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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Saturday, January 30, 2010

WHAT TO DO ON A WINTER DAY

Several years ago we undertook a home renovation. We decided to put in a pool, but before doing that our basement needed to be ---- well, renovated. When we bought our house the basement was partially finished. We decided to open up some spaces. That is when we had children at home. Truly the changes we made were exciting.

Of course then came the refurnishing. Because our house is mostly men, we chose leather furniture. We mixed leather with oak. I had already purchased an antique mission desk and DH had found a classic rocker years ago.

When we finished the project it was obvious to me that we needed an accent chair. I found a mission recliner at a sale. I had to have it. DH expressed his fear, “Giant teenage athletes will fall into it, stretch out on it, and destroy it in one fell swoop. “Besides, I don’t like the fabric.” I didn’t either. We discussed the possibility of getting the same chair in another fabric, but the sales person quoted a much higher price, a price neither of us wanted to pay. I still coveted the chair, believing that one day… the chair would need to be re uped. We discussed, argued, debated, and finally I WON!

Fast forward – years later. DH began to have excruciating back pain. NO position would do, except… he settled into the chair he didn’t want and has not left it since. And guess what? His back is better. Much better! Of course- over the years the chair has begun to sag. So he had the bright idea to reupholster it – yup not have it reupholstered. He decided WE were going to reupholster THE CHAIR.

YEAH!

So he took the chair apart! AHHHHHHHHH!









We discussed our plans with our wonderful friends at Front Door Fabrics.
Yesterday we made the plunge, chose our fabric.

This morning at 8:30 we began cutting and sewing…



Stay tuned!
Shine!
Friday, January 22, 2010

Always Ready?

Welcome to my little corner of the garden. I am honored that you would drop by today to spend time with me. It is my prayer that you leave with hope and encouragement, convinced you were created for a great purpose. May you shine as you journey through that jungle out there!

If you have dropped in after reading Today's Encouragement from the Proverbs 31 devotional- thank you. What an honor to have you visit me!

The whole subject of fireworks along with the idea of being ready takes me back to my childhood. It seems to me I spent many an evening getting ready for my daddy to arrive home at the end of the day. I looked forward to his return because evenings spent with him included games, bike rides, kite flying, reading stories, and, if he had traveled out of town and was coming home after several days absence, it meant he might be bringing a tiny gift.

When I was young and innocent my daddy’s arrival each evening was the highlight of my day.

Then I grew up, became a rebellious teen, thought I was too independent for my daddy, and even made some choices that broke his heart.

On one such occasion I arrived home in the middle of the afternoon and, much to my surprise, I found my daddy sitting in his big chair.

“What was he doing home so early?”

My heart filled with dread. I immediately felt the guilt. Had he come home from work to reprimand me and scold me? If so, I wasn’t surprised. I deserved what I had coming. I had made a very bad choice the previous weekend and now I knew. The word had gotten out. It was time for the dreaded “talk.”

I’ll never forget my dad’s voice when I walked through the door. He did raise his voice. He didn’t scold. He simply asked me to sit down beside him and talk.

I flew past him, heading to my room. I hung my head in shame, hoping he couldn’t see my guilty face.

But his voice followed me and I knew I had to meet with him face to face.

I will never forget that day because it was a day my dad came home early. On any other occasion I would have rejoiced at having him to myself. Not this afternoon.

After sitting and talking with him, answering questions that I know disappointed him, I wished for another outcome. How different that afternoon would have been had I run through the door searching for the man I so loved. How wonderful it would have been had I been able to throw myself happily into his arms, have him twirl me around, throw me into the air, celebrating our relationship and then sit me on his lap…

but no

I was afraid. I felt shame. I wanted to run and hide.

All because I had not been honest. I had disobeyed, misbehaved, broken the trust

I did learn a lesson though:

I have a heavenly Father who knows everything I do. He calls me his. He loves me and wants the best for me. He created a way for me to live with Him joyfully forever. One day I am going to walk through a door and my Father in heaven will be sitting on his throne. When I walk into his presence I want to - not walk, but run. I want to experience the freedom of throwing myself into his arms. I want to look deep and long into his face. I want to hear him say – “well done.”

I know the choice is mine. I know one day I will see God. He has forgiven me for my dishonest deeds, my disobedience, my misbehavior…

Even so, I don’t want to feel shame or fear or think I don’t deserve his love, shrinking from his presence.

The Bible is very clear and God’s Word details what pleases Him.

I want to please my God so I can enjoy his presence.

And so, until that day I’ll make it my goal to search his Word learning how to please him byr growing in godliness.

Perhaps you feel that something from your past is so shameful God would never forgive you. Please know God loves you and wants to heal your hurts and wash away whatever you believe might separate you from him. Let me recommend a book, I found to be very helpful in putting my past behind me so I could laugh at the future: Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner by Wendy Blight

Maybe you are afraid. You can't face your fears. You believe the world and not God's Word. Won't you consider reading a book that put the whole idea of fear in perspective for me: An Untroubled Heart by Micca Campbell.  God did not design fear. He is the author of freedom and hope!

Do you know what delights God? Jesus said when we reach out to the poor and needy it is as if we were reaching out to Him. Right now I cannot think of anyone who needs our help more than the Haitians who have suffered such extreme loss. Proverbs 31 Ministries has partnered with Compasson International to help feed, clothe, and educate needy children and right now you can contribute to the efforts to send relief through Compassion International who has had a presence in Haiti for many years and is working at this moment to comfort thousands.  Won't you help a child today in torn-apart Haiti by sending a contribution to CI? 

Shine!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesdays are for Waiting


What does waiting look like?

One of my students gave me three little ugly bulbs for Christmas. What a nice gift. I planted them in the potting soil that came along in the gift box. I watered the dirt and set the flower pot in a window. Then I could do nothing but wait. From day to day I glanced toward the flower pot wondering how long it would be before the little shoots pressed up toward the sun.

Ah! Here they come.

How long before they bloom. I watched and waited…
 
Daily the paper whites stretched taller and taller.

Then I noticed these little “pockets.” Was the flower hidden in there?

IT wasn’t long before one by one these lovely little flowers burst out.

First one:




And then another.


This is a perfect picture of our waits. Deep in our lives a flower is waiting to bloom. It’s there. Have hope~ there is a bloom inside every life!

Even in the dead of winter.
Monday, January 18, 2010

MONDAYS ARE FOR MOVERS

Moved by a perfect sacrifice

Jesus example- his move to earth, leads me to move wherever He calls...

This morning I watched/listened to a sermon by Roger Spadin. He is a great teacher I highly recommend that you tune into his sermons if you are looking for good Bible teaching. He said the following, quoting his Ancient Greek professor, “Repetition is the mother of all learning.”



Being a Spanish teacher I got it. Then I realized God uses repetition to teach us the lessons He would have us learn.

 
Leviticus. Talk about repetition! I have read through more sacrifices for more types of sins I ever imagined. How did those priests ever get it? I wonder if the truly loyal and devoted followers of the Jewish faith ever felt like they had actually sacrificed enough! It seems to me that a person could no longer finish one sacrifice that it would be time for another.



I’m not sure I would have survived all those rituals and rites. I might have changed religions or quit being a good Jewish person altogether.



Then I read the following details in Leviticus 4:6 and 7 – The Sin Offering:



“…sprinkle some of the blood seven times before the Lord in the front of the veil of the sanctuary. …the priest will then put some of the blood…on the altar…”



Hold on- you are not going to believe the parallel!
 There is a priest, a sacrifice, an altar and blood, blood sprinkled seven times.



Jesus is our sacrifice. His altar was the cross. He is also the priest who, like the Old Testament priests, performed his duty by shedding His blood for the forgiveness of our sins speaking seven times – blessings over those who stood nearby, blessings over those who accepted his death as the perfect sacrifice:



1- He blessed his mother by providing her with someone to care for her: John 19:26-27


“Woman, behold your son. (John) behold her mother.”



2- He forgave those who crucified him, not only the soldiers and Pharisees, but you and me. Luke 23:34


“Father, Forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.”



3-He offered eternity to the thief on the cross next to his. Luke 23:43


“Today you will be with me in paradise.”



4-He showed us his humanity so we could identify with Him. Matthew 27:46


“My God, why have you forsaken me?”



5-He taught us how to die. Luke 23:46


“Into Your hands I commit my spirit.”



6-He suffered for all humanity. John 19:28


“I thirst.”



7- He died for me. John 19:30


“It is finished.”



As he died, around noon, the Bible says, darkness fell on the land, the light from the sun was gone, and the veil in the temple ripped in two!



"…sprinkle some of the blood seven times before the Lord in the front of the veil of the sanctuary."

I have heard it said that brilliant scholars claim Jesus read all the prophecies and fulfilled them on his own, that He is not the divine Son of God. I don’t know why theologians desire to discredit Jesus. I really don’t care, but what I don’t understand is how did he rip the veil in two as he hung on the cross, the perfect sacrifice, shedding his blood, speaking seven times, before the Lord in front of the veil of he sanctuary?


I don’t know about you, but this moves me to stand in awe and



Shine!



Monday, January 11, 2010

MOVING AWAY

Moving allows us to leave sin behind...


So I am reading through Leviticus and I find it repetitious and...

ritualistic.

Have you read Leviticus. Try it. See what you think!

On and on go the sacrifices - grain sacrifices, burnt offerings, sin offerings, guilt offerings. Who can stand it?  Not I.

We are so blessed to have the old and the new.

I get to the end of the 4th chapter. It's last words:

"In this way the priest will make atonement for him for the sin he has committed, and he will be forgiven."

Ah ---to be forgiven.

But isn't there an easier way. I mean do I have to find a goat, a bull, a lamb, pigeions or doves? Do I have to walk to Jerusalem, find a priest, hand him my offering and watch as he cuts, cleans, sprinkles, and burns?

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I remember an easier way.

Jesus.

Not an easier way for Jesus but the way for me to please God I John 2:17:

...the man who does the will of God lives forever.

The will of God?

I know I must repent in order to be able to stand in the presence of God. I think
of God's presence and I see the cross

Lining up the words in a verticle line - "He forgives me" I cross them with the words "when I confess my sin." Try it. Have the two phrases cross at the 'f' of forgives and the 'f' of confess. You will create a cross.

I don't have to find bulls, sheep, goats, and birds to sacrifice in order to get God's attention and forgiveness.

All I have to do is confess my sin.

I asked God to show me my sin and then I made a list. It grew and grew.

I have a lot to do this year --- get rid of one sin at a time, not by dragging animals to an altar, but by naming my sin so I can 

Shine!   
Saturday, January 9, 2010

WHAT GIFT CAN I GIVE HIM - THE ONE WHO HAS IT ALL

I know Christmas is OVER, but as I read in my newly assigned Bible study I can't help but draw a parallel between shopping for my husband, and wondering how I can please God.

Does that seem like a strange comparrison to you?

What to give the man who has it all?

A month ago I told my husband what I wanted for Christmas . I asked him what he wanted and he said, "Nothing." We got into an interesting conversation, him saying that gifting meaninless and unwanted gifts is a waste. I was offended. I wanted to give him SOMETHING, but he wouldn't have it!

Then, as I received presents from girlfriends and students I began to understand. Don't get me wrong - I LOVED the STARBUCKS cards, cash, scarves, jars of homemade jellies, and cookies and treats- I loved them. But what if I had really been on a diet or didn't drink coffee or ... what if I couldnt use or enjoy the gifts I had received, you know - THE UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER! 

I guess that's why write letters to Santa, make wish lists, and create gift registries.

With that in mind, let me build a bridge to Leviticus:   

Over the course of the week I have read the first 3 chapters of Leviticus.

Round and round I go. Lots of repetition.

Sort of like driving up a mountain. Driving up a mountain is different than walking up or taking a ski lift or gondola. The lifts and trams go straight up to the summit. A ride in the car takes longer because the beginning point at the base doesn't head straight up, rather the road winds round and round the mountain.

That is how I feel reading these chapters in Leviticus. 

It's tedious reading. Consequently I take notes, fill in charts, draw pictures, and highlight. 

And then it begins to dawn on me! 

This book is God's wish list - His gift registry. Please don't think I am being shallow. I am just trying to apply what I have learned. 

There is nothing I can give God that is worthy of Him.

So he devised a way for His people to GIFT Him.    

The sacrifices spelled out in Leveticus are a series of lists that describe what He wants from us - that simple.

Now we can do what I did - I went out and bought my husband what I wanted him to have...

OR

we can do what my husband did for me. He gave me what I wanted.

Want to know what God wants from you-

Read Leviticus with me  and

Shine!
Monday, January 4, 2010

MOVIN' ON AFTER MOVIN' IN MONDAYS

Moving up the mountain of God

A look at holiness.

Why?

If I expect to move God, I need to practice holiness. 

I often wonder why it seems that all my efforts to communicate with God go nowhere. I have heard people say, "My prayers don't go any farther than the ceiling of the room."

Why is that?

I think Psalm 24 has the answer:

The earth is the Lord's and everything in it. The world and all the people belong to him. For He laid the earth's foundation... and built it... Who may climb the ountain of the Lord?

              Only those whose hands and hearts are pure,
                                 who don't worship idols 
                                  and never tell lies

Now I know why my prayers sometimes feel fruitless-
                               My hands are dirty!
                               My heart is wicked!
                               My idols are many!
                               I lie to myself and others!

How can I expect God to hear my prayers when I am not willing to obey Him or honor Him? That seems one way ish.

Before I approach God, I think I need to deal with that which would separate me from Him.  How do I do that?

I don't.

He does!

"If I confes my sin to Jesus He is faithful and just to forgive me and my sins and to cleanse me from all wickedness." 1 John 1:9

The theme of Leviticus is found in the 19th chapter - the first verse:

"You must be holy because I the Lord am holy."

The book of Leviticus - Levi being the name of the priestly tribe- was written for the priests to explain to them how to worship almighty God. If we want to approach God, we must be holy. Leviticus describes the steps toward holiness - it is a climb up to the mountain of God. Moses made that ascent and returned with the instructions for His people- How can I approach a holy God when I am a mere creature?

Holiness is mentioned 152 times in Leviticus, more than in any other book of the Bible. I long to be near God. I need to be near Him. I cannot survive without Him.

The first step toward holiness is confession. I've made a list of my sins. I am asking God to help me deal with each one. I challenge you to do the same.

Right here I have a question and would like to know from you readers~ Does your church encourage or allow for a time of confession during Sunday morning worship?

"Be holy for I the lord am holy."

I want to be holy so I can

Shine!


               
Friday, January 1, 2010

AN INVITATION TO SHINE IN A NEW DECADE

By now you have opened and responded to all the invitations you received over the span of the last 6 weeks. You have partied, baked goodies, attended pot lucks and family gatherings. The party is over. We are in a season of rest, yet I want to give you yet another invitation:

YOU ARE INVITED


WHERE?


Van’s blog – right here


WHEN?


it’s a drop in – any time

WHAT CAN I BRING?


come with an open heart – leave comments


Last night, when my sons left after dinner heading up town to ring in the New Year with friends, we cautioned them. The younger one- not young, nearly 22 reminded us – eyes twinkling and teasing smile:

“AW – Mom, Dad. This is a special year to celebrate. We have to do it right. After all it is the end of a decade the beginning of a new decade.”

Then the two stepped out to meet friends, leaving me to ponder - A NEW DECADE.

I too am looking forward to a new decade. I am anticipating something new because God encourages us to.

For several weeks I have asked God to guide me- to show me where in HIS WORD the two of us would journey over the course of 2010. I had no idea what His plans were. Last year I read through the gospels several times – becoming more deeply acquainted with Jesus. I had been moved to do so because I read that God mourns the fact that we don’t KNOW Him. I wanted to change that so I studied Jesus’ life all year. I believe I read all four gospels at least three times and some maybe more. I would encourage anyone looking for a year-long Bible reading to do the same.

Today I know the journey I will be taking with my Holy Father. He is taking me into a study of

HOLINESS
…and He is using Moses’ writing in the book of Leviticus to guide me up the path toward “the mountain of God, His holy place.”

Already in one small quiet time moment this morning I have learned so much. I am exploding with excitement about this new study.

I invite you to join me!

I don’t know where to start so I will begin with the Bible commentary in my NLV Life Application Study Bible – the words written as an introduction to the book of Leviticus:

“ ‘God seems so far away… if only I could see or hear him.’ Have you ever felt this way – struggling with loneliness, burdened by despair, riddled with sin, overwhelmed by problems? Made in God’s image we were created to have a close relationship with Him; (I will address this in the next day’s study on Holiness.) thus when fellowship is broken, we are incomplete and need restoration.”

This introduction to Leviticus goes on to give a bit of background – God gave Moses the law- Leviticus is a portion of that Law. During this time- over 3000 years ago, the Israelites, who had fled the captivity of Egypt, camped at the foot of Mt. Sinai for two years as they rested, learned, met with God and built a new relationship with Him.

So –today is the beginning of a year, maybe two year, long camping trip – a trip to the mountain of God, a study on Holiness.
It all began at the foot of the mountain of God:

Moses and the Burning Bush

1 One day Moses was tending the flock… He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai,the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. 3 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.”


4 When the LORD saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”


“Here I am!” Moses replied.


5 “Do not come any closer,” the LORD warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. 6 I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.


7 Then the LORD told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them…and lead them out…” Exodus 3:1-8

God hears our cries of distress. He comes down to rescue us. He leads us out…

Let’s go and together, because we have a future and a hope~

Shine!