Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I've Learned That...Everyone Needs Compassion

In response to a prompt that said "I learned that..." I began to ponder what has been impressed upon my heart lately. As thoughts of friends and family going through times of grief, communities in upheaval, and my own constant need for the grace that comes from God and the grace that should come from His people came to my mind, the lyrics of a song did as well, "Everyone needs compassion, a love that's never failing. Let mercy fall on me. Everyone needs forgiveness the kindness of a Savior, the hope of nations." I love music but it's so easy to forget these profound truths that we sing over and over again because we're lost in the melody.

The times when I needed the most compassion was when I learned it. Compassion is often learned through suffering, which makes sense because when you break down the word compassion and look at it's older English roots, it means "suffer alongside". When I become aware of my need for someone to suffer alongside me, I also become aware of the fact that others need someone to suffer alongside them.

Me and Kota after my second surgery
A struggle with chronic illness has characterized much of my life so far. I've struggled with chronic infections of various types for as long as I can remember. I spent much of what should have been the carefree days of my childhood unable to do normal childhood things. The infections followed me into my adult life as well and after my second sinus surgery (I had three total), I was left with daily debilitating headaches and an excruciating facial nerve condition, one that's often called "the suicide disease" because of the pain it causes has lead many to take their own lives. I was only nineteen. The emotional toll of all of this was so very heavy. At times, the emotional pain was as intense as the disease itself. God provided me with my mom, good friends and mentors, and my dog to suffer alongside me. Later, when I got married, my husband suffered alongside me. He had to learn and adjust a lot around my illness even in the earliest days of our marriage. (Sometimes God teaches you compassion through the suffering of someone you love.)

Over and over again, when I hear people's stories of illness, I hear them say that through it they learned compassion, so I know my story is not unique. Many even say that they can be thankful and not regret their struggle with illness because it taught them compassion, and I would include myself in that statement. Would I rather be well than sick? Absolutely, and I'm still working towards that end. However, I would rather be able to offer compassion and empathy to others than not. My thought is, if this is how God is choosing to bring glory to himself through my life, then so be it and if this is how he is choosing to shape me into the person that I need to be, then I'll what he wants to teach me. Suffering doesn't have to teach you compassion, though. It can make some people bitter, self-righteous, and unforgiving. Many people go through a time where they feel that way in the midst of suffering, but others allow it to stay and become a part of them. I guess, in order to learn something positive from suffering, you have to make the choice to learn something positive and reject the negative.

One of my favorite things about God is that he has compassion on us. The Bible says it over and over. Exodus 34:6 says "The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness...". In the telling of the parable of the prodigal son, where the father in the story represents God, Jesus said ""So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him...". One of the verses from one of my favorite Psalms, Psalm 103:13, says: "As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him..." There are many more verses that mention God's compassion and it's truly amazing when you pause to reflect. God suffers alongside us, but God doesn't have to suffer. Think about it. God is the Creator and Master of the universe. He certainly has the power to avoid all personal suffering but instead, in his great love, he takes on our pain, to walk through it with us.


Just as God has compassion on us, he calls us to do the same. Zechariah 7:9 says, "This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another." In Ephesians 4:32, God says through Paul, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Jesus said in Luke 6:36, "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." He set for us a pattern, and we must follow suit. I'm not trying to to say that I'm excellent at this all the time because I'm really not.There are many different types of suffering and some are not as easy for me to understand because I haven't been there. I'm still learning and sometimes I totally miss it.  But through my suffering, God has shown me that everyone, absolutely everyone, needs compassion, so I need to view the world through compassionate eyes.

So as I look at those around me who are suffering, I can choose to stay disengaged, I can choose to make their path even harder to walk, or I can choose to suffer alongside them. What I should choose is obvious, because everyone needs compassion and my simple act of compassion that I learned through suffering, might be able to point someone towards the God who is mighty to save.




I wrote this article as a response to Finding the Grace Within's Tuesday at Ten link-up. This week's prompt was "I learned that...". Click the Photo below to see other people's responses.


Beloved Blog's Names of the Week: Mirabelle and Truett

Hi everyone! It's time for names of the week again! I hope you enjoy the names that I picked to feature this week as much as I do! I chose these names from two kind of "matching" articles that I did awhile back: 20 Amazing Unique Names for Girls and 20 Bold Uncommon Names for Boys. Neither of these names are in the top 1000 but both of them have similar styles to popular names.









Mirabelle
Origin: Latin
Meaning: marvelous

Mirabelle is so gorgeous! I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that it's not in the top 1000 yet. I just love that it means marvelous! Mirabelle has a very frilly, princessy sound that's very popular these days with names like Olivia, Sophia, and Isabella. I like frill of Mirabelle but I also like that it's not over the top. With it meaning marvelous, I think it might be a nice nerdy nod to Marvel comics, if that's something you like (my husband is into them big time) but it's not too obvious. No one would associate Mirabelle with Marvel at first glance. Mira is a really sweet nickname and of course you could also use Belle or Bella. Names that are popular that are similar to Mirabelle are the princessy names like Sophia, Olivia, and Isabella and the -elle/ella names like Gabriella, Brielle, Annabelle, Ella and Bella. Mirabel is another legitimate spelling and the even frillier (too frilly for me) version is Mirabella.

Possible middle names for Mirabelle: Mirabelle Hannah, Mirabelle Grace, Mirabelle June, Mirabelle Willow, Mirabelle Kerenza, Mirabelle Zoe

Mirabelle as a middle name: Penelope Mirabelle, Kerenza Mirabelle, Matilda Mirabelle, Vivienne Mirabelle, Felicity Mirabelle

Possible siblings for Mirabelle: Margo, Melody, Elodie, Vivienne, Seraphina, Rosalind, Malachi, Henry, Charleton, Frederick, Dominic, Kendrick, Oliver




Truett
Origin: English
Meaning: "true" or "dry wood meadow"

Truett is another awesome name whose lack of popularity astounds me! It fits right in with the double t ending boys names that are making their way up the charts. Truett (which can also be spelled Truitt) has nothing but positive associations for me. The founder of Chick-fil-A is named Truett and one of my favorite music artists TobyMac has a son named Truett (nicknamed Trudog) who was featured in some of his albums. The dean of the Bible institute that my husband and I attended is named Truitt, so I also know someone with this name in real life. Truett has not been on the top 1000 list ever, as far as I can tell, though. True, of course, is a wonderful virtue-name nickname for Truett. Popular names that have a similar sound to Truett are Elliott, Beckett, Everett, and Emmett. If you're looking for a very accessible but underused name, Truett makes a great choice!

Possible middle names for Truett: Truett Michael, Truett Quinn, Truett Jace, Truett Paul, Truett Gabriel, Truett Daniel, Truett Connor

Truett as a middle name: Gabriel Truett, Samuel Truett, Jordan Truett, Alistair Truett, Lachlan Truett

Possible siblings for Truett: Elliott, Emmett, Alistair, Isaac. Levi, Declan, Charlotte, Emmeline, Annabelle, Quinn, Caroline, Felicity


So what do you think of Mirabelle and Truett? Do you know anyone with these names? What are your favorite uncommon names? Let me know in the comments!


God bless and thanks for reading!


Check out these articles for more great names that are outside the top 1000!







Monday, May 25, 2015

2014 Top Ten Baby Names: Thoughts, Predictions, and Alternatives

Hi everyone! The 2014 top baby name list became available this month and I've been analyzing like all the other name lovers out there! There weren't many changes to the top 10 but there were some. I just wanted to discuss them with you all, make some predictions about how the names will move around on the list, and give you some alternatives. I hope you enjoy!

A note about alternatives: Some of them will be very uncommon but some will still be pretty popular, just not in the top ten.







Boys




1.Noah
Hebrew
"rest"

The most popular boys name is Noah. It took the top spot away from long-reigning Jacob last year. Noah is still gaining popularity. Top boys names tend to stay pretty consistant for long periods of time, as opposed to the girls names, which tend to fluctuate more often. Michael was the top name for over 40 years, Jacob was a top name for over a decade, so I think we still have several years of Noah on top. To be honest, I don't mind Noah at all. In fact, I really like it. It's too popular for me personally to choose it, but at least it's a good name with history and meaning. 

Alternatives to Noah

Similar sound:
Jonah, Joel, Micah, Noam, Norman

Same first letter: Nathan, Nelson

Prominent Bible names: Moses, Abraham, Jonah, Joshua, Isaiah



2. Liam
Origin: Irish (short form of William)
Meaning: resolute protection

Liam is still rising in popularity, though not nearly as fast as Noah. Some people predicted that Liam would take the top spot in 2014 but these new numbers show that Noah is rising much faster. I think Liam will continue to rise for a few years but then go back down the charts. I don't see it taking the top spot.  Liam is another popular name that I don't mind. Liam is a really sweet name but it's just too popular for my personal tastes.

Alternatives to Liam

Similar sound: Noam, Leo, Levi, Leeland

Same first letter: Leo, Levi, Leeland, Lorcan, Loyal

Form of William: Wilson, Willem

Irish: Kieran, Declan, Finn




3. Mason
Origin: English
Meaning: Stonemason

Mason is probably the trendiest name on this list. I say that because it is the only name that's not a Bible name or a classic English name. Even though it's the trendiest name on this list. it still a pretty classic occupational name and surname. Although Mason moved up a spot in the charts in 2014, the number of boys being named Mason is actually going down. I predict that Mason will keep his spot in the top 10 for several more years but the number of Masons will continue to drop.

Alternatives to Mason:

Same first letter: Marshall, Marcus, Morris, Marsden, Miles

Ends in son: Bryson, Hanson, Wesson, Ellison

Occupational names: Turner, Tyler, Sawyer


4. Jacob
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: deceiver

Jacob had the top spot for over a decade but was put in third place last year, overtaken by Noah and Liam. This year it's dropped even further to the 4th place. I think Jacob will be around for awhile longer. In 10-15 years, I see it leaving the top 10 again. 

Starts with a J: Jared, Joel, Jasper, Joseph, Jesse

Ends in b: Caleb, Eliab, Job

Bible names: Abraham, Isaac, Gabriel, Benjamin, Levi



5. William
Origin: English from German
Meaning: resolute protection


William is a mainstay in both American and English naming culture. The lowest it has been since 1900 was number 20 in 1992. William has several good nicknames and it seems that Liam is the most popular, as it's made it to the number 2 spot all on it's own. William was on it's way down between 2012 and 2013 but it increased slightly between 2013 and 2014. I'm not sure which way William will go in 2015 but I don't see it leaving the top 10 any time soon.

Alternatives to William:

Similar sound: Wilson, Willis, Killian

Same first letter: Warren, Ward, Weldon, Wallace, Walden

Classic English names: Henry, George, Frederick, Robert, Edward


6. Ethan
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: Steadfast

Ethan is a fantastic Old Testament name that I'm sure many people don't realize is in the Bible. He is known for his wisdom and in addition to a few other mentions, Ethan wrote Psalm 89. I really love the name Ethan! Rising quickly, Ethan popped on to the top ten list in 2002 and has been up and down in the top 10 since. Ethan is currently trending downward, but seeing what its done in past, things could go either way for Ethan. I could see Ethan rising again but in the end, I think it will continue going down but slowly. I see Ethan leaving the top 10 within 5-10 years.

Alternatives to Ethan:

Same first letter: Eli, Everett, Elliot, Ezra

Similar sound: Arden, Nathan, Ivan, Carson, Oren, Abram

Hebrew names: Oren, Ezra, Abram, Jeduthun, Levi, Jonathan, Nathanael, Asher



7. Michael
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: "Who is like God?"


Michael was the longest-running #1 boys name in the US. It was #1 for 44 years from 1961 until 1998. Michael was also number 1 from 1954 until 1959. Michael has been hanging on tight to the top 10 and I think it will stay there for another 5-10 years. Since Michael has been popular for so long, it's one many people have in their family. I'm married to a Michael. My step-brother is named Michael. I have an Uncle Mike and my husband has an Uncle Mike too. Since there are so many Mikes and Michaels, those seeing to avoid repeats might prefer an alternative.

Similar names: Micah, Mitchell, Micaiah

Same first letter: Malachi, Marshall, Marcus

Hebrew names: Gabriel, Raphael, Samuel, Daniel, Adriel


8. Alexander
Origin: Greek
Meaning: helper and defender of mankind

Alexander is another American mainstay with ancient roots. There are a few minor characters in the New Testament called Aleander but the most famous namesake is the Greek general Alexander the Great. Alexander is another name that I really like and it doesn't disappoint me at all that's it's popular. I grew up with several Alexes, both boys and girls, but my favorite nickname for Alexander is Xan. The lowest Alexander as been since 1900 was #230 in 1960. It came on to the top 10 list in 2008, reaching #4 in 2009. I see Alexander holding on to the top ten for another 3-5 years.

Alternatives to Alexander:

Similar sound: Oliver, Evander, Xavier, Asher

Variations of Alexander: Xander, Zander, Alistair, Alejandro, Alessandro, Sasha

Same first letter: Alistair, Aaron, Alden, Asher

Greek names: Nicholas, Evander, Philip, Theodore



9. James
Origin: Greek from Hebrew
Meaning: deceiver

James is new (again) to the top 10 this year. I was predicting that there would be a new name on the list year but James wasn't my guess. However, I can't say I'm disappointed. James is a classic that I never get tired of hearing. I think it's my favorite name on this list. James was on the top 10 from before 1900 until 1993. It was #1 from 1940-1953. The lowest James ever was on the list was #19.  I think James will move up a few spots on the list and stay awhile.

Alternatives to James:

Same first letter: Joseph, Jonas, Joel, Jared, Jeremiah, John, Jonathan, Jethro

One syllable: John, Joel, Dane, Ash, Finn, Cole, Quinn, Gray, Miles, Rhys

Ends in s/z: Silas, Amos, Boaz, Rhys, Willis, Barnabas, Miles, Lucas, Angus

Bible Names: Andrew, Philip, Gabriel, Aaron, Amos, Silas




10. Daniel
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: "God is my judge"

Daniel is another perinnial biblical favorite and like many of the other names on this list, it's a good name to be popular. I like seeing that all the names on the boys list are solid names with history behind them. This really isn't a bad list at all. Daniel came back on to the top 10 list in 2013 after a year off of it. Daniel has been in and out of the top 10 for decades and the lowest it's been since 1900 is #55. I think Daniel will continue to be on and off the top 10 list for decades. 

Alternatives to Daniel:

Similar sound: Gabriel, Raphael, Samuel, Adriel, Lemuel, Dane, Ezekiel

Same first letter: Dane, David, Davis, Dominic

Bible names: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Abraham




Girls



1.Emma
Origin: German
Meaning: universal

Emma is a lovely little name that took the top spot back. Emma was also #1 in 2008 but was overtaken by Isabella in 2009. Emma is a very sweet name and not a bad #1. Emma is trending downward even though it went up a spot this year. If this pattern continues, Emma will in the #2 next year, overtaken just barely by Olivia, which is still trending up.

Alternatives to Emma:

Em names: Emmeline, Emiliana, Emelina, Emery, Emme, Emelia, Emilia, Emilienne

Two syllables: Anna, Hannah, Laura, Sarah, Cara, Ella

German names: Adelaide, Liesel, Elsie, Heidi, Wilhelmina 



2.Olivia
Origin: Latin
Meaning: olive tree

Olivia has a beautiful, frilly, princess sound that's very popular these days. Olivia has a few cute nickname options, a nature meaning, and plenty of literary heritage, including Shakespeare. I can certainly see it's appeal and all in all, it's a pretty name. I see it in the #1 spot next year but for how many years, who knows? The girls top ten list fluctuates much more rapidly than the boys.

Alternatives to Olivia:

Begins with O: Olive, Olivet, Oliviana,  Odette, Olwen, Opal, Oceane

Includes the letter V: Viviana, Livia, Ivy, Viveca, Evelyn, Everly, Valentina

Princessy names: Thalia, Seraphina, Emiliana, Emelina, Wilhelmina, Carolina, Valentina




3.Sophia
Origin: Greek
Meaning: Wisdom

Sophia is a lovely Greek word name that held the top spot for 3 years, not bad for a top girls name. Sophia was dethroned this year and pushed all the way to #3. I was aware that Sophia was declining but I was surprised that it lost two spots. Jacob, formerly the top boys name, had a similar fall a year ago. I see Sophia continuing to decline, and maybe faster than we think. I think Sophia will be on the top 10 list for another 5-10 years.

Alternatives to Sophia:

Starts with S: Seraphina, Sadie, Susannah, Sylvie

Princessy names: Seraphina, Wilhelmina, Emiliana, Emelina, Julia, Arianna

Greek names: Aurora, Arianna, Ariadne, Penelope, Iris, Daphne




4.Isabella
Origin: Spanish/Italian version of Hebrew Elizabeth
Meaning: pledged to God

Isabella is pretty much a quintessential princess name. The nickname Bella is very popular these days as well. Isabella debuted on the top 10 list in 2004 and was #1 in 2009 and 2010. I think Isabella has another 5-7 years on the top ten list.

Is names: Isabelle, Isolde, Isabeau, Isobel, Isabel, Isla

Belle/Bella names: Belle, Bella, Annabelle, Arabella, Amabel

Princessy names: Adelaide, Emelina, Emiliana, Aurora, Katrina



5.Ava
Origin: Latin
Meaning: bird

I, personally, am not a huge fan of the name Ava but I think the palindrome aspect is cool. I can understand why Ava is so appealing to parents: it's short, cute and has the classy old Hollywood vibe that's popular. Ava was trending downward but it made a slight upturn in this last year. Ava could go either way but ultimately, I think Ava has maybe 10 more years on the top ten list. 

Alternatives to Ava:

Palindromes: Anna, Hannah, Eve, Emme, Elle, Aviva, Ama

Similar sounding names: Aviva, Avery, Avaline, Avalina, Evelyn

Same first letter: Aurelia, Amelie, Adeline, Alina, Antonia



6.Mia
Origin:Spanish/Italian or Hebrew
Meaning: mine or bitterness (from Maria)

Mia is short little name that I believe has found such favor partially because of its versatility across language barriers. It's not a bad name but it's not on I'd consider for a full name. It sounds more like a nickname to me personally and I think a lot of people use it as a nickname for longer names (making Mia even more popular than it seems). Mia entered the top 10 at #10 in 2009 and has been rising since. Mia might make the top 5 in the next few year if it continues to rise. I think Mia will be on the top 10 list for another 10-15 years. 

Alternatives to Mia: 

Similar sound: Lia, Kia, Zia, Tia, Gia

Longer names for Mia: Maria, Amelia, Michaela, Camellia, Miriam, Mirabelle

Same first letter: Moriah, Michaela, Madeleine, Melody, Molly, May


7.Emily
Origin: Latin
Meaning: rival

Emily is the longest running name on this list. Emily was in the top 10 back when I was born as well (even though I really didn't know a ton of Emilys). Since 1900, the lowest Emily has ever been is #269 in the 1960s. Emily even had the #1 spot for an entire decade from 1996-2006, which is a really good run at the top of the girls list. Emily seems to have real staying power and it's not hard to see why. Emily is a very sweet name. Because of its longstanding popularity, Emily does feel a little bit tired to me now. However, I imagine Emily will hang on to the top 10 for another 3-5 more years. I don't see it going completely out of fashion in the foreseeable future, though.

Alternatives to Emily:

Em names: Emelina, Emiliana, Emery, Emelia, Emmeline

Names ending in -ly sound: Ellery, Cally, Molly, Halle, Whitley, Truly, Adalie

Old-fashioned girls names: Julia, Molly, Laura, Sarah, Matilda, Alice, Hazel, Elinor, Annabelle

8.Abigail
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: my father's joy

Abigail is my favorite name from this list and probably my favorite name overall. Abigail is my favorite woman in the Bible. I'm glad this name is popular. It's a fantastic name with a fantastic meaning. I'd rather meaningful names with great history be popular than flimsier names. Unfortunately, because of its overall popularity as well as its popularity in my family's demographic, I moved Abigail to the middle name spot for me. This sounds lame and it goes against the advice I usually give people, but I don't want my daughter to be one of 6 Abbys in our homeschool group, if you know what I mean.((My child has to be unique and special, just like everyone else!))  I searched and searched for a name that I liked as first name for Abigail and I found one that I'm very happy with (I'll share fav combos with you later). Abigail has been in the top 10 since 2001 and it has fluctuated within the list. Abigail is currently trending downward so I can see it leaving the top 10 in the next 5 years. However, it could also do another upswing and move up the list again.

Alternatives to Abigail:

Similar sound: Abrial, Abital, Amabel, Annabelle, Adeline, Adele, Adelyn, Adelaide, Liesel

Starts with an A: Aurora, Alina, Allison, Avaline, Angeline, Akira

Biblical women: Zipporah, Miriam, Johannah, Phoebe, Priscilla, Susannah, Chloe




9.Madison
Origin: English
Meaning: son of Matthew or son of Maud

Madison is a name with a lot of history behind as a surname and given its -son ending, I agree that it makes the most sense as a boys name. However, at least for the time being, that ship has sailed. Once a name is more popular for girls, it rarely crosses back over (but girls take over boys names all the time). Admittedly, unisex names are not my favorite but Madison's not too bad. As a girls name, Madison popped up out of nowhere to become #627 in 1985. It was most popular in 2001 and 2002 at #2. Madison is at the end of its run in the top 10. It might can hang on for another 2 or 3 years but it wouldn't surprise me terribly if it's bumped off next year by an up and coming name.

Alternatives to Madison:

Similar sound: Addison, Allison, Ellison, Madeleine, Adelyn, Miriam, Marilyn

M names: Margo, Madeleine, Magdelena, Miriam, Matilda, Molly

Unisex names: Sutton, Kinsley, Hadley, Ellison, Rowan, Peyton



10.Charlotte
Origin: French
Meaning: Free man

Charlotte is the lovely newcomer to the top 10 list in 2014. Charlotte has an air of charm and class. It does sound British to me in a way. I knew a couple from the U.K. and their little daughter was named Charlotte. Despite the fact that Charlotte was pretty popular in decades past, it is more popular now than it has ever been. Charlotte is definitely on its way up, and with the new British princess being named Charlotte, it's going to go up exponentially! I think Charlotte has the trajectory to make it all the way to the top in the next 5-10 years.  

Alternatives to Charlotte:

Similar names: Caroline, Carolyn, Cara, Carly, Carlin, Carolina

Ends in -ett sound: Scarlett, Olivet, Violet, Willamette, Briette, Amorette

Classy names: Julia, Eleanor, Adelaide, Claire, Wilhelmina, Grace, Rosalind




So there's the list! The top ten lists include some great names in 2014. I'm more impressed with the boys list than the girls but they're both good. My favorite names on these lists are Ethan and Abigail. Now, here's the fun part! For those looking for names that are a little less popular, I'm going to make a new top ten list with my favorite alternatives to the current top ten names, as well as a similar list of alternatives that I think fit more into popular taste. Here we go!

Alternatives to the 2014 Top 10 list:



Boys:

1. Jonah
2. Levi
3. Miles
4. Caleb
5. Henry
6. Asher
7. Micah
8. Xavier
9. Silas
10. Gabriel



Girls:

1. Ella
2. Ivy
3. Arianna
4. Arabella
5. Evelyn
6. Gia
7. Emmeline
8. Annabelle
9. Ellison
10. Violet


My Favorite Alternatives:




Boys:

1. Abraham
2. Declan
3. Turner
4. Jasper
5. Wilson
6. Ezra
7. Micaiah
8. Evander
9. Amos
10. Dane





Girls:

1. Emiliana
2. Olivet
3. Seraphina
4. Isabeau
5. Aurelia
6. Mirabelle
7. Adalie 
8. Zipporah
9. Magdalena
10. Carolina


Thanks for reading and God bless!


What are your favorite names in the top 10? Did any surprise you? What alternatives would you suggest? Let me know in the comments!




















Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Beloved Blog's Names of the Week: Liesel and Arden

It's time for names of the week again! This week I just chose two names that I really love! I think they're similar in style and neither one is very popular. I hope you enjoy them!







Liesel
Origin: German form of Elizabeth
Meaning: pledged to God

Liesel is a lovely uncommon name that is totally usable both on its own and as a nickname for Elizabeth. I actually know a little girl named Liesel and it suits her so well! Of course, everyone associates the name Liesel with the Sound of Music and even though  it's a very iconic association, I think it's a very positive association that wouldn't cause problems for a little Liesel. Liesel could also be a great way to honor a Lisa or Elizabeth. Liesel is not in the top 1000 but my question is "Why not?".

Possible middle names for Liesel: Liesel June, Liesel Emmeline, Liesel Ivy, Liesel Hannah, Liesel Tabitha, Liesel Kate

Liesel as a middle name: Ellery Liesel. Ivy Liesel, Sarah Liesel, Olivia Liesel, Quinn Liesel, Charlotte Liesel

Possible sibling for Liesel: Adalie, Kerenza, Ellery, Wilhelmina, Olivet, Arden, Audie, Nathanael, Jude, Clark




Arden
Origin: English
Meaning: ardent or eagle valley

Arden is a sweet name that still has a lot of power behind it. One of it's possible meanings is ardent, which is why I included it in the Valentine's Day names article that I wrote. The eagle valley meaning makes it a great nature name. Although Mason, Ethan, and Aiden are dropping in popularity, then -en ending is still pretty popular for boys. Arden is not in the top 1000 for either gender. It could be a unisex name but Arden sounds 100% boy to me!

Possible middle names for Arden: Arden Jude, Arden Oliver,Arden Everett, Arden Henry, Arden Lewis, Arden Felix, Arden Kyler, Arden Levi

Arden as a middle name: Henry Arden, Isaac Arden, Pax Arden, Everett Arden, Dane Arden, Joel Arden, Timothy Arden

Possible siblings for Arden: Ethan, Everett, Carson, Yarrow, Milo, Oliver, Henry, Liesel, Ivy, Sadie, Delaney, Opal, Felicity


So those are this week's names of the week! I hope you enjoyed them! God bless you and thanks for reading!


What do you think of Liesel and Arden? Did you or would you use either of these names? Do you know a Liesel or an Arden? What are your favorite combos for these names? Let me know in the comments! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Beloved Blog's Name of the Week: Keturah and Benaiah

Hello everyone! I'm so excited to be able to share some wonderful names with you this week! For the first edition of Names of the Week I decided to focus on one of my favorite categories of names: uncommon Biblical names! I hope you enjoy these names as much as I do!







Keturah
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: Incense

Keturah is a lovely uncommon biblical name with a unique sound. In the Bible, she was the second wife of Abraham, whom he married and had several sons with after the death of Sarah. Keturah is lovely and completely under the radar. Another thing I really like about Keturah is that it's one of very few "legitamate" K names. Most K names are actually spelling variations on C names. Ketty and Turah are beautiful nicknames for Keturah. I'm not sure if it will catch on in coming years or not, but I know I would would love to meet more Keturahs! This is a name that you hear "name-tuber" and Name Sister Alena J Ingle talk about pretty often (click the link and go watch her videos with Amelia EverythingBabyNames) and I think it's gorgeous!

Possible middle names for Keturah: Keturah Willow, Keturah Joelle, Keturah Halle, Keturah Mercy, Keturah Laurel, Keturah Joy

Keturah as a middle name: Rosalind Keturah, Elinor Keturah, Zoe Keturah, Willow Keturah, Jocelyn Keturah

Possible siblings for Keturah: Zipporah, Amorette, Miriam, Kerenza, Damaris, Ezekiel, Elijah, Azariah, Othniel, Zephaniah



Benaiah 
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: Son of the Lord

Benaiah is another very uncommon biblical name. There were several men named Benaiah in the Bible but the most famous one was a pretty prominent figure during the time of David and Solomon. He is one of David's mighty men and was appointed commander-in-chief of Israel's army in the time of Solomon. Even though he is such a prominent figure, I think the reason most people are unaware of Benaiah because most of his story is hidden away in the book of 1 Chronicles, which very few people actually read. However, I think you should read 1 Chronicles one, because it is more interesting than it sounds and two, because it is like the Bible's version of a baby name book. A lot of Ben names like Benjamin and Bennett are popular right now, as well as a lot of -iah names like Jeremiah and Josiah. Benaiah seems to have the makings of what could be a popular name. 

Possible middle names for Benaiah: Benaiah Declan, Benaiah Everett, Benaiah Nathaniel, Benaiah Xavier, Benaiah Gabriel, Benaiah Ehud, Benaiah Jude

Benaiah as a middle name: Levi Benaiah, Nathan Benaiah, Mason Benaiah, Zander Benaiah, Everett Benaiah, Jonathan Benaiah, Asher Benaiah 

Possible Siblings for Benaiah: Azariah, Abraham, Josiah, Uriah, Zipporah, Keturah, Petra, Liora



So those are the names of the week! My favorite combos for these names are Keturah Willow and Benaiah Jude. God bless you and thanks for reading!

What do you think of Keturah and Benaiah? Do you know anyone with these names? Would you (or did you) use these names? Let me know in the comments!




Ways To Get To Theo

Hi everyone! Not too long ago I shared with you Ways to Get to Ellie and today I'm going to share with you some ways to get to one of my favorite nicknames for boys: Theo! I said in the Ellie article that I'd probably do an article on Max or Ben next but I decided I liked Theo better. Don't worry, though. Max and Ben and plenty of other nicknames for boys and girls are all in the works! In fact, if you have a suggestion for a nickname you love but want some longer options for, leave a comment and I'll try to include it in this series.

Let's get started with Theo!

Theo
Origin: Greek
Meaning: gift of God

I absolutely love Greek names so of course Theo has my eye! I think Theo could work on its own but I prefer it as a nickname for a longer name. By itself, it was #666 on the 2013 top 1000 list and #509 in 2014. It's rising quickly!

Theodore
Origin: Greek
Meaning: gift of God

Theodore has bucked off the old-man and chipmunk images and become fashionable again! Theodore is the most obvious longer form of Theo and was at #170 in 2013 then at #126 in 2014. It would not surprise me at all to see Theodore in the top 100 soon! I think Theodore is popular with good reason. It's an incredibly sweet name that hasn't lost its manliness. Theodore was the first name of one of America's most sensational presidents whose face is on Mt. Rushmore.

Theophilus
Origin: Greek
Meaning: loved by God or lover of God

Theophilus (usually pronounced thee-OFF-ill-us) is an uncommon biblical name. The books of Luke and Acts in the Bible are addressed to a "most excellent Theophilus". If you love Bible names and the nickname Theo, this is the perfect choice! Theophilus is a bit of a mouthful but Theo makes it really accessible. A fun fact about Theophilus is that the man we know as Wolfgang Amadeus Motzart was originally Wolfgang Theophilus Motzart, but he prefered the Latin version of the name to the Greek version. (I'd have to say that I prefer the Greek). Theophilus is not in the top 1000 and I featured it in my Awesome but Underused Names of the New Testament article. 



Theoden
Origin:  possibly Old English or Rohirric Tûrac, one of the languages that J.R.R. Tolkien invented for his books
Meaning: ruler

Even though I am a fan of the Lord of the Rings, usually my opinion on Lord of the Rings names is that they should stay in Middle Earth. However, for being a name invented for a mythical world of elves, dwarves and Hobbits, I find Theoden surprisingly usable, probably the most usable out of the series. Theoden (pronouced THAY-oh-den) sounds very on trend for today's naming style. It's similar to names like Ethan, Nathan, Declan, etc. I have actually heard of Theoden being used for modern boys so if you like it, you won't be alone!  I'll let the experts describe Tolkien's character Theoden to you all. 



Ok, now for the long list! Unfortunately, it's not that long but you do have several options. If you don't like Theodore or Theo on its own, you're probably going to get a little brave and creative. Timothy is the only other name on this list that's common and it's the only name on this list where Theo comes from the final syllable instead of the first syllable.



Theodore
Theophilus
Theron
Theodric
Theseus
Thoreau
Theobald
Theoden
Theon
Thelonious
Timothy
Thadeo



Well, there you have it! I hope your questions about the nickname Theo have been answered! If you have any more, leave them in comments! Remember to pin the names if they're ones you like!God bless you and thank you for reading!


What's your favorite way to get to Theo? Do you know any Theos? Do you happen to know a Theophilus or a Theoden? I'd love to hear about that! Let me know!