Monday, July 2, 2012

Art with a story, my favorite kind.



Last weekend, our family went downtown to an Italian cafe called DePalmas to celebrate my birthday.
As we were walking out, we saw this amazing artist painting on the sidewalk.
Andy and I have heard of him, and we've been in several homes here that have his art displayed.
He doesn't own a shop or have his work anywhere local.
If you want his work, you just have to hope that you land in the same spot that he's painting.

We stopped to watch him paint, and I asked him if he would tell me his story.
He was delighted to tell me because he feels like he lived to be able to share it.
When he was just 13 there was an accident, and he was electrocuted.
He said he literally burned from the inside out.
But, he lived.

At some point, he stopped looking at me and he started looking at both of our boys.
He told them that he cried everyday until he was around 15.
He said he couldn't do anything but ask God, "Why?"
Eventually, his grandparents told him he could either keep asking why and be miserable and mad,
OR he could start asking God to use his spared life.

He looked my boys in their eyes and told them that they would face troubles and tragedies on Earth.
In fact, he told them that they could count on it.
But, he also reminded them that God uses all of it and that none of it is wasted or accidental.

He went on to tell us that he's been painting downtown since he was 15.
Thirty years this man has been painting with sharpie paint pens from his mouth.
He told us that he just knew that God gave him this talent so that he could share his story of hope.

He said his one regret is that he wasted two whole years being angry about his circumstances.
I can assure you that I've wasted way more time than him.

My boys were so encouraged by him, as were we.
I feel like God answered a prayer of mine that night while we were talking to Mr. Davenport.
I've been praying that my boys would understand what it is to trust God during difficult times.
It's so easy to stop in those moments that are hard and begin to doubt God's goodness in our lives.
I have prayed that our conversation with him will be a marker of sorts.
...that they'll remember it years from now.

He had completed two pieces of work that night, 
and we knew they would be perfect above the boys' beds.
I love when the things in our home tell a story.
And, I love even more that these two pieces will be reminders 
that God has a purpose for our lives and nothing can thwart his plans.

I told you last week I'd show you what the art looked like above the beds,
but we had to finish the frames first, and then life got in the way and now it's been a whole week. :)
{Andy built the frames, and if you'd like, I can post the tutorial.  Just let me know.}


Y'all.  Every time I look at those paintings, my heart swells.
His story brings hope to life.
He is evidence that God can use anyone, anytime, anyplace.

{thankful for}
434. the sound of little girls squealing in my house.
435. Mr. Davenport's story of hope & faith.
436. my walk with Michele this morning.
437. a cooler temperature thanks to the rain last night.
438. memories of my time with Andy in Madison.
439. my boys reading.
440. a math tutor for Luke this summer. 

36 comments:

  1. That is AWESOME. I am so glad you shared this!! What a treasure in thier rooms.

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  2. What an inspiration and things we should remember...

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  3. Mr. Davenport is amazing. I bet your boys will cherish his words forever. Thank you for sharing his story.

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  4. Tara, thank you for sharing this. We've seen him before, but never heard his story.
    The pictures look great over the beds. What a wonderful reminder of God's faithfulness for your boys every time they walk in their room!
    And I'm sure a frame tutorial would be loved by many. :)

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  5. Oh wow, this is such a powerful experience. I love that your paths crossed and that you were able to see something eternally valuable in what so many others probably walked right past. And now to have a tangible reminder of God's goodness on your walls is priceless! I pray that God opens my eyes to see His miracles daily!

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  6. what a beautiful story! Good for you for taking the time to ask him his story when you could have kept on walking.

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  7. What a sweet man and a great story. I pray for teaching moments like this, both for ME to learn as a parent,and for my kids to learn growing up. Thanks for story :)

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  8. Love the artwork over the beds, and such a story to go with those pieces. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. that makes my heart swell and eyes spill over too-He is so good!

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  10. This is a part of an entire thread that has been running through my days. So blessed to 'know' Mr. Davenport through you. This story proves that when we let go of what WE think, and entrust our lives with what God knows we are capable of, no matter what, His name will be glorified, and 'all things are possible.' I love this.

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  11. What a blessing to meet someone that inspired you and your family and how you are able to share with us all. I was blessed and inspired by this story. Thank you for sharing. Happy 4th!

    Vanessa

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  12. WOWZA that is absolutely amazing. Love it when people use their gifts no matter what the circumstances. That's a little humbling isn't it? Makes me think I'm not living up to near my potential:/

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  13. what a beautiful story. i think so many times we waste time being mad or upset when it really does us no good. turning to God works much better. thank you for sharing this with us! susan

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  14. What an awesome story. I hope to one day run into Mr. Davenport while in Athens.

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  15. That made me cry. What a testimony to what God can do if you let him. What a witness this man is for God's kingdom. I love the artwork. Perfect...of course.

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  16. What a sweet way that the Lord answered your prayer, Tara, for your boys. And what a smart momma you are to ask the Lord for such specific things for your kids.

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  17. I was at walgreens in line waiting for scripts and read this.
    I typed a whole comment and then it froze...on my phone of course.
    Ugh...
    SO coming back to type another. This obviously made me cry..in line
    STORY is SO powerful isn't it? LOVE this down to my toes.
    and I pray with you for your boys that it be a marker..a memorial to them.

    Happy 4th friend. We have gotten your emails. We have not forgotten about you...
    we have sale this weekend and with the baby..it has been a crazy month.
    just life. I know you know:)
    love the art..the frames and the room.

    xoxo

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  18. Okay, my 12 year old son insists I re-write my comment....I was in tears when I read this inspiring story and literally couldn't form words. Thank you for sharing it with us. We all need reminders to be grateful for God's many blessings!

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  19. Wow, thank you so much for sharing that. Who knows how many lives he has touched and now through you via this blog post. It’s so true, we waste so much time in our lives, when we could be looking at the opportunity God has given us through hardships. Beautiful story and amazing artwork. Have a great 4th!

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  20. That is an awesome story. One I wish every young person could hear! And old people too! I can even appreciate them though they are UGA prints. ;)

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  21. what an incredible story. i love that you asked him to share it with you. what an inspiration. the art looks perfect in your boys' room too. love this. thanks for sharing it with us!! xoxo

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  22. oh and happy {belated} birthday, sweet girl!!

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  23. What an amazing story! I love the artwork and their room is just fabulous.
    Happy belated bday sweet Tara.
    xo~
    T

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  24. What an incredible story! Thank you for sharing your experience with everyone. I bet the boys will carry that moment with them forever.

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  25. Beautiful! Little did that man know that not only would his story touch you & your family, but all your friends & family through your blog!! Simply amazing!

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  26. Amazing! That made me cry. He is very talented. and what the perfect added touch to the boys room!

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  27. love this story. so true. I love that he is using his gifts despite what has happened. Thanks for sharing it. I just found you via Miss Mustard Seed. Your signs are awesome!

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  28. Thank you from one mom to another we always hope & pray that our kids will be spared pain & hard times but thats when we drsw nearest to God - mr. Davenport is a special person in deed! Love your post.

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  29. What a heartwarming story about the person behind the artwork.

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  30. I love art with a story. Very touching story. Blog hopped over from Miss.Mustard Seed.

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  31. I read this story and then read it to my husband. How inspiring this young man is and his art is amazing. As a Mom of an adorable bulldog I am so jealous of those paintings. I wish he had a location where I could purchase his drawings. They look so cute above your sons beds, I also popped over from Miss Mustard Seed and so glad I did. thank you so much for sharing this. hugs Tobey

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  32. I was inspired by this story and truly feel like things that we put in our homes need to have a purpose or meaning to make them powerful. I love the boys artwork and love that their dad finished it off with his handiwork. It makes it more special. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. I have some artwork that I have been wanting to hang in my children's rooms that have special meaning, but cannot find a frame for them. Would you mind sharing how your hubby built these frames? thank you for being inspiring and doing your best to point your family in the right direction.

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