What’s In A Name

Does anyone else get overwhelmed when it comes to selecting names for your children?  I mean talk about a high honor. God bestows on us the responsibility of selecting a name for our child.  The name that your child will be called by his entire life and one that your child will hopefully not wish was anyone else’s but his.  I mean no pressure, right?

Every parent sets different criteria for how they choose a name. Some want traditional names with a common spelling. Other’s prefer to stand out with names like Apple or North (West).  I fall in the camp of different but not one of a kind names.  For example Krystle is a fairly common name but the spelling of mine is different… unless you are a girl born in the 1980’s and your parents watched Dynasty and fell in love with the spelling of Krystle Carrington’s name.


In that case your name is probably spelled like mine. Michael Luke comes from a family of Biblical names so we chose to integrate that into my desire for different names.

So for us what that means is that we don’t look at names that are in the top 200 of the popular names for that gender.  While Noah is extremely popular for a boy’s name it doesn’t rank as high on the girl’s list thus making the cut for us.  I shared all about our selection of the names Noah and Esther here .

So how did we decide on the name Judah?

To begin with we didn’t begin to really think about names until we were matched because to me it’s just easier if you can cut down the names you need to look at by half just by knowing the sex.   Once we were matched I realized it was time to start thinking.

Boaz was a personal favorite name of mine that I had kept in mind ever since doing a study of Ruth earlier this year.  I still love Boaz but we decided that living in the south and with a little of my country drawl still remaining his name might have ended up sounding a little too country.  You can really draw out the name Boaz if you want to. Plus, there was the concern that his name could always be shortened to Bo… and I really wasn’t too keen on that. I still love the name though.

Boaz means “swiftness” which isn’t a bad trait to possess as boy. The meaning of the name is really important to us because Noah and Esther have certainly lived up to the meanings of “movement’ and “star” Don’t think it didn’t cross mine to try and figure out which name meant quiet or obedient. Hah!

I couldn’t help but think with a name like Boaz he might have also been destined to be a romantic.  To me there isn’t another more romantic love story in the Bible than the one between Ruth and Boaz.

Michael Luke shortlisted the name Malachi.  It quickly became one of my favorites.   The Malachi of the Bible was a prophet and his name meant “my messenger”. To me it sounds very manly. Maybe it’s because it rhymes with Jedi.  With a name like that you almost expect them to be good at martial arts.

Another name we both fell in love with was Jude.  Jude is a Hebrew name meaning “praise”  The name sounded very gentle to me and when I looked at the picture of our little one I could see a Jude… or Malachi in him.

Once we narrowed it down to either Jude or Malachi how did we end up with Judah?

Well, once we had our name choices narrowed down to two we decided to read both of the books Malachi and Jude in the Bible to learn more about them.  Malachi addresses the acts of the people of Judah and after reading those verses in chapter two I noticed that I liked that name and wondered why we had not thought about Judah as a name. I really didn’t think anything else of it though. Until, I started reading Jude! I did a little background search on the book of Jude and through that I discovered that Jude was an alternate spelling for the name Judah.

Ok, so there it was. Judah had popped out at me two times that morning and I could no longer ignore it. I began to pray asking God if this was the name He had selected or us.  Next, I messaged Michael Luke and asked him what he thought about the name Judah.  He responded that he too had noticed that name.

That’s all I needed to add Judah to the shortlist and to continue praying about God’s direction on this!

Judah means “praise”.  Like many characters of the Bible his low parts and high parts were both highlighted.  Many of us know Judah as one of the twelve sons of Jacob who later came to represent the twelve tribes of Israel.  Remember God renamed Jacob Israel.


Jew was a shortened term used to describe the people of Judah and later all the children of God. Judah was the one who came up with the “brilliant” idea to sell Joseph in to slavery. God worked in his heart though and later Judah placed his own life on the line as a promise to take care of Benjamin who Joseph was requesting to see in Egypt.

Judah married a Canaanite woman and had three sons. They grow up the oldest gets married, dies and then his wife Tamar is married to the next eldest.  God takes his life and then Judah was supposed to allow his youngest son to marry Tamar.  Judah choose not to so Tamar took matters into her own hands and deceived Judah and became pregnant with his child.

God had plans for this baby though because through the line of Judah would come David, Solomon, and finally Jesus!

Before Jacob died he blessed each of his sons.  Judah’s blessing was a foreshadowing of the Davidic kingdom that was to come through him.

Judah is a lion’s cub;
    from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down; he crouched as a lion
    and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;[a]
    and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11 Binding his foal to the vine
    and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he has washed his garments in wine
    and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes are darker than wine,
    and his teeth whiter than milk. – Genesis 49:9-12


The lion became the symbol for the tribe of Judah and was referenced again in Revelation 5:5:

And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

So while Judah like all of us made many mistakes in his life and fell short of the glory of God he was chosen to be one of the great-grandfathers of Jesus.  Through his family we were given the one who deserves all our praise.  I can’t wait to see how God uses our Judah to praise Him.

That’s what is in a name… and why I will probably be getting our little guy a stuffed lion!

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Summer Lovin’

Now that I’m an adult I feel like summer goes by quicker than it did as a child.  It has flown by! In two weeks Noah and Esther will officially launch full force into Kindergarten.  The geek in me has been a little too excited to work on my lesson plans for teaching them and ordering all our curriculum.  It’s going to be a fun year.

The geek in me has also had fun reading this summer. I think it’s safe to say that I have read more this summer than I have in the past two years. Ever since I was eight I have enjoyed reading.  Even to the point of working a deal out with my parents when I was in third grade that I could stay up an extra thirty minutes each night if I was reading.  Putting a book down was hard. My books were always my constant companion.  I read every chance I got…. like during commercial breaks, while waiting for a table at a restaurant, or while in the car traveling. I loved to read.

Kids, smart phones, and life had put a damper on my love of reading these past couple of years.  Do you ever find yourself choosing social media over a good book?  It’s really alarming to think that is a majority of the reading that most of us do.

I fought back against the urge to turn to social media at the end of the day this summer. Most nights I would stay up reading hours past when everyone else in my family went to bed. It didn’t start that way though.  My summer reading started back in June when I was in Salt Lake City watching our girls and my friends two little ones while she had her baby. (Thanks Kalli)  So while at first though I thought there would be not time to read with four children running around, I discovered there was plenty of time to read because there were four children running around… and around…. and around. They kept each other so entertained that for the most part I just had to keep them fed and and somehow get them to nap at the same time.  Mission accomplished.

So during that time I read…

Gray Mountain

My love for his books started with The Client when I was nine. I own an autographed copy for every book released since then.  I was a year behind on reading this one but once I started I couldn’t put it down.  The thing I like most about a good John Grisham legal book is that I walk away questioning my stance on things.  Whether it be the death penalty, tort reforms or in this coal mining.  Gray Mountain also came closer than any of his other books to having an actual love story in it.  Because of that it left me wanting to read a good love story which lead me to next book.

Me Before You

After gobbling up basically the only book I brought with me on my trip to Utah I decided to give e-books a try.  Google Rewards is a really cool app that I have on my phone.  I use it to answer surveys and in return Google pays me with Play credits.  in the ten months that I have had this app I have earned over $67!  So, I used some of the credit that I had saved up to purchase Me Before You.

My thoughts on this book are mixed because while I could barely put it down at the end of the book I was left dumbfounded.  It seriously messed me up for a while. I’m talking tears, playing out different scenarios in my head, and declaring to ML that WE WERE NOT SEEING THAT MOVIE! I mean it.

Thankfully, Jojo Moyes decided to continue the story with…

After You

So, like any good book lover I immediately cashed in my remaining Play credits for the sequel.  After You was my companion for our trip home.  While not quite as captivating as Me Before You it was still a good read and definitely a must read to follow up Me Before You.  This book didn’t leave me near as conflicted at the end.  These were the first books that I read by Jojo Moyers so I can’t vouch for any others but she definitely has a talent for developing complex characters.

After we returned home from Utah I was enjoying reading again so much that i couldn’t stop.  This was way better than some of those cheesy movies on Amazon Prime or waiting 13 episodes of some television drama just for two people to realize that they both like each other.

I didn’t have enough Google Play credits to purchase another book so I took advantage of a free book special Amazon was offering though Kindle and purchased my third e-book…

Journey’s End


I have always shied away from e-book because I like holding a book in my hands. I love to feel the pages as I turn them and to see how much I have left.  Having read a couple of e-books now I discovered that I like them more than I thought I would.  Google Books has designed their app so that it looks as if you are actually turning the pages and Kindle guestimates how many hours and minutes it will take you to finish the book. I loved this feature.

Journey’s End is set in the 1800’s.  One of my favorite time periods.  This book gives the reader a glimpse at the impoverished and upper classes of the time.  A part of me has always wished I was alive during this Victorian error. But if I had been I would probably have played the role of a servant or cook… the not so glamorous roles in my favorite books about the upper 1% of the time.

Journey’s End captivates the reader because it is about an impoverished girl breaking into the upper social circles to claim a heritage and life that should be hers while at the same time stumbling across love in the most unusual ways.  The books was quite the page turner… I mean screen swiper and did not disappoint in the area of a good love story.

When i finished Journey’s end I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to the 1800’s. In fact all the books that I have read this summer from this point forward have been set in the 1800’s. So after after discovering the fun of using the Kindle App on my phone I had downloaded a free book a couple of months ago.

Traitor’s Masque

I downloaded this book at a recommendation of a friend and then quite honestly forgot about for a while. But after consuming so many books I was hungry for more.  Kenley Davidson is the author and from what I can gather this is her first published book.

“Traitor’s Masque is the first book in The Andari Chronicles, a series of interconnected fairy tale retellings that evoke the glittering romance of the originals, while infusing them with grit, humor, and a cast of captivating new characters.” – Amazon.com

Trator’s Masque is a take on the classical Cinderella tale. Because of that I was worried that the story would be extremely predictable.  Kenley Davidson did a great job of building suspense and surprise into the story and truly leaves you guessing at the out come of the story until the very end.

After finishing Trator’s Masque I would have kept on reading the next book in the series but seeing as how reading is a habit that could easily blow through all my extra spending money I decided to feed my habit through our local library.

I’m almost ashamed to admit it but up until this point in my life I have been a book snob.  What do I mean by that?  Just that I love owning my own copy of a book, taking good care of it, and when I am finished with it adding it to my collection of book on a bookcase.  We visit the library often for the girls and check out at times dozens of books.  Utilizing the local library for children’s books can be a huge money saver.

For some reason the adult section of the library had always scared me.  Maybe it’s because I’ve never really grasped the call system, but for the most part I’ve shied away from it.  I finally conquered my fears and strolled through the adult aisles taking in all the books available to me… for free!

This wasn’t something I was able to do without the girls so my strolling didn’t take very long. Five minutes max.  At this point in my summer reading I was definitely still craving some love stories but I wanted to make sure the “love” part of the book didn’t go to far or against my beliefs. In short, I was looking for some good Christian fiction books.

Collierville is located in the south and while the suburb of a major city it still has a rather large Christian population.  Because of this the Christian fiction books are marked with a cross.  This made it really easy to find what I was looking for.

Striking a Match (3 Book Series)

This series by Tracie Peterson was a fun place to visit.  It centered around Deborah Vandermark and her family living life in a logging community in Texas during… the 1800’s. A love books like this because they give you a glimpse at life back then.  What it was like to be an educated woman and a family striving to make an honest living.  It answers questions like what people did for fun in their free time, what was medical care like, and did families take vacations.

I fell in love with Deborah and her family and at the end of the series truly had a hard time saying goodbye to them because I had fallen in love with them and their home.

I wasn’t sad long though because next I started the…

Red River of the North (6 book series)

Well, I actually started with the prequel, An Untamed Heart (Red River of the North) and then I started the series about Ingred Bjorklund and her family’s journey from Norway to the Dakota Territory in the late 1800’s.  I’ve learned so much history from this series. For starters I did not realize up until this point in history that South and North Dakota were not states. I’ve learned the true meaning of homesteading and how harsh winters could be in this area of the country.

I’m four books in to this series and once again in love with the family and their way of life.  So much so that I have started making my own bread and longing for the cooler months.  Life in the Dakota Territory is drastically different from life on the east coast during this same point in history. The land was still being tamed and communities were just being developed.  It’s been quite an adventure and I know I will be sad when I finally have to say goodbye to this family as well.

So that pretty much is a run down of my summer reading.  Well, except for the two that ML and I read together 25 To Life: Jailbreak Your 9-5 & Escape to Financial Freedom by Adam Green and Go Pro: 7 Steps to Becoming a Network Marketing Professional by Eric Worre.  These were both professional development books to better equip me with my part time job as a Young Living Independent Distributor.

It’s been a fun summer and I’m so glad it included reading again. I hope to keep this up during the fall and look forward to reading some exciting books with my girls as well as they venture into kindergarten together.

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The Match… And the Name

Thank you so much for all your kind words last week when I shared about matching with our new little one.  With each passing day it becomes more and more real to me that we have a son on the other side of the word!

Just a few minutes ago I went back and read the posts (part 1 &  2) I wrote sharing the details of the events leading up to our match with Esther three years ago.  It wasn’t hard to see God’s hand at work in the process and in my life as well. To this day when I look back at my spiritual journey during the week we had to wait on matching approval for her stands out as one of the major life events that God used to draw me closer to him.

I’m excited to see God at work in the matching of our son as well.  The waiting process was drastically different, I’m not sure if that’s due to the busyness I experience as a mom to two or because we had already traveled this road once, but it still makes for a great story.

The days before we had a son. 

Early June – After officially being in the China program for over a month Michael Luke and I decided to start seriously looking at the waiting children.  The children on the special focus list can be viewed at any time… even before beginning your homestudy.  Sometimes parents like to wait a while to seriously look at the list because once you match your child is just waiting on you to finish all the steps required before your travel.  So they are essentially getting older while waiting on you.  So while we could have waited until we got a few more to-dos knocked off our list we also didn’t want to find ourselves at the end waiting on a child to become available that fit our “child desired” list.

So we began reviewing the list of waiting children. Michael Luke being a little bit more organized than me (ok, a lot more organized) created a spreadsheet with all the children that fit the age range we were looking at.  From our shortened list we began to read each child’s profile and watch any videos that were made available.

Early on our little guy began to grab our hearts and attention. We kept coming back to his file and prayed that God would lead us to the child He had for us.

June 20 – The adoption timeline events and rules are different from country to country so Michael Luke and I were still unsure of how everything worked at this point.  What happened if we wanted to “officially” review a child’s file?  Did the child go on hold within our agency or with all agencies?  Did China require a waiting period of seven days like Hong Kong where other families could speak up and be considered for a child?  Our social worker, Sarah was more than happy to answer our questions for us and we began making plans for placing the little boy that was creeping his way into our hearts on hold.

Within a few minutes of letting Sarah know of our desires we received an e-mail with his information, pictures, and a video. Whereas Esther came with 100’s of papers with family history, medical history, and history of daily life the e-mail contained 27 pages about him… half of which where the English translation of the original Chinese language which I guess is Mandarin. So in a nutshell there isn’t much we know about him. We do know he is guesstimated to be 17 months old,  he weighs about 16 lbs, and is around 28 inches long.  Just like with Esther though much of his history I will keep private because that is his story to tell.

Shortly after receiving his file Sarah called us and talked with us for about an hour.  We went through the files together and then she prayed with us asking God to guide us in our decision about whether to adopt this little guy or not.

June 23 – I feel like the decision making process this go around was a lot harder than with Esther.  There are several factors that contributed to this.  First, with Esther we were approached and asked to consider a specific child.  In this case, we had access to lots of files and wanted desperately to know which way God was pointing us.

Because of that I find it no surprise that I am currently working through Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God Bible study.  As a little side note it is absolutely amazing! I feel like I could learn from the study over and over again.  Through Experiencing God I have learned that I have to look for where God is at work and then make a decision to join him.  This was my prayer in choosing a child, “God which child do you have chosen for me?” It seems simple but this small but radical approach is what guided us in our decision and gave me complete confidence in our decisions.

Salt Lake City Bed

We were in Salt Lake City staying with some good friends of ours when we placed the file on hold and just as we walked into our hotel room in downtown Salt Lake city for the Young Living International Convention my phone rang. It was a call from the International Adoption Clinic in Birmingham. We had e-mailed the files to them to review and for help making the most out of what little information we had received.  It was a very informative phone call and we were amazed at what all they were able to glean from the 27 pages of information.

Still at this point I wasn’t quite sure if this guy was who God had planned for us.  Ok, maybe I was sure but I kept trying to question God.  But with each question He responded with an answer. His voice came through the Word, through prayer, and through circumstances that He had me encounter in Salt Lake City.  It was amazing and so much fun to find and hear God around me.

July 1 – I may have been a little slow but I finally realized that God was letting me know he was the one.  Michael Luke felt the same.

We were at peace. When you know you are following God’s leading all doubts and fears are gone because any other decision would have been wrong.

letter of intent

July 5 – Around lunch time Michael Luke emailed Lifeline to let them know that we wanted to submit a letter of intent for this little guy. I was excited but knew that he still wasn’t ours. There was still the possibility that someone else could be submitting a letter of intent at the same time or that they would think we just weren’t a good match for him.  So we just had to wait… an estimated two weeks.

Now, let me just add that at this point in Esther’s adoption process I was a basket case. We had to wait 10 days to find out if we had been approved for her.  And during this time I had the hardest time waiting.  Waiting knowing there was absolutely nothing I could do to make her mine. It was all in God’s hands.  It seamed as if my stomach were always tied in knots.  I would pray and give the situation to God and sometimes within minutes I would try and take it back in my hands.  True spiritual growth happened here and God taught me to rest in Him.

So this go around I really didn’t fret or worry about it.  Honestly, I didn’t think about it all that much. I knew He was in control and that there was NOTHING I could do.

July 8 (4:50) – So, we went on vacation to Biloxi  with my parents to a lumber convention. We had fun at the beach, swimming, and eating.  And then Friday afternoon when my phone rang I saw that it was a 205 area code number and felt like I should answer it.  It was Sarah and she wanted to know if I had a few minutes to talk and if Michael Luke was available too.  My heart almost sank because I feared she was calling to let us know that another family had been approved.  I mean, it had only been three days.

Thankfully, we were at the tradeshow at the Beau Rivage with my parents so I left the girls with my mom and ML and I went out in the corridor and found one of those old rooms (well it seems old now) with phone booths in a row.  It seamed like a fitting place to talk on a cell phone in private.

Sarah didn’t waste anytime but let us know immediately that we had matched with our little boy. We were so excited that there were tears streaming down our cheeks and a permanent smile on our faces.  It was more than hard to keep it a secret the rest of the weekend while we vacationed with my entire extended family.  We did though.


Now we wait… and complete the remaining steps at their appointed times.  We are officially through with the homestudy update though and are finally moving on to our dossier and our I-800 (immigration) paperwork. Woohoo!

Hopefully sometime early next year I will be able to scoop Judah Stanley up into my arms and give him a big hug from his mommy.

Judah Reveal

Yep, we finally named him… but that’s a story for another day. 🙂

Judah has a beautiful middle name but it is his name given to him by the nannies at his orphanage so we can’t share it because it is considered identifying information about him.  Once he is ours and on U.S. soil I will be happy to share though.  



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