Community is rocking out to SBYrocks craze

When Lucas Rayne grows up, undoubtedly his mother will show him the picture of his tiny head resting on her arm and a little rock in her hand.

On the rock are four words painted in bright yellow: Be true to you!

Lucas’ mother, Sarah Rayne, posted a photo of the sleeping baby this week, and told friends he “found his first rock at Dr. Alvarado’s office after his 2-week new baby check-up.”

If kindness can be planted, if a spark of cheerfulness in an uncertain world can be situated at the entrance of a pediatrician’s officer or cancer center, then it’s not such a bad world after all.

That’s the intended message of more than 3,000 Salisbury and area residents who joined SBYrocks, an informal Facebook group whose members paint pictures and messages on stone and leave them as tiny surprises.

Finders can keep them, give them away, hide them for others to discover or place them in the rock garden on the Downtown Plaza.

Kristin Droppa Staples, the mother of three boys aged 3, 5 and 8, started the group after seeing a segment about rock painting on The Today Show and extended an invitation for others to get involved.

It quickly caught on. Rocks have been picked up, photographed, commented on and taken from Salisbury to many states, as far away as California.

“You never know where a rock will show up. Every rock made by the people in our group has the hash tag #SBYrocks on the back, so we can see where it travels, once it’s on Facebook,” Staples said.

Some messages are funny. Others are cheerful. Rocks sport flowers, Bible verses, uplifting words, angels, butterflies, frogs and messages that, Staples said, “impart meaning and wisdom.”

“I had no idea it would get this big. It’s actually interesting. Lynn Adkins also started a group around same time as I did. Two weeks later another group popped up. There’s kind of a ripple effect. It’s inspiring,” she said.

Adkins discontinued her group and joined SBYrocks, whose efforts, she said, “offer a little glimmer of hope in a dark world right now.”

“We all walk through various health-related struggles, family related struggles, work-related struggles. Something as simple as a rock that gives an encouraging message can mean something.  I can’t tell you how many people in our group have said, ‘This made my day’ or ‘Perfect timing,’” Adkins told the Salisbury Independent.

“There are no hard and fast rules,” Staples said.

“If you feel inspired to paint a rock, if you find one and it means something, then we want you to do it. We are all striving to bring kindness and hope to the community in uncertain times.

“We ask that they don’t steal landscaping rocks,” Staples said, advising buying them at garden centers such as How Sweet It Is in Princess Anne and Home Depot. Acrylic paint or oil-based pens can be used and it’s recommended a protective top coat be applied.

With her sons, Cooper, Griffin and Rhett, Staples paints Minions, baseballs and the Cookie Monster.

Others have fashioned ABC’s and 123’s designs for back to school and the messages “Be kind,” “Stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet,” “God gives you a rainbow once you’ve learned to handle the storm” and “Good morning, Sunshine. The earth says hello.”

“It’s refreshing for people who want to see these little efforts popping up. When somebody finds a rock, he can either take it and keep it or give it to somebody. We have rocks in our garden on the Downtown Plaza but people are finding them everywhere — in parks, in trees, in driveways, on their desks,” Staples said.

A women from Tucson, Ariz., whose mother has cancer, posted on the SBYrocks Facebook that she spotted a rock painted with rainbows at Sam’s Club, the day before the left town.

“Whoever left this rock,” she wrote, “I thank you a thousand times.”


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