Names. Do Meanings Matter?

baby names

My brother mentioned over lunch the other day that friends of ours had named their newborn son Garrett*. When he asked the parents what the meaning of the name meant, the family replied that they had no idea.  My brother was flabbergasted, this was unfathomable to him.

How could you name a child and not know the meaning of the name?

My brother, being my brother, went home and looked up the meaning. I suppose he can sleep better now.

What he had failed to take into consideration was that this family had just had their fourth boy. I, however, get this, having had four same gender children of my own. Once you have had child after child of the same gender, the whole name thing kind of loses a little of its momentum.

My brother had a boy. Then a girl. Then another girl. Then he was done. Of course the whole name thing still had meaning.

By my fourth girl I was pretty much over the whole naming thing. Sure, the first name was still pretty important and I did take into account the meaning, “rock,” and wondered if it was too heavy of a name to give a baby girl – it wasn’t. She totally carries it. But when it came to the middle name – I was done. D.O.N.E. I told my husband and other three children: Pick a name, any name. Free reign. Your choice. Mommy’s out of ideas. Whatever you choose is cool with me.

And it was.

Do baby name meanings matter?

Feel free to weigh in!

*Name changed

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Motherhood, Magnolias and Missionaries

I rarely struggle for inspiration. Actually, I don’t struggle at all – sometimes I just don’t have it. We’re halfway through the A to Z Challenge and on most days I know well in advance what I will be posting for each letter. But not today. Not “M.”

M! Motherhood, Magnolias, Madness. So many Ms! But I wasn’t feeling it. Was. Not. Inspired. At. All.

stockvault-magnolia-tree121131I care about you, dear readers. I do. I never want to post – just to post. When I read A Living Flame’s post this morning I realized instantly why I was not inspired – she had already written the post meant for today. Voila! Missionary. (PS – I loved this post. PPS – She also wrote the recipe for Chai in my post The Art of Chai.)

A Living Flame

Some days life on the field is easy. Then there are days when it is hard. There are days when I climb to the rooftop and singing praise songs over my neighbourhood and then there are days when I feel like hiding in a quiet corner of my house and listening to the voices that tell me I am not good enough and will never accomplish anything. When I want a close friend to take me out to coffee and pray with me I am reminded that I am alone.

But there is encouragement. There is a way that I bring myself back to reality and realise that my obstacles are small, my friends many and my situation hopeful.

In the past few years I have found great joy (and sorrow) in reading of the lives that have gone before me. When I read about Amy Carmicheal and that she…

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K for Kind. Kind of Mean

niceI occasionally wonder what would happen if I just said all the mean things that run through my head.

I never (or very rarely) say those things. I’m generally kind across the board. I even think kind things, most of the time.

But sometimes I play a game in my head, “What if…” What if I just said whatever I was thinking? For instance, while reading blogs I occasionally come across one that is just so random and makes no sense whatsoever and I wonder, what if I were “that” mean person and I wrote in the comments,

“Hi. I totally have no idea what you are trying to say.”

But I don’t. And I doubt I ever would, unless my frontal lobe were injured or something.

Joy Inducing

The word is: Paint

I invested a lot of my High School years into art. I loved (still love) art. Yet, after four years I came to the sad conclusion that the internal creativeness that I believe is required for an artist to produce art was not present inside of me. I could imitate art but that wasn’t enough for me to consider pursuing it.

Twenty years later I discovered the key to unlocking the creativity in my heart. Repurposing.  I love to repurpose objects from the past and make them useful again for a new generation.

I’m a very practical person. I feel the most creative when my art can be used in some way. It’s why I love to bake and cook. Crochet. And especially create repurposed items to wear or for the home.

Recently I’ve been painting with my words. In the same way as the art I create with my hands, I want my words to be useful. To have purpose. I want the picture that I paint with my words to produce something in the reader. I want them to induce JOY.

Health

Healing

Laughter

Hope

Companionship

joy 2

I paint with my words.

 

5minutefriday

This post was written for 5 minute friday – click for link.

Identity – Who Am I?

“I miss India a lot today. The foggy weather outside reminds me of it. I miss the smell of spices and riding with the wind in my hair on the back of a motorcycle. I miss the old mommas in the streets selling their goods. I miss the high pitched singing ladies that were on the radio in every car. I miss the colors. I never thought I would say that I miss India. But today, I really miss India.”

My niece, who lived with me for a time in India, wrote me this a few days ago.

For a long time I found my identity in being an Indian wife or a Dweller in the land of India.

India 3Then one day these things were Gone. Over. Done. That part of my life was Finished.

And I suddenly had to figure out, Who am I.

The answer didn’t come in a moment, or a day, or a month. It came as I journeyed forward. I’ve written about this search for my Identity here.

 

* I write for the online publication, Moms of Faith, every Wednesday & Saturday. (You DON’T have to be a mom – or even female – to visit. Stop on by.)

Making It Happen – HOME

HOME

Fact: Not being married negatively affects the state of my house.

This is a  follow-up/weekly post  where YOU my blog audience “come home” with me to see if having you here helps me get home improvement projects done. For previous post go here.

Premise (same as last week – if read previously – skip down to Projects.)

I find being unattached affects the status of my home improvement projects in two ways.

 

1. The fact that there is someone coming home kind of gives me a kick in the pants to get stuff done. Clean up, pick up, make improvements.

There is no one coming home.

2. I am so much more motivated to do home improvements when someone else is doing it with me.

I’ve lived in this apartment for the last three years and it’s really only been over the past six months that I’ve started to feel like this is my home. (I briefly wrote about this in my post, Dwelling.)

Then, a recent post where I discussed my cleaning habits got me thinking that maybe what I need is motivation. Since no one is coming home to motivate me, dear readers, YOU have become my motivation. I plan to post two small home improvement projects that I would like to work on during the next week and then follow up with you next Wednesday to see if this kind of accountability works for me.

Projects:

Gardening. Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions last week! I did get out and clean up and made some decisions for the planting. STARTED!

seeds

 

I’ll also plant tomatoes. Planting for the Northeast is May-June – so I have a few weeks until these go in the ground.

My 5 year old, P, chose the sunflowers. They’re my favorites, so she didn’t have to convince me. 🙂

Garden 2

I’ve decided to take this plot out and put in a glider or picnic table. Bye bye.

lilac

 

My beloved lilac tree is blooming. ❤ P and I mulched the front of the house this week – squirrels are already digging it up. Furry Monsters.

Earlier this week I wrote about my neighbor dying (here) and how that affects my Making it HAPPEN posts. Home improvement projects are on a short hiatus until we can move into the other half of the apartment later next month. (we hope) Then it’s gonna get CRAZY.

 

Projects for this week:

Clean fridge. (No pictures. You’re welcome. )

Clean out dining room closet.

closet

Welcome to my life. This is why I need this weekly post, without you, Beloved Readers, cleaning this out DOESN’T happen.

death. Life, Living, Everlasting Life and ETERNITY

It’s Sunday afternoon and my neighbor was found dead this morning. This is not the first paragraph of a crime novel, it really happened.

A little after 8:00 AM I was on the way to the basement to get the clean laundry so we’d have something to wear to church. As I passed through my office at the front of the house I noticed police lights flashing outside and that an officer was walking toward my neighbor’s door. As I moved in for a closer look out the window I saw the body of my neighbor lying in the rain next to the trash and recycling buckets.

I ran through the kitchen and opened the front door and saw that poor Bill was not passed out as I hoped, but that he was dead in a puddle of water.

Let me pause to explain our bizarre living situation. I live in a 120 year old Victorian that at some point mid-century was divided into two apartments and offices. This unique division means that several parts of the house are inevitably shared living. So Bill was not a “far-away” neighbor but a man I saw and spoke with almost daily. The door to the basement which led to the clean laundry that we were about to wear to church, was in his kitchen.

In fact, I was the last one, to my knowledge, to speak to Bill, in person at least. The oven in my kitchen has been broken for months and it has just been easier to come downstairs and use Bill’s oven for all my baking and cooking needs. He didn’t mind, he never used it. Last night I was pulling out pork chops and baked potatoes and Bill came stumbling in from outside.

He was in his late sixties, a life-long smoker and was deeply depressed. He was alone in the world except for a daughter and a ninety year old father. Last week my dad and brother had to call Bill’s family to look in on him because it was clear to those of us who saw him on a daily basis that he was unwell, not eating and fading away. This wintery winter had been hard on him.

His daughter took him for a full check-up last week and the report was good. Bill even perked up for a few days! But last night he was not right. Dizzy. Unstable. I helped him to his seat and talked with him a bit. I asked if the medicine was making him dizzy and he said it did. I told him to call me on my cell phone if he needed me, I would come.

That’s the last time we spoke.

After the events of this morning I wish I had called my dad last night to come and check on Bill. In hindsight, I would have done things differently, yet I will live with my decision. He had been so weak for so long that his appearance was not as alarming as it should have been to me.

I am saddened that his body had to be found outside in the rain by a passerby. I am sad that he seemed to have nothing to live for and chose to fade away.

I am glad that his body was found on a Sunday morning and not a weekday when my children would have been walking to school and witnessed it. I’m thankful he died in an open place where he was found and not in his bed so that after a few days myself or my brother (who works here) would have smelled his remains.

This is raw. And this is honest.

Bill did not have a relationship with the Healer of Hearts, Jesus Christ.  That is the saddest news of all.

His death, as with all situations of this kind, has opened a door of conversation with my own children about life, living, everlasting life and eternity, so I will treasure and nurture these conversations. If there is only one glimmer of sweetness in this tragic, bitter end, those conversations are it.

death

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(E for Eternity & Everlasting Life)

 

PS – this was written last Sunday.

Defining: WRITER

 

writer

The Word is: Writer

Would I introduce myself to others as a “Writer?”

I think about this a lot. I am self employed and I wear so many hats that it would be easy to throw that description in there as well. However, I would never refer to myself as a “Writer,” rather, I would say, I write for a couple blogs.

If I were creating my resume, I would feel comfortable putting the word “Writer” on there to describe myself and my abilities because it is true and I have the work to back it. Also, plenty of people consider themselves “Writers” because they’ve written novels and books and articles – it doesn’t even matter if they are published. I am fine with that, if someone considers themselves a writer – who am I to question it?

However – for myself – I would not feel comfortable calling myself a “writer” unless I got paid for it.

The first time I receive an amount of money for something I’ve written I will proudly and with great joy stand up and say: I am a Writer.

What do you think constitutes a Writer?

5minutefriday

 

A to Z Challenge: Defining Writer  (pushing it – I know. 😉 )

 

This post was written for 5 minute friday – click for link.

Making It Happen at Home – BEDROOMS

MIH BR

My neighbor died this week and that will greatly affect my Making it Happen posts in the coming weeks/months. More on this below – like all the way below…

Fact: Not being married negatively affects the state of my house.

This is a  follow-up/weekly post  where YOU my blog audience “come home” with me to see if having you here helps me get home improvement projects done. For previous post go here.

Premise (same as last week – if read previously – skip down to Projects.)

I find being unattached affects the status of my home improvement projects in two ways.

1. The fact that there is someone coming home kind of gives me a kick in the pants to get stuff done. Clean up, pick up, make improvements.

There is no one coming home.

2. I am so much more motivated to do home improvements when someone else is doing it with me.

I’ve lived in this apartment for the last three years and it’s really only been over the past six months that I’ve started to feel like this is my home. (I briefly wrote about this in my post, Dwelling.)

Then, a recent post where I discussed my cleaning habits got me thinking that maybe what I need is motivation. Since no one is coming home to motivate me, dear readers, YOU have become my motivation. I plan to post two small home improvement projects that I would like to work on during the next week and then follow up with you next Wednesday to see if this kind of accountability works for me.

Projects:

1. Paint and shabby chic vintage vanity in my bedroom. DONE!

Before

 vanity

 

After

vanity I realize that this looks pretty crappy in the picture – it actually looks pretty good in real life. I do need to put some kind of sealant or something on top, but I’ll get to that. I probably added a little too much baking soda paste to the white paint and I’m sure I should have sanded the whole piece first – which I didn’t – but all in all, I’m happy with it. I found the recipe for the paint here.

 

The part where I tell you why my neighbor dying affects my Making it Happen momentum:

I will be blogging about this in more detail in a couple days, but the short story is, when I say neighbor, I mean the person who shares this residence with me. I live in an old Victorian that is split into two apartments and offices. Both apartments and offices share common areas, so my neighbor is not someone far away, but a person I see everyday and whose kitchen I need to walk into to go down to the basement to do my laundry. Communal like that.

For the last three years my daughters and I have shared two bedrooms and one bathroom, not the worst life by far, but with the death of my neighbor and the other half of the house opening up, we will be expanding into two more bedrooms, a large kitchen and another bathroom. All four of these rooms are in terrible shape and will need much work. Hence – why things are kind of in a flux right now.

My goal, after painting the vanity was to redo my BEDROOM (B for A to Z Challenge). However, my present bedroom is now to become my ten year old’s bedroom – I’m moving down to the second floor, etc. What this means is:

Projects for this week:

Gardening. I’ve got a black thumb, but my neighbor left some nice little plots that need to be cleaned up and planted.

garden 4

There have been tomatoes, peppers and flowers in here in the past. Any suggestions for good things to grow in the Northeast? Keep in mind my Black Thumb.

Garden 2

My own little plot. I’ve only ever gotten cilantro to grow here – I planted wildflowers in the Fall – we’ll see how they work out.

Grandmom's rose

My Grandmother LOVED pink and LOVED roses. She moved these roses from house to house three times before moving them here in the early eighties (She lived in this house for many years.) I cannot wait til they bloom again, this picture is from the Fall.

I realize the news of my neighbor’s passing is glossed over in this post, the reason being, I have an entire post dedicated to it already written and ready to post in a couple days.