What’s in a name?

Little Fire. Strong-Willed Warrior. Rest and Peace. Wisdom. Free. Like a Bird. This is a short list of the meanings of six of the most popular baby names of 2010. My name, Elizabeth, means “God is my Oath” or “Consecrated to God” and I try to live up to that meaning daily.

When Shawn and I found out we were pregnant for the first time, we made a list of names we liked. We considered how the first and middle names would sound together and with our last name. We thought of nicknames that would come of that name. We wanted something a little traditional, a little original. We also looked up the meanings of names we liked. Our first child was a girl and we named her Elise (a form of Elizabeth) and Georgia as her middle name, after my dad.

What does your name mean? What if it meant “unwanted.” What if people only refered to you as “unwanted.” That is the fate of many girls in India. Boys are highly favored over girls in this country. India accounts for the termination of some ten million female fetuses over the past 20 years. Hospitals are currently banned from revealing the baby’s gender during ultrasounds because of so many gender related abortions which have led to a drop in the sex ratio. Many of the girls born in India are named “Nakusa” or “unwanted” by their father or grandfather. Can you imagine being called “unwanted” every day and even more, being treated as someone who is unwanted?

Recently, 285 Indian girls participated in a renaming ceremony. They shed the name they all had in common for names meaning “Very Tough” or “Rock Hard.” A name may not seem much to you or I, but it gives these girls hope and a new beginning. We may not even think about what our own names means. It may not be a big deal at all. But to these girls, it is everything. Today it means a fresh start, a new beginning, a new being. A move away from being unwanted and a move toward being someone.

Read more about the renaming ceremony here: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/285-indian-girls-shed-unwanted-names-14792255

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Hand in Hand

“I would like more sisters, that the taking out of one, might not leave such stillness.”  Emily Dickenson

When I was growing up, I wanted a sister. Younger or older, it didn’t matter. I would read the “Sweet Valley Twins” books and pretend I was Elizabeth and Jessica was my twin sister. We had all sorts of adventures together. We’d gossip, share clothes and ride horses together – because there are always horses in little girls’ dreams. But most of all, we’d always be there for each other, a kind of permanent best friend.

I never got my sister (though I have many sisters in Christ), but God has blessed me with three girls. I have the pleasure of watching them grow into the kind of best friends that only sisters can be. Here are some things I have learned about sisters from my girls. Sisters are best friends that never leave. They love, support and encourage each other. They get excited to see each other when they’ve been apart; if only for a short time. They stick up for each other and protect each other. They yell and fight one minute and can’t stand being separated the next. They create amazing games that only they can understand. Their different personalities work so beautifully together. Their laughter is contagious. They already have serious conversations about when they are grown and seeing each other again in heaven. And even when they push and shove to see who can get out of the van first, they walk hand in hand into school together.

Spit-Up, Strep Throat and A Softball Game

How do you celebrate your wedding anniversaries? Shawn and I moved from Washington State to California six weeks after we were married. So, for our first anniversary, we flew to Seattle. We ate at Daniel’s Steakhouse, where we ate the night Shawn proposed. We visited our favorite spots in the city, went to worship at our old church and spent time with friends. It was romantic, sentimental and perfect.

Fast forward ten years. Today, we celebrate eleven years together. We will not be flying to Seattle or eating expensive steak. Instead, we will be helping our youngest daughter recover from strep throat, wiping up baby spit-up and going to both a t-ball and softball game. And honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Eleven years ago, when Shawn and I stood before our friends, many promises were made. We promised to love, comfort and keep each other. These happen in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer until our death. There was no promise for a “perfect” life, or for nights of uninterrupted sleep, or even for amazing anniversary celebrations. Our promises are bigger than that.

We have four amazing children. God has called us to be parents and that calling takes priority over our own, many times selfish, desires. So, tonight while Shawn has one daughter at t-ball and I have another at softball, I’ll smile and thank God for an amazing husband, family, and eleven years of blessings. This is life with four kids, but it’s worth it and makes me love my husband even more.