Though the summer solstice is still thirteen days away, once Memorial Day closes, most thoughts turn towards summer. While my thoughts have yet to turn in that direction, childhood summer memories filled with the joy of planting pennies, bring a smile to my face.
Perhaps the unseasonable temperatures, or a barefoot walk in dew damp grass the other morning triggered the memories. Or maybe watching the delight on a small child’s face in the grocery store parking lot as they picked up a lost penny.
Some of the sweetest summer memories involve the simplest of pleasures.
Welcome to Mindfulness Monday! Where we learn some easy ways to be more present “in the moment” at our jobs, in our homes, with our families and friends.
Learning to recognize God and what He has for us in each divine moment He offers. We acknowledge the belief that God is with us always.
We confess His presence is available to us, lifting our spirit and helping us with power and grace. Learning the art of “stillness” so we can hear His voice and view ourselves, others and our surroundings through His eyes.
the joy of hidden delights
Smiling for days at the thought of the joy of planting pennies about my neighborhood one summer, I longed for that simplicity. I no longer remember which of us gets credit for the original idea, but we pooled our pennies with the idea of hiding them for others to find.
The details evade me, but I know we specifically wanted adults to find them. Through our young eyes we thought a penny was pretty special. Of course those were the days of penny candy and the local drugstore boasted quite a selection.
Though the details fade, one thing remains: the joy of hiding a treasure for someone else.
These days, finding a penny hardly causes notice much less a huge smile among adults. But back then, as we hid nearby watching, adults picked up the pennies and always smiled! Spurred on by the positive feedback, what started as a lark, soon became the focus of an entire summer.
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.2 Corinthians 9:7
choosing more joy
Giving for me, always evokes Joy. Whether a monetary donation, a gift of my time or a small token of appreciation; I find the act of giving, intoxicating. Seeing Joy reflected on someone’s face magnifies my own joy.
Embracing the art of giving most reflects our Father’s generous nature to others, which in turn fills us with the fullness of His Joy.
The simplicity of summer months invites a sense of frivolity; a compulsion to do everything and nothing. Some of us seek adventure while others, solitude. We may consider the lazy, hazy days of summer an opportunity for self-care and recalibration.
All of which brings delightful refreshment. But what if part of our choosing activities for personal nourishment involved choosing more joy by planting pennies?
Summer easily lends itself to practicing mindfulness. The slower pace, more outdoor time, and connection with family and friends begs us remain present. If we add planting pennies of Joy, we root ourselves in the present as we focus on giving Joy.
While literal pennies may not bring quite the Joy as in years past, let your creative juices flow and watch what happens. Here’s a few fun examples for starters.
- Surprise pennies. Leave flowers, a treat or gift card for someone to find.
- Secret pennies. Compose sticky notes with simple sayings, “You are Loved”, “Sending Joy” or “You are Appreciated”, include a verse if you like. Leave the notes in public places: grocery store shelves, a book you return to the library, the pages of a notebook for sale.
- Shared pennies. Leave a favorite book in a coffee shop or other public place with a note inside sharing why you love the book and the hope they will too and then pass it on.
- Spoken pennies. Speak words of kindness to strangers, neighbors or those who serve you. Be intentional, and make eye contact.
- Service pennies. Double your tips when served. For those who serve you by caring for you, (but don’t receive tips!) like doctors, dentists, optometrists, plan ahead and bring a treat.
- Silly pennies. Share a smile or the gift of laughter.
- Sacred pennies. Pen a note, email, card, or text with a specific prayer of blessing or encouragement for someone in need.
The greatest Joy we receive, is that which leaves our hands on its way to bless others.
the joy of planting pennies
Ultimately, the lesson we learned during the summer of planting pennies was a simple lesson in kindness and thinking of others. But the lesson remembered is one of Joy. The excitement of finding new places for the pennies and watching for reactions filled our days and hearts with the Joy of giving.
The beauty of the whole adventure rested in the unexpected Joy received not only in the giving, but in observing the Joy of the recipients.
Deepen connections and times of refreshing this summer by staying present and savoring God’s Presence in your moments. If you feel adventurous, why not cultivate the Joy of the Father by planting pennies. You may be surprised by what you find in the process!