About Me

Van Walton

Fun Facts about Van Walton

My favorite smell: The way the earth smells after it rains.

My favorite sound: The first notes of a grand symphony.

My favorite way to relax: Sitting anywhere outside - on my front porch, on my deck, or by the lake, early in the morning with my first cup of coffee.

My favorite birthday dessert: a Peach cobbler baked by my husband. He’s my fave chef!

I will not eat: Avocado. They turn my stomach into a volcano that never erupts.

Technology I couldn't live without and why: My laptop - it takes me anywhere I want to go.

One thing that makes me smile: My sons' faces!

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My Resources



My book, From the Pound to the Palace, is available for $10
from Proverbs 31 Ministries.


Pound to Palace


My book, Little Halos, is available for $5.99 from Proverbs
31 Ministries.


Little Halos


Proverbs 31 Ministries












Links




Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

TAKING THE GARDEN TO THE JUNGLE

I needed some stamps so I stopped at the post office while running errands this past week. As usual, when I entered the building, the line snaked out into the hall. I decided to try the automated machine and buy my stamps by inserting bills and pushing buttons. I don't like shopping that way for a coupld of reasons. I like talking with people when I buy something. I have lost money in machines. Glancing toward the stamp machine I noticed a lady having trouble - just as I thought. No, I would step into that long snake of a line. She continued forcing her dollar bills into the machine to no avail. It was then that I heard her talking. "I'm not going to let this frustrate me. People are watching and I am going to be patient and long- suffering." She went on talking to herself, cheering herself on, periodically looking up in the midst of her conversation. Then, suddenly, BINGO, the machine accepted her dollar. "Thank you, Jesus!" She said. "You bless me when I obey." It was then that she turned to me and said, "It works! Come here honey and I will help you. That line is too long." I obeyed her, handed her my bills, and she proceeded to get my stamps for me. All the while she told me about her morning devotions. "I pray every morning before I step out of my house." She told me she asks God to forgive her for her wrong doings and show her how to be a better person. She also told me that she asks God to put people in her path so she can be the love of Jesus to tohers. Then she explained to me that in one fell swoop God had answered her prayer. She said that she refused to be tempted into frustration and anger when the machine would not cooperate. "Others are watching to see if I am really a Christian." When I came along, she knew I was the one who needed a loving trouch from God. That entire exchange took place in minutes! The post office line had not moved during our time together. This blessed lady hugged me when I thanked her for her testimony and her lifestyle. She sent me on my way determined to take her attitude with me the rest of the day. Life in the jungle can be tamed when Christians act with lovingkindness.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007

REACHING OUT FROM MY GARDEN

Recently I met a beautiful all-American girl at the Proverbs 31 Ministries She Speaks Conference, an event for future speakers and writers. Angela is lovely in every way. She has a warm heart and dancing eyes. Her smile is contagious and I know she cares for others. She is beautiful inside and out!

Knowing that I have a deep desire to reach the Latinas in my community, Angela asked me to help her reach out to a Spanish speaking woman who works in the grocery store she frequents. How special is that? Angela wants to reach out to someone she doesn’t even know. Angela is concerned Juana doesn’t speak English so she copied one of the Proverbs 31 Daily Encouragement for Today Spanish devotions and took it to her new-found friend. She asked me to teach her five phrases so she could set up a time for the two of them to teach each other their native languages. How creative is that? Don’t you just want to be like Angela and reach out to those in your community who may not feel welcome, who might
be lonely, or who don’t even speak your same language?

Angela just found out that Juana may leave the country and return to Mexico. If only Angela “had listened to God faster”, she would have had more time with her friend. I agree with Angela. There are times I didn’t listen very fast. I have lost opportunities to touch others.

I am getting better, though.

Thanks for reminding me, Angela!
Friday, July 20, 2007

CHILDREN GROWING IN MY GARDEN

I noticed this week that "mommy wars" are once again being fought between the stay-at-home moms and the work-outside-the-home moms. I have been in both situations. I cannot comment one way or another except to say that being a mother has challenged me more than any other experience I have had. I have had to work hard at being a mom! I believe it is such an important role that I share my parenting experiences - the positive, the hard, the victories, and the failures with the young moms in my circles. I learned early on, that as a young and new mom I could develop unique skills by sharing mommy moments that were randomly filled with joy, doubt,and frustration. I grew and matured with other moms and older women who willingly and eagerly stepped into my life.

Twice a month I "work" at the Charlotte Pregnancy Care Center encouraging young pregnant women in their parenting skills. Five years ago I began this program for Latina mothers. Wednesday I stood amazed as woman after woman stepped into the classroom eager to listen to an older woman's wise words. I am not so sure my words are all that wise, but it gives me great joy to be able to share my parenting experiences with these beautiful women who want to be good mothers. So on the first and third Wednesday of each month, my friend Angela and I welcome Hispanic women from various Spanish speaking countries and,in Spanish, we touch on a topic of parenting.

Day before yesterday we talked about the value of blessing our children. The Bible is filled with blessings and this is what the American Study Bible says:

"A blessing was one way of asking for God's divine favor to rest upon others. The ancient blessing in Numbers 6:22-26 helps us understand what a blessing was supposed to do."

Ancient fathers blessed their sons by calling to their child. Once the child came close by, the father would touch his child and then speak positive words. We talked about the importance of beginning this practice early in a child's life in order to build a strong relationship and begin a positive tradition.

In their book, THE BLESSING, Dr. John Trent and Gary Smaley say, "the unconditional love and approval that comes with the blessing is vital to self-esteem and emotional
well-being." These are the five elements of the blessing: 1-Meaningful touch, 2-A spoken message, 3-Attaching high value, 4-Picturing a special future, 5-An active commitment.

For more information on blessing your children, visit http://www.theblessing.com/

May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you peace.
(Numbers 6:24-26 NLT)
Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I Want to be Free

As usual, while I was on a walk with my dog, I learned one of many life lessons. I need to tell you - my dog is obedient. As a result he has the freedom to leave the safety of our yard unleashed, as long as he walks with me. Yes that is right. He walks freely through the neighborhood - unchained, untied, unbound - free! Do you long for freedom? Take a look at the picture I experienced as I strolled with my dog. There we were walking down the street and we passed a house with a dog in the yard. The dog appeared to be free, but, in reality an electric fence surrounded him. Actually his life was controlled by a powerful shock if he were to cross a set boundary. When my dog noticed the other dog, he looked his way, showing great interest. You know it is the call of the wild - a deep instinct that permeates a dog's being, when he sees another one of his own species. They can't control themselves, or can they? They are driven to run toward each other, smell, lick, and wag tails - or growl and fight. I saw temptation right there on the street. But then the unthinkable happened. My little dog looked up at me. "Good dog," I said, encouraging him to stay close by my side. Once again my constant companion looked into the yard of the pent up canine. Slowly, deliberately, my pet made a choice. He stepped into the shadow of his master and kept on walking, right past the temptation. Because he decided to hear my voice and ignore the natural call of the world, he continued in freedom. Had he ignored me by stepping out of bounds and running toward disobedience, had ne not followed my commands, I would have had to put the leash around his neck. No longer free. Bound, tied up, restricted, enslaved, chained. Ironic but true - freedom is defined by obedience - obedience and commitment to the master.

My little dog inspires me! If he can walk past temptation, then so can I. It is a choice. Guess what? When I refuse to listen to the call of the wild, I walk in freedom. I hear another call - the call of my Master. You see, like my precious pet, I too have a Master.

What was the lesson I learned from my dog? If I want to live free and content, I obey my Master. His name is Jesus. He says that we are truly his disciples when we remain faithful to his teachings. Knowing the truth will set us free. (John 8:31-32)

He said,"...the Spirit of the Lord is upon me,for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,that the blind will see,that the oppressed will be set free," (Luke 4:18)
Thursday, July 12, 2007

I'd Rather be in My Garden

I'd rather be in my garden than anywhere else! Yesterday two friends came over - Sandy and Christy. We sat in the midst of the trees and flowers, under a lazy blue sky by the pool. I just know I was created for the garden! Being with my two friends, hearing their wise words which come from years of choices gone wrong, intentional decisions to change,parenting ups and downs, relationship struggles, and, ultimately, listening to their hearts' cry for a more meaningful relationship with God gave me hope, calmed me, and showed me how much I am loved. Why did I feel loved, not just loved, but also honored? My friends trusted me with their thoughts and allowed me to comment on their musings. I like being loved. We discussed "busyness" -- how it appears to give us purpose, prestige, and position.It also robs us of precious moments. I am glad Sandy and Christy were not too busy to join me. When they left I felt like they had been my spa - a spa in my very own garden! If I could have one wish today -I would wish that every woman would take the time to treat herself to a "girlfriend spa." No need for big bucks, formal appointments, or fancy salons. All you need for a girlfriend spa is a friend or two, a quiet location, open and honest hearts, gracious nods, free-flowing tears, and laughter, laughter that fills the air and comes back at you, laughter that releases every pent up preoccupation, laughter that rings late into the night, lays its head on your pillow beside you and turns into a soul-filling, deep smile and says good night.
Monday, July 2, 2007

About the Title of This Blog:

My story and your story, everyone’s story is woven into HIS story. God created man and woman in the garden!
In the beginning God created)… Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us…” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

…the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden…

…the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept God made a woman…
(taken from portions of Genesis 1 & 2, New Living Translation of the Holy Bible)
We were created in the garden!

If I was created for life in the garden, why am I lost in the jungle?

Temptation! Read all about it:
The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the LORD God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

The woman was convinced… So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness… When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the LORD God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the LORD God among the trees. Then the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” (portions of Genesis 3( NLT)

Temptation and deception lead to a choice. Adam and Eve, and I, and everyone who has ever lived, we have all made a choice.
The choice to turn from God, to ignore his commands and his calling, leads to separation.
“So the LORD God banished them from the Garden of Eden…” Genesis 3:23 (NLT)
That is why I am lost in the jungle! When my choices conflict with God’s will, I no longer walk with Him. I find myself lost in the jungle!

God has provided a way out of the jungle. He lovingly calls to His children, “Where are you?”

Where are you?

Are you walking with God or are you wandering through life on your very own? Whose voices do you hear? The world’s, your own, God’s?

Listening to God leads back to the garden! So what will it be?

Living in the garden or lost in the jungle?

Listen to Him:
“I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people.” Leviticus 26:12 (NLT)

The Lord is my shepherd… He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. Psalm 23:2 (NLT)

“You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart,” Jeremiah 29:12-13 (ESV)God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NLT)

I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13 (NLT)

Then the Angel showed me Water-of-Life River, crystal bright. It flowed from the Throne of God and the Lamb, right down the middle of the street. The Tree of Life was planted on each side of the River, producing twelve kinds of fruit, a ripe fruit each month. Revelation 22:1-4 (MSG)
Full circle! Back to the garden. Where are you? Living in the garden or lost in the jungle?