Baby,  Olivia

Names and Identity

“When I was memorizing the names of the stars, part of the purpose was to help them each to be more particularly the particular star each one was supposed to be. ” “I think your mythology would call them fallen angels. War and hate are their business, and one of their chief weapons is un-Naming – making people not know who they are. If someone knows who he is, really knows, then he doesn’t need to hate. That’s why we still need Namers, because there are places throughout the universe like your planet Earth. When everyone is really and truly Named, then the Echthroi will be vanquished.”

–Madeleine L’Engle from “A Wind in the Door”

I’m not really sure how old I was when I first read the Wrinkle In Time books, but I do remember the impact they had on me. I loved L’Engle’s use of language and that she didn’t talk down to her readers, but expected them to look up words they didn’t know. I highly recommend reading them even as an adult, there are tons of little nuggets of wisdom and divine insight buried in the odd sci-fi/fantasy series about three equally odd children with pseudo-superpowers saving the world and each other.

I digress!

The second book of the series, “A Wind in the Door” had a theme that has stuck with me for my entire life. The importance of names. The story revolves around the idea of someone being named, and that your name is tied deeply to who you are. In the story, evil is vanquished when Meg begins to name people. In the Naming, there is a centering, a rooting, in your personality, in your heritage and in your core being.

Names are important.

They have been important for most of human history, you can see it all over the Bible, every one was named for something; something that defined them, or something that represented what their parent was experiencing or feeling at the time. This name could be a blessing or a curse. It could speak life over a child or saddle them with the burden of a curse being spoken over them every time their name was called.

The words we speak over others, ourselves and our children, matter. There is power in words, when God created the universe, he SPOKE it into being. #oliviajoclements

The second book of the series, “A Wind in the Door” had a theme that has stuck with me for my entire life. The importance of names. The story revolves around the idea of someone being named, and that your name is tied deeply to who you are. In the story, evil is vanquished when Meg begins to name people. In the Naming, there is a centering, a rooting, in your personality, in your heritage and in your core being.

Names are important.

They have been important for most of human history, you can see it all over the Bible, every one was named for something; something that defined them, or something that represented what their parent was experiencing or feeling at the time. This name could be a blessing or a curse. It could speak life over a child or saddle them with the burden of a curse being spoken over them every time their name was called.

The words we speak over others, ourselves and our children, matter. There is power in words, when God created the universe, he SPOKE it into being. Proverbs 18:21 says that “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue.”

With people naming their children after Game of Thrones characters, fruit, and directions, the honoring of a newborn with a name that will speak to their character, and define them for the rest of their lives has been lost.

The first gift you are given and the one that cannot be taken away from you, is your name.

So, when we found out that we were welcoming a wonderful little girl into our family we sat down to think about her name. We wanted there to be meaning in her name.

We wanted the literal meaning (what we spoke over her daily) to be something that would bless her. We also wanted her name to honor our families lineage. That, as Allison and I came together as one in marriage, we unified the deep heritage of both our families in the divinely beautiful and awe-inspiring process of mixing DNA to create life in this little girl, who is the culmination and continuation of both of those root systems.

We wanted her to know who she comes from, who she represents and to whom she belongs.

Allison and I also wanted her to share a part of us directly, something that tied into our life as a couple.

We found a way to accomplish all three and give our daughter a name that will be a blessing on her, and remind her, who she is.

Olivia Jo Clements.

“Jo” means “May God add” and “Olivia” means “anointing”, so as we say her name, we will bless her, by asking that God add anointing to her life.

“Jo” also ties her to both of our families heritage, my mothers middle name is “Jo” my great grandmother’s name was Josefa. Alison’s mothers name is Jodi, and her grandmother’s name is Joan. “Jo” ties our daughter to the matriarchs of both of our families and honors the women who have come before her.

When Allison and I first started dating, we loved watching TV shows and movies together. We bonded over cooking shows, and going to visit my parents and sitting on the couch and killing a whole Saturday watching Billy The Exterminator (Don’t judge, it’s excellent TV). Watching something together has been a staple of our hangout time.

Now, before you get all up in arms about us watching all that TV, we don’t watch like everybody else. We laugh and talk through the show, we make jokes, predictions on reality shows and it gives us a chance to just BE together.

A chance to laugh at comedies, to cheer when our favorite team wins on a decade old season of “The Amazing Race”, to shout the answers at the tv when watching Jeopardy. To gasp in shock at a plot twist in White Collar.

A chance to discus moral and social themes presented in movies, while walking out of the theater. To remark that we didn’t like the central theme a movie was pushing, or to pull out a speck of divine wisdom from a dumb action movie and file it away as a great analogy to use later.

We bonded over TV, in college we would have Netflix on in the background as we worked on homework together, or we’d go shopping on black Friday and get whole seasons of shows on DVD super cheap.

We bonded over movies when we were first married and Allison worked a night shift and the only days we were together in the evenings was Friday through Sunday, so we would go see a movie every Friday night as a little date.

We bonded over TV in our little studio apartment, broke and eating top ramen, cuddled on the couch with Netflix.

We bonded over the first TV show that we really watched all the way through together, the show was “Fringe” and the main character, a courageous and strong woman of unwavering integrity, traits that we want our daughter to have, was named Olivia.

Thus, giving our daughter a shared connection that represents the two of us and brings her into one of our main connection points to each other.

So, all of this to say. (If you even read this far and didn’t skip straight to the picture)

Allison and I would like to introduce you to Olivia Jo Clements.

Born: 12:36 pm

8 pounds 13 ounces

21 inches long

The words we speak over others, ourselves and our children, matter. There is power in words, when God created the universe, he SPOKE it into being. #oliviajoclements

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