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“What would you like on your Tombstone?”


Two weeks ago I posted something that falls in the "thought-provoking" category. That blog post, "the dash and the jar," looked at the quality of the life represented by the dash between the dates of birth and death.

Today's iv is a much lighter look at this topic - epitaphs on tombstones. I have no way of knowing if they are all for real, but some of them are quite humorous. They range from puns on the name of the deceased, to insights into how the person lived or died, to insights into "those left behind" whose task or joy it was to write the epitaphs.

The following are reported to be actual epitaphs on tombstones:

Here lies Ann Mann;
She lived an old maid
And she died an old Mann.
(Bath Abbey, England)

Here lies Lester Moore
Four slugs from a .44
No Les
No Moore
(Tombstone, Arizona)

Here lies Johnny Yeast.
Pardon me
For not rising.
(Ruidoso, New Mexico)

In a cemetery in Hartscombe, England:
On the 22nd of June
- Jonathan Fiddle -
Went out of tune.

Here under this sod and under these trees
Is buried the body of Solomon Pease.
But here in his hole lies only his pod
His soul is shelled out and gone up to God.
(Falkirk, Scotland)

Someone punned on the name of Owen Moore in England:
Gone away
Owin' more
Than he could pay.

Underneath this pile of stones
Lies all that's left of Sally Jones
Her name was Briggs,
It was not Jones,
But Jones was used to rhyme with stones.
(Skaneateles, New York)

Sacred to the memory of Anthony Drake,
Who died for peace and quietness sake
His wife was constantly scolding and scoffin',
So he sought for repose in a twelve dollar coffin.
(Burlington, Massachusetts)

Beneath this stone, a lump of clay
Lies Arabella Young
Who on the 21st of May
Began to hold her tongue.
(Hatfield, Mass.)

Shoot-em-up-Jake
Ran for sheriff, 1872
Ran for sheriff, 1876
Buried, 1876.
(Dodge City, Kansas)

Anna Wallace:
The children of Israel wanted bread,
And the Lord sent them manna.
Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife,
And the Devil sent him Anna.
(Ribbesford, England)

Margaret Daniels:
She always said her feet were killing her
but nobody believed her.
(Richmond, Virginia)

Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake.
Stepped on the gas
Instead of the brake.
(Uniontown, Pennsylvania)

Someone determined to be anonymous in Stowe, Vermont:
I was somebody.
Who, is no business
Of yours.

Beneath this stone
lies Dr. John Bigelow,
an atheist all dressed up
with no place to go.
(Thurmont, Maryland)

Here lies my wife,
I bid her goodbye.
She rests in peace
and now so do I.

Here lies Ezekial Aikle, Age 102
The Good Die Young.
(East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia)

Beneath this stone, this lump of clay
Lies uncle Peter Daniels,
Who too early in the month of May
Took off his winter flannels.
(Medway, Mass.)

A widow wrote this epitaph in a Vermont cemetery:
Sacred to the memory of
my husband John Barnes
who died January 3, 1803
His comely young widow, aged 23, has
many qualifications of a good wife, and
yearns to be comforted.

Sir John Strange.
Here lies an honest lawyer,
And that is Strange.
(England)

He called Bill Smith a liar.
(Cripplecreek, Colorado)

She lived with her husband
50 years and died
in the confident hope
of a better life

William Jones
Beloved husband of Elizabeth Jones
Rest in peace until I come

In a cemetery in England:
Remember man, as you walk by,
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so shall you be.
Remember this and follow me.

To which someone replied by writing on the tombstone:
To follow you I'll not consent
Until I know which way you went.

A popular pizza commercial asks, "What would you like on your Tombstone?" If your life were to be summed up in an epitaph, how would it read?

I doubt that the apostle Paul had a tombstone, but if I had had to write it, I think I would have just recorded what Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

That pretty well sums up Paul's life. The question is, does that sum up my life?

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In a blog post in early June I included pictures of a flower box I built. Below is a picture of what it looks like now - the zinnias and lantana are doing great, the trailing petunias are not, and the pansies and Johnny Jump-Ups ... well, they've not yet appeared.

the flower box in full bloom

quotation...

"Don't live for anything less than God." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

"My greatest fear in life is that no one will remember me after I'm dead and gone." - some dead guy

The Eye of the Beholder


Yesterday my wife and I went to the mountains for a few hours since we really haven't been able to yet this summer. When we saw how low the water was in the creeks and one of our favorite places - Davidson River - we regretted that we couldn't bring them drought relief by going camping! We saw some of our favorite places, and I was reminded of something I'd run across recently in my archives....

Traveling through New England a motorist stopped for gas in a tiny village. "What's this place called?" he asked the station attendant.

"All depends," the native drawled. "Do you mean by them that has to live in this moth-eaten, dust-covered dump, or by them that's merely enjoying its quaint and picturesque rustic charms for a short spell."

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Of course, one sight beautiful to all grandparents is grandchildren. We received some recent pictures of our grandson Drew, so I'm sharing several with y'all.

A couple of weekends ago he enjoyed a DSO (Detroit Symphony Orchestra) concert at Metro Beach.

Drew at the DSO concert at Metro Beach

After getting his next round of shots, he had a low-grade fever for several days. A cool cloth on his fevered brow seemed to help.

Drew with a fevered brow

Drew *loves to lie on his tummy on the boppy.

Drew on the boppy

quotation...

"The trouble with shepherds is that they're sheep too." - Ted Allston

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

If you never go off on a tangent, you are doomed to going in circles.

Murphy’s Laws of Camping and Hiking


Several things in life lately have gotten me to thinking about camping. This past weekend our son mentioned that he and his young bride hope to go camping for a few days before their school year begins. Our daughter Nora is currently housesitting for family friends who are camping in Colorado. And finally a colleague from school sent me a link to the picture below. I would call this "extreme camping" - another, not me, man! Rather than 1,000 words, this picture says just one - YIKES!!!

I'd call this extreme camping!

All this stuff about camping made me think of something in my files - Murphy's Laws of Camping and Hiking. For those unfamiliar with Murphy's Laws, you can read up about them by going here. Those of you thinking about getting in a camping trip before the school year begins might want to be reminded of the following....

Murphy's Laws of Camping and Hiking

Any stone in a hiking boot migrates to the point of maximum pressure.

The number of stones in your boot is directly proportional to the number of hours you have been on the trail.

The size of each of the stones in your boot is also directly proportional to the number of hours you have been on the trail.

Feet expand when removed from hiking boots. The same law applies to tents and tent bags, clothing and backpacks, and sleeping bags and stuff sacks.

If you take your boots off, you'll never get them back on again.

When hiking, you take half as many downhill steps as uphill.

The weight of your pack increases in direct proportion to the amount of food you consume from it. If you run out of food, the pack weight goes on increasing anyway.

The width of backpack straps decreases with the distance hiked. To compensate, the weight of the backpack increases.

The weight in a backpack can never remain uniformly distributed.

The local density of mosquitos is inversely proportional to your remaining repellent.

The distance to a given camp site remains constant as twilight approaches.

The area of level ground in the vicinity tends to vanish as the need to make camp becomes finite.

When you arrive at your chosen campsite, it will already be occupied.

Average temperature increases or decreases with the amount of clothing brought.

The sun sets three-and-a-half times faster than normal when you're trying to set up camp.

Tent stakes come only in the quantity "N - 1" where N is the number of stakes necessary to stake down a tent.

Propane/butane tanks that are full when they are packed will unexplainably empty themselves before you can reach the campsite.

All available humidity and moisture will congregate on match heads.

If no match heads are in the vicinity, all moisture will congregate inside waterproof clothing.

Waterproof clothing isn't. (However, it is 100% effective at containing sweat).

Waterproof matches aren't.

Non-stick pans aren't.

One size fits all doesn't.

Anything bug-proof isn't.

Your side of the tent will always be the side that leaks.

Rocks and sticks rise above dirt when irritated by tent flooring fabric.

All foods assume a uniform taste, texture, and color when freeze-dried.

Divide the number of servings by two when reading the directions for reconstituting anything freeze-dried.

When reading the instructions of a pump-activated water filter, you should substitute "hour" for "minute" when reading the average quarts filtered per minute.

All tree branches in a forest grow outward from their respective trunks at exactly the height of any of your sensitive body parts.

You will lose the little toothpick in your Swiss Army knife as soon as you open the box.

Rain. ('nuff said)

Enough dirt will get tracked into the tent on the first day out, that you can grow the food you need for the rest of the trip in rows between sleeping bags.

When you are camping in late fall or winter, your underwear will stay at approximately 35.702 degrees Kelvin (-395.136 degrees Fahrenheit) no matter how long you keep it in your sleeping bag with you.

Bears. (see Rain)

The probability of diarrhea increases by the square of the thistle or poison ivy content of the local vegetation.

When one is in a mummy bag, the urgency of the need to relieve oneself is inversely proportional to the amount of clothing worn. It is also inversely proportional to the temperature and the degree to which the mummy bag is completely zipped up.

95% of a backpack's contents could have been left at home.

The 5% left at home will be needed.

Tents never come apart as easily when you're leaving a site as when you're trying to get them set up in the first place.

The memory of misery approaches zero as the memory of joy approaches infinity.

When planning to take time off of work/school for your camping trip, always add an extra week, because when you get home from your "vacation" you'll be too tired to go to back for a week after.

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We're amazed at how soon "summer vacation" will be over! Three weeks from today we begin our faculty in-service meetings at the university. I am *so* ready for all the construction projects on campus to be completed, and I am very eager to see my students again.

quotation...

"Do you obey God when it's costly?" - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

If you tell a joke in the forest, but nobody laughs, was it a joke?

10,000 Words


Since my last blog post was more thought-provoking than most and involved more reading than most, I thought I'd post some neat pictures I've received lately. If a picture is worth is a thousand words, the following is worth at least 10,000 words. Have a great weekend!

This takes "do-it-yourself" to a whole new level - an extremely low level!

do-it-yourself car repair

Here's some interesting unreal estate...

cliff hanging at home

Too bad this guy didn't know about bluetooth technology! Sorry, but I find this really disturbing!

Is that my phone ringing?

Now here's a way-outhouse!

a way-outhouse

All I can say is, "NOT ME, MAN!!!"

Not me man!

No one can claim that those doing the food service on this train don't go the extra mile! Or is this a new spin on "Tea for Two?"

great service on this train!

Now *where* did that car go?!?

Where'd that car go?!?

Wow! This is *some* ski show!

quite the ski show!

Faster, Dear! The lava is gaining on us!

Drive faster, Dear!

"Sweetheart, I've got your honey-do list ready ... now where'd that man go???"

hidden husband

quotation...

"I don't need to know what lies ahead. I just need to know God." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.

The Dash and the Jar


We're doing well and settling in after our time up north. Many people have heard about our accident, some had read about it on the blog, and some had heard nothing about it. (It's been fun to see who reads the newsy update section my blog posts and who doesn't.) ;-)

Our pastor, Drew Conley, said something Sunday - "The longer I live the more I see that life is about saying no to most things so that I can do what really matters" - that reminded me of several really neat things in my files. I sent them out in 1998, shortly after the death of our friend Alain Laurens in France. It's sobering to think how quickly those nearly *nine* intervening years have passed. Our accident on July 4th that could easily have ushered us into eternity reminded us very strongly of the brevity and fragility of life. Life is truly a vapor, as the book of James says.

I've heard and read some who hint that having a blog is a narcissistic waste of time. I hope that's not the case with my blogging. I truly want to bless and challenge others and to spend my little time in this world on what really matters.

THE DASH
by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the beginning...to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth...
and now only those who loved her
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own;
the cars...the house...the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard...
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left.
(You could be at "dash mid-range.")

If we would just slow down enough
to consider what's true and real,
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
as we've never loved them before.

If we treat each other with respect,
and more often wear a smile...
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy's read
with your life's actions to rehash...
will you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent your dash?

One day, an expert was speaking to a group of business students. To drive home a point, he used an illustration those students will never forget.

As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered over achievers he said, "Okay, time for a quiz". Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar, and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top, and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is this jar full"? Everyone in the class said, "Yes". Then he said, "Really"? He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. Then he asked the group once more, "Is the jar full"?

By this time the class was onto him. "Probably not", one of them answered. "Good", he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in, and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, "Is this jar full"? "No", the class shouted. Once again he said, "Good". Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, "What is the point of this illustration"?

One eager beaver raised his hand and said, "The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it". "No", the speaker replied, "that's not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is, if you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all".

What are the "big rocks" in your life? A project that YOU want to accomplish? Time with your loved ones? Your faith, your education, your finances? A cause? Teaching or mentoring others?

Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you'll never get them in at all. Tonight or in the morning when you are reflecting on this story, ask yourself this question... what are the 'big rocks" in my life or business?

Then put those in your jar first.

quotation...

"God, deliver me from the dread asbestos of "other things.'" Jim Elliott

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

There are two things I have learned: There is a God. And I'm not Him.