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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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

FAMILY FUN

Last night all five of us – husband, sons, daughter-in-law and I had a night out together. We had pizza at a sheik pizza place in uptown Charlotte and then went to see Defending the Caveman, a one man comedy about the differences in the sexes.

The play was funny. We all enjoyed laughing at ourselves and each other. I felt sorry for my younger son. I think he was the only one in the theater without a significant other, but I do believe he learned a lot about the opposite sex. I told him what a good sport he is for having joined us.

This is what we learned:

Men are hunters. They get together, make a plan, focus on the hunt, slay the animal, and bring it home. Everything is pretty direct. This is why men like the TV. They watch it and with the remote control slay channels as they surf!

They enjoy sports together also. There is a goal: victory over the opponent.

They rarely focus on each other except to negotiate.

Women are gatherers. They get together, focus on each other, share their findings, discuss where to find the best, compliment each other. This is why women like to shop!
It is really gathering!

While men are negotiating, women are cooperating.

Have you noticed that women like to work in groups. While they do so they talk, laugh, help each other.

Men get to the point: choose the prey, stalk it, kill it. Simple!

Women – not so. They wander around. Decide if it is ripe, selecting the correct color in the proper season. Women take time choosing, discussing how to prepare it, or how wear it. Encourage each other. Compliment one another. Share!

We were given an illustration:

Do you hear a man telling another man that he looks good when he comes over to have dinner? NOPE that would be weird.

Do you EVER overhear men discussing what they are going to wear? No!

But women – I asked Kara – so did you wear black stockings or nude colored when you went on your interview.

The men burst out laughing!

“What does it matter?”

So this morning my younger son, daughter-in-law and I went shopping.

Benjamin went to one store – on the hunt for a sweater and some shirts. He stalked the jungle and soon showed up with his finds. I saw him across the store. There he stood victorious, his finds up in the air. Shirts held in one fist. Sweater held in the other. He had accomplished his goal within 30 minutes.

Kara went on a fact finding mission. An hour and a half later she had come to a conclusion! She decided to go on line to gather more information before making her final choice.

We laughed – my unmarried son, daughter-in-law and I.

Women and men ARE different.

Last night I was reminded. God made us different to compliment each other, to help one another. Where one is weak the other is strong. This is a good thing. Let’s use it to our benefit.

Next year I am going to work harder at enjoying the differences in the sexes in our household!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008

TRYING TO MOVE FORWARD

Christmas is over… really?

I rather believe that Christmas has only just begun!


Go back. Reread the Christmas story, today, now -- after Christmas.

Christ came to dwell with us.


Not to visit.

Not a simple drive by and say "hi!"

Not a sit-down-at-your-table-eat-and-run guest,
but
a permanent presence

He’s an "I-am-with-you-always" presence.

Even better than a friend or child or spouse or parent because

He is divine – a permanent presence.

The greatest of presents!

Christmas isn’t over.

Christmas has only just begun
.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008

HIS NAME

Glories streaming from heaven above... God highly exalted Him
and bestowed on Him
the name which is above every name:
so that at the name of
EVERY KNEE WILL BOW

of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth
and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9-11 (NASB)

May we be found bowing before Him!
Friday, December 19, 2008

CREATIVE MUSINGS OR CURSED MANIA

I can’t help myself. Once I get started it is hard to stop. There is nothing I would rather be doing... …decorating that is!
I have just enough creative juices to be dangerous. I have to curb my appetite or I could waste away hours running around my house like a crazed woman touching up this and then that!

This is one of my favorite fascinations. It is an antique dry sink. It graces the entry way in my house. It's a fascination because I constantly tend to it. I keep it filled with cuttings from my yard. Each season it looks different.

I share it with you because it is such an easy project and so satisfying.

You don’t have to have an antique dry sink. You can fill a bucket, a basket, or a pot with greens, pine cones, candles, and glories.

Glories? I will show them to you at the end of the project.

First, choose a container. Next find a plastic insert into which you will press some oasis. This is a green substance that you can buy in the craft section of the store or in a craft store in the floral section. Soak it in water. Place one or as many as you need depending on the size of your project.

Gather your greens and start poking them into the oasis. Watch my project grow.
Outside I gather nandina and evergreen (make sure to clip branches with little pine cones), holly berries and varigated juniper:












Finally I put glories in to add sparkle. These are long, thin, twisted, sparkly sticks. The first time I saw them I danced for joy. You see as a child I always wondered what it meant in carols when “glories” were mentioned. You know as in "glories stream from heaven above." Now I know! Oh and I add a candle. Be sure to put it in a glass container. Don't want to start a fire! Come back in a day or two and I will show you my Christmas pride and joy – my nativity scene complete with glories!
Thursday, December 18, 2008

WELCOME

Christmas has arrived in my home!
Step on up to my porch to see what I've done~















I found this little goat cart at a local flea market. My husband fixed it up and now it sits happily on my front porch. And can you believe I can sit in my chair waving to my neighbors It is a balmy 60 degrees
here.

Can you tell I like greenery? Lots of it! I have a treat for you, speaking of greenery. In a couple of days I will post a fun project I created with another unique piece of furniture and more greens. Come back, OK?
Meanwhile - enjoy the peace and beauty of this season. Take time to listen to the sounds, ponder the Truth, hear God's Word, sing His praises, celebrate Jesus, and announce the Good News to someone each day!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING DURING CHRISTMAS ANYWAY?

I have a confession to make. I am not ready for Christmas!

Not in the way the world would approve, anyway.
Yet I don't feel any less Christmassy.

I haven’t even considered putting up my Christmas tree.

My house is a mess.

I have thought about generating some Christmas cards to send to those who don’t know about my blog because I haven’t communicated with them for years!

I have only gone Christmas shopping twice.

“OOOOOOOOOOOh,” the world would say. Better get busy!

This is what I have done:

I spent quality time with loved ones:

Right after Thanksgiving when I usually begin “getting ready for Christmas” I returned my energetic 85 year old mother to her house on the lake in Missouri. She and I cleaned up her house, packed up her pick up and headed west across Oklahoma toward New Mexico. We had the most wonderful hours -long conversations about our ancestors who had driven in covered wagons across Oklahoma centuries ago and settled these plains. How had they prepared for Christmas? One thing we know: they celebrated Christ. We know that because they passed their faith on to us!

When we arrived in Santa Fe I moved my mother into a lovely adobe condo across the street from her sister and brother in law. She settled in for the winter.
I spent two wonderful weeks with my mother during Thanksgiving and the fist week of December. I also spent quality time with my aunt and uncle and their friends.

We didn’t bake, put up a tree, or shop... much – I stepped into one Christmas store to buy an ornament for my son and his wife, a typical clay depiction of Jesus in the manger.

We sat around, discussing the world’s affairs while we listened to music by the warm fire of a kiva. We shared our favorite memories from the past and agreed we were at peace with the world because we believe the message of the prophets, angles, kings, and shepherds.
Oh – and we decorated!
My uncle is a weaver. To celebrate Christmas around his house, weavings go up on the wall and like stars and snowflakes his handiwork celebrates God's gift to us - the talents our Father gives us so we can enjoy life and share with others.

My aunt is a pianist so we decorated the piano with a pot full of greenery and added her keepsakes from travels in Europe where she studied in Austria one year. Christmas cards - old and new and of course an antique copy of Handel's Messiah had to be added to the decor.
And we added this finishing touch using some of my aunts favorite vases:
To the clear one - we added red, green, and white marbles and filled it with water. The water magnified the marbles. We oohed and ahhed like children when we realized the effect. In the little clear, cut -glass vase my aunt crumbled up tissue paper and topped it with red and green jingle bells.
Christmas! Meant to be simple, joyful, and beautiful.

I gotta' run - my children are coming home for Christmas and I think they will want to see Christmas in their home. Come back in a few days and I will show you, not a New Mexico Christmas but maybe a bit of a Southern Christmas- whatever that may be!
Monday, December 15, 2008

SEARCHING?

Seek first His kingdom


Yesterday the sermon in my church was not based on the nativity! When the pastor stood to preach, he referenced Matthew 6.

“Wait a minute,” I wanted to scream! “That chapter is way past our Savior’s birth. Shouldn’t you back up and preach about Jesus in the manger?”

I was wrong. The pastor was right.

He did preach about the nativity.

“Seek first the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 6:33)

Today I am asking myself, “Where is God's kingdom?"

This I know—

The kingdom of God is not found at a royally set table fit for nobility.
The kingdom of God is found in a trough.

As you seek Him this season where are you searching?

A table ~~












or a trough ~~




Friday, December 12, 2008

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED


… Three full days of driving from Charlotte to Santa Fe and a five hour return flight. I am so thankful for airplanes and it is good to be home.

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:1

God accomplished His mission by sending Light into the darkness. He sent His Son, Jesus into our dark world so we would have light in the midst of our darkest days and nights. When I ponder this I realize there is no greater gift.

Activity: Turn off all the lights in your house tonight. Give each family member a candle. Light one and then another to experience how little lights shining together accomplish the mission of bringing light into a room.

Thoughts to ponder: Does God have you on a mission? Ask Him to show you His plan for your life this holy season.
Monday, December 8, 2008

THE CHRISTMAS JOURNEY CONTINUES

Some of you may be keeping up with my very own Christmas story - a journey of sorts. My mother and I arrived in Santa Fe safe and sound after an intriguing drive across northern Oklahoma, into New Mexico. Our conversation often returned to our forefathers who risked their lives to move into the plains, forge paths into the west, settle and lay a foundation for a fantastic history. We often envisioned cowboys, pioneers, stage coaches, wagon trains, and lone families eeking a living from the land. Talk about unique journeys! After one particularly long drive through miles and miles of plains I spoke up, "I'm glad I am flying home!"

Christmas blessings to you, fellow sojourner.


December 8 Shepherds Searching for Signs

Luke 2:8-12,15, “That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

The shepherds were not in church. They were not sitting in a quiet living room sipping hot chocolate and listening to Christmas music. They were in the midst of their regular routine. When our hearts are opened to God’s Word, we can hear Him wherever we are, whatever we are doing.

Activity: This would be a good time to “camp out” by the Christmas tree. Turn down the lights and ask a ‘wonder question’, “I wonder what the shepherds were talking about while they watched their sheep. I wonder what they said to one another before they decided to go see Jesus.”

Thoughts to ponder: Is my heart open to hearing God’s message for me today? Will I go where He tells me to go?


December 9 Angels’ Announcements

Luke 2: 13-14, “…the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

When I consider the angels’ announcements I react automatically by looking up. How would I respond to a similar message? I wonder if there haven’t been spiritual news broadcasts all around me that I have chosen to ignore.

Activity: Introduce your family to angels. This would be a great time to teach your children about the reality, ministry, and truth of God’s messengers. Make a search in your Bible, looking up all references to angels.

Thoughts to ponder: Do I believe in angels?


December 10 Am I a Wise Person?

Matthew 2:1-9 (portions) “Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.’ The star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Who were these ‘wise men’? We are told they came from eastern lands. How did they know about the King of the Jews? Could these men have been descendants of the Hebrews who had moved to Babylon during the Judean exile hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth? Or had they been ‘discipled’ long before Jesus called his disciples to follow Him? Had the Jewish exiles shared their hope with the world before they returned home? For sure they were believers because they knew who they were seeking and when they found him they recognized him and worshipped him.

Activity: Allow your children to dress up like the wise men. Give each a ‘treasure’. Then hide baby Jesus somewhere in your house. Lower the lights. Turn on the music and send the children on a ‘treasure hunt’ looking for Jesus.

Thoughts to ponder: “Wise men still seek Him.” I want to begin each day looking for Jesus. I want this Christmas to be remembered as the one where I looked for Jesus, found Him, bowed down, and worshiped him.

Thoughts to ponder: What treasure can I open and give to Jesus?
Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY


This year I am experiencing a new kind of Christmas journey. Whereas in the past I have dedicated myself to preparing for Christmas in a very traditional manner, each day accomplishing a bit of Christmas, this year I am truly on a journey.

The first 12 days of Christmas I move my mother from her home on Table Rock Lake, Missouri miles from her nearest neighbor, to a condo in Santa Fe, New Mexico three doors away from her sister.

Lots of new adventures for everyone.

Part of me longs to be home to bring out the nativity set, to light the traditional candles, to share time with my husband, to volunteer in my community, to celebrate Christmas cheer with friends and neighbors…

Yet, I know God is calling me to step out on a different kind of journey, so here I go.

Before leaving on my cross country adventure I want to intentionally prepare for each day by planting a seed of thought purposefully directing me to contemplate a Christmas character whose life was directly impacted by the first Christmas.

Each one, like me, had a daily routine that was interrupted the moment Jesus began His journey to earth.

Join me by returning daily to be challenged by those who dropped their habitual schedules so they could get a glimpse of the Savior.

December 1 A Prophet Preaches Light

Isaiah 9:1-2, “That time of darkness and despair will not go on forever… The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.”

Times haven’t changed much. Here we are centuries later – we still need a prophet to remind us of the Light that shines. Whenever I am overwhelmed by my environment, I remember the Light, Jesus who shows up -a lamp for my feet so temptations that would bring my life to a stop would be thwarted by by His brilliance.

Activity. Open the family Bible to this passage in Isaiah. Light the Christmas candle and watch it shine in the darkness. Light it every evening this month.

Thought to ponder: Do I allow the Light to shine in my life, even when I find myself surrounded by the reality of life’s shadows?


December 2 A Promise for the People

Isaiah 9:6: “A child is born to us: And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Long before Jesus arrived on earth rumors roamed throughout the land peeking the curiosity of those who had heard the prophecies. Life would not always be difficult. Oppressive rulers would not always be in control. God had promised a King, one who would save the people.

Activity. Listen to The Messiah. Sing along and teach your children some of the main choruses.

Thought to ponder: Can I, and will I, praise God in the midst of difficult and trying times?


December 3 Preaching Truth

Malachi 4:2, 5-6, “For you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah… His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers.”

This is the last word written in the Old Testament. After these hopeful verses God sent no more messages to the people. They lived by faith, believing His promises, teaching the truth, watching for Him to show up like He said He would.

Activity: Get out the Nativity Set. While you carefully place it in a prominent place, teach your children the truth about Christmas.

Thoughts to ponder: Is my life teaching the truth about Christmas or are my activities confusing to others?


December 4 Jesus’ Genealogy

Matthew 1:1, This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham:”

Too often, when we look at a little crèche depicting that holy night when Jesus was born, we think small. We remember a poor baby, forgotten, rejected, cold, and removed from the socially accepted culture of the day. We fail to remember that Jesus is nobility! His lineage descended through a long line of kings. Why is it that Israel no longer boasts a royal rulers like England, Spain, and Denmark? After Israel and Judah were conquered and taken into exile, even when the remnant returned to their land, there has never been a king to rule the land. Why? Jesus is the next King in line for the throne!

Activity: Make crowns with your children. Place the crowns around the house, at the dinner table, or by their bedsides to remind them that Christmas is a royal holiday (Holy Day).

Thoughts to ponder: Do I realize that Jesus’ death on the cross made it possible for me to be included in His royal household?


December 5 Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, Mary

Matthew 1:2,5,6,16 Judah was the father of Perez (whose mother was Tamar); Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab); Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth); David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba; Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary…(who) gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Messiah.”

What do these women – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary have in common? They are also mentioned in Jesus’ genealogy. These ladies, though, are not blue bloods – far from it. I like reading about the women in Jesus’ life. I believe their names were included in His story to remind me that nothing I have ever done can keep me from the love of the Father.

Activity: Read about these women. Tamar was a deceiver and a seductress. Rahab, a prostitute committed treason. Ruth began her young life in a pagan culture, worshipping evil idols. Bathsheba committed adultery. Each one of these women has a book written in a series by Francine Rivers. I highly recommend these reads!

Thoughts to ponder: What is keeping me from accepting Jesus’ invitation to live as a dignified woman in his spiritual palace?


December 6 Mary, Who was the Mother of Jesus

Matthew 1:18, “This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married…”

Engaged to be married. Isn’t this every girl’s dream? According to Hebrew tradition, Mary would have been spending her time waiting. Wedding plans in ancient Israel hardly resembles today’s traditions. The bride didn’t know when the wedding would occur. That was the groom’s choice. Her role was to be ready when he decided to show up and carry her away. How exciting. You know, anticipation is actually more fun and exciting than the actual event…

Activity: Make this season a special one of anticipation for your children. Rather than focusing on a heap of presents and sweets for just one brief morning, create activities to be enjoyed each day. Make each a surprise, something they learn to anticipate. Here are some examples:

-Play night games in the dark with flashlights.
-Play hide and go seek. Herod seeking the wise men or the wise men seeking baby Jesus.
-Make “tents” by throwing blankets over chairs or coffee tables. Pretend to be Mary and Joseph camping out. Let your children take their naps in their “tents.”
-Drive around looking at Christmas lights.
-Eat a picnic supper under the Christmas tree.
-Act out the Christmas story

Thoughts to ponder: Would Christmas be just as meaningful to me if it were simply about watching and waiting instead of all about shopping and doing?

December 7 My Plans, God’s Plans

Matthew 1:19-24, “ Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. ‘Joseph, son of David,’ the angel said, ‘do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.”

Major road work is going on outside my neighborhood. I do not like the fact that I can no longer travel the road that regularly took me to my destinations. Now I have to go around or, if I choose to take my regular route, I have to be prepared to stop, wind around road blocks, or drive through detours. Recently I dared to return to my old route. What a wonderful sight. The road is wider! The curves and bumps are gone! The traffic flows smoothly! I learned a lesson – “When my life’s plans are rerouted, trust God. He has a far better road plan than I can design. When He is finished with the road work, my life will run smoothly, no more bumps or sharp curves, no dangerous narrow paths. God will make a way – a wide way for me to travel.”

Thoughts to ponder: When God interrupts my plans, do I graciously accept the roadblock or detour trusting Him to design a better way?
May your Christmas journey be filled with joy!