FERRIER FILES: Tennessee mom spreads joy, creates summer trend with painted rocks


Martha Murphree has painted 500 rocks so far this year. She's one of many middle Tennesseans young and old who spent part of the summer searching for a painted treasure outside.

The retired school teacher finally has a craft hobby. She spends many days hiding the painted rocks at the Bellevue Library or greenway hoping someone will find them.

“I hide them where you can find them if you are paying attention,” Murphree said. "If you are looking at the nature, you will find my rocks."

She is not alone. The Facebook page 615 rocks! has 32,000 members. People post what they paint and what they find.

There are thousands and thousands of posts on the page.

It all started at the Bellevue kitchen table of Emily Gouldener. She said a friend started it in Memphis, and she asked to borrow the idea.

Gouldener and her 10-year-old son Hudson started painting. She is a kids director at Crosspoint Church and said she had a feeling about this.

“The whole thing stems from kindness and joy," Gouldener said. "If you can do one small thing with a rock and paint it and somebody else smiles because of it, why wouldn't you jump into it?"

It is cute for sure, but how did it become a craze when the Facebook page isn't even a year old?

“It's not electronic," Gouldener said. "A mom wrote me and said 'thank you so much. Now when my teenage daughter and I are walking around, we are not looking at our phones anymore we are looking around for rocks and laughing."

It is only human to hide a rock and hope someday someone will find it and put it on Facebook. That doesn't always happen, and people have actually quit from disappointment.

"I always remind them go back to where you were in your heart when you painted it," Gouldener said. "Did you paint it from a place of joy, and what was your intention? If the rock is gone, somebody smiled. You did it!”

Emily Armstrong and her three children have spent all summer on the greenway, finding rocks, hiding rocks, painting rocks and looking for them on Facebook.

“I think people are eager for joy, and I think simple joy is really powerful," Armstrong said.

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