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Showing posts from 2013

12 Steps to Becoming a More Organized Woman (Updated and Revised) by Lane P. Jordan

The book 12 Steps to Becoming a More Organized Woman (Practical Tips for Managing Your Home and Your Family) by Lane P. Jordan is the type of book you keep on the bookshelf to read and re-read regularly. To say it plainly - I really like this book! Lane is genuine and she is very skilled at offering solid advice that is do-able, aligns with God's Word, and covers pretty much every area of a woman's life.

This updated edition deals with things in our lives that really were not an issue in the early '90's. Smart phones? Facebook? Twitter? All things I use daily (even when writing this book review) but unheard of not so long ago...unless you attended Harvard, then you know what Facebook really is.

In many ways the need to be more organized is more important for women today than ever before. We're tempted with time consumers all day long, every single day. And where our time goes, our days go, our relationships go, our homes go, our lives go. Organizing your life is …

Perfumed Letters by Robin T. Smith

The book Perfumed Letters (written by Robin T. Smith) came wrapped in a gift bag, with a hand-written note from the author. That was a pleasant surprise - not the way a book usually arrives in my mailbox! 
Perfumed Letters isn't a terribly long book, and is very easy to read. The author's writing style is genuine, as if she's talking to a close friend. Robin truly knows God's Word and is able to apply it to different life situations with seeming ease. Her analogy of a variety of perfumes is a good way to compare and contrast Godly attributes in a woman to those that are worldly in nature. 
Perfumed Letters, to me, is a book aimed at moving women toward maturity in Christ. Moving beyond simply being content with salvation (sometimes referred to as fire insurance). An example of the kind of things the author challenges her readers with include a question posed on page 18 that reads, "Do you still handle conflict and problems the same way you did as a seventeen-year-o…

The Perfect Score Project - Uncovering the Secrets of the SAT by Debbie Stier

The Perfect Score Project by Debbie Stier is a fascinating book (borne out of a fascinating plan!) - 281 pages, 20 chapters of SAT prep information wrapped in the true story of a mom who took the SAT seven times while working to encourage her son to do his best rather then settling for mediocrity. Is that novel, or what?!? You don't have the opportunity to read about this type of undertaking every day; needless to say, I was very interested in Debbie's story.

The Perfect Score Project is an informative, well-written book that makes the reader feel right at home as soon as you turn to page 1. Each chapter has "info boxes" that contain valuable tidbits to help your student get the most from their SAT preparation ~ so no worries that this book just tells Debbie Stier's tale of taking a difficult standardized test over and over again. Nope, the book doesn't just tell her tale, it gives loads of excellent information that moms of high-school students can use.

Here …

A Fair Warning...

This brief post is to inform my blog followers that I'm about to post several book reviews in a row. I'm hammering them out, as I've had time to do some reading during our Christmas break and I'm going to post the reviews while the content is fresh in my mind.

That was my PSA regarding the coming onslaught of book reviews...consider yourselves warned!

Day 293 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Samson ~ A Savior Will Rise by Shawn Hoffman

Have you ever glanced over a book's cover, quickly read it's description, and thought you understood what the book was about? But then as you read the book, you found it contained much more than you ever imagined? That's basically what happened to me with the book Samson ~ A Savior Will Rise by Shawn Hoffman.

The book is based on true events that took place in Auschwitz during WWII. In great, heart-breaking detail Samson describes life in the camp for a Jewish boxer who was "recruited" to participate in weekly entertainment for the officers at Auschwitz, including Rudolf Hoss and Josef Mengele. While the book contains facts about many different people who endured life (and death) at Auschwitz, the author compiles multiple true events into the life of one man, Samson Abrams, and his family. It is a riveting read, one of the best books I have ever read...but it is in no way an easy read. Think you know all about the Nazis? You don't. Certain you have a complet…

Be a Homeschooling Mother Who Enjoys Christmas

Here we are, a few short days away from Christmas. In all likelihood, you have already finished your lessons and are in the midst of your Christmas break. And perhaps you are also struggling to enjoy the blessings of the season.

For many of us, and for a variety of reasons, Christmas can be overwhelming and stressful. In light of all the Facebook posts, Tweets, and blogs that have already addressed the need to slow down and relax and enjoy this time of year, I'll keep this short and sweet.

Here's my one piece of advice for you this Christmas ~

I have absolutely no advice...I'll simply encourage you to give yourself permission to enjoy yourself right where you're at this Christmas. 

That's it - there's my profound wisdom for all who are having a rough go of things this December. Give yourself permission to ENJOY your life. You might just be surprised at the way God blesses you when you let yourself be fully at rest in Him.

Lord bless you this Christmas!

Day 291 do…

Ministering to Problem People in Your Church (What to Do With Well-Intentioned Dragons) by Marshall Shelley

The book Ministering to Problem People in Your Church by Marshall Shelley was written primarily for pastors and others in full-time ministry. It's filled with real life stories of struggles that happen within the church, and aims to help those in ministry cope with difficult situations in a manner that leaves no room for bitterness.

At least, that's what I choose to believe this book is aiming to accomplish. Of course I knew from the title alone that this was not going to be an easy read. The subject matter is heart-breaking and could even be discouraging - but I expected that. What I didn't expect was to feel so "at-odds" with the author's demeanor toward the "problem people" whose "problems" are shared in the book. I do not think that they ought to be referred to as "dragons".  Um, excuse me? Dragons? I thought it was a name that might fit those who were attempting to cause a church split or who weren't believers in Jesus …

Can A Little Change Make A Big Difference?

So I recently went to see my eye doctor. Praise the Lord, all the news was good and my prescription had only changed a little teeny bit. My 17-year-old daughter also had her eye exam at the same time, and I let her lead the charge on picking out our new frames. She choose red Ray-Bans and they are adorable on her! And she helped me settle on a pair of deep purple Oakleys. Let me just say, deep purple + Oakley =  me a bit outside my comfort zone.

Well most people who know me well have told me they like the Oakleys. And I really like them, too. They're fun and as I'm not getting any younger, I figure my days of young eye wear are numbered. May as well enjoy fun glasses while I still can, right?!?

Turns out I've noticed a little something weird now that I have these deep purple Oakleys stuck on my face all day long. Something I really did not expect. People treat me differently now. Not people that I know ~ but people at the grocery store or the bank or the drive-thru and so …

Knowing God By Name ~ A Girlfriends In God Faith Adventure (Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith, Mary Southerland)

You may have heard of Girlfriends In God (GIG). The 3 women who make up the GIG team write devotions, speak at conferences, and generally encourage women to walk closely with the Lord.The book Knowing God By Name ~ A Girlfirends In God Faith Adventure draws from the hearts of Sharon, Gwen and Mary to form an 8-week devotional & Bible study resource.

I hate to admit this...but when I first began reading Knowing God by Name, I did not really like it. Don't get me wrong - I was excited to do a book review on a devotional with a focus on the Names of God. But the first several pages just didn't jump out at me...and I kind of figured I'd finish reading the book for the review, not for my own spiritual growth. Uh-hum, well, uh, yeah...I was completely wrong. Knowing God By Name is not only a terrific devotional that I will read and re-read throughout the coming years; it is also an excellent Bible study and would be a great addition to any small group.

The difficulty in wr…

Take a DEEP Breath...It Is, Indeed, December

It sounds so cliche to say something along the lines of, "Can you believe how quickly this year has flown by?" or "How can it be December already?"  And yet here I am wondering how on earth the year 2013 could possibly be drawing to a close.

Maybe because we have temperatures in the 50s today here in Kansas, or perhaps because Thanksgiving fell later on the calender than it usually does (leaving fewer days before Christmas), or maybe it's just that I'm in my forties and I life moves faster than it used to. Whatever the reason, I feel like this Christmas season could come and go before I even have a chance to worship the Lord who was born in order that He might die for us. I do not want that to happen. So I'm doing things a bit differently this year.

We do not have our tree up yet. Or our outdoor decorations. That's kind of a rarity for our house. But we traded the time we would have normally spent decorating for time spent with our entire family whi…

Hebrews (The Nearness of King Jesus) ~ from Lisa Harper

Have you ever wanted to study the book of Hebrews? Or maybe you've been looking for a new Bible study for your church's women's ministry. The new study by Lisa Harper (from LifeWay) may be exactly what you need!

I am super excited to be a part of the launch team for Hebrews, so you'll be seeing more about this study on my blog, pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. But if you 'd like to take a look at Hebrews - The Nearness of King Jesus, visit .

Here's a quote from Lisa Harper ~

Isn't that a fabulous thought?

As you prepare for Thanksgiving this week, be sure to thank your Savior for His lavish gift of grace and the freedom that it brings.

Lord bless you!

Day 286 done :)

Jan L. Burt

author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Faith ~ Joseph's Story (A Novel & Christian Bible Study) by Sandra Lea Hardage

The book Faith ~ Joseph's Story (by Sandra Lea Hardage) is an absolute gem of a book. The first half of the book, chapters 1-9, tell the story of Joseph. Predating his birth, the author covers Joseph's family lineage and lays a solid foundation of his family's history. The second half of the book is a Bible study; a very thorough study, well-written without extra "fluff".

As I progressed through this book, I was struck by how Sandra brings Joseph's story to life in a vibrant way. While not adding anything to what the Bible says about his life, she draws details out of the Word that are easily missed in casual reading. I absolutely loved this book and the way she manages to pack so much into each chapter. As a homeschooling mother, I plan to use this as part of my children's daily Bible lessons. (And that's saying something, because I am pretty choosy about what I use in my homeschool!)

After I finished the first half of the book and started the Bible …

Let Hope In by Pete Wilson

The book Let Hope In (4 Choices That Will Change Your Life Forever) by Pete Wilson is an easy-to-read book divided into four sections. Each section focuses on a different area in which hope can "come in" and bring about transformation. At 219 pages, Let Hope In isn't a lengthy book but it does contain some valuable insight for those looking to let Jesus have more and more of their heart.

The four sections touch on transforming instead of transferring; being okay as compared to not being okay; trusting rather than pleasing; freeing people in lieu of hurting them. Four sections of a book that represent four segments of our hearts and lives...places where we may have put up a "NO TRESPASSING" sign that we expect Jesus to read loud and clear.

Of course, the Christian life is a trade (it's no longer our own, for we were bought with a price). We don't have the option of telling the Lord to "KEEP OUT" because He owns us, so to speak, and more than …

A Dose of Encouragement & A Handful of Advice

I'm amazed at how long I've been homeschooling and at how quickly my years as a homeschooler are dwindling away. My oldest will turn 21 this month, my second oldest is adjusting well to life at a college 12-hours away from home, and my middle child will turn 18 in the spring. I will then have three adult children...and that means I am entering into a season of giving pause, giving thanks, and giving encouragement and advice to those who are currently doing what I've already done.

So today's blog post is a little dose of encouragement and a handful of advice for the homeschooling mom who could use a little boost.

First, the advice ~

When you are choosing new curriculum, planning weekly assignments, or considering a new activity, carefully consider the path you take. Is it the path the Lord has placed you on? Or is this a path you've chosen without His guidance? 

     On those really productive school days, when everything is clicking and you're trucking right alon…

The Wall Around Your Heart (How Jesus Heals You When Others Hurt You) by Mary DeMuth

You may remember a review I wrote for Mary DeMuth's book Everything (you can read that post HERE) in January of this year.  I absolutely loved that book, and not surprisingly, Mary's book The Wall Around Your Heart is another success. The tone of this book is a bit different than Everything, but the tempo with which Mary writes and the passion she pours into her work are the same. We all have walls around our hearts, in greater or lesser degrees. And we all need a little "shove" in the right direction (toward Jesus!) in order for those walls to begin to crumble.

The Wall Around Your Heart has the ability to draw you closer to the Lord in prayer as you trust Him more and more with the things that you have been afraid to trust anyone with. It's not a self-help, DIY kind of book. Rather it's Mary using the Lord's prayer to reveal God's heart toward us, and in turn to show us that He can be trusted to tear down those walls.

 She is very real, very honest,…

Fearless by Eric Blehm

When I started reading the book Fearless by Eric Blehm, I really thought I knew what kind of a book it would be. I'm married to a Captain in the US Army (retired) after all, so I would have to be deaf to have not heard the tale of Navy SEAL Team Six and the mission in Afghanistan that went so terribly wrong. But I wasn't at all prepared for how hard it was to read this book. Not just hard to read near the end, when Adam Brown faces the enemy and gives his life. It was hard to read about Adam's childhood, his rough and tumble teenage years, his addictions. And it was hard to see how much his wife loved him, supported him, stood by him, helped him "grow up" in his walk with the Lord...all the while knowing what the later chapter of Fearless would bring.

Fearless is a great book to read if you don't have much of an idea of who soldiers often are at their core, where they came from, why the military is such a good fit for many men...and it also provides insight i…

My Beloved and My Friend by Hal & Melanie Young ~ Review (New Book Launch!!)

Those in the homeschooling community are no strangers to the work of Hal & Melanie Young (does the book Raising Real Men ring a bell?) Branching out beyond raising godly children, the Youngs have written a terrific book entitled My Beloved and My Friend - How To Be Married To Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses. It's a great read for all married couples, and would make an excellent gift for those soon to become man and wife. But since I blog primarily to an audience of women who homeschool, let me speak to the reasons they should read My Beloved and My Friend.

When you are a homeschooling mama, it is so unbelievably easy to become completely immersed in your children. Seriously, this is a problem within the homeschool community! It's a problem because the children begin to "take over" the marriage and their needs become priorities over those of our husbands. This book by Hal & Melanie Young helps put the marriage back in it's proper, God-ordained …

Move Out of Your Comfort Zone

We all have them; our own personal comfort zones. Truth be told, we're pretty good at accessorizing and customizing said zones. We know what we need to do in order to keep out what we want kept out and to keep in what we want kept in. Sure, we may work hard at maintaining our comfort zones without much cognitive thought or planning...but just because we don't exactly plan to hide out in our "safe places" doesn't mean they don't exist.

Comfort zones are real, and they're really, really dangerous.

What would have happened had Abraham opted to stay in his comfort zone instead of venturing into the complete unknown with God alone as is guide? We know what happened to the Israelites when they refused to go in and take the Promised Land the Lord their God was giving them (40 years in the desert and all those who were afraid to go into the land died outside of it). For those of us who homeschool, what would have happened without our forerunners who paved the wa…

Why Do We Do What We Do? (And Should I Proceed With What I'd Planned to Do???)

You may know I've been working on my second book (All Things Homeschool ~ Hints, Tips & Encouragement for the Homeschooling Mother). It's come together fabulously, and I'm ready to hit it hard and finish up the part I really don't like...the techie aspect of turning my words into an eBook. But I'm at an impasse, and could really use a little help. Below is a brief sampling of the book's content. Would you read it, and tell me if it brings any type of encouragement to you or if it's just more white noise in a world filled to overflowing with reading material? (I'm also including a link to an older post from Feb. 2012 that will be in the that post HERE.)

Without further adieu, here's the brief book excerpt:

We all want an answer to the age-old question, "What am I here for?"  Philippians 3:10 holds part of the answer for us. "I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead." That a…

The Homeschool Mom's Bible (NIV) ~ book review

Homeschooling moms have a unique combination role in life ~ not only are they mothers who are working to raise their children to be healthy, functional adults, they're also the primary educators working to prepare their children for college, readying them to be healthy, functional contributors to society as a whole. We have the daunting task of moving our children to a place where they can impact their world for Christ and His Kingdom. What a huge job homeschooling moms have! We certainly can use all the encouragement we can get!

The Homeschool Mom's Bible offers that encouragement. Daily devotionals are dated, interspersed throughout the text of the Bible. They're just short enough to ensure a busy mom won't skip over reading them due to their length; and they're meaty enough to drive home key points and encouragement. (All the devotions were penned by Janet Tatman, a veteran homeschooling mother with more than 25 years of homeschooling experience.)

The Bible itse…


Today's post is a short and sweet reminder to cover your homeschool, your husband, your children, your entire day in prayer. And fully expect the Lord to bring good things into your life as a result of our prayers.

It's far too easy for busy homeschooling mamas to rush forward into our day and neglect covering our lives with prayer. But we really cannot afford to skip out on prayer time! If you aren't praying for you husband, then who on earth is? Who is going to pray for your children and your homeschool with the same passion and heart that you can? No one else will pray the prayers you're willing to pray. And by no one, I really do mean NO ONE. You're it, mom. This one is all on you.

Pray for your life in all it's facets every single day. Ask the Lord to lead and guide and be in every single moment of your life. Then trust Him to do beautiful, wonderful, glorious things! Sure, there will plenty of times when His answer to your prayer is not what you were hop…

How Was Your Day? Was It a Monday?

Well, you would think that after so many years of homeschooling I wouldn't ever have a case of the Mondays. Yes, you might think that...but alas, it isn't so.

I actually think that as long as I am homeschooling, I will have hard days. There's a reason for those hard days; homeschooling is hard work! It's life-changing work ~ perhaps even world-changing work in that we're training the next generation for Christ. Perhaps if I never had any hard days, that would be an indicator that I might be missing the mark. Perhaps my hard days, every case of the Mondays, are my personal litmus test as to whether or not I'm doing what I ought to be doing.

The main thing I ought to be doing day in and day out is teaching my children at home. Without finding "escapes" when the days are long and attitudes are poor. Without complaining to my husband or friends about the woes of my daily life. Without yelling at my kids for my own faults and failings. If I'm called to…

To Quote Mike Wazowski (Kind Of...) ~ I'm (not) On the Cover of a Magazine!

I am tickled pink to have an article on teaching electives in the current issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. While I have reviewed products as a former member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I thoroughly enjoyed writing an article for them. It posed an entirely different challenge for me, and I was able to share some valuable insights I've learned over the course of MANY years of homeschooling!

So today's post is short and sweet ~ I'm sharing a direct link to my article!

But watch for new posts coming soon, and a little revamp to my blog. And I've added a link to the Bible study I wrote for homeschooling moms (the eBook is ridiculously affordable at $7.95). Plus I'm gearing up for a nice giveaway, with some terrific goodies for moms and kids!

Here's the link to my article ~ Choosing the Best Electives.  I hope you enjoy it, and are encouraged as you choose electives for your homeschooled children. Look for my next article in the December/January print edition…

You Can't Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded) by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias ~ a review

Many years ago, when my firstborn was just a tyke, I read a book by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. And I loved it! Her insight was just what I needed as a young mom trying to determine what made my son "tick". It helped me to accept that his learning style was not the same as mine, and was a great starting point for me when I began researching curriculum options prior to kindergarten. I expected the same result with the book You Can't Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded).

I was actually surprised when I found myself doubting some of what she shares in this book. It's not that any of her ideas about parenting strong-willed children wouldn't work; I honestly think most of them would work well! What seems to kind of nag at me about this book is the underlying idea that there isn't any real accountability for the behavior of the strong-willed child, and we as parents simply must find ways to adapt in order to affirm the child. My problem with this notion is that it isn'…

It's My Birthday...Will You Enter My Giveaway???

Today is my birthday! And I'm "giving" a gift to one lucky winner!

The giveaway is for one free ticket to an amazing, week-long, encouraging event for homeschoolers ~ the 2013 Schoolhouse Expo! Speakers include Todd Wilson, Diana Waring, Jessica Hulcy, Jay Wile, Andrew Pudewa, Chrisine Field, Davis Carman, Malia Russell, and many, many more!

The Expo takes place online the week of August 19th-23rd (12 noon - 7 pm Central).

"But," you say, "what if I can't be there for the Expo?"  No worries - all speakers are recorded and will be available for you to listen to at your convenience. But I must say, you benefit the most when you are able to attend the event as it's happening.

To learn more, see how the recordings work, read about the speakers, etc visit

Okay, so go ahead and grant my birthday wish - enter my giveaway using rafflecopter (starting @ midnight...but leave me a comment on my blog right now for one entry and come b…

Anybody for a Giveaway???

It is almost August and that means homeschool moms everywhere are gearing up for the next school year. That also means it's the ideal time for some encouragement in the form of a G-I-V-E-A-W-A-Y!!

How would you like the chance to win a FREE ticket to a full week of wisdom, advice and encouragement from some of the biggest names in the homeschool community? Well, here's your opportunity to win a ticket to the upcoming Schoolhouse Expo (

Guest speakers include ~