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  • Writer's pictureThe Farmer's Wife

Why You need 936 Pennies...

“$28 in pennies please”

Puzzled eyes met mine.

I smiled...“I’m doing a project”

She paused…”I’ll ask my manager”

She leaves - and I do some fast calculating.

Do I need all $28? Maybe I could do it with fewer.

I ask Google how many weeks it has been since the birth dates of my 3 kids.

My breath leaves me - pausing under the weight of this project.

Shocked... I realize I need 908 fewer pennies.

She returns… “You can only have $8”... There’s a coin shortage...

Her masked smile didn’t show.

No - I’m not tiling with pennies.... Promise.

I’m just trying to live on purpose ....Maybe you are too.

If you’re like me, you hate the feeling of life happening to you.

No mom ever said, “I just love when I can’t figure out where my day went”.

Is there a foolproof mom-tegy (yes, I make up words….mom-tegy: mom strategy) for purpose? Do you have a mom-tegy?

Maybe we can make one together… $28 in pennies at a time.

Eryn Lynum was interviewed about her book, “936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting”. As she explains, 936 is the number of weeks we have from birth to 18. At first glance, 936 seemed like a lot to me…”I’ve got plenty of time!”, I thought. Until I realized they fit in a jar. All the childhoods of my kids - reduced to a few jars.

The project is simple, the meaning is not.

You start with 936 pennies per kid and you remove one each week.

This is the practice of intentionality...

“I ask the inevitable question,” Lynum writes in her blog“–how were they spent?”

“A penny can be invested; it has the potential of growing in value. It also has the potential of getting lost in a couch cushion.”

Are we losing our motherhood in the couch cushion?
Sometimes I wonder.
Life tends to move along without consulting us.

Like in the case of my grandmas, who both died at 98 years old this year.

Their lives were so long, and yet … suddenly gone. “Suddenly gone” and “98 years” seem quite the oxymoron.

There is nothing sudden about 98…except for each week that passes so quickly.

While I was waiting on my pennies, my figures reported that I didn’t need 936 for each kid because they aren’t all newborn (I know...shocking). In fact, the sum total of weeks already spent with them is already 908. Umm…. Excuse me? That’s almost 17.4 collective years gone.

The question is: What did I do with that time?

While I *could* have asked the teller for a Kleenex and launched into a discussion about the meaning of life, I didn’t. I took my measly $8 in copper and left feeling resolute.

Pastor Kevin Barnhart recently wrote an article for the Fillmore County Journal that gave me great pause. In it, he unpacked the Biblical challenge “teach us to number our days”. I recommend reading it because I think moms DO number our days — but in a totally wrong way.

If I’m honest, I’ve numbered a lot of mom-days by wishing them away.

Especially the hard days that are about 98 years long...each. At different times, I’ve wished away the sleeplessness, and messes, and meal prep, and tantrums, and house cleaning. ...Sound familiar?

The trouble is, IN each of those moments, we’re spending the 936!!

Are we aware?

While my life may look different from yours, our 936 allotment is exactly the same.

The question is, what will we do with it?

What are we putting off for tomorrow that should be done today?

Does the tyranny of the urgent rule?

Hear me Momma: Your job couldn’t be any more important.

You’re literally shaping the next generation.

What’s our mom-tegy for teaching what matters?

...Like how about eternity?

Do our kids know where they are spending it?

Those 936 go much too quickly to ignore the most important things.

"Thanks for the crushing load of 'I don't know where to start', blog Lady. Appreciate it.

I see you.

No one ever said purpose was going to be easy.

So let's start small.

Maybe dinner. Tonight. Together. At a table.

While you eat, figure out how many pennies you have left.

Then discuss how you want to spend the rest.

Not a coin fan?

Click here for a free printable 936 time tracker.

Let’s do this life on purpose.

Hey friend! Look at you!

You just read a whole blog about living life on purpose. You're Amazing!

That's the first step of your mom-tegy.

Thanks so much for reading.

If you don't know me, I'm Liz Gerdes, and I'd like to be your cheerleader.

I'm a SE MN dairy farmer and friend to anyone who needs one.

I help moms feel awesome about what they feed their families with farm fresh milk!

Visit or follow me on Facebook @gerdesfreshfarm for more info.

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