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A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers

A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers
The Burts in 2013

Friday, December 29, 2017

Book Review ~ Courage for the Unknown Season (Navigating What's Next with Confidence and Hope) - by Jan Silvious




I agreed to review this book, in all honesty, simply because the title and subtitle grabbed my attention and did not let go. In light of the fact that I have been faced with two heart conditions that have been pushing me toward heart failure, a book about having courage for the unknown season and navigating whatever comes next with confidence and hope, this book practically demanded that I read it. And I am blessed that I did.

Jan Silvious is a gifted writer. Reading this book is much like listening to a caring friend share her thoughts on your circumstances. She offers wisdom, wit, and Biblical encouragement as she deals with the weighty issues of life. While the book is primarily aimed at those who are aging, it was ridiculously fitting for me in my current situation. Every - Single - Chapter spoke to me at some point of my need. Every - Single - Chapter.

If you are the child of an aging parent, this is a great read. If you are aging yourself, you must get a copy of this book and read it at least once. And if you are a bit younger (middle-aged, like me) but find yourself facing life circumstances that usually come later on in life, I strongly recommend reading this book and then implementing much of what it has to share. I know it has impacted me, not just in my thinking, and not just by means of encouraging me on the rough and tough days with my heart problems - but in how I function daily. It has real-life applications that are easy to implement and have a positive impact. Buy it for someone you know who is facing any of these circumstances. It may be just what they need at this time of their life!

This link will take you directly to Amazon if you'd like to learn more about Courage for the Unknown Season. Read a few more reviews, take a look inside the book, pray about it - and if you feel so led, purchase a copy.

Lord bless you in whatever you face during this current life season, known of unknown.

Day 372 done :)
Jan L. Burt

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 Tyndale Publishers. All opinions shared here are solely my own.

Book Review ~ Life-Changing Miracles (Real-Life Stories of Unforgettable Encounters with God) - compiled by James Stuart Bell



The book Life-Changing Miracles is a compilation of 37 short real-life stories that each displays an aspect of God's miraculous care in our modern day. Written by the people who experienced the miracles, these narratives move from the seemingly normal to the undeniably supernatural. (And by supernatural, I mean miraculous feats and acts performed solely by the Lord God Almighty)

Each story is short enough that you could sit down and read half the book in one sitting, or possibly include one each morning as part of your morning devotional time each day. Even reading one or two before bed at night would be a great way to work through this book.

As I have been facing serious issues with my heart (in a nutshell, heart failure) I found several of the things shared in this book encouraging and comforting. Whether a reminder to persist in prayer for healing or acknowledging that God often has plans very different than my own, Life-Changing Miracles was a pleasant book to read through. It isn't a theology text; it's simply a book of true stories of the Lord's intervention in people's lives.



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 Bethany House Publishers. All opinions shared here are solely my own.


Day 371 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Tiny Tidbit of Encouraging Advice

Once upon a time there was a busy homeschooling mother who had to plan out her school days in 15-minute increments....

Now there is a far less busy homeschooling mother who no longer plans out school days beyond updating her calendar with her last child's dual enrollment college class schedule.

And it happened in the blink of an eye.

If you are just beginning to homeschool ~ perhaps even starting mid-year in January ~ then it is very important for you to know that the busy-ness you are facing will come to it's end far more quickly than you can imagine. And if you are nearing the end of your homeschooling journey, be sure to take time to remember what it was like during those hectic days early on because, who knows, some sweet mama may need a little bit of encouragement from one who has gone before her.

In this quiet pause between Christmas and the New Year, try to think of some way to encourage another mom, whether she homeschools or not. (And if you read my blog but are not a mom, maybe you have a friend, co-worker or casual acquaintance you can encourage.) We all need a shot in the arm every now and then, don't we? Let's be that for one another. Reach out - send a text message or schedule a coffee date. Be the friend that you needed most when you were in the trenches. And share some homeschool wisdom, too.

I know that the women who gave me some tips when I was pondering home education provided me with a huge boost of courage. They probably had no idea at the time that I was shaking in my boots and their advice and encouragement shored me up - but it did. And I am so very thankful, because having all those years with my kids has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. I'd hate to have missed it...thank the Lord that I got to live it.

And here is my tiny tidbit of encouraging advice for any homeschooler reading this post: don't be afraid to scrap a curriculum and start over with something else if it isn't working for your child. (Sometimes it's okay to scrap it if it isn't working for the homeschooling mom!) And if something is sort-of working, you are free to tweak it to make it a better fit. You are not just a homeschooling mother, you are MOM, and you know your child/ren better than anyone else on this planet. You really do know if something just will not work....and you really do know how to make something workable for your kiddos. Don't be scared! Give yourself, and your child, plenty of grace. Take one day at a time, one subject at a time. And never  be nervous to ask a more seasoned homeschool mom for some advice. Hey, you can ask me anything at any time and I will always do my best to answer in a quick & clear manner.

You are more than enough for the role the Lord has called you to ~ because nothing is impossible with Him and He always gives us strength equal to our tasks and our days. Remember that!

Lord bless you & be sure to enjoy a little bit of quiet during this peaceful pause before 2018 rolls in. You've earned it!

Day 370 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Sacred Slow by Alicia Britt Chole ~ a book review ~







I received the book The Sacred Slow to review from Thomas Nelson Publishers, and I thought I had a pretty good idea what this book was about. I was completely wrong.

The book seems, at first glance, very similar to a personal devotional. There is a brief reading, Scripture references, and some thoughts to personalize and think about. But upon further study, I found that "personalizing & thinking about" each day's topic was just the tip of the iceberg. There is oh-so-much more going on beneath the surface.

Let me say two things about The Sacred Slow:

          #1 ~ The concept of slowing down & taking an actual Sabbath rest is missing almost entirely among Westernized Christians and this book deals with that lack directly and effectively. There is actual application contained herein.

          #2 ~ The was this author draws out of you what is deep inside your inner man - and deeply impacts the way you relate to God. This "drawing out" involves a series of hands-on activities done at a leisurely (read that: Sabbath restful) pace with intimate communication with the Lord.

Did you derive from the above points that undertaking this book is NOT for the faint of heart? Did you also derive that it will have PROFOUND repercussions in your life that are for your betterment.

I have not completed this book; it is simply so full of important spiritual work, I decided not to rush through it for the sake of the review. I am in the midst of some very intense health problems (heart failure, in a nutshell) which makes this book timely for me, but also difficult to complete in short order when I am in the midst of travel to/from my home in Wichita to the Cleveland Heart Clinic for treatment. But I do intend to keep this book nearby, and I may actually bring it with me to Cleveland for my "spiritual homework" during the lengthy post-op recovery time (if I end up having one particular procedure done).

Overall, I am pleased with this book ~ even with the parts that are hard to think through and process. The upside is that I am not processing on my own; the author continually reminds the reader to take this journey with Jesus. And that is always, always good news - even in the midst of bad news.

Lord bless you as you consider reading this book.

Day 369 done :)
Jan L. Burt

On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I gave these books a 5.

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

Friday, November 24, 2017

First Halves Don't Win Football Games

Job 23:10 reads like this: "He knows the way that I take..."


Is this verse a reality for you right now, in whatever spot life may have landed you? Are you confident in the certainty that the Lord knows the way that you take? That He knows exactly where you are at this precise moment and that He knows exactly how you got here?

Can you trust the Living God to manage the path of your life and believe that He has His eye on you right now? Do you know that He knows the way that you take today?

Life does not play out the way most of us wanted it to. Rarely do we get what we planned to get out of our short number of days on this big, blue spinning ball called Earth. But, nevertheless, for those who know Jesus, the long walk of our short life is not walked alone. Not only does He know the way that we take, He walks that way alongside of us.

It's a wonderful thing to walk the path of life hand in hand with Jesus. Don't think you have to do this on your own; you don't. Grab hold of His righteous right hand and just hang on. Because He promises that when He has tried us, we will come forth as gold. That's the second half of Job 23:10 ~ and life, like football, does not consist of first halves. Second halves often determine the game.

This Thanksgiving weekend, take time to pause and thank God that He knows the way that you take and thank Him that one day, maybe late in the fourth quarter, you will come forth as gold.

If you think of it, keep me in prayer this coming week. On Wednesday I will catch an early morning flight from Wichita to Cleveland and on Thursday (November 30th) I will see a team of cardiologists and electrophysiologists at The Cleveland Heart Hospital to assess the state of my heart at present and to find out what my options are for a path forward. I am expecting them to push for a heart ablation (probably done while I am awake - YIKES!) but I am praying that there is another option (as ablations tend to work for about 5 years and then the heart creates a new pathway to receive the problematic electrical impulses that have caused my PVC's and subsequent walk toward heart failure). Pray for peace for my husband and our five kids, and for me as I listen to discern the voice of the Lord amidst the voices of many well-trained physicians.

Lord bless you this week as you homeschool for the Lord's glory!

Happy Thanksgiving - I pray it has been a blessed time for you and your family.

Day 368 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Frederick Buechner Books ~ A Double Review

So, prior to this book review I had not heard of the author Frederick Buechner - this despite the fact that I am a book-a-holic and the additional fact that Mr. Buechner has authored more than 30 books. No idea how I missed him entirely...

For this review, I received not one, but two works by this author. I chose to dive into A Crazy, Holy Grace (The Healing Power of Pain and Memory) first because the subtitle was intriguing. After all, who wants to heal by way of pain and memory? Or, worse yet, via the combo of painful memories? Yeah, no...most of us will take a hard pass on that option.



In many ways, this book tells the unique story of the writer's life and delves into some terribly difficult childhood experiences and his emotions - or more accurately, his lack thereof. I think many people would relate well to this scenario. Childhood trauma often deals us such a blow in such a formative time of life that we find ourselves ill-equipped to feel what we ought to be feeling. If you have had such an experience, the book A Crazy, Holy Grace could be a great read for you. Not to mention the obvious - God's grace is crazy and holy at the very same time!

The second book of Mr. Buechner's is entitled The Remarkable Ordinary (How to Stop, Look and Listen to Life).  I was, again, intrigued by the subtitle. Yet this book, I found, was not so much aimed at my life circumstances and did not resonate with me. Not because it isn't a good book - it is. Mainly because I am at my own unique phase of life and at times don't have the energy to exert my mind in order to grasp the depth of such a book.



I would like to share a quote from the book:


          "To love your neighbor is to see your neighbor."

Simple but profoundly true, right?

I also really loved the thought that playing it safe is to somehow have your life diminished. Oh yes, that is 1000% true.

Overall, I think these are great little books but don't think "little" means a speed read. There's plenty to think about and you certainly wouldn't want to read either of these titles without a plan to think about what you are reading!


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

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



Day 367 done :)
Jan L. Burt


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Battleground Goals

Warren Wiersbe has said that sooner or later, every believer discovers that the Christian life is a battleground, not a playground. He is spot on.

And for the homeschooling mother, we have one very intense battlefield.

Our enemies are, of course, on the outside. From the checkout lady at the Piggly Wiggly to our distant third-cousin (twice removed on our father's side), we know people are going to question us in regard to homeschooling. (Why, just last night at a banquet where my husband presented five awards, a very kind woman at our table asked me the never-ending question about....socialization. It's like the Dorothy and Toto jokes for those of us who live in Kansas ~ I sometimes was to say, in a voice rich with sarcasm, "You know, I have never heard that one before....!!") Those battlefields, we know how to prep for those.

But what about our own internal battlefields? What about those nagging fears that every mother has, but the homeschooling mom has on steroids? What if we completely jack up our kids to such an extent that they can never, ever function properly in society and their entire lives are ruined   -   because   -   of   -    us?!?

Now, I can't resolve all your concerns or give you miraculous peace in the midst of them. But I can point straight at the One who can! Jesus is always the answer, mama. Jesus is the only answer. And He is oh so very good us-toward. 

I want to encourage you to take a look back at my post on #Goals.  And then I want to encourage you to write out a few goals of your own. Where do you want your kids to end up when they leave the nest and spread the wings of adulthood? Write that down! Work on this over a few days or weeks; refine and hone it, or scrap it entirely and start again. But don't ignore it. Get something down on paper, spend time bathing it in prayer, and trust Jesus to get your kids across the finish line. 

He's a good God. It's a real shame we don't do a better job of trusting Him more with our homeschools, our kids, and their outcome as a result of being homeschooled by us. He is bigger than all that. He is a good God. 






Women who love their children and love their Jesus, give yourselves some grace today and trust Jesus more. Get those goals laid out before Him and watch to see what He might do in you, in your children, and in your homeschool. Remember, the battleground is real; the playground is a farce. Get in the battle and fight for what Jesus desires to do for your family.

Lord bless you today!

Day 366 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study 
& All Things Homeschool
 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Bible Promises to Live By for Women ~ Katherine J. Butler (book review)

 




THIS.

This is my ideal when it comes to book reviews. 

Pretty cover? Check.

Solidly Biblical content? Check.

Dealing with prayer? Check.

Oh yes, this is my absolute favorite type of book to review.

Bible Promises to Live By for Women (by Katherine J. Butler) is truly a work of art. Concise but powerfully written insights fall just before a couple of pages of applicable Bible verses, all sorted neatly by topic. Perfect for reading from start to finish, praying through one topic a day. Also perfect for grabbing in the face of an urgent need, flipping to the area of concern, and praying in the right now. This books is truly wonderful.

I believe it would be a blessing for any mom this Christmas - it would be a great stocking stuffer for your teen and older daughters - it would make an excellent "thank you" for any woman you know who serves in any area of ministry. 

I love - love - love this book. It has secured it's spot on my bookshelf alongside books on prayer I often grab and utilize. I will probably take it with me when I travel from Kansas to Cleveland Heart Clinic in a couple of weeks (heart failure is no joke, but neither is the Word of God combined with prayer!)

I hope many women pick up a copy of this wonderful little treasure. It will most assuredly bless every single reader! 

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 Tyndale Publishers. All opinions shared here are solely my own.
 


Day 365 done :)

Jan L. Burt



Friday, November 3, 2017

Homeschool Goals



#Goals

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last couple of years, in the social media sense, then you have most likely seen hashtag/Goals floating around. Millennials seem to love throwing this term around. To be honest, it's not a bad concept. We all have goals, right? 


So I was thinking about this idea of goals, and how using the hashtag almost sort of puts those goals "out there" for the whole world to see. It's like a unique form of accountability, in a way. If everyone knows your #Goals, then it stands to reason that everyone can check in with you about how those goals are coming along.


Several years ago, when I was relatively new to this whole homeschool thing, I wrote out a list of goals for us. I typed it up in a fun font, cleaned it up and centered it, printed it out and taped it to the kitchen wall (also known as the homeschool classroom). There is was for several years, right at my eye level in the room where I spent the majority of my waking hours Monday thru Friday. A constant reminder of the end goal I was hoping to reach. 


It was one of the best ideas I ever had for our little homeschool.


I'm going to share that list with you in today's blog post - but let me give you this disclaimer first: I often set lofty goals for myself. This list is not the exception. So, read it with a grain of salt and if there is anything worthwhile you can glean from it, that's awesome. If not, drive on! This homeschool blog is an absolute no-guilt zone!


Here it is:



                                       Burt Family Homeschool Goals



  • Each child should intimately know the Lord and serve Him in his/her own capacity, fully equipped to perform ministry to others and to family members.
  • Each child should be prepared to enter college, full-time ministry, or the marketplace with confidence and capability, being fully equipped to succeed.
  • Each child should be functional in relationships at home, at work, and within the body of the church, free of emotional hindrances, and prepared for marriage, work, friendships, and church relationships.
  • Each child should be fully capable of living independently, handling life situations efficiently and effectively, maturing in the Lord and seeking Him for life guidance.
  • Primarily, each child should find fulfillment in life by discovering and enjoying the gifts given them by God, and the path He has designed for each of them.



 
Those are the #Goals I laid out for our family many, many years ago. And you know what? I think we have hit the bulls-eye dead-on in most of these areas with all of our children. What a blessing! 


If you feel like it, write out a few goals of your own and see if it doesn't help you aim for something big in the course of your day-to-day life as a homeschooler. When we randomly aim, we hit either nothing at all or some odd random target that we never meant to hit at all. But when we aim at a clearly defined target, we tend to hit it - simply because we are keeping our eye on the prize. 






Lord bless you, and Lord bless the long-term results of your homeschool!


Day 364 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Master's Mind ~ The Art of Reshaping Your Thoughts by Lance Hahn (book review)










Great book.

I could actually complete this review with just those two words. I like this book that much.

I am not a self-help proponent, primarily because it simply does not work. So know that this book is definitely not one of those books and if one of those books is what you are looking for, you should probably keep looking. Lance Hahn's book "The Master's Mind" is a God-help kind of book. A book that points you to the Word of God and to Jesus and urges you to live daily in reliance upon the Holy Spirit.

The author covers so many topics in this written work, I would leave several out if I tried to list them all. He is thorough about the warfare happening for our minds, for our every thought. He wants the reader to realize what is really transpiring spiritually and how it directly impacts daily life - because there is a kernel of truth to the saying, "I think, therefore I am." What we think ~ about ourselves, about others, and most importantly about God ~ has a direct correlation to the way we live our lives day by day.

 Get your thinking right and your whole world changes. That's not a catchy phrase to highlight in a book but have no idea how to implement. That's truth. Think rightly about God and then think rightly about every other thing and person - that's pretty important if you want to master your mind and have the Master's Mind (i.e. the mind of Christ).

I think this is probably a good book for most every Christian to read at some point. It is written more like a series of sermons rather than a book of colloquial stories, but that's how I prefer to take my reading anyway.

My only caveat is this: if you buy the book, please read the book. Finish the book. It does no good half-read or sitting on a nightstand, binding in tact.

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 Handlebar. All opinions shared here are solely my own. 

Day 363 done :)
Jan L. Burt

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Moms Need Friends Too...Right??



Socialization.


The one word homeschoolers dread hearing the most!

Why is it that people so readily assume that, if you homeschool, you and your children must have so much trouble making friends? interacting in social settings? holding a normal conversation? living life as a human being on this planet?

As women who home educate our children, we deal with this whole "socialization" thing on a multitude of levels.

When we first decide to homeschool, we may lose some old friends who just don't get why we are doing this. As we continue to homeschool, we may lose some friends because our time is allocated more toward our kiddos education and less toward normal "friendship-y" sorts of things. If we ~ GASP! ~ dare to continue to homeschool into the high school years, we again face the prospect of losing some friends who homeschooled in the younger years but feel high school is a bridge too far, for whatever reason (some of those reasons are legitimate - this is not an indictment on women who don't homeschool through the high school years). And alas, when you have finished your time as a homeschooling mother, you may lose friends who are still in the trenches of home education.

We may miss out on small groups and Bible studies during the homeschool years. Our social calendars are basically void of any activity sans those involving our children. A "field trip" to the local pet store that culminates in a 15-minute chat with a guy explaining the awesomeness of owning a ferret might be the closest thing you get to coffee with a friend this entire month...or even the entire year.

Yup. Socialization is a real issue for homeschoolers. Just not in the manner people think it's a problem.

So, what's a mom to do? Is there a solution for this dilemma?

I have done this whole mom gig for almost 25 years now, and have homeschooled all five of my children from preschool through high school graduation. I've taught them the ABC song and have conquered the Common Application for college. I have taught math using every curriculum under the sun (at least, that's how it feels) and I have used Winston Grammar until the flashcards were crumbling with age. I've mastered high school reading lists that make a college application *PoP* and I have documented more electives on transcripts than I choose to remember. My kids have built car engines and bookcases and even their own thriving small businesses. I have a daughter who is a boxer, for goodness sake (and a darn good one, at that). But I don't have any idea how to guarantee friendships for the homeschooling mother.

I do, however, have one thing that trumps all the things I don't have, and that is Jesus.

My best advice for socialization, dear mama, is to pray.  We need friends - we need fellowship. It's vital for our spiritual and emotional well-being. Therefore we need to be in prayer about this. And it needs to be specific prayer.

Mom, pray for friends. Ask the Lord to bring you the best possible friends for the season of life you are currently in. Ask Him often, and ask in faith, believing that He cares and He is able to grant your request. Ask Him to give you friendships that will propel you on in your walk with Him; friends who will help you to fulfill your role in His Kingdom right now.

I almost want to dare you to pray and see what God might do...but rather than dare you, I will just encourage you to pray about your own socialization as you homeschool. He loves you - ask Him for the right friends for your right now.

Lord bless you, homeschooling mother!

Day 362 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

When Did Everybody Else Get So Old? (book review)

So, I received the book "When Did Everybody Else Get So Old?" by Jennifer Grant from Handlebar Press. I get a fair number of books to review & as a conservative Christian, I receive books written from that perspective...*mostly.





This book certainly had some poignant segments - things about life as a middle-aged woman that really hit home. Many, many things Jennifer described are things I have experienced. And many of those things came as a surprise to me, much in the way they seemed to surprise her. How can these events come as surprises when they happen to so many of us? Shouldn't we know exactly what to expect if it is the exact same thing so many tens of thousands have experienced? Somehow, the answer is no. Even those events that are the same are not the same at all. It's a bizarre truth, indeed, that not everything that is the same is the same at all.

As a Christian woman who considers her personal relationship with Jesus the most important part of her life, I have to say that this is not a book I totally agree with or would ever read were it not for review purposes. Yes, I truly can relate to much of the author's mid-life experiences. But no, I don't share her perspective on many things. She is more of on the leftist side of things than I am, if that makes sense. I don't intend to pick the book a part - I just disagree with some of her beliefs. And as most of my weblog readers are like-minded, this is just to let them know that the book may not be for them.

Also, I should note that this book is honest and serious and she lays out some real hard times in living color. I applaud her for her honesty. Few of us can live life bare before the world, so to speak - and Jennifer Grant does that in a remarkable manner. This is not a book of funny life-stories to help you laugh through your own hard times. It's real life, and real life in mid-life is usually pretty rough. Jennifer, thanks for writing the raw truth about what we all experience. That was very refreshing.


On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I gave this book a 31/2.

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



Day 361 done :)

 Jan L. Burt



 
 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Homework for the Homeschool Mom

As the homeschool mama, I am the one doing the assigning and not usually the one receiving the assigning. I am sure you feel the exact same way. But today I am giving you, the mother who is (most likely) primarily in charge of her children's education, a homework assignment. And I really hope you will take the time to complete it!

The first part of your homework assignment is simple:

          Grab your Bible, turn to Matthew 25:14-30, and read it.

Re-read, highlight, underline or take notes on any portion(s) of this passage that stand out to you. Be an active reader. Read this while thinking about your own life. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you about this passage.

Then, read it one more time.

Finally, the "hard" part of the assignment....

Sit quietly before the Lord, pen and paper in hand, and write what He speaks to your heart about this passage. Ask Him to show you where you are rightly using what He has given you for His glory and His purposes. And, on the more difficult side of the coin, ask Him to show you where you are not.

If you will take the time to do this - to agree with the Lord that He meant it when He said He will ask for an account of the assets He has given to each one of us - He will most certainly reveal something (or several things) to you. Let Him do that! And then honor Him by doing His will with what He has given.

Will this be difficult? Maybe...

Will this be scary? Possibly...

Will this be worth it? Definitely...

Lord bless you, homeschooling mom, as you complete your homework assignment! Feel free to leave a comment to let me know you got your homework done and to encourage other moms to do the same!

Day 360 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study (available on Amazon)


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Not A Post I Ever Wanted to Write...

Okay, here goes nothing.

I have a serious heart condition. Or, more accurately, I have a couple of serious heart conditions that are somewhat conflicting and have made my treatment, shall we say, a bit tricky. Add to that some dissension between my cardiologist and my electrophysiologist regarding my treatment, and it becomes dicier still. And the cherry on top is that medication, even at it's lowest dose, is deadly for me (the mildest meds at half the lowest dose lower my resting heart rate to 30 beats per minute - a full dose would likely stop my heart, according to my doctors). So, meds are out.

And the beginning of my journey from Wichita, Kansas to Cleveland, Ohio, to pursue treatment at the Cleveland Heart Clinic is my next step. It's going to be " 'spensive" to quote Lucille Ball. So some of my family members (two of my aunts and my hubby, to be exact) have teamed up & started a YouCaring page to help raise the necessary funds.

I seriously dislike sharing about my heart, but I guess it's not a bad thing to ask for prayer for these next few months. So, there it is....the post I never wanted to write has, in fact, been written.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and thanks to all who have already been praying for me, and to anyone who prays for me in the future. I am blessed by the concern shown me by so many.

And here is a link to the YouCaring page ~ but there is zero pressure from me to click on the link ('cuz I don't believe in pressure, I believe in the leading of the Holy Spirit!)

https://www.youcaring.com/janlburt-981642?code=a8b0271bbba92b7fb34dd8491d9d48d1e303e18ecd8b7c6125

Lord bless you all!

Day 359 done :)
Jan L. Burt

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Old Age in Your Young Age

An old saying goes something like this:


         “For the foolish, old age is like winter; for the wise, it is a harvest.”




Read that one more time and ponder it for a moment.


What truth does that speak to your mind, to your heart, homeschooling mother? What do you hear the Lord saying to you? How can you live today so that you will have a harvest in your old age?


It will always be far easier to be in a bit of a foul mood on any given day ~ this day! Far easier to gripe a little here and moan a little there. The hard, right choice to make is to live learning from today so that you reap that harvest when you are gray and wrinkly. But you cannot make hard, right choices if you do not decide in advance to make those hard, right choices. Being joyful in your day to day life as a busy mom requires that you yield to the Holy Spirit and let Him produce fruit that is worth harvesting. This cannot be manufactured in your own strength. Nothing worth anything can.


It’s so easy to live today so that tomorrow is a long, icy winter. Far more difficult, and far more vital, is living today so tomorrow is a perpetual harvest.

Be blessed today as you live in anticipation of your many tomorrows.

Day 358 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald (Revised & Updated)

The book Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald is a classic among Christians, referenced from the pulpit on a regular basis and often found on the bookshelves of believers. And now, it has been revised and updated. I pretty much jumped at the chance to review this book.




Fifteen chapters. A preface and an epilogue. Even a study guide to make this accessible for a small group. That's the skeleton of this book - but what about what's on the inside?

There's a lot inside. A whole lot.

The first chapter or two were a bit s-l-o-w for my liking. I had heard so much about this book over the years that I was chomping at the bit, ready for the heavy stuff. The author lays a nice foundation for the rest of the book in the early chapters, which is exactly what a good author does. I just wanted to skip ahead, but I didn't. And I am glad that I didn't, because I see now that the book moves at a pace that can draw in even the most disorganized mess of a person, allowing them time to ease into trusting the author. Possibly even making them more open to what he has to share because he is very honest about his own problems managing his time.

I don't want to give too much of this book away, because it really is a worthwhile read. But I will share that the chapter comparing King Saul to John the Baptist was fantastic. It brought a whole new level of thinking to the way I have been approaching several aspects of my life as of late. I doubt that I will forget the insights I learned, as I find myself rolling them around in my mind at different points throughout the day. To me, that is the mark of a really good nonfiction book - the fact that I am a changed person for having read it.

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 Handlebar. All opinions shared here are solely my own. 


Buy this book. Read this book. Share this book with others.

Day 357 done :)
 Jan L. Burt

Friday, September 29, 2017

About Flattery...

 So, I read this quote a few days ago and it really struck a cord:


                  "Flattery is not communication; it is manipulation."


Um, wow.

When I flatter someone, why? Why do I do it? What is the point? What end result am I hoping to achieve? Just, why?

I don't think I have a good answer. Sometimes, I suppose, I sort of sincerely mean what I am saying (when I compliment or congratulate someone - which is different than when I flatter them). But most of the time I use flattery as a means to an end. Isn't that basically using people?  Oh good grief, that's awful! It makes my stomach turn! But there it is in all it's hideousness. Ick.

Communication brings to mind meaningful, two-way conversation that is relaxed and full of intentional listening on the part of all conversing. It's genuine. It happens when people care deeply about one another and want to make that known more than they want their opinion to be known. It's powerful because it's so darn real.

I want to understand in my inner being the difference between flattery and communication. I want to want to be consistently careful with my words and the intentions behind my words. I so want to be dialed in with others that my heart and mind are fully engaged in talking with them and not to or at them.

 My prayer for myself is this: "Oh Lord, do not allow me to be a manipulative person. I was created in Your image and I ought to behave as such. Remove flattery from my vocabulary, Lord. Make me a woman who communicates well." 

Let us all be women who love well via our communication with others. 

Day 356 done :)

Lord bless you!
Jan L. Burt


Monday, September 11, 2017

The Wisdom of God by A.W. Tozer

I have recently been reading through the book "The Wisdom of God - Letting His Truth and Goodness Direct Your Steps" by A.W. Tozer. True to form, Tozer delivers a whole lotta punch in each and every chapter. It's heady, weighty stuff, this book; it's meat and potatoes of the spiritual sort.

In short, do not read this book if you are looking for soft serve, cuz this ain't that.

        







This book is comprised of 23 chapters, none of which is very long. They are short, but pack a powerful punch. Each chapter has enough to say that you feel as if you have read far more than a few pages. The core of the subject matter is the Lord's wisdom; the applications of this topic spread far and wide. There is far more to this than I had previously thought, and it has proven that my own studies of wisdom as laid out in the Bible have been scant at best. It's an education in wisdom. And of course, as with any type of education, there is homework. Said homework being the application of these truths in ones own life.

If you know much about Tozer, this book will be similar to what you have read before. If you have never heart of A.W. Tozer, be prepared to learn a lot from this man who lives on via his writings, though he went home with the Lord in 1963. You may recognize his other books, such as The Knowledge of the Holy or The Pursuit of God.

Whether or not you have heard of the author, you may want to prayerfully consider picking up a copy of this book. But be sure, it's not light reading.

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 Bethany House Publishers. All opinions shared here are solely my own.


  Day 355 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Verses to Embolden Your Faith

This post is short & sweet ~ just a handful of Bible verses that will, hopefully, bless you today.


          1 Peter 1:13a - So you must live as God's obedient children. Don't slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your desires. You didn't know any better then.

          1 Samuel 12:7 - Now stand here quietly as I remind you of all the great things the Lord has done for you...

          Isaiah 41:10 - Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

          John 14:27b - Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

          Exodus 2:23b - They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God.

          Psalm 40:17c - O my God, do not delay.

          2 Corinthians 13:11 - Live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

          Jeremiah 31:9a & b - Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them with great care. They will walk beside quiet streams and on smooth paths where they will not stumble. 

          Mark 14:38 - Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.

          Luke 1:74-75 - We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live. 



I hope these verses encourage you today in whatever circumstance you find yourself. Beyond simply encouraging you today, I pray that they stir up a desire within your heart for the Word and that you would begin to daily feast upon it, allowing our loving Father to fill you up.

Lord bless you and keep you as you seek Him today. Remember, all who seek Him will indeed find Him.

Day 354 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Adrift in Chaos?

Homeschooling is hard. Attempting to live out the guidelines in Proverbs 31 is hard. Parenting is hard. Marriage is often hard.The catchy phrase, "The struggle is real," adequately describes many aspects of the life of a mom who homeschools.

But has the struggle become chaos? Do you feel completely adrift in that chaos?

Friend, chaos and a sense of being adrift in a sea of overwhelming burdens and hardship is not the Lord's will for you. I promise you, from the bottom of my heart, I know this to be true.

You are His beloved. He has not spoken chaos over your life.

My son graduated from Wheaton College, and for this blog post I am going to directly quote one of the school's most famous female alumni - Elisabeth Elliot.


          "Either we are adrift in chaos or we are individuals, created, loved, upheld and placed purposefully, exactly where we are. Can you believe that? Can you trust God for that?"



Are your days longer than 24 hours - flying by yet dragging on and on? You are not alone, and this is not your life's story by accident. Expenses beyond your means? God has both a purpose and a provision for you in this. Unsure how to home educate a preschooler, middle-schooler, and a high-schooler? Remember, you are not adrift in chaos. Your life is not a blunder on God's part. You have been placed exactly where you are today by the loving hand of your loving Father and He has promised to uphold you and strengthen you. And we know He never breaks His promises. 

So today, right in the middle of your mess ~ whatever that mess may be ~ trust in the Lord and know that He knows exactly where you are today. How does He know, you ask? He knows because He is the one who placed you right where you are...and He never misplaces His possessions. 

Live like you are dearly loved today, because you really, truly are.

Day 353 done :)

Jan L. Burt
 author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

 


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Women Who Move Mountains (praying with confidence, boldness, and grace) by Sue Detweiller

Over the last 6 years or so, I have reviewed quite a few books. Far more than I can remember off the top of my head, and too many to bother taking the time to try and count them all. I have read some duds and found some real treasures. The book I am reviewing today is a gem. It is a terrific book.

Women Who Move Mountains, by Sue Detweiller, isn't just another book about prayer. It's something more akin to a life-guide wrapped inside an in-depth personal Bible study. It's not just a book you read ~ it is a book that you pray through as you let God's Word be applied to the deepest parts of your life and the neediest aspects of your life. 

The book's layout is unique: each chapter of reading material is immediately followed by a chapter of study material and questions that cement the content from the prior chapter. The reading material is not difficult, but it certainly is not easy reading. And the questions are not "fluff". On the contrary, they are heart probing and journal entry worthy. They are meaty and they are effective.in addition, Part II includes 21 days of devotions. 

Sue Detweiller has taken prayer to a new level via this book. Using real life examples and rightly dividing the Word of God, she propels the reader to a place where they will either move forward in their prayer life or will make a willful decision not to engage with the Lord via prayer in new and powerful ways. She intends for you to come away from this book changed, and wanting to be a change agent for others via prayer. This book, and it's accompanying study prompts, is both intense and intensive. 



                                            

                                               




If you are considering a new Bible study for your women's ministry, something to spur on your personal prayer life, or a new book to work through as fall approaches, then this is your book. It is phenomenal and I intend to keep it on my bookshelf for the rest of my life so that I can grab it and re-read it over and over again. And I don't feel that way about too many books. It's a keeper, and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to read it.

On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I gave this book a 6.

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


Day 352 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Invest in July - Reap in September

If you're like me, you don't homeschool year-round. I like to end our homeschool year some time in May and start up again in late August. That, however, is our actual academic schedule. I am always thinking about homeschooling ~ combing through our curriculum bookshelves, updating transcripts, reading books to encourage me as a homeschool mom...you get the idea.

As a long-term homeschooler ~ as in 20 years! ~ I can tell you that the time spent focused on your homeschool in July pays big dividends come September. First off, mom won't feel nearly so overwhelmed when facing the advent of the new academic year. Second, your kids will have a far better school year if they know everything is ready to go before the year begins. Third, your home will run more efficiently if you are totally prepared for the school year (by totally prepared, I mean caught up on laundry, have all the library books you need, meals are planned, all supplies have been purchased, etc). And your husband will probably be glad you took the time to plan ahead!

Now, all of those are excellent reasons to invest in your homeschool during July and reap the benefits in September. But the biggest reason I plan over the summer is because it makes my job easier. Yup, it's a purely selfish reason. And I'm willing to admit right here on my blog that I am a selfishly motivated homeschooling mom.The way I see it, my job as a woman who homeschools is a tough job, a full-time job, a job that requires so much from me on a daily basis. So anything I can do to make my job easier come fall, well, I'm all about that!

Use whatever tools work best for you; buy a planner that makes your job simpler, use a different colored high lighter for each of your kids appointments and assignments, have plenty of coffee in stock for those slow mornings that follow long nights with sick little ones or fussy babies. As long as you can afford it, and your hubby is all for it, spend a little of your homeschool budget to help make sure you, the homeschool mom and sole educator of your children, are ready to face the new year. (For me, that means a good planner, coffee, time with the Lord every morning before the school day begins, and, umm, new pens....which is weird, I know, but I LOVE brand new pens!)


Lord bless you this July as you seek to glorify Him in your family's homeschool!

Day 351 done :)

Jan L. Burt

author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Barbara and Susan's Guide to the Empty Nest (Revised & Updated) - by Barbara Rainey & Susan Yates



So, this particular book review carries a special kind of weight for me and hit me squarely between the eyes with it's subject matter. I am about to become an empty-nester and I have absolutely no idea how this can possibly be true. My times they are a-changing. And I don't know that I like the changing of the times, to be honest.

Barbara and Susan's Guide to the Empty Nest is easy to read, well thought out, informative and, if not exactly essential for a woman in my situation, then by all means a wise option as I wrap up my current season of life. After all, I have been a full-time homeschool mom for almost 25 years. I probably need to seek out some counsel as I prepare to transition to...well...to whatever is next for me.

The book has 12 chapters, divided into three sections, and includes an epilogue as well as four appendixes and a small group or book club study guide. Like I said, it's well thought out and informative. The chapters stay true to their intended topic, which is nice because when discussing something like the impending empty nest there is no room for filler, fluff or rabbit trailing. Women need a strong dose of encouragement that is smothered in reality, because THIS...IS...DIFFICULT. Please do not placate me, pat me on the head, and tell me it will all be fine if I just pick up a new hobby. I am thankful Barbara and Susan don't do that. They have lived it, and that makes this book very relateable.

The chapter I liked the most (notice I used the word "liked", not the word "enjoyed" - I don't enjoy much about any of this empty nest prep stuff) was Chapter 12, "Changing Your World". It truly gives Christian women something impactful to press on toward as they walk through this time of change. I am not nearly done living yet, and I want to do something that changes some aspect of my world for the better, for Jesus and His Kingdom. I think most of the moms I know want the same thing. This book is a great resource for any woman nearing the emptying of her nest.

Consider grabbing a copy as a gift for a woman you know, or maybe even do this as a short-term small group with women from your church. It's beneficial to walk through this time of transition with others who will pray for and with us along the way.

I am thankful these women wrote this book and shared from their hearts, because it has given me permission to grieve while it gives me permission to look forward with hope. Thanks for that, Barbara and Susan!

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 Bethany House Publishers. All opinions shared here are solely my own. 


Day 350 done :)

Jan L. Burt
The Homeschooling Mother's Bible Study
All Things Homeschool
available on Amazon