Chores for Pay



I’ll be honest. Between homeschooling and working at HEDUA, plus my myriad of other responsibilities, housework sometimes gets put on the back burner. However, I have also discovered that both my husband’s and my attitudes are much better when our house is neat. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. While my kids have always had some chores, they sometimes cause more work for me than they are worth. We started a new chore plan that seems to be helping. So far, it has developed independence in my children while also creating, dare I say it, enthusiasm for doing chores.

How to Set up a Paid Chores System

It all started with my son, who complained that there are no jobs available for eleven-year-old boys. While his fourteen-year-old sister can babysit for extra cash, he has yet to find a money-making venture that has panned out-though he has tried. So he had a proposal for me. Would I pay him to do some special chores around the house so he could have some money to buy a gift for a friend? After thinking it through, I agreed-with the following stipulations:

  1. All of his regular personal chores and schoolwork needed to be done before he did the chores for pay.
  2. I had a budget of a certain amount per month I was willing to spend. Once the paid chores were done for the month, that was it.
  3. Part of the deal was that he needed to have a good attitude with his sister. Just like in real life, certain infractions could result in a “fine”.
  4. He needed to pay a tithe on the money he earned.

Here are a few of the chores that I have paid him to do:

  • >Vacuum and scrub the entry floor
  • Wash the entry and hallway woodwork
  • Clean the kitchen junk drawer
  • Wash the kitchen chairs
  • Wipe the kitchen and bathroom baseboards
  • Wash the trash can basket and wipe down the outside of the trashcan
  • Straighten the bathroom drawers and cupboards
  • Clean the garage fridge and wipe it out

My system isn’t perfect. I do have to take time to make an inspection of the chore that has been done. And the paid chores are a whole lot more interesting than school or personal chores. But so far it seems to be a good balance between the requirement of doing chores just because you live in our home, and doing something for pay.

Originally posted at


Answering the Orphan’s Cry: The Gibbons Family


Busy with duties as leader of a youth summer camp, the last thing on Casey Gibbons’ mind was orphan care and adoption. She and her husband Scotty were heavily involved in on-staff ministry at James River Assembly of God in Ozark, Missouri. Casey, already mother to two daughters under three, was pregnant with their third child. Still, as she worked online, a pop-up message on the screen that mentioned waiting children piqued her interest. According to Casey, “I had never thought about waiting children or orphan care, but I began to read about the needs here in America and around the world. I was overwhelmed with a call of God to do something, even though I sat there pregnant with my third baby and had a one- and two-year-old. It was purely God at work.”

A Call to Orphan Care

Casey didn’t know it at the time, but God was working in a similar manner in her lead pastors’ lives as well (John and Debbie Lindell):

There was a young foster boy who came into the church and had caused some trouble in class. When Debbie went to her office prepared to lecture him, she was met by a small body and big brown eyes that looked innocent and lost. She took him in her arms and talked with him about the Lord, as well as how to be in class. From that day, she and Pastor John knew it was time the church started reaching out to these hurting children in our community. It was divine that the Lord was stirring all of our hearts at the same time.

During a meeting at the Gibbons’ home, the two couples decided to move forward in prayer and research. After much hard work, James River Assembly birthed Cherish Kids, a ministry dedicated to bringing hope to foster and orphaned children around the world.

Cherish Kids accomplishes this in three main ways: by promoting awareness of the need for orphan care locally and globally, by connecting potential families with necessary resources, and by supporting foster and adoptive parents before, during, and after a child is placed with them.

That she is currently a joyful homeschooling mother of five daughters demonstrates God’s purely transforming grace in Casey’s life. She spent her teen years focused on herself, school, and activities — including winning the Miss American Teen national pageant in 1998. Though raised in a Christian family, she came into marriage without much training or experience with young children. Casey found herself pregnant with her second child just three months after her first, despite suffering a broken back, reconstructive surgery, and postpartum depression.

In the midst of this, the Lord led her to search through Scripture for God’s heart for children. In obedience and surrender, Casey promised the Lord she would obey him and have as many children as he wished to be a resource for his purposes. God brought this prayer to fruition in the couple’s biological children, as well as the nine children that have come to their home for respite care. Although several young children have come through their lives, so far, other people have become the children’s permanent families. Casey’s prayer is that one day she and Scotty will be chosen as the family for one or more children waiting for an adoptive home.

Cherish Kids

At its launch in 2008, Cherish Kids relied solely on volunteer help. In the beginning, Casey was involved in the day-to-day operations. Soon, though, the ministry was flourishing, and a full-time staff member, Marla Robison, was added in addition to the dozens of volunteers that offer their time and help to move things along. The Gibbons, now homeschooling parents to five girls ages two to ten, are involved in several other ministry duties at James River Assembly of God. They serve together as Student Ministries Directors, while Scotty serves the church on the Executive Leadership and preaching teams. Casey is on the Executive Team for women’s ministry. In addition, they both write books and travel to speak to churches and conferences. Currently, Casey is involved as an advisory board member and networking waiting children with adoptive families at Cherish Kids.

Casey’s heart for children is evident as she recounts this story of the early days of Cherish Kids ministry:

When I was still in the research stages of Cherish Kids, I visited the local county office to learn more about the needs of our area. One of the workers greeted me but apologized that she couldn’t talk long, because there were three young children on the other side of the door waiting in her office for a foster placement. It was less than two hours away from the office time of closing, and there still was no place to send the children.

Cherish Kids at Work

According to the most current AFCARS (Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System Report) report released in July 2012, there were approximately 400,540 children in the U.S. in foster care on September 30, 2011. Nearly 2000 of these children were located in Missouri alone. The need for foster and adoptive parents is staggering. The staff and volunteers at Cherish Kids are working hard to change this.

In 2012, through Cherish Kids’ efforts, 200 families offered to volunteer, foster, adopt, or provide respite care. A November 2012 expo saw twenty-eight foster care and sixty-eight adoption inquiries. God used a Cherish Kids Adoption Expo to speak to Kimberley and her husband. “My husband and I were at the Cherish Kids Adoption Expo a few weeks ago and started the adoption process!” she writes. “We were always planning on adopting, but God really spoke to us on that day and it all started in motion.”

Marla Robinson, Cherish Kids’ Assistant Director, loves her job. When asked about a typical day at Cherish Kids, she simply states, “As for an average day . . . they do not exist.” Marla adds, “God has gone before us and given us great favor with local state agencies and adoption agencies. Many days of the week, I receive phone calls or emails requesting assistance in finding an emergency home for a child. I receive calls from foster families asking for much-needed items for their new child coming into their home or just a request for a gift card for clothing for the child. I am always working on the many details of our next event, and I’m excited to promote it in the community and invite families to come and be encouraged on their journey.”

Cherish Kids offers a number of services to help children.

Quarterly “Foster/Adoption Connection” events raise awareness of the need for adoptive and foster families. One major fundraising and outreach event hosted by Cherish Kids is a 5K/10K walk/run. The walk/run is held at James River South Campus, in Ozark, Missouri. A Kids K for children twelve and under allows for participation by the whole family. The day also includes live music, kids’ activities, giveaways, and a silent auction as well.

Part of the Cherish Kids’ duties include maintaining an active Facebook and Twitter presence in order to encourage families, raise awareness of specific needs, find families for children in emergency situations, and appreciate sponsors and donors. Recent posts have included placement requests for children coming into foster care, furniture and equipment needs, donated items available to families, and words of encouragement. Cherish Kids also helps foster families locate necessities such as beds and school supplies. Another important service that Cherish Kids offers is distributing gift cards and camp scholarships for foster families who are receiving a new child into their care. Families can call the Cherish Kids’ office, and they will be helped with the financial assistance they need.

The ministry has built relationships with their county office in Missouri. Marla receives Cherish Kids’ intake forms from families interested in foster care. After she emails them to the county, county officials follow up with a phone call to the family, answer any questions, and help the family sign up for foster classes. Casey notes:

God has blessed Cherish Kids since its beginning in 2008, which is no surprise when you consider how close orphans are to the heart of the Lord. The state reps in Jefferson City have noted and honored the ministry as one of the Top 3 organizations making a notable difference here in Missouri. One of the things that makes Cherish Kids unique is our relationship with the state. Our heart is to partner directly with the government workers to bring more foster and adoptive families, as well as encourage the work they are doing to help children.

God Moves through Cherish Kids

Not only have children found permanent homes through the work Cherish Kids has done, but some have been introduced to the Lord as well. Shalene, sixteen, states, “I found God through my foster family.” Shalene’s foster family attended James River Assembly of God. Though at first she had no desire to attend church or hear about the Lord, her foster parents continued to pray daily that she would come to know the Lord. Her foster parents prayers were answered when, during a Sunday morning service, Shalene raised her hand to receive salvation. God filled a void in her life that nothing else could. According to Casey, “Shalene knows that her Christian foster parents gave her the opportunity to have a family that loves her, cares for her, and ultimately showed her Christ’s love for her. She found God because she was in a Christian foster home.”

One Cherish Kids family, the Gillmans, stepped out in faith and were blessed in return. “Our journey was long and it stretched us farther than I ever thought we could be stretched, but we saw God move in mighty ways. He provided funds at just the right time, he drew us closer to him and closer to each other. Our daughter who journeyed this process with us offered her heart to Jesus, and two children once alone in this world were no longer fatherless. I still can’t tell you why our journey was so long or why we started out with El Salvador and ended up in Ethiopia. What I can tell you is that God knew exactly the two children who should come into our lives and he knew exactly what we would need to walk through in order to be ready for those two children he had in mind. I could provide you a lot more detail regarding our adoption, but the ending would be the same with or without that . . . it would still be this: We have been changed! We have been blessed!”

Catching God’s Vision for Orphan Care

Casey Gibbons’ heartfelt desire is to raise awareness of the nearly 2,000 orphans in the state of Missouri in need of a home. “We need families and individuals to open their homes and help on this rescue mission. We would like to have more television, radio, and billboard ads to let people know that we can ALL do something.” When asked if there is anything else she would like people to know, Casey’s plea is for everyone to seek God for their role in orphan and foster care:

I want people to be open to stepping out in radical faith to rescue children. There is a young family with three biological children four years old and under that has stepped out in faith and has now adopted three teenage girls! And there is another couple in their mid-forties that had already raised their three children and now have adopted three siblings under the age of five! Single people can help too. Sally N. is a twenty-something single businesswoman who heard God speak to her heart to become a foster parent, and she has been able to influence babies, children, and teens in the past couple of years. When God calls you to do something, it doesn’t matter what most people say or do. He will help you and guide you!

Since their first meeting with Pastor John and Debbie Lindell about orphan and foster care ministry, the Gibbons have seen their vision grow. Casey remembers that early on, she thought that setting aside a Sunday at church to promote orphan care and encourage families to foster and adopt would be a huge step forward. But, as she says, God’s ways are higher than our ways. He had a full-time ministry planned that would do much more than just a one-time Sunday service could. Casey observes, “My vision has been to see hundreds of children and teens fill our church as they are introduced to Jesus and loved in a safe family. We are beginning to see that vision come true. A couple of Sundays ago I counted out seven children in just ten minutes that passed me, who were either adopted or in a foster home. We have a ways to go, but many children are being saved not only from their family struggles, but also from eternity apart from the Lord as they are entering Christian foster families. It is beautiful!!!”

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world (James 1:27 NKJV).

Cherish Kids Mission

Cherish Kids is a non-profit organization committed to a threefold mission:

  1. RAISE AWARENESS of the needs of children in crisis locally, statewide and around the world.
  2. OFFER RESOURCES by providing credible information and guidance to families and individuals who desire to help.
  3. PROVIDE SUPPORT by assisting children in crisis with essential needs and providing financial, emotional and spiritual support to families and individuals in their effort to foster and adopt.

Resources for Starting an Orphan Care Ministry

How to Help

  • Adopt, foster, or offer respite care for waiting and foster children.
  • Pray for children in crisis as well as foster and adoptive families.
  • Take meals to newly adoptive families.
  • Give gifts at Christmas or other holidays.
  • Mentor a teen in foster care.
  • Send notes of encouragement to foster families.
  • Start a Bible study at a children’s home.
  • Help renovate state offices where children play during visits.
  • Make financial gifts to organizations who are working to make a difference in children’s lives.
  • Provide needed supplies or services for foster families.

How to Contact Cherish Kids

Cherish Kids

James River Assembly of God

6100 North 19th Street

Ozark, MO 65721

(417) 581-KIDS (5437)

Finding Cherish Kids Online

Originally published at

6 Ideas for Nature Study in the Winter



The first dusting of snow fell last week, and today we have gotten several inches of the white stuff. My middle-school-aged son and I have been studying animals in science this year, so we are gearing up to have some fun with nature study in the winter. We have our bird feeders set out where we can see them from the warmth of the kitchen, and I am planning a hike or two as soon as it warms up just a tad. While spring and summer may seem like the optimum months for nature study, winter can be enjoyable, too.

Here are a few ways we enjoy nature study even when the temperature plummets outside:

  1. We put up bird feeders and keep a record of which birds visit our yard. We also like to experiment with different types of bird seed and feeders, to see which ones attract more birds. Right now, we have a clean vegetable oil bottle filled with regular bird seed and a suet basket.
  2. We check out animal tracks and compare them to our animal tracks guidebook to see if we can identify the animal that made each one. We see a lot of rabbit tracks in our neighborhood!
  3. Some years, we enjoy making temperature and precipitation graphs. We had so little snow last year that it wasn’t much fun, but we are off to a good start already this year.
  4. When it isn’t too cold out, we like using my son’s telescope to study the stars. We compare the stars that we can see in the winter to those that we normally see in the summer.
  5. We combine nature study and art by drawing winter landscapes. This is especially fun when we can take a trip to the lake and watch the geese on the water and the snow on the trees before we draw.
  6. When it is just too cold to consider going outside at all, sometimes we curl up with a good book about hibernation and stay indoors!

While it may take a little more planning — and a lot more clothing! — to do nature study in the winter, we feel it is worth it. With the fresh air, the peacefulness of being outdoors in the cold, and the different items to study, we have come to greet the first weeks of winter nature study like a long lost friend.

What nature discoveries have you found this winter?

Originally published at

Providing a Place Where Everyone Wants to Hang Out



I am never sure from one day to the next how many children might be hanging out in my family room watching a movie or playing board games in the kitchen. Early on in our parenting, my husband and I made it a priority to make sure our children and their friends were comfortable here. There is a very good reason for this: If they are here, we know what they are doing! And because we so frequently have our children’s friends in our home, we have gotten to know them well, which makes us more comfortable when our children ask to spend time with them away from our home.

7 Tips for Encouraging Your Kids and Their Friends to Spend Time at Your House

Over the years, we have learned several lessons about entertaining our children’s friends. Here are some of our tips for providing a safe place for your kids and their friends to spend time together:

  1. Spend some time with your spouse hashing out what the house rules are going to be. Then make sure that your children and their friends are aware of these guidelines. Decide if the rules that apply to your children when they are home by themselves are the same ones that will apply when they have their friends over. For example, do you want them to ask before they get something out of your refrigerator or before they use a video game system? Are the same limits for TV time in effect when friends are over?
  2. Try to be respectful of the rules friends’ parents have imposed, as well. My children have friends who are not allowed to watch PG movies, and others who are not supposed to have sugar. If I am in doubt, I call and ask. It’s a good idea to make a list of parents’ names and phone numbers to have on hand for these occasions (as well as if any emergencies come up!)
  3. Be aware of any allergies. Certain food allergies, such as nut allergies, can be deadly.
  4. Stock up on snacks! Kids like to eat, and providing food will keep them coming around. I stock my freezer full of popsicles for the summer and keep fruit, crackers, and granola bars in the cupboard at all times.
  5. Board games and puzzles can provide hours of screen-free entertainment. We purchase some for our kids for birthdays and Christmas, but I keep a lookout at garage sales and online auctions, too. Balderdash, Hullaballoo, Aggravation, and Group Solitaire are favorites.
  6. Ignore the noise. I’ll be honest, I need an hour or two of quiet time in the morning or at night, but other than that, noise doesn’t really bother me. If your personality is one that really doesn’t like noise, you are going to have to let that go to provide a place for your children’s friends to gather. Somehow, while we may only add two or three children to our own two, the noise intensifies ten-fold!
  7. Invest in some fun outdoor toys. We have a collapsible outdoor pool that provided hours of enjoyment last summer. We also have a variety of balls, badminton equipment, ladder ball, and other outdoor games. When the weather is pleasant, our yard is a great place for the kids to gather!

While having a bunch of extra kids in your house can sometimes be inconvenient, the rewards are well worth the effort. Guiding your children in making good friends now will reap many rewards when they are high school age.

What has worked well for your family to encourage your children and their friends to spend time in your home?

Originally published at

Expanding Your Child’s Writing



How to Get Started With 4 Common Types of Writing

While not every child is destined to become a famous-or infamous-writer, everyone needs to write in a variety of writing typesduring his or her lifetime. From letters to speeches to reports, it is important to expose our children to a variety of types of writing. Here are descriptions and examples of four common types of writing: narrative, expository, persuasive, and descriptive, as well as some tips for getting started in teaching each style to expand your child’s writing.

Narrative Writing

Narrative writing tells a story based on a real or imagined event. Its purpose is to entertain. The primary goal of narrative writing is to relate a series of events. Narrative writing needs descriptive language and imagery to tell the story, in order to hold the reader’s interest.

Examples of Narrative Writing

  • Autobiographies
  • Biographies
  • Creative writing
  • Fiction
  • Epics
  • Epic poems
  • Fables
  • Fantasies
  • Folk tales
  • Historical fiction
  • Legends
  • Myths
  • Novels
  • Parables
  • Plays
  • Realistic fiction
  • Short stories
  • Tall tales
  • TV show scripts

Tips for Teaching Narrative Writing

Read a large variety of narrative writing to your child.

Have your child tell a story about an event that is meaningful to him or her.

Write down the five senses and ask your student describe aspects of the story that he or she can see, feel, smell, hear, or taste.

Ask your student to write details that make a word picture for the reader.

Have your child write a response to a piece of narrative writing, such as rewriting the story from another character’s point of view.

Use photographs as writing prompts.

Expository Writing

Expository writing is used to explain, describe, and inform. It requires strong organization in a logical order or sequence and often includes facts and figures. Expository writing is often formal, and casual language and slang is usually unacceptable in this type of writing. It does not contain personal opinions, but merely states facts.

Examples of Expository Writing

  • Blogs
  • Brochures
  • Business letters
  • Character analysis
  • Contracts
  • Diaries
  • Dissertations
  • Editorials
  • Encyclopedia articles
  • Flyers
  • Newscasts
  • Newspaper or magazine articles
  • Pamphlets
  • Policy manuals
  • Reports
  • Reviews
  • Speeches
  • Term papers
  • Text books
  • User manuals
  • Web pages

Tips for Teaching Expository Writing

Teach your child to organize his or her writing, perhaps using graphic organizers or outlining.

Read good quality expository writing to your child.

Ask your child to write about what he or she knows.

Begin by having your child write instructions or simple descriptions, such as how to make a sandwich.

Have your child write a comparison between two items.

Practice writing cause and effect pieces.

Persuasive Writing

Persuasive writing contains the opinions, biases, and justifications of the writer. It is used to persuade the reader to accept the author’s point of view, or to call the reader to action based on the writer’s opinions. Persuasive writing relies on specific details and examples for support, but does not rely on fact.

Examples of Persuasive Writing

  • Advertising
  • Book reports
  • Debates
  • Historical analysis
  • Letters to the editor
  • Literary analysis
  • Newspaper columns
  • Research papers

Tips for Teaching Persuasive Writing

Read a variety of persuasive writing, discussing the viewpoint and motivation of the author.

Discuss the difference between fact and opinion. Ask your child to label statements as fact or opinion.

Have your child write an imaginary letter to the editor on a current topic or interest.

After reading a piece of persuasive writing, ask your child to offer counterarguments to the author’s position. Then ask him or her to refute the counterargument.

Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing focuses on describing a character, event, or place in great detail. It can be poetic in nature. The purpose of descriptive writing is both to inform and entertain. It attempts to evoke emotions. Descriptive writing might be used within any of the other three types of writing.

Examples of Descriptive Writing

  • Character sketches
  • Journal writing
  • Personal experiences
  • Poetry
  • Stories

Tips for Teaching Descriptive Writing

Read good quality descriptive writing to your child.

Read a plain sentence to your child. Then read the same sentence, but with a variety of descriptive words added. Discuss which one makes a better word picture.

Read descriptions in riddle form, and ask your child what the author is describing.

Create lists of descriptive adjectives and adverbs.

Blindfold your child, then have him or her describe items without using their eyes.

Take a nature walk, asking your child to use all of his or her senses when describing the experience.

Have your child look at the world from other points of view, such as from the top floor of a building or standing on a chair.

Exposing your child to a variety of writing can be a fun and educational experience for you both. What are some ways that you expand your children’s writing skills?

Originally published at

First Day of School Photos


We started school back in August, but with a high schooler and a middle schooler, this year just started off extremely busy, and I didn’t get our photos posted. So, here they are: First day of school 2015. Boo is a sophomore and Buddy is in the sixth grade. Time is flying by. I am so thankful to have the extra time with them that I get by having them home with me!

Buddy is a little taller than his sister now, which he is very excited about. But in this photo he  is taking full advantage of a hill and his tiptoes!




Countries of the World Notebooking Pages Deal of the Day


Countries of the World Notebooking Pages is the Deal of the Day at Currclick! Today only, you can get this collection for 50% off.



This huge set of notebooking pages includes one page for each sovereign nation, territory, and disputed area in the world.  Also included is a page for each of the seven continents.  Countries of the World Notebooking Pages offer a contained space to summarize information learned about world locations during a World Geography study, or can be a study in and of themselves when used with an atlas, encyclopedia, or online websites.