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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Thursday, October 25, 2007

WHEN GOD CALLS, TAKE A WALK IN THE GARDEN




William and Jessica





are two children who live thousands of miles away from my home, yet they are part of my family. God gave them to me when I, once again, asked that He show me His purpose for my life and His persepctive on the human condition. He answered my prayer and gave me more - a peace that passes all understanding!

Although I have a busy schedule with deadlines and challenging opportunities just like everyone else, I find myself longing for more, struggling to find fulfillment, searching for something to fill that vast empty space - that God-sized and God- shaped place inside me. I become restless and lose focus. I increase my work load, thinking that will relieve me of my vain wanderings, searching for meaning in my life. Finally I hear God calling me to sit with Him in the garden. Amazing!

I've learned, when I slow down and submit to God, together we accomplish the most.
I learn from listening to God what really matters in life.

When the opportunity to travel to Ecuador was presented to me, I knew I had to step out of my comfort zone to satisfy my empTy space. I had been invited to experience first hand how the truly poor live. God was calling me to walk hand in hand with a child, share God's concern for poverty, and get involved.
ouch!
How would I react to a situation where I would literally step into a hut on a squatter's hill and be exposed to poverty's reality. Could I hold the hand of a child whose little fingers rarely felt the trickles of running water? Could I kiss the cheeks of a child whose eyes were infected, whose nose continually dripped due to various viruses? Could I smile at a child and offer hope when all around me the picture was grim.
YES! YES! and YES!

When God calls His capable child to touch the life of a needy child, He opens His heart and both step, hand in hand, into the inner chambers of the Almighty.

With trepidation I took my first step toward my journey to the heart of God. Now I wonder, "How could I have ever doubted God's Word?"

"When the Son of Man, Jesus, comes in his glory, and all the angels with him then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations… Then the King will say… 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we perform all these acts? The King will answer… I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' “ (portions of Matthew 25: 31-39, italics mine)

When I held the hand of a child who had no hope, God used me to give hope.
When I kissed the cheek of a child who saw life dimly, God gave us both a new vision.
When I smiled in the midst of sorrow, God miraculously painted the landscape with
brilliant joy.

I just replied to my Jessica and William. I know when they receive my letter they will read of hope, begin to see God's vision for their lives, and experience brilliant joy simply because one ordinary person believes that God's Word is a promise to all who choose to walk with him in obedience.
Thursday, October 18, 2007

IF THE JUNGLE IS A CAGE, THEN THE GARDEN IS FREEDOM



Last Saturday I spoke to a group of ladies in Missouri. My topic was based on my doggie book From the Pound to the Palace. During my 45 minute presentation I compared the plight of our animal friends to the human condition. I described the details surrounding the day my son and I visited the animal shelter an chose a family pet. I began my presentation by stating that my broken heart drove me to consider the similarites between an animal taken capitive and placed in a cage and a woman falling prey to abandonment, abuse, loneliness, and poor self esteem. Clearly my audience could relate with my compassion for the little dog I freed from the dog pound and clearnly the ladies who listened, captivated to my stories and the tales of others, understood that we all long for escape from those proverbial cages that keep us captive to past issues.

Then this week the media broke lose with Ellen Degenres and her doggie woes. We long to resuce our furry friends because we ourseves have deep longings that need rescuing.
If we can save an animal, then there is hope for us. We can be saved.

Brining my puppy home gave me a great sense of dignity. I had saved a life.

But that was not the greatest benefit from having helped my puppy to escape from his pitiful life in the pound. Once he settled into his routine in his hew home I began to observed my little dog's devotion to me and those who clearly loved and adored him. My dog worsihps me! His devotion to me and those in my family who care for him is evident. As his master I provide everyting he needs. My dog is smart. He knows who is his provider. I have learned the most important lesson of my life from my precious pet - I too have a Master. His name is Jesus. I have learned that total contentment is devotion to Christ who saved me from a life of meaningless wandering and called me to His side. Now because I know that God resuced me and gave me a purpose in life, I no longer allow loneliess, poor self worth, and rejection to rule my thoughts. Instead I lift my head and walk with dignity because my Master is the King of the Universe and the Prince of Peace!
Friday, October 12, 2007

GRIEVING AS I LEAVE MY GARDEN

Recently, it seems, I have corresponded with several women whose lives have been turned upside down due to a move. Either these women are retiring and have moved to the place of their dreams or closer to children. A few women with whom I have spoken have moved due to corporate transfers. I recently heard from J... who has moved 11 times in her marriage and now her husband is retiring from the Air Force. Yesterday I spoke with a missionary who has returned to the U.S. Happy to be "home" with family, she mourns what she left behind - her "home and family" on the mission field. One thing is for sure - Although moving can be an adventure of the most exciting sort, it can also be a life changer - a challenge that threatens to destroy. After my last move, I wrote the following:

The Flood Gate Opens

Genesis 7:11 “… all the fountains of the great deep burst open
and the floodgates of the sky were opened.”

Yesterday I buried my best friends. Gone are my lunch buddies and community chums. My tennis partners, their children and husbands also disappeared from my life. My next door neighbor and my friend from across the street are gone also. I buried the ladies in my Bible Study and the children in my Sunday school class. I am grieving the loss of my pastor and his wife. I will never see the florist or the mailman again. The hairdresser had become a best friend. She is gone along with the teenagers who bagged and carried my groceries. It wasn’t a wreck on icy roads that took my friends nor an earthquake or a tornado. They were not even together when I lost them. This event that caused great sorrow in my life was a unique disaster. I was the only one in attendance at this desperate occasion. I grieved alone. I suffered in silence. There was no one to console me. This was an unusual event because the people I loved had not been typically buried, laid to rest in satin lined caskets or dropped into the cold frosty ground. They were not even dead. Yesterday morning I painfully wrapped each dear soul in wonderful warm memories and stuffed my friends one by one deep into the hidden chambers of my broken heart.

Father of all compassion,
You understand and know the heartache I feel. With tears flowing and a heavy heart I drove away, not from a graveyard, but from a home where my sons’ growth charts are etched into the utility room door. I drove away from a peaceful garden where I had dug up earth and planted flowers, shrubs, and trees. With dread and sorrow hanging over my future, I put behind a community that only last week was full of life and purpose and comfort. I drove away, not from a bad wreck or a natural disaster, but from a life that had now come to an end. Yesterday I moved. I turn to You for consolation. Do not abandon me in my grief.

Luke24:15 says “…Jesus himself approached and began traveling with them.”

What does this mean for you today? Be comforted, knowing Jesus is traveling with you.
Friday, October 5, 2007

FLOWERS FROM THE GARDEN




I absolutely love flowers. No two are alike! I spent today with buckets of fresh cut flowers - flowers grown in my friend's garden. Grown for a special occasion - a wedding. My good friend is getting married tomorrow - a second marriage for her. Let me tell you how God has blessed her in her obedience to Him.

I met S... years ago in church. Over time we became good friends. When the women's ministry asked me to present a seminar on personality types I happily agreed. Believing the women would enjoy helping me with my presentation, I wrote skits that would illustrate the personality types. I asked S... to play the role of the melacholy personality type. I gave her the script and asked her to learn her lines. I also gave her a brief description of the Personality Types so she would have a better understanding of her role in the weekend seminar. Saturday arrived and S... showed up at the church early offering to help me set up. As God would have it, for once in my life, I was finished with the set up and, taking a deep breath, sat down to ready myself for the day. Here came S... When I told her "thanks, but I am ready to go," she asked if we could talk. She proceeded to tell me that she wished she had been given the information on personalities earlier in her marriage. She wished she had had that information before she married! Why? Her husband had just dropped a bombshell. He was filing for a divorce. Oh how she wished she had understood him better. Now she knew exactly why he had not met her emotional needs. She knew she had not met his. Had she had the proper tools, she would have been able to "work" with him to improve the issues in their marriage. Now it was too late. He wanted out!

S... and her friends grieved, mourned, prayed, and cried together as she moved out of her home taking her 6 year old little boy with her. We moved her into a condo and talked long hours with her as she began to heal. She determined to devote her life to Christ and her son. She knew that she did not want to remain single all her life, but she would not look for a man. She told her little boy that he was the most important person in her life. Today that little boy is a young man with confidence. Tomorrow he will give his mother away to the man God brought into their lives. I admire my friend, S...

The church bells will ring tomorrow announcing a new union brought together by God. I know He blessed her for depending on Him to provide her with the man of her dreams.

... and the flowers I helped her arrange for her wedding will stand tall in all their glory to celebrate what God has brought together.
Monday, October 1, 2007

LIFE OUTSIDE THE GARDEN IS A WILDERNESS

LIFE OUTSIDE THE GARDEN IS A WILDERNESS

Are you a hermit, a Bedouin, or a pilgrim? * see definitions below

Have you ever found yourself wandering? I wander around lost most of the time. Either I am overwhelmed with too much to do or think about, I am frustrated that life is not taking the path I think it should, or I simply am weary – so I wander seeking peace, comfort, direction.

I know where I want to go. Sometimes I just can’t get there! I begin to think of the pilgrims of long ago who set out on journeys and found themselves overwhelmed, frustrated, and weary. How did they survive. They didn’t have half the amenities we have today, yet my spiritual forefathers – the children of Israel who followed Moses, made it to the promised land. My national forfathers made it to America, settled, and laid a foundation for future generations

I have spent many hours wrestling, searching for ways to survive my perceived hostile surroundings. As a sojourner on the way to a strange land I have sought to walk gracefully and be obedient to God's calling on my life. I have rarely succeeded in "doing it right." God, though, has heard my cries, murmurings, and grumblings. His steadfast faithfulness has taught me through His Word. His "cloud by day and pillar of fire by night" have led me to the secrets of the pilgrim. Let me share them with you!

The Promised Land was the land given by God to Abraham and the Hebrew nation. It would be a place free of bondage. It would be a place where they could freely worship the God of their forefathers. It would be a place for their children and their children's children to grow and become a great nation. Once there, they would prosper, provide for their families, and produce a bounteous harvest. Canaan would be their future. Upon arrival life would be wonderful. God, in His sovereignty knew this, but did His children understand?

Contemporary corporate pilgrims often move for the same reasons as our forefathers. The family provider seeks a place to raise children free from the social ills that plague our communities. Mothers long for parks free of fear, schools full of a fervor for learning, and communities which fan a spirit of unity and neighborly cooperation. We move for many other reasons also. We pack and sell our houses because there is no work in our particular field. Corporations restructure and move entire divisions across the nation. Parents grow old and children reorder their lives, returning home to offer assistance.

Preparing for the trip, organizing the details, anticipating the future all become the center of the move-her’s life. The day to vacate arrives without warning. Emotions rule. The relocating family is either ecstatic or grief stricken and, to top it off, out-of-control feelings pop up in the most unfortunate circumstances. A multitude of last minute details demand attention. Time continues to tick. Inevitably, the journey begins.

Regardless the motivation for the move, despite the meticulous organization, after the premises has been vacated, the process of change begins and unexpected situations challenge the movers. There will, no doubt, be detours along the way. A pilgrim wakes daily to new situations. Strange places have a way of trying foreigners. Discomfort often rules. Attitudes are tested. Too soon the journey dead ends in a wilderness. What happened to the place of dreams come true?

The pilgrims, during the exodus, ran out of water and they experienced hunger. Early into their flight they longed to go back. They forgot their cries for freedom. They no longer remembered the joy and anticipation that the promised land held for them. Unfortunately the circumstances of the journey allowed fear, anxiety, remorse, and anger to take control.

Wherever you might find yourself today, whether experiencing a cross country move, pondering your spiritual position in life, or facing emotional battles, think of yourself as a pilgrim. Jamie Buckingham in his book A WAY THROUGH THE WILDERNESS, addresses three types of desert citizens.

*"Hermits move in from the outside, settle in caves and stay in one place until they die. The Bedouin are nomads, on the move but always in a circle. However, God never intends for His children to settle in the wilderness as hermits or nomads. We are thus to be the third breed of wilderness person - the pilgrim. Each wilderness experience becomes a pilgrimage - an experience in which we meet, know and follow God to His land of promise."

In him we live, and move, and have our being. Acts 17:28

IN HIM we move,