car seat in months, and she does not like being restrained, as you might imagine. She cried and wailed, and even singing “The Eensy Weensy Spider” didn’t help. But finally, she went to sleep. That became her coping mechanism every time we drove anywhere. It worked out pretty well, since she refused to sleep in her stroller as we were exploring--she was too interested in everything to close her eyes. But we are now back to the bus and subway. On the bus a few days ago, Dustin lifted her up to the bar that people hold on to, and she grabbed on and did a pull-up. She just held on, pretty much all by herself. I think we’ll go to the playground soon so she can practice hanging on the monkey bars. At her doctor’s appointment on Wednesday, we learned that she is in perfect health (which we already knew). She is, according to their measurements, 20 pounds 10 ounces (9.36 kilograms) and 68.5 centimeters long. However, 68.5 centimeters is only about 27 inches, and she’s much taller than that, so I think she must have been wiggling too much. I measured her while she was asleep the other day, and even with her knees bent a bit, she was at least 30 inches. She’s so grown up.

By SUSAN

10 May 2011 Fiona gets banished from the bathroom, learns to “cruise,” rides in a car for the first time—and, to our relief, decides she likes the bus and subway more.

Love, Susan PS I wrote this last week and held off sending it so I could check on her measurements. A further update: she understands hats and sunglasses. A few weeks ago, Dustin put on a baseball cap, and she started crying (apparently she didn’t like it). She has now gotten over that part. Last night, she found his sunglasses on the floor and put them up by her face. Wow! So I gave her a baseball cap, and she did the same. Her arms are too short to really get it on her head, but she’s definitely got the idea.

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FIONA UPDATE

And there are teeth! By SUSAN

19 May 2011 Susan finds not just one but two teeth in Fiona’s mouth. In other news, Fiona learns how to climb stairs, clean up after herself, and find essential items in the dark.

The third big development was last night. I’ve been showing Fiona for months how to put things into containers, but she has never been interested in it herself. I put stuffed animals in a basket, and she takes them out and leaves them. Blocks in our army surplus helmet—she takes them out one by one and leaves them. But last night, I put a few small blocks into a measuring cup she was playing with. She picked one up and put it on the ground, but the next one fit too well in the cup, and she couldn’t grab it. So she picked up the cup and dumped it out—the first time she’s intentionally dumped something out! Then, adding to our astonishment and pride, she picked one of the blocks up and put it, very deliberately, back into the cup. We cheered and clapped for her, which she thought was pretty funny. What amazes me most is how she learns these things all of a sudden. She doesn’t practice and struggle with it until she gets it. It makes me think she’s waking up in the middle of the night to practice secretly. I think this might be somehow connected to her cousin’s baby assassin training camp, but Fiona hasn’t breathed a word of it to us. One last thing. This just happened a few hours ago. Fiona has this fleece—you’ve all seen it; it’s the dark green one that her cousins used to wear. Well, it’s now Fiona’s best friend (alongside her pacifier). In the wintertime, she got used to always wearing it when she went to sleep. These days, though, it’s far too warm to wear a fleece, so we just put her in pajamas and plop her in her crib. Sometimes we let her hold the fleece until she falls asleep, and then we take it away for safety. Tonight, I put her in her crib and figured she could probably do without the fleece, so I put it on the chair next to her crib. She fussed and cried for a little while after I closed the door, and I thought I might have to go in and convince her to lie back down, but she got quiet pretty quickly. About half an hour later, I went in to look at her. She had gotten up, reached through the bars, found the fleece (in the dark!), and pulled it into the crib. She was sleeping soundly with her arms around her friend. Love, Susan

THE PHOTOS ON THIS PAGE ACCOMPANIED THIS UPDATE WHEN SUSAN E-MAILED IT TO FAMILY MEMBERS. TOP PHOTO TAKEN 1 MAY 2011; BOTTOM PHOTO TAKEN 9 MAY 2011

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ig developments this week! Last Wednesday evening, I was feeding Fiona some peaches when I noticed that the spoon seemed to be hitting something hard in her mouth. She’s extremely uncooperative when it comes to mouth inspections, so I tried to poke around with the spoon for confirmation before I tried with my finger. Sure enough, there was a little tooth in there! It was barely visible on the rare occasions that she opened her mouth wide enough to see, but definitely a tooth. We’ve suspected that another one might have sprouted in the last few days, but it’s hard to tell. Last night I actually spied them both. They’re the bottom ones. The strange thing is that she never seemed to have any of the classic teething symptoms (well, she did about five months ago, but no teeth then). She hasn’t been chewing on stuff more than normal, or drooling more than normal, or been cranky. On Sunday at church, she tried out the stairs. I’ve been wondering when she would attempt them, but since we rarely have access to stairs, she doesn’t have much opportunity. We sat in the front row so she would have plenty of space to crawl around, and suddenly she spotted the steps up onto the stand, and she took off. I thought she would need a boost or some suggestions about what to do with her knees, but she climbed up three steps with no problem. Then she kept crawling to the next set, and climbed and climbed until there were no more (they all come in sets of two or three, so it wasn’t that many). Then she played around a little bit with some chairs up there, and headed back down. This time, I was certain she would need some help, since she was crawling down face-first. But, actually, she did just fine. I was there to grab her in case she slipped and did a face plant, but she put her hands down very gingerly and slithered right off. Very impressive.


FIONA UPDATE

Fiona discovers her love for water

THE PHOTOS ON THIS PAGE ACCOMPANIED THIS UPDATE WHEN SUSAN E-MAILED IT TO FAMILY MEMBERS. TOP PHOTO TAKEN 30 MAY 2011; MIDDLE PHOTO TAKEN IN SUSAN’S CLASSROOM AT BLADENSBURG HIGH SCHOOL 20 JUNE 2011; BOTTOM PHOTO TAKEN IN FREEDOM PLAZA AT PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE AND 14TH STREET NW, WASHINGTON, D.C., 18 JUNE 2011

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couple of weeks ago, we went to pick some blueberries. (By the way, blueberry bushes are lovely, and I don’t know why more people don’t plant them in their front yards.) Fiona didn’t seem to understand what we were doing, even when I gave her a berry to eat. Instead of crawling around or trying to find blueberries, she just ate the dirt. She doesn’t think anything tastes bad, as far as I can tell. Every time I turned around, she had mud all over her chin (dirt/drool combo). Fiona has learned to share—well, sort of. At the beginning of June, she was eating some Cheerios, and I opened my mouth to see if she would give me one. She just cackled. But a few days after the blueberry picking, she pulled a paper towel apart and tried to put it in Dustin’s mouth. That seemed promising, so I gave her some blueberries and pointed at my mouth, and she gave me one. Then she gave me two more. Then she was about to give me one last berry, but she took it back and ate it herself instead. Last night, I gave her some little strips of red pepper, but she didn’t want any. She took a few from me and threw them on the ground. I tried to encourage her by eating one, and she seemed to say, “Oh, yeah? Well, if you think they’re so great, YOU eat them!” She fed the rest of them to me. One thing we’ve noticed in the last few weeks is that Fiona really likes water, and what’s more, she recognizes it in many forms. We’ve taken her to a play fountain near our house a few times. Most of the kids playing there are much bigger, and many of them are pretty oblivious and would probably step on her as they dash around, so Dustin went into the fountain with her for protection. She doesn’t seem bothered by water in the least. Kids fill up cups with water and dump it on her head, and she sputters a little and then smiles. The water shoots up out of the spout just as she was starting to inspect it, and she waves her arms and squeals (or growls) approvingly. Some of the less-oblivious big kids come over to show her how it’s done. After a few minutes, she takes off and crawls right through the middle of the fountain. A few days ago, we were exploring Silver Spring (just north of D.C.). We came around a corner and discovered a fountain we had never

seen before—basically just water spilling over a long lip into a drain (although it was much nicer looking that I’m making it sound). Fiona recognized it immediately and started flapping her arms and panting. That, by the way, is how she shows that she’s excited—just like a puppy, except that she doesn’t have a tail, so she wags her arms instead. We pushed her stroller over so she could stick her hands under the water. Last night, we walked by a fountain that has water overflowing from one teacup or bucket to another, and Dustin took her out of her stroller and held her up so she could splash in one of the buckets. She was pretty wet in a few minutes, and it was time to move on, so we put her back in her stroller … and she screamed and wailed. (She is definitely getting more stubborn and learning to throw tantrums. Fortunately, for now, her tantrums usually don’t last more than about 20 seconds.) However, as great as she is at recognizing fountains, she’s not that great at recognizing nonfountains. She and I were walking downtown to meet Dustin, and we came across a huge river in the gutter. I figured a fire hydrant was open, so we followed it so that I could report it. A few blocks away, we discovered that the source was not a fire hydrant, but a manhole cover that apparently led to a water main, with the water gurgling up out of the ground. Again, Fiona waved her arms and panted. She was very disappointed when all I did was make a phone call and turn around and head back downtown. In one of these pictures, you’ll notice that it looks like Fiona is being cuddly. This is not a normal occurence. It only happens when she’s really, really tired and has access to her fleece, and it never lasts long. We have a new camera that has video and sound (the old one had video, but no sound, so it wasn’t that cool). Dustin set up a YouTube channel for Fiona. Technically, it’s for the whole family—it’s named after our family magazine, and someday we’ll do some news broadcasts or something—but for now, Fiona’s the most interesting person in the family, so the videos are of her. Here’s the link. http://www.youtube.com/DialannTV

By SUSAN

27 June 2010 Fiona picks blueberries, eats dirt, learns to share, and discovers she loves water. And our family launches a YouTube channel.

For additional photos included with this update, see back cover.

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OUR TIMES

United States kills Osama bin Laden

1 May 2011 In a press conference held at 22.00 in the East Room of the White House, President Barack Obama announces that the Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda and the world’s most-wanted man, had been killed by the United States in a surprise raid on bin Laden’s compoound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. This is a transcript of Obama’s remarks.

ood evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory—hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction. And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty

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“…the United States is not—and never will be—at war with Islam.”

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seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts. On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family. We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda—an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to

killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies. Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot. Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world. And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network. Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body. For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most


OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY PETE SOUZA

significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda. Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must— and we will—remain vigilant at home and abroad. As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not—and never will be—at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity. Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people. Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates. The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as commander-in-chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded. So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done. Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice. We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled

 President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, 1 May 2011. Seated, from left, are Biden; Obama; Brigadier General Marshall B. “Brad” Webb, assistant commanding general, Joint Special Operations Command; Denis McDonough, deputy national security advisor; Hillary Rodham Clinton, secretary of State; and Robert Gates, secretary of Defense. Standing, from left, are Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Tom Donilon, national security advisor; Bill Daley, White House chief of staff; Tony Blinken, national security advisor to the vice president; Audrey Tomason, director for counterterrorism; John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism; and James Clapper, director of national intellilgence. Please note: a classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured.

courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day. Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores. And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people. The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place. Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America. d

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WE BELIEVE IN CHRIST By DUSTIN

From my very first experiences there, the temple has been a guide in my life and a model of the home I should try to build.

 Temple workers gave those of us attending the temple for the first time these cards as a souvenir.

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The house of the Lord is our home, too

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he first temple I ever saw was the Mesa Arizona Temple. My family lived in the Phoenix area when I was in kindergarten and first grade, and almost every Sunday we would stroll the temple grounds. Even among temples, the grounds of the Mesa temple are noted for their gardens and beauty. There was the visitors’ center with its Christus statue and theaters where we would watch Church films, and the reflecting pool leading to the temple itself. On the other side of the temple was a very cool cactus garden. Though I knew nothing about what went on inside the temple, I knew it was a beautiful place and a special place. It was unlike any other place I had ever been. In 1989, my family moved from Arizona to Oklahoma. I didn’t see another temple until 1994, when I was 12 years old and in between sixth and seventh grades. (Five years is a long time when you’re 12.) By then my family had moved back to Charlotte, and on 23 July I went on my first youth temple trip, to perform baptisms for the dead at the Atlanta Georgia Temple. It was a long day. The youth and chaperones met at the stake center, where our ward met on Sundays, before sunrise. As I recall, I think I may have been asked to offer a prayer. We then loaded into a caravan of cars, SUVs, and minivans and drove for four and a half hours on Interstate 85 from Charlotte to Atlanta’s northern suburbs, where the temple is located. At the time, the only temples in the United States east of the Mississippi River were at Chicago; Washington, D.C.; and Atlanta. (The Orlando Florida Temple would open that fall.) So though the distance seems far now—and it certainly felt far then—and though we spent so much time in the car to spend so little time in the temple, we were nonetheless

grateful to have a temple so close that we could organize these excursions a few times a year. When our group arrived at the temple, the first thing we did was go into the temple annex. This was a public building with Distribution Services, some other temple support and utilities functions, and large restrooms, where some members of our group changed from the shorts and T-shirts they had worn into Sunday clothing. (I didn’t realize there would be an opportunity to change clothes, so I was left wishing I had something other than those uncomfortable dress clothes.) Once everyone was ready, we walked next door to the temple proper. Youth groups attending the temple entered by a side door directly into the baptistry. A male temple worker stood by the door checking our names off the limited-use recommend, which listed the youth who had been interviewed and found worthy to attend the temple by a member of the bishopric. (I remember that I had been interviewed by a counselor in the bishopric.) Inside, the baptistry was much like that of other temples. A small seating area with a few rows of benches was at the center, facing the baptismal font, where youth waited their turn to change and be baptized for the dead. To the left was the girls’ changing room; to the right was the boys’. At the back of the room was a counter where you received your baptismal clothing. A couple of rooms for confirmations and a door connecting the baptistry with the rest of the temple filled out the space. There was one very unique feature about the Atlanta temple’s baptistry at the time. Unlike the baptismal font in almost every other temple, Atlanta’s font was not on the back of oxen. Rather, it was much like a baptismal font in a regular meetinghouse, with a couple of differences. The entrance to the font was flanked by space for the officiators, with two witnesses on the right and a recorder on the left. At the back of this platform was a single bench where youth would wait before actually going into the font. On the wall above this bench was a relief carving of a baptismal font on the back of 12 oxen. At the time, I think many youth were a bit disappointed that our temple didn’t have the usual, grander font that we always heard of and saw in photos.


THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS

Looking back on it now, however, it’s cool that we got to perform baptisms in a temple that was unique. (In 1997, the Atlanta temple’s baptistry was renovated and expanded and—much to the delight of youth in my ward—the baptismal font placed on the backs of 12 oxen.) I don’t remember much about how our session went. One small detail I do remember occurred when I was receiving my baptismal clothing. I knew the temple was a special and sacred place, and that it would be a few years before I would be able to participate in and see everything that went on there. I guess I was a little unsure exactly how I was supposed to act, what I could see, and what information I could know. So I went up to the counter, around the corner where a gap in the counter allowed temple workers to enter and exit the clothing area. A very kind temple worker visually estimated my size, then got down a white jumpsuit that she thought would fit me. Then she asked me to turn around. So I turned around, right on the spot, thinking that perhaps she was doing something I wasn’t privy to. Since I was standing in front of the counter rather than at the gap, she positioned me a couple of steps to the left—so she could make sure the jumpsuit was the right size. That was the only reason she had asked me to turn around. Nothing secret. After our time at the temple, our group went to the nearby bookstore that specialized in Latter-day Saint materials. Then it was back into our caravan and up I-85 to Charlotte, with a stop along the way at Pizza Hut for lunch. Though I don’t remember a lot of the details of our trip that day, I will always remember how I felt being in the temple for the first time. Though I was unsure of what was happening, I didn’t feel nervous or uncomfortable. On the contrary, I felt very comfortable, almost relaxed. I began to understand the significance of the fact that the temple is the house of the Lord. As children of God, as we make covenants with him and keep his commandments, it becomes our house also. Though we are there to do work, we should also feel comfortable and, yes, even relaxed while we are there, because it is our home, too. And though I knew the temple was a special place, I began to understand why it’s so special. Certainly it is a beautiful place—I find a number of temples to be lovely and sometimes stunning pieces of architecture. But it is not the shimmering marble or the delicate woodwork or the crystal chandeliers that make it so valuable. Certainly it is a peaceful place—inside and out there are places for quiet contemplation and restful reflection. But there are, too, in parks and at public libraries and at cathedrals and basilicas and mosques. So what sets the temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints apart

as houses of the Lord? I believe the answer lies not so much in what they are so much as what we do in them. In the most recent general conference, President Thomas S. Monson stated: “Until you have entered the house of the Lord and have received all the blessings which await you there, you have not obtained everything the Church has to offer. The all-important and crowning blessings of membership in the Church are those blessings which we receive in the temples of God.”1 Baptism and confirmation, church attendance and partaking the sacrament, daily scripture study and prayer—these are all important. Indeed, they are vital, and we will be immensely blessed as we strive to make them a part of our lives. But the blessings we receive from these actions alone represent just a small portion of the blessings the Lord has promised us. The remainder of these blessings are found in the ordinances of the temple, including the endowment and temple marriage, and in returning to perform these ordinances on behalf of those who were unable to receive them in mortality. I am eternally grateful for the blessings of the temple. The things I have done and experienced there permeate every aspect of my life and that of our family. Our goal is to make the temple central in our lives and to model our own home on the house of the Lord. There are many improvements we have yet to make, but our focus is in the right place and we’re trying. And the Lord is blessing us for it. d

 The Atlanta Georgia Temple after its renovation in 2011.

notes 1. Ensign, May 2011, p. 93

23


CLOSING THOUGHTS

FAREWELL

Katie Dawn Joyce circa 15 March 1995– 22 April 2011

PHOTO TAKEN SPRING 2003

J U LY 2 0 1 1


 clockwise from top left: At a fountain on Cameron between Fenton and Spring streets in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland; overlooking Baltimore’s Inner Harbor from the Seven Foot Knoll Light; at the play fountain in Columbia Heights, Washington, D.C.

“She doesn’t seem bothered by water in the least. Kids fill up cups with water and dump it on her head, and she sputters a little and then smiles. The water shoots up out of the spout just as she was starting to inspect it, and she waves her arms and squeals (or growls) approvingly.’” SEE “FIONA DISCOVERS HER LOVE FOR WATER”, PAGE 19


Dialann | Issue 3, July 2011