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!

FacebookFriend Van on Facebook

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, September 30, 2009

WEDNESDAYS ARE FOR WAITING

Waiting is like watching grass grow

The grass in our yard has slowly burned out over the last few years. IT all began with the drought several summers ago – we couldn’t water the lawn so what could we do, but sit by and sadly watch it gooooooooooooooo.


Then the rains returned and we could once again water our lawns. There was one problem – weeds and dead grass drank up the water. Nothing changed with the looks of our once-beautiful lush lawn.

The solution – plant grass seed.

… which is what my husband did two weeks ago.


Ever since then he has watched grass grow.


I wish waiting were as fulfilling as watching grass grow.

Knowing the seeds will germinate we spread them out, cover them with hay, and water. Of course a few warm sunny rays and daily watering encourage the little seeds to sprout.

It’s a miracle actually – that so many little seeds would work in harmony to sprout and grow filling in patches here and there.

Oh how I wish I could plant seeds and have them quickly grow- filling in my waiting gaps.

As l look over the yard, observing how the grass has grown I am reminded- somewhere the seed I planted – prayer has sprouted. It is growing. I just don’t see it.

How do I know? Why am I so confident?

God has told me to ask. He has told me to wait on Him. He has said if I wait I will rise up.


I don’t know why He keeps me in suspense, but I do know HE has a plan and I don’t want to miss it.


I trust God to nurture the seeds of prayer and faith I have planted.


So while I am wait for some mighty big miracles, I’ll continue to


Shine!
Monday, September 28, 2009

MOVIN’ ON MONDAYS

Pilgrims Grow

Yesterday I felt smart as I listened to my pastor deliver his sermon. He is preaching on my fave topic- MOSES’ MOVIN’ SAGA

I sat with my Bible in my lap listening to a story I had heard so many times, yet enraptured by the newness of it – the relevance of it.

But, I must say I had already thought of what my pastor was saying. Not a bad thing, mind you because it confirmed what I had considered so many times after so many moves. I felt my moments with God studying His Word had been right on.

God moves us to grow us.

Pilgrims

Pray
Invite
Love
Grow

Why oh why, God, do you move me? It’s hard. I have to pull up stakes. It’s sad I have to leave so many memories behind. It’s rattling. There is so much change and uncertainty ahead.

Why? Indeed.

My pastor’s take: Moses like so many of us needed a move to humble him. You see God allowed him to see that he was living among aliens. When we are new to a neighborhood, community, job, or church we come just as we are – no credentials, no positions of power, no reputations (could be a good thing- huh?)… Then the question is: “How do I let people know just who I am? After all they don’t know how capable I am. They don’t know I am a leader. They have no idea – I ran that business single handedly. I was in charge of a large nursery. I taught Bible to 300 women each week…

Moses was an adopted prince. He could have said as God began to humble him when he was invited into the tent to have tea with the priest of Midian, “Even though I grew up in a palace I will sit down here on the floor with you. By the way, you might want to know I commanded large work forces back in my home town. I didn’t dirty my hands where I came from. People moved out of the way when I passed by. Blah blah blah.”

God humbled Moses by moving him out of his comfort zone. I have been taken from my comfort zones and comfort zones aren’t always what you think they are. Think of these as comfort zones:

My neighborhood.

My reputation:

I was the go to gal for…

My child was a star on the stage and the court.

I was the PTA president.

I was best friends with the pastor’s wife.

My front porch was the gathering place for all the mothers every afternoon.

What is your comfort zone? What defines you? If it were to be taken from you, would it rock your world?

God wants to be our comfort zone.
God wanted to humble Moses so He could be Moses' comfort zone.

I like the quote my pastor read by C.S. Lewis:

“Humility isn’t thinking less of ourselves. It is thinking of ourselves less.”

Are you living in your comfort zone or are you zoning in on God?

Shine!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WAITING FOR A DOOR TO OPEN


My little dog teaches me daily – how to wait.


His life so closely parallels mine. Just like me his life has a regular routine. 


He asks to go outside to roam around, sniff the world, observe life, stretch out in a little ray of sun.


Just like me - from time to time I find the door shuts on my routine:


Then he decides he wants to come back in the house. So he goes and stands by the door.Sometimes the door doesn't open right away.


Imagine that!


Why does he go to the door, sit, look in, and patiently wait?


He trusts I will open the door. He knows from past experiences the door will open. He has learned --- I take care of him. It is my responsibility. All he needs to do, is to be ready to walk through the door when it opens.


Are you waiting for something important to happen in your life? Maybe you have been waiting for a long time and you are about to give up. Are the circumstances around your wait about to crush you?


Jesus said, “ I am the way…”


From one who waits, let me encourage you- step up to the DOOR, the DOOR called Jesus. Draw near to Him, there is no better place to wait.


At just the right time the door will open!


Meanwhile,


Shine!
Monday, September 21, 2009

MOVIN' ON MONDAYS

Have you joined me as we move across the desert with Moses? A few weeks ago I invited you to travel with me and the band of pilgrims Moses led through the wilderness.

Pilgrims

Pray

Invite &

Love.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind…you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37, 39)

We first learned about the focus of our love from Moses when he brought the Ten Commandments down from the mountain.

I am convinced God moved me all those many times so He could get my attention.

I have spent my life loving… me!

I don’t want to leave my comfort zone because I love me.

I don’t want to leave my friends because I love me.

I don’t want to adjust to a new place because I love me.

I love me and I don’t like it when I am stretched into thinking of others, change, a new routine, a church that doesn’t do things like the church I loved and left.

God wants me to love Him. When my love is focused on my Father I accept where He has led me. I practice contentment and anticipate the New Thing He is doing in my life. I obediently trust He is up to something good!

I am reminded of the pilgrims who came to the New World because of their love of God. They risked all they had, giving up everything so they could freely worship God. Their sacrifices paved the way for the freedom I enjoy today.
                               
THAT IS LOVE
As you move, what is your motivation? I think it’s time to exchange my will for God’s will! What about you?

Shine!
Monday, September 14, 2009

MOVIN' ON MONDAYS

Moses moved – some say – 3 million pilgrims across the Sinai and into the Promised Land.


Are you on the move?

Those pilgrims who journeyed toward the Promised Land had cried out to God, begging Him to free them from their bondage. He heard and appointed Moses to lead them from captivity.

Pilgrims not only pray, .

Pilgrims invite.

Last week I tore up a patch of my garden. I invite you to visit that patch. By taking a look at my garden patch life you are also peering into my life – the way it looks when I am on the move. Pilgrims invite fellow sojourners to travel with them. Together they bear one another’s burdens, share the hardships and the joys, encourage each other, and in so doing please God.

The best decisions I have ever made – in the midst of my moves, have been to reach out to my neighbors and invite them into my life. The friendships I developed along the way became the blessings that made the move worth it all.

Are you a pilgrim moving? Be like Moses’ mentor and father-in-law, Jethro:

Before the Priest of Midian ever met the Egyptian/Hebrew fugitive, he ordered his daughters, “Invite him to have something to eat.” (Exodus 2:20)

Pilgrims survive because they face the journey together. Meet your neighbors. Invite them to come into your life.

Shine!



 
Saturday, September 12, 2009

SWEET SEPTEMBER SATURDAYS

Ahhhhhhhhhh – September Saturdays with still a hint of summer.


Moments when warm breezes tease and invite
a long lean finger reaching though open windows.


sitting on that finger of a breeze

that beckons me out of my home –


a sweet aroma wafts into the rooms of my house-
winding its way into the kitchen, through the living room, toward my study, up the stairs...

a sweet aroma mesmerizing me.


What is it that fills my senses with sweetness, floats over my garden attaching itself to each molecule of air?

AAAAAAAAh – so sweet, so invinting.


I wake to its smell. Its scent joins my daily chores. Outside I sit reading with its fragrance dancing around me, enhancing the words I read. Even in the dark of night its tiny bouquet brings my dreams to life. 

Tiny flower - small but significant, changes the way I experience my day.


Her name is Sweet Almond Verbena (Aloysia virgata)



Wednesday, September 9, 2009

WEDNESDAYS ARE FOR WAITING

Waiting in Prison


Sometimes the wait feels like a prison. No matter how we manipulate, cry, pray… there seems to be no way out. We are stuck in wait! Waiting can feel like an unfair sentence. Why is this happening to me? Why won’t God answer my prayer? I’m of no use in this circumstance! Take way the wait and I can be more productive, a better servant, a freer Christian, a happier person. While we wait – we whine.


I know I have.

And then there is Joseph, who, if there has ever been anyone who had an unfair trial and was thrown behind bars, it was certainly Joseph.

Have you ever read about how he waited – in prison, a place where he was wrongly sent, a place where he didn’t fit. Yet he allowed his good character to rule rather than succumb to negative thoughts, pity parties, and despair.


While wrongly imprisoned, he made friends, he developed an reputation of honesty and loyalty. His superiors notice he was a man of integrity who could be trusted.


Joseph did not let the worst of circumstances get him down.




His reward? “The Lord was with Joseph.

If you feel right now that the wait of the world is resting on your shoulders, praise God. You are being given an opportunity to shine. Joseph shone in the darkest days of his life. He had every reason for losing heart. He did not. He shone.


So while waiting and you feel abandoned, rejected, forgotten believe that God will send opportunities, opportunites to reach out to others and a chance to…


Shine!
Monday, September 7, 2009

MOVIN' ON AFTER MOVIN' IN MONDAYS

Hello fellow pilgrim- move-her, relocating woman, deploying soldier, reassigned missionary, or spiritual wanderer,


My payers are with you as you face your life turned upside down and inside out.


A couple of weeks ago we started our wandering through the wilderness lessons:
Everything I know about moving I learned from Moses and the band of pilgrims he lead across the desert.


I learned that pilgrims pray. They converse with God.
Moses’ first recorded prayer / conversation with God:
Setting: Moses, a once prince now exiled Hebrew/Egyptian, has taken up residence in Midian.


Scene: While tending sheep, Moses stumbles upon a blazing bush which doesn’t burn up.


God: “Moses.”


Moses: “Here I am.”


This is like roll call. The teacher calls a name and a student says, “Here.”


“Here I am,” is like standing at attention, a “What do you want me to do?” kind of “Here.”
It seems Moses wants to be seen. “ Here – I’m here.”


So God speaks to Moses giving him marching orders.
Moses responds in protest. Really? Prayer can be a protest? Apparently so!
Prayer is any sort of conversation we have with God.






Pilgrims pray. Take every thought, every care and concern to God. He wants to hear us so He can answer.


Pilgrims invite: Pilgrims INVITE.


Moses’ desert mentor was Jethro, his father-in-law. Before the Priest of Midian ever met the Egyptian/Hebrew fugitive, he ordered his daughters,


“Invite him to have something to eat.” (Exodus 2:20)


Pilgrims survive because they face the journey together. Meet your neighbors. Invite them to share the joys and the sorrows stored in your heart.
I just returned from having been invited to friends house for dinner. Three couples sat around the dinner table – sharing concerns about our college age children, talking politics, sports, faith, morality, ethics…
I cannot tell you how blessed I felt to be INVITED into a fellow pilgrim’s home. None of the three couples originated in Charlotte. We are each transplants having moved here. Were it not for the fact that we reached out and INVITED each other into one another’s lives we would have missed the rich experiences we have shared.


Pilgrim, feeling lonely? Invite your neighbor to have something to eat.
And…


Shine!
Sunday, September 6, 2009

SOMETHING NEW


                GARDEN PATCH LESSONS
                     
I have been thinking for some time that this patch of --- whatever you want to call it:
 
neglected roadside,
forgotten ground, 
ignored weeds, 
thirsty dirt, 
ugly weeds, 
thorn infested plants,
hard clay ---
             
This patch needs a total re-make.
I have known it for a long time. But have I even entertained the thought of what I might do to spruce it up? Uh yes, but that is as far as I have gone with being a good steward of the land God has given me.
So there it withers in the front of my yard, not a very welcoming sight to my neighbors or those who visit my neighborhood.
   dry      neglected   withering   ignored  abandoned  
                       
                           unattractive  embarrassing


I think, “One look at this and you know it needs a little sprucing up!”   I HAVE got to do something. 

And as I begin the work it doesn’t take God long to respectfully tip toe into my heart so he can teach me lessons:  

Garden patch lessons learned in my garden patch life.



God immediately begins planting - a seed in my thoughts: 
“Does your life bear any resemblance to this corner patch?"
I consider,   “Absolutely! I can list several areas of my life that need attention." 
God: Then get to work. 
I do as the Proverbs 31 woman does. I “inspect a field”  

and  “make sure my dealings are profitable.”
I clear the patch removing all the weeds and stuff I don’t want to contaminate my future plot. 
 
Then I go to work taking out the old.
While I work I remember my latest reading in the Psalms: Chapter 88
My life is full of troubles…
I am as good as dead 
like a strong man with no strength left.
I am forgotten
You have driven my friends away by making me repulsive to them...
You have taken away my companions and loved ones...
I work the patch while God works in me.
His teaching style hasn’t changed. He continues to say,
“Consider the field.”
I don’t have a field I have a patch and I can relate to my little patch.
Sometimes my life feels like this:
Yet, as  I dig and dream about what this little patch will look like when I finish, hope wells up inside of me. I know the plans I have for this piece of dirt.
God: “I know the plans I have for you – to prosper you and not to destroy you.”
I put up my tools, to return another day and finish my project.
Oh the lessons I learn when I step into my garden.
You are invited to return and join me as I continue describing those lessons learned in the garden patch.
Meanwhile we,
Shine!