A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers

A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers
The Burts in 2013

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Need Your Help

Well, I'm an avid reader and I especially enjoy books that inspire me to honor Christ more and more with my life as a mother who homeschools. I've been flying through my pile of books and am ready for some suggestions for a few good reads.

So, leave a comment with your favorite authors, books, magazines, etc. They don't have to be "just for those who homeschool". I enjoy biographies of amazing Christians, inspiring true stories, encouraging reading material of any sort so long as it honors the Lord.

You can leave as many suggestions as you would like - the more the better! The reader who leaves the most suggestions will "win" a copy of a book (I have 2 options so I'll let the winner decide which they would prefer).

I guess I can't really have an open-ended contest, so the contest will end of Saturday, February 6th (which is also my hubby's birthday, so feel free to give me some great ideas to make his big day loads of fun!)

Thanks for sharing and Lord bless!

Day 15 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Friday, January 29, 2010

State of the Union? State of the Kingdom!

So, did most of you watch the State of the Union on Wednesday evening? I watched it - there is a strange part of me that really enjoys seeing our country's traditions in action, and the annual address by the President to report the state of our union is one of those traditions. As the wife of a soldier, I especially appreciate the tradition maintained by the Joint Chiefs during the speech - no applause, no facial expressions, no rising from their seats. They do what my hubby does when in uniform - have no personal opinion & always behave respectfully toward the President in attitude and speech because he is the Commander in Chief. Part of why I appreciate it so very much is because I have seen my husband in action, displaying this noble attitude of service to his country when people approach him to "vent" or "discuss politics" simply because he is in uniform. Trust me, not everyone who has "shared" with him has been polite or pro-Army!! It's not easy to maintain a dignified demeanor, but it is something soldier's have been doing for many, many years. Honor the rank, honor the position, honor the long military traditions of our country even when you have a difficult time with some of the beliefs of the individual you are honoring.

Now, watching the address on Wed. could have been a little discouraging. But the good news is that Jesus is on His throne, time and all eternity are in the Father's hands, things are not "out of control" but fully under His control and divine authority. The state of the union may be a little "iffy" but the State of the Kingdom is perfectly secure. We have such a blessed hope, such great and precious promises, that we have no need of fear and should cast all our anxiety upon Him, for He cares for us. Once our focus turns from the cares of this life, which try to choke out God's Word, and rest upon Who Christ Jesus is and what His Word proclaims to be true, we can find the rest for our souls that He promised us. There isn't room for long-term discouragement in the Kingdom of God. Even when it's all bad news all around us, it's all Good News because Jesus lives!

To relate this post to homeschooling, perhaps you could discuss why we have State of the Union and State of the State addresses each year. Why is there a rebuttal from the minority party? How did this get started? Why do the Speaker of the House and the VP sit directly behind the President? How are individuals chosen to sit in the First Lady's box? Where do the Supreme Court justices sit, and where is the Chief Justice seated? What about the Joint Chiefs? The House sit where? The Senate members sit where? You could go on and on - discussing why the President is announced in a certain manner, why it is acceptable to be a little "loud" during this speech (compared to Parliament in England, where they are "loud" quite often), what is security like for this annual event? You could expand to your state government, and discuss that in depth and perhaps talk about the state of Nebraska, which is the only state to have a Unicameral state government. Talk about our country's traditions, how they began and why we continue with them. What's good? What's not so good? The kids could write and essay, create a power point, or even share what they have learned over dinner with the family. They might want to continue to learn about our government on their own, and may end up teaching mom a few things.

Remember, also, to guard the state of your marriage union. It's almost the weekend - maybe there is a fun and creative way you can be a blessing to your husband over the next couple of days! Enjoy your family time - and if you live in south central Kansas, hope you enjoy the snow!

Lord bless your homeschool & praise the Lord, the state of the Kingdom is solidly and perfectly under His control!

Day 14 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Verses That sTiCk

Have you ever noticed how certain verses stick with you? I mean, almost stick to you? Sometimes during my Bible reading I'll read a verse I'll realize that the passage I'm reading contains a "sticky" verse...or I might suddenly stumble upon it when I read the verses assigned to a devotional for the day...perhaps one of the verses just pops into my mind. For me, these aren't the verses that I've chosen to commit to memory, and they aren't usually the verses that so many of us know and love - the ones that speak of our salvation, our forgiveness, our great hope that comes through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. The verses that "stick" to me are ones that I tend to need to ponder - like pieces of a puzzle, I have to invest some extra time to see how they fit together with my life.

The book of Job and the book of Jonah each contain some of my "sticky" verses. This week I've been reading in Job, and when I read the NLT version of Job 5:7, I actually caught myself quoting it to myself from the KJV. "Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward." (NLT "People are born for trouble as predictably as sparks fly upward from a fire.")

Some of my other "sTiCkY" verses follow:

Ecclesiastes 5:19b - "To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life - that is indeed a gift from God."

Isaiah 40:11c - "He will gently lead those that are with young."

Ezekial 22:30 - "I looked for a man among them who would...stand in the gap..."

Jonah 2:8 - "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs."

Micah 6:8 - "...and what doth the Lord require of thee? but to do justly,and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"

Matthew 6:34b - "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

Matthew 13:57 - "And they were offended by him. But Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his household."

Matthew 17:17 -' "O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me." '

Matthew 27:52-53 - "...and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead after Jesus' resurrection. They left the cemetery, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people."

Galatians 3:1 - "You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?"

2 Timothy 2:13 - "If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself."

Proverbs 11:25 - "A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."

These aren't verses I've intentionally memorized, but they are ones that I "know". I believe they are verses the Lord knows I need, and the Holy Spirit brings them to mind and makes them jump off the page when I read them in His Word. I might choose to memorize verses that I think would most benefit me - but God alone really knows what I most need. I imagine that if I were in charge of ensuring the composition of the air I breathe contained the correct amounts of oxygen, nitrogen and argon for me to remain alive, I would at one point or another "mess up" and breathe in air that was toxic to me. I can't really choose what's best for me - because the Word tells me that my heart is deceitful above all things.

So, in a very round about sort of a way, I guess what I'm trying to say is - I really like God's choices for me better than my own choices for me. And I really love these sTiCkY verses that He has impressed upon me. I'd love to know if any of you have verses like these - or if anyone has any ideas about why the Lord may have chosen the above verses for me. After all, sometimes I can't see clearly because of the log in my eye, and I'd be blessed by friends who could help me remove it :)

Now I'm off to say spend some time with my daughter who is the "Birthday Girl" today!

Day 13 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


My kids have discovred Throwback Mountain Dew and Pepsi. And guess what? They like it better than "modern day" Mt. Dew & Pepsi. that because it tastes that much better? Is it the novelty? Maybe the idea of drinking the same kind of Dew their dad had way-back-when? Personally, I think it tastes different because it's made with sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. But that's my opinion because of my preference for sugar grown from the cane rather than corn turned into sweetener that that has the consistency of motor oil...

Do I need to have a "Throwback" in any area of my life? Maybe I need to remember what it was like when my children were babies - you know, that sweet newborn smell that doesn't last long enough, the tiny fingers and toes, the way they stretch when they wake up and then snuggle right back down in your arms. Perhaps I need to remember the toddler years, when everything they learned was amazing and new and somehow made the whole world amazing and new to me, too. What about learning to read? How many wonderful memories do I have of my children reading - the first word, sentence, nursery rhyme, early reader, chapter book, classic, etc.? What about a "throwback" to the first of my kid's to get a job, drive, go on a missions trip or embark on a new journey learning all of their own accord? Those early years of watching their personalities and God-given gifts begin to really take root. Watching them with their younger siblings, with their friends, with their pets - and being amazed at this wonderful little person the Lord allowed into my life. And now, as my son writes papers for his college classes, as my oldest daughter consistently lands her double salchow (she figure skates and that's a double rotation jump she's recently mastered), my middle child as she plays the piano more and more beautifully each day, my fourth child's creations from clay, my youngest's interest in marine life and her deep care for Orca whales in particular.

Twenty years ago, would I ever in a million years have guessed that THIS is the life I'd get to live? I have more to be thankful for than I can ever possibly give thanks for - and I really mean that, those aren't just words! God has given me so much more than I ever could have dreamt, asked for or imagined. I'm blessed. So my version of the ideal "throwback" isn't living in the past, wishing I was younger-thinner-whatever. My ideal "throwback" is remembering the seasons of my life with my husband and children and enjoying today, knowing that one day I'll remember this all with the same fondness.

Enjoy your "throwbacks", whatever they might be!

Day 12 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Book Review

I've been reading the book "A Lifetime of Wisdom" by Joni Eareckson Tada lately and boy, is this a keeper for my library! Joni is one of those people that has so much to share, I knew that this book would be a blessing and I would be challenged by it. Of course, I had no idea how the Lord would begin to challenge me through this book. I find myself asking hard questions, probing around the dark places of my heart and asking Jesus to shine His light in those dark places, yielding ground to the Holy Spirit that I may not have fully yielded before. This book fits the definition of a "great book" and as Chip Ingram says, "Read great books!"

The book begins shortly after Joni's diving accident and Chapter 1 opens onto Joni in her hospital room in November of 1967. After recounting some very real and painful struggles with her quadriplegia, Joni moves forward to the current day and writes from her heart what the Joni of today would say to the Joni of 40 plus years ago lying in that hospital bed. Each chapter follows the same format - a scene from Joni's past and her hard won treasures of truth that she has gleaned over the years.

While I cannot possibly know what one day in her wheelchair is like, I can relate to her "realness" in this book. She doesn't candy coat any of her struggles or her emotions, and she doesn't chide anyone else for their reactions to their own hard times. She simply shares what she has learned, while giving glory and praise the the God Who has sustained her for over 4 decades in her wheelchair. She openly admits how hard this road has been for her, and she beautifully shares how she wouldn't change it if she could, because she has gained a deeper and much more precious relationship with the Lord than would have been possible with fully functional arms and legs. And she points the reader to that same Jesus Who has become her "Sustainer" through every moment of every day. It really is a great book that can change your heart and your life if you let it.

I'll end this post with a quote from the book. It's actually a quote from her father - he said, "Don't grasp for the future, Joni. Pay attention to the present." I think my life as a Christian, as a wife, as a mother, as a homeschooler, would be much enriched if I would stop grasping for the future and pay attention to the right now. It's the only time I've got, after all!

Day 11 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Busy Thursdays

Okay, it's official. Thursdays are very busy around here. And I probably should not have decided to clean the carpets's not gonna happen, and now it's on my list and won't be crossed off :( I LOVE crossing things off my to-do list. The list itself never gets any shorter, but that doesn't matter so long as I can cross some stuff off daily. And writing down what I did AFTER I did it and THEN crossing it off doesn't get it for me. I've tried that method several times in the past, but it just doesn't have the same calming effect.

So, since my Thursdays are VERY busy, and I tend to forget some major things that need to be done each Thursday (eh-em, I'm talking to Janette - she knows what I mean!) I suppose I had better come up with a way to cope with my busy Thursdays while getting done what must be done.

For example, dinner on Thursdays is difficult to pull off. GKB & Big AMB skate at 5 pm. SGB has Christian Youth Theater (CYT) at 4:30. Tony often has meetings on Thursday, which brings him home later than usual. Big AMB races home from skating to change and head off to her session at CYT, and hopefully there is actually something ready for her to eat before she leaves. She doesn't get home until nearly 9:30pm, and that's a little past family dinner time, ya know?! So LJB and Little AMB have a lot of waiting to do on Thursday evenings...waiting for Mom to get back from taking someone here or there, waiting for Dad to get home from work, waiting with Mom or Dad to pick up this sibling or that sibling, waiting for dinner, etc. Those two have become pretty good "waiters", by the way! And my husband is so gracious, he never even blinks about busy evenings or late dinners on Thursday.

School is always hectic on Thursdays - for some reason, we seem to end up having a lot of science experiments on that day of the week, laundry is on "overload" on Thursday, I need to be finished with church stuff for the following week on Thursday, allowance is usually paid on Thursdays, blah blah blah. The life of a homeschooling mother is not so much different in my house than in your house, so I don't need to bore you with all the same stuff that happened at your house today. But how do I make this all work? How do I get the "have-to's" done without waiting until 10 pm to eat dinner with my family?

My ideas are not foolproof, but I have to start somewhere so here are a few ideas to make Busy Thursdays a little less hectic. Dinner needs to be planned ahead - that means days in advance for me. I have to keep Thursdays in mind all throughout the week or I will use my idea for an easy Thursday dinner on another day of the week (when I am convinced that somehow Thursday will be less hectic and I need to make the easy dinner today instead). And if I plan wisely, I can make Thursday dinner something that can go hand-in-glove with the kids dinner on Friday. We have a relaxed routine on Friday evenings, except GKB who usually ends up working. That means I can actually begin the weekend a little bit refreshed, ready to get some things done on Saturday and enjoy church on Sunday before jumping back into school and house work on Monday. Tonight we are having meatball hoagies. The meatballs and sauce are ready in the crockpot, the hoagie buns are ready, the mozzarella cheese is ready - everyone can eat before they run out the door, and Dad and the 2 girls at home with him can enjoy a nice dinner, just the 3 of them. With plenty of extra meatballs and sauce, I can make a simple baked spaghetti for Friday's dinner. I know the kids will enjoy both meals, and I won't have to think about it at all since it's a no brainer.

My other ideas to make Thursday less hectic are along the same lines - plan ahead, think about these changes often enough that they become second nature, and DO NOT add anything else to my already full Thursdays. Grade as we go on Thursdays, instead of letting it pile up for "later", which never arrives on Thursdays. (Tony, ignore the pile to be graded - I'll implement that next Thursday!!) Stop telling myself I'll have time to do extra big projects on Thursdays - I don't have time to clean carpets, to organize a closet, to shingle a dollhouse...not on this day of the week. I must be ruthlessly realistic, and stop expecting so much more from myself than I do from any other person on this planet.

One thing I'm not changing, however, is my time with the Lord on Thursday, or any other day. I really can't think of many things that keep me from my mornings with Him. And I hope that you don't have things that keep you from Jesus. He's it, ladies - the Alpha and Omega, the great I AM, the only Savior for this dying world, the One who lives to intercede for you at the Father's throne day and time with Him is non- negotiable, even if we had to eat dinner at 10 pm every night of the week. When I go to bed at night, I'm already looking forward to the next morning when I'll have my time with Him. Actually, I start looking forward to the next morning as soon as it heads toward evening. I hope each one of you has that same longing to spend time with Jesus, just you and your Lord. If you haven't had that time for a while, start tomorrow. And right now, start looking forward to it. It's the most important date in your day timer :)

Now, I'm going to make a phone call to that my son can access his class blackboard and do his assignment for his slightly liberal history class. And guess what? It's not even on my to-do list, but I'm going to do it anyway and I'm not going to go write it on my list before I do it so that I can cross it off "legit". But the carpets, they're still on the list...sigh.

Back to my busy Thursday!

Day 10 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Monday, January 11, 2010

Worship Sunday

So, for quite a while now our worship leaders (hereafter known as J&J) have been hoping to have an all worship service on a Sunday morning. Yesterday was the day they were able to make it a reality - so today's blog is about Psalm 113, which is a psalm with a whole lot of guidance regarding our worship.

When I opened my Bible this morning, I was pretty excited to read this psalm. After yesterday's worship service, and after enjoying the blessing of spending time in prayer daily last week for the all worship Sunday, reading the 113th psalm was like opening a surprise present from the Lord. In the NLT it reads as follows:

Praise the LORD!

Yes, give praise, O servants of the LORD.
Praise the name of the LORD!
Blessed be the name of the LORD
forever and ever.
Everywhere - from east to west -
praise the name of the LORD.
For the LORD is high above the nations;
is glory is far greater than the heavens.

Who can be compared with the LORD our God,
who is enthroned on high?
Far below him are the heavens and the earth.
He stoops to look,
and he lifts the poor from the dirt
and the needy from the garbage dump.
He sets them among princes,
even the princes of his own people!
He gives the barren woman a home,
so that she becomes a happy mother.

Praise the LORD!

Isn't that great counsel regarding worship?! I think J&J pretty much nailed this yesterday during worship. His servants are to give Him praise, His name is to be blessed forever and everywhere, He is high above the nations and His glory is far greater than the heavens, none can be compared to Him, He alone stoops to look at us below, and He alone is able to lift the poor from the dirt and the needy from the garbage pile, only our God would set the poor and needy among princes, only our Lord would allow meager people to be among the princes of His chosen people, and my favorite part of this psalm as a mom who homeschools - verse 9 - He gives the barren woman a home, so that she becomes a happy mother.

I love verse 9 so much that over the summer when we painted our family room, I wanted the paint color to coordinate with a piece of wall art I had seen in a catalog. The piece now hangs in the family room above the entryway to the kitchen, which is where most of our school day takes place, and it says "Be a joyful mother of children." which is the NIV version of Psalm 113:9 (at least I'm pretty sure it's NIV, but my memory isn't what it used to be, so forgive me if I'm wrong!)

Don't you love God's Word? He is so awesome, so amazing - He has this powerful psalm of praise that speaks of Who He is, and He ends it by mentioning motherhood. I LOVE that!! I also love that this particular psalm not only teaches me how to worship, it not only magnifies the Lord, it tells me that I am to be a joyful mother to my children - and that I glorify Him by being a joyful mother.

Have a joyful mothering kind of day!

Day 9 done :)

Jan L. Burt

A special "attaboy" to J&J for faithfully fulfilling God's call on their lives in leading our body to a place of authentic worship. This post is for you guys :)

Go Miriam!

Congratulations to Miriam - she won the "contest" from my last post about the movie quote. She determined that the movie I quoted from was "Surf's Up". Which was not the most popular movie of 2007, and so it's all the more impressive that she figured it out. However, Miriam is no slouch in the brains department, so I'm not at all surprised by her ability to reason out the answer to my odd contest :)

Miriam's prize? A $10 gift card to Starbucks. Which I know for certain she will enjoy.

Happy coffee, Miriam!

Jan L. Burt

Saturday, January 9, 2010

No Joy Dude...Fail

In our house we often quote movie lines. Now, before you wonder how I can allow my family to watch movies in this day and age, with the abundance of "filth" in film, we own two Clear Play dvd players and we don't watch movies without the filter. And beyond our filter, we have a family standard about what we will watch. We use to review any movies we are considering viewing - another wonderful resource for the Christian community.

Some movie one-liners are funny, some are catchy, and some make a point. The quote, "No joy" is one that makes a point. How often could that short phrase characterize my life? (Hmmm, do I want to answer that in writing?) How often SHOULD it characterize my life? Well, never, if I believe God's Word.

It really is something for me to think about. If I believe the joy of the Lord is my strength, shouldn't I be joyful? If joy is a fruit of the Spirit, shouldn't I yield more and more to the Holy Spirit so that His fruit would mark my life? If I accept the Father's great love that He has lavished upon me, that He has called me a daughter of God, shouldn't the world around me see that expressed in joy? But when I don't have any joy...then it's like the movie quote, "No joy"

Keep your joy, it's a gift from the Lord!

Day 8 done :)

Jan L. Burt

BTW, a little challenge for you. If you know the movie that this quote is from, leave a comment with your email & the first one to answer will get a prize. It will be a worthwhile prize - I promise! Two rules: You need to know the answer w/o using google or any other "search" method AND my kids aren't eligible - sorry Burt Kids :(
Good luck!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Stuck UPS

This afternoon the UPS man had a bit of misfortune - his truck got stuck in the slushy snowy mix. He was revving the motor, probably sitting inside trying to will the truck to move. You know the feeling - "Oh, boy, here we go. This could get messy. What a doozy. Can't I just get out of this mess quickly and easily?"

But the UPS guy had an advantage - he wasn't working alone today. He had his partner with him. Between the two of them, with some serious effort and concerted attention, they got "unstuck" and were able to get on with their work day. I was glad to see them drive off; it's been pretty cold here in south central Kansas as of late, and I feel for anyone outside in this weather. But then I thought about something Solomon wrote in the Old Testament, and I was grateful the Lord used the stuck UPS truck to minister to me today.

In the book of Ecclesiastes it says that it's not good when one falls down and has no friend to help him up, and that a cord of 3 strands is not easily broken. The UPS man had his co-worker to help him out, and the effort of the two of them yielded what would have been nearly impossible if he'd been alone. My life is like that. Your life is, too. We need to be "together" on this life journey, as we walk out our faith in Jesus. Going it alone isn't wise - because we will fall down at some point and will need someone to help us up. I'm grateful for wonderful friends, my husband, my family, even my "invisible" friends that I lean on via blogs, magazines, etc. My life in general, and specifically as a homeschooling woman, are made much easier because I have a cord of 3 strands. Of course, the most important "strand" in the cord is the Lord, and for Him I am more than simply thankful. I'm eternally grateful, and will be able to tell Him so face to face forever and ever when my days on this planet come to their appointed end.

Take time today to think of your friends who get you "unstuck" and thank the Lord for them, and for His unfailing love and care over your life.

Stay warm!

Day 7 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Monday, January 4, 2010

Making Home a "Sweet" Home

Today we started back to homeschool following our family's Christmas break. If you had asked me yesterday if I was ready to get back to work, I would have said, "Nope!" And yet this morning as I read my Bible and spent time in prayer, I realized that I was more than ready. What changed? Nothing and everything.

I was certainly not ready, able, prepared, or equipped in my own strength to home educate my children today. Or any other day. But after spending time focusing on Jesus, His will for my day, His educational plans for my children, His desires for our family, I was more than ready to get going on the day's work. My everything accomplishes nothing - the One Who is Everything is able to make anything from nothing. Very cool to think about.

Now, if I can keep this same attitude of total dependance on Jesus as I homeschool tomorrow, and the next day, and so on...that would be fantastic!

Day 6 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Friday, January 1, 2010

January One

Doesn't the new year bring with it all kinds of anticipation? What will this year bring? Surprises - good and bad. Great memories will be made. It's like a blank canvas that the Lord is just beginning to paint on. Optimism is high on the first day of January.

Really, my optimism should not wane as the year progresses. There is no reason I should be any less enthusiastic about "what's next" on June 1st than I am on January 1st. God has not changed from 12/31 to 01/ why should my attitude change? Maybe the first day of a new year is a good time for me to remember that God is with me always, He never changes, there is no shadow of turning with Him. Tomorrow is not unknown to Him, yesterday's errors are not written in stone with no redeeming value, and His mercies are new every single morning. Even when we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself (see Paul's letters to Timothy).

That's pretty good news, on January One and every other day of the year. My hope is in the Lord, the joy of the Lord is my strength, and all of my days were written in His book before one of them came to be. It's good to know these truths; it's amazing to personally know the One Who is Truth.

Enjoy each moment of 2010, and enjoy each moment of homeschooling.

Day 5 done :)

Jan L. Burt