Sharing Rocks Brings Joy

April 18, 2020 | Church | Tricia Erickson

Finding unexpected ways to bring hope and joy to others is more important than ever. Tricia Erickson, a member at Sunnyside Adventist Church in Portland, Oregon, transforms ordinary river rocks into unexpected encouragement.

“I go down to the Clackamas River,” says Erickson. “I look for nice, flat river rocks — you know, ones that have fun shapes. I wash the rocks and dry them.”

Erickson then takes several different colors of acrylic paint and layers the paint in a Dixie cup. She’s found it works best if she adds the lighter colors first, pouring a thin layer of each into the cup. Adding a couple drops of silicone to the cup creates “cells.” The acrylic paint is repelled by the silicone, which creates little round patterns in the final pour.

“When I 'pour the rock' I pinch the edge of the cup and pour a thin stream onto the rock," she explains. "Whether I go back and forth, or round and round, or even if I pour a figure eight, the result is a beautiful design.”

Once the painted rocks dry, Erickson applies a high-gloss sealer to protect the design from weather. Then she paints the bottom of the rocks white and writes an encouraging message using a black permanent marker. 

“I use messages like, “Kindness is a choice,” “You are beautiful,” “Smile, you’re unique” and “Your smile makes me happy,” says Erickson. “When people see the beautiful rock, they usually pick it up and read the message, so I write messages that automatically make them smile. I enjoy making people smile, even if it’s just for a minute.”

Erickson hides the rocks in plain sight. She looks for busy street corners where people may look down while waiting for the crossing signal. She recently has been putting many of rocks near the children’s cancer ward at a local hospital.

Life’s hard, and it’s even harder right now. True, Erickson's rocks are not something people can eat, but they are something that brings encouragement.  Erickson hopes people will pick up the rocks, take them and be reminded of God’s love when they’re down. 

“Why do I pour rocks? It’s the best way I’ve found to bring joy, love and laughter to others,” says Erickson. “I been called to love and to show love — from Christ, through me, to others.”