Summer Scavenger Hunt

I spent this hot and muggy day with three of my grandchildren. I had a creative plan. I brought along paints and brushes and colored markers and a pile of river rocks. Our intention was to join the latest artistic craze by painting the rocks, and hiding them in the Joplin and Carthage areas. 

It was a fun idea. However, the high temps and humidity made being outdoors for any length of time unpleasant. If I have learned one thing these past three and a half years, it is to let go of expectations and outcomes and go with the flow. If a planned activity doesn’t work out, something else always comes along. 

That was the case today. 

Summer Scavenger Hunt
Inspiration came unexpectedly as the kids and I watched a humorous YouTube program. Three young adult men went on a city wide scavenger hunt. They gave themselves three hours to locate nine items they selected. Included in the mix was a selfie with a baby, an expensive sports car and a specific brand of shoes. It was a fun, well done show. And suddenly, a scavenger hunt seemed liked the ideal creative adventure for the day. 

Joey, Oliver and Aubrey each came up with six items to include on our scavenger hunt list. I wrote down their suggestions on strips of paper, folded them up and dropped them into a bowl. The kids took turns selecting three items each, giving us a list of nine treasures to look for. 

We drove to Joplin for lunch and visits to the library and the mall, our scavenger hunt list in hand. The rules were to locate each item, take a photo, and cross it off the list. We had an eclectic mix of easily found objects, such as a watch, very specific items, like a 1980s Ford Mustang, and more challenging quests like taking a selfie with someone we didn’t know. 

Here’s how we did:

1. Lemur – This animal proved to be impossible to locate in Joplin! We could have looked up a photo of one in a book at the library. Instead, we visited a pet store and took a pic of a white ferret. We named him Lemur. 

Summer Scavenger Hunt
2. 1980s Ford Mustang – We saw so many Mustangs as we drove to Joplin, all newer models. And then, at the intersection of 7th Street and Range Line, we spotted the older red Mustang. Perfect!

Summer Scavenger Hunt
3. Hover board – This fun looking mode of transportation was found at a remote control shop at the mall. $200 will get you one!

Summer Scavenger Hunt
4. Selfie with a Random Person – Oliver came up with this comfort zone busting item. We had an awesome waitress when we ate lunch at Chili’s. Heidi was attentive and friendly and the kids adored her. She was happy to snap a selfie with each child. The kids encouraged me to leave her a big tip, something I was happy to do. 

Summer Scavenger Hunt
5. A person wearing flip flops – Oliver spotted this person at lunch. He took a discreet photo of her foot, shooting over Papa’s hairy arm and around the straw in his water. Good job Ollie!

Summer Scavenger Hunt
6. A watch – The kids were so attentive and aware during our hunt. They saw this watch on the arm of the woman driving next to us. I kept pace with her truck so Joey could get a pic. Great shot Joey. 

Summer Scavenger Hunt

7. Pink hair on a person – I thought this one would be very difficult to find. Surprisingly, this gracious person showed up in my office…with pink hair. We stopped by the Keller Williams office so I could send out a contract and the kids were so excited to inform me that they had found a woman with pink hair. They asked permission to take her photo. 

Summer Scavenger Hunt

8. A bald person – This item on our list was much more challenging than I expected it to be. Aubrey added this one to the hunt and envisioned a man with a shaved head. We finally settled for partially bald. I laughed when I looked at the pic. It appears as if I was hiding behind a plant when I took the photo. I didn’t even notice the plant at the time. 

Summer Scavenger Hunt
9. Blue 4 door jeep – Aubrey was very specific about this item. And it was the first object spotted minutes after the hunt began. Good eye Aubrey! Unfortunately, we found this one so quickly that we didn’t have an iPhone camera ready. Thanks to teamwork and persistence, Joey saw another blue jeep in Joplin and caught it in a photo. 

Summer Scavenger Hunt
This was an incredibly fun way to spend the afternoon. The kids worked well together and stayed very present in the moment as they looked for items on the list. More than having fun though, the kids learned powerful lessons about how what we think about and dwell upon shows up in our lives. These were not all easy items to find. And yet, except for the lemur, they showed up rather quickly. 

One of the most amazing finds was struck from the original list. Joey had added a painted rock to the list, when we thought we might go by one of Joplin’s parks. After deciding it was too hot, he scratched that idea, exchanging the rock for a different object. 

Guess what Joey found inside the Joplin Public Library? Yes…a painted rock. What a great conversation starter that was. I failed to get a photo of the rock. However Joey still has it. We will re-hide it later with our rocks that we paint. 

Summer heat and summer fun and an adventure that we won’t forget. I look forward to more scavenger hunts and manifesting what we are searching for. 

Summer Scavenger Hunt

Surrender 88: Get a Clue

As I have been packing up the house in Arkansas, room by room, it’s often the little, seemingly insignificant finds that tug at my heart the most or spark precious memories. Today’s discovery was one of these unexpected triggers into emotions and joyful recollections. 

 

Sorting through a stack of papers, cards and photos, pulled from a drawer, I uncovered a small collection of folded pieces of paper. I could tell the yellow note papers had writing on them, and they were numbered on the outside. Opening one of the notes, I laughed, recognizing my own handwriting. 
  
Memory stirred. When my three children were young, I used to create scavenger hunts for them, writing out rhyming clues that led them through out the house or yard. Each clue led to another location, where they had to find the next clue, and so on, until the hidden treasure was found.

  
 

The kids loved doing scavenger hunts. And I enjoyed creating them. I had forgotten, until today, that I had once created a scavenger hunt while we were visiting the grandparents in Arkansas. I sent the children outside to play so that I could write up the clues and hide them, and tuck away a treat. 

  
I placed one of the clues in the front pocket of Papa Bob’s shirt, instructing him to not give away the secret. He didn’t. He sat on the sofa with a big grin lighting up his face. The kids squealed with delight as they found that clue!  

Mimi Leta seemed to enjoy the experience as much as the kids. She had a wonderful child-like sense of wonder about life and the world. When the game was over, after the kids had found the hidden treat, I gathered the clues to throw them away. Mimi Leta asked if she could have them. She thought the whole idea was fun and clever. 
  
My eyes blurred with tears, reading through the notes this afternoon, realizing she had, indeed, kept these bright scraps of paper. I’m glad she did. I relived a wonderfully warm memory. 

And I am reminded of two vital truths in my life:

I am a creative person. I always have been. Although I didn’t write as a career while my family was young, I never veered far from it. I wrote newsletters and school curriculum, stories and classes that I taught…and rhyming scavenger hunt clues. 

  
And, I live my life as one HUGE Divine scavenger hunt. Each day I watch for the clues that are given to me, leading me onward and upward to the next clue, or sign, and the next, and the next. There is as much thought and planning and joy evident in my daily clues as there were in my imaginative creations. 

I get it now. And while the last clue leading me to the final hidden treasure is going to far outshine any clue I ever wrote, or any treasure that I ever hid, what a journey of discovery I have been offered. What fun I am having. And the Clue Writer, the Dream Giver, expresses so much delight.

Truly, there is joy in the journey…this journey full of clues and signs and surprises.