A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers

A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers
The Burts in 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

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

Thursday, November 21, 2013

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 study, I found that I loved the book even more. I love a good Bible study, and THIS is a good Bible study. It takes you through Joseph's trials and his ever-increasing trust in his God and helps you apply God's Word to your own daily life.

While I'm not saying much specifically about the book Faith ~ Joseph's Story, that's only because his story is so well-known that I don't feel as if I need to write about that aspect of the book. And were I to share too many details about the book itself, I would take away the joy of finding out for yourself why I love this book. 

At the same time that I have been reading this book, we have been learning about Joseph through our Sunday-morning sermons at our church. How terrific it's been to have this resource to enrich what I hear from the pulpit on Sundays! The combination has been a catalyst for growth and I see things about the God who was there for Joseph that have impacted my life, several thousand years later.

Faith ~ Joseph's Story is available for purchase online at for $12.10 (softcover). Hardcover is also available. To purchase, click HERE.

On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I gave this book a 5.

I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

 Lord bless you as you continue to grow in your faith and trust in the Lord, much like Joseph.

Day 285 done :)

Jan L. Burt

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 that He loves us. Sometimes His love is terrifyingly vast, frighteningly enormous, looming larger than we can bear. The book Let Hope In allows us to step into that large love and provides a fresh outlook on what living in the light of that love really comes down to.

My personal favorite section is the one about being okay versus being not okay, and Scott Hamilton's story struck a chord within me. We tell our kids that it's okay to be who they are, the person God created them to be. Yet if we're honest, we can admit that we don't always let ourselves be who He made us to be. Such a great reminder that it really is okay to just be...okay.

But I'd also like to share that there are things about this book that I really did not like. Some of the ways the author sort of "lessens" the price of sin really bother me. I'm very high-truth, very Type-A, and I find that I have little patience for someone who even seems to hint at sin being less sinful because it's been fully atoned for. Jesus took it seriously (Matthew 5:29 comes to mind) and I think we also need to take it seriously. Not refusing to forgive, because we're called to obey the Lord's command to forgive - just don't neglect the great cost that sin requires.

On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I gave this book a 4.

Disclaimer ~ I received this book free of charge for review purposes from BookSneeze. All opinions shared here are solely my own.

Day 284 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Thursday, November 7, 2013

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 along, consider doing a little (or a lot!) of extra school work. Then you'll have a bit of a cushion for those days when nothing clicks except the sound of your heels as you run out of the house screaming...

     Take a planning day now and then. And do not feel guilty about it! Planning is a huge, key part of long-term, successful homeschooling.

     Purge your homeschool bookshelves on a regular basis - at least once a year. Sort out the plastic storage tubs that hold odds-n-ends materials and get things in order. One or two days of hard work can pay off big time during the academic year.

     Get realistic about what you are actually able to accomplish in a day, week, month, year. And likewise, get realistic about the impact sloth and laziness has on your homeschooling.

     Remember it's okay to make mistakes, sweet homeschooling mother. And make sure your sweet homeschooled children know it's okay for them to make mistakes.

Now for the encouragement ~

     Ephesians 2:14a tells us that the Lord is our peace. Not simply that He gives us peace (which He does!) or that He is the author of all peace (which He is!) - but that He is our peace. Think about that for a few moments, write it down in your planner or on your to-do list. Jesus is our peace. That is very, very encouraging.

     Ecclesiastes 3:11 says He has made everything beautiful in it's time. If there are things in your life that aren't beautiful, then remember this verse. And in the areas that are beautiful, be sure to thank the One who gave them their beauty.

     Focus on what God has in store for your family; don't get caught up looking at other people's lives and wondering about the things God has in store for them. 

     You really can leave all the decisions to God, and He really will show you the way to go. He is unfailingly trustworthy all of the time. 

I pray you're blessed today as you train up your children according to His word and His ways. May you sense His great love and care for you in a tangible way today!

Day 283 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

PS - Just one more tidbit from a previous post that I'd like to leave with you today...

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 answer holds true for homeschooling mothers and for their children.

          I'm not here to amass a fortune, become famous, or make a name for myself. Conversely, I'm not here to become a wall flower, fade into anonymity, or loathe myself. I am here to glorify God. I do that first by knowing Christ. It is in the knowing that I begin to live a life that brings Him glory. My kids are here for the same purpose.

          If He is truly our all in all, then we need to live like we believe it. Make it your goal to ask the Lord to help you know Him more and more, every single day; to allow you to experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead. You will discover the answer to that deep heart question, "Why am I here?" 

          All of your life, including your role as a homeschooling mother, will be blessed as you continue to know Christ more and more and more. This is undoubtedly one of the greatest truths I've come to know, and my hope is that many more women will take continual steps to know Him in ever increasing measure. Starting today.


Monday, November 4, 2013

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, and at times it is sad to read her words. There are aspects of her life that were terribly wrong, and any one of us would build thick walls to keep our hearts "safe" if we'd experienced the things she has. But she doesn't dwell on those things ~ she just points toward Jesus, who is obviously the great love of her life. If you've been through some ridiculously difficult circumstances, maybe reading The Wall Around Your Heart will bring you closer to the One you can trust completely. I'm pretty sure that's why Mary wrote this book.

On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I gave this book a 5.

Disclaimer ~ I received this book free of charge for review purposes from BookSneeze. All opinions shared here are solely my own.

Day 282 done :)

Jan L. Burt

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 into the life of the military family. It is raw and honest and painful...and true. True does not mean sugar-coated. Don't think this is a book you can read and not be moved. It is a book you read because you know you need to be moved.

On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I gave this book a 4. Not because it isn't worth a 5 (I've given it a 5-star rating in my review @ amazon) but because it should come with some caution to those who don't take seriously the sacrifices our military have made and continue to make. Don't read it just to say you've read it. Read it because you care.

Read Chapter 1 HERE.
More info about the book is available HERE.
Details about the author can be found HERE and HERE.

Disclaimer ~ I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Day 281 done :)

Jan L. Burt