Marie Brown, spends her spare time making people smile, one rock at a time. Brown started painting rocks a little over a year ago. “My great nephews were painting and hiding rocks, and I thought it sounded fun so they were here one afternoon went out and got some rocks and brought them in and we all sat around and painted,” she said.
Brown found that painting rocks brought her a sense of peace. She started toll painting in the early 80’s; her father Charles Robison held painting classes in his home, where scores of people would gather and paint on wood that he cut out. While painting was fun, like many hobbies, it got pushed aside and she didn’t paint for many years.
Brown picked up the paint brush again in the spring of ’17. In the months prior Larry Brown, Marie’s husband of 42 years, died suddenly. Having retired from being a Muhlenberg County School Bus driver for 24 years, Mrs. Brown had time on her hands. Painting turned into therapy. “It just feels good to do it, I lose all train of thought and no worries in my head,” Brown said.
When Brown’s daughter got into contact with her following a recent doctors visit, she replied to her daughter “oh my gosh Pam, this is going to take a lot of rocks”. Pam Brown, Marie’s only daughter, had been diagnosed with cancer.
“One day I was just sitting in here painting and the thought came into my head, ‘You need to paint rocks with bible verses on them and hand them out and ask people to pray (for healing) for Pam’, it just came in my head, God put it in my head, He’s the one that guided me to the verse I would put on the angel rocks, which of course is the perfect verse for my daughter.” The verse referenced is Mark 5:34.
Brown continued, “I started passing them around, I just painted 20 or so, gave them out, and the ones that had them, as they were showing them off, they would end up giving them away, then they would came back wanting more.” As people were sharing the meaning and reason for the rocks, they’d get passed on. Suddenly Brown was painting only angels; and a lot of them. She stopped counting at 1,000, and estimates over 2,000 have been painted.
The more she painted word spread, and she even began to paint special orders, like Paw Patrol rocks, or Disney Princesses. A friend contracted Mrs. Brown to paint a series of Disney Characters for her grandchildren. They were all going on a Disney Cruse, and the grandmother hid the rocks for the children to find. Upon returning home, the three-year-old said that finding the rocks were her favorite part of the cruise.
Pam Brown has also had some fun encounters over the rocks. On two occasions different people that she was acquainted with surprised her with rock stories. In a group of friends at SkyPac a distant acquaintance approached, and said “I have a rock! I’ve been praying for you!”. On another occasion Pam was going to give a rock to a friend, but much to her surprise she already had one, given out by the humane society. Unsure who, but someone took rocks in, and because Pam is a dog trainer in the area, they knew that people would know her, and therefore pray for her. Both of these stories happened within days of one another.
When Pam Brown was going through cancer treatment at Vanderbilt, Mrs. Brown would place rocks in different areas and hope to see people find the rocks. Never for the glory of having done this act of kindness, just to watch people become encouraged and uplifted.
On one of the Browns’ last visits to Vanderbilt, they had a chance encounter with the Henry family from Ohio County. Mrs. Brown had just seen the interview where Mrs. Henry was talking about having lost her third child that day; the result of a tragic fire earlier in the summer. “I have something I want you to have”, she told Mrs. Henry. After sharing an angel and a word and a tear, she noticed another woman that looked like Mrs. Henry. It was Mrs. Henry’s mother and she too received an angel rock.
Brown said “The reason I thought of the rocks was when my nephew was in Afghanistan. I didn’t tell anyone, not my husband, really no one. I made a deal with myself, in my head, when I see an American flag, I’m going to say a quick prayer for Josh. ‘Please Lord, take care of Josh, bring him home safe and sound’ that’d be it. So let me tell you, driving a school bus in Bremen Kentucky, you’ll see a lot of American flags. It was just my own thing, I’d do. The angel rocks kind of grew from that. This was just a slow steady idea that has just kept growing.”
When I started reading in the Bible about healing, I wanted a really good verse about it. The first verse I looked at was perfect. Mark 5:34, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
After six rounds of Chemotherapy, the tumors have shrunk, the younger Brown is enjoying a six week break from treatments and will then go back for further testing. It’s in hope that the tumors will continue to shrink on their own, with the help of the Angels among us.