How many?

How Many will it take?

©2015 Beth Terry CSP

“How many of these?” I was helping a friend with her Holiday store. Peering over the counter I saw a tiny girl, around 5 years old. Her mom was down the aisle shopping for ornaments. The girl held out coins in one hand and clutched small bells in the other.

“How many of these do I give you for these?” She insisted again, shoving the coins towards me.

“Well, if you give me that shiny penny, one of those quarters, and two of those dimes, I think that will be enough,” I  pointed to each coin as I said it.


It struck me in that moment how strange and silly our money system is. “Trade me these shiny pieces of metal for these pieces of metal that make noise.” And how easily we accept the contract without giving it much thought.

You are a fast food worker, so we will give you one thousand two hundred of those pennies for every hour you show up to work. You are able to kick a football 50 yards down a grass field? We will give you three billion, two hundred million pennies for 3 years, whether or not you show up to work.

Years ago my new 5 year-old stepdaughter asked me a “How Many?” question. Puzzling over my age, she asked in typical little kid language, “How many Christmases did you had till now?” When I told her, she followed up with, “Well, how many Christmases do you get?”

That stopped me for a moment. It’s a good question. Each Christmas since I’ve wondered, “How many more of these will I get?” Have I celebrated the seasons with enough grace and gratitude? With enough humility and joy at the passing of time and the daily gifts of living in a free country?

How many is an important question.

As a friend loves to point out – “Each of us has a number for everything important in our life.”

I think he means we each have a limit or an expectation. A number in our heads of how many times we will put up with bad behavior. How many times will we stuff our feelings about something that bugs us? How many times will we watch injustice and finally do something about it? How many pounds will we weigh before we decide maybe pushing away from the table is a good exercise routine for the new year? How many cigarettes is too many? How many drinks is too many? And then there’s the money question. How many pennies is “enough” for you to be motivated?

So, what’s your “number?” Why?

It’s a sign of maturity when we’re able to stop playing games and simply do what needs to be done so we can spend a little more time enjoying our lives and our loved ones.

How many “Gratitudes” will it take for you to feel good today?

Maybe the secret to a happy life is to know why your How Many answers are what they are, and then take steps to do something about it.

So, “How many more Christmases will YOU Get?”

Happy Hanukkah!

Happy Kwanzaa!

Happy Festivus!

Merry Christmas!





@2018 Beth Terry Events, Phoenix, AZ • All Rights Reserved


—–> BIG PS ——-> LISTEN IN TODAY (DECEMBER 20) at 12:12 PM AZ time to hear Beth on the Radio – Dial in online to


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