Remembering by naming

Have you ever noticed that some stretches of time seem to have themes? I’m not talking about well-laid plans to have a one-track mind. Or obsessing over pumpkin spice. Or seeking like-minded opinions.

I’m talking about those things that seemingly pop up accidently, over and over, until you know it isn’t an accident. Perhaps you see the same person in multiple places on a certain day. Or the same string of words hits you in the same place every time. Or it’s a general idea you just can’t shake.

That’s been me the last few weeks. And it all centers around the idea of names and naming.

I wrote a devotional for a baby shower this month, and it was all about names.

I wrote a blog piece for a writing challenge I’m taking part in this month, and again, it was about names.

And as I was tossing around ideas for this column, it all seemed to come back to names.

In my estimation, names are pivotal. In fact, naming the animals was one of the first tasks God gave Adam in the garden.

Names provide a distinctive designation of a person or a thing. I think that’s why parents generally take the process of selecting a name seriously. We want the names we select to mean something and sound nice. We take care to make sure initials don’t spell something embarrassing. We make lists of possibilities and then zero in on the one that seems to work the best. And then we hope our children will like our choice.

After all, names end up being one of our first identifiers.

It was the same as I tried to determine a name for my column back in 2008. The column name needed to stick. It needed some kind of identity. When I first started this column, I didn’t know what exactly it would be. I just knew it was soon to exist, and it needed a name.

The reason I settled on Lipstick & Pearls was because I wanted my writing to be something fun, but also be meaningful. And eight years later, I still determine to authentically pair a splash of light-hearted humor with pearls of truth, wisdom and encouragement. I hope my writing lives up to its identifier.

As I took on the 31-day writing challenge—where the challenge is writing on the same topic for 31 days—I pondered its name as well. And I landed on deep to DEEP. And, as you’ll find if you visit my blog, that name means something, too.

Of course.

Because, like I said, I believe names are pivotal and deserve contemplation.

And for five long years, I’ve been pondering the idea of names in a very delicate situation. That of my two lost pregnancies.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. And if you’ve read my column for awhile, you probably know I lost a baby to an ectopic pregnancy in the spring 2011, and then experienced an early miscarriage on Halloween 2011.

I’ve always wanted to name them. But it always seemed a little strange…not to mention I don’t know gender. But I think this is the moment the non-accidental naming theme has been headed toward for a few weeks. All in preparation to give me the courage to name those dear little ones.

I am the face of pregnancy and infant loss. I am one in four. I am a statistic.

But I am also the mama to five children.

Gracelyn, Jemma, Hadley (because it means heather field, and I think that would be a place of beautiful peace), Elliott (because it means Jehovah is God) and Case.

Malinda Just has been writing her monthly column for the Free Press since 2008. She can be reached at You can her blog, at justswrite­, or by finding her on Facebook writing page by searching MalindaDJust.