Fun with names


Zoe was always on our list of names. We wanted something different but not so different that no one could pronounce it. (However, I've now heard of people mispronouncing Zoe...rhyming it with "Joe" instead of "Joey." Huh.)

So for your time-waster of the night (or day, depending on when you read this), these neato tools will show you the rank of names.

This one will show you a graph with the rankings throughout history, starting with the census of 1880. Carrie was incredibly popular as a name in the 1880s...topping off at #22! In the 70s it had another peak at #41. Zoe has just broken into the top 100 this past decade. It was #31 last year.

This one will show you a map of the US and where names are the most popular.

Have fun!


Motherless & Childless Day


Celebrating mothers is wonderful and I'm glad I was celebrated yesterday with flowers and lovely bagels from Panera. I called my mom and while I didn't get to see her, I am so very, very thankful for her. I celebrate and salute her! She is just incredible and so important to me.

But this post is dedicated to all my friends who wish to be moms and who aren't yet, for my friends who have lost their mothers, for my single friends who one day hope to be mothers but want God to provide a husband first, and for all who decline to go to Mother's Day services because it's just too hard.

Yesterday was hard for many. Holidays like Mother's Day are often reminders of things that are missed or missing.

I thought about each of my friends that were a bit sad on Mother's Day and my good intentions got caught up in busyness and I didn't call or text. But you know who you are and I hope you know I love you.

Happy Monday after. Blessings to you today!


Author! Author!

This post is in honor of my amazingly talented, way too humble husband, whose article "The 'Memel Problem:' German Memelland in the History of World War II with an Aim to its Proper Placement" was just published in Wichita State's history journal the Fairmount Folio! Way to go! This is the start of many wonderful things to come... Babe, think about this moment and think about the HOURS and HOURS and HOURS that you spent researching, writing, rewriting, footnoting, double-checking, rewriting things that were already done because the professor didn't know true Chicago Manual of Style... Think about all of the coffee fueled late nights you spent in the straight-backed chair in your upstairs office... And realize, hey, I worked crazy hard for this. I deserve to be published! And I deserve some donuts from the Donut Whole! Okay, okay! After work we'll take you there and you can get whatever you want. So proud of you!

With the other honorees at Watermark Books
With his Mom & Dad

With proud wife & slightly concerned daughter

Zoe's current favorite game that Opops taught her

Omgosh, I see a dog! A dog-dog! Right there on the shelf!


Heigh ho, Heigh ho

It's back to work I go.

I've accepted a part-time position at the school where my friend Brooke is a principal. I'll be teaching middle school Literature in the afternoons. I'm excited and nervous. Excited because I have missed teaching and working. Excited because I'll be in the adult world again. Nervous because I hope this is a good decision.

I have always taken a long time to make decisions. I have thought and rethought this returning to work decision. Nathaniel and I discussed it numerous times. I've prayed and asked for advice. 

I called my good friend Staci, who knew I'd been thinking about going back to work. The first thing she said after she heard my message was, "Are you still thinking about that?" This was the third conversation we'd had about this same topic. Apparently, when we were roommates in college, I was the same. Should I? Shouldn't I? What do you think? What about you? You? I wanted consensus on my decision. No gut decisions here: I needed time to think and ponder and think just a little more. I just want to be doing the right thing. I want this issue to be clear-cut, but it's not.

More than just making the right decision, I've been wrestling with what my decision about working means about what I think about mothering. Stay at home mothering in particular, because returning to work means I won't be staying at home exclusively. I had another conversation with another college friend, Sara, over Christmas break. (And as she's lived abroad since her second year after college graduation, she has a really great perspective on lots of things. But another post for that.) She and I were discussing my difficulty staying at home this year. I was giving her all the reasons it was hard. One, Zoe is a bit of a strong-willed baby. As a young infant, she cried a lot. A crazy lot. Two, we finally got her on a good schedule with two naps per day. But woe to the mama that interrupts or diverts her from those naps. A delightful Target shopping trip does not warrant as an interruption. Three, we live on a different side of town from most of the other mamas with babies we know. This makes unscheduled playdates not necessarily the easiest thing. Four, and this one carries a lot of weight, I missed working. I missed being challenged intellectually. I missed teaching, which I (not to toot my own horn) was good at. God created in me a talent for teaching. I very much missed this.

And for those that have answers for all my reasons, me too. One, lots of babies are strong-willed. Join the club. Two, this too shall pass. All too quickly. I'll look back on this time and miss it. Yes, yes and yes. Three, find friends in your own neighborhood. Okay. Four, you can always go back when your kids are in school. You can teach Sunday school.

The combination of answers two and four were the hardest for me to think about. I am certain that these baby years will fly by. I mean, how do I already have a one year old? And I do know that there are other teaching opportunities out there without going back to work.

I think that is is also about about my fitting into (what I see as) the mold of a stay at home mom and feeling like a failure for not wanting it more. It's also about feeling that I will be judged for this decision. The mantra of Mothering is the Highest Calling haunts me. (And this mantra, as it chants in my head goes like this: Staying at home is the absolute best for your children. Working outside the home means that you are putting yourself and your needs over your children's.) I've been told it's a spectrum of most holy to least holy. And of course moms that NEED to work, this doesn't include you.

During the Bible study I attend on Wednesdays, I chose not to share during this week's Fellowship time. Earlier in the year, I'd shared my difficulty with staying at home and how I'd been struggling with feeling depressed and trapped. All the mothers rallied around me, telling me that I'd soon get through this hard stage and how much easier it would be once Zoe was crawling, talking, walking, potty-trained. One mom even brought in her much loved copy of Home by Choice to loan me. (To her everlasting credit, she was incredibly gracious about it and told me that I may or may not get something from it.) One mom shared how she'd stayed at home, struggled with it, went back to work full-time and cried every single day, and decided to stay at home again. But what happens when your emotional state doesn't get much better and you still desperately miss working? And all this emotional angst on my part over going back part time in the afternoons!!!!!

All this advice. All these ideas of what is best. All this splainin' to do.

I'm sure lots more will follow as I process and pray and think about this more. I hesitate to ask, but please do comment.

Disclaimer: Moms that work...this is all about my processing. Please, please, please know that I hold you in the highest regard. Plus I'm joining your ranks part-time! Moms that stay at home...this is not against what you've decided. NOT AT ALL. Have any of you processed through part of this as well?