Rock of Ages

I’ve been painting a lot of rocks lately…yes, rocks. I know how that sounds… crazy. But for me, the very act of holding a freshly clean, warm rock in my hands is sanity inducing as well as therapeutic.

As I turn the rock over and over again, I find balance while I find the place I want to paint.  Or I paint all around the rock …so that any direction you place it on your windowsill or desk, there is something different to see. Plus, I get to paint more flowers. I don’t think I have to add that I am NOT an artist. (Insert hearty laugh here) These photos are proof positive of that. I paint symbolic flowers. I’m sensing some dramatic cyberspace eye-rolling right now. Go Ahead. I’m used to it. Ha! Let’s move on.

At first I just painted words.  I called them Pandemic words on Pandemic rocks, for Pandemic times. Words like: Trust, Adapt, Hope, Joy, Love, Peace, Faith, & Eternity (which holds a double meaning here, the comforting one and the not-so-comforting one, as in “this doggone pandemic is lasting an eternity!”). 

Later I added little tiny flowers on the bottom of the rock as a surprise. One flower became two or ten. Then I experimented with blending colors, hard to do with acrylic pens, so that led to using actual paint in addition to pens.

Obviously, I needed an intense distraction from all the chaos around me. 

From Chaos to Concentration

The more chaos there was, the more I tried different things like the layering of colors and removing of colors for depth. The deeper the chaos, the deeper the dive into painting. It is amazing how much horror and sadness you can block out of your mind when you allow yourself to be involved with something else. It was similar to the distraction of Hallmark movies, with a lot more concentration and a little more purpose. As I painted each rock, I began to think of the people I would give the rock to.  I began to think of the rocks as symbols of survival during the world wide pandemic we were in the midst of. I had found another purpose.  

A Bumpy Rock for a Bumpy Ride

All of this was done on nature’s diverse rocks…bumpy, rough, imperfect rocks…hardly the easiest medium to use.  Paper or sketch pads would have been so much easier, but they were not lying around in my yard or the yards of friends. And it seems that is what appealed to me. 

The literal garden variety rock fits on a window sill, on a nightstand, in your glove compartment, in your pocket.  And for those of us who are tactile people, those rocks fit in your hand…a present comfort as we daily determine what our priorities are.

I should take a minute and rewind this story back to mid-April for how this started. In preparation for my good friend, Colleen Hamons’ May 1st birthday, I was trying to think of something special other than a pandemic parade to celebrate her day. 

Colleen was busy buying plants to redo her entire patio garden, so I thought it would be cool if each of her four YaYa friends (Loreta Martindale, Cathy Dybdahl, Judy Cook, and I) painted larger lawn rocks to place in her garden.  We sprayed the finished gifts with weather-proof products, so the paint would not drip onto her lovely new garden.  The four of us created some pretty awesome garden rocks for the birthday girl. She was happy.  We were proud. And a rock painting hobby was born…well, for me, anyway.

I bought a bag of rocks from a local garden nursery, and searched parks, yards, and any place I could to find more rocks. People began giving me their rock “finds”. 

For the past almost six months, I have certainly run the gamut of Pandemic Distractions.  

I have baked bread (but this is no different from normal life), cleaned out closets and cabinets, reorganized my garage to accommodate grocery disinfection along with mail and box cooling areas, made space for sanitizer, the rare wipes, and Clorox to clean large surfaces, not ingest. I have made my half bathroom the mask cleaning & drying area. I have taken walks in the rain, in the humidity, in the morning and at night. I have knitted in 90 degree weather, painted baseboards and spots on walls that seemed to grow larger each month, sharpened knives, & grown more flowers. I have tried to write in spits and starts, painted thin paper bookmarks, posted Corona Virus related thoughts on Facebook, zoomed way too much and written hundreds of names in my prayer notebook!

But rock painting has remained my favorite.  It has only been recently that I reluctantly cleared off my kitchen counter of all my painting supplies and my space on the floor for drying and setting up time. The intense rock painting period is over.  I will certainly paint every now and then when I have the need, or someone asks for one. But it is time to move on and find another favorite way to manage the next phase of our pandemic crisis. 

I have delivered over 51 pandemic rocks to date and have 23 more lined up on my windowsill. Some are already promised and others are ready for the person who just might need a Hope Daisy Rock. 

In reflection I think I was so drawn to painting rocks because of my life-long fascination with them. My porch, my deck, my bedroom and living room all hold rocks I have gathered from various areas in my past…rocks I just cannot let out of my life. Each reminds me of some place in my life, some time or need in my life. 

Heat and Water!

I love the whole nature of rocks.  Webster and my college Geology books say that rocks are “mineral matter of variable composition, assembled in nature by the action of heat or water”.  So by their very nature, rocks are strong and enduring…just what we need to be today and every day. 

Some of the ones I love are smooth and easily held in my hand for comfort. Others are craggy rocks that have such character, such resolution. They make me feel determined and secure. All have withstood the test of time. Rivers have run over them, winds have blown around them, and time and people have smashed their edges. But they are still here; still bringing weight and substance to the world…even joy. 

Rock of Ages

They are the rocks of ages of long ago and they remind me of the One Rock of Ages, the unwavering, unfailing source of strength, who will stand beside us all our lives, no matter how much the winds of fortune may whirl around us; no matter how frightening and upside down our world may become at times.

We have been put to the test of our own individual types of heat and water.

The test of heat has taken the form of so many things. We are experiencing the heat of divisiveness, everywhere we look and in many of our own circles, family and friends as well.

We are experiencing the simmering heat of anxiety and depression.

We are enduring the actual physical heat of a searing summer of record breaking high temperatures; a lack of water in many areas and an excess of water in others.

We experience the heat of endless endurance of this Pandemic. The eternal ticking clock of time wears on us like a constant drip of water on our foreheads. We are six months in and some of us still have a hard time remembering what day it is. We still lack many things: space, supplies, activities, services, patience, and tolerance. 

During these Pandemic times, how can we remain strong in the face of these ultimate tests? 

How can we withstand the pressure of heat and water?

For some we trust and adapt so that we can be the epitome of “love and hope” not only for ourselves but also for others so that we can ultimately have joy in our lives…not WHEN the chaos has settled, but WHILE the chaos is still all around us. We cannot afford the luxury of waiting for the “storm to pass”.  We must continue to find our way through. 

We can feel the calm of His rock-steady Hand in our lives even while the chaos swirls around us. Even while!  

That is Faith. That is Hope. That is Love. 

Those are the gifts we get.

And those are the things we are asked to be to others. 

Along the way spread your rock solid HOPE to others, whatever form that may take. 

I would love to hear all the ways you have managed to stay sane and to flourish during these past pandemic months. 

Crazy love and rock-solid hope to you all!

Meanwhile I unabashedly and unashamedly say …Rock On! 

18 thoughts on “Rock of Ages”

  1. Linda Beth,
    I never met a rock I did not want to move! Could be a major reason for my 2 new knees. Whenever a friend was traveling to points unknown, I requested that they bring me back a little rock from their journey. I have

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do yoga every morning at 7:30. Then Tom and I have our 2 mile walk in the driveway. After that it’s breakfast time. Then I read the New York Times. After lunch I work on the sequel to my book. The repeated schedule gives the structure I need now when days and weeks just seem to fade together and disappear.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Linda- The test of heat really resonates with me. Since the onset of Covid I’ve been diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer; had a lumpectomy and sentinel lymph nodes removed; had three weeks of radiation; and started a new med for the next five years. It was God’s grace that we went to remote working at the same time (still at it) and through it all, Bill nor I got the virus! I’ve turned to reading and painting by numbers but diving into photos this weekend. My grandma painted rocks and slate. You’ve inspired me to keep an eye out on my walks! Keep on shining. 🦋

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Jennifer! I am so very sorry from the bottom of my heart to hear of your cancer diagnosis! You are certainly dealing with “heat” of a horrible nature. I will pray for you…place your name in my prayer notebook and be faithful about that commitment. In all of this I am thankful to God that He has kept you and Bill safe through this virus, provided a plan to heal you! I am by nature an intense person and immerse myself in news, articles, books…I must find other avenues to balance out my intensity. I’m glad you have found the paint by numbers art. I have another friend who found it too and it has brought her great joy and some beautiful art pieces to hang in her condo. Please keep in touch with me! God bless you always!


  4. I enjoyed your post, Linda, and would love a daisy pandemic rock. It will join my other rocks, shells and earth treasures, reminding me of the need to stay strong and steady each day. I’d love to trade you a copy of my first book for your rock. Let me know if this would work! Take care and be well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kristi, I’m glad you liked this post and hope you read the others as well. I would love to give you a daisy hope rock as a gift. But I had planned on buying your book this year and I would still love to purchase it. Is there a site you prefer people purchase your book from or do you also sell it on Amazon? Let me know which one and I’ll make that happen today. Thanks so much for reading!


      1. Linda,

        I received my beautiful rock today! Thank you so much.


        Sent from my iPhone



  5. Linda, Thank you! Yes, I will keep reading…in fact, your new post came to my inbox today. I will be reading it later today. My address is: 219 Cedar Run Road Friendly, WV 26146.
    You can buy the book from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, from the publisher, Word Association or I can send one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your address. Today’s post was a free verse piece I wrote in 2018. I recommend scrolling through the index found on the cover page and going back to the introduction piece called, “I’ll Be There…” I’ll get your rock in the mail in a week or so…need to find the right kind of mailer for rocks.


  6. This post makes my beautiful garden rocks even more special Linda! And I love the new ones with daisies! And reading your eloquent descriptions of the rocks and the joy it brought you painting them makes me want to paint one now! Wish I could share pictures of my rocks from the yayas here but I guess I’ll need to share them on Facebook! Keep on writing your blog! Its relaxing to read them! Love you! Colleen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Colleen! Sometimes we need thought provoking…sometimes we need relaxing. Glad you read my blog! Thank you for your faithful followship and your wonderful friendship!


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