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, May 25, 2008

MOVIN' ON AFTER MOVIN' IN MONDAY

<Ripping out, to replant

Almost everything I know about life I learn while working in my garden. This spring I spent some time with my mother-in-law on her patio. When I first stepped out it looked like this.



and this:



My life looks like this – A LOT. There are parts of me that I do not keep up. I ignore areas that need to be spruced up. I get lazy about important areas that cry out for constant attention. I get lazy and pretty soon I look like this.



This happens when we become complacent and comfortable. We forget the importance of removing the old and dead. We relax and allow life to settle to the lowest common denominator.

I believe moving keeps us on our toes. It forces us to look at ourselves, clean up our acts, remove the untidy, cut away that which no longer produces, snip away the unattractive aspects of our characters, forcing us to begin anew.

Oh yes it hurts. We throw away portions of our lives and say good-bye to yesterday. It is hard work and we mourn what we must bury.

It is worth it all, though. After a day of trimming, cutting, throwing, cleaning, the patio looked like this.



I have never wanted to move, but God from his heaven has looked down and in His infinite wisdom has noticed the ugliness in my life that I have begun to accept. Like a master gardener, He has determined what must go and how it has to be removed.



He has also devised a plan. He knows what my life will look like when I settle in my new pot and begin to grow. He knows that the day will come when my light will shine again.

Monday, May 19, 2008

MOVIN' ON AFTER MOVIN' IN MONDAY

THE MOVE OF A LIFE TIME

Today I attended the funeral of my daughter-in-law's grandmother. Evelyn went to be with Jesus the day after Mother's Day. On that day her three children and many of her grandchildren had visited her. Her pastor shared communion with her. She was ready to move on.

The front of the bulletin read:
"I will live in the house of the Lord forever."


Maybe you are not at all like me. Maybe you have lived in one place all your life. Evelyn spent her last 70 years as a member of the church where her funeral service took place. She was married there. Her 2 daughters married there. My son married her granddaughter there!

Evelyn lived in the Milwaukee area all her life. I, on the other hand, need more than two hands to count all the places I have lived in my life.

One thing is for sure, though. A week ago she moved on. She might not have moved much in her life, but she spent her life preparing for the one day she would make the greatest move of all.

During the service we celebrated her life. She married Earl. Together they raised 3 children and influenced 7 grandchildren. My son married into that family, a family influenced by her godliness. Although I only spent a few hours with her on two days surrounding the wedding of my son to her granddaughter, I feel I know her. I know her through the gentleness of her husband. I know her through the generosity and hospitality of her daughter. I know her through the loveliness of my son's wife. I feel I know her because of the way her offspring have taken in my son and made him part of the family. She taught them through example and word to live and walk the narrow path of godliness and goodness. I know her becuase of the legacy she passed on to the next generation. I see her life played out in the lives of so many.

I hardly knew Evelyn, but I have seen the works of her hands and heart. For me and my family her life and influence on my son and dauther-in-law will be a world of difference to them as they in turn build their own family.

As I sat in the service listening to words of praise and thanksgiving, hearing of her life, and praying to God who offers eternal life to those who believe in Him, I thought, "There is no God like You. You call us into the Light. You surround us with Your Truth. You bless us from generation to generation."

Moving is always hard. Telling Evelyn good bye was especially difficult for her grandchildren. Yet, today in church her pastor gave the congregation an glimpse into her desire to be set free from the bonds of her failing body. He told us that the spark of faith he saw in her as she partook of her Last Communion here on earth pointed toward the new life she so anticipated.

I think of my own life. I may not be experiencing high adventure. I have not influenced lots of people. I am really pretty ordinary. Each day I ask God what He wants me to do? Some days I feel like I accomplished loads for the kingdom. Other days I feel pretty average.

I think of Evelyn. She was no revolutionary. Not a whole lot of people know her name. Yet, she made a home for her family, a place of peace and comfort, a place from which each one was launched to touch others, to make this world a better place for a few. She didn't accomplish grandiose deeds. She was born, grew up, married, raised a family, and then moved.

I am no stranger to moving. I know how to pack and unpack, how to reach out and how to let go. Although I have not alwyas wanted to move, I know one thing - the last move I ever make will be...

To the house of the Lord forever.


What about you, how are you preparing for that last move?
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

LIFT UP YOUR EYES



Just a week ago I stood outside the fellowship hall of a little church in the Ozark hills waiting for the school bus. When it came to a stop, groups of children appeared at the open doors and freed themselves by bounding and skipping down the stairs. They knew exactly where to go – they come here every Wednesday. Flying down the hills, backpacks trying to keep up, boys and girls with smiley faces run into the gym.

While children ran in circles – throwing off excess energy, I found a chair, put down my book and placed a large bag full of DVD’s beside me. Before the day was over each child would receive a gift from the church - the story I was about to read on DVD.

I was ready to read a story and they were prepared to meet the author.

“Children,” the afterschool leader called. “Come sit down. Our special guest has arrived.”

In no time a large group of boys and girls ranging in ages from 4 to 14 arranged them selves on the floor in front of my chair. They had been informed of the special guest the week before and they were ready.

Their mothers arrived also. They were here to sit with their children while they listened to a story of a dog, yet all the while they would hear`
a message of hope, compassion, freedom, and love.
I smiled and sat down with my book.

Thanking the children for their warm reception I asked them if they wanted to hear me read the book I had written about a true story, the story of my dog.

Their nodding heads, eager faces, and bright eyes agreed together. “YYYEEEEESSS!”



I showed them my book and began,

“Hi! My name is Air. Do you remember when you were little? When I was little I wandered away and got lost. Do you want to hear the story of how I was lost and then I was found?”

“YEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSS.”

All eyes focused on me and the story. Mesmerized, the children leaned forward. They could relate to the little dog who had strayed, maybe pursued a dream, followed a hopping frog, or chased after a butterfly. Then he realized he was LOST.



They also knew about animal shelters, kennels, and dog pounds – not happy places to be.

The little dog in the story says, “I didn’t like it there. I wanted out! I missed my family.”

Life for the dog became very lonely as he watched people come and go picking one pet and then another, never choosing him.

Finally, one day – the day that changed his life forever, a mother and her son walked into the pound. The mother reached out and touched the little puppy.

A MESSAGE OF COMPASSION
Matthew 20:34
Jesus was moved with compassion and touched them…


“And then, the mother put a leash around my neck. She was taking me away! I realized someone wanted me!”

Out of the cage, away from the animal shelter to a whole new life.

A MESSAGE OF FREEDOM
Isaiah 57:15

I give life to those who are humble…to those whose hearts are broken.



The dog continues telling his story. “I heard the mom say, ‘This is the one we want. We are taking him home!”

A MESSAGE OF HOPE
Matthew 20:32
Jesus reached out and said, “What would you have me do for you?”

“That was the greatest day of my life. I moved from the pound to the palace.”

A MESSAGE OF LOVE
James 4:8
“Come near to God and He will come near to you.”


After I finished reading the story the children clapped. They were happy for the dog.

Then we talked about the story.

“Have you ever wandered away?”

We have all wandered away like sheep. Each of us has gone their own way…

“Have you ever been lonely or afraid?”

Jesus will comfort you…

“What did the doggie’s master say?”

Come follow me…

“What did the dog do?”

He followed his master.

Then I asked them the most important question of all:

“Do you have a master? What is his name?”

“Tell me about the life of a boy or girl who follows Jesus. Where will He take you?

They all chimed in: “TO THE PALACE”

Jesus is preparing a place in His palace for you. I hope to see you there!


For more ideas on developing your child’s spiritual life, consider: Little Halos by Van Walton
Monday, May 12, 2008

MOVIN' ON AFTER MOVIN' IN MONDAY

WHEN GOD SAYS, “MOVE”

I believe God moves us to get our attention.

When God told Adam and Eve to pack up and move out of the Garden of Eden, I bet it got their attention.

Why do you think they had to move? We all know. They disobeyed. God needed to get their attention. Once out of the garden, whatcha’ wanna’ bet? They longed like they had never longed – to get back in His presence.

God has moved me to remind me that obedience is key to my relationship with Him. I long to live close to Him.

When all the builders joined to build the Tower of Babel and God saw their intentions He sent them packing to the four corners of the earth confusing their communication.

God has moved me to remind me that He is higher than I will ever be.

When the next generations became wicked and God moved Noah and his family into the ark telling them to shut the door and set sail, He did so to remove wickedness.

God has moved me to separate me from sinful behavior. He gave me a second chance.

I could keep commenting-continuing with Abraham and Sarah’s moves, charting Biblical history through the entire Old Testament all the way to John’s move to Patmos where he received a saw a vision of heaven.

God has moved me to remind me that life is all about moving and one day I will move to the house of the Lord – Forever!

God has moved me to get my attention and He succeeded. I know my last move will be an attention getter – can you imagine pulling up to heaven’s gates, movin’ in to never move on again!
Saturday, May 10, 2008

A TIME TO TILL...

but not what you might think.

Tillin’ time – what is that? I have been traveling a lot lately. All along my journey I see large tractors driving back and forth over acres and acres of farm land. In front of the large machines I see leftovers from last year’s crops. Behind, the black dirt is turned upside down and inside out.

I struggle to understand the new plan for the landscape. Why tear up that beautiful crop, strip away the beauty of the grain waving in the wind, and destroy all the efforts of spring planting?

Oh I know why. I learned all about crops and planting and harvesting years ago in elementary school.

I guess my heart reaches out to the broken earth because my heart relates to the tillin'.


I’ve read there is a time for everything~

A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

A time to tear down… (from Ecclesiastes 1 & 3)

and a time to till. (my words)

What do you know about tillin’ time?
Monday, May 5, 2008

MOVIN' ON AFTER MOVIN' IN MONDAY

Who Are My Neighbors?

Why am I here? I drive into my neighborhood. Do I wave at the neighbors on the street? I press the garage door opener and my car rolls into the garage? Do I close the door behind me or walk outside to say hello? What have I done to become acquainted? I wish my neighbors would come knocking to introduce themselves. At some point I will have to get beyond my insecurities, reaching out to them. How do I get to know them?

At the bus stop? On the sidewalk while taking my daily stroll? Out in the street while we watch our children play? How can I get to know my neighbors?

I was once delighted by a neighbor who brought me an entire meal the day I moved in. Gina’s hospitality brightened my day. Her thoughtfulness and generosity lifted my spirits. Months later when Diane moved in across the street I did the same for her. One kind act created a community of purpose. We built a “family” up and down our street.

Another time, when I realized no one was going to reach out to me like Gina had, I invited my neighbors to my house for coffee and doughnuts. We had such a good time-we developed a monthly gathering.

Reaching out requires creativity and boldness. If I do not know those around me, it is hard to entertain them. I have made it a point to take walks so I could meet my neighbors. I comment on their child or their dog and conversations begin. I have stopped to chat with neighbors working in yards and asked questions that would help me in my new garden. I have brought my children out to the sidewalk to play with other little ones. Exchanging phone numbers has allowed me to call and ask another mother to go to the park. From a tiny get together play groups have developed. Having some one’s number has made it possible for me to ask for help hanging curtains, moving furniture, or choosing paint for the living room. From these brief encounters trust has developed and friendships have grown.

One more thing – while visiting with your new neighbors, ask them to recommend a church. Even if they don’t regularly attend a church, you can begin an interesting and possibly eternal conversation.

Why am I here? Maybe it is not about me.
Maybe it is about my neighbor who needs me!
Saturday, May 3, 2008

COMMUNICATION GONE WRONG

COMMUNICATION GONE WRONG

Friday night – where does the family want to eat out? Everyone had an idea. My mother-in-law wanted Mexican. Everyone agreed except not everyone agreed upon the same restaurant. Lots of discussion followed.

We didn’t want to return to restaurant x because the guacamole was a light green color and runny - definitely not made from avocados.

Only the nephew wanted to go to restaurant y because he liked their lemonade. The food really is not authentic.

We agreed upon restaurant z – or so we thought.

My husband and I piled in the car with his parents and drove to restaurant z. We asked that tables be set up for 9 and sat down. In a few minutes the food runner brought five bowls of chips and salsa.

The four of us chewed through a bowl of chips and salsa apiece. Then we looked at each other and checked the time. “Where was the rest of the family?”

We waited fifteen minutes.

Finally the phone rang. “Where are you?” My husband asked into the receiver. He broke out in a laugh and told the nephew on the end of the line that we were at restaurant z. He listened, laughed some more and hung up.

“They are at restaurant mex and claim they told us to meet them there.”

How had the mix up happened?

We stayed at our restaurant – 4 people sitting at a table for 9. Later we learned that the rest of our family – 5 people sat at a table for 9! They too had bowls of chips and salsa.

What we didn’t know is that we were less than a block away from one another!

Families, communication, plans, follow through… it’s never easy.

Later on that evening more family members joined us and listened as we all sat around in the house of the matriarch and patriarch telling our versions of the evening gone astray. Lots of laughter passed around the circle. Children listened as adults forgave, gave grace, and realized that sometimes the best laid plans just fall apart. And that is OK.

We ate our dessert together and that was all that mattered.