Ella's List

Mark and I have been so blessed recently by Ella's extra work around the house and yard.

Without ever being asked, she has weeded our garden several times, choosing to spend her quiet times out in the garden, quietly weeding a row or two of corn, or the cucumber hills, or the lettuce rows.

Last week she asked me if she could re-organize one of our bookshelves during her quiet time, and she did a wonderful job with what was getting to be a very disorderly bookshelf.

Ella is naturally a very competent, cheerful helper. She has the ability to see a need- or recognize when I am a little overwhelmed- and step in to help. Several times a day I will be tending to one of the girls and the other will begin fussing or whining. Before I can think of what to do, Ella is there, taking Audra into her arms, smiling at her and soothing her. Or lifting Adelia onto her hip and taking her outside, or into their room, and reading to her or playing with her. [I often think one of the reasons God felt we could handle these little girls just twelve months apart is because He had already given us Ella. ~smile~]

While she may enjoy weeding, (or maybe just the quiet that the weeding-time brings!) and organizing or tidying things, these things are a blessing to all of us, and we wanted to reward her somehow for the extra work we've seen her take on.

There is a doll Ella has wanted for well over a year, and she has some money (birthday money from grandparents) saved in her piggy-bank. We told her that as her reward for her extra service, we will match the money she has in her piggy-bank and then provide her with a list of extra jobs that she can do over the next several weeks (months?) in order to make up the rest of the money needed to get this doll.

This is sort of new territory for us, the thought of giving her money for extra work around the house. I admit that I was pretty reluctant to the whole idea, because my fear is that she will come to expect money given for things she might normally have done out of a servant's heart. [I don't want to do anything to ruin the good spirit of service we see in her!] Mark assures me that this will not happen, and so we have formed Ella's List, which has extra jobs on it for her to do as she chooses, for which she will be given money.

Most of the items on the list are for 10 cents or 25 cents, but some of the jobs that we know will take more time or work are a bit more.

We'll see how this all works out.


  1. I too, reward Taylor for her servant's heart. It is helpful to her to let her know how much she is appreciated!

  2. Sounds like (as I always knew) you and Mark are raising some fantastic children. Ella is such a blessing - Macy helps, but she is not one to just CHOOSE to go pull weeds. ;-) How wonderful! I think the "extra" jobs for money is a great idea too, it is also important to teach them the value and importance of money!! Good job! ;-)

  3. My Journey is a similar nature. We have started to do a bit of the same. I would be interested in what is on your list of chores. We don't give money for normal "I'm part of the family" jobs but for extra stuff.
    Just looking for ideas to add to our list. You can email me if that's easier.

    PS I know I am on a blog break but I still read yours anyway :o)

  4. I came to your blog from Hillary's and just wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed it, and how much your family has inspired me. I also have five close in age children, although we are just a few years ahead of you as my oldest is ten and youngest just turned three. We live on the Big Island of Hawaii and have been homeschooling ever since we moved here four and a half years ago.
    I have gotten several good ideas from your blog- the prayer bowl is one of my favorites- but am also encouraged to read the thoughts of another mother concerned with raising godly children and a closely knit family, but also with seeking godliness for herself.

  5. Carolynn,
    I'm glad to know you've done that with Taylor, too!

    Thank you! For the record, I'm with Macy: I would not be one to just choose to go pull weeds, either!! :)

    Her initial list was as follows:

    -clean front of kitchen cupboards and drawers ($1)
    -fold and put away two hampers of laundry ($2)
    -organize the shoes by the front door (25 cents)
    -dust the fireplace candleholder (25 cents)
    -organize gift bags/wrapping paper downstairs ($1)
    -water outside front porch container (10 cents)
    -organize Isaac's clothing drawers with him (50 cents)
    -sweep back porch (25 cents)
    -mop back porch (inside) (25 cents)
    -tidy bathroom floor (10 cents)

    I'm trying to make note of things that need to be done as I see them, and keep a running list going. She's nearly done with this one.

    Amy in Hawaii,
    Thank you for commenting! I like to know who is reading, so I'm glad you introduced yourself! :) Thank you for your kind words. Make sure to leave your blog address if you have a blog of your own-- that way I can come and visit *you*! :)

  6. it will be so fun to watch her enjoy the fruit of her labor! I love that.

  7. Oh goodness, she could not be sweeter! What a gift.

  8. I'm so glad God has blessed you-- and her other siblings-- with the gift of helps. I'm grateful for your list. My kids always want extra chores for $ in lieu of the regular ones, so I've had to be very "strict" about their doing their regular jobs before any "extra" ones will be rewarded.

  9. What a sweet spirit is growing in your Ella!

    I love to hear about how she intuitively sees a need and begins serving you and her siblings.

    I have begun to see the beginnings of this in Mercy- It's just a little different than the mindset of my boys who are helpers in a different and sometimes oblivious kind of way.


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