The story below was shared by the beautiful Marni-Jo Townsley - a woman I met many years ago and am honoured to call a friend. It is about the power of images, the stone stories project, and being brave.

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I’ve long been an admirer of Julie’s photography. In fact, this is how we met many years ago. Julie had some of her photos in a local gallery. The gallery owner was a mutual friend, and the friendship I had with her allowed me to connect with Julie. Since that initial introduction, I have come to admire and respect Julie as a beautiful, imaginative, compassionate human being.

A lover of words and surprises, I think Julie’s stone project is inspired. I appreciate that she photographs the stones in their hidden locations and shares them in this way as well. Not only can the people who stumble upon them benefit from their messages, but those who come across her images can as well.

On numerous occasions I have delighted in some of the images Julie has posted on Facebook, saving them to my phone to be viewed again. A few weeks ago I decided to make one of them the background image on my phone. The message on the stone in the image: “Be brave.”

Like many, I check my phone repeatedly through a day. Each time I open it, I read the words, “Be brave.” You can imagine how many times I am getting this message on any given day. Because of the frequency with which I’m exposed to this reminder, I think I’m starting to “get the message.”

Currently, I am experiencing a challenging period in my life, one in which I feel vulnerable and full of fear. I want to stay safe, but know this is not a path that will lead to growth. I recognize the need to “be brave”, remain in the chaos and vulnerability and see where I’m taken. Julie’s photograph of that small stone with those two small words has been a source of encouragement and empowerment.

To me, this is evidence of the power and the far-reaching effect of doing “small things with great love” (Mother Theresa).

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