Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Penny Project

It was quite by accident that I found a way to make pennies more valuable. I was pulling out of my driveway one day when I noticed a large fluted pastel vase that my neighbor left on the sidewalk for anyone passing by who wanted it. I certainly didn’t need it, but because it was so lovely, I picked it up, carried it into the house and put it in a prominent place on top of my microwave. I set two smaller vases beside it to make a pretty display and there it sat gathering dust for several months.

After committing myself to get my finances under control, I figured out a plan to be free from debt within a few years. As part of the plan I began a habit of saving loose change until it became somewhat of a substantial amount so I could use it as part of my contribution to worthy causes and church offerings. Nickels, dimes and quarters were fun to save, but pennies? They seemed hardly worth the bother. Even the government is considering eliminating them because they cost more to make than they’re worth.

Then it occurred to me that I could increase the value of my lowly pennies by offering up a prayer for someone every time I collected one. I looked around for something worthy of this project and my eyes rested upon the pastel vase. “Perfect,” I thought. I took the vase down from its perch and put it in a place where I see it often and more easily drop in the pennies.

I have only one rule about the project and it is that the prayers MUST only be about others. (It’s not about’s about them!)

It’s been over a year since I started my penny prayers and the vase is half filled with hundreds of pennies. The wonderful thing is that the pennies represent many miracles: a new home for my son and his family, a new home for my daughter and her family, healing for friends and family members, safety and protection, consolation at the loss of a loved one, and the personal growth and development of children and grandchildren.

It’s fun to share my idea for this project with others. Often someone will hand me some pennies and ask me to say some prayers for them and I’m happy to oblige. Because they know about my penny project, my children and a few friends have started asking me to say special prayers for them. Any time I hear of someone who is sick or having a difficult time or even rejoicing over a recent blessing, I toss a penny in the vase and say a prayer.

I recently found that the pennies weren’t coming into my hands fast enough for all the prayers I had in mind so I bought a couple rolls of pennies from the bank the other day. Now I don’t have to wait for a new penny to appear. I’m ready to say a prayer any time.

As I contemplate and give thanks for the wonderful results of my project, I’m enjoying the good feeling of helping others with my prayers. A side benefit is that the penny project is helping me stay focused on following my committment to be debt free. I have found a way to make pennies more precious than gold!

Muriel Donaldson
March 17, 2008