What’s in a name?

March 24, 2011

I now realize that training and teaching children is a HUGE responsibility. But back when I was pregnant I couldn’t imagine a greater task than naming a child. True, I still think it is a terribly big deal but I may have been a little dramatic at times about the possibility of ruining the life of our unborn baby if we didn’t come up with just the right name. So, K and I discussed and discussed and discussed, and probably more realistically, K listened and listened and listened likely to the same few names for months and months. And this is what transpired….


I love recycled family names. Benton. My grandfather’s middle name. My grandfather who passed away just weeks before we discovered this other life had begun. Benton. The name on the door of our room at the bed and breakfast we stayed in on our vacation to Kansas City just days after seeing those very first images. Benton. We loved it. But we also didn’t. On paper, it looked great. In reality, we were afraid of what it would become. Benton the strong name seemed to want to quickly become Beh-uhn the sloppy name as it rolled out of our mouths. And we just couldn’t let that happen.


Ellis was the name of yet another grandfather. K’s. Though K and I had been dating since age 14, I didn’t know him. His grandfather passed away before I ever had a chance to meet him though I can imagine what he must have been like from stories I have been told over and over. Funny how stories like that never tire of being told or heard.

Coincidentally (and much less importantly), my love of  the name developed a smidge more in the days just prior to birth. Remember how we had gotten sick? Well, I took that opportunity to snuggle up with a warm blanket and indulge in an afternoon viewing of The Shawshank Redemption, one of my favorite movies ever. As the credits rolled, I saw through my tear-soaked eyes that Red’s full name is Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding. Well…it was enough to get this pregnant woman excited!


And so it was finally decided; our (little) boy would be called by the (BIG) name Bennett Ellis.


The next chapter, the last chapter, the first chapter, the final chapter…all of them correct depending upon which perspective this story is being told from. But this series told the story-within-a-story leading up to one particular two-year-old’s BIRTHday. Remember? So, today is the final chapter of that particular story’s story. I’ve struggled to piece together words for this one, hence the time lapse since last post. But at the end of the (several) day(s) this is what remained.


As I mentioned in the beginning, the details of the actual birthday can be found tucked away within the archives of this place. But the most important is this…

Baby Boy Lehman*, as was his name for nearly a day, was given the birthday of 3/4/2009 and registered an impressive 8 pounds 6 ounces and 20.5 inches. The time was officially 4:12am. He was placed on my chest as soon as he arrived and his daddy and I were smitten.

Originally, I mentioned that I wanted to write this all out so as to remember.

To remember the blessing I did not deserve, the protection I did not ask for, the provision I did not know I needed.

And to remember He is the same God today.

What it led me to remember is not only how God ‘saved the day’ so to speak in these accounts a pair of years ago, but how he has saved me.

Through the death of Christ we experience the ultimate in blessing we did not deserve, protection we did not ask for, and provision we did not know we needed.

But God demonstrates his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)

emotions are real. hurt is had. desires are there. but remembering…remembering changes the view from here.





*every name should have a story…and his does too. maybe tomorrow!


Before reading:

Start here.

Then read chapters 1-9.

*Random note before continuing. My mind (and subsequently, my tastebuds) are currently being terribly cruel and bringing up very vivid memories of Tuckers’ wings. So, if you happen to be one who lives in the area of Tuckers, please eat one (or twenty!) for me. But maybe don’t tell me about it; I’m just not sure I could handle it right now.*

*41 weeks*

After speaking with the doctor it was decided (I use that term loosely) that the best scenario would be to go into natural labor the weekend of my due date as she was to be on duty at the hospital and therefore guaranteed to be with me not only for delivery, but also throughout much of my labor. Sounded great to me and so I began presenting my request before God and trying to convince my very pregnant body to give up and go along with the best. plan. ever. It didn’t happen and I was slightly discouraged. Yet, all along, tailing my many pleas to God was the request I held most tight to…your perfect timing, God.

The weekend came. The weekend went. No birth to announce but something else happened (besides free laundry!). K and I got sick. Very sick. As I contemplate what my (im)perfect timing could have meant for us and the baby I am once again amazed at the sovereignty of God, and the mercy in His knowledge and design.


March 16, 2011

I’ll be back with the rest of the story soon.

But our current story had a big chapter yesterday and I’m still recovering.

So, until I return…enjoy the pause!

To go back to the beginning, click here.

And if you haven’t already, be sure to read chapters 1-7 in previous posts.




Based on family history alone we had pretty well concluded this baby was not going to arrive anywhere near a given due date, and especially not before. Therefore, on February 21st we packed up the car and headed to…the laundromat. That’s right, the laundromat. We had received a postcard in the mail advertising the grand opening of a local laundry center. To celebrate their first few days of business, the owners were offering free washing. And after living in our apartment complex for 3 years where a small wash cost $1.25 and dryers only ran after inserting 4 quarters, free laundry sounded fantastic. In addition, there were numerous washers and dryers at the laundromat in comparison to the two (when they both worked) we had on the lower level of our building. I was ecstatic to realize there were washers in existence big enough to crawl into and make a bed while the old women in the place were amazed I was doing laundry on the day I was due to be delivering. But, what do due-dates know?


To read my heart behind these posts, click here.

And then know there are 7 other chapters before this! So if you haven’t yet, read up and then come back!


Friday the 13th. I try to give these days no credit. But the date is an easy one to remember. Especially one like this. The second Friday of every month was spent at the Watsons. They graciously opened their home each month to several young couples from church for a time of study and fellowship. This month was no different. We pulled up to the stop sign and waited. Manchester road. A busy road in St. Louis and 3 or 4 lanes across at this point, all heading west. It was always interesting trying to get across this portion of the road. In fact, if truth be told, I’m not sure you were even supposed to attempt to cross. I believe the intention of the road we were on was for those planning to head west or to leave Manchester altogether…not to cross. But, anyway!

We were talking and laughing, watching headlights stream toward us, passing me and then K. We waited for an opening in traffic. And then, this…

Squealing tires. I looked in the direction of K only to see brake lights and then a car speeding away. The squealing continued though. My mind was having trouble processing what was happening and which direction the noises were coming from but I clearly remember seeing K’s hand on the gear shift. Hastily, he began to drive the car forward toward the first lane of traffic. What are you doing? I fearfully looked in the direction of oncoming traffic, fully anticipating the worst, just in time to see a car flying through the air toward us. It narrowly missed. Several yards later, the vehicle landed but not without first uprooting a traffic sign, activating the airbags, laying down the front seats, denting the roof, and breaking a little glass. All in all, there were 4 cars involved in the accident. By God’s grace, we were not one of them. We got out of the car to check on the drivers and to call 911, and as we did we noticed the path of the airborne car. Had our car stayed put, it would have been hit just behind the front passenger seat, right where I was sitting. 1 week from our due date.

My sister (and I) had been praying for protection. In our demented minds, ‘protection’ meant from things like crazy people who harm pregnant women and steal babies (in our defense, this had happened recently near where we lived), and from medical mishaps during delivery. Thankfully the misguided prayer was spoken to a perfect God; one who knows just what kind of protection we need and when.

After discovering all of the teenage girls in all of the cars were without injury and proper personnel had arrived, we continued on our way to enjoy our night at the Watsons and share about our wild ride…and God’s mercy in the midst of it.

Chapter 7: The Envelope

March 10, 2011

To start the whole story over…click here.

chapter1. chapter 2. chapter 3. chapter 4. chapter 5. chapter 6.


Oh the envelope! What Jen would have done to have seen inside that envelope. We discussed numerous times whether or not we wanted to find out whether we should be planning for a little boy or little girl or just wait until the day of the birth. There were pros and cons both ways. So we discussed, we asked, we listened, and we agreed upon a plan.

It went like this: We would thoroughly enjoy the ultrasound, not attempting to cover our eyes to not see. However, we would not ask to find out the gender of the baby. Instead, we brought with us a pen, paper, and envelope and asked the technician to write boy or girl on the paper and tuck it securely behind the seal. She had fun with the idea and even offered to write her findings in calligraphy. We took her up on it!

If we chose to open the envelope at some point, we could. If not, we would open it after the birth just to see if she was right. And that’s what we did! We waited.

For the record, she was right!!


To read the introduction, click here.

chapter 1. chapter 2. chapter 3. chapter 4. chapter 5.


40 weeks. A long period of time under most circumstances, but especially lengthy when it signals the amount of time you must wait to meet your very own child. It was an amazing time of waiting though, filled with so many milestones. What began as 0.8cm on our very first ultrasound picture grew, eventually becoming too big for the current space and requiring expansion. As time went on, fingers and toes were sculpted, eyes and ears began to see and hear, legs and arms discovered motion, and occasionally my tummy would beat to the rhythm of tiny little hiccups!


March 8, 2011

I caught this picture of B during the opening of a few gifts on his birthday. And would you believe his eyes lit up at least this much when we broke out in our 6 person rendition of  Happy Birthday? It doesn’t take much to please this boy…and I’m quite fond of that!

Chapter 5: Say What!?!

March 8, 2011

To start at the very beginning, click here.

chapter 1. chapter 2. chapter 3. chapter 4.

Babble On is a game where a series of words are spoken together to sound out (to a certain degree) another phrase or word. I thoroughly enjoy the game and thought it would be a fun way to share the news with our family. To make it a little more interesting (and difficult), we printed pictures corresponding to each word. The pictures, when solved, revealed these words: Sir Purr Eyes Where Half Hen Happy Bee (Surprise! We’re having a baby!) With the cards placed before them, my mom, dad, sister (who had already figured out the news), SIL, brother, nephew, and niece worked to figure out the clues. My sweet mother apparently was under the impression that the clues were revealing something special we were doing during their visit to St. Louis that week. With that knowledge she was completely baffled when my SIL (who decided to work backward) figured out that the final part of the puzzle said something about a baby and began to scream and cry. My mom could not figure out what we could possibly be doing that week that warranted such a response!