Since the pandemic began impacting Eastern Iowa back in March, Angie Glynn, 38, of Robins, has found herself playing with blocks. Daily.
More specifically, Glynn has been using her kids’ Magna-Tiles to put up inspirational messages on her family’s garage door. “We put up our first message on March 22 and we have surprisingly managed to change it every day since.”
She said a text message started it all.
“My aunt, Janie, had actually texted me a screenshot of kids playing with magnetic tiles on the garage as a way to keep them busy while they were home from school,” Glynn said. “She knew how much my kids loved playing with them to build things, so we went outside right away that morning and spelled out my son’s name with the tiles. Then it just dawned on me to put up an inspiring message. I came inside with the idea to change it daily just for fun, and my husband was on board.”
That simple idea has led to weeks of putting up a new message each morning. The garage has displayed messages from “Do your part,” and “One day at a time” to “Made you look,” and “We be zoomin.”
“We made a list of ideas for messages with the kids on that first day, and then continue to add to it as we hear or see an inspiring — and short — message that we like.” Glynn said they’ve also turned to Pinterest for ideas, especially when there is a specific message they wanted to feature, such as something for Nurses’ Week.
“Most of our messages have an uplifting tone to them, given the gravity of what our world is going through right now,” said Glynn. “But it has been fun to throw in some humor every so often, like ‘put on your positive pants,’ something my mom would tell me when things get tough.”
Glynn said their stash of Magna-Tiles, about 200, got them off to a great start. And while those 200 worked initially, the Glynns wanted to be able to thank front-line heroes, which required more tiles, so they ordered one more set, which puts their collection at 300 now.
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“That gives us just enough to do slightly longer messages so we can continue a little while longer,” Glynn said. “We knew that if we ordered more, our kids would get use out of them when we were done using them on the garage.”
The kids aren’t just lending their toys to the effort, initially they helped put up the tiles as well. “But then we started doing it at night so that the morning walkers in our neighborhood could see them on their morning walk. So, it’s usually me or my husband, Jason.”
Walkers are taking notice. Devin Sires, 43, also of Robins, lives just around the corner from the Glynns. He noticed one of their first messages when out on a morning walk with his family’s dog, Boomer.
“It was the start of this whole ordeal, and I loved the positivity portrayed by her messages.” When he saw a new message the next day, he was hooked. “I started to look forward to it every morning. It’s uplifting.”
Sires said his favorite message so far, thanks to the nod to Disney, was “Just keep swimming.”
“There’s also been a couple occasions where the Glynn kids left Boomer and I a personal ‘hello’ with chalk on their driveway,” he said.
Sires took to sharing a photo of the garage message each day on his own Facebook account so even more people could be touched by the Glynns’ efforts.
“Angie and her family deserve all the credit; I’m just the messenger,” said Sires. “It feels like the messages have impacted others like they have me. I love how I have gotten messages from people asking where her garage is so they can drive by personally as well and enjoy.”
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“We love that Devin walks by each morning and shares the messages,” added Glynn. “I feel like spreading the positivity has definitely become a team effort. We’ve even seen some neighbors join in with messages on their garage, which is awesome. We love that! And we love that it’s reaching more than just our Robins community.”
The Glynns are certainly feeling appreciated by the community. Just the other day some neighbors whom she’s never met sent her a beautiful bouquet of flowers in thanksgiving, Glynn said.
“We’ve had several neighbors thank us when walking by, and even had one neighbor put a nice note in our mailbox, which was so thoughtful and unexpected.”
The images continue to bring a smile to people near and far. As for how long the Glynns plan to keep up their efforts, Glynn said while they would love to keep it up long term, they are likely to be done at the end of the month.
“When we started, we really had no intention that it would go on this long,” she said. “Just reading a comment every so often on Facebook that someone looks forward to the daily messages, or appreciates the positivity, is enough to keep us going.”
Such a simple idea.
“We are just so glad that people are enjoying the garage messages,” said Glynn. “We really have a lot of fun doing it. And in a time where we feel super helpless, I feel like it is one small thing we can do to spread joy, positivity, and a sense of community.”
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