Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Right Name

Before I hopped on the computer to write this,
I glanced through our old wedding album to find a similar photo to the one above.
I wanted one with our young, un-worn hands.
The pictures made me wistful.
Thankful, of course.
We've been married almost 25 years, and that is something.
I'll write about that another time.

The above photo shows our new cuffs from Julia.
Mine has the kids' names.
Five names, symbolizing the people we love most in this world,
names full of hope and beauty.

This picture shows my husband's wrist. 
He's not known for accessorizing. 
Julia (our oldest daughter) stamped it with the five kids' name meanings.  

Names are important to me.
That is a massive understatement.
A name is the most lasting gift to our child.
It sums up our taste, our beliefs, our dreams for him or her.    
I never enjoyed being pregnant. The whole time was a long, miserable wait.
Waiting made bearable by the promise of a fresh new baby,
and the enormous privilege of naming.  

If I was in charge of naming babies,
you'd see a pattern.  Lots of names from the Bible, from literature, from history.
Names from beloved family members.
Nothing made-up.
I like real names.

For our family, I avoided names that ended in the "y" sound,
since our last name is Murphy.
I'm also glad that we have unique initials for each of our kids.
It's hard enough to call them to the dinner table
without tripping over the same starting letter.
But I know a lot of families choose one initial on purpose.

If I did have a child with a "y" ending, I'd choose an "a" or consonant ending for the next kid.
When I say all my kids' names, I want them to flow like poetry.
Here's another tip: avoid a glottal stop within the name.
Going from first name to middle should flow smoothly,
not interrupt (for example, Ainsley Hope is better than Ainsley Eve).     
There are so many names I love but didn't use.
Clara. Amelie. Elizabeth. Jesse. Charlotte. Luke. Levi.
Mercy. Ezra. Elias. Silas. Sadie. Bridgette. Ivy. Elsa. Lila. Lachlan.
I could have really gone nuts with the Irish names.   

When I was first pregnant with Malachi, I was sure I was having a girl.
I had the name all ready, and Nate had agreed to it.
She would have been Selah Joy Elizabeth.
Oh what a name!
I am hoping someone uses it someday.
But I am so delighted with my wonderfully-made baby boy,
and so thankful that my husband also loved the name
Malachi Jude.
Biblical, and a middle name (like all the kids') that starts with "J."
We loved the meaning.
"My messenger of praise".
We have a nickname all ready for him.
a pastor we know (a pastor!) asked,
"But what are you going to call him?"
Mick. The nickname will be Mick.
It sounds Irish and it happens to be the name of a close friend.
So far we haven't trotted it out.
But if we hear anyone trying to call him "Mal" or "Mally," rest assured, you'll hear it.      

(An excerpt from the book of Malachi is on my sidebar, and my daughter who made our cuffs also sells her wares on Etsy at


  1. Did you know that Matthew's name was going to be Selah Joy if he was, indeed, the girl I was sure he was?? I know you knew about the Selah, but not sure about the joy. We are kindred spirits, as Ann Shirley would meanings are very important to me. Love you!!

  2. I did NOT know about the Joy! Kindred spirits for sure......if you ever use the name, I will be cheering, praising, shouting for, well, for joy of course! Love you Liz.

  3. It IS fun to go
    back and see
    remember the
    names not used,
    isn't it? Love the
    nickname Mick ~
    so sweet!

    Off to check out
    your daughter's

    xo Suzanne