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


Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

Monday, November 29, 2010

Rockin' around the centerpiece...

Statistics show that children, who grow up in families where meals are regularly eaten together at home, tend to overcome many of life’s hardships.

(If you, like me, don't like to cook and feel overwhelmed in the kitchen
       maybe a visit to my special friend- Leann's blog- She Cooks will insipre     you. I know she inspires me every time I taste one of her delicious dishes.)

A study, from Columbia University, found that “teens from families that almost never eat dinner together are 72 percent more likely to use illegal drugs, cigarettes and alcohol than the average teen” (ibid.). That same study reports that those who eat dinner with their parents fewer than three times a week are more likely to smoke and drink than those who eat with their parents six times a week.

         (...and for more ideas and encouragement on family life visit
                                                    Proverbs31 Ministries for Women)

Not only do I believe this, but I like the idea of families coming together at the end of the day. Traditions that develop during these times provide opportunities for the entire family to become involved in one another’s lives. The bonds that develop and the repetition of traditions contribute to children’s feelings of well being and security.

As some of you might have read in my previous blogs, I practice decorating with a purpose.
So what is my intention, while considering the kitchen table center piece? To bring the family together around the family meal a the end of the day, not only to eat but to build bonds and traditions.

My centerpiece is this year’s family center!

Not only do I use evergreen, pine cones, and candles, I have added special holiday table talk ideas to engage children and parents while they share the evening meal.

(Come back Wednesday for my "What's on your kitchen table? Wednesdays" decorating idea and I will show you simple steps for making a live centerpiece.) 

Inside each of the little scrolls which are tied to  colorfully sprayed sticks or tucked inside the giant pinecones, I have written a fun challenge.

These holiday dinner table games can be played in teams or individually. Open one scroll each evening and enjoy the fun.

At each place setting you may want to provide a pencil and paper. Or even better, small white boards which kids enjoy so much more than pencil and paper! 

Here are a few ideas:

How many words can you make from the one word, Christmas?

Name everything found in the nativity.

How many Christmas carols do you know?

Fill in the blanks or answer the following:

Who stole Christmas?

Who is Frosty?

How many “la’s” are in “Deck the Halls”?

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

What does a candy cane symbolize?

Who was the king in the Old Testament who was Jesus’ great, great, great…. grandfather?

We three kings from _____________are…

Glory to God in the _________________

Depending on your specific family circumstances, you may want to gather your children around the table before dinner. Let them play as you prepare the meal. That way they are out of your way and they have something to anticipate in the late hours of the day when they feel antsy or tired. Of course as you get dinner ready, you can participate.

What fun family traditions do you have that other families might enjoy incorporating into their Christmas activities?

For more ideas come back. Meanwhile, remember this is the season to



Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

Listen to me, all who hope for deliverance - all who seek the Lord!

Consider the rock from which you were cut,
                   the quarry from which you were mined.

Think about....  (your ancestors). (my insert)               from Psalm 51

Today I give thanks for my great grandparents, my grandparents, my parents - the rocks from which I was cut and the quarries from which I was mined.

I am thankful for my mother's reasearch into my ancestry. How amazing to know that my forefathers and mothers knowingly and purposefully sacrificed and struggled so my life and the lives of my children would be defined by freedom and knowledge of Truth.  

I learned my blood line paved the way for me. I also know that thousands of immigrants settled this precioius land for future generations - that we might all experience what they only dreamed could be a possibility.

Today we live in that dream!

I wonder - What am I doing today that will make a difference for the next generation of Americans?

I pray to God that the lives of my children and the generations that follow will be impacted by the way I live and practice my convictions.

Show me God, how to

Friday, November 12, 2010

Way to Finish the Week

T G I F - What a wonderful ring - Thank God it's Friday!

Most people would say this sigh is one of relief- The week is over. Yeah!

That's not the case in my last period class on Fridays. Eighteen 6th graders file in asking, "Do we get to hear about Bruce today?"

They are referring to Bruce Olson, a missionary  friend of mine who has now become their friend.

My 6th graders met him in September and since then we have been reading his book, For This Cross I'll Kill You, a little each week, gathering up excitement, causing wide eyed exclamations and deep from their hearts begging, "Please read a few more pages."

So each Friday I have set up a win win situation. At an hour and time when most 6th graders are climbing out of their skins causing their teachers major angst, my favorite cherubs are sitting still in their desks, waiting anxiously to hear how the next episode will end. Of course they realize that the stories I am reading to them, I first heard live from the one who wrote the book- maybe even before most people in the world even knew of this missionary, hero. .

What is it about his story they love?

The open and real heart of a boy who was never good enough to play athletics. The confessions of a young kid who didn't fit in. The outporing of a youth who wondered for a long time, "Who is my God?"

They are enthralled with his wild lost-in-the-jungle tales. His encounters with the spears that land deep in the muscle of his leg cause shreeks from the girls and groans from the boys. His diet of grubs, parrots, and monkeys bring "awesome" from the 12 year old boys and "no way" from the girls.

They love to hear the stories and they hate to hear them. They are conflicted yet adicted to Bruce's story- how he felt God calling him to the jungles of South America to reach a tribe never been reached by God's Word.

Doesn't matter how the week has progressed, what has gone wrong, or what tomorrow looks like, Bruce's story has a way of putting life into perspective.

You see he gave his life away at the young age of 19 in order to walk into the jungles and risk his life (he truly nearly died). He sacrificed comfort in the United States, the opportunity to earn a college degree, a chance for a family of his own,  - he gave it all up to bring the message of Good News to a remote tribe in Colombia.

His adventures are powerful. His life is a testimony. It never fails. Year after year I read this story with always the same response. "Please don't stop. Tell us more!"

Are you looking for a good family read these holidays. Find yourself a copy of this book and sit down with your children for a good, old fashion read.