My little sister Hannah is 5 months pregnant right now with my already adorable niece, lyla ray.
When we first found out she was pregnant, we were obviously thrilled and after we remotely came down from baby high, we all dove head first into the name game.
And that’s always an interesting conversation. Not because you’re coming up with funny names like Apple or Lion – even though there’s sadly HUMAN beings out there that have to carry that weight of a name until they’re old enough to legally change it.Penelope_name_on_brick_bldg

…ok im getting off track…

What’s intersting about those conversations is being reminded of the names you don’t like and particularly why you dont like them…  I’d say 9 times out of 10, we dont like certain names strictly because there’s someone you don’t exactly care for, that happens to have that exact name.

Don’t act like you’re exempt from these global feelings, because we’ve all thought it.

“so what about  Penelope? I love that name and the nickname penny is really adorable.”
“no way. I went to school with a girl named penny and she was so ugly to me my junior year. I’d be reminded of her every single time I said my daughter’s name…”

It’s wild how that happens, isn’t it? How one person can literally ruin a name for you when that name is attached to a not-so-pleasant experience or memory. So in turn, we throw the baby (name) out with the bath water immediately.


I was thinking about that earlier today and in parallel, i wonder what other areas of my life I’ve let “Penelope” ruin it for me. What other places I’ve allowed previous experiences of pain, mistreatment, or disappointment dictate my decisions or keep me from participating and moving forward.

For me personally, the first area i thought of was:: Community

Never before in my life have I experienced the kind of authentic community that I have the pleasure of receiving from and contributing to, like I do right now.
And what’s strange is that I didn’t realize how much I needed it, until I was a part of it.
Until I felt what it was like to have friends with wise hearts turn their chair towards me and one another, because we didn’t want to do life alone. because creating a safe place where all that is true – both the ugly and the beautiful – can be faced together was desperately needed. To say that it’s unbelievably special to me would be an absolute understatement.

But that wasn’t always my experience…


I grew up “in church” with parents who were heavily involved in children’s ministry. Because I have a horrible memory, I don’t have heaps of memories from that time in life, but I have a few… I remember songs and puppets and a few faces. Certain rooms with felt boards and interactive bible stories being told. I feel rather lucky though, because in my lack of memory, I don’t remember the hurt that my parents experienced from Pastors and staff members alike. The devaluing conversations and mistreatment that I later heard about were enough to crush anyone’s ideals of what they thought church and its body would look, sound, and act like.

We took a few years off from church after that.

It was safer to pull away and not be a part, rather than expose ourselves to potential hurt and disappointment again. We needed a break. And maybe you’re thinking “well understandably so!!” and i would absolutely agree with you.
I would just be careful that our “understandably so” doesn’t take up residence longer than it should.


Im pretty sure we all have stories like this in one way or another. Mostly because we’re all living and breathing in a world where :: pain :: mistreatment :: and disappointment are undoubtedly inevitable… but how do we respond when pierced by its arrival?!

How long do we let “Penelope” dictate theoretical outcomes?
How long do we let pain keep us from risking
from dreaming
from living fully

if we ask the tough questions today, maybe tomorrow can look different.


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
 – Anais Nin


2 thoughts on “penelope.

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