Worth sharing

I struggle with sharing stories from work in such a public arena.  (not that I have that many followers!)  But there are some stories that need to be shared. 

The Seattle Times is doing a series on homeless families entitled Invisible Families.  They started their research back in April, and spent a good bit of time at Mary’s Place talking with my director and myself.  We connected the reporter with one of our families we thought would be willing to share.  She was, and her story is incredible.  It is the struggle of so many in this city, and in this nation today. 

Please check out the story video, the story of June Lloyd and her two sons.

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Blogging without apologies

No apologies for the lack in blogging.  No excuses.  Just an update of sorts:

  • I love Seattle.  I love the Pacific Northwest.  I feel this is home for a long time to come.  That being said, there are things I miss about the South.  Specifically, people.  I miss the people from home.  I hate missing out on birthdays and celebrations.  I hate missing on my godson growing up (so fast!).  It is hard being so far from the people I love.
  • For those who haven’t heard, my sister is having a baby!  She was actually pregnant at my wedding (though only a few weeks) making two of five people in my wedding party pregnant at my wedding.  Actually, come to think of it, the only two people that it was possible, were pregnant.  haha   Anyway, everyone in my family is very excited (obviously).  She finds out October 1st if it is a boy or a girl.  Scott (her husband) has known all along its an Alabama fan.   She is due at the end of Feb./beginning of March.
  • And we all know now that Stephanie is having a little girl!  Sweet Emmy.  I cannot wait to meet the latest edition to the Gates family!  I know that she will be as beautiful and wonderful as her two older brothers.   She will have the one thing that I wished for most growing up: an older brother.   How lucky is she? 🙂
  • There are two other pending babies in my family.  My cousin Kate and her husband Derek in Arkansas are expecting their third child.  And my cousin Ben and his wife Kara in Baltimore are expecting their first!
  • See all the exciting, wonderful things I am missing back home?
  • Mary’s Place is preparing for our big move!  We will be moving into a new home, a 2 year temporary location while our permanent home is being built.  We plan to move mid-September.  It is all very exciting, overwhelming, and  exhausting.  But a great comfort to know that we have a home!  If you followed the drama of last year, you know that this is a HUGE blessing!
  • One new aspect of the new building is a family room!  It will be a place that I can work with families one on one, without being out in the middle of all the regular chaos (like we do now).  It will have a play corner for kids, a phone line dedicated to the moms, and place where I can keep all the necessary resources and applications in one convenient location!!    I cannot wait!

What’s in a name anyway?

It has yet to stop amazing me how passionate people are about their ideas surrounding marriage.  And how, for the most part, they are totally willing to share.  Without even being asked.  So kind.

One of the ideals of marriage that I have found to be most divisive has been that of taking the husband’s name.  People from both sides of the argument have been shocked to find that I don’t necessarily agree with them.  Or worse, assume that I did agree with them.

When Kris and I first started talking about getting married, I knew that the decision of what to do about last names would be one that would take a lot of thought, prayer and discussion.  And that is exactly how we arrived at the decision we did.  It is not a decision I made alone, because I am not the only person in this partnership.  While I can completely understand and support a woman’s decision to keep her maiden name, I will never understand a woman who makes that decision without ever consulting her future partner.  In all things, there has to be true discussion, and possible compromise.  In the same token, I will never understand or support a man who demands that a woman take his last name.  It is a ridiculous demand.  So I appreciated Kris when he first approached me about the subject.  There were no demands, no expectations.  Just a genuine desire to reach a decision we would both be fully happy with.  That, right there, sums up why I love him.

So I decided to take his name.  And keep my own.  But not to hyphenate.  And though it will forever confound people and paperwork alike why I have two middle names, one of which is my maiden name, but have no hyphen, I am completely at peace with my decision.   For many of the same reasons that were brought up in the comment section of the survey, here are my reasons:

1.  It was important to Kris. There was nothing macho in him having a desire for me to take his name.  He was not trying to control or own me in any way.  It was just simply important that he share the same last name as his wife.

2. About a month before the wedding, an old friend and neighbor of mine happened to be in Seattle.  We were catching up over dinner, sharing stories of where life had led us.  Inevitably, we started talking about the wedding, and I asked her if she would mind sharing the reasons she had kept her name after she married.  She told me that she had kept her name, a very plain and common last name, because by the time she got married, she had published many articles and professionally it made sense to keep her name.  That was 5 years ago.  Six months ago she had a baby.  Who, judging by the pictures, is just as cute as can be.  Little baby girl, who has a beautiful, and slightly unique first name, took her daddy’s last name.  My friend said, “One day I took the baby to work.  And my co-worker asked if I had meant to name my baby after a famous singer.  At first I didn’t understand.  But then realized that they assumed she had my last name, which indeed would be the name of this singer.  That is when first realized how hard it would be the rest of my life to have a name different than my child and my husband.”  So, she told me, she was in the process of legally changing her last name to that of her husband’s.  While she would still publish under her maiden name, it was important to share that family name.

And it is important to me to share the family name.  But I realized that it also meant that I wasn’t willing to give up my family name either.  I was so happy to be welcoming in, and to be welcomed in, by my new family.  And I am happy to now share a name with them.  But I did not want to lose that connection, by name, to my own family.  So I kept both.  I considered dropping my middle name, as many women do, to have my maiden name become my middle name.  But that in itself is a denial of who I am.  I always have been, and always will be, Elizabeth Anne.  It is my mother’s name.  And a name that was pieced together from grandmothers and great-aunts before me.  I was not willing to give that up.

So I am now all of those names.

3.  But without the hyphen.  While we considered it shortly, it was not an avenue I wanted to take.  It seems complicated, and leads to only lengthend names as generations progress.  So, no hyphen.  Two middle names.  One last name.

4. Kris’ last name is cool.  Had it been lame, we would never be having this discussion.  (just kidding, kinda).  Also, I sound very Scottish now, which is fun.

All that being said, there is something that is very important in my new name.  While I am now officially a Mrs.,  I am not a Mrs. Kris.  I made it very clear that at my wedding, whenever we were introduced, we were either to be announced as Mr. and Mrs. Kris and Liz Lastnamehere or just Mr. and Mrs. Lastnamehere. I am not my husband.  Wouldn’t it be ridiculous if I were to introduce Kris as “Mr. Liz lastnamehere”? Yes.  Yes it would.

So, there you have it.  My reasons behind my new name.  These are my reasons alone, I totally respect those who make decisions otherwise.