Pennies into Miracles, Dinosaur Wallets, and a Spark of Hope

Last month hit me hard. Like so many across the globe I found myself glued to the news, simultaneously desperate for information on the events unfolding in Europe and terrified one more update would push me over the edge of depression I already teetered on.
The images of a father kissing his weeping children goodbye as they flee their war-ravaged cities while he stays to fight haunt me. The sight of NICUs set up in bomb shelters and medically fragile children unable to evacuate while shelling continues around them ravage my heart.
I’m not cut out to be a news junkie.
My mind and soul become so heavy in times such as these. I feel helpless. Hopeless. Like nothing I do will make a difference for these displaced families and any fun plans I make with my own family feels like burying my head in the sand. Why should we be able to enjoy carefree Spring Break activities when a frightened Ukrainian mother worries about fate of her husband and safety of her children?
I let the weight of it all paralyze me, frozen in sorrow until Sharon McMahon, of @sharonsaysso on Instagram, shared some very wise words. She said,

The antidote to despair is action. When the world seems dark and hopeless, the best thing you can do is something.


If we each adopted that as our motto, if we each did for one what we wish we could do for all, think of the difference we would see in the world. The ripples would be immeasurable. It's not your job to do everything. But it is your job to do something. Lean into it and don't look away.
She reminded me that the weight of the world was not on my shoulders, and that small actions matter. Just because I couldn’t be there to help the Ukrainian refugees in person, or have millions of dollars at my disposal, didn’t mean that what I could do wouldn’t make a difference.
Because as she says,
Around here we don’t buy into the lie that you need to have extraordinary means, extraordinary talent, extraordinary connections or an extraordinary platform to make a difference. Small things matter. Words matter. Someone’s $.30 matters.
By Sharonsaysso: When the world seems dark and hopeless, the best thing you can do is something. It's not your job to do everything. The weight of the world is not on your shoulders. But we can all do something. With the talents we're given, with the season of life we're in, and with the resources available to us.
And that was an important lesson for me to be reminded of. Not just as someone hurting for the lives being ripped apart by a power-hungry dictator — but as a mother raising three children in very uncertain times.
I sat down right then and there and sent what money I could spare to one of the organizations Sharon McMahon suggested. And when my six-year-old son asked me what I was doing, I did my best to explain to him in simple terms the events happening across the world. I told him about the little boys and girls having to leave their homes because it wasn’t safe, and how I was donating money to organizations helping them find warm food and places to stay.
I then watched my young son reach for his little dinosaur wallet where he keeps the money he earns from completing his sticker charts and hand over four of his own dollars to send to them. It’s not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things. But it’s a lot of money to him. And as I helped him sound out the words in the letter he wrote to accompany his four precious dollars, I felt a spark of hope far greater than the sum of our donations.
A note in a child's writing with the text: For Ukraine love Raleigh. Four 1 dollar bills are on top of the note.
One of Sharon’s favorite hashtags to use is #penniesintomiracles — and I think it’s an apt one. Not just because together with her band of followers she’s been able to raise millions of dollars in aid over the last year and a half, with many of the donations as little as $.30.  Her hashtag is important because it reminds us that a sea of small actions can turn into a tidal wave of hope.
By Sharonsaysso: Say, for example, your neighbor's house burns down. What is the right thing to do? Is it to post on Instagram about how terrible home builders these days are? Is it to tell everyone at work how much you hate the mayor for letting the house burn down? Or is it to do something to help your neighbor? You bring food. You bring clothes for the kids. You offer a place to sleep. You let them use your phone.
The last two years have been hard. I’ve lost count of the number of ‘historic events’ and low points we’ve seen. But people are still doing what they can for one another. Polish mothers leaving strollers at train stations for incoming refugees with babies. College students creating websites to help displaced Ukrainians pair up with host families. And kindergarteners sending their sticker chart money to children across the globe.

Pin this post and be sure to follow
Houston Moms
on Pinterest!

Previous articleReading List: Foster Care and Adoption Books for Children
Next articleI Have Plenty of Time: Sharing My Love of Music with My Kids
Lauren M. is a native Houstonian who now lives one street over from the house where she grew up in Sugar Land. After a brief fling with Austin where she received her Bachelors Degree in English Lit from Southwestern University, she returned home to attempt to write the great American novel {or, you know, the next Harry Potter series}. A short while later a friend recruited her for a kickball league where she met a tall, handsome engineer who quite literally swept her off her feet. After tying the knot in 2014, they soon welcomed their first son Raleigh {October 2015}, and little brothers Renner {January 2018} and Rafe {September 2021}. When not chasing around her three crazy Texas tornados and reveling in the boy mom life, Lauren has discovered a newfound passion for photography and Photoshop, creating whimsical family portraits at @andwhetherpigshavewings on Instagram. You can also find her at @polyjuiceandpixiedust .


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here