By  Mary LePore

Who would ever think that a painted rock could change a person’s day, or dare I say, a person’s life !

I can’t explain it, but there is something about sitting at a table surrounded by your friends or family painting rocks.  It’s magical!  It’s relaxing.  You become softer and sweeter.  Your shoulders relax and your mind clears.  It brings out a talent you didn’t know you had. 

You’re spending quality time with your family around the table.  You’re smiling at one another.  You’re laughing together.

Painting rocks you say? Painting rocks does all that? Like I said, I can’t explain it!

I just know when my friend Michelle from Lakeland, Florida told me about their rock painting group and how it helped bring people together, I felt something stir within my heart.  I knew I had to bring this idea home to
Maryland.  June 30 is Del-Mar Rocks 1st birthday. To get it started, I painted hundreds of rocks and drove around by myself from town to town on the Eastern Shore dropping rocks with a note explaining Del-Mar Rocks.  It caught on quick and the stories began to unfold and come in.

There were stories of love, inspiration, friendships formed, of a new-found purpose in life.  How can I explain all of this?  Does painting rocks, leaving them out for someone to find with no expectation other than that it might bring a smile to someone’s face or that it might help someone…somehow bring out the good in us?  I would like to think so.  It is a very unselfish act…purely for the other person. 

But, you know what they say…when you go out of your way to put a smile on someone’s face, the smile finds you!

Before long it seemed like ice cream shops, police departments, schools, fire departments, pizza shops, and even campgrounds were having rock
painting events.

One of my favorite stories is about a woman who had lost her mother and was mired in her grief.  One day while she and her husband were going for a ride, she told him about a song her mother would sing to her with an elephant in it.  She talked about her mother acting like an elephant. 

Arriving back they pulled into their driveway and “it” caught their eye. 
A strange object.  She got out of her car and rushed to see it.  She couldn’t believe her eyes.  She wondered, “Is this some kind of joke. Is this real?” 

For there was a painted rock with an elephant glued to it! 

She had never heard of painted rocks.  While she was gone, a member had dropped the rock not having an inkling about what it would mean.  Our grieving daughter followed the instructions on the back of her special rock and contacted me.  After I approved her member request, she shared her story.  She received hundreds of messages of encouragement and notes of love and sympathy from Del-Mar Rocks members.  Everyone told her to keep the rock and treasure it as a memento of her time spent with her mother. 

Today this beautiful lady is paying it forward by painting rocks and dropping them for people to find. No expectation, just that it would put a smile on someone’s…anyone’s…face.