Year in review: 2021 (new blessings)

Happy 2022 everyone! Happy Feast of Mary, Mother of God!!

While I’m inclined to say that I hope that 2022 is better than 2021 because of the shadow of this horrible pandemic (both in terms of physical, mental, and economic health, and also in terms of the toll its taken on so many of our relationships with loved ones) and because of the other difficult and troubling things that have happened nationally and worldwide (when I started writing this, I was particularly thinking about the wildfires in Colorado — I know there are several of you that live there, please know that I’m praying for you!), I also look back on the past year and am blown away by the blessings God has showered down on me. I’m sure you all have your own stories of His 2021 goodness!

For me, one of the very biggest blessings was the thing that caused me to go on hiatus from the blog and baby name consulting back in June — I got a job! A job that I have literally been praying for for years! I think you all know that I’ve done *very part-time* freelance writing and editing for years, in and amongst having babies, and of course this beautiful space right here brought with it my ministry of naming and baby name consultations (such a dream!!), and more writing opportunities (CatholicMom and Nameberry, and of course my beautiful book of Marian names [my non-baby magnum opus!]), but I knew there would come a time when I would need a steadier and more reliable source of income, and I suspected that it would coincide with my older boys going to college. Then, last spring, a posting came through my email from the job alert emails I’ve been signed up for for years, and it was as close to the perfect situation as I could have hoped for. It was as a Professional Writing Tutor at a local college, which I applied for and was hired for, and it has turned out to be *even more perfect* than I thought it would be. It works perfectly with our family schedule and with the needs of all of my children, with all of their ages and activities. It has had a particularly positive impact in various ways on my oldest boy, who will be going to college in the fall, and will do so for his brothers when their college time comes as well. It’s required some creative planning and rearranging in terms of my daily mom logistics, but mostly it’s caused barely a blip for our collective family peace and health, even for my littlest guy, for which I couldn’t be more thankful. And it’s work I really love, with students that I’ve totally fallen for, in an environment that I find inspiring as a writer and a lifelong student/pursuer of truth. God is so good. So good!

So! Now that I’ve had almost six months under my belt of this new phase of my motherhood, I think I can dip my toe back into baby name consultations. At least — I really want to! So I’m going to use the month of January to see how I do with it. I have to warn that if I find it too overwhelming, I’ll have to pull back again, and with that possibility in mind, I’m offering only five consultation openings right now. I’m going to do it first come, first served — email me at sanctanomina@gmail.com to claim one of the spots, and then I’ll send you the link to the PayPal button (after posting this, I’m logging off until tomorrow, so unfortunately I can’t promise you an immediate reply). If you’re not one of the first five, don’t worry — Sancta Nomina’s other baby name consultant, Theresa Zoe Williams, can help! I am so grateful to her for picking up where I left off in terms of helping any of you who are struggling with giving your beautiful babies names that are meaningful to our faith. You’ve all kept her busy! I’ve posted 13 of her consultations since the summer, which is so great. In fact, if you want to purchase a consultation with her instead of me, that’s totally fine and wonderful! Simply purchase one using the PayPal buttons and then email her directly at  TheresaZoeWrites@gmail.com with your namey details. (Do note that the buy-my-book-get-a-discounted-consultation deal only applies to consultations I do.)

As if a major hiatus and the addition of a new baby name consultant weren’t enough for one year, look what else happened at Sancta Nomina in 2021!

  • I posted 12 birth announcements: Thea Noelle, Astrid Beatrice, Isla Frances, Matthias Daniel, Leo Nicholas, Caroline Grace, Gemma Theadora, James Patrick Albert, Calista Eucharistica, Lawrence Stephen, twins Leo Bessette and Gregory Augustin, and Roman Gabriel Charles. Children are such treasures, and I feel the same way about beautiful faith-y names — these are all so gorgeous!

Not too bad for a year in which I was mostly gone for a full half of it!

One thing I’m very disappointed that I wasn’t able to work out this year was my annual pilgrimage to a St. Anne shrine in order to thank her for her patronage — I fully intended to, but my job started just when I normally would have planned such a trip. I kept hoping I’d be able to figure it out, but I underestimated how knackered I’d be with my outside-the-house job (you know what I mean? It’s a special kind of exhaustion that happens when daily life takes on a new look, even when the new look is all good. Like having a baby!). Hmm … now that I think about it, though 2021 is over, there’s still time before my next blogiversary … so really, if I can get it done between now and then, it still counts for this past year, right? Right? Right! Okay. That’s now a New Year’s Resolution — I’ll keep you posted!

Also, though it passed with no announcement or fanfare, this past June marked my SEVENTH blogiversary! Seven is a special number to me, both because of its biblical holiness, and because of my seven boys. Also, I started the blog when my now-seven-year-old was a baby. Seven seven seven! I don’t get crazy about numbers, but I admit this felt extra meaningful to me. I’ll further admit that I wondered if, with my seventh blogiversary and concurrent getting of a new job, that God was allowing me to understand that my time at Sancta Nomina had run its course. But I’ve prayed quite a bit about it and I don’t think I’m done here — not yet anyway. Even just going through the last year’s posts to write this, and the actual writing of it itself, has provided peace, inspiration, and a connection with heaven and the blessing of welcoming babies into the world — things that I have always loved about Sancta Nomina. You all and this space are the best. ❤

Going forward, I’ll probably continue posting a lot less on social media — the connection between Facebook and the blog got glitchy a while ago, so my posts don’t automatically post over there anymore, and I’ve pulled way back from Facebook in general, so likely there won’t be much over there Sancta Nomina-wise (unless I figure out the problem); I deleted the Twitter app from my phone a while ago and haven’t checked at all since (though my posts should still be posting automatically there); Instagram remains my favorite platform, so if you see me on any socials, it’ll likely be there (@ sanctanomina). I often encounter some namey thing that I know no one else in the world will understand or appreciate the way you guys will — between the blog and Instagram, I hope to keep sharing what I discover!

And that’s 2021 in review! I always love pulling together these bird’s eye snapshots of the blog over the past year — you can read the others here:

We shared a lot of great times! I’m looking forward to 2022 with hope and trust, and I pray for the same for you as well! God bless you all!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Year in review: 2020 (better than expected)

Happy feast (a day late) of Mary, the Mother of God!! And Happy New Year!! Have we ever been so happy to see a new year?!!

Last year was certainly the year of Bad Things. So much suffering, and none of us untouched, though many of us were scourged more than others.

As I started to go back through my posts from 2020, I wondered if this was going to be a bummer of a post — was there anything good that came out of this past year? I was quickly reminded that, yes!, there was so much good that came out of this past year: all your beautiful babies! Sancta Nomina exists for babies and their families — it was such a joy to be surrounded by the hope and love of each of you as I reread your stories. What a beautiful way to begin this new year! I know you’ll love to do so as well:

  • I did 66 baby name consultations in 2020, 25 of which I was given permission to post! You can find them (and all previous consultation posts) here.
  • I posted birth announcements for 40 babies! (All birth announcements can be found here.) Welcome again to Perrin Fae, Bosco Anthony, Michael Gabriel, Barbara Josephine, Lillian Joy, Liliane Cruz, Anna, Claude Indiana Emmanuel, Chiara Maris, Valor Joseph, Magnus Craig, Marigold Azélie, Lolek Augustine, Felicity Colette, Levi Nathaniel, Jeffery Sherwood, Charlotte Avery Katherine, Thérèse Lourdes, Noah Anthony, Benedict Campion Marie, Evangeline Truth, Elanor Josephine, Felix Owen, Sojourn Hyssop Arise, Magdalene Anne, Arthur Paul, Michael Augustine, Iris Miriam, Bernadette Frances, Henry Kapaun, Aurelia-Rose Celeste, Titus Joseph, Magdalen Gianna, Tristan Raphael, Oskar Karl Wolfgang, William Daniel, Judah Abraham, Ann Margaret, Philip Charles, and Agnes Therese Marie! Some of our favorite public Catholic personalities and businesses are represented in this list of new babies, including Studio Senn, Catholic All Year, Just Love Prints, Rose Harrington Art, Philip Rivers, In Honor of Design, Leah Darrow, Camp Patton, and Trials of Faith (I love supporting all of you who are doing your part to be light in the world!). Some of these babies join older siblings who had previously been celebrated on the blog — it’s such fun to see families grow! I love welcoming new families as well — thank you for sharing your baby joy!

The hardships of the past year weren’t absent from the blog, however. I wrote specifically about the wretched virus a couple of times:

I shared resources for continuing the fight to overcome racial injustice:

And I wrote about the sad life of Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) and the sad deaths of Kobe and Gianna Bryant and their co-passengers.

In the business-as-usual category, I shared some thoughts on the 2019 name data that was finally released by the Social Security Administration after a several-months-long delay. I was so grateful to be able to take my annual St. Anne pilgrimage to thank her for her care for us all. I posted some Fun Friday questions:

I did some name spotlights:

I shared these name stories:

I welcomed one “celebrity guest”:

And I pulled together these meaty posts:

I continued writing for CatholicMom.com:

And Nameberry:

I again offered my now-annual and super-popular (thank you!!) Black Friday/Cyber Monday baby name consultation deals, and instituted the Consultation-for-Book deal, which will continue indefinitely!

One weird thing that happened is that WordPress did some sort of site redesign that has affected my ability to see comments on posts as they come in — by the time I realized this a few months ago, I’d already received a whole bunch of comments, and as anyone who has ever emailed me has likely encountered, when I have a backlog of something (emails, comments) it takes me a looong time to get caught up. I’m still not caught up on post comments — I’m at least a couple months behind. I’m so sorry! I’ve always loved the conversation on here in the comments, and I’m always writing, “Catch up on blog comments” on my daily to-do list. I’ll keep plugging away!

For 2021: It’s the Year of St. Joseph! I can’t wait to see all the babies named for our good St. Joseph! And I have some new ideas for Sancta Nomina that I think you’ll love! Keep your eyes peeled over the next couple of months, and in the meantime, I hope you continue to enjoy the content that we all love: consultations and birth announcements and I’m always happy to receive name stories about the beautiful ways you’ve reflected our faith in your children’s names, whether you’ve had a consultation or not!

As always, my every-year word for Sancta Nomina is gratitude: for all of you, for this beautiful ministry I’ve been allowed to have, for the joy and hope your babies and the names for our faith provide, and for the love God has for each one of us. ❤ ❤ ❤


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon (not affiliate links) — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Year in review: 2019 (scrabbling back)

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone!! 🎉🎉🎉

I look forward to doing my Year in Review posts every New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day — it’s SO FUN to look back on all that was accomplished in the last year!

I’m describing 2019 as the year of “scrabbling back,” since much of it was devoted to healing physically and mentally from the baby’s birth in September 2018, which meant my efforts on the blog were slow and erratic, especially in the beginning. Worse, I had to keep putting off returning to baby name consultations — I knew you all understood, but it was so painful to me to know there were mamas (mostly, but papas too!) who were hoping for help naming their sweet babies, and I couldn’t do so! But I gained steam as the year drew to a close — take a look!:

Henry James
Felicity Victoria Kathleen
Michael Dominic
Greer Eileen
Ev@nd3r H@wth0rn (alt characters used for privacy)
Christian Gabriel
Noelle Katherine
Perpetua Carolyn
Bridget Marie
Reina Grace
Basil Anthony Philip
Christopher Rex called Rex
Damian Nicholas Elijah and Isaac Anthony Cosmas
Basil Grace
Linus John
Helena Faustina James
Clement Joseph
Lucy Adelaide
Peter Joseph
Sunday Josephine
Hildegard Edna Marie
Abigail Violet
Genevieve Immaculee Grace
Solan Peter and Magdalen Anne
Helena Mary
Cecily Germaine
Cl3m3nt Mich@el
Theodore Luke
Rosemary Ruth
Ariston Blaise
Finnian Agustin
Benedict Reid
Elizabeth Ríonach called Liesel
Alden Edward
Maria Therese called Maite
Penny Annalise Mariae
Lincoln David

Speaking of St. Anne, she’s been our patroness since almost the beginning, and this year I also dedicated Sancta Nomina (blog + social media + all associated work) to Our Lady — I should have thought to do so before!

What a year it’s been! I am, as always, so grateful for this little space, and for all of you. I love how wholesome and good it is here — it is such a great antidote to all the bologna, isn’t it? I know 2020’s going to be an amazing year! The word I got for 2020  by Jen Fulwiler’s Word of the Year Generator was THRIVE*, which seems perfect following a year of “scrabbling back”! I hope you’re looking forward with as much hope and joy as I am! Happy Eve of the Feast of Mary, Mother of God!!**

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

*Be sure to try out her Saint Name Generator as well! (I got Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati!)

**Don’t forget Jan. 1 is a holy day of obligation!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady!

Year in review: 2018 (the Year of Big News)

Happy New Year to you all!! And happy Feast of Mary, Mother of God!!

What a year 2018 was! I’m calling it the Year of Big News because I can’t think of any bigger news than a baby and a book — and I had both in 2018!

Screenshot_2019-01-01-12-38-38

 

Starting with the baby: it was so fun to announce to you all that he was on the way, to have Abby from Appellation Mountain do a name consultation for me, to articulate the challenges that come with naming a seventh boy, and then to announce his birth and naming (on Instagram first, then here)! He’s a dream and a prayer come true. ❤

Then, my book — my non-baby magnum opus: I can’t think of a greater onomastic honor than to write a book of Marian names, a book for Our Lady. From finally being able to share the news with you all that the book was being published — and by a publisher that has impeccable Marian ties and has published so many authors I admire! — to all the amazing endorsements and reviews I received, to the book signing I did at my local Catholic book shop, to the other ways the names for Our Lady were shared (articles by me [here, here] and others), my foray into the world of I-wrote-a-book-that-got-published has been thrilling. Thank you all for the ideas, inspiration, and encouragement you gave me along the way!

As with past years, I also wanted to share some of the 2018 Sancta Nomina stats with you — even with being mostly absent from here for nearly half the year because of the baby, I’m still pretty pleased with what was accomplished:

What a year! 2019’s got some big shoes to fill! I hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s and Marian feast day (giving birth today? There’s a book for that 😉 )!


My book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018), is available to order from ShopMercy.org and Amazon — perfect for the expectant parents, name enthusiasts, and lovers of Our Lady in your life!

Year in review: 2017 (blessed beyond measure)

Happy New Year you wonderful readers you!! 🎉 🎉 🎉 🎉 🎉 And happy feast of Mary, the Mother of God!! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

The past two years I’ve posted my “Year in review” post on New Year’s Eve (2015 and 2016), and so I intended to this year (er, last year) as well, but life. Kids, husband, family, etc. You know. We had a busy and fun New Year’s Eve! So instead of ending 2017 by looking back, we’ll begin 2018 doing so!

I always find it fun to look through the year’s posts and see what happened, and I love sharing it all with you, since it’s because of you that all of this has happened!

Whew!! What a year it’s been!! I continue to be so blown away by the blessing of this blog and all of you!! I can’t wait to share 2018 with you!!

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Year in review: 2016 (more of the wonderful same)

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone!! 🎉🎆🎉🎆🎉🎆

I saw this interesting tidbit on Twitter today:

silvester

I loved that! And it reminded me of this mama, who’d considered Sylvester for her baby … I’m not great at predicting trends, but with lots of old names coming back, I’m saying it now: maybe Sylvester’s next!

What a year it’s been! I myself am glad that 2016 is over … it’s been a rough one for me and mine and lots of people I know — maybe a lot of you as well! Here in my house, our whole year was marked by the sickness and death of my mother-in-law and the aftereffects of dealing with her wishes and her house … I’ll be glad for me, our kids, and especially my husband to move on from it all in 2017! And of course, THE ELECTION! No matter which way you voted, I think we’re all still recovering! I hope our little corner of the internet has been the bright spot for all of you that it has been for me. ❤

It was fun to look back over the year and see what notable things happened here on the blog. I’m still amazed at how many people love to read and chat about the names of our faith like I do! As of today, since I started the blog in June 2014 (but really since January 2015 with Simcha’s consultation post):

Can you believe it?? What a year!! As always, I remain so grateful for all of you — your interest, enthusiasm, and kindness to me and each other. ❤ ❤ ❤

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve, and a very blessed and holy New Year! (And be sure to check out Jennifer Fulwiler’s Saint’s Name Generator for a patron saint for 2017! I got St. Margaret of Antioch — check out my IG post to read more about her!)

Year in review: 2015 (confetti and champagne!)

{Warning: Action-packed post ahead. Also very long.}

You guys. I just can’t quit you! 😀 ❤

I told you I would be off the blog from Christmas Eve until Jan. 4, excepting my normal Monday consultation, but then this week’s family offered the fun opportunity to guess the name they’ve chosen, and then there was a birth announcement, and then I realized that, of course, I can’t not do a year in review post! And I won’t even tell you how many times I thought Oh! I need to blog about this! and had to remind myself that I’m taking a short sabbatical. So all in all, I’m delighted to have lots of reasons to post today!

First off: no one guessed the name Tara and her husband have chosen! It’s often hard to predict what a couple will choose — no matter how much of a certain style or taste in names is revealed by the names on their list and parameters that they say they’d like to follow, many times a name just pops up in an unexpected way and it’s clearly the name. It’s happened with so many of the families I’ve done consultations for, and it’s happened for my husband and I, and it happened for Tara and her husband.

Tara wrote,

We LOVED your name choices…and then decided to go with something different. We couldn’t agree on Stella Maris as a first or Stella as a first and Maris as a middle so we started talking other Marian names and landed on Rosemary “Rory” Valentine. We like Rosemary because the rosary has become a prayer devotion for us more recently and there was no arguing over whether it should be one or two names. Valentine is a family name on both sides of our family.”

How wonderful is that name?!! It’s clearly Marian, and while it’s not as “a little on the unusual side” as Tara said they’d like, the nickname Rory pulls it back into the “little unusual” category. I just love it.

I have no prize for the winner, since there wasn’t a winner, but you all had such wonderful suggestions! So I’m delighted to share a little gift for you all from one of you wonderful readers:

Natalie from At the Post Paperie & Gifts (that’s the link to her Etsy shop, and you can also find her on Instagram) has enjoyed the blog for a while and said she’s “found much comfort & grace in blogs like yours as I’ve grown in my faith, so I wanted to give a little something in return.” She’s offering to all of you a free download of some nursery prints for little girls featuring quotes from St. Catherine of Siena, St. Therese of Lisieux, and Blessed Mother Teresa on a ballet slipper pink background accented with nature watercolors. Here’s the three of them displayed together:

Display of 3 Nursery Prints

And here’s the link to download the high-quality 8 x 10 jpegs to print at home, your local print shop or an online retailer. Natalie says best results are achieved if they’re printed on thick, matte paper. Aren’t they lovely? If we ever have a little girl, I will be hanging these on her wall. 🙂

As for the year in review: I took some time yesterday going through my inbox and old posts and writing down notable things I remember from this year in regards to our fun little community here and it’s all just so fun, so amazing, so a-twinkle with blessings from heaven. What a joy to be a part of something so wonderful!

I thought you’d enjoy seeing this, from my blog stats — it’s my page views and visitors for this time last year:

2014stats

I started the blog in June, and by the end of the year I’d had 160 page views by 38 people. I suspect those 38 people were my mom and one of my dearest friends from college logging on and off.

Then I posted the consultation for Simcha on January 8, and thanks to her kindness in sharing the link on her blog, you all started to find me! I’ve told my mom on more than one occasion, regarding all of you, “I knew there were others like me out there!” 😀 This is how 2015 ended up looking (next to 2014, for comparison):

2015stats

It makes me laugh every time I look at it! What fun!

Some other fun facts, statistics, and notable happenings include:

How amazing is this church?? And that a candle was lit for us??

Whew! What a year! I can’t imagine any year could be as fabulous as this past one has been, but I’m excited to see what God has in store for 2016. Cheers to you all, prayers and blessings for the New Year, and happy tomorrow’s Feast of Mary, the Mother of God!