A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers

A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers
The Burts in 2013

Monday, December 22, 2014

Busy Start to Winter

So I have not put up a new post since October. Wow. That is a really long time.

Not that I actually think anyone is missing my posts, but if you were wondering why on earth I am not posting...there are a few reasons.

I have found that bloggers need to take breaks. There are seasons when we just don't have the heart to post and post and post. Instead our hearts are focused on our home lives, our children, homeschooling...stuff like that. And my fall/early winter has proved this to be true.

I also needed a break from blogging because I have been writing a book. So I have been writing, just not on my blogs.

I hope your days have been filled with the Lord's chosen will for you, whether it is encouraging others through weblogs and social media, participating in small groups, giving your time in service to others, or just being a mom to your children. And if you happen to have a blog and you happen to have guilt when you don't post all the time...then let this post give you permission to throw that guilt away. When anything, even blogging, becomes a chore and starts to rule over your life and your time, then you really must step back and take a breather. God will guide you gently when you have young children (yes, that is actually Biblical - I challenge you to search your Bible and find it!)

Here is a sample from my writing project:

     Acts 20:23 - "I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me."

     Do you expect to hear from the Holy Spirit personally? On a daily basis?

     If not, you need to adjust your expectations! Our Counselor, the Holy Spirit, is more willing to speak to us than we are to listen. What on earth might we hear from Him if only we would attune our ears?

     In Acts 20:23, Paul states that he knew what was ahead because the Holy Spirit had warned him. He was not told to turn back, nor did he become fearful. Rather, Paul was prepared for what lay ahead - simply because he expected to hear clearly from the Holy Spirit and was willing to accept what he was told, whether it be good or bad, without complaint.

     Do you accept difficult news with the right attitude? Do you joyfully take good from the hand of the Lord, and angrily shove away bad? This is a poor way to respond. Reset your thinking in accordance with God's word and willingly accept the Holy Spirit's wise counsel. Of course, that will not contradict the Bible. You should not simply assume that every thought running through your mind is the Holy Spirit speaking to you. But do listen expectantly, in prayer, and when He speaks to you, with a grateful and obedient heart, listen earnestly.

     Paul was willing to hear what the Spirit said to him. May it be our prayer to do the same.




There's a little sample of what I have been working on. Thanks for reading it!

May you be blessed this Christmas as you remember that He is truly the only gift that matters.

Day 325 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study


As an aside, I would like to mention something new I have been doing via Twitter. I take copious sermon notes, and review them often. Last week I realized it would be great to share some of the exact quotes I write down as my pastor preaches each Sunday. Using the hashtag #KelleyLandenbergerSermon, I have been tweeting quotes. Check it out and be encouraged! My Twitter handle is @ATHomeschool.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Begin To Be Thankful While the Calendar Reads October

In my home, for a never-ending compendium of reasons, October is a busy month. It is typically so busy that it can deplete my patience, energy, bank account and time and leave my head spinning by the time I turn the wall calendar to November. I do not seem to be able to conquer this fall phenomenon which can be referred to as "Octo-Mania".

But I really do love fall, I do enjoy all that this first full month of autumn brings. I don't want to be so consumed with busy-ness that I fail to enjoy the blessings that come with Octo-Mania. So I have to make a daily choice to consciously be thankful. Making that decision at the dawn of each new day has enabled me to be a more content follower of Jesus this autumn. It's sort of like choosing to give thanks in October, rather than waiting for the arrival of November.

When I was a young mom, way back in my twenties, older and more wizened women would tell me to enjoy the stage of life I was in (diaper bags, midnight feedings, toddler talk, and so on). And I really did my best to take their advice, because I figured all those women weren't telling me the same thing for no reason, right? And now that my children are older (instead of diaper bags, I help pack bags for college & in lieu of toddler talk that I had to "decipher" I now help talk through internship opportunities) I am still heeding that advice.

Enjoy the season you are in right now, because this too shall pass. And when it is past, you will most certainly miss it. A part of you will ring a bit hollow, and your heart will answer that ring with a sad pang. The only way to lessen the ache of that pang is to enjoy the now, right now, today.

Now that I am one of those older women (albeit not a wizened woman despite being in my forties) I am sharing the same old, tried-and-true counsel. The seasons will change, there is no stopping the progression of time. Make the most of today, and choose to be thankful right smack dab in the midst of October.

Lord bless you today!

Day 324 :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Friday, October 17, 2014

If I Were to Make a Transition...

So I found myself wondering, "Hmmm, if I were to begin to blog about things that edify women in the church as a whole, as compared to only those who homeschool, would I lose readers? How much would I need to alter my weblog?"

And in the midst of wondering about that, along with finding that most of my ideas for posts are more about greater edification as of late, I have not written much. Which is a problem. Because a writer is only a writer to the extent that she writes, right?

But I have also found that my most-read posts are those that have encouraged my non-homeschooling friends as much as homeschoolers. Perhaps there isn't really a conflict-of-interest after all....

All that to say, my posts may be a little broader in scope, at least for the time being. I suspect that something written to edify women who love and serve Jesus will also edify women who love and serve Jesus and homeschool.

If you've followed my blog for very long, I am sure you know how often I quote A.W. Tozer, C.H. Spurgeon, Andrew Murray, and the like. When I read their wise words, it is as if I am being taught by the giants of the faith. I grow, it seems, simply by reading and internalizing their writings. And then I tend to come here to Encouraging Moms Who Homeschool and sort of "force feed" all of it to you.

Here are a few quotes that have been growth catalysts for me in recent weeks:

     "It is astounding how narrow is the circle taken in by the prayers of the average Christian. Let us give our prayers a wider sweep." ~ R.A. Torrey

     "It is possible to move men through God by prayer alone." ~ J. Oswald Sanders

     "So scale the heights of a life abandoned to God, and your perspective will change to the point that you will look down on the clouds beneath your feet." ~ D. Sargeant

     "As seamen in the life of faith, let us launch out into the deep and find that all things are possible to the Christian that believes." ~ A.B. Simpson

     " ...we have abundant reasons for thanksgiving." ~ G. Mueller

     "His faithfulness to trusting children in unwavering, and He is steadfast in holding to His purpose. ... The length of Joseph's prison stay gave him the strength and steadiness he needed as governor. ... It is always safe to trust Gods methods and live by His clock." ~ Samuel Dickey Gordon

     "Elijah knew that God was about to give rain; but that did not prevent him from praying for the promised rain." ~ A.W. Pink

    

There are a few quotes for you to "think on".  Filter these words through The Word, toss out anything that heaps on guilt or condemnation, and remember the Lord will grow you at the pace He has chosen. But no growth is never His chosen pace, so beware if you are moving backwards.

Keep doing what you are doing, love your children, enjoy this season in your homeschool (and if you don't homeschool, you still need to enjoy the season you are currently in). Love your Lord, love your family, set your heart apart each day as fully His, and stand amazed as He works in and through you.

And, I have something new to share with my readers ~ especially those who follow Charlotte Mason's philosophy of education. Be sure to visit BlueSkyDaisies to learn about a fabulous update to an old favorite - The Mother Tongue: Adapted for Modern Students by Amy Edwards & Christina Mugglin. Free page samples and links to purchase are available at the site, so be sure to check it out!


Lord bless you today!

Day 323 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study


Friday, August 22, 2014

My Pampered Chef Party

So, this isn't exactly my "typical" blog post...but I am hosting a Facebook/catalog Pampered Chef party. I seriously love Pampered Chef products - A LOT. And I use them - A LOT. So I am having a party to, of course, earn some free and discounted stuff (may as well be brutally honest - I mean, that's why we have these kinds of parties, right?!?!?). And I would really love, love, love it if you would make a purchase.

If you place an order of $60 or more, you can choose a free item (the link to my online party is http://new.pamperedchef.com/pws/kathyperry/guest-landing/8867277913243).  Either the Bar Board (item # RK98) or the set of 3 Small Flexible Cutting Mats (item # RK99). The Bar Board is just the right size for making one sandwich - so you can instruct your sandwich devouring children to make their snack on the Bar Board, and clean up will be easy. As for the Small Flexible Cutting Mats, I will tell you how we use those in our home...my daughter has a small business making custom polymer clay charms (and larger items, like the Marvel vs DC chess set). She uses these mats to work with her clay. It makes clean up easy for her, she has measurements right at her work station, she can use her tools for cutting and shaping without doing any damage to her desk or the kitchen island, and they are flexible so she takes them with her when we travel (she cannot go on our family vacations without her clay, and these mats allow her to craft in the car and in the hotel).  You can check out her Etsy shop here ~ www.etsy.com/shop.SavanasClayCreations.com

Some of the Pampered Chef items I use the most include the Bamboo Spatulas (item #2042), the Chef's Tongs (#2955), the Large Micro-Cooker (#2778), the Tomato Knife (#1037) & the Hold 'N Slice (#1101), the Classic Batter Bowl (#2431), the All-Purpose Spreaders (#1642), Classic Scrapers (#1655) and the Scoop & Spread (#1679), the Egg Separator (#1187), the Ice Cream Scoop (#2731),  the Twixit! Clips (#2651) and of course the Mix 'N Chop (#2583). I really do use all of these items all the time!! Oh, I almost forgot the Can Strainer (#2495). I can't imagine opening a can of fruit or tuna and not having that handy dandy little thing!

I am certainly not a salesman (or saleswoman) and I have no reason to exaggerate how great these products are. I promise you, as much as I love to bake and to cook, I would not waste my time on things that don't work or aren't worth the money. The things I listed above really do work, and really are worth the money. So if you need any Pampered Chef stuff, or have never tried it before, please consider ordering via my Facebook/Catalog party. I'd be super blessed by your order :)

Here's the link once more ~ http://new.pamperedchef.com/pws/kathyperry/guest-landing/8867277913243

Thanks for reading my abnormal post - and have a fabulous day!

Day 322 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Friday, August 15, 2014

Get Serious

Okay, is everyone ready for a blunt weblog post? If you're not, then just stop reading right now...

As August rolls ever closer to September, and another year of homeschooling dawns, let me ask you a serious question:  Why on earth do you homeschool, anyway?

Seriously!!  What is your reason for choosing this lifestyle of home education?  Peer pressure from within your church? Or from your spouse? All-consuming anxiety about what the world might do to your child? In order to maintain a firm hand of control over your family?

Those are all lousy reasons to homeschool.

First, peer pressure is not God's way of accomplishing His good and perfect and pleasing will. Open up your Bible and start reading those words in red, and very quickly you will see He intends freedom for His disciples. So if you homeschool because everyone in your peer group wants you to homeschool, you need to step back and spend some time in prayer about the entire situation. It's not my job to tell you whether or not you should homeschool, but it is also not the job of people you attend church with. Get with your spouse and your God and just talk to both of them about homeschooling. And you'll know what God's will is soon enough.

Second, if you homeschool because your spouse pushed you into it, then you must pray pray and pray a whole lot more. There is no easy answer for this, but God specializes in things that are difficult. Pray and pray and pray - and move toward a conversation when He leads you to. Keep praying even while you are having the conversation. Be willing to hear His direction for your life, and for your children....even if it is not what you want to hear.

Third, if you have anxiety about every terrible thing out there in the world that might harm your child, you will end up putting a strangle-hold on their life. The same God who is your personal Father desires to be their personal Father ~ He has no grandchildren. Anxiety has a way of keeping us moms from letting our children let go of our hand in order to grab hold of His hand. It's so very dangerous to live an anxious life. If this is the reason you homeschool, you truly must spend a concentrated amount of time in prayer seeking the Lord's freedom. And then you need to see if He has called you to home educate...because if He truly has called you to it, He does not want you to have anxiety about it.

Lastly, I have to address an issue that I see far too often within the homeschool community. Wives and mothers who claim to be submissive to their husbands and to their Lord are mired in a mess I simply call Reverse Feminism. It's a term I coined to describe the families and homes that are under the pretense of the husband/father's authority, but in actuality are under the complete and total control of a quietly domineering wife/mother. Mom decides what food every member of the family eats, even dad when he is at work, and no one has any say in the matter...except Mom. Every activity each member partakes in is chosen by Mom....and Mom alone. Where the money is spent is decided by Mom. Where the family lives and attends church (or doesn't attend church, in many cases) is a decision Mom makes. All homeschool curriculum choices are in the hands of Mom...and no one had better dare to question her decisions! Anything the Lord has for a family, whether a word of encouragement or a blessing or discipline, is all "deciphered" by Mom. Dad isn't leading this family - Mom is. And it is sin, ladies. Outright sin. It has to be addressed, so I am addressing it. As an 18-year veteran homeschooler, I have a little bit of a platform and a little credibility to speak out on this subject. If you are a wife, a mother, who is running your family and home under the guise of "submission", you need to repent. To your God, to your spouse, to your children. And then turn away from this grievous sin, give the reigns of control back to your husband.

So, this is my very serious blog post...and if you want to leave a comment, then you certainly can. I'm probably not going to get into any "arguments" to defend my stance, because I don't need to defend myself. I've seen Reverse Feminism so often in the homeschool world, I'm just not going to leave any room for excuses or denial. If you do this, stop doing it. You're out of God's will, and that is a very dangerous place to be. End of discussion.

Now, if you want to know how I have kept homeschooling through thick and thin for nearly two decades...I will tell you. I have a call from God to homeschool. That's it. Nothing more than that, no additional reasons why I do this all-encompassing thing called home education. Just a call from the Lord. He said to homeschool, I choose to obey.

Share this post with your homeschooling friends, talk about it frankly. Pray about it. And be encouraged to be serious about your family and your homeschool. Because I can promise you, God takes it seriously.

Day 321 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Enjoying August While Readying for September

August is busy month around here. My two oldest are preparing to head back to their respective colleges (Wheaton & Taylor, each about 12 hours away). The three girls still enrolled in our family homeschool are making decisions about fall activities and dual enrollment classes, while hoping to somehow delay the start of school. And I am busy, as always, with what seems to be a million different things.

But I want my kids to each take some time to reflect on this summer and enjoy it just a little longer. Be in the moment, not just thinking about what is coming next.

Moms, the same applies to us. We need to daily decide that we will live in the now and not bemoan the past or focus only on what comes next. Life can only be lived right now, it cannot be relived nor lived in advance. So wherever life finds you today, be fully there. I know it's old advice that you've heard many times before, but it is sage advice and is worth repeating.

And do take some time to get away with the Lord to pray about your homeschool's future. If He has called you to this task, it only makes sense that you need to spend time with Him, asking Him what His perfect will is and seeking His strength to complete the task. Homeschooling is not for chumps - it's hard work and requires much from us moms. But if it is His work for us, then there is no where else we should want to be.

Have a wonderful day enjoying August - September is coming soon but it's not here yet so enjoy this season before it changes.

Day 320 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study
& the upcoming ebook The Christians Guide to All Things Homeschool

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Praying About Next Year's Homeschool Plans

Christian families of course ought to be praying families, just as individual followers of Christ ought to of course be praying people. And homeschooling mothers ought to be praying women.

If you have not yet set apart some time this summer to pray over the upcoming academic year, let me encourage you to do so. If we feel led to homeschool due to our Christian faith, then it seems pretty silly to fail in praying over each homeschool year before it starts.

I could give you a list of things to pray for, and sharply reprimand you for failing to thoroughly cover prior years in prayer...but that really isn't what I am called to do via this blog. I am all about encouraging homeschooling mothers, so I sincerely hope you are only ever encouraged by reading my posts.

Pray any way that works for you. By that I mean pray for a few minutes in the morning, or set aside an hour one afternoon when the little ones are taking a nap. While waiting for the kids at swim lessons, you could devote that time to asking the Lord to lead, guide and bless the next school year. Pray with your husband, or pray with a fellow homeschooling mom. Talk to God about your children, seek His direction and will for all aspects of your homeschool, and then trust Him to reveal to you what needs to be revealed. It really can be that simple, and I really do believe our loving Father will answer those prayers.

Give Him your worries, thank Him for His sovereignty and faithfulness, and trust Him for the next school year. You will be blessed by spending time in prayer, and so will your children.

Lord bless you and your family this summer!!

Day 319 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

PS - I have started a new blog that I hope will be a source of encouragement to women in all walks of life ~ you can find me at www.OpeningUpAWholeNewCanO'Worms.com

PPS - If any homeschooling mother reading this is in need of some Biblical encouragement, leave me a comment that includes your email address and I will gift you a copy of my book, The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study (thru July 31st, 2014).

Monday, July 7, 2014

2014 Big Giveaway # 1

Okay, so that's a weird title for a blog post. But it's an accurate title, and it rightly conveys what needs to be conveyed...so I'm sticking with it. This post contains details about my first Big Giveaway this year. And while it is July, which is kind of late for my first giveaway of 2014, I'm still sticking with that title. (Now, this may not be the world's largest homeschool blog giveaway, but it is "big" for me, and I hope it's a blessing for one lucky homeschooling mother!)

Here is a list of what the winner will receive:

One copy of The Homeschool Mom's Bible (NIV). This is a hardcover Bible, which means it will hold up well for daily use, and I have to say the daily devotions are really, really good. My purpose with this blog is to encourage homeschooling mothers, and this Bible is a great source of encouragement.







One copy of the book Amos Fortune, Free Man (by Elizabeth Yates). This book is one of my absolute favorites! It's the true story of a remarkable man, and the impact he had on so many others despite his less-than ideal circumstances. I try to read this book once every year or so, as it always deeply impacts me. Really, I love this book and am so excited to give a copy to some lucky lady! (While it is technically a book for the pre-teen years, grown-ups would enjoy it too!)







One copy of the 2014 Print Book edition of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. This 288-page whopper of a magazine has loads of encouragement for homeschoolers! It's a resource you will reference over and over again. And I was blessed to write an article for this year's print book; it may sound like small potatoes but to me it was a very humbling opportunity.







One copy of the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  Many know Ann for this book, but I remember using her geography resources years before she became so well-known. Every mom needs to be encouraged, and Ann's book leads us to a place of encouragement via giving thanks. This hardcover book will be a treasure for the giveaway winner.




One copy of Gordon Korman's Book # 1 from the Island series - Shipwreck. One of my daughter's devoured this series several years ago, and she has recommended them many, many times. So I thought it would be fun to add this book to my giveaway!




And the last book in this giveaway is my all-time, absolute favorite piece of fiction...a book I read at least once a year...my personal copy is so tattered and worn, and it has it's own permanent spot on my bedside book shelf...The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason. Now don't assume the book is like the movie, because it's not. The book is a treasure that continues to surprise me with it's unflinching, enormous story of redemption. It's a great, great book. You might not think so based on the first couple of paragraphs, but give it a chance, keep reading, and I think you'll find it is one book worth reading.






Those are the six items that comprise this 2014 Big Giveaway # 1 - enter below and find out who wins on July 14th!



a Rafflecopter giveaway




Thanks for entering my giveaway!

Day 318 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July

Today is July the first, 2014.

I can hardly believe it is now the seventh month of this year...it's as if I blink and another week flies right by.

Our family is in full-on summer mode, with projects and family time abounding. A short list of things we've done (or will do) this summer include:

finishing adding a 6th bedroom to our home
stripping & repainting a chifferobe
a youth group trip to Arkansas (in just a few weeks! yikes!)
my husband's transition to his new job
wrestling camp for my son (gotta practice in the off-season when it's college wrestling!)
my daughter is a photographer, so she has lots of shoots to do when she's home for the summer
selling curriculum/books I no longer need for our homeschool (I have close to 500 amazon listings...)
a fun jet-ski weekend @ the lake to celebrate my daughter's 16th birthday
our annual scavenger hunt to welcome new students into the youth group
and of course took a crazy-fun vacation to Florida...

Here are some pictures of our Florida craziness.













So what have you been up to this summer? Did you get absolutely soaked on a water ride? Or maybe got an enormous hug from Chewbacca? Get a picture with a giant Incredible Hulk make entirely out of Lego's? Or get your Hamm (from Toy Story) autographed by John Ratzenberger (the voice of Hamm)? Maybe someone sent a text to let you know that an Instagram featured pic was none other than three of your own children while waiting in line for a theme park to open!

Whatever you've been up to, and whatever you still have planned for summer, enjoy it. There is nothing wrong with truly enjoying the time we have together. It's a gift from the Lord, and it's good to be thankful for His gifts.

Have a fantastic summer!!

Day 317 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

PS - I am about to have the first of several GIVEAWAYS on my blog...sometime this week I should start the first one and trust me when I say I have some really, really good stuff to give away!!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

American History by James P. Stobaugh


The American History series by James P. Stobaugh - this curriculum can speak for itself, so it most certainly does not need me to speak for it. There has not been any other book or curriculum that I have been so excited to review. My fellow homeschooling mothers, if you are in need of a high school history curriculum that is college preparatory in nature, then this is what you've been searching for.

The physical description of American History is as such: the set of two books contains the Teacher Edition and the Student Book. The How-To-Use page is excellent, and the Preface clearly explains the author's attitude toward teaching history along with some personal background information that is insightful. It's pretty clear what this text requires of both parent and student, and while the work load may seem a bit overwhelming if you will give it a chance and be willing to invest a little good old-fashioned hard work then I promise you will see results!

Chapter 1 focuses on Native Americans. The chapter opens with "First Thoughts" and Learning Objectives (you'll find these for each new chapter). There are answers to each lesson's questions in the Teacher Edition, along with an Exam Key to guide you in grading the discussion questions. The textbook spans Native Americans through the War on Terrorism as well as contemporary issues. It touches upon many "taboo" topics that, quite frankly, are actually very appropriate to address with your high school student.  Slavery, women's rights, philosophers and their worldviews, immigration, social welfare, the Holocaust, racism, abortion, global warming, and even homeschooling are covered in American History. At some point in time, somebody is going to talk to your child about these issues...and it ought to be you doing the talking. This curriculum is a great way to address these sensitive subjects from a Christian point of view.

James Stobaugh is a proponent of citing primary source work. He expects the student to conduct extensive research in order to write essay-type answers for each lesson's questions. I've read some other reviews of American History that reveal many homeschooling mothers have been irked by this. Yet I honestly think it's what makes this curriculum stand apart from other homeschool history books. It makes for excellent preparation for college coursework and even for the essay portion of the SAT. Constant research and writing causes the student to grow their reasoning and thinking skills. As a mom with 3 kids in high school and 2 in college, I can tell you this is the type of history program to use if your child intends to pursue higher academia. I cannot speak highly enough of these resources. I am thankful Mr. Stobaugh has created them.

I hope this review has been helpful for those looking at high school history options, and I thank you for taking the time to read my review. As this is the last review I plan to write, I was very pleased that is was for one of James Stobaugh's books.

I received this curriculum at no charge from the publisher; my honest review and personal opinions are solely my own.

Day 316 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

P.S. - This product review is the final book review of any type that I will write. I have very much enjoyed reading, perusing, and writing reviews of books and curricula, and will miss the process very much, but I have decided it is time for me to re-focus my blog on encouraging homeschooling mothers and focus more of my time and energy on my last 4 years of homeschooling. It has been a blessing to have so many people read my reviews, and I am thankful for each person who has visited my blog.  



Monday, May 19, 2014

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus - A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity ~ by Nabeel Qureshi






 The book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi is an unbelievable insightful account of Islam from the perspective of one person who grew up in an Islamic home...and forsook all he knew when he found Jesus.

Nabeel grew up in an American Navy household; a household that was also devoutly Muslim. In some respects he lived a typical American military kid's life, but in many ways his adolescence was drastically different than his non-Muslim counterparts. When reading this book I was amazed at his ability to treat his parents with the utmost of respect even as he explained his experience within the Islamic community as one who has walked away from that community. It would be difficult to read this book and not feel some level of emotion for Nabeel and his plight. After all, he truly has forsaken father and mother and sister to follow Christ. That is much more than the average Christian in America will ever have to sacrifice for their faith. In that light, this is a book that should be read with a respectful attitude, rather than the all-too-common "I hate all things Muslim" that many American believers convey by their attitude, words, and (ah-hem) Facebook posts.

If you have a desire to know more about those who do not know Jesus because they were born into a Muslim family, you ought to read Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. And if you have some sort of bigotry against Muslims (perhaps you watch a little too much Fox News and don't read your Bible enough) then you really need to read this book. We will never bring Muslims out of the darkness and into Christ's saving light with our prejudices and our hatred. This book can open your heart and allow the Lord to move you toward ministering to them and praying for them.




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 BookLook Bloggers (formerly BookSneeze). All opinions shared here are solely my own.


Day 315 done :)


Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Friday, May 16, 2014

Out of the Depths - by Edward Harrell, USMC






The sinking of the USS Indianapolis is a well-known story to most every student of the second World War, and many who know little about those dark years have still heard of the Indy.  It's one of the great tragedies of America's war history, and reading about it is never easy. But the book Out of the Depths, written by USS Indianapolis survivor Edward Harrell (United States Marine Core) brings a distinctly Christian perspective to this heart-wrenching tale.

Out of the Depths is a very well-written book, and the author does a terrific job of recognizing God's hand in the events detailed throughout each chapter. The facts are laid out in combination with Mr. Harrell's own personal perspective, and the incident along with it's after-effects are described with enough detail to give the reader a clear understanding of what took place, but with no extra "gore" added for drama's sake. It's clear the author has opted to glorify the Lord through this book, and that is refreshing for a military/historical work.

Reading this book reminded me once again of the grave cost of war, which is actually a grave cost of sin. The way Mr. Harrell weaves his faith into his book is a wonderful reminder of the hope we have in Christ, even in the darkest hours of our lives. I really enjoyed reading Out of the Depths...although it does not "feel" correct to use the word enjoyed when sharing about a book detailing the sinking of the USS Indianapolis.

In fact, I have decided to make Out of the Depths a part of homeschool's high school history coursework. It's one small piece of American and world history, but it's an important piece. This book does the tragedy justice.

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

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

 Day 314 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Where the Wind Leads - a memoir by Vinh Chung (with Tim Downs)






Wow. Just...wow.

That is the first thought that comes to mind when pondering exactly how to write a review for the book Where the Wind Leads. To find a memoir that grabs such hold of the reader that you move seamlessly through it's pages and almost forget that the book will actually have an end is a rarity. I loved this book from the very first page. And while it is most certainly very Christian in nature, it is not primarily focused on the Christian faith of the Chung family. Where the Wind Leads is truly a memoir in the truest sense of the word; it is a historical account given from a personal perspective.

Each chapter is just a few pages in length, which makes it easy to grab the book and read when you have a few extra moments. And the writing is truly top-notch. To some degree, at least in my mind, one mark of a good book is the ability to read without the overt sense that you are reading...and Where the Wind Leads allowed me to sort of "fall" into the Chung family's story. And what a story it is.

While I really don't want to give any of the book away in my review, I do feel I should share some of their story. As a brief overview, I can tell you that the Chung family was Chinese in ethnicity and their family had resided in Vietnam for the last several generations. The book covers the rise of their enormously successful company, through the Vietnam war, their subsequent demise into abject poverty, and their bold attempt to escape their homeland, which was truly no longer a place they could call home. I don't want to give away any details about their escape attempt, but one glance at the book cover will tell you it involved a very small boat on a very large body of water. You'll have to read the book to find out more!

If you are looking for a good read to begin your summer, Where the Wind Leads is an excellent choice. I recommend it highly!

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 BookLook Bloggers (formerly BookSneeze). All opinions shared here are solely my own.

Day 313 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Encouraging Quote-A-Thon

I suppose I am probably one of the laziest bloggers on the planet...or I am a busy homeschooler...or I have been in a bit of a blog-funk...

Whatever the cause, I've been lagging in my blogging but I'm throwing up a post today.

It's a simple post, just sharing a variety of quotes that I've written down in recent months. I hope at least one of the quotes is a source of encouragement for you!


     "A jealous God will not be content with a divided heart; He must be loved first and best." ~ Spurgeon

     "To be little with God is to be little for God." ~ E.M. Bounds

     "The great fault of the children of God is that they do not continue in prayer; they do not go on praying, they do not persevere. If they desire anything for God's glory, they should pray until they get it." ~ George Mueller

     "I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God:  first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done." ~ Hudson Taylor

     "Staying power in prayer is a rare quality. There is no realm of the Christian life in which we weary so quickly as in prayer." ~ Arthur Wallis

     "He who prays without boldness cannot hope that his prayer will be answered." ~ Francis Fenelon

     "God does not expect us to work for Him, but to work with Him." ~ Oswald Chambers

     "God wills a great deal of blessing to His people which never comes to them. He wills it most earnestly, but they do not will it, and it cannot come." ~ Andre Murray

     "Dare to trust God for something small and ordinary and next week or next year you may be able to trust Him for answers bordering on miraculous." ~ A.W. Tozer


Keep homeschooling for His glory and be encouraged today!

Day 312 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study 
            

       
  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Unquenchable - by Carol Kent






Carol Kent is a well-known author within the Christian community. She has a frank, open style that many find refreshing, and in particular her honesty regarding her son's imprisonment for first-degree murder have been a soothing balm to many women coping with their own unimaginable loss and pain. Unquenchable is not a Bible study, nor is it a memoir. It's a compilation of tragedies woven together in a way that spurs the reader on to keep trusting in the Lord, even when life is overwhelming and the flames of faith seem to be dwindling.

To be honest, Unquenchable was very different than I expected it to be. I can't exactly clarify what I was expecting, but it wasn't what I found when I opened the cover and began to read. The book is real and raw and at times hard to read. But isn't life also, at times, raw and real and hard? If we're honest, we answer "Yes...indeed it is." This book can move you forward on the path of knowing God is truly enough, no matter what is taking place in your life, even as you face guilt over what appears to be a waning faith. Unquenchable is a reminder that there are times when we mistakenly believe our faith has died out completely and we don't trust the Lord, when in reality the embers of our faith can be burning hot and bright though we can't see them.

Don't read this book if you're looking for a few easy steps to solve your current faith crisis. It's not that type of book. Read it if you're willing to hear women's heart-wrenching stories, and you're able to admit that hard times may well fall on each of us for no apparent reason. Read it if you're wondering how a loving God can allow such deeply painful hurts in the lives of His children. Read it and see that the God you love can also be the God you trust through the darkest moments of life, and your faint embers may actually be the banking of a fire that cannot ever be put out.

Job well done, Carol Kent. You tackled a difficult, touchy subject that many avoid like the plague and explored it honestly, and to the glory of God.

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 BookLook Bloggers (formerly BookSneeze). All opinions shared here are solely my own.

Day 311 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Twirl by Patsy Clairmont






The new book Twirl by well-known author and speaker Patsy Clairmont is a fun little book to read. I think it's aim is to bring a breath of fresh air into the spiritual lives of Christian women living in westernized cultures, and it achieves that goal with ease.

Patsy's conversational writing style, combined with her anecdotal tales, make for a light-heated book. The short chapters can be read in any order, so readers are free to pick and choose topics that best suit their current needs. She's down-to-earth, no-nonsense. This is classic Patsy Clairmont.

I would say this book probably is better suited to women of the next generation, as I'm not at the stage of life wherein I could appreciate many of the experiences, hobbies, and problems shared in Twirl. But even with the age/interest differences, I was able to glean nuggets of truth from Patsy's book.

From facing your fears to trying new hobbies, aging gracefully and continuing to learn new things about your family, Twirl is full of ways to keep the winds of life blowing anew.  If you're looking for a fast, easy read, this just might be the next book you read.

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 BookLook Bloggers (formerly BookSneeze). All opinions shared here are solely my own.


Day 310 done :)


Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Typical March Post...

I find myself sharing the same sort of weblog post at this point each year. There's something about the month of March, the warmer weather, perhaps, that draws our hearts and minds toward the outdoors and leaves us anxious for summer...and often also leaves us lacking as we finish up the last long weeks of the homeschool year.

But I want to encourage you, yet again, to press on and finish well. Open the windows and enjoy the fresh air. Take some of your books outside and study in the sunshine. Take a couple of field trips. Be blessed by the change in season, just don't neglect to be a faithful homeschooling mother.

Spring is a blessing, a gift that reminds us of God's faithfulness throughout all generations to sustain us. In literal and spiritual terms, spring carries the weight of new things. Enjoy the blessing, celebrate this season, and honor the Lord by finishing the school year well.

He has called you to the task of homeschooling; do not neglect the gift that is in you by failing to finish this year well. Your children may gripe a little bit now about they're "heavy work load" but believe me, they will thank you later.

Lord bless as you homeschool for His glory!

Day 309 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Restless - by Jennie Allen






The book Restless (by Jennie Allen) is a book written for those who want to be more of who God made them to be and who are willing to allow their past to propel them into their future. It is not just a book you read; it's a study you take part in. With easily readable chapters that aren't too lengthy (which is key for most busy women I know), Restless is a book that can draw the reader closer to the heart of the Lord.

There are a lot of things that I really love about this book. Jennie Allen's open and honest writing is refreshing and her desire to see women grow closer to their Lord through open honesty and small groups are something the modern-day church could use a lot more of. And in every chapter I found at least one "take away" ~ some nugget of truth that impacted the way I view my life and my ability to glorify God in all of it's ups and downs.

There are also things that I did not love about this book. I'm a type-A lady through and through. I don't do well with time lines and vague instructions, and the last portion of Restless has a lot of that. Now I also realize that I'm 41, of a different generation than the author's primary audience. That has a lot to do with the things I did not love about Restless. Jennie Allen is a great writer, and I can see from this book that she has a wonderful ministry. I'm probably just too old and too type-A to be able to grab hold of all she has to offer.  I encourage you to read several reviews and see what others have to say rather than taking this one paragraph from one book review and decide not to read the book. My opinion is just that - and I'm willing to admit I may be the odd man out here :)

If you do read the book and have something to share with me about it, I'd love to read your comments. Especially if they aren't in agreement with my opinion ~ that's one way I "grow up", so to speak.

Thanks for reading my review of Restless, and Lord bless you today!

On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I gave this book a 3.

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


Day 308 done :)


Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study


Friday, March 14, 2014

Embracing my Irish

It's almost St. Patrick's Day. And I am, eh-hem, decidedly Irish. Ask my husband. Ask my kids. They will tell you I am, indeed, undoubtedly, very Irish.

I fight against it. It's my bane in so many ways. Being a "typical" Irish woman (if there is such a thing) and being a submissive, godly Christian woman seem to war against each other. They don't jibe well, if you know what I mean. That whole idea of taming the tongue? Well if it weren't for the Holy Spirit, I think my tongue would run non-stop and demolish everyone and everything in it's path. I'm not making light of the situation here - I am very serious. Thank God for His Spirit, and the rescue He has provided time and time again from the snares of my Irish bent!

My husband will tell you I am Irish - but he also tells me I need to embrace the aspects of my personality that are there for God's purposes and His glory.  Don't-throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bath-water sort of advice. That's hard! Which parts of my Irish self do I embrace and which ones do I cast aside?

I cannot answer that question. But the Lord can, and the more I yield my life fully to Him, the more I see Him "pick and choose" which parts of my temperament to use on any give day. Does it vary from one situation to the next? Yea, surprisingly, it often does. But I'm learning that He is trustworthy and faithful to show me when I'm doing His will His way and when I'm doing His will my way. He's good like that. If He will teach me how to live in His grace and follow His leading moment by moment, He will most certainly teach you, too. Ask Him, see for yourself.

So this St. Patrick's Day I am, in many ways less Irish than I've ever been, and also more myself than ever before. One of God's amazing dichotomies. One more way He is truly awesome and hands-on involved in my life. One more way for me to be newly amazed by Him.

Be blessed as you embrace the you He wants you to be!

Day 307 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Monday, February 24, 2014

About Knowing God's Will (for my life...)

Every believer desires to know God's will for their life. His exact will. And, hopefully, His will is very good, filled-to-the-brim with blessings. That's pretty normal. I'd be willing to gamble that most Christians would admit they want His will for them to be good will, and they would like to know what His is for them.

Here's my question: Is it enough to want God's will, even if that means I don't have an exact picture of His will for me personally?

It's a tough question, and it's okay to think about it for a while and see if it actually makes sense. (I never claimed to be the most sensible person on the planet, after all!)

What I'm getting at here, the point I really want to make is that there is a profound difference in the two "wills". It takes time and maturity to fully embrace God's will while laying aside the desire to know God's will for my life. It takes a heart fully yielded to Jesus to fully know and accept that God's will is enough for us...and that God's personal plan for each of us is an aside, something extra, a non-essential.

I've found that once I ceased seeking Him for His will for me, trading it instead for simply seeking Him, that my worries faded away. My fretting dissipated. My intercessory prayer for others expanded and became more fruitful. My self-focus changed to something better - as if I was no longer near-sighted spiritually, but far-and-wide sighted.

Here is my challenge to you - this week, just for the next seven days, try asking God to make His will enough for you. Beseech Him to work His will out through you in ways that remove your need to know what your future holds. Trust Him to make you far-and-wide sighted. And at the end of the week, examine your heart and see if you don't feel a whole lot lighter, and much closer to Jesus.

Lord bless you today!

Day 306 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Monday, February 17, 2014

Satisfied - Discovering Contentment in a World of Consumption (by Jeff Manion)






The book Satisfied by Jeff Manion is now on my "Favorite Book List".  It's subtitle, Discovering Contentment in a World of Consumption, does give you an idea of what the book is about; but Satisfied is much more than just another Christian book on finances, tithing, generosity, the effects of greed, budgeting, and so on. It's not like any other book I've read on the topic of what followers of Christ do with their money. The chord it struck within me was unique, and this book is not only one of my new favorites, it is also now required reading for my children during their high school years in our homeschool.

So, why do I think Satisfied is such a great book? It's not confrontational, it's simply the truth. The truth is, we in America are much more prosperous than most of the rest of the world will ever dream of being...and yet we don't live as if we have enough. The truth is that many followers of Jesus do not know how to live a contented, satisfied life - we chase after more, more, more and end up looking exactly like the rest of the world. Which means we end up offering nothing of value to those in our circles of influence who need a Savior. And we do all this gathering of stuff, stuff, stuff so that our children and grandchildren can sort through all of the stuff, stuff, stuff when we've moved on to heaven (where, BTW, we will walk on streets paved with something more valuable than the stuff, stuff, stuff we spend our lives chasing...think about that for a moment).

How many of us dreamed big dreams when we were young? Dreams of adventure and a thrill-filled life. Then as adults we fall into the rut of work to buy, stress to pay the bills, drool over the neighbor's latest toys, battle health issues that are a direct result of the stress... This is not God's will for our lives. I think He gave us hearts that dream big dreams and long for adventure. And one sure-fire way to live a life full of adventure is to become radically generous toward God and man. This isn't in the book Satisfied, it's my own personal opinion, but I think many of the same ideas can be found in the book. Who doesn't want to live the dream? I know I don't want to miss out on one single thing the Lord has for me, and I'll gladly go on an adventure with Him because there's no where safer for me to be.

In Chapter 1, Jeff Manion says, "The amount of junk we surround ourselves with is insane." Do you agree with him? If you do, even a little bit, then you should read this book. In Chapter 3 he says, "If our goal is more, then whatever we have is never enough. It's like running a race where a finish line doesn't exist." From Chapter 6 - "The heart that believes God has ripped it off can justify anything." & "Trust is the glue that holds any relationship together, and if you fundamentally distrust God's goodness, it is highly unlikely that you will follow His leadership in your life." And my last quote is from Chapter 15 - "Though greed can stifle generosity, the more frequent culprit is fear."

I really hope you pick up a copy of this book and read it - share it with others, lead a small group, read it once more yourself. It's really that good.

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 305 done :)


Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Plan Now to Finish Well

Now that it is February, the dreaded Winter Doldrums have fully set in for most homeschool families. It happens to the best of us, and there's no shame in admitting it. But a little thoughtful planning now can ensure an excellent end to the school year in spite of the winter blahs. Here's what you do to make May/June a time of blessed relief instead of dreaded bookwork.

Look over your children's remaining work in each subject. How many math lessons are left in the book? And when, ideally, would you like to be finished with the school year? Say you have 4 months until your family vacation ~ that's about 16 weeks of study time. Divide 16 weeks by the number of lessons remaining the the math curriculum and you'll know exactly how much you need to do each and every week in order to reach your goal. Simply do the same for every subject, write down what you discover (or this entire exercise will be pointless because you won't remember how much to do each week in each subject!) and get cracking!

The interesting thing I have discovered is that we're almost always much closer to our end-of-year goals than I thought. It's refreshing and gives me a renewed sense of energy as I decide to finish the homeschool year well.

Not to mention the fact that it provides a concrete way to "get it all done" in a timely manner, in manageable chunks - and as an added bonus, if illness strikes the family, I can easily make an adjustment to the lesson plans to still finish on time.

Keep on keeping on, fellow homeschooling mothers! The Lord will bless your efforts, the snow will melt, and spring will be here soon!

Day 304 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study (& head baker for Dessert to Your Door)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Strange Fire ~ by John MacArthur






Most American Christians have heard the name John MacArthur, and many have perused his resources, including his multiple Bible study guides. He certainly knows the Bible, and can quote chapter and verse on most any subject. I was interested to see what Mr. MacArthur might have to say about the Holy Spirit. What I found in the book Strange Fire wasn't what I expected or hoped to find; much of what he has written here disturbs me. And not in the way he intended his readers to be disturbed.

The introduction covers a long, complicated history of the charismatic movement. As always, MacArthur is straight-forward and even, at times, downright blunt in sharing his opinions (which are not stated as opinions...he seems to feel his opinions are cold, hard facts). I prefer to be a little more delicate when approaching subject matter with which I do not agree...and out of respect for the ministry the author has built over many years, I will try to keep this review less "blunt" than this book!

While I agree with much of MacArthur's stance about the charismatic movement on the whole (and Benny Hinn's ministry specifically) I must say that I don't fall into the camp of his beliefs about the Holy Spirit. For example, on p. xvii of the Introduction, he says, "All who are faithful to the Scriptures must rise up and condemn everything that assaults the glory of God." I'm not faithful solely to Scripture; I'm faithful to Jesus, my Savior and my King. A person can be faithful to Scripture and not to Jesus (just look at the modern-day cults permeating our society) but I doubt very much a person can be faithful the Lord Jesus and not also to His Word.

I mentioned that I did agree with certain aspects of Strange Fire. One example is from p. 16 of Chapter One. The exact quote reads, "Pentecostals and charismatics elevate religious experience over Biblical truth." I have found this to be true of most charismatics I know. The danger I see in adhering solely to this form of Christianity is the constant need for something "new". Add to this the "showiness" of the messages and the worship, and you have an unhealthy balance that often leaves believers disillusioned, empty and confused. Speaking in tongues is the most commonly objected to trait of the charismatic movement - and I find the most simple way to address this is to remind those on either side of the issue that speaking in tongues is AN evidence of the Holy Spirit, not THE evidence. (Look up verses about the Holy Spirit and you'll find plenty of Biblical evidence that there are many gifts of the Spirit.)

Some extremes of this movement make for an unhealthy Christianity ~ as do many aspects of John MacArthur's personal beliefs as taught in this book. John MacArthur mentions in Chapters 3 & 4 the need to test the spirits (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22). That's what I am aiming to do with this book review.

I truly hoped this book would teach more about living life, daily life, by being more yielded to the Lord, or Spirit-led to put it another way. But I'm afraid MacArthur's strong distaste for anything even vaguely charismatic has clamped off the Spirit's flow in his teaching and ministry.  What does he think our Lord meant when He said in John 16:7, "But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." ? Living life without direct, constant and immediate access to the Holy Spirit is like living the Christian life without Christ's power and strength. Frustrated is the word I'll use to describe a life lived in such manner.

As a student of Francis Schaeffer and David Mullholland, I feel John MacArthur's intentions are good,  but he has a certain measure of humanism that plays into this book. And he seems to have failed to grasp the hard truth that we do not in any way control our relationship with God; it is His relationship to control. I suspect Americanized, humanistic Christianity lends itself readily to the false notion that we are in control of our relationship with the Lord, so it isn't a surprise to see it in Strange Fire. I would reckon the author would strongly disagree with me, and would likely use humanistic arguments to exert his control! But the Word of God can stand on it's own without MacArthur's control and commentary; it also stands alone to disprove aspects of the charismatic movement.

MacArthur does not seem to adhere to the belief that the Holy Spirit speaks to people as individuals. There is grave danger in his reasoning, and aligns more with the Mormon view of the Holy Spirit than the Biblical New Testament view. Who speaks to John MacArthur when he's writing a book or preparing a sermon? Other studious theologians? And what to do with men like A.W. Tozer, C.H. Spurgeon, and E.M. Bounds? What to make of J. Hudson Taylor, an entire life and ministry spent seeking, listening for, and actually hearing the Holy Spirit's daily will for him and the hundreds of orphans in his care? What does he do with Paul's writings? If the time in which the Spirit had free and open range in the individual has passed, then what on earth do we do with New Testament teaching? I fear he not only marginalizes the Holy Spirit, and does not know how to have a personal, intimate dependence upon the Lord...upon the Holy Spirit, who is fully God. (I strongly dislike MacArthur's reference to the Spirit as being the third member of the Trinity for a reason...) I would liken him to something of an intellectual bully - he will make you pay if you disagree with him.

One last example of the extreme attitude displayed in Strange Fire comes from p. 115 of Chapter 16. Comparing any type of modern prophecy with a Magic 8 Ball, Tarot cards, or a Ouija board is an example of his intellectual bullying. Why, then, do 1 Corinthians 14:1, Romans 12:6-8,  and Ephesians 4:11-16 list prophecy as a spiritual gift? The Holy Spirit's work in my life is nothing like the devil's work through the supernatural, dark forces listed above. In fact, I feel very sorry for Mr. MacArthur. Living the Christian life without the Spirit must be exhausting and nearly impossible to maintain. No wonder his book has such a negative, caustic feel. He has attempted to write a book on the Holy Spirit without the Holy Spirit's input!

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

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



Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study



Psalm 19:14

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.  (Prayer based on Psalm 19:14)

When I pray this, I am always instantly convicted and filled with a need to please my Lord. When I pray this for others, I am heavily burdened with a desire for them to know Him more and more, in such ever-increasing measure that their heart's meditation is refocused on Him and Him alone.

When you're in the middle of a difficult homeschool day, this is the perfect prayer. If you're late getting dinner started, this is the perfect prayer. On those days when your entire family is down and out with the flu, this is the perfect prayer to pray. It will center your heart and mind on glorifying the Lord with your words and in your heart, and it opens the door for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you moment by moment.

Why not join me in making Psalm 19:14 a verse that you pray back to Him on a regular basis? I promise you won't remain the same if you pray this way! He is true to His Word, it always accomplishes what He wills, and it never returns to Him void.

My prayer for you today is that the words of your mouth and the meditation of your heart would be acceptable in the sight of your strength and your Redeemer, the Lord who loves you so.

Lord bless you today as you homeschool for His glory!

Day 302 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study


Monday, January 13, 2014

Growing Great Kids by Kate Battistelli



As a mom to five terrific kids, I'm always looking for resources to grow me as a parent and as a home educator. Of course, my primary source of encouragement is God's Word, but I also invest in materials that will bless me and  - hopefully - benefit those around me. Growing Great Kids is one of those resources.

Parenting is tough; and if you take it seriously, it's doubly tough. Each child has their own unique set of talents and struggles, likes and dislikes, needs and greeds...and it's the job of the parents to raise them for God's glory through the all the ups and downs of life. Those who homeschool have the added pressure of preparing their children academically. It's much more than a full-time job; for me it's a calling, and God has been gracious to equip me with all I've needed to fulfill that call. The book Growing Great Kids appealed to me not only for my own benefit, but also because it seemed like a perfect fit for my fellow homeschooling mothers.

Written by Kate Battistelli (mother of recording artist Francesca Battistelli), this book has 15 chapters and is 256 pages long. When I read "Successful adults don't happen by accident" in the Introduction, my interest was piqued. I totally agree with this statement! Mom and Dad have lots to do with the future success of our children - and not just success in material terms, but success spiritually. You can be rich and poor at the same time, but a good name is truly a better treasure than pure gold.

Kate Battistelli is frank about the amount of prayer and dedication that goes into raising great kids, and she understands that God doesn't make cookie cutter children. Whether you have one child or ten, each one is unique and will need something unique from you as parents. It's been a key part of parenting in our home, and it has worked well. Let your children grow up into the person God intends them to be...and don't expect them to all be the same in any way other than an expectation that they love and seek to glorify their Lord.

Growing Great Kids covers topics like "Gifts & Calling", "Parent's Words", "Purity", "Diligence", "Humility", "Integrity" and "Parenting Traps". As you can tell, Kate Battistelli has done her homework and hasn't left out any key fact of parenting! And her story is very personal, so you feel like you can relate to her life when you read this book. Even the layout of the pages was refreshing to me (I read it as an eBook, and often the look of the pages can be annoying to me...but not this eBook!).

I can't think of anything I would add to Growing Great Kids, other than perhaps the perspective of someone who has raised more than one child. By that I simply mean each addition to the family poses it's own set of changes, and I've found over and over again that my character has grown and improved as each of my children has brought new challenges my way. Kate does an excellent job of providing solid parenting advice for any family, no matter the size. But I wish there was something in the book from close friends or relatives who have raised multiple children.

If you're interested in growing in your parenting abilities, I think Growing Great Kids is a book you'll benefit by reading. Keep your child in their proper place, behind God and your spouse, and you'll be well on your way to raising a really great kid. And remember success by the world's standards isn't everything (honestly, success by the world's standards isn't anything) but success in God's eyes is worth laying our lives down.

Lord bless you as you homeschool for His glory!


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

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.


Day 301 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study  

Ingredients for Success - 10 Best Practices for Business and Life (by Joseph James Slawek)



As a SAHM who homeschools her children, I probably don't appear to be the logical choice to review a book on business practices! But in all actuality, homeschooling mothers have more than one full-time job that they're juggling at the same time. Children in multiple different grades, combined with the role of guidance counselor, multiplied by all the "typical" things a mom takes care of on any given day. Speaking personally, there are days when I wonder if my daily tasks could possibly be any more taxing were I in the official "working world".

The book Ingredients for Success (10 Best Practices for Business and Life) by Joseph James Slawek is a short book that's long on encouragement. The author is a very successful businessman who provides an approach to business (and life) from a Biblical perspective. Referencing Matthew 25, with a focus on Jesus' parables found therein, Mr. Slawek offers business advice from a uniquely Christian perspective. (If you aren't sure which parables are found in Matthew 25, I encourage you go grab your Bible and read that chapter.)

These ten practices are doable for most anyone, and while you doubtless find your line of work and personal story to differ from that of the author, the lessons learned by reading this book will have an impact on your work. They may even make a big difference in your personal life. An example can be found in his principle to "Tell the truth to define reality and fight denial".  I like this idea of using truth to fight denial. Our culture is a world of Internet-linked hand held devices...which has become a constant way to avoid reality and live in a state of constant denial for many people. While he isn't speaking directly to this problem, I drew a parallel that spoke to my heart. How many moms, even homeschooling mothers, live in that place of denial where they *believe* they're fulfilling their call to motherhood but in reality they're spending hours each day on smart phones and tablets? Telling the truth about this common problem pushes back the darkness that denial brings.

I could go on and on with the nuggets of wisdom I've gleaned from Ingredients for Success, but I would rather you read it for yourself and extract your own truths. Subjects covered range from planning ahead to preparing to give an account, expressing gratitude to being courageous. No matter your line of work, and even if you are a stay at home, homeschooling mother like me, the book Ingredients for Success is worth reading.

Look for it at Amazon HERE.

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

Disclaimer ~ I received this book at not charge for review purposes. All opinions shared here are solely my own.


Day 300 done :)


Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Praying for Boys (Asking God for the Things They Need Most) by Brook McGlothlin


I have one son (and four daughters!) and he is the oldest...so you can imagine that he is an overprotective brother who didn't get an excess of rough-housing when he was growing up. Don't doubt that he was ever anything less than all boy. He was all boy and is now a 21-year old man. He wrestles in college, so maybe he is making up for the lack of rough-housing during his younger years!

The book Praying for Boys (by Brooke McGlothlin, known best for her site www.TheMOBSociety.com) is written for mothers of one son, or a dozen. Whether a newborn or a high-school student, this book can guide moms in praying with clarity and direction for their sons. And don't they need it! Not because our sons are destined for bad things, not because we as moms doubt them, but because we live in a westernized, post-Christian culture that works hard at keeping boys from ever becoming men. Especially God-fearing, God-honoring men. Our sons need us standing in the gap, interceding for them. Praying for Boys helps get that job done.

In the early portion of the book, Brook McGlothlin addresses head-on the problem of modern American churches being filled with men who have no idea what it truly means to be a man. That's a hard truth to hear, as a wife and as a mother. But men can be real men, and we can help our sons get to that point by praying over them daily. We can help them find their self-worth in the Lord. And the way we do that best is by praying - not by nagging or nit-picking, but praying.

Brooke's writes as a mom who loves her Lord and her sons. She takes her role as a mother seriously, and she takes her sons to His throne room in prayer as a result. Her words are trustworthy, because they speak truth and point consistently to Jesus. She is someone you could sit down and have coffee with, but rather than chatting about life in general or gossiping about such-and-such or so-and-so, you would pray with her for our sons. Here's one quote from Praying for Boys that reveals why I love this book ~ "If we were to get serious about praying for our sons, what could God do? The possibilities are endless." (from p. 35)  What a thought-provoking idea! What could God do if we would get serious? Why not find out?

Buy this book; read it.  And then, above all else, PRAY.

Find it at Amazon.com or your local Christian bookstore. Or consider giving it as a gift to a new mom of a sweet baby boy. They'll be blessed by the gift, and so will their son...for a lifetime.

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

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


Day 299 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study



Friday, January 3, 2014

Encouraging Moms Who Homeschool

Today I'm just re-posting my most read post - and my prayer is that it will be an encouragement to homeschooling mothers as they begin the new year.



A Homeschool Mom's Devotional (# 1)

Colossians 4:17 tells the reader to "be sure to carry out the work the Lord gave you".
How can this be applied to the enormously busy lifestyle of a homeschool mom?

First of all, we must always remember that the Word of God has the answer for our every need and we can trust fully in God to use His Word to lead us, guide us, correct us, and bless us.

Keeping that in mind, let's consider what this verse is saying. We are told to carry out, or complete, the work the Lord has given us. We are wives, mothers, homeschoolers. Those three BIG job descriptions come immediately to mind when I think of homeschooling mothers. Applying God's Word to our life means carrying out our work as wives, as mothers, and as homeschoolers.

When I am exhausted from another long day (or long week, long month, long year, etc.) I still must honor the Lord by blessing my husband. Maybe that means having a hot meal on the table when he arrives home from work. Perhaps your husband would prefer a few minutes to read the paper to unwind from work when he gets home. Does he dislike baskets of laundry sitting around? Then fold and put away the laundry before he gets home each evening. Does it bless him if you set out his clothes for work the next day? By all means, do it! This is the work the Lord has given us to carry out, and we cannot fully receive God's great blessings if we aren't doing what He has asked us to do.

Secondly, let's apply Colossians 4:17 to motherhood. It is a blessed job that pays rich dividends, isn't it? And yet it is a tiring job that demands our all emotionally, physically, and mentally every single day. One of the best ways I have found to carry out the Lord's work as a mother is to focus on TODAY only. I can't drag yesterday's junk and tomorrow's worries into today if I want to be a godly mother today. It's just that simple! To complete today's work, I must be about today's work. No other work can be done today, after all, so why waste precious time on what is futile?

And lastly, carrying out the work God has given us as women who homeschool means we need to actually be teaching our children. This begins with God's Word in our home. There is never a day when my children's first assignment is anything other than the Bible. I have used a variety of curriculum to facilitate Biblical studies in my 14+ years of homeschooling, and I can honestly say that God has blessed them all. On their own, before they start the school day, my older children read their Bibles. And my two youngest daughters read their Bibles at night. We also have family devotional time in the evening, led by my husband, and family prayer time each evening. So "Bible curriculum" is not the only time we study the Bible in our home; but it is the first lesson my students work on each day for school. This really does pay off great dividends ~ my son texted me from college this week to let me know that his Old Testament class is his absolute favorite course this semester. He says his professor "blows his mind every class" and that it is "ridiculous how good the class is". I'm sure this class would have been a blessing to Gage if he hadn't done some sort of Bible study daily in our homeschool; but the foundation laid by years of daily discipline have made it a much richer blessing.

Beyond making God's Word central to everything we do in our homeschool, I set apart time each week to seek the Lord's guidance and ask for His clear leading for each and every thing involved in our homeschool. For me, that is central to completing the work He has given me. I've found that time spent listening for His voice as I plan each week's school work, the road before me is much smoother than it ever would be by my own devices.

May the Lord richly bless you as you seek to homeschool your children for His glory!





Day 298 done :)


Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study