Cinnamon Rolls and Prayers

Youth camps were this week. Steven and I were in charge of the boys camp? It was all kind of vague for me (and I think to Woo too), but I tried to prepare some bags of stuff (with the help of the kids) and planned and organized the food.

They also wanted us to draw up a schedule, with a lot of learning and scripture study in it... I basically copied the girls' schedule, with a few changes... however, Woo warned me from the start that boys' camp is a largely disorganized affair, and I believed him, but I tried to do what they asked me and figured it would be adjusted or thrown out at camp (which it largely was).

In planning the food, I tried to plan boy-friendly food, that even a five year old could assemble and/or cook for himself.

One dessert idea I had was cinnamon rolls on a stick, basically pre-packaged dough cooked and roasted over a fire. I bought a few doughs beforehand to see what it was like and I let the kids throw together their own cinnamon rolls.

It turned out that the dough was quite different from our cinnamon roll dough. These cinnamon rolls were more like palmiers than anything else, which I thought might work better over a fire, but didn't. They were a burnt and raw flop. However, we had bought enough s'mores stuff to last two nights, and those worked out.

A few days before the camp Herbie looked out the window and noticed a long line of cars at the gas station. We couldn't figure it out... Notre Dame burning? (which we had not heard about until we tried figuring this out) Easter weekend? And the line was not getting shorter. It was getting longer.

The next morning we learned that there was a gasoline workers strike. Everyone was trying to get through their Easter with the gasoline that was left in the stations.

The day after that, with the strike going strong, youth camps were cancelled. The mission president had told the senior missionaries to only drive in emergencies, and they were responsible for transport of half the kids. Ruby, Herbie and Moses were very disappointed. Woo was relieved. He had this schedule sitting in front of his face, and only one other adult coming to help him with 15 boys. It was the day before camp was to take place, and we were happy we hadn't bought the food yet.

The next morning Moses told me that he'd stayed up all night praying that the strike would end and they could go to camp. Ruby and Herbie told me they'd done the same thing. I tried to explain to Moses that sometimes its better to pray to feel better about a disappointment, than to pray to try to change the disappointment. (Woo and I were pretty sure the strike would last all of Easter break and the gasoline workers would decide they could go back to work on Monday with everyone else.) But half an hour later, we got the email: the strike had ended. Camp was back on!

Moses and Herbie jumped for joy. Ruby hurried to repack (she was the only one who'd lost hope enough to unpack the night before). Woo wanted to curl up in a ball on the bed. On top of everything else, he'd stayed up late for work and woke up sick.

And I think he had a pretty horrific time that first day, but the second morning, after a night of sleep and throwing the schedule out, he seemed to forget himself and get to work. Or at least be too busy to think much of anything else. (And yes, he did sometimes have to fix food for kids who did not know how to even squirt mayonnaise on a sandwich.)

Moses reportedly LOVED all the farm animals at their camping place. And well, I guess I can see it too. He keeps talking about the two pigs and the two ducks (his favorites) as if he thought they were the most hilarious thing.

Herbie gave one of two boy-given spiritual thoughts before the schedule was thrown out. He had received it by revelation a few days before, which seemed to be the first time that had ever happened to him, "I said the prayer, Mom, and then it all just came into my head! All of it!"

Ever since Herbie has been a little, little boy, he has always loved scripture cases, of all things. This is not the first Christmas or birthday that he has requested one either... I'd say it's his most requested gift of all time. Anyway, he was thrilled to get another one this week. I think it might be all the pockets and places to stuff important things like pens and papers?

The girls actually did stick to their study schedule... they are girls... also, they had six leaders. Ruby came home annoyed because (according to her) she was the only one who knew anything from the scriptures and was the only one who would volunteer for prayers. I gave her a big hug and congratulated her on being the good example she felt she should have been last year, but then things had quickly gone downhill after she'd learned the friends she had invited wouldn't be coming. She was slightly less sleep-deprived-grouchy after that.

Also, it looks here that Ruby at least pretended to warm up to selfies.

[edited per the EU's privacy laws]

Linus was quite upset when they left. He didn't think he'd have anything to do after the older kids left, but after awhile he remembered how to play with Penelope and Archie. I'm always a little happy when this happens. I think it's good for him.

They hit upon a king and queen game that intrigued them for most of two days. We also went on some bike rides and one shopping trip and read books together.

Penelope excitedly did her chore, and Ruby's (dishes). Also, she set the table, and was just generally agreeable with anyone who needed her to play their game or help them with spelling (Archie) or asked her to do anything.

I started to work on a book and Archie did too. And then another, and then another. He says he's up to book 7 and he wants to fill a "whole library!" His books have names like The Best Surfer in the World and The Super Peanut. He is really engrossed in them.

And I think that's it. I hope everyone is having a great Easter!

My Easter talk:

Nephi says in 2 Nephi 11:4 “Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ; for, for this end hath the law of Moses been given; and all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him.”

There are symbols all around us testifying of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many of us are familiar with the symbolism of the death of winter turning into the rebirth of spring, the death of the sun every night and its miracle rebirth in the morning, the caterpillar burying itself in a cocoon to later emerge as a glorious butterfly. And there are many, many more if we are willing to find them. 

When I was learning how to write a novel, I learned that all good stories follow a pattern. They each follow a series of important steps, which build up to a death. If not to a literal, physical death, then to a darkest hour—a death of an idea or a dream or a relationship, where all appears to be lost. And then, naturally, a resurrection or a rebirth follows where the thing that was lost is found and becomes even better than before.

And then I learned that the best stories repeat this pattern over and over again at a smaller magnitude.
When I learned these things, my eyes were opened to the death and resurrection pattern in the scriptures and also in my own life.

For example, Nephi was commanded to go get the plates. That escapade was one failure after another until Nephi and Sam were being beaten by their brothers. Hope and faith in the plan was nearly dead. Nephi and Sam might soon be dead. It was the lowest point.

From then on, things got better. Hope was revived. Trust in God and the Spirit became essential and the plan succeeded with Nephi running off with the plates and a key new ally.

Jesus Christ established His church on the earth with the proper priesthood authority. His apostles faithfully carried on until they died. Then, because of wickedness, the priesthood keys and the true Church of Jesus Christ were removed from the earth. The apostasy was a type of death, and the restoration of the Gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith, a type of resurrection.

On a small scale, in my own life... we were preparing to move to Portugal. I had assembled documents to get passports for all eight of us. On a snowy January, we drove to the post office to apply. It was clear from her face that the woman there did not want to deal with us and turned us away. It seemed like a hard thing and we wondered whether we should give up, but Steven bore his testimony and hope returned.

In the morning I was ready to try again and a week later we successfully applied for our passports with a different worker.

However, not everything that we lose in this life will be returned to us. Some things fall out of our life because they aren’t right for us, or if we are sinning, the right things for us can fall out of our lives anyway.

When we are suffering the loss of an opportunity or a relationship or a dream or even the actual spiritual or physical death of a loved one or ourselves, how can we know whether this is really the end, or only a darkest hour proceeding a glorious rebirth?

The Joseph Smith translation of Hebrews 11:1 says: Now faith is the ​assurance​ of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Assurance is defined as “a positive declaration intended to give confidence; a promise.” This assurance or promise comes from God. We can have faith that the current "death" we are experiencing is only temporary and will be followed by "resurrection" because God has told us it will be.

He can do this through the scriptures or through the prophets or through the Holy Ghost to our personal situation.

The sons of Mosiah spent 18 years among the Lamanites. Everyone had told them that the Lamanites were impossible to convert, and at some point they reached their lowest point. Maybe it was time to give up and go home.

But they recorded in Alma 26:27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.

There it was. The personal boost of assurance from God that enabled them to keep going and find enormous success in bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to thousands of Lamanites.

Possibly no one understood this pattern of death and resurrection in our lives both literally and figuratively better than Abraham.

We read in Hebrews 11:17 “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,”

Abraham had received multiple personal promises that through his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed, and verse 18 reaffirms that Isaac was Abraham’s link to that seed.

“Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:”

But Abraham was still willing to sacrifice Isaac at the Lord’s command, in seeming contradiction to all the promises. Why?

Verse 19 says he was “Accounting that God was able to raise him (Isaac) up, even from the dead;” 

Because Abraham understood this cycle of death and resurrection and he already had the promise of the glorious end. And also he had incredible faith.

I have one last thought and an example.

Matthew 16:25 says: For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

This is a promise along the death and resurrection pattern. Any of us who figuratively “kill” our own desires in order to follow Christ and His gospel will find that our desires will return in righteous glory and magnify our Savior.

One of my favorite stories is of Minerva Teichert, who at 29 years old was highly successful in one of the leading art schools in 1917.

One fast and testimony meeting, a housewife stood up and bore her testimony of the joys of marriage and motherhood, and Minerva knew that she needed to go home and marry the farm boy she’d left behind in Idaho.

So Minerva left New York to become a farm wife and the mother of five children. To all observers it was the death of her professional art career.

However, Minerva believed that she had a special commission to paint the life of Christ, stories from the scriptures and also the struggles of the pioneers, and she continued to paint in her living room when not busy with her primary duties.

Minerva never became rich on her talent. In fact, she struggled to publish many of her paintings so she donated them to BYU or the church.

At the age of 59, Minerva painted several murals in the Manti temple, and today her paintings are wildly popular. There is a Minerva Teichert painting in probably every temple in the world and in thousands, maybe millions of churches and homes.

After losing her life, or giving up her art career to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, she found it and her gifts were given new life—greater than they ever could have been by her own efforts, and to the glory of God. Minerva Teichert died 43 years ago and her paintings continue to do the work of God by bringing others closer to their Savior.

I know that the promises of the Lord are sure. Whatever death we may currently be experiencing, whether the death of a dream or a relationship or an actual death (spiritual or physical), if God has said that this thing will be raised from the dead, than it will be, and He is willing and able to give us any assurance or comfort that we ask for.

I know that Jesus Christ died and was raised from the grave, and because of Him ALL things may have a new and glorious rebirth.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Néfi diz em 2 Néfi 11: 4 “Eis que minha alma se regozija em provar ao meu povo a veracidade da vinda de Cristo; pois para esse fim foi dada a lei de Moisés; e todas as coisas que foram dadas por Deus aos homens, desde o começo do mundo, são símbolos dele”.

Existem símbolos ao nosso redor testificando da morte e ressurreição de Jesus Cristo.

Muitos de nós estamos familiarizados com o simbolismo da morte do inverno transformando-se no renascimento da primavera, a morte do sol todas as noites e seu renascimento milagroso pela manhã, a lagarta se enterrando em um casulo para depois emergir como uma borboleta gloriosa. E há muitos, muitos mais se estamos dispostos a encontrá-los.

Quando eu estava a aprender a escrever uma novela, aprendi que todas as boas histórias seguem um padrão. Cada um deles segue uma série de passos importantes, que se desenvolvem até a morte. Se não a uma morte literal e física, então a uma hora mais sombria - a morte de uma ideia, de um sonho ou de um relacionamento, onde tudo parece estar perdido.

E então, naturalmente, uma ressurreição ou um renascimento segue onde a coisa que foi perdida é encontrada e se torna ainda melhor do que antes.

E então aprendi que as melhores histórias repetem esse padrão repetidamente em menor magnitude.

Quando aprendi essas coisas, meus olhos foram abertos para o padrão de morte e ressurreição nas escrituras e também em minha própria vida.

Por exemplo, Néfi foi ordenado a pegar as placas de latão. Essa escapada foi uma falha atrás da outra até que Néfi e Sam foram espancados por seus irmãos. Esperança e fé no plano estavam quase mortas. Néfi e Sam podem estar mortos em breve. Foi o ponto mais baixo.

A partir daí, as coisas melhoraram. A esperança foi revivida. Confiar em Deus e no Espírito tornou-se essencial e o plano foi bem-sucedido, com Néfi fugindo com as placas e um novo aliado.

Jesus Cristo estabeleceu Sua igreja na Terra com a devida autoridade do sacerdócio. Seus apóstolos continuaram fielmente até morrerem.

Então, por causa da iniqüidade, as chaves do sacerdócio e a verdadeira Igreja de Jesus Cristo foram removidas da Terra. A apostasia foi um tipo de morte e a restauração do evangelho por meio do profeta Joseph Smith, um tipo de ressurreição.

Em pequena escala, na minha própria vida ... estávamos a preparar para nos mudar para Portugal. Eu havia reunido documentos para obter passaportes para todos os oito. Em janeiro nevado, nós dirigimos ao correio para aplicar.

Ficou claro no rosto dela que a mulher de lá não queria lidar conosco e nos afastou. Parecia uma coisa difícil e nos perguntamos se deveríamos desistir, mas Steven prestou seu testemunho e a esperança retornou.

De manhã eu estava pronto para tentar novamente e uma semana depois nós aplicamos com sucesso para nossos passaportes com um trabalhador diferente.

No entanto, nem tudo o que perdemos nesta vida será devolvido para nós. Algumas coisas caem da nossa vida porque elas não são certas para nós, ou se estamos pecando, as coisas certas para nós podem cair de nossas vidas de qualquer maneira.

Quando estamos sofrendo a perda de uma oportunidade ou de um relacionamento ou de um sonho, ou mesmo a morte espiritual ou física de um ente querido ou de nós mesmos? Como podemos saber se este é realmente o fim, ou apenas uma hora mais sombria procedendo a um renascimento glorioso?

A tradução de Joseph Smith de Hebreus 11: 1 diz: Ora, a fé é a ​certeza​ de coisas que se esperam, a prova das coisas que não se veem.

Em inglês a palavra “assurance” é usado para certeza. E “assurance” significa “uma declaração positiva destinada a dar confiança; uma promessa."

Essa certeza ou promessa vem de Deus. Podemos ter fé de que a morte atual que estamos vivendo é apenas temporária e será seguida pela ressurreição porque Deus nos disse que será.

Ele pode fazer isso através das escrituras ou através dos profetas ou através do Espírito Santo para nossa situação pessoal.

Os filhos de Mosias passaram 18 anos entre os lamanitas. Todos haviam dito a eles que os lamanitas eram impossíveis de se converter e, em algum momento, chegaram ao ponto mais baixo. Talvez fosse hora de desistir e ir para casa.

Mas eles registraram em Alma 26:27 Ora, quando nosso coração se achava deprimido e estávamos para voltar, eis que o Senhor nos confortou e disse: Ide para o meio de vossos irmãos, os lamanitas, e suportai com paciência vossas aflições; e eu farei com que tenhais êxito.

Lá estava. O impulso pessoal de segurança de Deus que lhes permitiu continuar e encontrar um enorme sucesso em levar o evangelho de Jesus Cristo a milhares de lamanitas.

Possivelmente, ninguém entendeu este padrão de morte e ressurreição em nossas vidas, literal e figurativamente, melhor do que Abraão.

Lemos em Hebreus 11:17: “Pela fé, Abraão ofereceu Isaque, quando foi posto à prova; e aquele que recebera as promessas ofereceu o seu unigênito”.

Abraão havia recebido múltiplas promessas pessoais de que através de sua semente todas as nações da terra seriam abençoadas, e o versículo 18 reafirmava que Isaque era o elo de Abraão com essa semente.

“Sendo-lhe dito: Em Isaque será chamada a tua descendência”.

Mas Abraão ainda estava disposto a sacrificar Isaque ao comando do Senhor, em aparente contradição com todas as promessas. Por quê?

O verso 19 diz que ele foi "Considerando que Deus era poderoso para até dos mortos o (Isaque) ressuscitar”;

Porque Abraão entendeu este ciclo de morte e ressurreição e ele teve a promessa do fim glorioso. E também ele tinha fé incrível.

Eu tenho um último pensamento e um exemplo.

Mateus 16:25 diz: Porque aquele que quiser salvar a sua vida, perdê-la-á, e quem perder a sua vida por causa de mim, achá-la-á.

Esta é uma promessa ao longo do padrão de morte e ressurreição. Qualquer um de nós que “mate” figurativamente nossos desejos próprios para seguir a Cristo e Seu evangelho descobrirá que nossos desejos retornarão em glória justa e magnificarão nosso Salvador.

Uma das minhas histórias favoritas é de Minerva Teichert, que aos 29 anos teve grande sucesso em uma das principais escolas de arte de 1917.

Uma reunião de jejum e testemunho, uma dona de casa se levantou e prestou testemunho das alegrias do casamento e da maternidade, e Minerva sabia que precisava ir para casa e se casar com o menino da fazenda que deixara em Idaho.

Então Minerva deixou Nova Iorque para se tornar uma esposa de fazenda e mãe de cinco filhos. Para todos os observadores, foi a morte de sua carreira artística profissional.

No entanto, Minerva acreditava que ela tinha uma comissão especial para pintar a vida de Cristo, histórias das escrituras e também as lutas dos pioneiros, e ela continuou a pintar em sua sala de estar quando ela não estava ocupada com seus deveres primários.

Minerva nunca ficou rica em seu talento. Na verdade, ela se esforçou para publicar muitas de suas pinturas, então ela as doou para a Universidade Brigham Young ou para a igreja.

Aos 59 anos, Minerva pintou vários murais no templo Manti e hoje suas pinturas são muito populares. Há Minerva Teichert pintura provavelmente em todos os templos do mundo e em milhares, talvez milhões de igrejas e lares.

Depois de perder sua vida, ou desistir de sua carreira artística para seguir os sussurros do Espírito Santo, ela encontrou e seus dons receberam uma nova vida - maior do que jamais poderia ter sido por seus próprios esforços e para a glória de Deus. Minerva Teichert morreu há 43 anos e suas pinturas continuam a fazer a obra de Deus, aproximando os outros ao seu Salvador.

Eu sei que as promessas do Senhor são certas. Qualquer que seja a morte que possamos estar experimentando no momento, seja a morte de um sonho ou um relacionamento ou uma morte real (espiritual ou física), se Deus disse que essa coisa ressuscitará dos mortos, do que será, e Ele está disposto e capaz de nos dar qualquer certeza ou conforto que pedimos.

Eu sei que Jesus Cristo morreu e ressuscitou da sepultura e, por causa Dele, TODAS as coisas podem ter um novo e glorioso renascimento.

Em nome de Jesus Cristo. Amém.