A Mural and a Helpful Young Man

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I recently took on a project that is giving me great joy. Behind our church is an 87-foot retaining wall. Until a few days ago, it looked terrible. However, I recently had the idea that it could become a mural.

People with a heart for our little town continue to work sacrificially to bring back business and make it thrive again. They are having much success. When Ray and I and a couple of our friends were downtown last Friday afternoon, Gainesboro was bustling. It was a joy.

One of the improvements is a mural, featuring our nearby state park and a paddleboat that once carried goods from our port on the Cumberland River. The same artist has begun a second mural on the side of another downtown building. Those murals gave me the idea that our church could have a third mural for folks to enjoy when they come to Gainesboro.

On Monday our church invited folks to a Spring Fling with a barbecue and hot dog supper; games, crafts, and activities for children; a story-telling time; and an opportunity for children to help with the mural. In the days before the event, our friend Gary, who is one of our elders, power washed the retaining wall with the help of our friend Fran, who is our church secretary. Last Friday Fran gave the railing above the wall a fresh coat of paint, and on Friday she and our friend Jody painted the wall blue.


As I wondered about what our mural theme should be, I thought about the days of Creation. Ray wondered if the mural could feature things God made in Jackson County. I loved the idea. After our friends did the hard work of preparing the wall, I could begin the joyful job of filling it with God’s Creation. When Spring Fling began on Monday afternoon, it was ready with outlines of life-size birds and animals of Jackson County and a yellowwood tree (first discovered in Jackson County by a French botanist in 1796), plus four wreaths of Jackson County wildflower stems waiting for blossoms.

During Spring Fling, three church friends, Sue Ellen, Debbie, and Charlene (yes, our small congregation has two Charlenes; we love saying “Hi, Charlene” to one another) and I oversaw children as they added thumbprint petals to the wreaths.

Charlene (the brave other Charlene) oversaw the children making handprint butterflies.

Deb, Sue Ellen, and the two Charlenes in our painting clothes

I find such joy in painting and I look forward to adding Bible verses to the insides of the wreaths and to painting the outlined birds, animals, and yellowwood tree.

Jody, Fran, and I did research to find out how to make the mural permanent. In that quest, I went to a local arts and crafts store last Saturday. I needed a very specific art supply and wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking for. In the art section, I found a young man who worked at the store. Though he wasn’t an artist, he stayed with me and tried very hard to help me. He even went to the clearance section several aisles away to bring me some discontinued items he thought might be helpful.

This is a store that is not known for having a helpful staff. I have literally been in there before and asked for a certain craft item, only to be told that it was in crafts! That wasn’t exactly helpful when the store has aisles and aisles of crafts! I told the young man who helped me on Saturday, “You are the most helpful person I have ever had in this store and I have shopped here for many years.”

Homeschooling mamas have many adjectives they would like others to use to describe their children, adjectives such as intelligent, successful, diligent. A good adjective to add to that list is helpful. Sometimes it’s the most helpful person who stands head and shoulders above the rest.

One day the mother of Jesus’ disciples James and John came to Jesus. She bowed down before Him and made a request. She wanted her two sons to sit on his right and left in His kingdom. The other disciples were indignant. But Jesus told them:

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles domineer over them,
and those in high position exercise authority over them. 
It is not this way among you,
but whoever wants to become prominent among you
shall be your servant, 
and whoever desires to be first among you
shall be your slave; 
just as the Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve,
and to give His life as a ransom for many.
Matthew 20:24b-25

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  1. I would love to see more pictures of the mural on your church’s retaining wall! Thank you for your posts. I often read them aloud to my young adult children, who still live with us, because of the Grace, truth, and godly wisdom we find here.
    Love, Tara

  2. This is so encouraging and uplifting!!! I hope you do a post with “before and after” photos. Those are my favorites. Thank you for this sweet story!

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