The Kindness Rocks Project

When I was a kid, I remember my mom setting up scavenger hunts for my brother and me. Little clues hidden in one spot that led us to another location for another clue, and so on. She’d send us all over the house searching for the next note. We’d run from the kitchen cupboards to the backyard swingset to the space under the bed. At the end there would be some little reward for finishing. It was a blast for us, although I’m sure it was a lot of work for her. I seem to recall these were reserved for rainy days or times where everyone was so bored and ‘needed something to do’. These scavenger hunts go down as one of my favorite memories.

Another favorite thing of mine is the trend of ‘Random Acts of Kindness’. I’m sure you’ve heard of small, sometimes anonymous, little gestures that are simply nice things to do for someone else. Sometimes it’s picking up the tab for someone at a restaurant; leaving a note of appreciation for your mail carrier; or maybe shoveling snow for a neighbor before they notice. Even though these seem like ‘little’ things, in actuality, they are ‘big’ things.

Recently I found a rock at our church. I was walking into the building and saw a painted rock with a note taped to it. Of course I snapped a photo then picked it up for a closer look. The note referenced a facebook page for Michigan rocks and a date. The instructions were to post a photo and re-hide the rock someplace else. How fun! Kind of like a scavenger hunt. That afternoon, I hid the rock at a local outdoor mall and I hope someone else finds it and has fun posting their own photo and hiding it again.

That got me thinking and browsing around for other rock-hiders. After all, decorating rocks, writing little messages on them and tucking them into hiding places could be fun! Google brought me to “TheKindnessRocksProject”. Wait a minute – kindness rocks? I was intrigued.

Come to find out, the project is simply about using rocks to provide encouraging words to folks in hopes that they find them when needed. I could do that. Easy peasy! I read on. The instructions were simple and being the crafty soul that I am, I set out to make some kindness rocks. I already had a can of spray paint and a bag of rocks, (anyone think of ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown’ and poor Charlie Brown right now? Yep. Me too.)

I made a quick stop at my favorite craft store, Hobby Lobby, (twist my arm!), and picked up a couple oil-based paint pens. Then I jotted down a few inspiring phrases and quotes and got started. Knowing that I could perhaps give a little bit of encouragement to someone was a good feeling. I thought about what would be nice to read in a random situation, starting with simple ones like “Be kind” and “You are loved”. Then as I thought about where I would hide the rocks, different types of messages came to mind. At our local community college, I could tuck little rocks with supportive phrases: “You got this” and “Don’t stop believing”. Hmm… what if I was feeling bummed out, what would I like to hear? “Every little thing is gonna be alright” and “You are enough” came to mind. I was on a roll. Library, park, grocery store, hiking trails…where else could I go?

Looking for a fun little project? Have a few rocks lying around? Grab some paint or sharpie and a jar of modge podge and make a few kindness rocks of your own. For quick and very easy notes on how I made them, click here. Have fun hiding little rocks of encouragement around your neighborhood. Oh yeah, and if you happen to find one of the rocks I hid, I’d love to see a photo! Snap a pic and post to Instagram or facebook with the tag @prayerstew. Feel free to re-hide or keep it for yourself. Let the hunt begin!

Giving credit where it is due: Thank you to #TheKindnessRocksProject for your simple, inspiring story and the ‘OK’ to mention your site on my blog.

pen pal scarf

Today it is eighty degrees. I made a scarf. Of course, what else would one do in eighty-degree weather? There’s a method to my madness, (not always, but in this case, there is!) Remember back in the day when people would write letters in school? Not notes that we would sneakily pass back and forth with friends, but an actual letter with an envelope. I can recall a lesson or two on how to properly address an envelope; the correct placement of the salutation; and how to construct a full-body letter that was interesting and informative. My handwriting was horrible so these lessons were agonizing! Sometimes the assignment also consisted of who the recipient would be – perhaps grandparents, a friend who had moved away, or a random pen pal. Those were pretty cool. Writing a letter that would introduce myself to someone far away, and then anticipating a letter in return was fun. Yes, yes, yes, I know. Email is faster. Much faster. Social media has made the process of mailing a letter feel old-fashioned. Why spend money on a stamp when I can message someone online for free?

I get to experience the best of both worlds. I’m in a pen pal facebook group. It’s all about crochet and sending a fun little something to another crochet-lover. Doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro. Doesn’t matter what your age is or where you live. All that matters is that we like crochet-related stuff and packages in the mail. We usually include a letter too, which is so nice because it gives a little insight on a new person in another part of the world.

So I made a scarf. It’s time to pop a package in the mail to my pen pal and I thought it’d be nice to include a finished item as well as the pattern. This pattern is so pretty because it looks like knitting, (the little ‘V’ shaped stiches), but it’s all done in crochet. A bulky-weight yarn is used so it works up rather quickly. The trick is working in the ‘third loop’. Something new to me and a very cool stitch. It’s kinda like the loop in back of an actual stitch. The process pushes your work towards the front and makes the end result squishy and cozy.

Being a self-taught newbie, I don’t write patterns. But I certainly appreciate all the time, precision and hard work that goes into writing them, and support giving credit where it is due. This particular pattern is from http://www.allaboutami.com/tripleluxecowl/. The author has a lovely website with a ton of really nice things.

Off to mail my pen pal’s package. Wonder what what will be in mine? I may or may not be peeking on the porch waiting for the mail soon…