The Hunsaker Family, Christmas 1993

It was December of 1993 when Papa's Song happened.  I was a junior at the university, and life was coming to a bend in the road.  During my Christmas break, I had several touching moments at home with my family.  The most memorable was on Christmas Eve, when Papa rocked me by the tree for the last time, singing a song he had sung to me every Christmas for as long as I could remember.


"Biggie" size your family.  I'm serious!  Although the latest news topics generally discourage any "biggie" sizing (i.e.:  let's fight obesity in America), in one life department - families - upgrading is essential.  Not just essential, but vital to our world.  Yep, you heard me right.  I'm encouraging - even promoting - large families and lots of children.


I lost a child yesterday. Yep! Absolutely, totally, completely forgot about him.

I know what you as the reader are thinking. “Crazy mom! How un-attentive! How could you do such a thing!?! You have too many children!!!”

Now, just slow down and let me defend myself. I DO have quite a few children. Nine little people is a lot to keep track of. But in my own defense, the older ones don’t need as much watching, and generally even contribute to keeping tabs on the younger folks. So, as my first “lost child” offense in 17 years, I think I have a pretty good record. Here’s how my day went:


Summer is beautiful. The world is full and ripe and gorgeous. Everything blooms and grows and produces. There’s enough and to spare, until autumn. Then the first frost comes. It comes with little warning — a summer day, a warm night, a slight cloud on the horizon, and a weather forecast. If you miss the signs, you’re taken by surprise.


I love the West … the big, open, wonderful, wild West. There’s nothing quite like it. Sure, I’ve lived here most of my life, but still, the West has some definite advantages.


I’ve been a mother for over a decade and a half. Shouldn’t that make me an expert? I’ve changed diapers, I’ve burped babies, I’ve sent children off to kindergarten, I’ve cleaned up messes in the nighttime, I’ve survived homework, I’ve cheered at sports events, I’ve attended concerts and concerts and concerts. Perhaps — in most areas — I could be labeled “seasoned.” Perhaps.

Yet, despite my steel nerves and strong constitution, I wasn’t quite prepared for my most recent motherhood milestone: having a driving teenager. It happened rather suddenly. One day my son was born. The next day (so it seemed) he was eligible for a driver’s permit.


I love love. Not in some sissy way or anything like that. I love love because it’s real and sustaining. I first met my husband when he and I were both 18. I know. We were terribly young. “Love, like youth, is wasted on the young.” It was love at first sight. Really. Neither one of us admitted it during the following years of our courtship, but I would have married him that first day if he would’ve asked. He was that good. And that real. And that solid. And that true. That’s how love should be.

National Jamboree

Here are a scattering of photos from the National Jamboree held in West Virginia.  I was there Saturday through Monday, thanks to the generosity of the Willits family.  They paid for my plane tickets and hotel rooms.  

The new jamboree site is wonderful, and I was so grateful for the opportunity to see it, and also to visit Mark, Ben and Sam.  They were all having a wonderful time!  I can't say that high adventure, humidity and mud are my idea of fun, but it was obvious that the Scouts there were in heaven!

 Amy Bridges Larsen met me at the airport.  They had driven over from Pennsylvania to meet me.  We hadn't visited in person for 15 years!

 Amy brought missionary breakfast to eat at the park with her family.

 It was great to finally meet all of her children, and Scott's parents.

 Beautiful West Virginia!

 Amy drove me one hour to the jamboree site.  There are 10 ziplines across the main arena!
So much fun!

 Fun to meet Mark in the Faith and Beliefs area.

Great volunteers in the Church tent.
 Meeting Filipino Scouts.

 With a good Rabbi friend.

 A lot of networking and friendshipping between the faiths.
 We finally met Ben and Sam!  So good to see them!!!

 Sitting with the boys' troop at the Saturday show.  Pretty exciting!
The stage looks out over a beautiful lake and trees.  Gorgeous setting.

 Mud everywhere!  So glad Emma told me to buy these keens!

 That night I stayed at the Glade Springs resort.  Beautiful manor houses, and fireflies!!!

 Ben helped with the Sacrament on Sunday morning. 

 Elder and Sister Andersen spoke.

 We met up with Ben, Sam and also Jacob Larsen after Sacrament meeting.

 Presenting a Century of Honor book to Elder David Allen.

 The beautiful forest trails were full of Scouts!

 Ben became a great patch trader!

 Sub-camp C.

 Near the beautiful lake.

 The future visitor center is under construction.

 An incredible swinging bridge across a huge chasm.  In the distance is sub-camp A.

 A huge tree house displays information about environmental-friendly living.

The Scouts tried to break a world record:  keeping beach balls in the air for ten seconds.  Cool.

 A beautiful jamboree facility that will only improve each year.

 Reenactment of Brownsea Island.

 The boys are filthy but happy!

 Mark's top bunk (yes, top) in a staff tent. Fun!

 Mark came back to the hotel with me Sunday night and enjoyed real accomodations.

 We took a walk Monday morning.

 Monday breakfast at the hotel. Singing celebrity Sarah Centeno in the background.  She sang, "It's a party in the BSA (USA)" at the show.

 I headed back to Charleston to discover my flight had been cancelled!  Hooray!  I turned around and drove back to the jamboree.  The Monday night centennial family night 
was scheduled for that evening!

 Rehearsals at the arena ended with a huge rainstorm.  BSA folks suggested cancelling the show, but we were praying for a miracle.

 Making decisions under pressure...
It was decided to postpone the show and hope for a window of clear skies.

 The genealogy merit badge staff from the Family Search area gave Mark a thank you gift.

 Brother DeBry (YM secretary) kept blowing up beach balls in spite of the rain.

 The skies cleared at 7:45, and the preshow started at 8pm.  A soggy field!  
Ben was waiting faithfully for the show to start...

 LDS Chaplains jumped into action and swept buckets of water off of the stage.  Yes, buckets!

 People started to arrive.

 Brother Beck chatting with Ben.

The show started!  Baden-Powell interrupted Brother Gibson and took over as emcee.

 Mark Deitlein, CEO of Hale Centre Theatre, was Baden-Powell.

 Fun boys band, Beyond 5, performed great EFY songs.

 The crowd was happy despite the mud.

 Young Men presidency ended the show.

 Wayne Perry, national president, put his arm around Mark and said, "Well done.  Now you can rest!"
It was Mark's favorite moment of the jamboree. 
 The boys met Brenan Corbin from "Are you tougher than a Boy Scout?" television show.

 We arrived at the hotel after midnight, and were up early the next morning, but it still felt good to sleep in a real bed out of the rain! I said goodbye to Mark and drove the Beck's to the airport.  Then caught my flights and made it home without any problems.  What a whirlwind!

 Wednesday morning at 7am the boys loaded their bus to leave the jamboree and tour historical sites.
  They all had such a great jamboree experience.  It poured rain right before they loaded.  
Can you tell?

 Sam at Monticello.  I think he has a similar character to Thomas Jefferson.  Love this picture!

 Mark arrived home Thursday afternoon.  It has been a long month!!!
 We stopped at Deseret Book and, yes, the books have arrived!

And of course, we had a homecoming party. 
Ben and Sam return tomorrow night.  What a whirlwind summer.  We are grateful for the many, incredible experiences we have all had at many locations across the United States.
Happy Scouting!