Burdorf’s book inspires youth

ABOVE: New book author Jill Burdorf (second from left in back row) poses with her family, clockwise from back left: Aubrey, husband Adam, Addison, Noah, Claire and Haidyn. Burdorf’s book focuses on coping with bullying through faith.

OMAHA, Neb. — Wife, mother of five, family chauffeur and bullpen catcher. That’s how Jill (Ulrich) Burdorf modestly describes herself.

Add children’s book author to the list.

What’s even more impressive is the fact the Ringsted, Iowa, native only needed a mere 45 minutes to pen her first literary creation, “If Jesus Were a Butterfly.”

The 30-page book — which is available in hard cover, paperback, e-edition and Kindle at both Barnes & Noble and Amazon — focuses on teaching children how to deal with bullying through a faith-based approach.

“How the book came about is such a divine experience that it still gives me chills,” said Jill Burdorf. “After I blew out my Achilles (tendon) in July 2023, I got into a mental funk. Having five kids (Addison, 16; Aubrey, 13; Noah, 10; Claire, 7; and Haidyn, 4), I know first-hand that motherhood has its highs and lows, but I wanted to do more than just exist.

“I was laid up and couldn’t do much around the house and it bothered me. I thought, ‘I’m the mom — I make sure everyone’s needs are taken care of’ and it wasn’t happening.”

Burdorf said that her fear of imperfection made her think she was letting down all the people around her.

“At that point, I turned the situation over to God to help me find my focus again,” said Jill. “After a couple weeks of praying and reflecting, He sent me a sign.”

Jill’s youngest — 4-year-old Haidyn — returned from preschool a few days later and sat next to her mother to discuss the day’s events.

“I asked Haidyn what she wanted to be in life — a deep question for someone as young as her, I know,” said Jill. “She told me she wanted to be a butterfly. I was intrigued and asked her what characteristics made her pick a butterfly.

“They’re beautiful,” Haidyn said.

When Jill repeated her initial question, Haidyn stopped, looked out the window, thought hard, looked at her mother and said, “I want to be Jesus.”

“I told her that position is already filled, but that’s truly a great role model to strive to live like,” Jill humbly said. ” … At that moment, I stopped worrying about everything and thought that I must be doing something right in raising my children.”

Jill went to bed feeling good, and woke the next morning with a renewed energy and refreshed attitude.

“I had a dream and remembered every character, every conversation, every situation and every detail of it,” said Jill. “I started writing and writing and writing. The words just poured out of me like I had studied the contents of what became my book for years.

“Obviously, it was divinely sent to me and I discovered my real purpose which was not about me at all. It was me telling my story and helping others, especially children, to see how great God is.”

Ironically, Jill had never thought of writing a book before.

When Adam, Jill’s husband, came home from work, he asked her how her day went.

“I wrote a book,” Jill reflected.

“I think we need to take a chance and get it published if you were inspired that much,” said Adam.

Jill and Adam agreed to “plant the seeds of faith and watch it grow.”

“We hired an independent publisher who handled the illustrations, editing and available formats of the book itself, and the rest is history,” said Jill.

“If Jesus Were a Butterfly” first hit book stores on January 31.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.65/week.

Subscribe Today