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, February 20, 2010

...the Winner is:

Kelly at My faithful living won the random drawing for my DVD. You can visit her blog to read all about her life of faith and her precious grandchildren.  I pray each one develop a heart for Jesus, the Master, as they meet the little dog, the main character of the storty I wrote, From the Pound to the Palace. 

Thank you everyone who visited my blog and left comments during our Proverbs 31 carnival. I hope you all made some new friends and found encouragement as you read through the many blogs my P31 sisters share each day.

Speaking of books. This is one you will definately enjoy reading with and to your older children - Gifted Hands by Ben Carson. If you are looking for a good family movie to watch this winter I encourage you to fire up the pop corn popper and add some M & M's or sour patch kids to the mix and enjoy the story of a gifted surgeon. You don't want to miss it. Not only will you be inspired but you will be entertained. Then you can sit around and discuss how his story can impact your own life.

I know you will be glad you spent an evening with Dr. Ben Carson because he has let his life

Shine!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Carnival...

is it about kings and cakes, parades and parties? What is the meaning of Mardi Gras and its mas mayehm? A little bit about that later, but for now ...

Welome to the Carnival! 

The Proverbs 31 women are celebrating a couple of days of  give aways.

Today along with celebrating Carnival and Mardi Gras I want to invite you to visit each one of the following sites to enter a drawing for some fun and wonderful give aways. You can go to each one of their sites by clicking their names on my blog roll to the right

Wendy Blight is giving away a copy of the One Year Chronological Bible and her book Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God's Story.

Shari Braendel is givng away 3 beautiful jewelry pieces to begin a spring wardrobe with! One for a Glamour Girl, one for a Movie Star and one for a Rock Star!
Micca Campbell is giving away her book An Untroubled Heart, and a cute clutch purse for those fun summer evenings!

Whitney Capps is giving away a $30 Francesca's Gift card, redeemable at http://www.francescascollections.com/
Melanie Chitwood is giving away One marriage conference call (see her blog for details) and her new book What a Wife Needs from Her Husband.

Lynn Cowell is giving away a prize for mom and a prize for a teen girl in her life – the 3 book series B.A.B.E. series by Andrea Stephens (Beautiful, Accepted, Blessed, Eternally Significant) for the teen and for Mom a $10 gift card to Starbucks along with Lynn’s CD “Building a Bridge to Your Child’s Heart”.

Karen Ehman is giving away a Winter White Basket that includes Skin Milk body wash, a white loofah, Winter White Citrus Bath & Body Works products, white lily linen and room sprays, white hot cocoa, a white mug and white-chocolate macadamia nut cookies. Along with it, a copy of her book on celebrations entitled Homespun Memories for the Heart: More Than 200 Ideas to Make Unforgettable Moments.

Suzie Eller is giving away a webcam!

Zoe Elmore is giving away a journal, a copy of My Heart's Cry by Anne Graham Lotz and a piece of jewelry Zoe style!

Charlene Kidd is giving away a $20.00 Starbucks Gift Card and a copy of Karen Ehman’s book: A Life That Says Welcome, Simple Ways to Open Your Heart and Home to Others.

Tracie Miles is giving away her CD "Overcoming Stress with Extraordinary Faith" and a Soulmates Slipper with Christian Notepad and Pen.

Rachel Olsen is giving away Bread for Life": a hardback copy of The Daily Message: Through the Bible in One Year by Eugene Peterson (which you can read this along with her this year) and the Williams-Sonoma Muffins cookbook.

Wendy Pope Wendy is giving away a copy of her book Out of the Mouths of Babes and her CD Yes, No, and Maybe of a Balanced Life.

Luann Prater & www.EncouragementCafe.com are giving away an Encouragement Cafe mug and t-shirt at both sites!

LeAnn Rice is giving away a copy of her cookbook Sharing Grace: Recipes- Family Traditions-Gift ideas and a Starbucks gift card.

Susanne Scheppmann is giving away her Birds in My Mustard Tree Bible Study with an I-tunes gift card.

Lysa TerKeurst is giviving away a Mom's Book Club gift pack including 4 copies of Lysa's book, Am I Messing Up My Kids? and a 30-minute Q&A conference call with Lysa.

Glynnis Whitwer is giving away her book work@home: A Practical Guide for Woman Who Want to Work from Home and a French Country Wire Silverware Basket.

She Reads is giving away two novels, Watch Over Me by Christa Parrish and Screen Play by Chris Coppernoll, and chocolate, courtesy of the authors. They will tell the story of how their writing brought them together - a love story, quite literally, fit for a novel!

RadRevolution Our ministry to teen girls is giving away a copy of Do the Hard Thing along with a RadRev t-shirt!

And I am giving away a copy of my DVD From the Pound to the Palace

All you need to do is leave a comment at the end of my post, if you want to enter to win my DVD. It will make a great Easter basket gift!

Many of you who visit my site, know that it was originally created to reach out to women on the move, those of us whose lives have been defined by moving.

We move because of corporate relocations and transfers.

We move because we are missionaries and the mission field calls.

We move because the military sends families around the globe.

We move because we retire to warmer weather or to be near our children.

My life has been defined by moves- my daddy’s career required that he move and my husband’s did too.

When I was fourteen years old my family moved from South America to New Orleans. Wa hoo!!!!!!!

There is no better place for a teenager to grow up- than New Orleans--- NOT!
Happy me! Unlucky parents.

The first thing I learned about New Orleans was that every year celebrations, preparing for Mardi Gras or Carnival, as it is called in other parts of the world, began almost immediately after Christmas - ending with a four-day weekend  holiday where the entire city met to revel in the streets of the French Quarter and walk among thousands along the parade route on Canal Street.

Although many people believe Fat Tuesday is linked to Ash Wednesday in a deeply spiritual sense, what we may no know is the history behind the parties, parades, and pandemonium called Mardi Gras.

Originally I was going to post about Mardi Gras history, but after re-educating myself decided I would simply send my readers to this link: King Cake

It  is a good read even if you think you know all about today’s celebrations. What you may not know is the deep roots this day and the weeks leading up to it has in Biblical tradition and pagan practices. Combined, the two can surely confuse those who try to link Mardi Gras to Ash Wednesday to Lent and ultimately to the Resurrection of Christ! It’s amazing how we humans manage to twist TRUTH with tradition!

Anyway to celebrate Truth - I am giving away a copy of my DVD for children – a true story of a little dog who wandered into our family’s life and taught us how to follow King Jesus. Your children will love the story, From the Pound to the Palace  read by Renee Swope, popular Proverbs 31 radio host, and her two sons.

If you want to participate in my give away, write a few words describing what you think Carnival or Mardi Gras is all about!

Shine!
Monday, February 15, 2010

Movin' in and not waiting

My philosophy on moving has been: never wait.

Don’t wait for the neighbors to come to me. Go to them. Have an open house for the neighbors. Face it. You know they are curious about the new family. Invite them to come over – even before you have unpacked. Be real. Tell them- “I have to have an incentive for moving in and settling down. Getting to know my neighbors is my incentive for unpacking and becoming a part of my new community.” They will love you for being REAL.

Don’t wait for the day when you are perfectly arranged, telling yourself that “Now I can meet my community.” Research your churches and join a ladies’ Bible study as soon as possible. ASAP – you hear me! It really doesn’t matter if you don’t plan on joining the church where the study is being held. In many communities women attend studies in one church although they are members of another church. I promise you- your best friends will develop within a Bible study group.

Don’t wait for your children to get over the shock of the move before registering them for activities. Do your research. Join the Y, a rec center, or your neighborhood pool and tennis club – or whatever. Sign them up for camp and Vacation Bible School. Don’t wait- get involved.

Don’t wait for teachers to ask you for help. Tell them you are lonely and have lots of time on your hand. Tell them you will do anything. This is a wonderful way to meet other mothers.

Don't wait to get so lonely you can't pull yourself out of a deep hole. Volunteer somewhere meaningful- a soup kitchen, the pregnancy care center, your local hospital, Salvation Army... 
Don’t wait for a group of praying moms to come to you. Find them or start a Moms In Touch group at the school where you children attend.

Ten years ago I moved to Charlotte. Within months I was attending the MIT prayer group at my son’s middle school. Today those women are my best friends. Our sons are all in college. We continue to pray for them. The thing I long for most in my moves has been stability and a history with friends. Through my MIT group I have filled that longing.

Don’t wait- move in and
Shine!
Sunday, February 14, 2010

His Face

God, We have heard it with our own ears -
             our ancestors have told us of all you did in their day, in days long ago:

...it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory.
It was your right hand and strong arm
and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them.

You are my king and my God. You command victories...
Only by your power can I push back my enemies;
only in your name can I trample my fores.
I do not trust in my bow; I do not count on my sword to save me
You are the one who gives me victory...
God I give glory to you all day long, and constantly praise your name.

(from Psalm 44)

Shine,
Friday, February 12, 2010

A Simple Request

"Can you show me how to pray?"

Today I received that simple question in my email delivered to me through the Proverbs 31 Spanish web page.

What if we all started our spiritual walk with such a simple request?

Jesus' disciples asked the same question ---- almost.

"Teach us to pray."

What is prayer?

Do you pray?

On another topic --- the other day in chapel at the school where I teach, the students were privy to a video created by a group of seniors who turned in a digital media project for their Bible class. The video was a series of questions asking random people in shopping centers questions about faith, God, the universe, our purpose, life after death. The presentation was amazing. I was so impressed at the depth of knowledge, confidence, and preparation portrayed byt the students who interviewed various people with varied thoughts.

These were some of the questions. You might want to use them as conversation starters with your children and neighbors.

Would you consider yourself a person of faith?  Can you tell me about your beliefs?


(depending on the response) So... you do (or do not) believe in God? Who is he really? How do you know he exists? How fascinating. Where did you learn that?


Where do you think we came from?


What is our purpose?  


Do you believe in life after death?  What will that be like?

What I found to be amazing about the answers?  Even though many were not believers, they answerered with questions that clearly were based on Christian principles, yet had been twisted to fit their own comfort levels.

Amazing!  We live in a very dark and lost world. What are we going to do about it?

Shine,
Monday, February 8, 2010

Waiting to move on

Several years ago my husband informed me that we would be moving-

AGAIN!

This was nothing new in our life. I knew it would come --- inevitably. But even though I wasn’t surprised I wasn’t prepared. I had put down roots. Rats! I knew better than to get too comfy in any community.

Then my husband gave me another piece of news. “We don’t know where we are going and we don’t know when. Just start getting rid of your responsibilities. Don’t sign up for anything new. Oh- and don’t tell anyone until we know for sure what the plans are. There is major restructuring taking place at work.”

So we were moving AND we were waiting.

Now I am a busy, involved, doer. For me to suddenly begin dropping out of activities and to pass on assignments was going to make some people curious about my intentions. I blamed it on my new baby. Told everyone he was more of a responsibility than I had planned. Everyone understood.

So I waited…

A year and a half went by. No news.

And I waited.

Is your life on hold?

Ever wonder what to do when you are waiting for something that just won’t happen? Frustrating isn’t it? Down right aggravating.

Then, the first weekend of December, on a night that my house was turned upside down with decorations every where, the night before I was to take a carload of kids on a “field trip” to “town” for a Christmas play and shopping, the night before the “company Christmas party”, the weekend before I was to have a “little” Christmas gathering in my home, DH arrived and told me we were moving to Chicago and we were leaving Sunday- yes day after tomorrow on a house hunting trip.

Just like that. Drop everything. The wait is over. In two months we would be in our new home. Oh and somewhere in that short period of time we would celebrate Christmas!

I couldn’t believe it.

I have never liked waiting. It seems the waits in my life are so inconvenient. I don’t have time for them. I long for them to end. And when they do, I feel put upon.

You know God is never late. We made it through Christmas. We bought and sold houses, and we moved. That was exactly 20 years ago today! The weather in Chicago was balmy- even warm. Yet we had no more unloaded the moving van than a major snow storm hit the area. I stood amazed at how God paved the way for us.

But why had God put us on hold causing us to wait for so long?

Friends.

Over the next days as I settled into my new home with two little guys in tow, I began to meet women who had also recently moved to the neighborhood- all within the past 3 months! Each one of the five women who soon became my very close friends also had a toddler. For the next two years 6  40-something moms and their 6 toddlers spent at least one day a week together. We became fast friends and never ceased to be amazed at how similar our stories were. God had held each husband’s career in check and then suddenly He said, “Alright, now you can go.” And we all arrived in Naperville, settled within blocks of oneanther, enrolled older children in the neighborhood elementary school and stumbled into one another! 

We may never know why God has us in His Wait Room. One thing I know for sure. He has a plan. He loves me. I find it endearing that He cared so much about me moving to the big windy city, to a place in time where my husband would be traveling more than he would be at home – My heavenly Father and the Creator of the universe cared so much about me and my well being that He wanted me to be surrounded with friends. He handpicked 5 girlfriends for me, moving each one to the neighborhood where I would be living and in a unique and amazing way brought us together to form a bond of friendship, a playgroup, a prayer group, a support group. Sometimes I think I could write a book based on our adventures.

If you are waiting right now, trust that God has a plan. At just the right time, He will say, “Go,” Like the dove in Noah's ark, God will open up the window and let you go --- "fly away little bird, the wait is over. "  One day you will be able to look back on this time and encourage another traveler who, like you, needs to know, “God is never late.”

Shine!
Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesdays are for waiting

It was worth the wait- and now I want to shine the light on my latest design.

I know this blog is about God's design, but God gives us gifts and talents so we can shine. Sometimes, when you come to this blog, I will point to God's design. Other times I just can't help bragging on some of my own designs.

Brag? You ask?

Just so you can see how you too can creaate your own devine designs in your own home!

Saturday I wrote about the wintery weekend project my husband and I tackled last weekend. We accomplished our goal.     


Welcome to the unveiling of our "new" chair.

Believe me. When you decide to wait for something that is worthwhile it really is a cause to

Shine!   
Monday, February 1, 2010

Movin' on Mondays

Today I am doing a little reflecting about moving out of my comfort zone and into another culture:

You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14 (MSG)

Last weekend my partner in Spanish ministry, Judith Hernandez, and I traveled to Athens. GA, where we had been invited to speak to a group of Latinas. We had planned this event for two years with a fellow Proverbs 31 team member, Laurie who had caught the vision~ reach out to the immigrants among us to bring them the gospel. Not all of us can travel abroad. In Laurie’s case her church has opened its doors to a Spanish congregation. They are designing a new paradigm.



The English speaking women provided the food, the place, the speaker and extended invitations, while working with the Hispanic pastor’s wife.
We had a delicious dinner – women of two cultures, young and mature, and children. Baby sitting was provided by the teens.


After dinner we moved upstairs for a lively and inspiring presentation by Judith. She spoke on the Fruit of the Spirit. She began by giving a simple description of the importance and necessity of a mere seed. Although I had learned all my science lesson in elementary school it was an interesting review, especially when understood as the seed relates to our spiritual life. Judith shared her own story – how she had attempted to grow her life according to her own devices and manipulations, never realizing that Jesus, the master planter, had already sowed seeds in her life. She shared how she ignored God’s plan for her life and tried miserably to plant and nurture her own seeds, dreams of her own design- and education, a marriage, a career, motherhood…

Then one day she observed a lady at work whose life illustrated the “fruit of the spirit:” love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:21-23) Judith began to watch this woman and all she could think was, “I want what this woman has.”

Judith assured the women who were listening to her- “Your life can be full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” But, on your own you can not plant this type of fruit. It is only possible through Christ, the Lord. She challenged the ladies, in Spanish, open your hearts, soften your hearts, let Jesus plant a new life, a meaningful life, and fruitful life in your heart. At the end of her presentation several women walked forward for prayer. I personally had the privilege of praying with a beautiful pregnant 19 year old girl whose “boyfriend” is in Iraq. Just looking at her it had been so obvious to me that she had no hope no joy in her life. But she was eager. Today a woman in the church is mentoring her!

Here we are! Judith on the far right. Laurie and me with a mother and her daughter.

If you know any Latinas in your area I ask you to introduce them to the Proverbs 31 Spanish pages and the weekly devotion we have on Crosswalk. It’s a simple thing- just pass the word on and…

Shine!