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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 did 38 baby name consultations and posted 25 of them on the blog.
- 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!
- Theresa introduced herself to the Sancta Nomina community (before I had any idea that I’d need to go on hiatus!) through the two guest posts she’d done in 2021 — one in January (“Will Giving My Child a ‘Sorrowful’ Name Mean She’ll Grow Up In Sorrow?“) and one in May (“Expectation vs. Reality In Naming Children“).
- I did a spotlight post on Wenceslaus, and then followed up a few days later with some more info on the name — I love crowdsourcing name info!
- One of my consultations was also a spotlight, in that it focused on formal name ideas for the nickname Sonny.
- I continued writing my monthly Catholic Mom articles: St. Andrew: the Christmas Saint (November — held over from 2020); Lilibet, from the Perspective of One American Catholic Naming Enthusiast (July); Finding Your Village (May); Faith Read-Alouds for Older Kids (April); Your Baby’s Patron Saint(s) (March); Naming Your Baby After St. Joseph (January). (I should note that, in my efforts to keep my household as peaceful as possible with my new job, I’ve gone on indefinite hiatus from CatholicMom.)
- One of my old Nameberry articles (June 2016) was reposted (and renamed) in August: Cool, Unique Saints’ Names Have Faith and Form.
- I posted one Fun Friday Question: Would you choose the same Confirmation name?
- And I wrote several posts on various namey details: Some sad and surprising info on Japanese and Chinese names; a reader’s suggestion for who should be the patron saint of nicknames; a listing of Saintly place names (one of my favorite categories!); hearing real-life “Chilton” names at my sons’ Cross Country meet; a request from a reader for advice on renaming an adopted older child; a request from me to all of you on your reaction to Lilibet Diana, and what makes an honor name in general; a baby name consultation that has helpful for info for any of you continuing a family naming tradition — How to Name a Fifth (V)?; and a funny story about the name Dalglish/Dalgliesh.
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:
- 2015 (confetti and champagne!)
- 2016 (more of the wonderful same)
- 2017 (blessed beyond measure)
- 2018 (the Year of Big News)
- 2019 (scrabbling back)
- 2020 (better than expected)
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!