It's the little things that make a big impact.

The Kindness Rock Project
Credit: Instagram @thekindnessrocksproject

There's a new garden project that turns cold, hard rocks into hallmarks of kindness—and the idea is spreading all over the South.

It all started a few years ago when Megan Murphy met Oprah Winfrey who encouraged her to do something to help people. She came up with the idea of painting kind words and inspirational messages on rocks and leaving around the beach for others to find. At first it was just a hobby, a way of leaving a little joy in her wake as she went about her day. However, according to local news outlet NECN, her daughter encouraged her to start a hashtag and soon The Kindness Rocks Project, hashtag and all was growing into a global phenomenon.

Now, Murphy's hobby is spreading around the world as people take her idea and make it their own (with her blessing, of course). Rocks are transformed into heart-warming tokens and hidden in gardens, left on beaches, or tucked into planters, left behind to simply spread kindness. Some devoted rock painters are swapping out plants for entire gardens filled with cheerfully painted rocks, which saves on watering and still spreads happiness. In addition to simply leaving rocks as colorful surprises, some people are mailing rocks to other rock painting groups and spreading the joy across the country and even the world.

According to, Florida mom Jen Justiniano started painting rocks as a way to calm her nerves as a hurricane bore down on her home. Now, she has started her own rock-painting group, Brevard Rocks FL, which has blossomed to over 10,000 members since she started the group in November.

Over in Kentucky, Mary Shelby founded Nelson County Rocks, a few months ago, and told Today that the project has inspired acts of kindness throughout her community. Other rock painting groups have popped up in North Carolina, Alabama, and pretty much every other community in the South.

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To find a rock-painting in your neck of the woods, check out the the list on Murphy's website as well as on the Facebook group, USA Painted Rocks. Of course you can easily start your own group or simply spend an afternoon painting with the kids. All you need is paint, rocks, and the desire to bring a smile to someone's face.