Book Review: 936 Pennies encourages the counting of time

Blogger Eryn Lynum released her first book this year: 936 Pennies – Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting.


The premise is that when our children are born, we are given 936 weeks to raise that child until they graduate. God desires us to invest love and faith and a God-honoring life into our children each week.


This book obviously left a mark on me because I decided to follow suit and start my own jar of pennies for each of my kids. And for the families in my church. Read about that here.



Eryn wasn’t the originator of the 936 pennies idea. But she certainly promotes it! If you get through the entire book, then it’s possible you’ll be persuaded to get a penny jar, too.


Her mission in this book is to remind us that today matters.


“Today we have the opportunity to speak truth, gift confidence, hug long, laugh loud, and love big… Here is to counting time and making time count.”


The book is part memoir and part advice. She weaves in lots of personal stories and reflections from her own family life. She is poetic and lyrical in her writing. It reminded me of the style of Ann Voskamp.


The tone is solemn throughout. Here are some of the phrases that stuck out and comments I felt like writing down. I’m not sure all of them will make sense without context, but some of them will.


Points made in the book, in random order: 


Slow down.


Invest, don’t waste.


Notice things.


Capture time with our full attention.


The everyday routines are holy.


 – But the adventures we create and the times we step outside the ordinary is what will be cemented into memory.


She encourages us to write and document our kids memories and our musings about them.


Preserving these things is a unique gift only we as parents can give our children.


– Except … don’t let the camera come between you and the memory.


Journal each week – with the dropping of the penny into the jar.


Hand the jar of pennies over to your child later, when grown.


About screen time – her family put a massive limit on it. She reports that today’s child, from the time of birth till 18 years old spends average of 205 waking weeks staring at a screen. She says that’s a problem. And that we need to show them by example that human interaction is better than staring at screens.


Notice what is in your hands.


Exposing your children to God’s nature is time well spent.


Sabbath – Begin with rest


Fertile ground of boredom …Become okay with it …Don’t cure it. Encourage it. (Because that is what sparks imagination.)


Margin – you need it in your life.


May your words be encouraging words. Gracious versus harsh words.


We are not guaranteed the full 936 pennies.


Work for peace – A peace plan is a strategy for the most fulfilled life. A peace plan is also a “do not do list”

My concluding thoughts

All-in-all,do recommend this book to parents. This will remind them to slow down and live in the moment.


Eryn Lynum’s theology is good. She points to important Scripture. She loves Jesus and gives good advice.


Now let me be critical for a minute…


Did I love the book? That’s probably too strong of a word. I liked it.


The truth is, I felt distracted. I didn’t devour it. After reading part of it, I felt like I had the gist of it.


Savor each moment. Make the days meaningful.


I get it.


I didn’t really care to read all the stories about her kids or herself as a kid. She is kind of wordy. Those personal stories are probably an important way to reinforce the advice she was giving. But I got bored with some of them. I think she has a style that is good and a lot of people love. But I’m not as big of a fan of the lyrical descriptions and what not.


She is self-deprecating in many parts of the book. So she is placing herself in the position of someone who is in this journey with us and trying to learn to be more intentional. And yet … I still felt some guilt when reading. It is not her desire to pile more guilt on the mom and dad readers. But it’s probably inevitable. She asks us to question ourselves about whether or not we’re doing all we can to invest well in our children. And it’s too easy to say to ourselves, “No! I could be doing more!” The thought of trying to squeeze every ounce of life out of each moment … well … feels stressful.


But these were fleeting feelings I had while reading the book. She always gets back to a good place of relying on God and giving yourself some grace.


Question for you: Do you feel like you slow down enough and enjoy the present moments with your child?


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