19  05 2005

Letterboxing

In the Nashville newspaper there is a column called “from Ms. Cheap” Ms. Cheap suggests various things to do around town and in the surrounding areas that are, let’s say inexpensive. Cheap sounds so… well, cheap. She tells of best music opportunities, such as free concerts in the park, or of new openings of stores where a free hot-dog and drink might be attained. One of the best things we did last summer was taking the family to a big band concert at a city park. They gave a free dance lesson, then the band played for a couple of hours. Some folks even dressed for big band dancing and the dancing was great.

Recently a friend of mine shared with Ron and I something she and her family do for fun…. it’s called “letterboxing” and it has quickly become a hobby of ours. I think Ms. Cheap would smile on it and our family highly recommends it.

What is letterboxing you might be asking? Well the way we described it to Max and Zach is that it’s about finding hidden treasures. The longer answer is that people have hidden Tupperware containers all over the place. Inside of the container you’ll find a rubber stamp–some are ones folks have carved themselves others are stamps they might buy at a fancy stamp store or at a craft store. You’ll also find a small pad of paper and an ink pad. When you find a letterbox, you log your discovery (keep reading).

When we got ready to give letterboxing a try, our family came up with a name and logo “Two Boys Having Fun” and we went to Michael’s and found a stamp with two boys and a dog in the middle of them. We also bought a black stamp pad and some markers if we want to color our family stamp before we stamped it. When we find a box, we use our family stamp to stamp the pad then we date it and tell who we are–“Two Boys Having Fun: Ron Celia Max and Zach were here”! We have letterboxed two weekends and had a great time working together. This summer, we’ll be hiding some letter boxes for others to find and finding new ones in our town and maybe in your town.

You can learn more at: letterboxing.org. The website has clues to where over 15,000 boxes are hidden, all over North America. There are additional twists to this hobby, but they’re all explained on the website. Another website , has a little more of an international coverage. On either site, you can enter a destination and find out where nearby letterboxes are hidden. To learn more about the origins of this hobby, follow this link to the Smithsonian Magazine.

Since I’ve found a few of these boxes in prominent places, it’s funny to think of how many times, I’ve walked past a few of these boxes and had no idea they were right under my nose. Now when I visit one of these locations, I can’t help but think I’m in on a secret as I walk past a box I’ve found. It’s kind of like the little things we miss along life’s journey, while we’re busy doing what we think is important. The past few hears have tuaght me over and over again that maybe the little things are really the big things. I have realized that some of God’s greatest gifts are right in front of me. I have either missed them or overlooked them in my busy-ness. I pray that you and I enjoy all the wonder of summer — catching fireflies, walking barefoot in the grass, swimming, playing on the slip and slide, having our feet in sand, reading a great book, spending time with good friends, eating fresh veggies bought at a roadside stand, marveling at God’s greatest sunsets and maybe a new adventure with your family doing something fun (letterboxing or whatever you choose).


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