Archive for the ‘Penny Picker-Uppers’ Category

Over at The Penny Project Facebook page today, there was a nod to one of the world’s greatest authors, Dr. Seuss.

“BE who you ARE, and say what you feel, because those that mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind.” –Dr. Seuss ~~So do what you do & find what you find. Shout, “PENNY!” with glee…who cares if “they” mind?! Life is too short not to holler & play. So how will YOU make the most of today?!

It’s almost impossible not to be in a good mood when you think about the world Dr. Seuss created in his books.  Whimsical, fun & full of adventure.  Although sometimes the places you’ll go on your adventure will be a bit daunting and might stop you dead in your tracks for awhile.

That is what happened when I sat down with my one employee (otherwise known as my mom) to plot a path for The Penny Project in 2011.  A total ker-plunk.  No sizzle.  No juice.  Not even a penny’s worth.

At first it was disheartening.  Frustrating.  Infuriating, even!  Where did all the zip & heart I have for this project go?!  And why, when I FINALLY have someone willing to help me move it forward can I not conjure up what I need to in order to get us moving?


But then, in Dr. Seuss-like form…our ‘Booooos’ turned to ‘Yahooooos’ and something magical happened.

And now, with some help from Dr. Seuss himself (from his book The Places You’ll Go), I’ll recount the tale and the lesson we learned.  Just another day in the life of a penny enthusiast!  🙂

The Places Pennies Will Help You Go…

Dr. Seuss meets Ms. Penny Project...Oh, the places they'll go!!

“I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups & Hang-ups can happen to you.”

And so it happened when my mom came to help.  “I have no ideas!” I cried with a yelp.

We’d carved out some time to kick it into high gear.  To plan Penny Project success for the coming year.

“Boy-oh-boy!!”  I’d thought when the idea was planned.  But when we sat down to do it, we felt stagnant & canned.

No “boy-oh-boy” showed up on that day.  It was more like a Grinch-like place of dismay.

“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?”

We tried & we tried.  We gave all we had.  We got nowhere fast…and then we were sad.  Is this what it’s like to work on something you love?  Does making it “work” feel like you’re getting a shove?  Or a kick in the pants or being dragged up a hill?  Like your ideas and your thoughts add up to nil?

Well…that’s how it felt to us.

Until Mom was stuck by a flash of A-HA!.  “What if we’re not supposed to plan anything at all?  What if we have fun and see where it goes?  What if we let it naturally unfold?  Isn’t that how the whole thing got started?  Why has that theory up & departed?  Could that be our way to success?  Not normal or standard…but it’s how we work best!”

“Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.”

Well…I DID always want to be on Oprah.

So we set aside our markers and pens…and let go of our concepts of losses & wins.  Instead we just played and did what was fun…cutting clips from magazines that could inspire someone!  We flipped & we snipped for hours on end.  Now THIS is how to make progress, my friend!!

And so there we were, at the end of the day.  Vision boards complete, having done nothing but PLAY!

We laughed our good-byes and vowed to do it again…but how would we count this?  A loss or a win?  Could life be so simple and lived with such ease?  Could we really just play & do as we please?  Would such practices bring a great life with success or would we end up just creating a mess?

“You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!”

And so we concurred that such was the plan.  To just get on going & to see where we land.  If the journey is joy-filled and causes minimal fuss, ANY destination is just fine with us!


Read Full Post »

Take the blinders off & look around!! Life's offering you joy at every turn. Are you able to SEE it?!

Sometimes I get notes from penny finders that absolutely make my day.  Pictures of finds, words of encouragement about my penny-finding obsession, or stories of my freinds’ own penny obsessed lives!   But sometimes the notes are way more than just a story.  Sometimes they get right to the HEART of what this project is all about.  And those notes…they make my week! 

This one was one such note.  A penny finding friend of a friend whom I’ve never even met in person but who clearly gets why it’s important to pay attention to the little joys life brings us! 

A big thanks to you, Sebouh for seeing the magic a penny can bring.  You didn’t just make my week…you made my month!  😉

I spoke to Nicole earlier this evening about the power of the penny and what it has meant to me in the past few weeks.  I explained to her that to me, the symbolism and act of manifesting the pennies or change, is the process that has been so impactful to me thus far.
It comes at a time where there is a fair amount of change going on in my life.  I am so excited about all of the change that I don’t know what to do.  Sometimes, I don’t know who to share the change with.  Just today, on my way to my sister’s house I was able to spot change while I was driving!  I pulled over, made sure I wasn’t about to get hit by oncoming traffic and honed in on the quarter that I spotted from my driver seat.  Then I continued to peruse the street and found another quarter and 3 more dimes.  It was quite astonishing and as I explained to Nicole earlier tonight, the grin on my face could have lit up a small village.
In short, (and I really mean in short) I wanted to share with you how much it has meant for me to be a part of this program.
Listen to how I worded it, program.
It’s not a program.

You don’t have to sign-up.
There is no fee required.
It empowers you to open your eyes – WIDER

And soak in more than you have previously.
It’s a wonderful thing and so I thank you.

Read Full Post »

It's not everyone who's friends are willing to brave public restrooms in the name of coin finding. But my friends are high quality...and they frequently have to pee! 🙂

I really think I might be the luckiest person alive.  Not only do I have friends finding pennies and thinking about me when they do…but they often share their adventures with me via text, voicemail, or by actually delivering their found coins to me.

But my friend Rick took it to a whole new level.  Sure, some might consider it a LOWER level…but I consider this friendship in the truest sense!!  Just check out the e-mail I got with the attached photo.  If you were fuzzy on the location of the dime…the e-mail says it all!

Rick’s notes from the field (April 11, 2010)

Going the extra mile….Yes that is a toilet bowl.


Sent via BlackBerry

Thanks, Rick, for being a trooper in the world of penny finding!

Read Full Post »

I haven't actually SEEN Ellie's infamous green penny yet but had to see if I could find a green penny on google. Sure enough...here was a good one. Although I get the feeling it's not nearly as good as Ellie's!

Nothing makes me happier than logging into my facebook page and seeing comments about finds from my friends.  ESPECIALLY when they post gems like this:

Ellie’s Notes from the field (April 28, 2010)

Here’s my latest penny story:

I walk to work the same way everyday, I’m definitely a creature of habit. This makes looking for pennies interesting, because when I find one I wonder how many days I’ve walked by it before I could see it. Yesterday, I was at the corner of 14th and P Street waiting to cross, I look down and see this green circle. I hesitate and then decide it’s gum not a penny. I cross the street and continue my journey to Starbucks.

This morning, I’m walking as I always do and I find a nice shiny penny at 14th and Rhode Island. This reminds me of the gum from yesterday, I just can’t seem to let it go. I walk to 14th and P look down, still there. Still looks like gum, but I say to hell with it, and pick it up. IT WAS A PENNY! The most oxidized, old, dirty penny, but a penny nonetheless. Just goes to show you can never be sure and it doesn’t hurt to get a little dirty.

Best. Penny. Ever.

 Yeah, it’s official.  I have the greatest friends on the planet!  Or should I say…

Best. Friends. EVER!

Read Full Post »

Ah…more fun pics & notes from my friends! 

Just because it's raining doesn't mean there's not joy to be had. Look! A penny!!

It was a soggy DC day on Monday but April didn’t let that stop her from finding a bit of joy in the form of a penny.  What’s more…she SPREAD that joy by texting me a picture of said soggy penny!

Neither rain, nor sleet nor dark of night (it works for the postal carriers!) will keep a good penny finder from enjoying the moment of happiness that comes with finding a penny!

Read Full Post »

What might you learn by saving your pennies?


 Some time ago after sending out one of my penny updates, my friend Jody sent this message & story to me. It just goes to show that little old pennies really do add up to life lessons on pretty big issues: determination, perseverance and even LOVE! 

 I dare you to read this story and NOT mist up at least a little.  And then I dare you not to want to play along!!  Let’s all get our own pickle jars and save our change for CHANGE in 2010!  Read the story & then follow the directions on the Pickle Jar Challenge tab if you are willing to see what you can save, learn, and give in 2010!   

 Leslie, you’ll never believe it, but this was the very next email I opened after reading the Penny Project update!!   

Rev Jody Jessup<:))))><    


The Pickle Jar
The pickle jar as far back as I can remember sat on the floor beside the dresser in my parents’ bedroom.. When he got ready for bed, Dad would empty his pockets and toss his coins into the jar.

As a small boy I was always fascinated at the sounds the coins made as they were dropped into the jar. They landed with a merry jingle when the jar was almost empty. Then the tones gradually muted to a dull thud as the jar was filled.   

I used to squat on the floor in front of the jar and admire the copper and silver circles that glinted like a pirate’s treasure when the sun poured through the bedroom window. When the jar was filled, Dad would sit at the kitchen table and roll the coins before taking them to the bank.  

Taking the coins to the bank was always a big production. Stacked neatly in a small cardboard box, the coins were placed between Dad and me on the seat of his old truck. 

Each and every time, as we drove to the bank, Dad would look at me hopefully. ‘Those coins are going to keep you out of the textile mill, son You’re going to do better than me. This old mill town’s not going to hold you back.’ 

Also, each and every time, as he slid the box of rolled coins across the counter at the bank toward the cashier, he would grin proudly ‘These are for my son’s college fund. He’ll never work at the mill all his life like me.’ 

We would always celebrate each deposit by stopping for an ice cream cone. I always got chocolate. Dad always got vanilla. When the clerk at the ice cream parlor handed Dad his change, he would show me the few coins nestled in his palm. ‘When we get home, we’ll start filling the jar again.’ He always let me drop the first coins into the empty jar. As they rattled around with a brief, happy jingle, we grinned at each other. ‘You’ll get to college on pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters,’ he said. ‘But you’ll get there; I’ll see to that.’  

No matter how rough things got at home, Dad continued to doggedly drop his coins into the jar. Even the summer when Dad got laid off from the mill, and Mama had to serve dried beans several times a week, not a single dime was taken from the jar. 

To the contrary, as Dad looked across the table at me, pouring catsup over my beans to make them more palatable, he became more determined than ever to make a way out for me. ‘When you finish college, Son,’ he told me, his eyes glistening, ‘You’ll never have to eat beans again – unless you want to.’ 

The years passed, and I finished college and took a job in another town. Once, while visiting my parents, I used the phone in their bedroom, and noticed that the pickle jar was gone. It had served its purpose and had been removed.  

A lump rose in my throat as I stared at the spot beside the dresser where the jar had always stood. My dad was a man of few words, and never lectured me on the values of determination, perseverance, and faith. The pickle jar had taught me all these virtues far more eloquently than the most flowery of words could have done. When I married, I told my wife Susan about the significant part the lowly pickle jar had played in my life as a boy. In my mind, it defined, more than anything else, how much my dad had loved me.   

The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica was born, we spent the holiday with my parents. After dinner, Mom and Dad sat next to each other on the sofa, taking turns cuddling their first grandchild. Jessica began to whimper softly, and Susan took her from Dad’s arms. ‘She probably needs to be changed,’ she said, carrying the baby into my parents’ bedroom to diaper her. When Susan came back into the living room, there was a strange mist in her eyes.   

She handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my hand and leading me into the room. ‘Look,’ she said softly, her eyes directing me to a spot on the floor beside the dresser. To my amazement, there, as if it had never been removed, stood the old pickle jar, the bottom already covered with coins. I walked over to the pickle jar, dug down into my pocket, and pulled out a fistful of coins. With a gamut of emotions choking me, I dropped the coins into the jar. I looked up and saw that Dad, carrying Jessica, had slipped quietly into the room. Our eyes locked, and I knew he was feeling the same emotions I felt. Neither one of us could speak.   

This truly touched my heart. I know it has yours as well. Sometimes we are so busy adding up our troubles that we forget to count our blessings. Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person’s life, for better or for worse.   

God puts us all in each other’s lives to impact one another in some way. Look for Good in others.    

Read Full Post »

You've got mail! Nothing makes my day like text messages & e-mail about big penny finds!

Ah, the never ending search for pennies. I love it!!! You never know where it will take you or what you will find. I continue to have folks e-mail & text me with their finds (ok, sure…my mom & dad are the main supporters…but that counts!!). Below are the latest batch of text messages & e-mails. They still make me smile! Hard to believe a little penny could bring such excitement. It’s true that we should pay more attention to the small things in life (and the big ones if you’re my paper-money finding friends!).

Hope you enjoy this next batch of found money updates as much as I did!


“The First Team–Mom found a penny in Amarillo, TX and I found three (count them, three!!!) while I was pumping gas in Altus, OK. Man, we’re good.” –Dad 8/24/09

“you rock just found a penny. i love you.” –April C. 8/29/09

“I just found a penny at a truckstop in Limon.” –Paul G. 9/7/09

“Yeah I don’t think I’ve ever got this excited about finding a penny!” –Paul G. 9/7/09

“Another one. I found a dime walking in to the Walmart yesterday.” –Dad 9/7/09

“FYI–Nancy found a penny yesterday! Add it to the spreadsheet. I’ll send it to you.” –Jenn C. 9/18/09

“metro penny yesterday. 2 along my walk to work this a.m. Woo-hoo!!” –Julia B. 10/7/09

“$20!!!!!! Wholefoods parking lot :)” –Illeny M. 10/7/09

“Just found a dime!” –Misty C. 10/8/09

“another metro penny just now. Lincoln face up, just when I needed a smile!! :-)” –Julia B. 10/15/09

“Big Day!! While working at Lake Las Vegas today, One of the other guys found a nickel on the seat of the boat we were in. I talked him into donating it to the penny project. While waking McGruff tonight, I found a dime!!! Life is good.” –Dad 10/18/09

“Big Find! While I was walking McGruff this morning, I found a quarter!” –Dad 10/22/09

“I FOUND A QUARTER enroute to work this morning. I lost my phone so don’t have easy access to track down phone numbers so didn’t leave a vm like usual, but this one was great – in the intersection resting on one of those manhole covers…sufficiently dingy and battered but def recognizable. I looked both ways and snatched it :). I was ecstatic.” –Julia B. 10/30/09

“Found a dollar today!” –Misty C. 11/3/09

“Found 2 pennies so far today!” –Misty C. 11/7/09

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »