In Pursuit of Life's Purpose

The Meaning Behind Those Coins You See On Headstones

Have you ever gone to visit a loved one at the cemetery and noticed some graves have coins on them? Have you ever wondered what that means?

The tradition dates back to Greek Mythology where it was believed that Charon, the ferryman of Hades, required a coin as payment to ferry your loved ones soul across the River Styx that separates the living from the dead. Coins were placed in the mouths or over the eyes of the deceased. People who can’t pay the fee are said to be doomed to wander the shores of the river for 100 years.

The tradition of leaving coins on the headstones of military personnel only really became popular in the United States during the Vietnam War as a way of leaving messages for the families of the deceased without contacting them directly.  It was a way of letting the deceased soldier’s family know that someone else has visited the grave to pay respect, and a way of telling all who pass that the person buried there was loved.

Sometimes coins are left as a “down payment” for the deceased as a promise to buy them a drink in the afterlife.

The coin tradition goes as follows:

  •  a penny indicates that you knew the deceased
  • a nickel means you trained in boot camp together
  • a dime signifies serving in the same company
  • a quarter tells the family that you were with them when they died.

The featured picture was taken at McGavock Cemetery in Franklin Tennessee. The marker indicates that there are 230 soldiers buried in that area from Tennessee. The coins, in this case, are a symbol of remembrance and respect.


Simplest Chili

I know it’s summer and it’s hot out but occasionally there’ll be those cool rainy nights when you’re home curled up on the couch watching a movie.

My recipes are always going to be for 1 or 2 and even then you’ll probably have leftovers. For more servings just double or triple up the recipe. And remember any recipe can be converted to organic if you use organic ingredients.  This recipe is not for children.

  • 1 TBS Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Onion, diced
  • 1/2 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) Chili Beans
  • 1/4 tsp himalayan salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground red pepper

Saute’ onion in oil. When translucent, add the ground beef and stir until the meat is brown.

When the meat is ready, pour in the tomatoes, beans and the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour. Let sit uncovered for 15 minutes before eating.

This is delicious on cornbread or with nachos.


Horses of The Hermitage

The Hermitage is a plantation that was owned by Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States. It is located in Davidson County, Tennessee, 10 miles east of downtown Nashville and it is designated as a National Historic Landmark.


While on my visit I was very taken by the horses I found along the property. I was able to contact the owners who informed me that the name of this breed of horse is Percheron. They informed me that this breed was chosen because they are well muscled, and known for their intelligence and willingness to work. These particular horses came primarily from the Amish.


Percherons range in height from 15 to 19 hands high and can weigh up to 2600 pounds. The lower thighs are heavily muscled to give the horse enormous pulling power. They are wide and deep through the chest with a large heart girth and well sprung ribs. The croup is level, tying into a large round hip. Most Percherons are black or grey, but sorrels, bays, roans, and other colors are also seen. Many Percherons have white markings on the head and feet, but excessive white is undesirable.



The breed standard states “The Percheron head and neck are typical of the most attractive draft horse character. Good Percherons have a large and full prominent eye, a broad and full forehead, and straight face. His strong jaw and refined ears attractively set and carried with animation, suggests his Arabian ancestry. Stallions should have a ruggedness about the head and mares should have a feminine look.”


I have to say they are absolutely magnificent!

The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Evanescent (Gentle Souls)

For this photo challenge I’ve chosen photos from one of my encounters with the deer at the Stones River Battlefield in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

The deer are there every morning between 6:30am and 7:00am and they’re only visible for a short time in the morning before disappearing from view for the rest of the day. They won’t wait for you. They’re on their own schedule.


In the thicket you can get very close if you move slowly and with gentleness. Look away and they’re quickly gone blending right into the forest background.

DSCN8767DSCN8762I love the deer. They’re gentle souls.


Flower Of The Day – May 17th

“Some people complain that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses” …Alphonse Karr

I haven’t been on here much lately as I’ve started a new job. I’m already missing my mornings spent sitting here in front of the computer contemplating different thoughts on what to write about. Trying to get into a new morning routine.

My rose is from my old church, St. Rose of Lima in Tennessee. Saw it one Spring morning and had to capture it in all its glory.  It reminds me to look for beauty in the simple things.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914. It began as a day that included churchgoing, the distribution of carnations, and family dinners.

As with everything else, it’s become an over the top commercialization that has ruined the sanctity of it. I despise that. In my opinion, love should never be measured by the cost of a gift.

My favorite Mother’s Day memories remain the ones that began with serving mom breakfast in bed. Cards were handmade. The day was spent together as a family riding in the country. Dinner was a picnic at a park bench before heading back home. These are my early childhood memories and these are the values I’ve tried to instill in my own children.

My mother always said that the best gift you can give someone you love is your time and that costs you nothing. I do believe she was right.

While a $100 bouquet of flowers sent by FTD is thoughtful, it doesn’t compare to spending an entire day with someone and going out of your way to try and make the day special for them. That requires real effort and thought. That’s like getting a bouquet of dandelions picked by little hands that includes a big kiss and a huge hug. One gift you remember fondly, the other is a memory you cherish forever.

%d bloggers like this: