Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What's in a name?

One thing about me: I love names.  I like to ask people's middle names, I love finding out what a new baby's name is and I find the process of naming children to be a hugely important, fun and a little bit stressful too!  I have found most parents have some type of "guidelines" they go by when naming their babies....some like uncommon names, some like family names, some like to make up their own names, others like Biblical names and so forth.  For us, we like traditional/"older" names, we really love the meaning behind names and we prefer names that are less common without being too "out there."

When we found out we were pregnant with our second, we immediately started talking names but waited until we found out she was a girl before really pursuing it.  When we were pregnant with Caleb we had a long list of girl names we liked and struggled with finding boy names....but now that we were pregnant with a girl we decided we didn't like most of those names anymore! There were a few we still really liked but for some reason they just didn't feel "right" this time.  They were names we might very well use again but neither of us felt like they were "it" for this baby.  We had the distinct feeling that she needed a special name.

One day (I remember very clearly), I was riding the Nambu bus up to Mediflower Birthing Center (where we were planning to have a beautiful water birth) and I was thinking of what her name would be.....I realized that we hadn't prayed about it so I prayed and asked the Lord to help us figure out what the "right" name was supposed to be. Literally as soon as I finished praying, the name "Evelyn" came to my mind. At the time, I didn't connect it with the prayer, just thought - "hm. That's a really pretty name! I've never thought of that before. I wonder what it means?"  Evelyn was not a name that either of us had ever talked about or thought about before that prayer.

When I got home, I looked it up and found it meant "Life" or "Life giving."  I really liked that.  It was a beautiful, very girly name, it had a meaning I really what would Steve think?  I decided to wait and see if he would come across it on his own. I didn't want him to just go with it because I liked it. So I played cool.  Several weeks later, I casually added it to the growing list of "maybe" names we had started. He didn't say anything or seem very "wow-ed." So I let it go.  I waited and secretly kind of hoped he would decide he really liked it too. We kept adding to our list and talking about it.

Fast forward to end of November (I was "due" in February) and we were getting ready to head to the States for my sister-in-love's wedding.  Still no name. We both hoped to table the discussion and maybe come to a conclusion later.  While I was gone, Steve told me "I think I've decided on a name" I was curious because Evelyn was still my top choice.  He wanted to wait to tell me until he got to the States. And I made him go first because I didn't want him to change his mind based on my answer. 

His top name choice?  Evelyn.  :)

Now to find a middle name!

Fast forward again.  We arrived back in Korea January 1, 2013 (almost one month before her guess date).  Two days later I was in the hospital and we were facing one of the scariest times of our lives. We had learned a new vocab word: Hydrops.  And our baby's life was in danger.  Then my health began to also deteriorate from her condition.

 And we had to get her out. Fast.

 And then she sat in the NICU, fighting for her LIFE.  The whole experience was the hardest thing we have faced as a married couple, possibly the hardest thing we have ever faced, period. 

And Evelyn was the perfect name

It meant "life" and as we prayed and cried and sat in suspense, awaiting doctor reports and more testing, we clung to her name like a promise from the Lord.  The story of how that name came about offered us some measure of hope. Months before, the Lord had known and I believe had answered that prayer:  This child will have life. 

We didn't know at the time if that meant eternal life with her Maker or if that included physical life here on Earth with us, but it gave us hope. And we clung to it in those frightening days and weeks.  The Lord had named her Evelyn and He had a plan and held her in His Hands. 

There were several middle names we had thought about but Steve decided in the hospital that Grace would be fitting - knowing that any outcome would be "God's Grace", and praying that He would grant her grace as she fought for her life. 

Evelyn Grace.

It was perfect. Fitting.  Her name.

And now that she is healthy and the Lord has graciously granted her 7 months of LIFE, we pray that she will grow to be a gracious woman, marked by His grace and that one day she will be given new life, as a new creation in the Lord. As my favorite blogger frequently reminds us, "All's Grace"

For those of you asking, yes, I do like calling her "Evelyn Grace."  I love the tradition in the South to frequently use both first and middle names and I think it is a beautiful testimony to her story. Do I always refer to her as "Evelyn Grace"? No. Do you have to? Not if you don't want to! Do I love it and will we continue to use it and would we love for you to join us in that? Yes!

Family Pictures

We had a very talented student in our youth group who offered to take some family pictures for us this summer!  Since getting nice pictures done is quite expensive, this was a generous and greatly appreciated gift of love.  We were really happy with what a great job she did and thrilled to have some pictures of Caleb at 3.5 and Evelyn Grace at 6 months and Steve at 30 (ha ha!).


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Why the {blog} silence?

Yes! We are still alive in case we had you worried....

It is almost September and if you have been checking back frequently over the summer you will have noticed an unusual silence in our little corner of the blog-o-sphere.  Why the silence you ask?  Several reasons:

1)  We took a vacation to Minnesota in May!  The kids and I were there for 5 weeks and had a great trip vising family, being with my youngest sister as she "officially" graduated high school, my middle sister as she graduated college and got married, meeting my brother's girlfriend, eating up my adorable nieces and nephews, seeing friends we miss dearly, visiting our favorite Church on that side of the world, getting some thrift store and Target shopping in, and eating food we can't easily get here in Korea.  There were just too many people to see and things to do to spend time blogging!

2)  We arrived back in Korea June 15 and quite literally hit the ground running - we hardly had time to get over jetlag, let alone try to blog about it!

3)  I intentionally decided to step away for a time this summer to focus on supporting Steve in his ministry.  I really enjoyed partnering with him and supporting him in ways I hadn't done in the past.  We grew together as a couple a lot, we had a lot of fun and I think we worked well together.  I love writing and blogging but it takes time and  I decided to pour more of that focus and energy into supporting one of the busiest seasons of his year:  Summer Vacation.

4)  I've also been doing a lot of soul searching and thinking and dreaming and experimenting with what I want our family to look like, our days to look like and our home to look like.  I've spent a lot more time being intentional in the home and family and thinking of what I can cut out of my life and schedule to make home and family more of a priority.  There are a LOT of things I am involved with right now (supporting Steve, nursery ministry, supporting women in our community and Church, mentoring relationships, Bible studies, hospitality ministry, welcome team ministry, adoption work, doula ministry, etc) and I have the desire to make my family come FIRST out of all of those (while also balancing them)....I have felt for a long time that blogging just adds "one more thing" to that list when I am trying to cut out all the non essentials.  So where does that leave me? I have been wanting to end the blog for a while now and I wanted to test that out.  To be honest, it has been nice. One less thing feels great.  But, in talking with Steve and others, this is also an important way we keep in touch with those "back home", share about our ministry, raise awareness, prayers and support in the various ways we need it.  So, I think I am going to add it back in - slowly - and see if we can strike a balance of blogging but also making time for the more important things first.  We will see how it goes and I can always end it in the future if we feel the need that adding it back in is just too much.

Thank you for understanding and I hope I didn't leave anyone "hanging" too long.  I hope to be doing some catch up in these next days and weeks and then regularly post our updates and life as we begin our 4th year living overseas in Asia! 

Summer Beach Camp

One of the really big events we did this summer with the students was "Summer Beach Camp."  It was the first time Steve has put on a camp by himself and we had a total blast.  We went several hours West to a beautiful camping resort complete with cabins and full kitchens that was literally across from the beach. The cabins were in the woods and you walk out to the ocean, doesn't get much better than that!

We ended up taking 27 people total (Caleb and Evelyn Grace too!).  Sun Cha and I were the "Camp Cooks" and "Camp Mommys" (my first time cooking for a group that big!).  We all had a great time and some really good conversations were had and relationships built. The Gospel was taught over and over and it is our prayer that lives were impacted from this time away.  We've seen a big uptick in youth group participation and excitement since the camp as well, which has been great to see.

An added thing that we really enjoyed about this camp was we had 3 returning students who had previously graduated from our  program who came along as volunteers.  It was *so neat* to see what the Lord has continued to do in their lives since they left for college and the growth and maturity that has occurred.  It was an added sweet time for Steve, as he was able to disciple them on how to disciple the younger students. He really enjoys this type of mentorship a lot and it was neat for him.  They were also able to give their testimonies, which was one of the most impactful times at camp for many of the younger students.  We love you Matt, Mina and Andrew!!


Camp Cooks

sleepy walks on the beach

bunk bed!