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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Monday, December 28, 2009

LETTING GO - MOVIN' ON

I just took down the tree and placed the nativity set in its storage box.

Seems strange to me- Christmas in a box! I hope that, although I have put Christmas up, stored it for another year… I hope Christmas is wrapped all around me, that I “wear” the results of Christmas… that people who connect with me will somehow KNOW that I had an encounter with Christmas and in some small way I’m changed.

How will they KNOW, I wonder?

It occurred to me as I carefully took each ornament off the tree (our family has a traditional Christmas tree- ornaments reach back 38 Christmases. The decorations on our tree tell a family story- a young couple who painted their own ornaments for the first Christmas, ornaments gifted by family members and special friends, ornaments created with tiny eager-to-please pre-school and elementary school hands, and ornaments exchanged at laughter filled and joyful Christmas parties. Each ornament has a story behind it. Oh- yes and I inherited four or five amazing ornaments from my husband’s great aunt’s collection of handmade “tree pretties.”) It occurred to me that, as I examined my ornaments, my mind journeyed back in time to:
days when little boys stared in wonder at shepherds and wise men bowing before a baby,
evenings when Christmas music set the tone for We Three Kings Looking for Baby Jesus games, and
nights spent camped beneath the tree- all lit up.

As I wandered backwards in time I realized I had to put a leash around myself. Instead of feeling comfort and joy I began to feel sadness and loneliness. Too much melancholy concentrating on the past does that- precious memories, if not brought into check, lead me down paths of pessimism. You know- life was great when…

When in reality since I have been touched by Christmas I need to be looking for paths of optimism and gratitude.

"Thank you Lord for my rich life so full of memories. May I always be ready for new adventures and opportunities, knowing that life doens't come to a halt just because another Christmas has passed. I put my hope in You asking that You continue to use my life and make it meaningful, give me purpose so I might glorify You."

It also occurred to me that this time of year there are two kinds of people- those who look back, those who anticipate the future.

Ah – the future. When Jesus came two thousand years ago, He came to forward thinking people. Those who did’t want to look back, those whose hope was in the future, something new. They hoped.

I continued putting Christmas in a box. And as I did I found myself anticipating the end of this chore. I placed everything that represents the celebratory nature of Christmas back in storage and realized Christmas isn’t going into storage and neither am I!

In a few more days we will ring in the New Year and I am reminded of so much future, so much to do, so many to touch. I am reminded of a LOVE that has been placed in my life so I can share it with others. I am reminded – I can’t put
SHINE
in a box!
Thursday, December 24, 2009

CHRISTMAS EVE THOUGHTS

The Christmas season can be viewed from many angles. Ask 10 people what Christmas means to them and each will give a different answer:

Fond childhood memories

Mixed holiday emotions

Shopping

Cooking
Santa Clause
Music

The Nativity

Peace

Parties

Presents

Is there any one right answer?

For God so loved the world, He GAVE His only son…

I think the right answer is presents- no not presents –

THE GIFT
From out of nowhere I found a little Christmas booklet by Max Lucado while I was decorating a couple of weeks ago. Because I trust his meditations and he so inspires me I read A LOVE WORTH GIVING TO YOU

The premise of Lucado’s short Christmas blessing is relationships. God not only wants a relationship with us – hence He sent His Son to teach us how to relate to Him, but, like any parent, He longs for His children to love one another, to forgive, to get along, to live in peace and harmony, to sacrifice for one another, to put each others first…

Unfortunately most of us struggle with the principle of loving one another- really loving – like God loves us, unconditionally, love- endures- all- things love, turn- the- other- cheek- type of love, wait- hopefully- forever- for- the- prodigal- son -to -come- home kind of love, forgive -70- times- 7 love, you-first love, the I-will-never- leave- you devoted love, the I -will- always- believe- the- best -about- you love, tough love...

We struggle, reaching out for love because we were meant to be loved. We want others to fill an insatiable void- one that feels like it can only be satisfied when we get what we want from others.

God's love doesn't give us what we want- His love gives us what saves us.
We struggle because we ourselves have not offered that kind of love to others- we swear we will love better, with greater patience, with deeper understanding, yet, try as hard as we might, we can’t love the way we want ----- not on our own, that is.

We struggle to give love to others because, as Mr. Lucado says, “We can’t give what we have never received.”
Have you received God’s gift – His Son who

“went from commanding angels to sleeping in straw.
From holding stars to clutching Mary’s finger.

The palm that held the universe took the nail of the soldier.

Why?

Because that is what love does. It puts the beloved before itself. Your soul was more important than His blood. Your eternal life was more important than His earthly life. Your place in heaven was more important to Him than His place in heaven. So He gave it up so you could have yours.”

Is there a gift of relationship mending you need to give this year? Give of yourself- everything, give 'til it hurts. Jesus did and lit changed eternity.

What is the most important part of Christmas?

Gift giving- God’s gift to you and me.

Our gift to one another- not what I want, but what I can give you - myself, honest, pure, everlasting, enduring, selfless- not for my good, or your happiness, or for the sake of our relationship but because God loves us and simply asks us to receive His Gift of love and then to share it with others.

May we love because He loves- for no other reason, with no other motive.

Shine!
Monday, December 21, 2009

THE GIFT OF A TISSUE

Have you ever considered that the gift of a tissue given at just the right time could be the sweetest and most compassionate of gifts?
Yesterday the music in church and our worship service took me (any the women around me) straight to the presence of God.

First I have to set the stage and confess that I was not the friendly kind person I like to think I am. My son was with us – home from college for the holidays. What a joy for him to be sitting by my side. I was so into him that I ignored the lady to my left. Oh – I smiled and said hello, but even though I felt nudged to introduce myself and inquire into her life, I ignored the gentle promptings. Naughty me.

Church started with music and singing and corporate worship. When the children joined the choir – I began to lose control. And then when a lone little boy stepped up to the mic and sang his soul out,”Peaaaaaaace onnnnnnnnn eaaarth, Peaaaaaaace onnnnnnnnn eaaarth …. ” bells ringing in the back ground -- tears exploded from the depths of my heart and brain. I remembered my sons- once they too were young, in the children’s choir, singing their hearts out with total trust and belief in the Christ of Christmas.

Next a trained opera singer burst forth with a medley of 5 or 6 Christmas songs- The Nativity Suite. There was not a note she didn’t reach. Now my heart was exploding.

While I discreetly wiped away tears, or so I thought…

I pressed tear ducts willing them to dry up and palmed my cheeks trying in vain to catch the many tears that kept coming, I wondered if I were going to have to excuse myself.
Then--- stranger sitting next to me offered her gift- she handed me a tissue and tucked it into my hand. I didn’t deserve her attention nor compassion. After all I had initially ignored her. But I smiled – humbly and thankfully and took the offered gift.
I think God smiled too. He saw the kind, thoughtful, caring gesture. He watched his two daughters- one reaching out, another accepting the offer.
The dam breaker occurred when the men’s quartet sang Mary Did You Know.

Now lady in front of us also needed a tissue. Stranger offered another much needed gift. God saw. I know these insignificant kindnesses pleased Him.

This gift – of a single tissue—wiped away my tears, allowed me to experience the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit- Christmas in its fullest expression:
Music. Praise. Belief. Compassion. Care. Kindness. Not me. Others.
After church we talked. She is a mother too. Hers are also grown. Some gone. Not home for Christmas. She had her own silent reasons for tears. That didn’t keep her from reaching out to me. I love God’s daughters.

Next time I am going to be a better daughter- make my King smile.

May you have a Merry Musical Christmas and experience God’s love by reaching out to a stranger or allowing a stranger to reach out to you.

Shine!