How 936 Pennies Will Forever Change How You Parent

November 8, 2014

  1. Joanna says:

    Thank you Eryn for sharing such beautiful and compelling words. And, Congratulations!

    • says:

      Thank you, Joanna!

    • Barbara says:

      Thank you for saying what so many of can’t put into words. This is faith, love hope, but the best is God. I will read this and share with many. I hope everyone takes something from this, read and try to digest. I want to be sure and pass it on to my children. I have a blended family: Three I gave birth to, 3 that I have accepted into my heart and became mine with marrying their Dad. Grandchildren from marriage, Grand animals – cats, dogs. Thank you again for the explanation of God’s gifts to us.

  2. Sherry says:

    Breathtaking. I have bookmarked this to read again on the days that I “frivolously spend” a penny. Thank you, thank you for the heartfelt challenge. I hope that I can invest into my children as you have.


    • says:

      Thank you Sherry. Your words are very encouraging to me. I’m glad God’s stirrings in my own heart could be used to stir others’ hearts also.

  3. Jodi says:

    I’m now a grandmother of three…… And reflecting back on how I “spent” my pennies…..
    What a beautiful gift and reminder of how precious each day is with our children.

    • says:

      Thank you, Jodi. It’s been such a blessing to me now to watch how my own mother continues to invest in her children even now that we are adults. And how she has transitioned to investing in her grandchildren’s lives. Motherhood, and then grandmotherhood, is certainly a forever thing 🙂

  4. Kathleen says:

    wonderful post. I raised 4 children, now grown and now watch the fleeting days with grandchildren. I love the intentional , visual acknowledgement that you are investing, and documenting through your journals the story of the pennies. Your children will cherish the memories later, when that jar stands empty and a wonderful adult becomes your friend. 🙂

    • says:

      Thank you Kathleen. That is a big encouragement. These days can seem so fleeting, but knowing that motherhood does not end when they turn 18 is a blessing. Now just to raise them in a way to nurture that relationship so we are great friends as adults 🙂 Thank you.

  5. Vanessa says:

    Thank you for this thought provoking piece. I’ve been struggling to find peace, meaning, and… purpose in my day to day life. This really gave me some much needed perspective.

    • says:

      Thank you Vanessa 🙂 I think that is a struggle for all of us at one point or another (or often). Praying you’ll continue to find that peace, meaning, and purpose!

  6. Eryn, thank you for writing this! I get so frustrated with myself sometimes and sad other times – thinking about how I’ve blown it and how fast time is going. But this idea helps me refocus and also gives me hope like you said that we are investing in eternity. I need to go get 6 jars for my 3 kids 🙂

    • says:

      Thanks Lauren! Today I came home from church and dropped another penny from my first jar into the second. It is a sobering practice very single Sunday. I hope it can be the same for you!

  7. Amanda says:

    What a beautiful reminder to invest wisely in the lives of our children.

  8. June says:

    While reading this, a smile crept over my face as I heard my 22 year old son say, “Mom, you think too much.” We do, and we can’t help it. You sound like the sort of mother who is changing the pennies into dollars….investing all you have in the gift of a child. God bless you and your family.

    • says:

      “Changing pennies into dollars”, wow, that is an incredible compliment and I only pray I can live up to it. Thank you June! And your son sounds wise 😉 We definitely do think too much, us moms 🙂

  9. Ruth says:

    Awesome. As a foster parent, I live life in the moment as I don’t have 936 pennies to put into their life. But what an amazing way to think of parenting. I really liked the correlation to investing.

  10. Bronwyn Lea says:

    This is a weighty and precious reminder: we spend and invest daily, and it is all WORTHwhile. I just read Lisa-Jo’s book this past weekend and have stored sentence after sentence up in my soul. I’m storing some of your words too 🙂

    • says:

      Thank you Bronwyn! Yes, Lisa-Jo’s book is a treasure chest. I couldn’t put it down, and have bought copies for friends. Definitely on my top picks for Mamahood books. Thank you for your kind words!

  11. Rhonda says:

    So beautifully written. I’m mother of 2 grown up daughters and one son! Now expecting my first grandchild from my first born. Thanks for this. It made me cry.

  12. Koa says:

    So much love for this. Yes. Investing!!

  13. WOW! In the middle of this wonderful mess called motherhood, it is easy to forget just how much each moment means. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful reminder.

  14. Kari says:

    This is a wonderful post! I really needed to read this tonight. (My daughter actually swallowed a penny today 😉 Thanks for the gentle reminder that our kids are worth the investment, and that every moment counts 🙂

  15. Rev. Andrew C says:

    Great Idea I’ll plan on using this idea.

  16. Shelley says:

    I wanted to share with you that I read this after sitting in the tub praying and crying with deep regret…I’ve been blowing through “pennies” for days with my three girls. My oldest is struggling with mental issues, my heart is breaking and I’ve been so stressed out I’ve been yelling and terrible nonstop. I literally stepped out of the tub and picked up my phone to check fb and a friend had posted this on their page. God used what you wrote to speak to my need…as I walked into my bedroom I looked down and saw a brand new shiny penny down by my feet, I broke down in tears, I heard His voice, “I make all things new”. Our God is a God of renewed mercy and who restores.
    His grace covers our mistakes.
    He is so good. 🙂

    • says:

      Wow, Shelley, thank you for your honesty and for sharing your story. This was an incredible encouragement to me this morning! Praying for you and your daughter today.

  17. moe says:

    What a sweet…..bittersweet corrilation of time fleeting by…..and how to make the most of it!
    My philosphy was …..let the dust wait….i had more important games to play with my children. I read to them taught them how to do flips on the monkey bars and endless games if hide n seek. Those were especially helpful if i hid in their closet i always found something they were missing earlier in the week!
    Yes the dust waited for me when they had papers due at college……their now empty beds with their special pillows….dolls….teddy bears……and yes the storybooks in the small shelves are now collecting……DUST.

    • says:

      The dust goes untouched in my home too 🙂 And not only because I don;t like dusting 😉 But because you are correct, there are more important things to do.

  18. Yes!!! Thank you, thank you for sharing your heart. I pray your peers “get it” and spend wisely. Every decision you make FOR your family is worth it. Fight for your family mom! Blessings and hugs to you and yours!

  19. Gerald Robert Burns (Bob) says:

    We raised three wonderful children. We were warned that time would pass so quickly, and it did! Now, we get to see the real fruits of our labor as our kids raise our grandkids to be love the Lord and each other. Yes, we would love to have some of those pennies back, but we know that one day, in heaven, we will be together with the treasure of eternal life together! Thanks so much for this blog.

  20. Brittany says:

    Wow, wow, wow… I have struggled so much with spending my time wisely. So many chores that beckon my attention, church work (we are in ministry), texts and phone calls to friends and family (we live 700 miles away from family and most friends), and a millions things on my to do list. Too often, I will shamefully admit – my kids get my leftover time. I’ve struggled with this ugly beast for years and still struggling. This post was shared by a friend and deeply touched my heart. Thank you SO much for sharing this. Such a beautiful reminder of how our days are truly numbered and we should spend our “pennies” more wisely. Thank you, thank you, thank you. <3

    • says:

      Thank you Brittany, I can completely relate with having a LOT on my to do list, and sometimes handing my kids my leftover time. I think time management and priorities will be a lifelong struggle, but one that helps shape us.

  21. Samantha Bradley says:

    Thank you for reminding me of how precious my time with my boys are.

  22. Lisa says:

    Thanks for your inspiring post!

  23. Tammy says:

    My children were all adopted…missed so many Sundays with them! But I will now fill penny jars for all three! Makes me feel like I have been with them since they were “reborn” by adopting them. Does that make sense?

    • says:

      That definitely makes sense!! And what a gift to them, to have the rest of their “pennies” spent with a family who loves them!

  24. y2k8 says:

    The day this posted, my son turned 35. I stayed home to raise him and secretly to savor his life, his moments. I never wished for the things working women were able to buy. I had a child because I wanted motherhood. Possibly taking small ones on bike rides as they giggle with abandon, or reading to them before naps isn’t enough for every mom. Or maybe the thought that someday they will leave home and it may hurt too much if there’s nothing to fill the void. Certainly, single women must work outside the home and how sad for them. Today it seems, much of what is written about parenthood isn’t about parenting, isn’t about really being there w/them for those 936 days. Thank you for reminding parents just how fleeting this moment in time really is.

  25. Gingi says:

    “Mother,Grandmother,& Great-Grandmother”!!!”Precious Moments from Our SWEET LORD”!!!”Psalms 127:3 & Proverbs 17:6″!!! “Thank You Sooo Much for Sharing”!!!”2 Samuel 7:22-29″!!!”There is “NONE” Like Our SWEET LORD”!!!<

  26. Suzanne Colvin says:

    God blessed me and allowed me to stay home with my children. I knew from the start that they were a blessing from God. People questioned me for not working outside of the home, but being a full time mother was the call on my life. I now have grandchildren and I realize my work is not done. Now, I know what I am giving the parents for Christmas. Some will have two jars with pennies in both, while some will have a full jar and one empty. My daughter is pregnant and it will be a reminder to take care of herself and her unborn child. Thanks for the reminder that I made the right choice.

  27. says:

    Whoever came up with this idea and wrote this article is a badass individual thank you so much it’s stuff like this that really inspires people and not that I will completely be able to do it but you’ve sparked you know some ideas and I think that you’re amazing rock out

  28. janeen w says:

    This is wonderful and will share with my MOPS group. Oh, my two girls also screamed through their dedication 🙂

  29. Tasha Lentini says:

    We dedicated our two children to the lord and when we did at our dedication we recieved Marbles in a Mason jar they are called “Legacy Marbles” and there is also an app that you can download called legacy and it gives you the weeks, days hours and seconds you have left to spend with your child it is WONDERFUL! It is very hard to see those marbles go knowing you will not be able to replace them. Inside of our jar we also have a little bag with “milestone” marbles all different colors ecxcept the birthday ones those are all the same color and each time they reach a certain milestone you add that marble to the bag! Its really neat thought I would share!! I tried to put a picture but it won’t let me sorry…lol

  30. Chris says:

    As I read this post, I think back on all the things I have been told in my life. By both my mom and dad. I am 18 and I will someday be a father and I pray with everything in me. That I will be invested, and dedicate my life to being a Biblical husband as well as a representation of God Himself to my children.
    Thank you for this post.

    • says:

      Wow, Chris, you seem well beyond 18 years, and I pray that one day God will bless you with those babies to invest in! He is certainly faithful to bless those who seek after Him.

  31. Vanessa says:

    What an incredible gift to receive on the day of a baby’s dedication!Every church should do this! This post was beautiful and I can’t wait to make a jar of my own for each of my girls. What an incredible and, oh so very, tangible visual of how fleeting their childhood is. Almost makes me want to appreciate the temper tantrums. 🙂

  32. Lisa A.M.F.D. says:

    Even though your story made me cry, most of the time I am able to smile after a wonderfully cleansing sob session. I also have brothers; all 4 of them are younger than I. As a mom of four boys, I survived by deciding God knew I was good at handling the chaos, fighting, blood and dirt after so many years of being in charge of my siblings. I am so blessed to now have 5 beautiful grandchildren and to be able to thoroughly enjoy the 2 little girls I was uncertain I would know how to relate to after being so used to boys. Heartbreak and hot tears are normal for me this time of year. Only 1008 pennies would have been the total for my eldest son, Jared will have been in heaven for 13 years this Dec. 18th. I am certain he watches over his 3 brothers and his nephews while his dad resolved to tend to the girls before he passed in 2006. Steve would often, tell his grandchildren, “I love you all the way up to heaven” so they knew he would always care for them. I feel so blessed to have my family and children to love while being especially grateful that Jared’s son will be 13 in May of 2015. It has been difficult for my grandson to have never known his “heaven daddy” but his mother and father (her husband) are awesome about letting him spend time with his cousins, uncles and great-grandparents. I do not relate this information to obtain sympathy or make anyone else sad. I just want to relay that we need to remember to savor the small stuff, ignore the mess and not worry about having money to buy things. Just be sure to remember it’s all about the love you share & the time you spend together. Things will be broken, lost or disintegrate and are replaceable but happy memories about loving feelings can last forever.

    • says:

      Wow, Lisa, what a legacy. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and the invaluable lessons it can teach us all. May God bless you as the anniversary of your son’s death approaches. He is the great comforter. And thank you for encouraging me that life with so many boys is survivable, as I am expecting my third son, and a bit overwhelmed at the thought 😉

  33. kareen liez says:

    This is beautiful. Very inspiring 🙂 We really have to treasure every single moment with our children and make sure that we invest on them positively. I really like how you told this story. Very well written. Made me a bit emotional.

  34. Jenifer says:

    LOVE this!! Thank you for sharing!!

  35. Katy King says:

    I was so moved by this post – such conviction and wisdom and perspective. You inspired me to breathe deep, reflect wisely and continue to be grateful for this beautiful journey of parenting. Thank you so much – I even reflected on your story on my own blog to share your wisdom with friends. This jar will become my new go-to gift for any parent-to-be!

    • says:

      Thank you Katy! And than you for sharing your reflections on your own blog. I found your post and read it, and you have shared some wonderful thoughts on mamahood, thank you 🙂

  36. Jennifer H says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I’m a single mom of four, ages 16, will be 15 next week, will be 12 next month, and 8, your post was well timed. I recently received a birth announcement for my cousin’s baby, and a friend locally just had a baby as well. I would like to give these new parents a mason jar of pennies, and a copy of your post…and was wondering which size jar holds your pennies – a quart jar? a half-gallon? It seems silly to ask, but I want to make sure that they fit and are displayed well also. 🙂

    Thanks, in advance, so much! 😀

    • says:

      Thank you Jennifer! My pennies are kept in quart jars, which work very well! Blessings to you on your mama journey, sounds like you are very busy! (And blessed 🙂

  37. Beth Brown says:

    Excellent read for every parent…..especially a new parent!

    • I lost my only child at the age of 32 and oh what I would give to have all those pennies back and redo. I am now the grandmother of one and the great-grandmother of 2. I will pass this on to her in hopes she will get meaning from it. Thanks

  38. Sue says:

    Thank you for this post! I know what gift I will be giving at the next baby shower I go to!

  39. Sharon says:

    nothing is more important than this . Hug, kiss and teach these children everyday as that is why we are here. God has blessed us with their lives. Teach them to read and write so that they do not struggle.

  40. Sherry aka proud mom of 2 says:

    Thank you so much for writing this!! I have a 21 year old son who is a senior in college this year. He is still living at home …past my 936 weeks…and I am so happy he is! I know he is a caring, kind, focussed, intelligent man who will be sprouting his wings soon…but for now, I’m enjoying as much as I can before his next chapter starts. I also have a daughter who will be 15 in February….I am trying to make as many memories as possible while I can. And while I know we continue to make memories and share moments for many years to come, I’m not quite ready for this part of my life to end. Thank you again!

  41. Lori says:

    I’m curious to know the name of the church you went to in Wisconsin? We could be possibly moving that way and would love to see if it would be nearby! :). Loved this lesson, thanks for sharing!

    • says:

      Hi Lori! Go ahead and shoot me an e-mail through the “contact me” button on the top right of the page, I’d love to send you the information on the church we attended there 🙂

  42. STACEY ROWLAND says:

    So beautiful! You have inspired me to create my own penny jar. God bless!

  43. Sheila says:

    I became a first time mom at 39 and am a working mom who never had the option of staying home with my son. When Josh was two, I remember sharing with a friend my desire to be very intentional about my relationship with him. I didn’t want to “miss” his childhood, and I wanted to be a mom who didn’t always say “no” just because I was tired. It’s been a lot harder than I thought. Now my son is almost 13, and I only have about 270 pennies left. Thanks for reminding me not to squander them.

  44. […] read this blog post earlier this week (How 936 Pennies Will Forever Change How You Parent), thought I bookmarked it […]

  45. […] How 936 Pennies will forever change how you parent: From Famine to Foodie […]

  46. Tasha says:

    Wow. This is one of the most eye opening posts I have ever read. I really don’t even have much else to say but, Thank you!

  47. Dana says:

    Beautifully written and completely inspiring. I love the visual/ tactile dimension of this. How great is it to ask yourself, every week, ‘how have I spent my penny this week?’ Again, beautiful post.

  48. Linda says:

    I love this idea. My 936 pennies have long been spent with my children. My son is 32 and has given me 2 beautiful grandchildren. My daughter is 25 and expecting her first baby. I am going to make a jar of pennies for her, and give her an empty jar and a journal with it. That way as she moves the pennies from one jar to the next each week, she can make notes of what happened during the week. They have already set up an email for the baby, so we can send periodic emails to him…And he will have those when he gets older.

    Thank you for this wonderful article.

  49. […] a precious sense of perspective on how they are spending their time and investing in their kids: How 936 Pennies Will Forever Change Your Life from Eryn Lynum. So […]

  50. Zach says:

    As the divorced father of a six year old son, I ask all you mothers (divorced or not) to think about this in every context. There are thousands of us fathers who would love to have those pennies to invest, but for a legal system that sees more value in School Attendance & “Child Stability”, or mothers who have been fooled into believing they can do it all. I ask you how many teachers & administrators have a jar on their desk for your child? Versus how many fathers would love nothing more than the 4, maybe 6 pennies a month they get to deposit. Remember that when he asks for more days in the summer or for you to give up a few holidays. Contrary to what our culture & legal system preach, your children need both parents more than they need anyone else. Help break this mentality & let’s reclaim fatherhood (and motherhood) for all families, even the broken ones.

    • says:

      Wow, powerful thoughts, thank you Zach, and a much needed perspective. I agree, whenever possible, if both parents can invest into a child’s life, that child with thrive all the more. Thank you.

  51. Wow, I am speechless. This is such a beautiful symbol of the gift of motherhood we are given…936 weeks to shape our sweet babies into men and woman who love God and love others, bravely, sacrificially, and wholly. I think I need to start a penny jar of my own to remind me to hold each moment and spend it wisely. Thank you.

  52. Amy says:

    As I sit here, I’m so very thankful to have read this today. After losing our son Jaydin on his first and only day in this world, this brings so much into perspective. I am a mom of 4, 5 including Jaydin. After 9 months of years and the feeling of loss in 2010, we found out we wee pregnant, and on June 30th, 2011 a miracle by the name off Jett Jude was placed in my arms and in my heart. Through every tired, half sleep, half awake bad night, through whining and lessons on sharing, trying to get him to eat something besides fish sticks and chicken nuggets….I’ve realized just this, each moment, each breathe, each smile, and each laugh, those are what it all comes down to. I am truly blessed…thank you for reminding me in such a great way….prayers to you and yours!

    • says:

      Amy I am so sorry for your loss, thank you for sharing your story, it gives us all much to think about concerning the days we have.

  53. SYLVIA says:

    enjoyed this post very much i am a 71 great grandma i had 4 kids of my own i should say 5 as the youngest one was stillborn which broke our hearts but know cod knew what he was doing. as i had worked as a nurses aide years before our children was born. and my Dr told me that he knew me well enough that i would kept her at home and the rest of the kids would have suffered because of the care she would needed. i have 3 girls and 1 boy and gave them all the love and time i could now i have breast cancer and going through chemo and my oldest daughter moved me in with her when my husband past away. She told me you took care of us kids and dad when he needed it now its my turn to take care of you. yes she and her husband both are nurse aids. i feel like a burden at times but every time i say i sorry for being so much trouble she tells me that is what she is here for. she lived with me until she was 40 yrs. old off and on. she always says you took care of dad grandma and grandpa and her grandma flowers so now it was time for her to take care of me. i love her and the rest of my kids so much. I really like the idea of the pennies in the jar. if i can remember i will tell my pastor about this.

  54. Helena says:

    Wow. Thanks. (It’s almost too much to think about… I shall have to come back to this.)

    (Also, “discretely” should probably be “discreetly.” If you mean that he’s trying to be sneaky about it, and not that he’s stuffing them in separately and distinctly.)

  55. Holli says:

    WOW!!! With 5 years and a few months left to raise my BABY…this story/example is heart wrenching in a way, and heart warming in another. I have learned so much in 31 years of parenting…many lessons you shared….but I’m still awed at the thought that I only have 274 pennies in my “baby’s” jar!! Thank you God for carrying us, protecting us, growing us, and hearing our prayers for this precious child for 662 weeks!! Looking forward to GREAT things in the next 5+ years!

  56. […]  Recently I read about the jar full of 936 pennies. If you haven’t read the post you can here.  Basically the post is about a mother who receives a jar full of pennies, and the exact number of […]

  57. Judy says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. Just an idea for your second jar of pennies, pass that jar onto your son if and when he has his first child. The pennies may not be as new, but they will still be good to spend on a new life.

    • says:

      That is a wonderful idea Judy! What a legacy that jar could become, passed on to generations.

  58. […] How 936 Pennies Will Forever Change How You Parent […]

  59. I was profoundly touched by this posting. My boys are now 15 and 18, and it still resonates with me. Thank you for your beautiful words.
    I am a brand new blogger, and I am sharing your post on my blog today because I hope it will touch others as it has touched me. Blessings! Angela

  60. […] to break the ceilings, I’ve learned to pace myself in this journey, week by week, all 936 weeks I have to raise my kids (How 936 Pennies will forever change the way you parent your […]

  61. […] task, there are no manuals, only experiences to learn from and advice from those before us.  This article is another one I really want to share with all of you, because I hope it helps when you are having […]

  62. amy says:

    As I reach the last few pennies in my son’s life…..I enjoy this writing thank you

  63. My thoughts focused on this thought. ” One reminds me of how fleeting these days are, and the other assures me that they are being invested in something of eternal value. ” Those pennies remind me that each day we are given by God is a gift. Each breath we breathe is a gift. The thoughts our Lord gives us to write are a gift. Let us value each day we see the beauty of God’s creation, the love we have from family, friends and colleagues as a gift. Each day we live until the last breath we breathe as we are ushered into eternity is of value.

    Loving Heavenly Father, help us to see that our lives are a daily gift to You. Let us cherish them. Let us rejoice in the people of love you bring into our lives. All our lives are a gift. Thank you for giving us all the greatest gift we could ever receive — salvation through the life Your Son gave on the Cross for our sins. Amen.

    Yes, there is a lot of value in 936 pennies.

    • says:

      Thank you Kevin, I read your comment on our way to spending Thanksgiving week with my family, and it gave me a great perspective heading into a week of precious time with family.

  64. Sarah says:

    This is such a wonderful analogy and great way to stay focused on what really matters. The more complicated part is that we aren’t guaranteed every single one of those pennies. No one knows how much time each of us will have here. It certainly makes us think even more about how each penny is spent. Thanks for sharing!

    • says:

      You are right, Sarah. That hurts to think about or consider, but it’s so important to remember, not being guaranteed a certain number of years, months, weeks, days, or even moments. I pray that thought only helps us treasure them more, and breathe as much life into them as we can.

  65. I love this SO much! I wish I had thought of this with our three when they were born; may have to do this for our coming bundle of joy in April. It is so true though – we need to be mindful; work for the Lord in all we do with these children of His. And remember who we are raising them for. Oh, and hello from Wisconsin. We are in SE WI ourselves – nice and snowy here!

    • says:

      Thank you Jennifer! We were in Southeast WI as well, close to Milwaukee, oh how we miss it 😉

  66. Hannah says:

    I am 18,someday I hope to become a wife and mother. This article is so inspiring. The joy that you possess in raising children and the concern to do it correctly is admirable. Each moment is so special, a time we never get back. Living each second to the fullest is vital. I hope when I’m a mother that I can do that, live for each moment.

  67. Cindy Leonard says:

    Must be the geek in me but I had to check on how many weeks in 18 years and you were shortchanged! lol “A year is not 52 weeks but 52 weeks plus 1 day (or 2 in a leap year). Allowing for these, 18 years is 1 or 2 days more than 939 weeks.” Still love the idea though! 🙂

    • Jennifer says:

      I read this post every year, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed it should be 939! Still love it.

  68. LT says:

    I lost interest after the 12th paragraph.
    There must be more than 30.

    • says:

      Thanks for giving it a go 😉 It’s a plight to writers, especially to those like me, who write story style. People have been trained by the internet to no longer read “long” articles or stories. We only scan now days. Which is nice when it comes to taking in more information, but a shame when it comes to enjoying stories or taking in their truths. There’s good and bad to it 🙂

  69. Bethany says:

    My heart got so, so heavy and tears formed as soon as I saw the words, “In these jars is a penny for every week you will raise this child.” You wrote this so well! My mama-heart is aching. I need infinite pennies. :'(

    • says:

      My heart holds the same ache. I’ve read so many comments to this post on how people could not handle taking out those pennies; it’s far too painful. For me it is a hard but necessary reminder of the value of every morsel of time I have with my boys.

  70. riki says:

    I think I would rove pennies from one jar transfer to another jar and pass toward my child when they became a parent and the story that goes with it…would be a wonderful parenting gift….

  71. I heard about this just the other night at a baby shower; what a beautiful idea! The full weight of it is lasting and sobering…and we can regret and despair; only we have to remember and rest in the fact that while our babies are ours for a season, we have dedicated them to the care of God and of the family of Christ as well. I used to walk with a friend who sometimes fretted about her daughter who had married a bit young and moved away; but because I could see God still working in my daughter’s life, I knew that He must be working in the life of her daughter too. My friend’s influence might have been lessened, for now, but it also was not finished. We have more direct impact while they’re young, but we have the Holy Spirit working alongside us and we have mercies that are new every morning. Our children do not remember every mistake we make, thankfully, by God’s grace! You may discover too that the things we aren’t sure have made any impact might suddenly burst into view just when we have been tempted to give up. Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (or other translations, “if we don’t lose heart.”)

    • says:

      Thank you so much Connie. I needed to read this today. It has been a difficult week with my son, leaving me with a lot of regrets and guilt over my impatience. You are right, they will not remember all of our mistakes. And apologizing for those mistakes will shape both us and them. And you are also very right in that the Holy Spirit will bring to their minds the truths we raise them with, right when they need them. Thank you so much for your words and sharing truth!

  72. David Snead says:

    Thanks a lot for this post… This means a lot to me, even though my wife and I don’t have children yet. I really want to use the time that God gives me on this earth wisely.

  73. trista says:

    I just bawled!!

  74. […] I am pondering this post, How 936 Pennies Will Forever Change How You Parent. I think the thing that struck me was considering my 16 year old. If I were to start a jar for her […]

  75. Yenny says:

    This was such a beautiful post and such a timely word from God!! Thank you so much for sharing. It’s so easy to get burdened and frustrated with the daily. I needed to hear these words and remember to always invest wisely. I’m struggling with one of my children right now, and I’m praying for wisdom to be the best mom that I can be to him, to be the mom God has called me to be.

  76. Libby Kranz says:

    I like so many other moms was brought to tears by your writing. But for a different reason. I banked on that jar full of pennies.. but didn’t know our time with our eldest would be cut so short, 6 yrs 3 months. My only addition to your writing would be to not bank on getting the full 936… sometimes we get much less.

    • says:

      Libby, I am so very sorry for your loss. It feels almost cheap saying that, but what else can one say in light of such heartache? I have actually thought a lot about this since publishing this post a few weeks ago. Your point is very true, and truer now in my heart with a personal story from you. You’re right, we can’t count on 936 pennies. That makes each and every one so much more valuable in itself.

  77. GIgi says:

    I am now a great-grandmother and thoroughly enjoying watching my granddaughter and husband spend their pennies wisely and only for their daughter. What a wonderful analogy. I wish that I had had this as a reminder when I was a frustrated young mother.

  78. kelly Lee says:

    love this idea, really can make a parent think

  79. Victoria says:

    So Beautiful!!! My Daughter has been gone for years on her own it was so devastating to me when she left out on her own! I went in her room and cried and touched and held her stuffed animals … I loved this and all I can say is Tears!!! I want her to read this as she has 3 babies still at home one has already gone off to College his pennies gone!!!

  80. Lisa says:

    Wonderful!!! I love the idea too, except that I would never take the pennies out…my kids are 21 & 19 and I have such a hard time letting go!!!! They have grown into very respectable, wonderful adults, but they are my babies!!!! NO one prepares a mother for letting them go….I can not wait to share a penny jar with a new mother! Thanks for sharing.

  81. Kristi says:

    I really like this idea. My son will be 33 the day after Christmas and my grandson will be 6 in January. I am giving penney jars for Christmas. Sometimes it seems my son is more focused on obedience, which causes alot of frustration, than making and savouring positive memories and enjoying this short 936 weeks. I pray seeing this jar will make him realize how fast the weeks will go never to be gotten back. Please keep him in your prayers. Awesome idea.

  82. Clare says:

    Thank you for this…I was very touched to read it – and the comments it generated…Every blessing on you and your family.

  83. Tina Smith says:

    As a mother that has bore this title literally 10 times over and started the process of mothering back at the beginning when I thought I was crossing the finish line I thank you for sharing these words. What a meaningful gift to receive, and praise God that you received it fully. No matter what we do, or don’t do, time presses on. It’s a worthy reminder to be conscious of how we spend it, and why it’s important. Again, from my tired heart, I thank you.

    Also, may I say that your photography is absolutely beautiful!

    • says:

      Thank you Tina! I really needed that encouragement tonight. Wow–10 times! you are one blessed and busy Mama! May God continue to bless you and your family, and give you an extra dose energy 😉

  84. […] These are just a few of the things I have felt this past month as I’ve witnessed over 800,000 people visit the blog post I wrote a few weeks ago: How 936 Pennies Will Forever Change How You Parent […]

  85. […] How 936 Pennies Will Forever Change How You Parent :: I’m scared to even try this now that Emma is almost 10. But maybe it’s even more important now. […]

  86. Oh my goodness, I needed this so much!! Thank you for sharing this, I will be getting my own jars for my kiddos and making sure to be intentional with every day I have left with each of my 4 precious children!!

  87. Angie Tolpin says:

    Oh sweet sister. This… is … beautiful. I am excited to share this post with all my sweet friends and readers in hopes that they too will catch the significance bethink the everyday. The cuddles, the kissed booboos, the cheering at the sports game, the late night talks, the long conversations urging each child to genuine remorse for sin, the discipleship throughout it all.
    I am now going to give every mama a jar at a baby shower I go to along with my other traditional gifts with meaning { I also give them a journal to write to their child and a journal for their journey of motherhood}. What a great addition this will be!

    I will also share it on my ministry pages on fb honey. May God bless your day as you serve your family.

    • says:

      Thank you so much Angie! My friend actually saw your share of the post and sent it to me before I saw your comment 🙂 Thank you for your words of encouragement and sharing this message!

  88. Jane says:

    I am in tears as I read this…what a gift that pastor gave with that jar of pennies! As the mama of grown and semi-grown children I am so very thankful that God has been with me on this journey. As I look at my children’s lives it is sometimes easy to beat myself up, thinking I should’ve done this or that then maybe they would/would not be this way or that way. Then there’s grace, God’s grace that covers my multitude of mistakes. God’s grace that assures me He has my children in His hands. God’s grace that promises He has heard every cry I have made for my children. God’s grace that reminds me that I trained them up in His ways and He will woe them back to Himself. God’s grace that says, Keep holding them up before Me, but trust Me to take them on the journey I have laid out for their lives. God’s grace…

  89. […] How 936 Pennies Will Forever Change How You Parent – From Famine to Foodie. Can We Please Just Make it to “Amen”?! […]

  90. […] How 936 Pennies Will Forever Change How You Parent – From Famine to Foodie. Can We Please Just Make it to “Amen”?! […]

  91. Awesome post!! Amazing to me how many parents do not pause to give God thanks for their children. All the sleepless nights don’t even compare to the joy children can bring. I was a wild child and moved out after high school to split families. Thankfully survived a mountain lion attack in 1998 in the Colorado mountains ( Praise Jesus for that lion! My children were baptized last year and what a precious moment for my beautiful wife and I to witness to. We love the time we all spend together and never take that for granted. They are a gift to us and we thank God for trusting us with that wonderful gift. Parents…pause and be thankful for every moment you have with your children. Thanks again for the awesome post Eryn. God Bless you and may you have a very blessed and Merry Christmas!!

    • Eryn Lynum says:

      Thank you Andy! What an incredible story you have (I poked around your website)! And what an amazing testimony. Thank you for your comment and encouragement!

  92. […] lives are but a vapor. So short and fleeting. And our time as mothers with small children is even shorter. (<–a beautiful post about the time we have with our children). We never know when that […]

  93. […] our own food The success of the “936 Pennies post”, over 1 million views! Found and joined a church we LOVE Success of new jobs Family vacations New […]

  94. Cynthia Dieterle says:

    Great newborn or baby shower gift idea. And a poem to go with it.

    “What is a penny?”

    Only one cent,
    One one hundredth of a dollar.
    It’s not much spent,
    In the span of it all. Or,
    Perhaps it is worth,
    Far more than your knowing.
    For from the day of his/her birth,
    How quickly your baby is growing.
    Only 936 weeks till he’s/she’s grown.
    Now imagine each week were a penny,
    One cent to be treasured or thrown.
    Please take the care to not lose any,
    For there’s nearly two years in one buck.
    Today I give you 936 pennies,
    Each one a token of love and good luck.

    C. Dieterle

  95. mary johnson says:

    This article touched my heart so profoundly I cannot begin to wipe the tears from my eyes. You see, I wish I could have seen this years ago, my children (from youngest to oldest) are 14, 16 and 19. The eldest is my only seen and a United States Marine. He leaves to go back to San Diego in 2 days, we were lucky to have him home for Christmas, and after he goes, we truly don’t know when he will be home again. My youngest was bullied so much at school that we have dealt with self harming, eating disorders, depression… but praise God she is turning it around, the “middle” child is doing very well, she is home schooled bc of dyslexia, but other than that she is doing fine and has some terrific friends. Both girls are looking at joining the military too. The thing that bothers me the most isn’t so much that they are so close to being adults, though that is killing me, but rather the fact that for much of their young lives I have been severely ill from Lupus. Seizures, clots, weeks even months in the hospital, operations, I even died once on the table, but they were able to bring me back.
    I just hope that when they look back they remember the laughter, the silly things I would do, the morning breakfasts before school, the way Halloween through New Years was one endless holiday and how I was mom to every kid they ever brought home. It is my prayer that these memories are in the forefront of their hearts and minds as they grown in to the adults they are becoming.
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. I will keep it in my heart for always. God bless and Merry Christmas

    • Eryn Lynum says:

      Mary, I am certain you are creating for your growing children a beautiful legacy. I believe that when our kids see us aiming to live an abundant life, right in the middle of extremely difficult circumstances, they take that deeply to heart. They can see the struggle, and they definitely notice when we choose to rise above that struggle and live with joy despite circumstances. Thank you so much for your words and encouragement, and for sharing your story. It has definitely touched my own heart this morning, and encouraged me to rise above my own difficult circumstances, and live fully for my own sake, and for my children’s futures. May God bless you and your family in the New Year!

  96. […] something to really put it into perspective. We have exactly 936 weeks to be with our children until they turn 18 years […]

  97. […] time last year I would never have thought a simple jar of pennies would open my eyes. Something so small and so simple that we see a million times a day opened a […]

  98. […] a momma of 2 sweet kids, the article “How 936 Pennies Will Forever Change How You Parent” grabbed my attention immediately.  I love reading how other moms approach parenting, not to […]

  99. […] I first saw this post from Eryn Lynum on her blog from Famine to Foodie, I cried.  Full on cried reading it.  It was […]

  100. Thursa says:

    Hello. Thanks to “Do It On A Dime” for sharing 🙂

  101. Elly says:

    What a compelling post! Thank you so much for reminding us that our investment in our dear children is an eternal investment and that we should spend it wisely! May God help us to remember this on the good days…and on the less than good days. All to the glory of Jesus Christ – through repentant Mamas and through learning littles!

  102. FarZain says:

    Thank you for this post, Eryn. Between the tears, I can only tell you how much you reminded me to cherish my child right now. Between the endless days coping with endless things, your post reminds me to cherish the precious gift God has entrusted to us.

    Thank you

  103. Tears says:

    […] This post. Specifically these words: “One of the great plights of motherhood is how quickly this phase of life seems to slip out from our grasp. Regularly I hear from strangers, “Enjoy it, it will be over before you know it!” But I think I do know it. Because, like Lisa-Jo Baker puts it in her book Surprised by Motherhood, I understand that, “Mothers may want to find room to breathe, to weep, to panic. But they don’t want it to end–this delivering, shaping, cheering, loving, bringing life into the world.” Although some days of navigating small children through early years seem endless, I know they will be over before I know it.”  […]

  104. Peter says:

    What a wonderful reminder of the importance of viewing our children as eternal gifts. Whereabouts in WI are you from Eryn? 🙂

  105. Kay Fudala says:

    Oh Erin, what a beautiful story! I just celebrated my daughter’s birthday recently, more than a quarter of the 936 gone already. This post puts all thoughts around mindfulness into perspective. I am going to slow down and enjoy each penny. Thank you and god bless!

    • Eryn Lynum says:

      Thank you Kay!! One of my greatest hopes for this message is that it reminds all of us (myself included) to slow down. I’m sitting in a hospital room a day after giving birth to my precious third boy. He’s lying next to me all handsome and perfect, and it’s such a real reminder of the need to slow down and enjoy every bit of this!

  106. […] How 936 Pennies Will Change the Way You Parent […]

  107. […] Click here to read this wonderful inspirational post that will show you just how a simple jar filled with 936 pennies can change your entire view of your child/children and how you raise them. […]

  108. […] How 936 Pennies Will Forever Change How You Parent […]

  109. […] There was simply a goal to stick to; a weekly blog post to be written and I had little inspiration. Writer’s block was hard at work–yet there was that jar. […]

  110. […] considered it, and all of its potential–936 weeks spanning before us to pour into them all of the abundant life we know. This is a field of […]

  111. […] *We taper in seasonal activities as needed and try to adhere to the rungs as much as possible on those days. The heart of our schedule is our rhythm. The boys like knowing the purpose of each hour. It teaches them to try and live their days well. It helps me remember that my time with them as small children is fleeting. […]

  112. […] Because when we take into our arms that wholly unknown but altogether loved bundle for the first time, we are also receiving the gift of 936 pennies, representing the 936 weeks we have to raise this child. […]

  113. […] from […]

  114. […] "How 936 Pennies Will Forever Change the Way You Parent," a thought-provoking blog post, floated around the Christian parenting sphere for a time.  I found it well worth the minutes I spent reading it.  The author made a great point:  we have approximately 936 weeks to spend with our babies before they turn 18.  Are we spending those pennies (weeks) wisely? […]

  115. […] my friend Krysten shared this post about how 936 pennies will forever change how you parent. I wasn’t going to click on the […]

  116. AmyS says:

    Hi Eryn, I remember reading this post last year and bookmarking it to remind me to do this for a baby gift one day. Well the time has arrived and a very special couple are about to become a parents for the first time. I was wondering if there was a poem that goes with this gift?

  117. Danielle says:

    This is a beautiful story. It is hard when you’re in my shoes and you stop to look at the fact that as a mother of 3 girls, an Air Force wife, a Key Spouse, a business owner/operator (2 actually), and all the volunteer work I do…. There are so many times I feel like I’ve lost numerous pennies over the years. Our girls are older now (15,12, & 11), so I couldn’t imagine trying to do penny jars for them; I’m sure it would just end in tears. Lol. I do know that we’ve worked hard to instill values, integrity, honesty, compassion, genuine hard work, and faith in our daughters and ensure they grow up to become something they strive for, not just grow up to get older. I thank you for sharing your story. It’s hard in an ever changing lifestyle such as ours to keep stability and a sense of normalcy but, we do everything we can to keep them on the right track and make sure every penny counts.

    • Eryn Lynum says:

      Danielle, it sounds like you have done very well with your girls. I can relate (well, not to having girls…I have 3 boys 😉 But being a mother to three is an incredible job. I also own a business (apart from my writing), and balancing everything can be a very difficult thing. Just yesterday I was convicted of how busy has stolen much of my time with my boys lately. But you are right–we do everything we can to keep them on the right track and love them well. And then we need to give ourselves some grace. God bless you and your family.

  118. Gina Abbas says:

    If you LOVE the penny jar idea, check out this book called Playing for Keeps, which gives parents ideas and inspiration for making the most of every week you have with your child. They use 936 marbles in jars instead of pennies. Pennies cost less $ than marbles, so a lot of churches use pennies instead. There is also an APP on the app store called the Legacy App which is a digital jar. check it out!

    • Eryn Lynum says:

      Thanks Gina! I love the marble idea too; anything to provide the visual reminder of how fleeting our time is. I like the idea of “spending” and “investing” that the pennies give, just an added element to challenge us to use our time well!

  119. Joelle says:

    We’re totally stealing this idea for my son’s dedication this weekend! I wrote this poem to go with the jar…

    Our time with you seems long, my child;
    These pennies yet so few.
    Each one so small, yet heavy all,
    As days and weeks compiled.

    To merely spend or wise invest–
    How will we spend our days?
    God’s commission, our decision;
    To Him we leave the rest.

  120. […] brought an abstract concept like passage of time into clear, tangible terms. Having received a jar of pennies upon the dedication of her precious baby, this mom was told to remove a penny for each week she […]

  121. […] “How 936 Pennies Will Forever Change the Way You Parent,” a thought-provoking blog post, floated around the Christian parenting sphere for a time.  I found it well worth the time I spent reading it.  The author made a great point:  we have approximately 936 weeks to spend with our babies before they turn 18.  Are we spending those pennies (weeks) wisely? […]

  122. Only 936 weeks!? I really enjoyed reading this post. As a new mom of an 8-month-old daughter, time can really feel like it’s flying, and I’m assuming that’s how parenthood continues to go. However, your words of faith and love offer encouragement in times of stress, breakdowns and tears. Thank you for writing with honesty.

  123. I love this post! I wish I had heard about doing this when my son was born…but i’m kinda glad I didn’t. I wouldn’t want to remove those pennies either

  124. Alison says:

    This is so sweet, it is such a short time we have with them at home with us before they go off into the world. It really got me thinking about how we’ve been spending our time.

  125. […] post orginially appeared at For more, make sure to like Eryn Lynum on […]

  126. Tanya Phillips says:

    Love this idea! Do you make/sell these jars?
    Any cool ideas on how to put one together?

    • Eryn Lynum says:

      Thank you Tanya! We actually have a book, 936 Pennies, being published early next year! For our jars we use some simple chalkboard-like stickers (found in the scrapbook aisle of craft stores) to write their names and verses, such as Deuteronomy 7:6 and Psalm 90:12 on. I have also seen neat shimmer paints that you can use on mason jars that would look very pretty.

  127. Maria Reyna Rodriguez says:

    I’m very proud of you!

  128. Joseph says:

    Your words had tears running down my face. As a parent that shares custody, I feel the weight of our fleeting time constantly. Thank you for the perspective.

    • Eryn Lynum says:

      Joseph, thank you for your comment. I can only imagine how these pennies and thoughts on time would hit in a whole different way as a parent sharing custody. I’m praying you can find the ways to invest well and enjoy this time with your kids when you have it. And that they see your investing as the gift that it is. May God bless you and your family this Christmas.

  129. […] post orginially appeared at For more, make sure to like Eryn Lynum on […]

  130. […] we think about the 936 weeks we have to raise our children from birth to age eighteen. That’s about 6,552 days. Which amounts […]

  131. […] her a jar full of shiny pennies, 936 to be exact. This prodded her to write a blog post that went viral which gave way to the concept of the time we have with our babies. I was one such mama who read […]

  132. […] book from Eryn Lynum came out of her viral blog post about the 936 pennies she received from their church when they dedicated their son. Each penny […]

  133. […] Eryn Lynum, author of 936 Pennies-Discovering the Joy of Intentional […]

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Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!

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