In January 2016, the world was filled with negativity. It was election time and I was so tired of hearing negative things. I had to find something positive and happy to focus on.
I have always been artistic, but my family and friends were the only ones who saw my art.
I liked being hidden.
But maybe there was something I could do to show people kindness. It did not have to be something big. It could be something small. It could be something I could make and give to people.
My vision was to encourage my hometown of Decatur, IL. but I soon found out it was to be much bigger than that.
I felt guided to paint rocks. My painted rocks have a peaceful blue sky with a happy yellow bee and they say Bee Kind. It was at this time several artists around the world were being guided in the same way. We didn't know about each other. Later as I checked with each artist I found all of us started in January 2016.
The Kindness Rocks movement had begun with a few, including me. It has spread worldwide with groups gathering together to paint rocks.
My thought was to give Bee Kind Rocks around Decatur, IL. As I painted the first rocks I was guided to send them to all the states.
Then I was guided to send them around the world!
I began mailing Bee Kind Rocks to people I knew in each state and I contacted FB friends in other countries and ask if they would like one. My post office got to know me as I brought in stacks of packages to be sent around the country and around the world. Another way the rocks got to places was family and friends taking them on their trips. In a year and a half, all 50 states and 47 countries had pieces of my art...Bee Kind Rocks!
We have had many great experiences as this small kindness was given. There have been hugs, smiles, tears and small gifts given in return. We have often heard the words "You don't know how much I needed this."
I sent a Bee Kind Rock to Australia. When the lady who received it found out my brother (Marvin) and sister-in-heart, (Mona) were going there she offered to meet them and show them around. They did get together and had a wonderful time. A new friendship was made all because of a small rock!
Marvin and Mona, are retired and they travel the world. One of my favorite stories from them is being in Thailand and going to a Buddhist temple. Women can not go into the temple so Marvin went in alone. When he saw a monk he offered him the Bee Kind Rock. Not speaking each other's languages the monk finally realized Marvin wanted him to have this gift. The monk in return gave Marvin 2 braided bracelets. Then he placed my gift of art among the golden treasures of the temple!!!
Often on small islands, without understanding each other's languages, a trade has to be made. Marvin would think the person was just walking away but then they would return with a small item to be given. I have several stones from other countries now. On another island, Marvin tried to give a Bee Kind Rock to someone. The man made it known to them that only the chief could accept a gift for the tribe. They were then introduced to the Chief of the Firewalkers!
In Zimbabwe, Marvin walked through a pack of 50 monkeys to give my painted rock to an African guard.
Another of my rocks was placed at the Berlin Wall near the place where my dad was stationed at in Germany.
The Nobel Peace Center in Norway felt like the perfect place to leave one.
My cousin, who is a missionary, took several with her to the jungles of the Amazon.
A man who had received a Bee Kind Rock took his with him on trips. He sent pictures to me of it at the Great Wall of China and with the Terra Cotta Soldiers!
My painted pieces of art have traveled the world to amazing places and touched many people.
And just as my first thought guided me, many people in Decatur, Illinois have received Bee Kind Rocks too.
I have learned a small kindness can make a big difference.
It has now been over 3 years of painting over 400 Bee Kind Rocks. I no longer mail them because that purpose had been fulfilled, but as we go on trips we take a few and give them out.
They say I have the hard part of painting the rocks and they get the fun part of finding people to give them to.
I say I am no longer hiding. I get joy from painting. I am amazed that my art is around the world.
And I have a wonderful story to tell.