What’s In a Name?

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General Musings

I’ve been thinking a lot about names and naming recently.

First of all, I’m thinking of changing my name–my blog name, that is. Well, and my Etsy shop names (probably combine the two shops into one). None of them feel quite “right.” I’d like to come up with something that can be an umbrella business name which connects my blog, my shops, and any future endeavors on which I might embark. One of my goals for the new year (yes, I’m thinking ahead!) is to incorporate, but before I do that, I want to be sure I have a name I am happy with and will love for the long haul. I’ve been brainstorming and searching the interwebs for tips on naming a business. I’m reflecting on the image I want to project, the “feel” of it all, and words like serene, simple, grounded, roots, growth, soul keep bubbling up, along with natural images like birch and willow trees, rocks, leaves, and flowing water. Yet, still no name.

Of course, there are other naming considerations in my life right now as well. The Dude and I have been discussing names for our new little one for months. There are so many things to think about when it comes to naming a child: popularity, ease of spelling, meaning (both of the name and for the family), etc. It’s a lot to weigh! We have chosen a boy’s and a girl’s name, mostly, although I’m now reconsidering the middle name for the girl, because I think people (like my mom) would get it confused with a more common name, have trouble spelling and saying it, etc. We’ll see. We’ve got a few months to work on it, and most likely nothing will be final until we meet the baby and see if the name we’ve chosen fits.

In addition, I have to start making my way down the list of people to notify of E’s new middle and last names, which were changed with his adoption. He has been using those names for a couple years now, so it is really just about dealing with red tape and making it official.

When I was in seminary, I legally changed my surname, reclaiming the ancestral French version as well as adding my mother’s maiden name as a second middle name. I took a long time of discernment. I read biblical stories of naming and re-naming (there are a lot!). I couldn’t believe the number of people who, after hearing that I’d changed my name, asked, “But what about when you get married?” Apparently it is still the assumption that women change their last names upon marriage. I mean, I know it’s still the mainstream practice, but you would think that alternatives were common enough that people wouldn’t just assume. Guess not. The funny thing is, back then I was sure I’d keep my name when I got married. Now, I’m leaning toward taking Dude’s name, or at least hyphenating (especially since E will still have my name). The French name is impossible for people to spell and pronounce!

Dude and I also often ponder our own names. He doesn’t think of me as a “Beth,” so even though that’s what he uses when he talks to or about me, in his mind he uses another nickname. I sometimes consider using my full name, Elizabeth, but a month or so of trying it out on Facebook has made me realize it doesn’t feel quite right, at least not in that context. Dude doesn’t like his name, and doesn’t think it fits him (and claims that most people agree and don’t regularly use his actual name), but he’s never come up with a good alternative.

Names, whether for businesses or blogs, people or places, are not just labels. They are part of a whole idea, and hold influence over how we perceive and are perceived (just check out the statistics for job seekers with Anglo names vs. those with “ethnic” names).

If you have a blog, how did you choose the name? If you have children, how did you choose their names? Do/did you ever wish you had a different name?

The Author

I'm a pastor. I believe in radical love and ridiculous grace. I love to sing and sew, and have a shop on Etsy. I'm trying to make my ecological footprint smaller. I have chickens who provide endless entertainment. Oh, and I'm a formerly single mom by choice, son E (born 6/00, placed 11/23/11, adoption finalized 11/21/14) and now making a life with The Dude and his two kids, Girl-E (12/02) and C (9/04). Baby Bumpy due to arrive around 5/25/15! This blog chronicles my thoughts on faith, family, and the wild adventure we call Life!

1 Comment

  1. What an interesting post…it’s rare that most of us really stop to ponder names, whether ours or anyone else’s. I, too, have an Etsy shop that I’ve been thinking of changing the name, and it’s so difficult to really find one that encapsulates all that I want it to be. I wish you the best of luck with *all* your naming decisions! (PS…swinging by from BlogHer to say hello ;))


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