MANY Family heritage books available now

Recently Dallin H. Oaks, of the Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published an article on his Facebook page wherein he invited and urged everyone to share histories and stories of their ancestors with our current family.

He said:

“Tell me a story” is a frequent request from children. While fictional stories and fairytales can be fun to share, consider instead telling your children stories that show faith in Jesus Christ and stories that connect them to their noble ancestors. Years ago, Kristen and I decided to create our own family storybook, filled with accounts from our extended families and ancestry. We love reading from it with our family.”

“We invite you to create your own compilation of examples from your family history of those who acted on their faith in the Savior, in His leaders, and in the principles of His gospel. You might pull stories from talks or family histories, or even just stories you heard growing up. Document them and share them. Doing so can help you and your family turn your hearts to your ancestors.” (Dallin H. Oaks, Facebook Post January 14, 2021.)

Over the past several months, it has been my privilege to create ten different Family Heritage volumes on various family lines. The books, each 500-700 pages, contain biographical and autobiographical material including historical stories, photos, documents, certificates, birth, marriage and death records on many generations of my own ancestors, as well as those of my wife and family. Each one is packed with stories to tell – as encouraged by President Oaks. These books have been published and are available for purchase on the Lulu.com website. I invite you to explore these various books at the following link:

https://www.lulu.com/search?adult_audience_rating=00&page=3&pageSize=10&q=KEVIN+V+HUNT

Once you open the link, scroll down through Kevin’s various book titles (using the arrows at bottom right) until you reach the two Bollwinkel books.  They are near the end of the book list.  Then you can click and open each to add to the cart. 

Note that Lulu often has discount pricing.  This amount changes but is generally 10-20%.  The current discount shows at the top of the Lulu site as you open it. Be sure to add the current Lulu discount code as you check out.

The following books are available:

“Alura, Quite the Lady” – is a biographical book on my mother, Alura Larsen Hunt Nash available at this link: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/kevin-v-hunt/alura-quite-the-lady/hardcover/product-176kdyrj.html?page=1&pageSize=4

“Russel F. Hunt – His Life and Times” – is a biographical book about my father, Russel Frank Hunt. Available at this link: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/kevin-v-hunt/russel-f-hunt-his-life-and-times/hardcover/product-1vgqdqk7.html?page=1&pageSize=4

“Our Hunt and Alger Family Heritage” – includes material on the Hunt, Wiggins, Terry, Pulsipher, Alger, Barnhurst and Jensen family lines. available at: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/kevin-v-hunt/honoring-our-hunt-and-alger-family-heritage/hardcover/product-1z7wvpq2.html?page=1&pageSize=4

“Honoring our Wilcox and Clark Family Heritage” – includes material on the Wilcox, Miller, Robinson, Wood, Clark, Stevenson, Rice and Geer family lines. Available at this link: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/kevin-v-hunt/honoring-our-wilcox-and-clark-family-heritage/hardcover/product-1qkw665j.html?page=1&pageSize=4

“Our Larsen and Pritchett Family Heritage” – includes material on the Larsen family beginning with pioneers Louis Rasmus “Lars” Larsen, Hans and Katrine Larsen and their Danish Ancestry. The book also includes the Pritchett, Johnston, Gillespie, Thomas, Rawson, Coffin, Cheney and Beebe families. Available at this link: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/kevin-hunt/honoring-our-larsen-and-pritchett-family-heritage/hardcover/product-768rdr.html?page=1&pageSize=4

“Our Belcher Family Heritage” is printed in two volumes. Volume #1 includes material on the Belcher, Coats, Perkins, Anderson, family lines Volume #2 includes the Holladay, Matthews, Carter and Haws family lines.

Volume #1 – includes material for the Belcher, Coats, Perkins and Anderson Family Lines. Available at this link: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/kevin-v-hunt/our-belcher-family-heritage/hardcover/product-kj82r8.html?page=1&pageSize=4

Volume #2 – includes material on the Holladay, Matthews, Carter and Haws family lines. Available at this link: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/kevin-hunt/our-belcher-family-heritage/hardcover/product-g9v76n.html?page=1&pageSize=4

Our Betteridge Family Heritage” includes material on the Betteridge, Taplin, Paskett, Buckingham, Ness, Quinn, Coulson and Garnett family lines. Available at this link: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/kevin-hunt/our-betteridge-family-heritage/hardcover/product-njqj6k.html?page=1&pageSize=4

The Bollwinkel Family Heritage Books are available in two volumes. See this blog specifically on these two books: https://kevinthescout.wordpress.com/2021/02/09/bollwinkel-family-heritage-books-now-available/

These books are also available in print or digital copies through the BYU Family History Library extending to FamilySearch and the Church Historical Department, and the Sons of Utah Pioneers Historical Library.

Additionally, my new book, “Writing the Journal of your Life – The How and Why of Journaling” will be available very soon. Watch for the book to be announced on this website.

Some Background information:

For many years it has been my goal and plan to create a composite collection of stories of our ancestors and to make this collection available and accessible to all members of the family.  While a student at BYU some 40 years ago, I wrote of my goal to create such a book.    On that occasion, I wrote in my journal:

          1976 – SUNDAY, AUGUST 15TH

“This has been a glorious Sabbath.  I wish they could all be as pleasant.  I was an hour or so early for Priesthood meeting.  On the southwest corner of campus I found a quiet little path.  Located conveniently was a little bench.  Nearby the water in the ditch gurgled by.  The rain softly sprinkled on the trees overhead.  I listened to the birds sing and looked at the beauties of nature.  In this quiet peaceful setting, I was able to read in the Doctrine and Covenants. …

“Upon arrival home, I spent time reading in the August “Ensign” magazine.  In it is an explanation of the newly accepted scripture in “The Pearl of Great Price”.  I was also strongly motivated by an article on family records.  I had the great desire to create such a history to be used as a reference by all family members.  I wrote:

“Goal:  “Prepare a book of pictures and life stories about our ancestors.  This could include full page photos and biographies, autobiographies, copies of birth and marriage certificates, family group sheets, etc.  This should include faith promoting stories to be used as a reference by all cousins and family members.”  I will make this a long-term goal.  This has truly been a spiritual peaceful day of rest.”

And since that time, this has been on my mind in a major way.  I feel that I can no longer postpone action on this project.  We need to learn of our ancestors and we will be blessed as we do so.

I have spent considerable time through the years collecting family histories and biographies of ancestors.  These came from family sources, the internet – using various programs – and whatever sources where I could find histories and biographical information.  Some of the material in these volumes includes histories written by various people about the ancestors.  And there are some very valuable autobiographies written in the first-person by the pioneers themselves.

There is much of strength and power in these histories.  Through them, we today – many generations down the line – can relive the pioneer days with our ancestors.  We can read of their trials, their daily challenges (often just to survive) and their sacrifices for us.  Through them we can discover who we are – since we are very much a part of each one of them – even if they lived a hundred or two years ago.  We can learn of their commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and their testimonies of the Restored Gospel.   We can learn of families who lived many years before the Restoration – but who lived in such a way that they or their descendants could hear and accept the Restored Gospel of Christ when it came to them.  Many of the families joined the Church in the early days and many experienced the early history of the Church and many even knew the Prophet Joseph Smith and other early church leaders.

Robert C. Folkman, President of the Sons of Utah Pioneers wrote, “Happy is the man who recalls his ancestors with pride, who treasures the store of their greatness, tells the tales of their heroic lives, and with joy to full for speech, realizes that fate has linked him with a race of goodly men.  We are blessed in this modern time to have the resources to learn about the lives of our ancestors, and understand that we are not isolated individuals, alone in our place.  The hopes and values and failures and successes of our ancestors have led us to be who are and often where we are.  They have given us the roots that we need to grow our own families and future generations.  That’s what pioneers do, and for them we can be grateful.”  (Pioneer 2014, Volume 61, Number 1)

We can be drawn to these ancestors and we can draw them unto us – and thus fulfilling the promises of the Prophet Elijah as our hearts are knit together with them.  We can get to know these people so that we will want to be an eternal family with them through the eternities. 

It is, therefore, my hope, that each family member might be drawn to these, our people.  I challenge each of us to find ways to introduce these stories of faith and hope to our children and subsequent generations.  Be creative and find ways to share these stories through a variety of means.  Use them in family home evenings, in monthly family nights, in family communications and other ways.  Again, you will experience great blessings as you learn of these great people and their lives.  I would also welcome your comments about how you are able to make these people live and the impact of their stories upon your lives.

Kevin V. Hunt

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BOLLWINKEL FAMILY HERITAGE BOOKS NOW AVAILABLE

You are invited to purchase two new Family Heritage volumes on the Bollwinkel family as compiled by Kevin V. Hunt with Jack and Kay Bollwinkel..   Both books contain biographical material, documents, photographs, family group records and pedigree charts. 

Volume #1 traces the Bollwinkel family back from John Vernon Bollwinkel, father of John Jay “Jack” Bollwinkel and extends to Clawes Bullenwinkel, born in 1505 in Bullenwinckel, Germany.  The book contains historical material on the Bollwinkel, Williams and Parker family lines.  Volume #2 extends the Bollwinkel Hartley line as well as the ancestry of Rose Hannah Seal Lloyd Bollwinkel through her Lloyd, Gilbert, Seal and Hemmings families.


Both books can be ordered through the Lulu.com website.  Note that Lulu often has discount pricing.  This amount changes but is generally 10-20%. 

Here is the link for the books. 
https://www.lulu.com/search?adult_audience_rating=00&page=3&pageSize=10&q=KEVIN+V+HUNT

Once you open the link, scroll down through Kevin’s various book titles (using the arrows at bottom right) until you reach the two Bollwinkel books.  They are near the end of the book list.  Then you can click and open each to add to the cart.  Be sure to add the current Lulu discount code as you check out.

Or if you prefer, here is a direct link specific to the two Bollwinkel books:

https://www.lulu.com/search?adult_audience_rating=00&page=1&pageSize=10&q=Bollwinkel

Christmas, A CELEBRATION, JOY

#Lighttheworld

Christmas, A Celebration of Joy … by Kevin V. Hunt

Merry Christmas to all!

For thirty years, it has been my practice to create a new poem for each Christmas season.  This has given me much satisfaction as I have felt the inspiration of Heaven in the development of these messages.  Most have come through inspiration of the Holy Ghost and that has been a glorious experience each time as this has happened.

Through these messages, my hope is to inspire others in the Christmas joy and the hope of that joy available through our Lord, Jesus Christ, and His life, His mission, His Atonement, His Death, and his Glorious resurrection.  I try to share the message of Christ – beginning from his glorious birth as Son of God and continuing through his death and resurrection.  For those missions begin literally with the manger and Christ as the Son of God. 

It has always been joyful for me to share these messages with my family and special friends.  It has become my personal Christmas tradition (like an annual Christmas card) and I hope a part of their Christmas tradition as well.

I have written these as poems – not being a bit musical – but always with the hope that someday each poem would become a Christmas hymn.  And that dream took bloom a few years ago as my cousin Linda Hunt Bishop (also under inspiration of the Holy Ghost) began to write music for my lyrics.  She was an answer to my prayers.  And recently we were able to publish these.  The book – called “Christmas Reflections” (is available now on lulu.com with a search by my name).  The book has all of my 30 years of Christmas prose – and also contains many of her songs. These songs are also available as a combined package. I created a Christmas musical cantata – entitled, “Christmas Is …” combining these songs with added narration.   Saying this was not my purpose of this blog … but check them out if you wish.

My true desire is to share again the joy of this Christmas season.  And so it is that I share this 2020 poem with you.  This message comes at the end of a traumatic year with our worldwide distress of the COVID-19 pandemic.  I think that we can all say that this COVID thing has really stressed us all.  I hope that we can all realize that even with the trauma, we have been greatly blessed and the Lord has been with us. Perhaps these words can help us reflect upon the fact that peace and joy can come to us – and that all true joy, peace and happiness literally comes to us through our Lord Jesus Christ and His (and our) Heavenly Father.  Let us rejoice again in Him whose birth we celebrate at this wonderful Christmas season.

Here it is.  I hope you enjoy it:

CHRISTMAS: A CELEBRATION, JOY

Christmas, … a celebration, Joy,

     Because of Christ, hope, love, and peace.

For in Jesus, we may enjoy,

     A happy life, with daily peace.

Though all around us, there is stress,

      In troubled times we can know joy.

With trust in Christ, we can be blessed,

     Each day, our best, we can enjoy.

Christ taught, “My peace, I give to you,”

     With faith and trust peace comes to be.

We know and feel that this is true,

     Our Savior’s there for you and me.

“Let not your hearts be troubled,

     And children, do not be afraid.”

I’ll lead you through your troubles,

     Look for joyful, days ahead.”

(Chorus)

Let’s celebrate and live with joy,

     And know that there is hope through pain.

The Savior’s Love, we can enjoy,

     And feel Him with us every day.

Christ gives us courage for each day,

     With hope to make it through somehow.

With outstretched arms, he lights our way,

     Prepares the path, our here and now.

Through our Lord’s Atonement gift,

     He knows our sorrows feels our pain.

He came to earth our souls to lift,

     That we might live with him again.

Christ felt himself our mortal pain,

     Descended all that we might live.

He knows us, loves, even when,

     We think we don’t have much to give.

He told us things we know will come,

     Of rumors, wars, and pestilence.

These things many truly challenge some,

     Yet in Him, comes peace through world events.

(Chorus)

Let’s celebrate and live with joy,

     And know that there is hope through pain.

The Savior’s Love, we can enjoy,

     And feel Him with us every day.

Christmas gives daily joy and hope,

     That we can celebrate each day.

Because He came, we too, can cope,

     So we rejoice in Him, His way.

In joy we think of God’s own Son,

     And Holy Ghost, His peace to give.

That Holy night, all gathered, one,

     Rejoice that night, that now we live.

Christ’s birth led to his Gethsemane

     He gave His life to give us peace.

That through our trials, we may be,

     Have hope and joy, to never cease.

In Christmas joy, we celebrate,

     Give thanks that through His humble birth.

We too can have a peaceful fate,

     Enjoy each of our days on Earth.

(Chorus):

Let’s celebrate and live with joy,

     And know that there is hope through pain.

The Savior’s Love, we can enjoy,

     And feel Him with us every day.

               — Kevin V. Hunt (Christmas 2020)

Well, that’s the message!  Peace, joy and happiness can come to us this season and always because of God’s love for us as evidenced through his son, our Savior, Jesus the Christ.  And because of them, we can truly have a Merry Christmas!

GRATITUDE BLOGS SYNOPSIS AND QUICK LINKS

#GiveThanks GRATITUDE BLOGS SYNOPSIS AND QUICK LINKS

By Kevin V. Hunt

Well, it has come and gone – the week plus of gratitude blogs on social media.  It has been intense but amazing – for me at least.  It has made me realize just how greatly I have been blessed.  I can see that the Lord has been good to me.  He has given me so much.

In response to President Nelson’s Gratitude challenge, I have written ten blogs (this makes eleven – and three more than I planned at the beginning.)  When I set out on this adventure, I listed seven different subjects to write about.  I wrote those ideas down right after the talk by Pres. Nelson and have worked to carry out each.  I hope that they may have been helpful to someone.  I know that they have helped me greatly as they made me think and ponder and rejoice in the good things of life.

I have written these things in sincere gratitude.  I have not written them to boast or to toot my own horn.  My sincere desire was to acknowledge the Lord and to express gratitude to him – and to use the talents and abilities that the Lord has entrusted to me.

Through the gratitude blogs, I have posted the following … and one can click on the link for each one and this can be a quick reference and link to all of the articles.

               Gratitude Blog #1:  Gratitude for Life and Many Blessings

https://kevinthescout.wordpress.com/2020/11/20/gratitude-for-life-and-many-blessings/

               Gratitude Blog #2:  Gratitude for Sunrises and Sunsets    

https://kevinthescout.wordpress.com/2020/11/21/gratitude-for-sunrises-and-sunsets/

               Gratitude Blog #3:  Gratitude for Ancestors

https://kevinthescout.wordpress.com/2020/11/22/gratitude-for-my-ancestors/

               Gratitude Blog #4:   Gratitude for Talents and Abilities

https://kevinthescout.wordpress.com/2020/11/23/gratitude-for-talents-and-abilities/

               Gratitude Blog #5:   Gratitude for Service Opportunities

https://kevinthescout.wordpress.com/2020/11/24/gratitude-for-service-opportunities/

               Gratitude Blog #6:   Gratitude for my Family

https://kevinthescout.wordpress.com/2020/11/29/gratitude-for-my-family/

               Gratitude Blog #7:   Gratitude for the Restored Gospel

https://kevinthescout.wordpress.com/2020/11/30/gratitude-for-the-restored-gospel-of-jesus-christ/

               Gratitude Blog #8:   Gratitude that I am STILL in Scouting

https://kevinthescout.wordpress.com/2020/12/01/gratitude-that-i-am-still-in-scouting/

               Gratitude Blog #9:   Gratitude for People who Have Touched my Life

https://kevinthescout.wordpress.com/2020/12/02/gratitude-for-people-who-have-touched-my-life/

               Gratitude Blog #10:  Gratitude for My Personal Journal

https://kevinthescout.wordpress.com/2020/12/03/gratitude-for-my-personal-journal/

               Gratitude Blog #11:  Gratitude Synopsis (That is this article!)

https://kevinthescout.wordpress.com/?p=630

GRATITUDE FOR MY PErSONAL JOURNAL

By Kevin V. Hunt (Published December 3, 2020)

#GiveThanks  GRATITUDE BLOG #10  GRATITUDE FOR MY PERSONAL JOURNAL

One of the great blessings of my life is my personal journal.  I will forever be grateful for inspiration on May 20, 1973 to begin writing in a journal.  And I am grateful that I have been blessed with the motivation and fortitude to keep doing it.

On that May day, I was in a young adult Sunday school class -taught by J. Darwin Gunnell.  In that class, he quoted then LDS Church President Spencer W. Kimball.  President Kimball had spoken much on the need to keep a personal record.   Darwin Gunnell challenged all of us in the class that day to go home that very day and to start writing.  He said that we should find a notebook of some kind and begin writing.  He challenged us to make a daily record.

I heard those special words that day and took up the challenge.  I went home and found a little “record book” that was blank.  And in the book, I wrote the following words:

               “Sunday, May 20, 1973

“Today was kind of interesting.  In Priesthood meeting, all of the Aaronic priesthood met together and talked about the sacrament.  Last week’s service was discussed.  Someone asked what happened.  Bishop said “When Sis. Hunt is out of town the ward falls apart.  Between Priesthood and Sunday School I frantically tried to make some signs advertising the Scout Chuckwagon Dinner.  In Sunday School, Bro. Gunnell challenged all of us to keep a diary – so here I am.

I spent the afternoon trying to get our order in for Scout camping equipment.  Bro. Leon Jones finally got his Jamboree money over to me.  In sacrament meeting, Bishop Killian talked and called us all to repentance.  He said we should all stop gossiping.  I had it brought rather forcibly to my mind that I was a gossiper.  I spent the evening at the Temple Visitor’s Center for Paul Ellsworth (he was going to baccalaureate).  We had a going away party afterwards for Fred Mortenson who is leaving for the Taiwan Mission.”

So, that was my first journal entry, such as it was.   That was actually a pretty decent entry – for my first one.  The entry talked about people then in my life, the influence of various people, events or activities that I was involved in, and people I was associated with.  It had some information about history – which then was the common practice – but now looking back it documents church meetings as they were and no longer are.   The entry did not contain too much information, but it was the start.  It was the beginning of something really great.  And from that day, I have continued the challenge and have been committed to it.   I wrote the next day and the next … and I kept writing.  And now, 47 years later, I am still writing … and I have made an entry for literally EVERY day since that date.

The early entries of my journal  were pretty generic.  They were short and did not have much information.  It took me a while to really get into the writing and recording mode and gradually the entries became much more detailed and comprehensive.  And now, I generally write more than a full typed page entry for each day.  And now, the journal collection takes up a great many shelves in my history;/museum room.

My first 100 volumes of my journal were hand-written.  Did it take work and effort?  You bet it did!  Sometimes I was so tired at the end of the day that I could hardly write – let alone write a readable entry that made sense.  Did I write mundane stuff?  Yes, I did, and I still do.  In writing every day, there is a lot that is routine or “normal” stuff that happens repeatedly.  But, also, there is much that is of great worth for me now and in the future.

As I completed that Volume #100, My daughter, Kaylea, called Ron Hoon at the local TV station and told him about my journal project.  Ron found it rather interesting that I had written so much and for so long.  He featured me on one of his regular shows.  He and his cameraman came and spent a couple of hours with me.  He said that the segment would likely be about two minutes in length.  But it ended up being eight ad a half minutes as it aired.

Then for many years, I would type the entries for each day.  Ad when I got about 300 printed pages, I would take them to a local print shop for hard binding.  I did this through journal volume 126.  Then the printer quit doing the binding.  I was kind of stuck.  I continued to type the entries of each day and just collected them in weekly packages in directories for each year.  And just recently I discovered Lulu.com which provided a medium where I could publish these journals and other books.  I created books that are right at 500 pages each.  And on the cover of each, I included photos of events that happened in each journal book.  I just got the money to order the nine books that I created in this way.  The books will arrive soon.  I am kind of excited about receiving them.  It will be nice to have a full collection of every journal of the past 47 years.

My mother, now age 88, recently went to live at an assisted care center.  And as she did so, I became heir to her many hand-written journal books.  I knew that she started keeping a journal about the time that I did but I had never seen them all together and I did not know how many she had.  I was surprised and pleased that she too, had over one hundred volumes.  Random as well as selected entries became a major part of a printed history book that I created about her life for her and her posterity.  I am grateful that my mother religiously kept her personal journal.  It will be a blessing for many of her generations.

I also recently created a history book about my father.  He died a couple of years ago a month before his 90th birthday.  I had never known my father to write anything (I think I had about four letters from him in my life-time and those were all three or four liners).  As his book project was nearing completion, I was talking to my brother.  When going through some of dad’s things, he came across a very plain book with no title.  He opened it and learned that it was a journal of his two-year church mission and contained an entry for every day of the mission (except the last week – when he ran out of paper in the book).  Wow!  I could not believe such a find.  What a treasure.  My brother “loaned” me the book.  And over the next couple of months I transcribed or typed the entire book and included this in its entirety in his book.  On each page, I showed a photo of his own writing at the top and then then below it, I showed my typed translation.  I am so grateful that I found this wonderful record.  Pretty amazing!

I have noted that I created many books about my ancestors.  In the books there are photos, histories, and other material.  It has been wonderful to read of the lives of so many of my ancestors..  All great material!  But the very best material was that written by the people themselves.  It is so great to read in their own writing and style of their life and times.  I am grateful for those precious records.

I have written previously about the joys and benefits of journal keeping but this is a subject that can and should be repeated over and over.   As I talk about journals and records, I like to begin with a note about Jesus and his view on record keeping.  The Lord Jesus Christ himself emphasized the great importance of record keeping to the Nephites and Lamanites as he visited them following his death and resurrection in Jerusalem.  He visited the Americas as a resurrected being.  He talked to Nephi, his newly appointed Chief Apostle [here in America] … (and these are the words of President Kimball in his exhortation to the Saints about record keeping):

.  “And Jesus said unto them: How be it that ye have not written this thing.”

“I am glad that it was not I who was reprimanded, even though mildly and kindly, for not having fulfilled the obligation to keep my records up to date.

“Early in the American life of the family of Lehi, his son, Nephi, said (about 600 B.C):

“Having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days. …  “And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.” (1 Ne. 1:1, 3.)

This great record included not only the movements of his people but events from Nephi’s own personal life.

President Kimball continues:

“Accordingly, we urge our young people to begin today to write and keep records of all the important things in their own lives and also the lives of their antecedents in the event that their parents should fail to record all the important incidents in their own lives. Your own private journal should record the way you face up to challenges that beset you. Do not suppose life changes so much that your experiences will not be interesting to your posterity. Experiences of work, relations with people, and an awareness of the rightness and wrongness of actions will always be relevant.”

“No one is commonplace, and I doubt if you can ever read a biography from which you cannot learn something from the difficulties overcome and the struggles made to succeed. These are the measuring rods for the progress of humanity.

“As we read the stories of great men, we discover that they did not become famous overnight nor were they born professionals or skilled craftsmen. The story of how they became what they are may be helpful to us all.”

President Kimball then gives his counsel to each of us – and I am grateful for that inspiring counsel:

“Your own journal, like most others, will tell of problems as old as the world and how you dealt with them.

“Your journal should contain your true self rather than a picture of you when you are “made up” for a public performance. There is a temptation to paint one’s virtues in rich color and whitewash the vices, but there is also the opposite pitfall of accentuating the negative. The truth should be told, but we should not emphasize the negative.  The good biographer will not depend on passion but on good sense. He will weed out the irrelevant and seek the strong, novel, and interesting.

“Your journal is your autobiography, so it should be kept carefully. You are unique, and there may be incidents in your experience that are more noble and praiseworthy in their way than those recorded in any other life. There may be a flash of illumination here and a story of faithfulness there; you should truthfully record your real self and not what other people may see in you.

“Your story should be written now while it is fresh and while the true details are available.

“A journal is the literature of superiority. Each individual can become superior in his own humble life.

President Kimball asks,

“What could you do better for your children and your children’s children than to record the story of your life, your triumphs over adversity, your recovery after a fall, your progress when all seemed black, your rejoicing when you had finally achieved?

“Some of what you write may be humdrum dates and places, but there will also be rich passages that will be quoted by your posterity.”

And then here was the clincher … the challenge from a prophet (and just as good today as it was back then):

“Get a notebook, my young folks, a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity. Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events.

So, my friends, I took the challenge from my former Bishop and from the Prophet.  As already noted, I went home that day and found a little notebook and began writing.  Later I began purchasing nicer journal volumes.  And the truth is that from that day forward – from May 20, 1973, I have literally made a DAILY entry in my journal for EVERY day since that time.  That now equates to over 135 volumes and somewhere around 45,000 plus pages on my life and those I love or whom I have come in contact with.

Now I admit that I have not made the final journal entry for every day of my life. If I get behind, I now write daily notes at the end of the day – on my characteristic 3×5” index cards.  And then when I get time, I type these up into the full entries (and the notes give me the detail to do so).  This system has worked really well for me.  (When I had missionaries out, I typed the full week’s entry package in time to e-mail to them on their P-Day.)

These journals have been a great blessing to me and to our family and I am so very grateful for them.  We are very frequently found researching past volumes and it is amazing and wonderful to read these entries.  There has been much that is mundane that has been recorded but in the process of daily entries, there is much that is fabulous.  The journals show my progress made in life, how the Lord has guided my life and the great blessings given us of the Lord.  And this has been magnificent!

Some suggestions for your journal writing:

  1. Decide TODAY to write and to do it each day
  2. Develop a set time each day to write and do this religiously – this could be at lunch time, study time, just before dinner, at the end of the day, etc. The key is to be VERY CONSISTENT!
  3. Write even when you feel too tired to do so
  4. Carry the journal with you everywhere and write whenever you have a few spare minutes (especially as you’re waiting for something or someone)
  5. Don’t read past entries until six months or a year has passed … then the trauma will be over and you can see it all in perspective and can recognize the growth, progress, and blessings that have come in that time
  6. Keep consistent in the type of books or files that you keep – so that you can keep them together and can research them easily
  7. Develop a plan for archiving the records – and giving copies to key people or organizations (children, BYU, Church History Library or whatever)

And so, looking back over the years, was it worth it?  Would I do it all over again?  Why am I grateful that I have maintained a journal?

Here are at least some of the benefits:

  1. By writing in the journal I document life events that happen, who I do things with, and my feelings about those events
  2. I can daily acknowledge the Lord for His many blessings to me and family
  3. I can see growth and progress over time
  4. I can see that as President Hinckley often said, “Things will work out {and have worked out]
  5. I can research past journal for inclusion in greater projects
  6. I can research and find things that happened to my “peeps” on the day that they were born,, married, suffered challenges, and more
  7. I can feel and know of the Lord’s guidance and direction in my life
  8. Reading of past journal entries can provide great entertainment at gatherings of family and friends
  9. I can research entries about associations with specific people with whom I have developed a special bond
  10. I can “relive” special times and events that have been long forgotten (by me and family)
  11. The journal helps me to be positive about life as I look for the good things that have happened in my life and others
  12. Can be a repository of scrapbook type things – programs, , photos, invitations, certificates, and more if desired
  13. I can record in the journal , poems,  articles and talks and other documents that I create (or that I receive from others)
  14. Records information that others do not take the time or effort to record
  15. If desired, I can also add photographs that tie to the activity or event talked of in the journal
  16. I can use the journals as a reference for creating a more abbreviated personal or family history
  17. I can record my goals, hopes, and dreams – and then watch as they develop
  18. I can make a record of each day so that details of the day are retained – and so that the events do not just pass away into oblivion
  19. Bu recording a journal entry as it happens, it can be recalled when I am old and no longer able to remember those details
  20. I can document events, ordinances, and other things that were not properly recorded by clerks or others – so that the records can be created or updated
  21.  Journals can be a blessing to me, my wife, our children, our grandchildren and generations down the line
  22. What I write is also recorded in heaven (as the scriptures attest) – so I can write my own “Book of Life” (in my words)
  23. Creates bonds of love as people see that you cared enough to write about them – and a special time can be had as you read the journal together
  24. Provides rare proof for the “I Told You So” moments
  25. I can preserve personal and family history
  26. Can record history with major events of the community, the nation, and the world
  27. Documents jobs and positions held with start and finish dates
  28. I can donate the completed journal books and records (digitally, scans, hard copy, readings, videos, etc.) to BYU, The LDS Church Historical Society, FamilySearch and other historical societies for professional record preservation for use by generations to come
  29. The journal becomes a primary or original source of information
  30. I can know that my life has had purpose, that I have accomplished great things
  31. I can rejoice in the Lord and be grateful for each day and for my life as it comes and then too soon passes

I could go on and on, but I think you can get the picture.  And I affirm that I have realized each one of those blessings.  And so, my journaling has been worth every effort and sacrifice made to create the records.  I am so grateful for the inspiration to write, of what to write, the time and the personal commitment and stamina to keep writing.  The journal package (of 47 years) is truly one of my greatest of treasures.

Well, there you have it!  There is your challenge!  I hope you will take up the journaling challenge (at whatever your age) and that you will find great joy and happiness through the years as you and your posterity reap the blessings of such an effort.

I am grateful for my personal journals!

gratitude for people who have touched my life

#GiveThanks Gratitude Blog #9: GRATITUDE FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE TOUCHED MY LIFE

By Kevin V. Hunt

As I have recently written a variety of articles on the subject of gratitude, I realized that I would be amiss and totally ungrateful if I did not recognize and express gratitude for people who have touched my life.  At my current age in life, I realize that there are probably hundreds of great people who have touched my life and made an impact on me.  And taking this on in a blog can be dangerous – in that there is so much possibility that I could forget someone.  So, I make an apology up front.  I do not want to forget anyone but still, the list could go on forever.  Anyway, I express general gratitude for each of you for all that you have done for me.  I am sure that your names and faces will come to me as I continue to think along this line of gratitude.

And as I make my list, and again because of age, I sadly realize that many of the great impactors have now since passed on.  And even more sad, I did not tell some of them how much they meant to me.

I am grateful for My parents Russel F. Hunt and Alura Larsen – My folks brought me into the world.  They taught me to be great and grand.  Dad worked hard and never said ill of anyone.  Mom is still living and giving as she always has.  She taught me to work.  She helped me to be a great Scout

I am grateful for My siblings – Lesa, Kyla, Darcy, Laurie, and Ray – Each one is special and taught me many good things.  I am grateful for their service, their love, and their continuing association

I am grateful for My brother, Dean who died just a week before his 17th birthday.  We had our brother moments and fought.  He was the epitome of everything positive, a great leader, and just amazing.  I think we have been better friends since his departure as we have shared projects.  I am still proud to be “Dean Hunt’s brother!”

I am grateful for My Hunt and Larsen Grandparents.  I do not remember my Grandma Larsen.  She died when I was just three years old.  But she raised my mother to be the great lady that she is today.  Memories of Grandpa Larsen are kind of sketchy, but he is Grandpa.  Grandpa Hunt …  I can not say enough good about him.  A pillar of strength!  A man of God!  And Grandma Augusta – mother of 13, grandmother of 82.  The quilt maker!  Always there to help in any way.  She and I were partners in genealogy and family history.

I am grateful for Clara Hardy, a neighbor of my youth.  Another grand lady.  A super pie maker.  Service was her watchword. 

I am grateful for Clyde and Lucille Farr who were some of the greatest people I have ever known.  I remember when we lived on their farm in Mesa, Arizona when we moved from Wyoming.  Amazing parents of 10 children.  They were like my second parents.

I am grateful for Deon Morris.  Deon lived for many years on our Park Place street.  He was a devoted friend to my father – even in dad’s bad times.  Deon never gave up on him.

I am grateful for Jake and Emeda Taylor, who were our back-fence neighbors in my childhood.  There was a fence between us, but Jake built a stile up over so that we could easily visit back and forth.  They were like grandparents to me.  I loved to go to their Walzburg, Utah farm.  Jake’s yard and garden were like the Garden of Eden.

I am grateful for Early school teachers:  Miss Downer (1st Grade), Mollymae Johnson (2nd Grade), Mrs. Rowena Brewer (3rd Grade), Miss Joyce Crismon (4th Grade – and whose brother Charles later married my sister – so we shared many fun family events together), Mr. Sherrill Newby (5th Grade), Miss Ann Barnes (6th Grade) – all very positive teachers.

I am grateful for Melvin and Virginia Stradling.  Melvin and Virginia moved into our Mesa 10th Ward as newlyweds when I was twelve.  They taught a two-month Sunday School class on the subject of genealogy and they got me hooked for life!

I am grateful for Russell Dean Kinsey, one of the greatest home teachers in the church.  He and I were companions for 4 years.  He loved home teaching and passed that love onto me.  He was a traveling salesman and was out of town frequently, but he was always home for our standing 3rd Sunday home teaching appointments.

I am grateful for Ariel Ricks, my 9th grade Seminary Teacher.  He taught me to love The Book of Mormon.  And his promise of strawberry pie from Bob’s Big Boy restaurant in Mesa motivated me to read the Book three times that year.  He helped me to be on the championship “scripture chase” team.

I am grateful for My friend Scott Gunnell.  Scott and I were good friends growing up.  He is one who has always been there – and still is.  Always excited to hear about me and my life and times.

I am grateful for My Scouting patrol leader, Randy Maughan.  I credit him for teaching me many skills to earn my 1st Class rank.

I am grateful for My Scoutmaster, G. Kimball Nelson.  Wow!  What a great man.  As “Mr. Nelson” he was my junior high science teacher.  Photographer … he documented my history of Scouting.  He taught me to love Dutch oven and other outdoor cooking.  He led us on some fabulous hikes – like Havasu Canyon, 4-Peaks, The Superstitions, and more.  He taught science and Scouting together as he took our photographs.  He also challenged me to earn four Eagle Scout palms – more than him, Ken Porter, and others on the troop leadership team.

I am grateful for My Scoutmaster and special friend, Jim Johnson.  Another Wow! A truly great man.  He was self-employed as a painter, but he took off three weeks to take me and our entire troop of 13 Scouts to the 1973 National Scout Jamboree in Farragut, Idaho.  The salt of the earth!  Would give anything for his Scout “boys”.  And his wife, LuNiel willingly shared him with us.

I am grateful for Tenth Ward Friends – There are so many great ones!  They were my quorum leaders, my MIA leaders, dance instructors, road show leaders and more.  I have written a history of my connections in 10th Ward.  Most of these great people remained life-long friends.  The greatest of folks – all the salt of the earth!

I am grateful for my fellow Scouts in good old Troop 155 “The BEST ALIVE”.  We had such grand times. … Chris Wagner, Ronnie Gardner, Bill Bentley, Lance Gavin, Mike Johnson, Randy Maughan, Scott Gunnell, Richard Ray, Zydel Miranda, Terry Alvis, Dale Crismon, Mark Killian, and all of the rest.  Great guys and great times!  And I am grateful for those younger than me – with whom I had great times as I served them in various ways – my brothers Kyle and Darcy, Robert Wagner, Kelly Denham, David Porter, DeLane Davidson, Kenny Smith, Don Carroll, Brent Johnson, Danny Cluff, David Killian, Marion and Howard Peterson, Mark and Jeff Johnson, Lance Gardner, Scott Johnson, John Ray, Smith Skouson and others.  Troop 155 truly was the best alive.

I am grateful for Park Place Neighbors.  We grew up “on the Monopoly Board” with some great people – like the Nulands, Doc and Hazel Douglas, The Watkins, Williams, Perkins, David and JoAnn Moore, and many more.  Great folks and great times.

I am grateful for J. Darwin Gunnell, who impacted my life in many roles over many years.  Darwin was the Bishop when we first moved into the 10th Ward.  He gave me my baptism interview.  He was the director of the Temple Visitor’s Center when Dean and I were teen guides.  As my young-adult Sunday school teacher, it was him who got me into the mode and habit of daily journal writing.  That was 47 years ago, and I still have a daily record for every day since.  And after I got married, Darwin was the Director of the Temple Visitor’s Center in Ogden, Utah where we lived, and he got my wife and me on as Temple guides once again.

I am grateful for Bishop Virgil Crismon.  Virgil was one of my teen bishops.  He recruited me to work in his flower shop and trained me in great skills.  Frugal was his middle name but he made me appreciate that skill.  And his son later married my sister.

I am grateful for Betty Ray.  Betty was my primary teacher and I thought that she was about as near perfect as one could be.  Sadly, she died way too young.  Her husband, Ellsworth was another great.  I thought that these folks were the greatest of parents.  They raised eleven fabulous children.  An example to all!

I am grateful for Bishop C. Max Killian.  I can not say enough about Max.  Such a fabulous man.  He was the Bishop when my mother was his Relief Society President.  He was our Bishop when Dean died.  He was the financial strength that got our troop to the National Scout Jamboree.  Such a great supporter of youth, Scouting and the church.

I am grateful for Gay Killian.  Gay is the wife of Max.  She was my Cub Scout Den Leader.  She offered me a reward of anything I wanted if I would quit biting my fingernails.  All I could come up with for a reward was a pair of socks.  A great friend to my mother for many years.

I am grateful for Fred and Wilma Turley.  Just like the Flintstones, these folks were rock solid.  They lived on my paper route and they constantly invited me in.  They treated me as if I were one of their own grandsons.  They had a going-away party when they were dying – a few days before.  Super folks!

I am grateful for Bishop Egon Johnson.  Bishop Egon was my Teacher’s Quorum Advisor and taught great lessons.  Later he was my Bishop as I got home from my mission.  And he and his wife, Joan, have been the greatest of friends to my mother through the years.

I am grateful for Ron Wilcock.  Ron was my Deacon’s Quorum Advisor.  Though 50 plus years ago, I can still remember one of his lessons.  He taught us the formula of K+CA=P+H (Knowledge and correct action equals progress and happiness!)

I am grateful for Jay Farnsworth.  Jay lived on my newspaper route and we frequently had good visits.  He and his brother had built one of the grandest and best retirement communities but he lived in a pretty normal and low-key home. He was my “sponsor” to the Eagle Scout recognition dinner.

I am grateful for Bill Wright, who lived next door to Jay.  Bill and I became friends through my newspaper route and he hired me to work at his grocery store.

I am grateful for My Mission President, Spencer H. Osborn.  “P.O” was a great man.  He worked to teach me to teach by the Spirit.  He had a great sense of humor.  I loved his counsel, guidance, and personal interest.

I am grateful for Ken and Sandra Hawk and Family.  I met the Hawk family in Birmingham, Alabama as I served on my mission.  It was my privilege to teach them the Gospel and then to see them have the faith and courage to join the church.  We have maintained the friendship through these many years – and now their four generations in the Church.

I am grateful for ’Uncle George and Aunt Deena”. They were our next-door neighbors in Santa Paula, California.  They loved our children and our children loved them.

I am grateful for Craig Shaltes.  Craig and I were in the Salt Lake City “Mission Home” together.  We went to different missions but ended up together for our last several months when on special assignment in historic Nauvoo, Illinois at the visitor’s center and restored homes.  We have been special friends, ever since.  He has come to my birthday gatherings (coming to Arizona from Sacramento, California).  He helped us move into a new place when we moved to Santa Paula, California.  We were in the Nauvoo pageant together – with our families.  We have enjoyed many special times through the years.  A true friend!

I am grateful for Rulon Skinner, my Youth Leadership professor at Brigham Young University.  Rulon was the example of professionalism in Scouting.  He made the Scouting profession sound so wonderful.  I will always remember his teaching about the fun, adventure, and romance of Scouting.

I am grateful for Jed Stringham.  Jed and I worked together in the Ogden Lake Bonneville Scout council.  Jed was one of the hardest workers I have every met and he literally built everything at the various Scout camps.  I loved putting my staff with him for “Jed Work”.

I am grateful for Scouters of the Mt. Ogden Scouting District.  I served for five years as the District Executive of the Mt. Ogden Scouting district in Ogden, Utah.  I had association with a thousand or more Scouting leaders and the district committee members were the best of the best.

I am grateful for Darl Gleed, my first Scout Executive in Ogden.  He Scouted me out even before I graduated from BYU and made sure that he got me hired – before anyone else even got to look at me.  He was organized and personable.

I am grateful for Steve and Shaunna Flammer.  Steve and Shaunna were on my camp staff at Camp Bartlett.  She was the staff cook and he was the waterfront director.  We have been friends through these many years.

I am grateful for Scott Foley, also a member of my Bartlett camp staff,.  He was a guy who was totally dedicated to me.  He would perform any service that I desired of him.

I am grateful for Delose Connor, a fellow camp staffer and professional Scouter in Ogden.  We had our differences, but I saw him as the greatest Camp Director I have ever worked with and I learned many important skills from him.  We also share the love of writing books.

I am grateful for Lowell Clontz, my first District Chairman in the Mt. Ogden District.  Lowell was a big supporter of the Scouting program.

I am grateful for Richard Moyle, my second District Chairman in Ogden.  A man of God and a powerhouse of service and strength.  He was willing to give anything to Scouting and to our program and volunteers..

I am grateful for Darryl Alder. Darryl and I first met as we were enrolled together in a camp school teaching us to be camp and program directors.  We were in the same “Boss Hogs” patrol and we had a grand time – with him being the spark plug for our patrol.   Years later, it was Darryl who taught me how to be a blogger of Scouting (and other things).  So, he changed my life!

I am grateful for Steve Vonasek.  Steve and his wife and Lou and I were friends in Santa Barbara, California.  Steve was one of those guys who would do anything for you.  He worked hard to provide for his family and explored different options to do so.  Steve surprised me a couple of weeks ago with a call for some of the recipes that he remembered me making thirty plus years ago.

I am grateful for Alan Chalmers.  Alan was my head commissioner when I worked professionally as a Scouter in Santa Barbara, California.  He was one of those truly dedicated “red-coat” Scouters.  And he was definitely a role model as he and his wife were parents of ten children.

I am grateful for Camp Staff friends through the years.  It would be impossible to single out staff members who touched our lives but each summer for many years, we got to know many staff members.  Our association was generally just for a summer, but it was amazing to work with these men (and women) who were so dedicated to the Scouts whom we served.

I am grateful for Steve Lazenby.  Steve was my special friend when we lived in Santa Paula, California.  We were immediately brothers.  He did hundreds of acts of service to me and Lou as our priesthood leader and friend.  When I was out of a job, he welcomed me to his business – not for pay – but to just hang out.  He was a tremendous strength.  He was later our Bishop.  He and Susan have opened their home to us each time that we have made it back to Santa Paula.

I am grateful for Don and Peggy Hansen.  We knew Don and Peggy when we lived in Coolidge, Arizona.  It was amazing to watch them with their full dozen children.  We have enjoyed special association with them over many years.

I am grateful for Scouts of the 20th Ward in Mesa.  We lived in the 20th Ward for some three years and it was a great time.  So many super folks there.

I am grateful for Richard Hale.  Richard and his wife, Kim, were our special neighbors and friends in Mesa.  We lived down the street from them for 25 years.  Richard took off work the day that we moved in so that he could come to help us with the move.  He was there for our every need.  He fixed our computers, our roof, and was the doctor to our children.  No sacrifice was too much for him.  He was an ardent supporter of my hopes and dreams.  One of the greatest men I have ever known.

I am grateful for Mel Stout – “the Stout Scout”.  Mel and I became friends in the Sons of the Utah Pioneers organization and got me into the Mormon Battalion – of which I have been a member for 30 years.  He taught me to love the stars, the flag, and many other Scouting skills. Mel and I made many Battalion neckerchief slide presentations at Eagle Scout courts of honor. He made me feel great!

I am grateful for David Rodriguez.  David and I first served as co-leaders of the Blazer (11-year old) Scout) patrol.  He was my assistant.  We had great times together.  Later he was the Bishop, and it was my great pleasure to be his first counselor.  He taught me a lot about humility, leadership, and service.

I am grateful for Audrey Burklund, and Al and Joyce Berry.  I was the home teacher to both of these families for some 18 years.  Each month was a special experience as various companions and I visited their homes.  Truly great folks!

I am grateful for my friend, Jesus Cabrera, a fellow bus driver in Mesa.  We were just brothers from the beginning.  It was so great to see him and to feel of his spirit and strength.  My greatest wish was to share with him my beliefs in the restored Church of Jesus Christ.

I am grateful for Jason Dickson and Family.  We were back-fence neighbors for twenty plus years.  We had so many great visits back at the fence and as we shared family experiences.  One of those true brothers!

I am grateful for Bill Pasquale.  Bill and I met in Michigan when I was there to present management training for managers and supervisors relative to safety and claims management.  Bill operated a major waste disposal company that was a part of our Allied Waste.  We became instant brothers.  This Arizona boy went without a coat to snowy Michigan and Bill literally took the coat off of his back and gave it to me – for keeps.  Years later I was to be in Michigan – and assuming that everything in Michigan was an hour away from each other – I called him to help transport me from one place to another.  He did not tell me that it would be a six- or seven-hour trip (each way) for him … but he was there.  Talk about going the extra mile!  It was my honor to accompany him to the open house for the Detroit, Michigan Temple.

I am grateful for Jack Crum and Cameron ‘Crum, owners of Crum Plumbing.  I worked for Jack for seven years as his office manager.  Jack was a super hard worker and was dedicated to his employees and their needs.

I am grateful for Jan Sorensen, my Larsen cousin.  Jan and I were somewhat close in age.  I loved her enthusiasm each time our families got together.  And through all of these years, she is still one of my best blog readers.  She seems to read and like them all!

I am grateful for Linda Hunt Bishop.  Linda is the oldest of the 82 grandchildren – us cousins – of Ray and Augusta Hunt.  She has sacrificed much to write music for many of my Christmas songs – with no expectation of financial remuneration.  She also reads and comments on all of my blogs.

I am grateful for my cousin, Roy Hunt.  We really did not connect until we were both young adults (since he was from Washington and I was from Arizona), but we became as brothers – not just distant cousins.  It was my great honor to compile his biography following his early death.

I am grateful for Raymond Johnson, my Mesa Stake President for many years.  President Johnson gave me the opportunity to be the stake historian and to create a major history of the stake each year for eight years.  He was definitely a believer in and a supporter of the history effort.

I am grateful for Mike Fleming, also a stake president in Mesa.  I learned of the importance of the Temple from him.

I am grateful for President Jeff Cooley of our Mesa, Arizona Pueblo Stake.  He was a solid farmer who had very practical and helpful advice which I tried to follow.

I am grateful for two really amazing Scout troops who came to Camp Thunder Ridge when I worked there in 2017.  These were troop 26 from Logandale, Nevada and Troop 605 from Richfield, Utah.  Their leaders – the whole team for each troop – were absolutely amazing.  These men had caught the vision of Scouting and what it could do for their boys.  The men were all committed.  They saw Scouting as a means to bring their boys to Christ.  The troops were in complete uniform and they were fabulous in all that they did. (Troop 26 is still featured in the masthead for my kevinthescout blogsite as shown above.)

I am grateful for a man who came to Camp Thunder Ridge as a Scoutmaster.  This was Travis Wood.  He was not the “normal” that one would expect from a Scoutmaster.  He was a military veteran and had lost one leg through his service.  What I noticed and loved about this guy was his smile.  Even though he had been through Hell, with multiple operations and trauma, this guy was happy.  He smiled literally all of the time.  I wrote a blog just about him and have thought of him often.  Such a great guy!

I am grateful for Jim Shoaf.  Jim and I served together as bus drivers in Maricopa, Arizona after Lou and I moved there.  Jim was the operator of the local food bank and gave all of his time and resources to literally feed the community.  A great man!

I am grateful for Jonathan Parks.  As a high school student at Maricopa High School, Jonathan rode my bus for three years.  He always had a smile for me and a cheerful greeting.  He knows where he is going in life and is working hard to achieve what he wants.

I am grateful for My In-Laws.  I grew to love E.H. and Verna Belcher.  She was one best friends with my wife Lou, and they had good times.  Verna worked hard to take care of her husband, children, and grandchildren.  “H” was a super worker and great at getting everyone else to work.  H was always willing to share his resources if we were willing to meet him half-way doing some kind of service.  Many of the Belcher clan have come to our assistance often when we were in great need.  Holly has been our home away from home and helped with all of our wedding receptions and other gatherings.

I am grateful for My Children.  As noted, I have nine children.  Yes, and nine is fine!  I am so proud of each one and their spouses and families.  I could write a gratitude book on each of the children and their families – but I will leave that to another day.  Let me say that I love each one and am so grateful for their talents and abilities and willingness to assist me and Lou with anything and everything.

I am grateful for My Grandchildren – all 38 of them!  It is not all about the numbers – though this is impressive.  I love each one individually and I recognize the greatness of each one.  Their hugs are all amazing.  I want the best for each of them.  I love having them come to see us.

I am grateful for Church Presidents Kimball, Hinckley, Monson, and Nelson.  All of the modern Prophets are amazing, and I have known half of them – from President David O. McKay up to Pres. Nelson today.  Some have had special influence on me.  President Kimball taught me the importance of the law of the fast and giving a generous fast offering (and then reaping the financial rewards of such contributions).  I remember him as the great missionary who saw in vision how we would take the gospel to the world.  President Hinckley was the Temple builder and an eternal optimist.  President Monson was so magnificent as he spoke and shared his life experiences.  I loved how he worked every minute to be “on the Lord’s errand”.  And President Nelson … the Lord’s prophet today.  He has changed our world and taught us so much as he has strived to bring us closer to God.

I am grateful for My wife, Lou Dene Belcher … Lou … how can I say enough about her?  She has been my everything for 42 plus years.  She is amazing.  She spends her entire life in service to me and everyone around her.  Her best quality is that she knows all of my faults but still somehow puts up with me and even loves me, too.  She supports me in everything that I do.  She is an amazing wife, mother, and grandmother.  I am grateful each day for Lou.

Well, that is a pretty good list.  I am sure that it could have been longer, but I did not try to leave any major players out.  I appreciate all of you and what you have done to make my life rich and full.  I am grateful for the many people who have touched my life.  Thanks to all of you!

GRATITUDE THAT I AM STILL IN SCOUTING

#GiveThanks  Gratitude Blog #8 – GRATITUDE THAT I AM STILL IN SCOUTING

I have recently been publishing some gratitude blogs.  In keeping with that theme, I would like to republish an article that I wrote, and which appeared in the ‘SCOUTINGTRAIL” a publication of the Trapper Trails Council in Ogden, Utah on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2016.

Since that time, some things have changed in Scouting.  For many years, I was affiliated with Scouting through my church association.  That association no longer continues.  But in spite of those changes, Scouting continues to be good and can go forward to be a wonderful thing in the lives of our youth.  In my own case, I have chosen to continue my own connection with the Scouting program.  I spent thirty years in Scouting in Mesa and Gilbert, Arizona.  And with the church/BSA separation, I have affiliated with Troop 54 in Lehi (a small community in north Mesa).  Troop 54 is one of the longest tenured troops in Arizona.  It is now in its 104th year.  This association has proved to be exciting, a lot of fun, and I am serving alongside some of the greatest of Scouters who are serving because of personal choice – and not because of church responsibility.  And it is the same with the Scouts.  They are all there because they WANT to be.  I plan to write more about this great troop – and particularly the Hawk patrols –  in future blogs.  But in the meantime, I am still grateful I’m in Scouting.  And here is the blog that I wrote that Thanksgiving Day of 2016- and it still applies!

“Today on Thanksgiving, as I was counting my blessings, Scouting came to the top of the list.  After a life-time of Scouting, it has proven to be one of my greatest blessings – and it has made for a good life as I have climbed the Eagle trail, progressed from Cub Scout to veteran Scouter and have enjoyed so many wonderful Scouting brothers and gatherings along the way.  So, as I think about it, I can honestly say, “I’m so grateful I’m in Scouting!”

And being a writer – or attempting to be, I decided to put my feelings into poetic prose.  So, here goes:

I’m so Grateful I’m in Scouting

Written by Kevin Hunt on Thanksgiving Day – November 24th – 2016 and dedicated to all Scouts and Scouters everywhere.”

 I’m so grateful I’m in Scouting,

growing, serving, so much to give.

Scouting brotherhood and outings,

Oh, what a life it’s been to live.

We started with the Cub Scouts,

and we all love the Blue and Gold.

Such fun in dens, and packs as Scouts,

When done with fam’lies young and old.

We earn our wolf badge, then the bear,

Then Webelos, Arrow of Light.

We get to go to day camp where,

We all have fun with all our might.

New Scout Patrol is next you see,

We start as Scouts then Tenderfeets.

Then Second, First Class Scouts we be,

Star, Life, then Eagle Scout so sweet.

To be an Eagle Scout is best,

And that’s the goal that we all seek.

We climb the trail and pass each test,

along our way to Eagle’s peak.

As Scouts we get to camp and hike,

The Scouts and leaders all are there.

We tromp thru snow, or ride our bike,

We hike the hills, camp everywhere.

We have grand times at camporees,

our weeks at summer camp are best.

If we’re lucky, to jamborees,

So much to do, no time to rest.

What can beat the smell of bacon,

as we’re camping on the trail.

And together we are making

the grub that we all love so well.

Dutch oven cobbler, biscuits too,

and our S’mores cooked on a stick.

The pancakes burning, what to do,

Use coals, not flames – now that’s the trick.

From boy to man we watch them grow,

that pers’nal growth brings us such joy.

No greater wonder could we know,

yet we saw power in that boy.

We move to adult up from youth,

At any age, Scouting is fun.

It seems we cannot get enough,

We cannot ever say we’re done.

We go for training, learning well,

So we can teach, help others grow.

I’m a beaver – or bear – we tell,

With Wood Badge spirit our faces glow.

Scout Oath and Law, we proudly say,

Together every time we can.

These are our guides, they light our way,

along our trails to be a man.

Scouting puts us on our honor,

and true to God and fellow men.

As we raise high the Scouting banner,

and strive to be the best of men.

They come and go, each Scouting year,

But with each year, our joy o’er flows.

The best of times, as Scouts we cheer,

This Scouting life, we’re glad we chose.

Yes, I’m grateful I’m in Scouting,

For the brotherhood I’ve shared.

I’ve enjoyed so much each outing,

and my quest to “Be Prepared”.

And yes, I’m still grateful that I can STILL be in Scouting – going forward with renewed 20/20 vision!

Best wishes along your Scouting Trails …  Kevin

GRATITUDE FOR THE RESTORED GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST

#GiveThanks Blog #7: GRATITUDE FOR THE RESTORED GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST

By Kevin V. Hunt (Published November 30, 2020)

I love to hear the children of our church as they sing with gusto:

“I believe in the Church of Jesus Christ

Of Latter-day Saints.

I know who I am,

I know God’s plan. 

I’ll follow Him in Faith.

I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ,

I’ll honor His name.

I’ll do what is right,

I’ll follow His light.

His truth I will proclaim.”

(Children’s Songbook, Song #77)

I am proud to say that I do, indeed, belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  In an earlier blog I noted that I am grateful for my ancestors.  I am grateful for ancestors who had the faith, courage, and conviction to join with the Church in various places in America and Denmark.  I am grateful that my family has been in the church for five to eight generations. What a legacy!

But even though I have deep roots in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter0day Saints, I am grateful that I took the opportunity to gain my own personal conviction of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And I did come to know that I belong to the true church of Jesus Christ – as restored through a modern-day Prophet, even Joseph Smith.  I say “restored” because I have come to know that it is, in fact, the Church as restored and organized by Jesus Christ in His day.

When Jesus lived in mortality, he restored truths that he had given to His prophets over centuries before.  He restored the Church once again here upon the earth.  He organized His Church with Twelve Apostles and gave them guidance and instruction to carry on His church following his death and resurrection.  He gave them the Gift of the Holy Ghost to guide and direct each church leader and indeed, each member of His church.

For a time, the Apostles chosen by Jesus carried on His work through the organization which Christ had given to them.  Eventually, however, the Church was once again taken from the earth as apostasy once again reared its ugly head.  Apostles were killed and thus the link to Christ and His true Gospel was lost.

Then in 1820, and according to ancient prophesy, the true Church of Jesus Christ began to be restored to the earth.  The Lord had once again prepared a young prophet through whom he would restore the Priesthood – the power to act in the name of Christ to perform miracles and to lead the church.

In the spring of that year, young Joseph Smith was confused about religion and which church he should join.  He pondered this sincerely over time.  Then he read in the Bible – in James, Chapter 1, Verse 5:  “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not and it shall be given him.”   Joseph read this scripture over and over and pondered it in his heart.  At length, he decided to put this promise to the test.  He went to a nearby grove of trees to pray as the scripture suggested.

What happened that day changed the world.  And I am very grateful for the grand vision that he saw.  I am grateful for the knowledge that he did indeed, see God, the Father of the Universe and His Son, Jesus Christ.  They appeared as two divine beings, separate and distinct, as glorious resurrected bodies.  In that vision, God called Joseph by name and then pointed to his son, Jesus, and said, “This is my Beloved Son, hear him!”  Joseph was told that he was to join none of the churches of the day – and that soon, Joseph would be the means through which the Priesthood and the Gospel of Jesus Christ would once more be restored to the Earth.

I am grateful for the divine truths learned that day from that glorious vision.  Those truths – for which I am most grateful, include:

God knows each of us by name as his children and he loves us

God has a plan for his children and Jesus is the center of that Plan

God and Jesus Christ are separate and distinct beings

God and Christ have resurrected bodies as tangible as mans

None of the churches of the day were true

The Church would one day soon be restored to the earth

God and Christ can visit man

Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet of God

Three years after the First Vision – as the above came to be known –  Joseph was again visited by a heavenly visitor, by Moroni, an ancient American prophet and now also resurrected.  This angel made many visits to Joseph and taught him how and in what manner the Church of Jesus Christ was to be restored to the earth.  Moroni gave to Joseph a book written by prophets upon gold plates – which contained the history of God’s Church among the ancient peoples of the Americas.

Joseph was the instrument through whom this book was to be published.  This Book, known as The Book of Mormon (named for the prophet editor who compiled the book from many other records of the American prophets) contained the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is now a “second witness – with the Bible – of the Lord’s divinity.  It tells in simple terms of God’s Plan for his children, teaches about life after death, the purpose of life, repentance, service, love, the role of prophets and more.  It is a witness that God loves all of His children and speaks to all peoples of the earth.  It is a witness of the Living Christ who visited the ancient American people following his death and resurrection in Jerusalem.

In May of 1829, Joseph and his scribe, Oliver Cowdery, learned of the need to be baptized as they translated The Book of Mormon record.  They prayed for guidance and direction.  In answer to their prayers, another heavenly being, this time being John – also called “the Baptist” in the New Testament appeared to them.  He said that he came under the direction of Peter, James and John, three of Christ’s original Apostles – who had been ordained by the Lord Jesus, himself.  On that occasion, John ordained Joseph and Oliver to the Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood that was given anciently in the days of Moses.  And with this authority, they had the power to baptize as John had done in his days of mortality.  Peter, James,and John later appeared also to them and bestowed other Priesthood keys – including the Melchizedek or higher Priesthood – upon them by the laying on of their hands.  And with this Priesthood authority, Joseph and Oliver had all of Christ’s power necessary to restore the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth.

I have prayed for my own testimony of the above truths and am here to witness that these are truths restored to us by God and Christ for our day.  I am grateful for this knowledge that I have come to know is true.

Following Joseph Smith, the Priesthood of God has been passed down through the years to various prophets.  And even today, we have a living prophet, even President Russell M. Nelson, who communes with God and gives us direction for out times.  President Nelson has addressed various subjects – how to gain revelation and to speak to God, the gathering of Israel in our day, as well as many other truths.  One such talk given by President Nelson was given to us recently as a “Message of Hope and Healing”.  This was the message that the world needed to hear in this time of disease, pestilence, and natural disasters.

President Nelson challenged each church member to receive hope and healing through the expression of gratitude and acknowledgement of blessings given us each day of God.  President Nelson also prayed specifically for us and for the world.  He prayed for hope and healing from political strife, the current pandemic, and other ills of our present world.  He suggested GRATITUDE as the great power that can heal us of all maladies and problems of the world and in our individual lives.

From the teachings of modern and new scripture – and through the teachings of prophets in our day, I have received additional truths and knowledges from the restored Church of Jesus Christ.  Some of these truths include:

               God works through man to achieve His works here upon the earth

               The Priesthood Authority of God has been restored to the earth

Worthy men can be ordained to the Priesthood of God and can perform miracles just as did Jesus when he was here upon the earth

Families can be united together as eternal families (even beyond death) through sacred Priesthood ordinances in sacred edifices called Temples

Each member of the Church can progress and grow through personal service to others

God guides us today through a living Prophet

The Book of Mormon is the Word of God

The Book of Mormon and the Bible testify together of the divinity of Jesus Christ

We can have and use spiritual gifts available to us through the sustained power of the Holy Ghost

We can all one day be resurrected and return to live as God lives and can be with Him

The first principles and ordinances of the Gospel include Faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion, and the laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost

The same Church as organized by Christ exists today with Apostles, prophets, and other leaders

               Ongoing revelation from God to man

The ongoing gathering of Israel – all of God’s children – from the four quarters of the Earth in our day

That the US Constitution was prompted by God as a foundation for the Restoration of the Lord’s Gospel in our day

Life has a plan implemented by our Heavenly Father for each of us, His Children.  We knew of this Plan before we came to earth.

God sent us to this earth to gain a body, to be tested and to prove ourselves worth of life after death with God and Christ in their heavenly kingdoms

God speaks to Man in all times and guides us back to His presence

All mankind – even those who die without knowledge of God’s Plan will have opportunity to do so and can receive saving ordinances in person or by proxy of other people for them

The future glorious mission of the Church in preparation for the glorious Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in his full glory as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

I am grateful for knowledge that I have that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth.  I am grateful for a living prophet.  I am grateful for the knowledge that God lives and that He guides the Church today through his son, Jesus Christ, and His living prophet.

Recognition and obedience to these truths have guided and shaped my life.   They have given me great joy and happiness.  I acknowledge my God and Christ in receipt of the glorious blessings and opportunities that come to me through restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For these and all blessings, I am truly grateful.

GRATITUDE FOR MY FAMILY

#GiveThanks Gratitude Blog #6: GRATITUDE FOR FAMILY

By Kevin V. Hunt (Published November 29, 2020)

I have noted that I got into family history and genealogy when I was about twelve years old.  There were no computers in those days.  Everything was done on paper.  I had these giant binders that I filled with pedigree charts and family group records.  I remember that the family group records had room for eleven children.  That is when I decided that I wanted to have eleven children after my future marriage.  And I held to that goal or dream from then on.

When I was to get married to Lou Belcher, I had to appear before the large and ominous Belcher family council for approval to come in as an “outlaw”.  This has long been a tradition in the family.  It is like standing before a firing squad.

It was a traumatic day on that August day when I appeared.  And it started out bad.  I had worked all summer long at Camp Loll – a Boy Scout camp located near Flagg Ranch on the south border of Yellowstone Park.  The camp was located in a remote area and from either east or west one had to traverse twenty miles or more of a really horrible dirt road.  Anyway, that morning when it was time to depart camp, it rained all morning – and had rained all night, as well.  And I was to pull a trailer from the camp back to Ogden, Utah – the council headquarters.  And they were going to loan it to me for the weekend.  We did finally get out of camp – and the muddy slop of those many miles.

Also, I had a full set of radial 500’s tires that had all been recalled.  But I did not know that at the time.  I had one of those tires blow-out as I traveled that day from Idaho to Utah.  And my wife-to-be lived down this little country lane in Salt Lake City.  I took the wrong turn and ended up at the top of a hill and at the wrong house in the lane.  I had to do about a 50-point turn trying to maneuver that trailer house around in order to get turned around. 

With all of the noted excitement, I was then two hours late to the big family council meeting.  And I am one who cannot stand to be late.

And to make matters worse, I had as yet never met Lou’s parents or any of her family.  And she was the last of nine children to get married – at age 25.  So, the family was really harassing her about my late arrival and were wondering if she even had a man and if he was going to show up.  (And that was long before cell phones – so there was no way to communicate with them.)  Such were the circumstances when I finally did show up.  Lou later said that I was shaking over my full body and kind of traumatized as I made my entrance at the Belcher home.  (And her father, anxious to get her married off, warned the family not to harass me about being late.)

So, I got into the house and found about forty people there staring me down as I made my entry.  I got sat down and the firing squad took aim.  The protocol was that the oldest family member  would begin the questioning and then it would proceed around the circle composed of Lou’s siblings and all of their posterity, too.  Each one could ask any question they wanted.  (“Who is going to take out the garbage?”  “who will wash the dishes?”  “Who will manage the finances ….” 

The came the big question of the day … “How many children are you going to have?”  That was a good question – one that we had never talked about.  I think I mentioned that we had kind a whirlwind courtship. I later researched in my journal and found that we had all of eight  dates over a two-year period and I proposed by mail after not seeing her for four months.  And we had hardly even held hands.  (Our first kiss – and my first kiss ever – was over the marriage altar!)  I told the family that from the time I was about twelve years old, I had wanted to have eleven children.  I explained that I didn’t like eggs – so with a dozen eggs, my wife and eleven children could each have one.  (Great reasoning, huh?)   I then turned to my bride-to-be and asked, “How many children do you want?”  Lou said that from the time that she was a little girl, she had always wanted a full dozen children.  I said, “Okay, we will compromise and have twelve children!”  And from that moment, that became the goal for us.  And we worked hard to achieve it!  (I note that somehow I passed the “Outlaw” test and was approved to enter the Belcher Clan – and they presented me with five cans of their famous home-made applesauce.  They had a family orchard and one year they picked all of the apples and canned them into applesauce at the church cannery.  And forever after, they gave a couple of cases to the incoming “outlaw”.  But, I had already got my cases … Lou had someone deliver them to me as a way of keeping me on the line.  And I knew what that meant!)

The children came along fairly regularly as we invited them to come join us.  Then with a variety of circumstances, the reality of it all hit us.  And after number nine, Lou said, “Nine if fine!”  And we have through many years, found that “nine really is fine!”  We have been so grateful that we did not limit our family – even though we did have our challenges.  We were very blessed, and the Lord was with us as we welcomed each of the children into our home.

For years I worked summers in boy Scout camps around the west.  They asked me not to sing in the church choir, but I did enjoy singing around the campfire at these camps.  One of my favorite songs to lead was called “Sippin’ Cider”.  This was a sing and repeat song.  So, I would sing a line and then the campers would sing it back to me.  And after four lines, we would sing four lines together.  The words of the song are interesting:

“The prettiest girl I ever saw,

Was sippin’ cider through a straw

…  First cheek to cheek, then jaw to jaw,

We sipped our cider through a straw.

Then once or twice that straw would slip,

And we sipped cider, lip to lip.

That’s how I got my mother-in-law,

From sippin’ cider through a straw.

Now 49 kids all call me pa,

From sippin’ cider through a straw.

A few years ago, as I was leading this song, I started thinking about the 49 kids.  Hmmm … nine children, eight in-laws, and 32 grandchildren.  Wow!  That is me! I do have 49 kids who all call me pa!  I could not believe it.

Ana as I said, that was a few years ago.  Now we have added a son-in-law and six more grandchildren.  So, with my wife and me, that is 58 of us!  I cannot believe it!  We are all kind of amazed.  So, yes, 58 of us … just from my wife and me.  We are grateful that we have been blessed with first three daughters, then three sons, and then three more daughter – and their nine spouses..  And then 38 grandchildren.  They bring us much joy and happiness.

We began our family in Ogden, Utah and then moved to Santa Barbara, California when we had three daughters.  Our first son was born there.  Two sons, and a daughter were born in Santa Paula, California.  We moved from California back to my Arizona home when the daughter was just three days old.  Then two more daughters were born in Arizona.  That is when Lou said, “Nine is FINE!”

Recently we sold the family home in Mesa, Arizona where we had lived for 24 years and where we had raised the children.  It was a traumatic decision, but it proved to be a good one.  We were able to sell the family home and then paid cash for a brand-new home in the small town of Maricopa, Arizona.  We are so grateful that we now have no home mortgage.  And with five bedrooms and three full baths, we have room to welcome any family who comes to visit us.   We have one room that is dedicated totally to the grandchildren.  It has a Murphy bunk bed set that we built, a reading bench, a large children’s library, and a plethora of toys.  The grandkids make a beeline directly there the second that they enter our home.  It is so fun to see them have so much fun in this room together.  And we have been blessed with a “party back yard” where we can gather for fun events with the family – for campfire programs, dances, movies, S’mores, sitting and hanging out by the fire table, and big group dinners.  We love the garden and many fruit trees.  It is great that we have exactly half of the grandchildren here in our small town with us.  (And eight others live 30-45 minutes away.  Seven are in Idaho and four are in Illinois.)  We are greatly blessed. And we rejoice in all that the Lord has given to us.

Generally, our children get along well.  We are probably pretty typical in this regard.  Some downs, but mostly ups.  They support each other and compliment (or complement) each other on good things happening in their lives.  We utilize the GroupMe platform as our own private family social media.  We post photos, recipes, events and more there.  It is fun to read each post.  The ladies (and sometimes the men) use Marco Polo to post mini video clips about their lives and times.

We enjoy getting together for gatherings or reunions – big or small.  We get together for most holidays.  We try not to spend much money – but mostly just gather to gather and hang out together.

When Lou or I are having a major birthday – usually like the big ones – every five years – the family generally tries to get together.  And Lou or I – whoever is not having the birthday – tries to create a surprise extravaganza for the other person.  Last year, I experienced one of those biggies.  We missed one wife and her then six children and one son-in-law, but all of the rest of the family were here.  My mother, brother and nephew joined us. My wife really pulled off a great event – and I was truly surprised.  We hung out at a daughter’s ranch.  We had many different game and activities.  The family staged our own traditional no-hands spaghetti dinner.  We had Thanksgiving dinner a couple of days early so that all of the family could be present.  We took at least a million photos.  It was a really grand time.

Cousins always enjoy getting together.  It is fun to watch their interaction.  And of course, Grandpa Kevin loves to take photos of the big cousin groups.

Momma Lou often makes cinnamon rolls or spudnut doughnuts for special occasions.  And sometimes these are accompanied by one of her famous dance parties.  One event that I enjoy every year is the “Spooky Dinner” that Lou stages for my Halloween birthday.  (I think I already mentioned this!)

Lou and I work hard to attend all of the ordinances of family members – baby blessings, baptisms, and ordinations.  We have missed only a couple through the years.  We have not started in on the marriages yet – since our oldest grandson is just age 17.  So, that is 38 grands – all under 17!)  It is always special to attend and participate in these ordinances and the associated gatherings.  The marriage of the youngest daughter was a marvelous event as all of our children and spouses joined us for the sealing ceremony.  Such a great blessing – and we are so grateful for that opportunity.  We also try to attend every sports, music, or school performance if it is at all possible – at least for the six local families.  We love seeing the grandchildren excel and do their best.

Sometimes our children find challenges in their daily raising of their children.  One daughter sometimes gets a bit vocal. When she does, we remind her that “We had NINE children, dear … and remember that you were number Seven!”

We love each of our children, their spouses (whom we count as our own children) and grandchildren.  We have welcomed and rejoiced in the addition of each one and we continue to hope for and welcome each new grandchild … and hope for many more.  (Though the additions seem to have slowed down a bit …)  We count each family member as one of our greatest blessings.  We are grateful for each one and the wonderful things that they are doing in their lives.

We give thanks and express our gratitude for our family and each member.  Life is good because of each one!

GRATITUDE FOR SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES

#GiveThanks

By Kevin V. Hunt (Published November 24, 2020)

I am pleased again to express my Gratitude to God for my many blessings as a part of my week-long blogs on the subject of gratitude.  This blog reflects my gratitude for opportunities to serve other people.  I have received much joy through the years as I have been able to provide service to people or groups in need and I am grateful for those opportunities.

When I was in 6th grade – and later in senior high school, I worked in the school cafeteria.  And by so doing, I received a free lunch.  And often – especially in the elementary cafeteria, they ran out of food – but they always had their wonderful rolls left.  And so, I found myself eating bunches of them.  They were amazing.

People now look back at my pictures and they disagree with me.  But when I was in the time and space as a teenager, I had the mistaken belief that I was a podge – fat and blurpy.  At least that is how I pictured myself.  I had convinced myself that I was fat.  (I weighed in at 195 pounds in high school and was about 5’9 inches tall.)  That attitude kept me out of sports and other activities.  And it was no surprise that I had a very low opinion or self-image of myself.  I believed that I was useless and not able to do anything, unable to have friends (being a social “wall flower”), etc.  I really believed that about myself.  And that attitude was very detrimental to me in those critical teen years.

When I was about sixteen or seventeen, however, things began to change a bit for me.  My local Bishop (Max Killian) at the church called me to be a Webelos Scout Leader.  He said, “I know you are supposed to be older … but you are it!”  I loved the Boy Scout program, so I was ecstatic about the new “calling” and went for it with great gusto.  I also took on the job of being the leader for the 11-year old Scouts (then called “Blazer Scouts” in my troop). In this role, I was also an assistant Scoutmaster in the troop and functioned there in addition to my Blazer Scouts.   I also loved this calling.  I served as the advancement chairman for the Scouts and even staged merit badge classes for the Scouts younger than me.

And as if all that was not enough, I learned that the regular home Scout troop could attend the National Scout Jamboree as a chartered troop (rather than the usual contingency troop formed by individuals who attended as a council-wide group – usually at extreme cost).  After reading that news in the “Scouting Magazine”, I went to the home of Scoutmaster Jim Johnson and said, “Hey, Jim, look what we are going to do in two years!”  He said, “What …?”  But after he heard me out, he agreed that he and we would go for it.  And so for two years, I was the catalyst that staged a dozen or more different fund-raising events, training programs, shake-downs, and more to prepare our Troop 155 (“The Best Alive”) to go to the Jamboree.  (This was also in the two-year period prior to my mission.)  We persuaded two other troops near us to attend with us. . So, we went for a three-week trip on charter buses – them and us – 54 of us on a 51-seater-bus.   And, yes, we did make it to the Jamboree after all of that work.  The Jamboree proved to a glorious adventure.  That Jamboree was the highlight of the Scouting career for every Scout in our troop.

In the process of all of this service, a magical thing happened with me.  Heretofore, I had been kind of wrapped up in my own “pity-me” world.  But, through these events and service, I kind of turned myself inside out.  I totally lost myself in service and in so doing, I forgot myself and became focused on others.  I became a new person, literally!  I had learned and recognized that service to others truly was the best life.  My whole attitude changed.  I was positive and happy.  And a minor (or major) miracle came as this happened.  I went from 195 down to 155 pounds.  I lost 40 pounds as I changed my focus to others.  I felt great about myself and others saw the change also.

As I left for a two-year church mission, I had occasion to give a “farewell talk” to my congregation prior to my departure.  And the subject that I talked about was that of “Service” and the blessings that I had experienced through my service to others.  (And I recently came across that talk from 40 plus years ago and loved it … just wish that I could put my finger on it again to include here …)  No worries!  The point is that through service we can feel great about ourselves and we can help others to grow and to progress.  And I am very grateful for that insight and knowledge – along with the chance to have so served.

Throughout my full life I have had opportunity to serve in a multitude of roles.  Within my church I have served in every organization and often in an administrative role. I think that I figured once that I have had 35 plus years on the Ward Councils of various wards. I have served in Scouting roles – usually in addition to some other church responsibility at the same time.  But, in addition, I have served for many years at the district and council levels as a true volunteer.

Serving as a home teacher – having responsibility for various families – visiting them one or more times each month.  I have greatly enjoyed the special bond that has developed with many families.

I have enjoyed opportunities also to have served in community events and efforts

My wife and I have spent years serving in local Boy Scout Camps – probably a dozen of them.  And most folks should know that few camp directors become millionaires. It was great fun but the service to youth, their leaders and the camp was very rewarding.

All of these opportunities have been wonderful, and I express gratitude for them.

Aside from all of the above, perhaps my greatest enjoyment has come within my own family.  As we raised our nine children, we chose not to have a television.  This provided an interesting scenario within the family.  I would come home from work and my wife would be stressed from her day with the children.  My way of helping was to gather the children together and I would read to them – usually for multiple hours each night.  We all have wonderful memories of those special times.

It has been fun through the years for my wife and me to stage fun events for the family.  It is fun to plan every detail and then to work to make it happen. 

We added a log cabin porch onto our backyard and for years, this was the center place for various entertainment functions.  We opened up the yard to gatherings of all kinds and generally provided the food and the atmosphere amenities for each event.

We have enjoyed feeding multitudes of missionaries through the years.  Twice a year now, we have a full zone of missionaries here for a breakfast buffet.

My wife and I make extra-mile efforts to attend each event and activity that our grandchildren are participating in.

And speaking of my wife … she is a super good sport.  She has been involved with me in everything.  We have been a team.  We have worked together in all of our plans and implementing them.  And I am gratitude for the chance to be with and to serve with her.

All combined, these many service opportunities have brought us immeasurable benefits.  They have made for a great life.  And so, on this day of gratitude, I rejoice in the Lord for making all of this possible.  He has given us the motivation, the strength, the resources (even when we were otherwise strained), and the time to make things happen.  We have felt that we have been on His errand as we have welcomed the opportunities as they have come.  And doing it all over again, we would probably do it the same – or even do more.  Service does bring an attitude of gratitude as personal needs and desires are put aside.  Our lives have been greatly blessed as we have served others around us.

I am grateful for the service opportunities given to me – and to us – and I rejoice in them.

#givethanks

Kevin the Scout Blogger

Full Hands, Full Pockets

A growing family's journey to financial independence through experiments in extreme frugality, homesteading, real estate investing, and side hustling.

KevintheScout

Kevin the Scout Blogger

Full Hands, Full Pockets

A growing family's journey to financial independence through experiments in extreme frugality, homesteading, real estate investing, and side hustling.

KevintheScout

Kevin the Scout Blogger

Missionary in Training

Missionary Training Program for home and family

Vanguard Scouting

Vanguard Scouting International

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