Faith Family Motherhood Parenting

For When Your $9.36 of Parenthood Has All Been Spent

November 14, 2014

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Of Mice and Cheese

 

I was homeschooled. And although we did attend a homeschooling group, I didn’t wear denim skirts or fear society. I was not weird.

Our homschooling group was hosted at a local church. In between classes, I would sit behind an outdated, light blue loveseat in a side room, snacking on too many cheese sticks to keep count of while feeding our 2-day old pet mice milk from a syringe. No but really, I wasn’t all that strange.

 

The Imaginary Man and the Wooden Frame

 

I can still remember one of my homeschool assignments from when I was 8 years old, or perhaps 9. The assignment was to write a short story. I wrote of a man. He stood in the cabin of a ship beside a small bed, and next to the bed stood an end table.

Atop the end table was a photo, of which he was staring at. It was a photo of himself and his family. The photo was hugged by a wooden frame; not the cheap kind of wooden frame you buy from the Dollar Store, but real wood, with grain that the man could feel under his finger tips when he picked up the photo to observe it closer.

 

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Better Than an A+

 

I don’t remember the grade I received for this short story. But I remember my mother’s encouragement after she read it. She told me she was impressed by the details I included in my writing. And perhaps that is why I remember this particular assignment.

First, because I took an extra few moments to truly feel and articulate the scene I was imagining, but moreso because my mother encouraged me in my ability to write.

Her practice of instilling confidence within me did not end with that assignment. She, along with my dad, would encourage, enable, and challenge me in my writing for years to follow. They still do, in fact.

 

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A Message We All Needed, Apparently 

 

Last week I laid down on our sofa after a long day of raising two rambunctious boys. Heavy was my body but restless was my mind.

God had been laying words, ideas, and pictures on my heart for days, and I felt them accumulating into something that needed to be shared. And so in the course of a couple hours, one bar of very dark chocolate, and a cold glass of whole milk, I typed out God’s stirrings in my heart.

 

I wrote this post: How 936 Pennies Will Forever Change How You Parent”

 

I clicked “Publish”. And then I was blown away.

It ends up, I was not the only one who needed to hear this message.

In one day, the post brought 3 times the “hits” on my website then I had ever had in one day. And it hasn’t stopped. I was completely humbled by the response of friends, and then complete strangers, as this message spread across Facebook, quickly beyond what I could keep track of.

Since it was published one week ago, it has reached 1,415% more readers than any other post I have ever written on my blog.

Apparently there were a lot of parents as hungry for this message as I was.

 

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A Common Lament of Years Already “Spent”

 

Something caught me as I watched comments float in from the blog and Facebook. Many readers with children already grown expressed that they felt they could have “spent their pennies better”. They wished they had heard this message when they still had their children young and at home.

And so my message today is for those who wish they could have the time back.

This message is also for those, like me, who are watching the weeks slip out from between our fingers, no matter how tightly we clutch onto them, and we are just so desperately searching for hope that we are doing things right; that our children will grow up loved, happy, and ready for what life will bring them.

But mostly, this message is for my mom.

 

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An Open Letter to My Mom–But One We All Need to Read

{A Woman Who Spent Her Pennies Well, and Figured Out a Way To Expand the Years of Motherhood}

 

It began in the cabin of that ship, with the man smoothing his fingers along the grain of the wooden frame, gazing at his family. It began when I was a child, my stocking feet planted firmly on the wooden grain flooring we installed as a family the week we bought our home.

You sat quietly at the table as you read my story. You complimented me on my writing style. And I don’t know if you remember that day, or my story, or know that I was a little bit nervous to have you read my work.

I don’t remember your exact words, but whatever they were, they shaped me. They set me on a road that would eventually lead me to one of the things I am most passionate about; the thing God uses in my life daily to show me myself, and Himself–sharing God’s grace and my story through words.

Your words on that ordinary day, whatever they were, they told me to keep going.

And so I did.

Your words that day were a penny well spent. They were a choice you made on one ordinary day to set me up to see my life years later–to really see it, take it in, understand it, enjoy it, and share it.

 

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And years later, when your pennies of my childhood were all spent, and I packed up my Spiderman-decorated Jeep Wrangler with photos, empty notebooks, bedding, and a few dollars, and set off down the highway towards college and my adult life, you understood that although the jar was empty, a new jar was of pennies was standing ready, waiting to be invested.

Your role was changing, and you understood that. I am a mother now, and I can barely fathom the hurt my heart will bear the day my babies drive away to their new life. But somehow on that day as you watched me drive away, you embraced your new responsibility as a mother to an adult.

You let me go. And I cannot even imagine the prayers you whispered on that day, and every day since. Those prayers were your first and most important investment in my new life.

Months later I would show up back home, unannounced. Surprise shone on your face as you hugged me, and my tears began to fall as I explained my first heartbreak. All I needed in that moment was your arms, and that’s exactly what I arrived to.

The following year I would drop little hints through texts and during phone calls. I’m sure you took notice of my excitement. Perhaps you already knew I was in love. You and Daddy drove up to meet this man I was smitten over. He was not what you expected. He was older. Outdoors-ie. And not Emo. At dinner he excused himself to the restroom. You told me you liked him.

 

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A year following, you would drive up regularly to take me to try on dresses, assemble impossibly-detailed invitations, and share with me in my excitement to become a bride.

And then on that day, I don’t remember your words beforehand. Maybe because you were behind the scenes, making sure everything was just perfect for me. But you were there, exactly as I needed you to be. Mother of the bride. Beautiful–no, absolutely stunning, as you shone with pride in your daughter.

A few years later I faced the scariest day of my life. Doctors ran around that small dark room, adjusting lighting, giving me instructions to change position, kneel on all fours, my gown draped over me, tears spilling down my face as they told me my first baby was in distress inside of me. His heart rate had dropped. And the commotion in the room–the nervousness of the doctors and nurses–I didn’t know what to do; what to think.

And there you were.

When things calmed down, and his heart rate raised, and you and Daddy prayed with us as the doctor came in to deliver my boy. Everyone left, besides the doctor, Grayson, and you. You watched as your first grand baby was brought into the world, and later you would tell me it was one of the most incredible experiences of your life, and thank me for allowing you to be a part of it. I don’t think I told you then–but thank you. Thank you for being one of the first faces he saw. I needed that for him, and for me.

 

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Each of these memories, along with the countless others I cherish–they are the investments you are making now, as a mom to a grown woman.

Because life is what it is and distance separates loved ones, we can’t be physically together for every major event or memory made. But when you’re not there by my side, the confidence you instilled within me as a child steps in. And in that way, you are there.

You have shown me exactly what it looks like to remain faithful in the investment of a child even when that child is grown.

 

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I can just picture it, an imaginary jar sitting on your desk, in your home, hours away from mine. You think of it everyday–as you think of me. There are three jars, actually, one for each of your children. And next to them sit 5 more jars–one for each of your grandchildren.

You have given me hope, the hope I need as I grapple to hold on to every moment I have with these little boys now. You have shown me that I don’t need to fret the end of these days, because the end is a new beginning; and that new role as a mother of grown children is rich.

You have shown me the rich friendship that there can be between a mother and her adult child.

So thank you, mom, for showing me that motherhood is forever. And thank you for telling me you liked my story of the man and his wooden-framed photo.

 

 

  • Amy November 14, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Absolutely beautiful and well written. Made me cry. 🙂

    • Nancy Schur November 19, 2014 at 6:33 pm

      I have 3 sons, the youngest is 10 and the oldest, 17, is a senior in high school, he (I’d like to say we, because of all the work and time we have spent together on this) has just applied to colleges. I read both posts and weeped as well and it reminded me of what an honor I have been given. An honor to raise beings who will touch others…with kindness and humanity. This is what I have given them even when I thought many pennies could have been better spent. Children and parents are gifted many days and as long as morals run high, what a beautiful gift parents will see when their children are grown. Thank you for the wise and heartfelt posts.

      Nancy

  • Becky November 14, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    I found myself blubbering again as I read one of your posts. Yep, you hit a nerve in all of us mothers. Beautifully said.

  • Mom November 15, 2014 at 3:25 am

    Thank you, Sweetie.You made me cry, of course 🙂 But I was able to read it to Gram and Pap as they are visiting us 🙂

    • eryn@lynum.us November 16, 2014 at 6:22 pm

      I meant every word of it 😀 But you inspired the words 😉

  • Kathy November 15, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    I saw your pennies story posted on Facebook and then clicked over to this one. I bawled during both of them, unable to read through my tears at times. My boys are 13 and 14 and it is absolutely amazing to watch them grow into young men. My oldest was quite string willed and “difficult” as a toddler and boy, yet he has turned into such a responsible, self-driven teenager. I read something years ago that I made part of my email signature: the days are long, but the years are short. It is so true. I relish every moment. Thank you for the good cry this morning. Enjoy those little boys.

    • eryn@lynum.us November 16, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      Kathy thank you for sharing this. Our first, who is 3, is also quite strong-willed and “difficult” right now. It is encouraging to remember that struggles now can help develop him into a responsible and self-driven young man. Thank you for your encouragement!

  • Jo November 15, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Thank you for both articles. Like others my pennies are spent. This article bought a tear to my eye – a tear of sadness – one of my children has completely rejected me and I am not convinced any of them would say such kind words about me.

    • eryn@lynum.us November 16, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      Jo, I am very sorry to hear that. I can only imagine the pain you’ve suffered through that. Praying for reconciliation, and peace in your heart today.

    • TN Lizzie December 4, 2014 at 5:28 am

      Dear Jo,
      God gave your children the parents they need. God gave you the children you need. Your story is still a work in progress – it is still being written. Your days of pennies may be over, but you can still invest in the lives of your children.

      Pray for them, that God will do whatever it takes to get their attention. Pray that God will restore your relationship or will build a new one. Perhaps send them the link to the first article, with a check for $9.36. Ask them to invest that money in something that will make a difference 18 years from now. Apologize if you need to, and ask them to pray for you each time they see a penny.

      God sees your sadness, and He cares.

  • melissa mondragon November 15, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    That touch my heart because one of my daughters is grown and I have 3 grand babies and one on the way. They live far away and its hard but you mentioned something about how even though you and your mom live hours away from each other she is still with you in your heart. That touched a place in my heart the hope that my grown daughter knows the love I have for her. Thank you for Sharing this

  • Katrina November 16, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Beautiful follow up post. What a sweet tribute to your momma!

  • Cathee Neiswender November 16, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    So touching! Bawling my eyes out as I think of the fleeting days with my children, but full of hope as this reminds me that my job will never end as a mother, only change & I am challenged to continue to invest in these people that I love so passionately even as they become adults!

  • Pat Aho November 16, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    My pennies are spent but I know they were well spent because in spite of me because I have a blessed relationship with all my children including the ones gained in their marriages. From one of my sons on my birthday last weekend:”Today is the birthday of the most wonderful, selfless and kind-hearted woman on this Earth. I love you mom! Happy birthday!!”

    • eryn@lynum.us November 17, 2014 at 1:05 am

      Wow, what incredible words to hear from your son! Definitely proof of a great legacy you have, and continue to leave as his mother.

  • Hayley Crocker November 16, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    I just read your 936 pennies post (a friend shared it on FB), and I followed your link to this post. These are so insightful and so beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.

  • Jane November 17, 2014 at 1:37 am

    So beautifully written! And your mother did the world a favor by encouraging you to use your words in a way to brighten others lives 😉 a friend sent me your pennies story and I just followed the links to your follow-up. I am a mother of 4, ranging in age from 12 to 20…and every word you have written applies every single day! Thank you for sharing your heart.

  • Cheri Mayes November 17, 2014 at 5:05 am

    Thank you from my heart for sharing.

  • Stefani November 17, 2014 at 6:32 am

    Thank you for sharing this post about your mom and your 936 pennies post as well. That post made me realize how truly empty my jar is getting to be with my senior in high school and it made me so sad. Then I read your follow up and it made me cry again because we just attended our last Mother Daughter Tea today and all the senior daughters wrote their moms a poem and mine was so sweet telling me know much she appreciates the things I do for her and our talks together I hope she will always feel that way. I m going to pay more attention to those pennies in the 13 year olds jar before its too late for her too! Thank you!

  • Jeanne Sanders November 17, 2014 at 8:05 am

    God Bless you and your family. I also have spent all the pennies but when I look at the Godly women my daughters have become I know that they were well spent. My son is my pride and joy, he just became a father for the first time and I know he will be a fantastic one. But..you have given me a new insight into my place in my busy family. I now have 8 granddaughters and 5 grandsons to count the pennies for also.

  • Ami November 17, 2014 at 11:26 am

    This is such a beautiful post, thank you for sharing your story. 🙂 As an adult child it really struck a chord for me – I see the evidence of the pennies my mum invested every single day. Just this morning I was reflecting on how much more I’m able to do with my life knowing she’s there to back me up if things get tough or scary.
    So to all the mums with adult children, we may not recognise your effort consciously very often but we know it and feel it in our hearts every day. 🙂

    • eryn@lynum.us November 17, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Thank you Ami. That is truly what writing this post did for me, too. I know little about raising adult children, because mine are still so very young. However, it helped me reflect and be thankful for the investment my mom put into my life growing up. I think it’s something we often overlook as adults, but it is so important.

  • Gayle A. Diehl November 17, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    My daughters are now grown and I have 4 wonderful grandchildren. The oldest is a young man in the Air Force and I am so very proud of him. The second oldest boy will be joining the Air Force in June. I was very fortunate to have parents that truly believed in God which helped me raise my own with God at the center of their lives. I wish I had read about the pennies sooner but know the important thing is that we all love God and now I can start penny jars with the grandchildren when they begin having children of their own. Thank you for sharing your story with us all!

  • Era Johnson November 17, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Such a wonderful story. Even though my children are all grown and I am grandmother of 15, (including spouses) and great grandmother of 6, this inspired me and brought tears to my eyes, Thank you so much for this.

  • Valerie November 17, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Thanks SO much for this post. As a mom of 18 and 21 year old boys, I am grappling with letting them go. How do I treat them? Why are there times of them pushing me away(so painful), and the next minute lovingly hugging me? As a homeschool mom, it is especially hard to let them go. But they love Jesus, and they are starting to fly, and I know that God has good plans, other plans for me at this time in my life. There are very few articles written on this time in a woman’s life that are filled with hope. Thanks for writing one of them. (and btw, every second of your grappling with that strong willed one will be worth it……mine is doing great as a strong leader-and there were days when I KNEW I wouldn’t live to see him turn 18!!)

    • eryn@lynum.us November 19, 2014 at 4:00 am

      Thank you Valerie, that is an encouragement!

  • renee November 18, 2014 at 5:19 am

    my heart breaks for the lost mis-spent years. my sea of regret is deep. i have made so many mistakes. my son is 11. i hope i can still make a difference. your letter has touched me deeply. it is so easy to get lost in daily survival and lose site of what is important, lose faith and hope. then i look into his sweet face and he somehow still has joy and love in spite of my failings. thank you for the painful reminder i needed to hear but keep ignoring waiting for an easier time when ‘i get it all together’… while 11 years have slipped away. i pray i can be strong enough to give him what he needs in spite of difficulty in my life. time will not wait for me.

    • eryn@lynum.us November 19, 2014 at 3:54 am

      “It is so easy to get lost in daily survival” You are certainly right, and I can relate. But even the days we feel we “messed up”, God can use those too. He shapes us even in our failures, and His grace covers those failures. I look into my sons’ sweet smiles some days and I also wonder how they can be so happy when I feel like I make so many mistakes, but children are incredible at loving like that. And sometimes they need to know that we are not perfect 🙂

  • Leslie November 19, 2014 at 4:20 am

    As I read, I pictured each act of motherhood to a grown woman adding a penny to that empty jar. What a blessing your writing is to me today.

  • Sheilah November 19, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    I would like to know why wearing denim skirts is weird? That was not a fair statement. I home schooled my son and I do wear denim skirts.

    • eryn@lynum.us November 19, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      I apologize Sheilah, it was more of an analogy 🙂 I have indeed worn some denim skirts now after my school days, and many of them are quite fashionable. I think they even came into fashion the past few years. My comment was lighthearted, not meant to offend, I apologize if it did so. Myself, my siblings, and my husband were all homeschooled, and we plan on homeschooling our own boys. It’s a blessing to be able to have them home 🙂

  • Wendy November 19, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Thank you for writing everything that has weighed on my heart and have given me hope that I’m not alone and my pennies being spent are not wasted no matter how they were spent.

  • Pamela November 20, 2014 at 2:08 am

    As a Mom to grown up girls – and now a Grandmother to 3 more girls – This makes me weep with joy. Thank you for your eloquence. Yes, motherhood is forever!

  • Heather November 20, 2014 at 5:44 am

    My mind is consumed by the amount of time I might have left with my son. Knowing that my disease can cut my life short is a heaviness I carry. I put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to install in my son a grocery list of values and character in the time I am given. This isn’t your normal milk and eggs list either. It is a Costco trip list. A bulk list of items crammed into one trip kind of list. I quickly become overwhelmed with a sense of defeat by the expectations I have put on myself. Reading your stories have surrounded my heart with a new comfort and peace. Perhaps my days of only checking off one item ( if that) on my list is a day well spent.

    • eryn@lynum.us November 20, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      Wow, Heather, that was eloquently put. Thank you for sharing, I love the grocery list analogy.

  • Carri Dunn November 20, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Thank you for your story. My son was loving and strong willed as a child. When he was a teenager he was disrespectful. He is nearly 22 and has become a responsible and caring adult. He shows me respect in so many ways. I feel appreciated and loved by him. And at his age now, after a phone call he said I love you. That isn’t typical of him so I see he is growing up to be a fine adult. I am truly blessed.

  • cindy November 20, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Thank you for writing the follow-up article. It was just what I needed. I guess we all have regrets, but hopefully my adult children feel the way you do.

  • Marlene Atkinson November 20, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    I read both posts thru tears as I look at my son, 31 and daughter 29 and realized I am not the only mom (after reading responses) that looks back feeling the failure of not always spending those pennies wisely, yet so greatfull to God that both of my adult kids are walking a life full of God’s presence and joy:) I look forward to giving them a jar of pennies when they marry and start their families♡♡ Thank you for opening your heart.

  • Debbie November 21, 2014 at 4:53 am

    Wow! Thank you for such beautiful words of encouragement to moms in all stages of life. Thank you Mom for saying you liked her story. You’ve blessed me through those words too.

  • cas November 21, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Oh this made me cry! I can not recall a moment of when my mom intentionally complimented me on something I had done well, with specific reasons as to why it was done well….on very rare occasions I my dad would, but still those times were rare. I cried because of how blessed you are to have such an amazing mom, and because I feel blessed that you shared these moments with us. This was an eye opener for me, and now I see I need to be be more intentional and specific with my praise with my two boys. It can be difficult to verbally praise another person when that is not something you are accustomed too, but I will be praying over this and asking for God’s guidance with praising my boys more than yelling and dimishing their spirit. Thank you Thank you Thank you!

    • eryn@lynum.us November 21, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      Wow, thank you for your honesty. Praying you (and all of us, really), can learn to recognize the moments, and specific reasons, we can compliment our children for and tell them exactly why we are proud of them. You’re right, I imagine it’s much more difficult when it is not something you yourself received, but what a gift you can give to your boys to practice speaking encouragement into their hearts and making that a habit!

  • Carol A. Akin November 21, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    May I share your blogs on the pennies and this one on motherhood with my readers? I will credit you.

    • eryn@lynum.us November 21, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      Hi Carol! I would be honored to have you share it, but would need just a few details to make sure I don’t get penalized by Google for duplicate content. Crazy, how we have to “please” Google these days, but hey, they basically own the internet now 😉 Please go right ahead and e-mail me by clicking the “Contact me” button at the top right corner of my blog, and I’ll get back to you. Thank you so much again!

  • Julie Almodovar November 21, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Thank you SO much for this. I have 2 children, 18 and 21. I bawled through both posts, because the time I have left with my daughter before she graduates from high school (27 pennies), is absolutely not enough. Through her high school years, she has lost a friend to suicide, struggled with severe depression, battled addiction, and been dishonest and rebellious. I want more than anything to trust her and to feel hopeful for her future. She says she is a Christian, but we aren’t seeing a heart-change. That alone makes me feel like a failure as a mom, and the enemy’s lie that it is all my fault is often unbearable. The number of regrets I have are too overwhelming to count: I should have home-schooled, I should have been more patient, I should have dealt with my own insecurities rather than teaching them to my daughter, etc. Thank you for reminding me to count the wins rather than the losses and for encouraging me to treasure those remaining pennies and spend them well. You are a blessing.

    • eryn@lynum.us November 21, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      Julie, thank you for your honesty and sharing your story. “to count the wins rather than the losses”, you put it so well. This is such a necessary practice of motherhood, or else the “should haves” pile up and completely overwhelm us. Satan is so good at sneaking little thoughts into our heads and making us feel like failures. But God is more gracious and more powerful, He has conquered Satan and death, and given us victory over all of our failures. Praying you can find peace in those truths today, and over the next 27 “pennies”, and as a mother to an adult when your daughter goes off on her own.

    • Angie November 29, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      Julie, there is no magic formula for being a mom. My three daughters (whom I homeschooled) are experiencing tumultuous years of early adulthood. I cannot say that all three are Christians, although they have the seeds of truth planted in their lives. I hear the regrets in your post because they echo in my own heart. As I lift my eyes up to God in this season, I remember that He placed these children in my home, He loves them more than I do, and He has walked with me through all of my rebellions and my struggles. I anticipate the story we will have to tell of their lives. And I cling to 2 Corinthians 1, which tells me that when I suffer, grace abounds more, and that the comfort I find in Him I can someday share with others. May the Lord be your daily strength.

  • Debbie How November 23, 2014 at 5:07 am

    Eryn, thank you so much for sharing these stories. Have you ever ended up somewhere totally by “accident” (you think), to realize later you were meant to be here. Well, that is how I feel after reading your stories. I was surfing around the internet and happened upon your story. I needed this so much right now…I can’t stop crying as I type this and I feel so much emotion, it’s incredible. God truly has gifted you with the ability not only to write, but to touch people’s hearts. Unfortunately, I have not been blessed with the kind of mother-daughter relationship you have and I so wish it was otherwise, however, I came to terms with it many, many years ago. I have two grown children now and a beautiful 9-month old granddaughter, whom I treasure. I have tried very hard to be the kind of mother to my children that I did not have. I too made many mistakes that I fully acknowledge and have apologized for. I do know I did the best I could with the tools I was given…I’ve come to terms with that also. Having said that, I received such comfort from your words about my role now as a mother, a different role that can be equally important. This is something I had never thought of. It’s my job now to allow them both to grow into the adults they are meant to be and trust the things they were taught by me will be useful in rearing their own children, when it is necessary. I HAVE left a legacy and NOW I’m very proud of it. Thank you so much for this gift. : D

    • eryn@lynum.us November 30, 2014 at 6:04 pm

      Thank you so much Debbie, for sharing this with me. Hearing how the story has touched you is a huge blessing to me. Even with my children so young, I can relate to the regret of mistakes, but the hope that is found in a simple but heartfelt apology, and making things right. I think I apologize to my three-year-old at least daily, and it is such a practice of humility for me, and a model to him of humility and grace. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Angela November 23, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Thank you! Most of my pennies are spent, had I had a jar like this. Oh how how I long for the days they were little. I think all parents question how they did raising these precious gifts given to us. As I ponder this story trying to think back, I see that I did indeed spend a lot well, trying to let go of the memories of the frivourless spent or ones lost in the sofa cushions. I try to let my nieces & friends who are now starting their families to treasure all the days they can. This has given my a great gift idea for each baby shower or new baby gift I have to give, a jar of 936 pennies! Awesome post! Thank you again.

  • Heather November 24, 2014 at 2:29 am

    Thank you for writing this and sharing! It made me cry happy tears! The wonderful relationship you have with your mom; I have that too, but I don’t have the ability to express in words what I’m thinking and feeling. I may not have the same story, but what you wrote…. That is exactly how I feel! Thank you for putting it into words!

  • Zenith Jones November 24, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Thank you. I, like many, have had the weeks of pennies already slip through my fingers and also wish I had better spent them. I only hope that when my girls think back to that time for each of them, that they remember how completely human I am and how unfortunately I allowed that “flaw” to sometimes overtake who I truly wanted to be for each of them. Pray they forgive me for when I was less then who they needed me to be and remember fondly any time I lived up to who they deserved to have as their mother. If I could do it all over…but, since that’s not possible, I pray they believe me when I tell them how important they each are to me and how incomplete and empty my life would be without either one of them. I wish to only be better for them whatever opportunities are left to prove my love and to help them become a more complete version of themselves. I still have until my last breath and I intend to use each one to be a better example of how to fully love those who mean so much to me. Keep writing! =0)

    • eryn@lynum.us November 30, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      “I still have until my last breath”, how important that is to remember. Hope is never lost; as long as we have time, we have opportunity to speak hope and truth into our children. I am sure they will believe and remember your words to them on how important they are to you 🙂

  • Debra November 24, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    Eryn,
    I am the mother of three grown sons, grandmother to three beautiful grandchildren and have the most beautiful Godly daughter-in-law. My daughter-in-law, who home schools my grandchildren shared your 936 pennies story on Facebook. I read it, and then followed the link to this story and wept uncontrollably through both stories. All of my children live from five to nine hours away from me. I have one son that has denied his family and has had no contact for the past 7 years and another that has minimal contact. I raised all of my children to love God and one out of the three has a relationship with Him today. I know that my 936 pennies have been spent on each of these young men, whom I love dearly, but I also know that my duty as a mother is not finished. I know that even if the only thing I can do is pray for them, that this is the my duty as a mother. Thank you so much for allowing God to use you in this way, by sharing through words things that we all need to hear.

    • eryn@lynum.us November 30, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      Debra I am so sorry for the heartache you must have (and certainly still do) experience from this. I will say a prayer for your children and family. Certainly the way you have raised them, to love God, is admirable, no matter the outcome. You have been faithful

  • Candi November 25, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    thank you for sharing your heartfelt journey as a mom! Everyday I question those lost penny moments and how I can find the lost ones to reinvest in my adult children learning to parent my 2 new granddaughters!
    God has truly blessed me with these gifts, a loving spouse, 2 beautiful boys who are now fathers, 2 daughters added to my life and now 2 beautiful granddaughters. My gift to myself this Christmas …. 936 pennies in 2 blue antique ball jars!!! Each new day will bring with it a Hope for each shiny penny & a prayer for each life that each penny represents! I thank God for you and this ministry!

    • Carole Beacham November 25, 2014 at 9:35 pm

      Eryn,

      Thank you for your beautiful story. I loved and treasured every moment of my children’s lives, but time passed so quickly, and now they are both grown. You are an inspiration for continuing that relationship with my adult son and daughter. You are a blessing!

    • eryn@lynum.us November 30, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      What a wonderful gift to yourself, it sounds like you are very blessed!

  • Valerie Karles November 29, 2014 at 1:06 am

    Just a suggestion, at the last paragraph, “their” should be “there.”

    Anyway, as a woman who has no children and not married, both stories are priceless! In.fact, I am going through the change, so unless I adopt, it is not in the “cards.” I have watched my friends children. I, too, grapple with what have I said or done that seems stern to my friends’ parenting skills. Upon putting them to bed, I wrestled in my brain what Was disappointing of my or their behavior and did I rectify it justly. Years ago when my nieces and nephew were babies, I did the same thing. They are in their 20’s now with their own families. Unfortunately, I live too far a way to babysit for them.
    It is encouraging, even with different faiths, that we grapple with parenting skills and wanting to raise faith loving, socially well-adjusted children. Thank you for writing an inspiring article. And Reebecca, thank you for sending it to me!

    • eryn@lynum.us November 30, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      Thank you Valerie! And thanks for pointing out my grammar error, I corrected it 😀

  • Jana November 29, 2014 at 6:15 am

    “a new jar was of pennies was standing ready, waiting to be invested…. You let me go. And I cannot even imagine the prayers you whispered on that day, and every day since. Those prayers were your first and most important investment in my new life.”

    God’s words, through you, to me. Thank you so much for this; I so needed to hear it. To see this newly-truly-empty-nest not as the end of something but the beginning of a new thing. Bless you!

  • Anthony Folkner November 29, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    I’m a dad. Mom’s aren’t the only ones that need to hear this. Parents aren’t even the only ones that need to hear this. If you have ever given a child love, time, patience, acceptance, understanding, or anything of value ever then you have polished pennies, rescued them from couches, and maybe even turned a penny into a nickel by enhancing that value in that child. The week your mom supported you, that shaping week on the ship project, should have had a nickel put into the new jar. Thank you for this. Great work.

    • eryn@lynum.us November 30, 2014 at 6:12 pm

      Wow, thank you Anthony. That is an incredible way to put it: polishing, rescuing, and even increasing the value of pennies. And you are so right–anyone who has the opportunity to influence a child holds this power and responsibility to use that opportunity to the fullest.

  • Bonnie November 29, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    Wow, *cue tears*. This has reminded me how well my mum invested her pennies too!!

    And I agree with Anthony, other people can definitely contribute! But it is a special jar that parents have.

  • Paula November 30, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Eryn,
    As a mother of 2 daughters and grandmother to 2 granddaughters and 1 grandson, your articles really struck home! After reading your first article about the 936 pennies, I clicked over here. I think ALL of us can relate to your heartfelt words. And it is SO true how we all have regrets and wish we could have done things different, or even better. But if God blesses us enough to see our grandchildren, and be part of their lives, we are being given another chance! We can once again try our best to make each penny count! God has gifted you with an incredible ability to put pen to pepper. I hope you continue to use that gift to spread these messages!

    • eryn@lynum.us December 1, 2014 at 1:19 am

      Thank you Paula. It has been incredible for me to watch my own parents (and my husband’s parents) step into the role of grandparents, and invest so wonderfully in my own childrens’ souls. I hope their example will also influence my own actions when I come to that stage of life. Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement!

  • Kathy December 2, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Thank you for your very lovely story and for sharing it. I will share it with my children who are now having my grandchildren.

  • Kelsey December 2, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Thank you Eryn for your openness about life as a mother and how to truly enjoy every moment!
    My husband and I became pregnant only 2 months after we were married. I had hoped to finish Nurse Practitioner school that I was currently enrolled in. I was scared, sad and extremely sick! 🙂 We made the decision to move back home to our family and to either postpone or change the route of my continued education. As my pregnancy continued, I was falling more and more in love with my soon to be, firstborn son. He is now 16 months old and is the Joy of our lives! As you have mentioned, I cannot believe how the time has flown! Looking back, I do not regret the move nor the change we made. Our son came at just the right time and is our happy and busy boy. Even though I do work as a nurse, I am able to spend so much time with my little man! I’m grateful for that opportunity. My only regrets are the selfish thoughts that ran through my mind during my pregnancy.
    We are currently pregnant with our first daughter that is due to come into this world in early January. We are so excited and truly blessed with the growing family that God is giving us! I have to say that now my struggle is not so much the thought of having two under two, but wondering how to love, give, and enrich both of their lives fully! I fear that our newborn will demand so much of our time that my sweet Aron will be placed in the background. It makes my heart hurt at the thought of it and my prayer is that God will give us the strength, love and patience to be the best parents we can be to them both. I plan to make two jars of pennies for our 16 month old and for our daughter coming soon. I pray it will be a reminder to my husband and I to live every day to the fullest and to pray for God’s guidance in every aspect of their lives.
    Thank you for your encouraging posts. My prayer for you is that you’ll continue to bless others with what the Lord chooses to share through you! Have a very Merry Christmas!

    • Deena December 4, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      Kelsey, I remember worrying about that too. But remember that God gave you those babies, and know that He gives an abundance of love for your little ones, and helps you through your years of raising them with the ability to love, give and enrich both of their lives! If you keep God at the center of your little family, He will continue to lead and guide you through the rough spots! Doesn’t mean you’ll be a perfect parent, but knowing He is there for you helps a LOT in the stressful times! My children are almost grown now. I look back and kind of cringe at some of my mistakes. But seeing how they’ve turned out, and are moving forward in their lives is a beautiful thing!
      Hang in there, you will have enough love to cover your two and others–any more children you may have and friends of your children…. Don’t worry! God bless!

  • Deena December 4, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    This is a beautiful story, a lovely tribute to your mom! I also cried when I read it! We homeschooled our children as well, and though some days were hard, it was a wonderful time in my life that I cherish. The time invested in my kids was invaluable, and I am so very thankful that God allowed us that opportunity!
    Our older two are in their early 20’s, and our youngest is 17 and away at college (there’s a whole story of how God led her there!). I am almost out of pennies now. I know some of them were not well-spent, but we have a wonderful relationship with all 3 of our children! In fact, our daughter surprised us by saying she’d decided what she wanted for her high school graduation: A road trip with mom (me)! She and I planned it together and had a most precious time together! I feel blessed, as I know not many teenagers would pick time with mom as a graduation present! 🙂
    I want to encourage others that the investment in your children, spending those pennies wisely, is tough some days. But, as I’m coming out on the other side, I am seeing how worth it that time is!
    Thank you again for your stories! Your mom is right, You do a great job!

    • eryn@lynum.us December 4, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      Thank you Deena. And that is absolutely incredible, that your daughter’s wish was for a road trip with you. We personally LOVE road trips because it gives us so much time in the car to think, read, plan, and just be together. I can only imagine what a precious time that was for the both of you, surely something you’ll both always look back on as one of the richest times of your lives. And what a testimony to her respect and appreciation of you as her mother. Thank you for sharing!

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    […] {For all of us grappling to spend our pennies the best we can, as well as for those who have already spent all their pennies, read my follow-up post here} […]

  • sonia January 12, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Thank you for your prospective and well written words.

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    […] {For all of us grappling to spend our pennies the best we can, as well as for those who have already spent all their pennies, read my follow-up post here}. […]

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