Dreading Headstones

I’ve been subconsciously, and even more recently, purposely dreading writing this, and by the end of this, you’ll feel it too. It started almost a year ago, I guess, and this picture sets this thought in stone quite appropriately:

Not the actual tombstone

Almost a year ago, our son Oliver passed away (no, this post isn’t entirely about that event, but more about the emotions surrounding it). Someone blessed us with money to pay those dreadful hospital bills related to Oliver’s birth and passing, and we even had just enough money leftover for the tombstone.

So, last March, we reluctantly stepped into a local funeral home after consulting several others to compare cost, and the funeral director, giving us a discount, expected us to return and place an order for Ollie’s headstone.

Except we never showed up.

Sure, we talked about it some, every now and then, saying, “Oh, we still have that money for the headstone in our safe. We should take care of that” and things of that sort.

Yet gloominess must have slightly set in, as I chose not to get the headstone. At one point, I thought, “What’s the point?”

In the gray skies of early 2018, I went to the funeral home to have the contract drawn up.

Talking with one of the head guys there, he revealed the reason why many people erroneously wait to get a tombstone and the detriment behind it:

Tombstones provide closure, and some people want the wound to stay open.

Don’t get me wrong: nowhere in my wildest thoughts would I ever want to keep thinking of the searing pain of losing a second son. But, subconsciously, isn’t it easier to deal with pain by stuffing it away, keeping the tombstones of our pain off the growing grass of our hearts?

So, I shared with Mary the reason I had reluctance in acquiring the headstone this whole time… only to wait a couple more weeks afterward to actually pay for and execute the contract.

You and I aren’t too different, you know?

We both stuff our pain, keeping the tombstones away from the grass in our lives.

That’s not healthy.

We should have our sketch back for approval soon, and then the tombstone will be delivered, and there it will sit, right next to Alex’s, our first son, and maybe then I’ll be able to get closure.

Question is, what are you afraid of facing, giving your fears prime property among the grassy knolls of your heart and mind? Friend, may I encourage you today? Let’s lay those fears to rest.

Rest In Peace, fear.


TSW #5: The Alarm Clock

Ok. Time for “word association.” I am going to mention two words. You tell me the first thing that comes to your mind when you read:

Alarm Clocks.


If we’re honest, then most of us would admit that we immediately thought words like ugh, painful, morning, sleep in, hate the alarm, one of these days I will rip the batteries from it’s cold inanimate casing but I’m too tired this morning.

No? I’m the only one to think those words? Hm.

But seriously. There’s got to be a smarter way to waking up.

I believe there is…

…and it involves an alarm clock.

It’s not the alarm clock that’s the problem when it comes to the seemingly dreadful process of waking up in the morning.

It’s the placement.

More often than not, placement plays a huge problem in our lives. Not necessarily where we’ve “been placed”, but mainly where we position ourselves.

If you find that many of your friendships aren’t the way you imagined them, the problem isn’t your friends. It’s you — more specifically, it’s how you position yourself.
If your finances are out of balance, it’s probably not your job that’s the problem, or your salary. Most likely, it’s how you manage your money — how you position your money– that’s the problem.

If you struggle waking up in the morning, it’s not the sun’s fault. Or God’s. Or your mom or dad’s. Or the neighbor’s yapping dog. Or that train. It’s you.

More specifically, it’s how you position your alarm clock.

My advice?

Place it across the room. Far away from your hand. That way, you actually have to get up to turn it off.

(what a novel idea!)

It’s the smarter way.

At the surface, literally try that out. But if you want to go deeper, then see how you can apply this to your life.

Did it work?

Even-Toed Ungulate

What in the world is an even-toed ungulate?

Here’s an example:


An ungulate is another word for a hoofed animal. Specifically, a camel is an Artiodactyla, meaning an even-number toed animal. Even more specially, it is of the family camelidae, and it’s related to the llama.

But you didn’t want to know that.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Old camels are tough, chewy, and flavorless.
  2. The United States Army had a US Camel Corps.
  3. Camel humps aren’t for holding water; they store fatty tissue.
  4. Sweating is minimal in camels.
  5. “A camel’s stomach knows no limits.” They can eat pretty much anything.
  6. In Arabic, there are over 160 words for “camel.”
  7. Like women in heels, camels walk on their toes, but they walk silently due to the padding on the bottom of their feet.
  8. Their long eyelashes enable them to walk through sandstorms.

Here’s what we can learn from camels:

  1. Keeping a childlike attitude will help you stay tender and flavorful as you age.
  2. (you didn’t need to know that, but it’ll help in Trivial Pursuit)
  3. That big nose you have? Don’t fret over it; God gave you your perceived “imperfections” for a reason.
  4. Go about your day, moving and working. Don’t worry about sweating.
  5. Don’t let a camel eat you, because they will. Maybe.
  6. Make a mark.  Do something worth remembering.  A lot.  What’s worth remembering?  Being a loving Dad.  Being an excellent student.  Being a Mom who provides.  Being a great worker.  Being kind.
  7. Learn to balance minimally. It takes more effort, but in the end, it puts less stress on you.
  8. You will be able to walk through the storms in life if you utilize perhaps the smallest, most overlooked feature in your life — God. You were created to journey with God. If you try to cut out God from your life, it’s like cutting off your eyelashes. You won’t be able to make it. And sand in the eye hurts.
Which of those principles do you need to work on?