Monday, June 22, 2009

Prophetic... I hope, I pray. 

I have wondered at our naming choice for K. Strange name, forever mispronounced.

Yesterday I was rewarded strongly for our bravery. My family met J.D., at a dinner my work was hosting. He is a Congolese living in a foreign (African) country because his own country lacks the infrastructure for him to pursue higher education. He is attending one of our seminars on genocide and its impact/existence in the Christian world. His higher education pursuits are in peace and conflict.

I introduced him to my two young children. At the second one's name, he asked "what is her name again?" I told him, and he said, "wait, that's Swa... Lingala?" "Yes." "Wow..." he responded, "just, wow..." (Lingala is one of the most common trade languages in his home country.)

So, to the confused Dutchman standing with us, I explained, "K-- means 'peace' in Lingala."

After which a still stunned J.D. responded, "That is prophetic. May I take my picture with her?"

I never thought I'd hear her name described as prophetic.

He went on, "Our country is forgotten. When people meet her, they will hear of us, we will not be forgotten."

A tiny infant, not even a year, bringing hope of peace.

"I named her it because I wanted to point to the peace within. I wanted a reminder that peace did not come from us, that we could not achieve it on our own, but that it came from God," I said. "In Congo, there is not peace, but there is Peace."

J.D. nodded and pointed to his chest. "Yes," he said.


I will never question my choice in names.

And, at his request, J.D. now has a picture on his camera of him, a Congolese man, holding on to "peace."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

K crawls 

Mimi moves.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Is that a Dutch name? 

We live in a Dutch immigrant town. A VERY Dutch town.
We go to church in a Dutch church. A VERY Dutch church.
We work at a Dutch school. A slightly-less-so-than-a-decade-ago Dutch school.

Often after church, we (being new) will be asked our names. Then, when I responded "L and S" we're asked our last names. After hearing "McSomethingorother," the conversation would (nine times out of ten) end or change course. Nope. Not Dutch.

Today at my book group, which is comprised of women faculty, staff, and spouses of aforementioned school, I met an older lady who had missed the last few studies. "What's your name?" she asked. I answered with my first name (I'm still not used to this last name business). "What's your last name?" she patiently asked. "I'm not Dutch." I kindly responded. And she nodded. A perfectly fine answer to her, I guess.

Later, over lunch, the conversation shifted to pastors in the denomination and their preaching styles. "Oh, I do like Pastor MacSomething" said one of the book club ladies.
"Who?" asked someone else.
"Pastor MacSomething."
"Is that a Dutch name?"
"No, it's Scotch."
"Scotch... as in, Scottish."
"Really? And he's one of our pastors?"
"But, raised in one of our churches?"
"Yes, out East."

At which point, a story had to be told about how the pastor's grandfather, a Scottish immigrant and carpet maker, had decided to raise his children in the Dutch church in town after laying carpet in their sancutary and discovering the Psalter hymnal. "A whole hymnal on the Psalms? This is the place to raise my children" and thus a MacSomething was introduced to the denomination. This seemed to please the rest of our group enough to satisfy curiosity at such a strange name in their midst.

Yes, I've a Scotch-Irish last name, too. Which also gets strange looks from time to time. I have more than once heard "so, how did you hear about [our school]? Why did your husband decide to teach here? ... Do you come from a Dutch background?"

I explained today, unprovoked (I couldn't hold it in any longer, so I didn't wait for the question) that [our school] was, actually, a really well known school. That S had considered it for undergrad, and that I'd always known of it. It had a good reputation outside of this little community. That surprises people here. And that that surprises people surprises me. (Sigh.)

Incidentally, a side note to VL (who introduced me to this denomination in the first place). I did play a bit of denomination/dutch bingo myself over lunch. Turns out that this is the same book club that your mother was in years ago. Strange to think that I'm in a book club that has been going on that long.

Perhaps I should become a VanderSomethingorother after all. Or perhaps I should just stick around long enough for McSomethingorother to become part of the denominational bingo game. Then three decades from now, our grandchildren will mention their last name and hear, "Oh, so are you related to the McSomethingorother that..." Then I will sit back, smile, and know we have finally become full-fledged citizens of this community.

Until then, I need to figure out more Dutch traditions so I can fit in better. So far all I've got is windmill cookies during coffee hour after church, and the family's matriarch placing her hand in her purse half way through the service for mints, which she passes down the row to all her family and any of their guests. I haven't been able to figure out what mints she is to buy, though. It seems it is a specific kind. The white ones. Not gum, not peppermint, not the tiny ones you get with nuts... not sure where to get them. So, do the Dutch do those chocolate advent calendars? I hope so, I like those. Perhaps they're sold at the same store as the matriarchal mints.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Guess the Baby, Round Four 

It's been a while, eh? Time for another round of "Guess the Baby." You know what to do. Make your guesses, and when you are sure, check the comment section for the correct answer. And, while you're there, leave a comment telling us how you did. (It'll motivate me to keep posting pictures.) Without further ado, welcome to round four.

1. Baby on a blanket with a ball

2. Baby in the sky (with diamonds)

3. Baby on the floor (with fast hands)

4. Sanitizing the baby's mouth (my babe is on the left).

5. Smily baby with a bow

6. Baby with a hat

7. Baby with a doll

8. Baby with Steve
9. Sick baby
Hint: I think all of you will get at least # 10 right (I included it because I think she's adorable and -- because I hope that this season of life is done).
I'm also guessing all but maybe one of you will get at least one wrong.
I think this is the easiest verison of "Guess the Baby" to date. We shall see.

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