What’s in a Name?

Have you ever had to name something? Perhaps you’ve created a beautiful piece of art and it’s being prepared for gallery presentation; it needs a “name” to go on that little card. A title to say what it is about and why. Great artists and photographers always name their work. I once read a book about a girl who names all of the homes she moves into… both big and small. It gives the place significance. I guess it is more fun to live in “The Corner Cottage” than apartment #2 on Route One next to the old oak tree. Anyone name their car? “Lemons” in my case. Of course, if you are a parent, you’ve had to name your offspring. Were you like us and had a book with baby names, meanings and origins? You made a list of boy and girl names and tried out the short forms and how a first and middle name flowed together off the tip of the tongue. Did you look at initials? That kid is going to be stuck with his or her name forever… it better be good. Worthy of a monogramed towel hanging in the bathroom. Or maybe you chose a family name, passed down for generations, honoring a loved one. Oh, and never the name of that third grade kid who was a “weirdo”… I know a “blank” and can’t call my baby that!

Photo: Days with Grey

Our youngest acquired a new batch of pet rats this week. Yes, rats. That is a topic for another time and place. We are talking about naming things, here. Anyhow… Our rats have always been named after plants and flowers, so picking names can be quite fun. God’s garden gives us plenty of choices… and we’ve had fun attaching traits and characteristics to their names. I’m sure we will be posting on social media this week… so check them out later, if you are interested!

So, what’s in a name? In grade school I did a whole project on that quote from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliette”. I got a pretty good mark, too. I guess I have been musing about such things for a while. As you know, words and their meanings are captivating to me, so names naturally fall into that category. Special “words” if you may. I tried searching “How many names does God have?” and didn’t get very accurate results. The short answer? “Lots”. God has lots of names. Each significant based on certain traits and characteristics. I guess that’s what makes it so special. Our Heavenly Father could be so many things for so many people: Father, Comforter, Protector, Creator, King… the list goes on and on. Listen to people pray… it’s a good hint about how they view God. How do they address Him when they speak to Him? There is a good list (here), although I don’t think even 950 names are exhaustive. But it is a significant start, if you may be interested in further study. Certainly fascinating.

Our little brains can’t begin to comprehend all the attributes of God, let alone name them. Names are really only a snapshot of something. And God is much much bigger than our tiny understanding of the person we call “God”. Would you agree? Or do you find it easy to label Him? Perhaps based on your needs, you know that God is definitely your “Abba” or your “protector”. Either way, Holy and awesome truly are His name. (Psalm 111). And no matter what your name is, He cares for you and loves you. And that’s the bottom line. Be blessed, my friends!

Family Reunions

Welcome back, dear friends! Did you even notice I was gone for a week? Don’t answer that, it might hurt my feelings. Anyway…. I’m back. And things are beginning to feel a bit more “normal” again. We’ve eaten out a few times, we went to church, we are actually starting to see people again… Yes, even I, the self proclaimed introvert to end all introverts, was known to remark about how I “missed” people. Especially “my” people. Are you feeling it, too? It was on my brain as a topic for this post: reunions.

Both the hubby and I are from fairly large families, and so we’re used to attending more than one family reunion. Our kids have had to share in their own mix of cousin and great auntie greetings… whether they wanted to or not. We’ve attended both the large, once a decade giant relative gatherings, and the more intimate family night with a few immediate siblings. Both are equally special. Both are meaningful. Both can be hard. Let’s think about it for a minute. What connects you? A name? The same heritage? Some little bit of DNA that gets passed around from generation to generation and mixed up along the way? Marriage creates in-laws (and out-laws). Ya’ll might have red hair and freckles or love the same weird food or share the same interest in model trains as great-great-great grandpa. Or not. Yet, somehow, somewhere along through history, you’ve become family. And that’s the connection. Like it or leave it. You can’t pick your family.

I was thinking about this as I sat in church a few Sundays ago… rejoicing in the comfort of meeting together again. Not because I particularly was dying to be with people, simply contemplating the fact that we were all there for a common purpose. There was something about meeting together that “connected” us. I didn’t even know half of the people gathered there that morning. I probably didn’t even like some of them! Many of us have different backgrounds, different spiritual journeys, different views on theological truths and different ways of practicing our faith….and yet, here we were, gathering together in the rain to be blessed by a speaker with some knowledge that he was willing to share that day. Perhaps knowledge that would hit each of us differently based on where we were in our walks with God. Isn’t that the beauty of the church, though? I don’t have to know you or even like you to be connected to you… I simply share a common bond that unites us together … like family.

The more I grow and reflect, the more I am intrigued by other people’s faith journeys and the faith practices that are meaningful to them…. and why. Many are steeped in tradition and souls often find comfort there. Others are refreshed by more “modern day” practices and open mindedness. I’m not going to debate either here… I’m simply bringing them forward for reflection. As long as we are grounded in Biblical teaching, I’m good. The Bible tells us that if we have accepted the gospel of Christ, then:

17 And if [we are His] children, [then we are His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His spiritual blessing and inheritance], if indeed we share in His suffering so that we may also share in His glory.

Romans 8:17 AMP

Like members of the family at the reunion, we share the same connection. Some common factor that makes us part of the family. I used to think it would be a great idea to have nametags at reunions that would say “Hi, I’m so-and-so and I belong to so-and-so” just to keep all my cousin’s straight. Isn’t it cool to think that in church we would all have the same point of reference? “Hi, I’m so-and-so and I belong to God because of Jesus”. Have you felt this before? Randomly, you meet someone and just get a “sense” that you are connected to them in some way? That’s the spiritual blessing of being heirs.

So my beloveds, next time you have to make macaroni salad for great auntie Mildred’s family reunion… just remember who your name tag links you to… and smile as you get your cheeks pinched by some crazy cousin.

Mother’s Day Muse

Somehow I feel I should be writing about Mother’s Day this week… and yet, I am feeling drastically underqualified to comment about such things. Raised 4 kids. Grieved the loss of a child. Learned from some of the best moms going. Boys. Girls. Fur babies. The check list is filled with seemingly adequate accomplishments on the Mother-of-all-time list. But that is one of the funny things about motherhood isn’t it? There are no instructions lists. No colour-coded guide book on how to raise children. God gives us some help in His Word, but a lot of it is trial and error isn’t it? Not to mention the fact that each kid is different from the next. In some respects, that’s what makes the challenge of parenting worth the effort! You never know what your gonna get!

Therefore, instead of writing a long post about my adventures in motherhood, I simply want to encourage you: do the best you can. Pray a lot. Trust others and ask for help when you need it. Be blessed and appreciate the little things. One of my favourite verses is Luke 2:19, where the narrator of the Christmas story reminds us that even when all the chaos of shepherds, angels and barn animals were encroaching on Mary’s person, she simply “treasured up these things and pondered them in her heart”.

If you’ve been reading mittonmusings for some time, you’ve heard me mention this before. You’ve seen the glimpses of my “ponderings” and “mused” along with me about the treasures I find each week. Even this year, as I reflect on the most recent Mother’s Day, I am reminded of the strong women who have influenced me in my parenting journey. And I see the next generation reflecting the efforts of the “village” that helped raise them. Reflections I treasure. Methods I sometimes ponder deeply.

Thank you for following along with me each week, here in this little corner of the internet that we call “home”. Your comments, likes and follows affirm that somehow my words are valid. That somehow someone “out there” is interested in the quirkiness of our crew and the adventures we share. Keep them coming, my beloveds!

Here are some links to previous “muses” you might be interested in: