What is in a name? And what could your name tell others, and how is it part of your story? We will explore these questions and more.
This episode is in part an audio letter to our children, Naomi Praise, Hannah Rose, Havilah Joy, Josiah Pilgrim, Eden Hope, Micah Zion, Jordan David and Elijah Glesener. You will hear our tribute to them, sharing the inspiration behind their names. Enjoy!
Episode Verse: Prov. 22:1-“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor better than silver or gold.”
Rev. 2:17-“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.”
We asked this question to a few previous guests. Is there a name that is special to you?
You will hear from Nii Akofio-Sowah, Camille Joy, Cynthia Tobias, Rhonda & Conell Hollins and Lois Gaydos.
Here are some other bonus episodes to hear more from my family:
Original Artwork: Hannah Glesener
Technical Director: Jordan Glesener
Cohosting an Episode: Eden Glesener
Original Music: Jordan Glesener, Micah Glesener, Josiah Glesener
Voice Spots: Elijah Glesener, Josiah Glesener, Eden Glesener, Micah Glesener, Jordan Glesener, Shiloh Glesener.
Bonus Episode Appearance: Havilah & Gideon Silva, Shiloh Glesener, Hannah Glesener, Naomi, Nathanael, Kanuah, Kallah and Zaccai Oliver.
Bonus Episode Messages: Mike Glesener
Updated Artwork & Templates: Kyle Beckett
Transcription and Social Media Assistance: Debbie Sage
Editing and Audio Assistance: Scott Karow
Podcast Consultant: Rebecca Beckett & the whole CRISTA Media team
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Shiloh: This is a special bonus episode. Here is your host, My Grammy Meg Glesener
Meg Glesener: thank you, Shiloh. Yes. This is Meg Glesener, your host, and we have a special bonus episode for you, and we have titled it What Is In a Name? This episode was inspired by my desire to give an audio record to our mostly grown kids hearing Mom and Dad share the inspiration behind each of their names, which will be at the end of the episode. Also, I have asked my guests in the PS of many of our past stories, which you might remember and be encouraged afresh as you hear the most engaging snippets of the answer to the question is there anything special about your name? As on every bonus episode, we will start with some biblical thoughts from my husband Mike, introduced by our granddaughter, Shiloh.
Shiloh: Here is my Poppy, Mike Glesener.
Mike Glesener: What is in a name? Meg, in her last season of podcasts, asks each of her guests at the end of the episode, is there a special name in their life, top of their head, some story with a significant name in it?
The name is the beginning of something much deeper, a question that resonates with all of us and is a very top of mind question for everybody today. That is who are you? What is your identity? A name is a great place to start. It’s a word that, or words that describe a lot about a person. My name’s Mike.
Now, there’s billions of Mikes in the world, so that doesn’t really help you too much, but it gives you a good place to start. When you add to that a story. You’re getting a little more into who I am and a story with the experiences and the, the relationships that I have. That’s what, that’s what Meg’s podcast does.
The, the letters from home digs into people’s stories, so you get to find out who people are and maybe where they were before and who they are now from where they were then. Another way to discover someone’s identity is, the things that they’ve left behind them, the works, the artifacts. When you think of Beethoven, you think of a whole opus of music.
When you think of Napoleon or Beyonce or Tiger or Genghis, those are all single words that contract a whole history and set of activities and accomplishments, and they’re all bound up in this story and the works of these individuals, of the billions of people over the millennials of time that have existed.
And it’s amazing that you can get to all of that through just a simple one word. Another aspect of names is looking at them from where did they come from? All of us get a name at birth. Even Adam and Eve, when they were created by God, he gave them those names. Some people you’ll hear in the stories that Meg has hated their name, or in other cases love their name, and I know people that didn’t feel like that name represented them anymore. It wasn’t who they were. They would actually go back and change their name just because it didn’t reflect where they were right now. So names come from birth, names come from experiences in life. There’s, there’s multiple names. All sorts of characters in the Bible have gone from one name to another to another, or a series of names.
Jacob became Israel. Abram became Abraham. Sarah, I became Sarah. Saul became Paul. Simon became Peter. In all those cases, part of the name change was also because the person had changed, they had gone beyond. They had come into a news sphere of their life. And when you get to that point where you start discovering more and more of the answer to the question, who are you?
Then the name also can go with it. And there’s places, as you know, there’s special names, right? There’s those pet names that you have for that only certain people call you, people in public don’t know your private names and then you probably have that really, really special name that only one person other than yourself knows.
Well. In this episode, we’re going to consider a little bit about the specialness of names, and we’re also gonna share our own kids names. Me and I have eight kids together. Naomi Praise, Hannah Rose, Havalah Joy, Josiah Pilgrim, Eden Hope, Micah Zion, Jordan David, and Elijah Wisdom. Each of those names in our minds causes us to think what were our aspirations when they were born?
What was our hope for their life? And what our expectations were as parents that we would contribute to that identity in them, who they were to become. We’ll get into that a little bit more when Meghan and I consider each of those names. But there is one other aspect of this that I want to close with. In the book of Revelation, there is a verse, Revelation 2:17, and it says to the one who overcomes, I will give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.
Isn’t that special? God has a name for those who overcome and no one will know it, but God and that person. That really intrigues me. I really would love to know what that name is. So listen up and we’ll consider some other special names.
Meg Glesener: Here’s the audio collage from previous episodes that will give you a little teaser for their stories.
Here is Nii Akofio-Sowah, from episode 53. What does your name mean to you and what’s a special name in your family that means a lot?
Nii Akofio-Sowah: Nii, in Ghana tells people what tribe you from. So they have a lot of Niis and they name the chiefs Nii whatever, Nii whatever. So it’s more would be like a title also, which I have an uncle who was a chief, more or less like royal also.
And his kids also have the same name, different names. He’s also was called Nii Anate but then he had a different last name, Nii Anate they would call him Ga Mancha, which means Ga chief, which Ga is our tribe, and Mancha means Chief Boy King in my local dialect here.
Meg Glesener: Here is Camille Joy from episode 54. Is there something special about your name or a story behind it?
Camille Joy: Yeah. So yeah, my mom is amazing and she really showed me the power of a mom. That we have so much power and our children, they may grow up and go on different paths, but we always have the power to go to God and to remind him that he’s given us these children as gifts and really just decree and declare over their lives.
So be encouraged cuz she definitely showed me how much power as a mom we have. And she named me Camille Joy. So when she had her first child, my sister Tanisha, they almost lost their lives. They lost a lot of blood. She had to get a lot of stitches, and the umbilical cord was wrapped around my sister’s head.
And so when she got pregnant again, she was terrified to have another baby. But I came out with one push. And she says the sun came shining through the window. And so she named me Camille Joy because I brought her so much joy in that moment. But little did she know that simple name carried me through even the darkest times for myself.
So the joy remained with me. Always. And that is what we named my show after. So Moments of Joy. So, you know, moments of me, but I’m also giving you those moments that my mom taught me, right? I’m finding the joy even in the bad situation so.
Meg Glesener: Here is Cynthia Tobias from episode 56. Is there a name that is special to you?
Cynthia Tobias: Well, I think it would be the name of my dad, Robert Ulrich. And the reason that all of my books have Cynthia Ulrich Tobias, is he never had a son. He was so proud of me. He, at 91, he was promoting my middle school book, right? saying Everybody needs this book.
He was such a champion and prayer warrior. And I wanted to honor him by always having his name with mine in every single book. His 90th birthday I asked him, and I’ve got this on video, I said, Dad, you have anything left on your bucket list? He goes, Oh, yes. He said, I wanna win one more soul. Now, that’s my dad.
Every time you talk to him, and he would everywhere he went, into the Department of Licensing. How are you this, How are you this morning, Mr. Ulrich? I’m great. You know why? Cause Jesus is my savior. Do you know Jesus? I’m with him going Dad! Dad! He’d sit down in the VA waiting room and he’d turn to the guy next to him and say, You know how important it is to go to heaven, don’t you?
I’d go, Dad. And the guy said, Well I think- He was unashamed. And he was said toward, toward the end of his life, he said, I just don’t feel like I’ve won that one more soul. I said, Dad, are you kidding me? Everywhere you go, you plant the seeds. You talk about Jesus, you’re an ambassador for God everywhere.
You have no way of knowing how many souls have been. He said, Boy, I sure hope so.
Meg Glesener: Amen.
Here is Rhonda and Conell Hollins from episode 58.
Is there something special about your name or a name of anyone close to you?
Conell Hollins: I mean, more or less I would say the boys if anything. The firey one is Aiden and Ethan is
Rhonda Hollins: firm and strong and faithful.
Conell Hollins: firm strong faithful. And then what is Avery?
Rhonda Hollins: It means king power.
Conell Hollins: Okay. But so Avery hasn’t come into his own yet, but even just the first two, it’s, it’s crazy how a name is so significant because the, their names like literally are who they are.
Aiden is our party all the time, firey one, who, who, who can make a friend anywhere. Let’s be clear. He, he doesn’t need friends because he, he can do all- he’s big and bad by hisself.
Rhonda Hollins: You’re afraid he’s gonna walk off of strangers every day, but yeah.
Conell Hollins: Right. He’s never met a, He know, he’s never met a stranger that he doesn’t know.
And he tells me all the time, I’ll, I’ll talk to the cashier at the, at the store and he’ll be like, You’re over here talking to strangers. I gotta keep you safe. , but never. It’s like he is the fiery one. He keeps us going. . And our, our oldest Ethan is so analytical and strong minded, and he has an opinion about everything.
And, and he, he, he’s very good. Like for, he’s, he’s a kid, Meg, but I promise you, he, he can jump in an adult conversation and talk with the best of them, . And we gotta, we gotta check ’em on that. We tell ’em stay out of conversations because we let ’em in sometimes and he wants to be in all the time.
But it, it’s so important though, like a name means so much and there’s like, like it carries so much weight within them. And even the boys together, like, so for, for Christmas we have each our, our initials on the stocking. So before we had our youngest son, our name spelled care. So now it still spells care, but it’s caare. So it’s two A’s.
Meg Glesener: Lastly, Lois Gaydos episode 59.
Is there any name that’s special to you?
Lois Gaydos: Let’s see. I never really liked my name of Lois. But my mother always encouraged me, well, she was Timothy’s grandmother in the New Testament, you know. And so she always encouraged me to think of that Bible name of Lois, you know, as Timothy’s grandmother. So when I was expecting our fifth child, I just knew it was gonna be a boy.
I mean, and this is in the days of no ultrasounds, nothing. You didn’t know what you were going to have. And my mother was such a godly woman. They were still living in Wisconsin. And my dad was still pastoring churches and she said, I think you’re gonna have a boy too. She said, Why don’t you name him Timothy?
Because Lois was his grandmother, but you would be his mother. But that didn’t make any difference. So sure enough, we had a boy and we named him Timothy. So that name of Timothy has always been special to me. And so our son, Tim was named after my mother’s kind of suggestion, right? And then our older son, Mark, we named him after Mark, also from the Bible, from the New Testament.
And Mark was an encourager, and he is. He has actually, he’s a wonderful Christian man. So both of our sons are, their names are very special to me.
Meg Glesener: I trust you. Enjoyed the reflections as much as I did. And now you get to hear from Mike and me sharing our inspiration behind the names of each of our eight children. Enjoy kids. Love you.
So Mike or Babe? So Babe , you remember back in the day long ago we were talking about what should we name our kids? And we decided we wanted to have biblical names and what have we decided about middle names?
Mike Glesener: That they should be very expressive. They should be able to say something about the kid, not just a regular name.
Meg Glesener: Yeah. That it would be more of a character, like some kind of a character quality or a different kind of a word.
Mike Glesener: Yeah.
Meg Glesener: Yeah. So we’ll start with our oldest. Born on 5/2/90. Naomi, Praise and Praise. P R A I S E, not p r a y s.
Mike Glesener: To me, Naomi was always a very special name and a very special character in the Bible cuz she’s the, you know, the strong one who goes through a whole bunch of adversity and in the end she gets a reward that she never expected.
And it means my pleasant one.
Meg Glesener: Yes, my pleasant one. And Naomi now has kids of her own. Naomi and Nathaniel Oliver have children of their own. And in Psalm 20, verse five, it says, He will sing for joy over your victory, and in the name of God, we will set up are banners. And they have this tradition where they put banners over each kid’s bed that has their name on it.
Mike Glesener: Yeah, that’s very cool.
Meg Glesener: Right?
Mike Glesener: Yeah.
Meg Glesener: Gabar Konowa, who just turned six? Hadasa Kalah, who just turned four. And Zachai Yareh, who is almost two.
Mike Glesener: You want some special names? Those are just some special names.
Meg Glesener: Yes, we won’t, we won’t tell you how to spell them all. .
Mike Glesener: That’s right.
Meg Glesener: 8/16/91 Hannah Rose.
Mike Glesener: Hannah is the woman that Eli saw praying and, what she wanted was a child. For us after we had our first born we really were very excited about our second child. And it means favor or grace.
Meg Glesener: Yes. And Rose, roses are valued for their rich and varied colors, profusion of bloom, velvety pedal texture, and a rich sweet scent.
Mike Glesener: That sounds like our Hannah.
Meg Glesener: That sounds like our Hannah. 2/6/93, Havilah Joy.
Mike Glesener: There’s a really interesting idea there. Havalah is a land that is one of the rivers coming out of Eden, flows through the land of Havilah, and land is full of gold, and the gold that is there is very fine. Much fine gold is what it says in one translation. The gold of that land is good. And Havalah is also a name from the very popular musical Fiddler on the Roof.
Meg Glesener: Yes, where Mike got to play Tevye, so it’s kind of special to Havalah.
Mike Glesener: She’s our little treasure.
Meg Glesener: We’ve always thought of Havi as our little treasure chest, which she has been that. Now Havalah and her husband Robert, the Silvas have little treasures of their own. Shiloh, Aurora, age six, and Gideon Benjamin, age one. And I still have a little postcard on my desk, Havalah sent me that she chose the name Shiloh because Shiloh means blessing of God. And Gideon was a mighty man in the scriptures.
Mike Glesener: Yep.
Meg Glesener: And also one of my favorite things is people say, Oh, Havilah what does that mean? It means round. So.
Mike Glesener: There is that.
Meg Glesener: October 11th, ’05. Josiah Pilgrim. One passage that I always thought about for the girls was Psalm 45. I would spend a lot of time just reflecting on Psalm 45 and praying, and when I was pregnant with Josiah, you remember, babe? Everyone had said, Oh, you’re gonna have another girl.
We already had three daughters. You’re gonna have another girl. But I had this sense in my heart, No, we’re gonna have a son. I just had this sense that God was gonna give us a son. And I was reading Psalm 45. It was talking about the daughters in verse 13 through 15 how precious the daughters were. And then in verse 16 I was reading and it said, In place of your fathers will be your sons, you shall make them princes in all the earth.
And I knew at that moment that I wasn’t just gonna have a son. But we were gonna have sons. I had that assurance in my heart that God was giving us sons.
Mike Glesener: We did have sons.
Meg Glesener: And we had his name picked out the whole time.
Mike Glesener: That’s true. The all three of the first kids were also named Josiah, but, they were girls.
So the named Josiah in the Bible is so special because he’s a young boy who becomes a very godly king. There’s not that many godly kings in the Old Testament. He’s one of ’em. And we did have that name picked out because he was a very bold young man in the scriptures, and that’s what we wanted for our son and his middle name, Pilgrim as well.
We, each of our kids’ middle names were, were meant to speak to the character. And that idea of being pilgrims and strangers on the earth all throughout the scriptures is what God’s people are.
Meg Glesener: And so core, you know, to our family and our family mission. And it says in Hebrews 11:13, these all died in faith not having received the promises, but having seen them a far off and were persuaded of them and embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Over there on our wall on our mission statement, right Babe? It’s right over there. I can see it. 4/22/08, Eden Hope.
Mike Glesener: Eden doesn’t need a lot of explanation. It’s that garden. It’s the beginning. It’s where God walked in the cool of the day with Adam and Eve. And Hope is a statement that says that’s what we really want for our family and for our little girl. That we experienced that fellowship with God, that sweet fellowship.
Meg Glesener: And Eden, I actually was just talking with her today, how one of her strong points has always been that she has great hope. She has great faith in people. She believes great things. I love that about her.
Mike Glesener: Yeah. And then the name Eden means delight.
Meg Glesener: Our new millennium baby who just made it right in at the odds. 11/18/ 2000, Micah Zion. I have to say, when we picked that name out, we went into labor on a Friday and it was right in the middle of traffic and I was hitting really big contractions, and I was discouraged and I was thinking, are we ever gonna make it to the hospital?
Am I gonna give birth in the car? And I opened the word, and I opened the word and turned right to Psalm 128, I . Can you tell I love the Psalms? Psalm 128, verse five, and I read, The Lord will bless you from Zion. And may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Indeed, may you see your children’s children, peace be upon Israel.
And I just remember we just had that assurance. I’m gonna make it through the day. It’s gonna be all right. We’re gonna get to see Micah Zion be a blessing.
Mike Glesener: I remember driving on the shoulder probably a little faster than I was supposed to flying on that freeway I-5 cuz we had to get over to Bellevue, or Redmond where the hospital was our insurance paid for. It was, we had to go way over there. And that was a harrowing journey. But you know, what you just said, Meg, really sparks in me that idea that each of those names, there’s, there’s a, an experience that we had, you know, and whether we were had money for a baby or not, or, you know, all the trials of the day.
And then there’s that whole heavenly aspect that, that there’s a whole nother reality going on at the very same time. And. Micah to me is a very special book in the Bible as well. It’s, it’s at verse, it says, He has told you, o man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with your God.
Meg Glesener: Amen.
Mike Glesener: Yep. And Micah means who is like God.
Meg Glesener: And Zion, the City of God. 4/25/03, Jordan David.
Mike Glesener: Jordan is one of the first names that actually was a little more 21st Century, David as well. And the idea of of the river and the king, the river Jordan is that entrance point into the Promised Land. It’s where Moses wasn’t allowed to cross over, but the children of Israel did.
And as soon as they put their feet in the Jordan, it stopped up and they were go across. And David being the most man after God’s own heart, you know, David means beloved Jordan means the flowing.
Meg Glesener: And I remember because I thought, well, it’s not in keeping, like you said, it’s not in keeping with, you know, like characteristics as a middle name. You just said Meg, but David. David in the scriptures, a man after God’s own heart.
Mike Glesener: Yep. And he’s the young man who slew Goliath the giant.
Meg Glesener: And what what’s funny is today Jordan is a huge lineman for playing college football.
Mike Glesener: Don’t know if he’s David or the Giant. Yeah.
Meg Glesener: We love you Jord. And he does he has that very sweet spirit.
Mike Glesener: Yeah. He’s an overcoming spirit too.
Meg Glesener: Yes, he does. And I, and I really like the picture of crossing over the Jordan, just that place of victory and all the kids when they were little that just say, and the Jordan River, you know, like Jordan, because that’s a special name.
Mike Glesener: Special name
Meg Glesener: 10/24/05. Our last child. Elijah Wisdom.
Mike Glesener: Yep. Elijah, whenever you think of Elijah, you think of a very bold, unashamed standout prophet. They said of John the Baptist, he had this spirit and the power of Elijah. And that’s well, how we wanted to see our eighth child. I don’t know if we knew it was gonna be our last child at that point, but we definitely wanted to see that type of impact in the world. And you know, Elijah means, my God is Jehovah fearless, persistent, passionate, unwavering, and then wisdom. So not just crazy, but crazy with wisdom. And it’s what he is. He’s known as very passionate and he’s known as being very unwavering. Dontcha think?
Meg Glesener: Absolutely. I really, I wrote unwavering depth of character. I was thinking about wisdom and what wisdom is, and it’s not about learning and all those kind of things, but it’s what, what’s done with all that. And I just thought of that unwavering depth of character.
And here is a clip from our son-in-law Nathaniel married to our oldest daughter. You get to hear Naomi in there a little bit too.
Nathaniel Oliver: Panwan is the verb to surrender and Gabbar is to be strong, to prevail to overcome. So we knew that that’s gonna be how we raise our child, is that yeah we were resolved like we want to raise our children right. But really, we, we, deep down, we knew there’s, there’s a, a purifying fire ahead of us. In order to be the type of parents we need to be, to raise our children the right way.
Cuz I, I knew I had such a deficit coming in from this crazy world and like I, I really needed to be saved, like really deeply saved , but I, I just knew that if I could really surrender to God and, and cry to Yeshua then I’ll Father, he’ll gimme what I need. That our son could grow up with that revelation. And by surrendering to God, he’ll, he’ll find peace.
Yeah. In 2018, two years and one month later she was born, someone brought out a letter about the Myrtle tree in the different prophecies in the Bible about the Myrtle tree in the Old Testament. And they said they were just reading it. It just came outta nowhere, a letter that was written in one of our communities.
And then they said, Hey. If you have a daughter, you should name her Hadassa. Okay. But then as we read the letter and we looked up the verses, and we really liked it because I think we were really wanting to like if we had a daughter we’d like, and we wanted a daughter, we want someone who could be outward and not be into themselves and have hope and like just have perseverance and of character.
So we found that the, the myrtle tree was like that. That it’s a very generous, good fragrant tree.
Naomi Oliver: The thing is that it, it’s in a dark place. It blooms at night, right? Or it smells at at night or some, something about it is like in a, in a difficult or dark place. It blooms brighter.
Nathaniel Oliver: Kallah. Kallah is a Bride. It’s the bride of Messiah. It’s just a, it’s a special girl name, also. It means daughter. It means girl. It also means like to be to be made complete, like to fulfill.
Naomi Oliver: And the picture on her banners of a horse.
Nathaniel Oliver: Yep.
Naomi Oliver: But yeah.
Nathaniel Oliver: So Zakkay, so then two years later we have two little children and have
Naomi Oliver: 2020
Nathaniel Oliver: a third one on the way in 2020. Oh boy. Our hands are full . Well do, do we, do we really fear God as much as we should? No. No. I don’t fear God as much as I should. I, I, I really need to find a deeper fear of God. And so I really, I came across that name and I really liked it. Yareh, that’s what it means, the fear of God and, but the fear of Yahweh is clean, enduring forever, Psalm 19. So I, I really need to grow up and I need to relate, fear God with all my heart and become someone who has that character that doesn’t just want to seek for comfort and complacency. So that’s what Zachai means, like to be pure, clean.
Meg Glesener: My prayer is that by the end of this episode, we’ll be inspired to enjoy the beauty and the forethought of names, either the ones that we’ve been given or what others have been given, or how they identify who they are. And like Mike, I hope each one of us has that excitement to hear what is that name that the Lord might give me?
How cool is that? Proverbs 22:1 says, A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches. What is in a name?
The Letters From Home team is definitely a family affair, and I just wanna take a minute to tell you what each person’s contribution is and has been. Our daughter, Hannah, contributed the original artwork or the podcast cover in logo. Our son, Josiah, when we started out, he really helped me define my why, and he is the voice of the intro and one of the outros.
Jordan is our technical director. He has consulted me from the very beginning. He helped me submit my podcast. He helped me set up my account. He’s helped me with so many different things along the journey. And we were on another podcast together. Our son, Micah. He and Josiah and Jordan, all three of them have created the music for the intros and the outros, as well as the transitions.
Our daughter, Eden, she reads the verse at the end, 2 Corinthians 3:3, as well as helped me co-host episode 7. Elijah, he’s helped with some various bonus episodes. He is also the voice of the intro on the first episode, and my husband Mike, he does reflections on the bonus episodes and has been the biggest support to me all along the way.
Our other two kids, Havalah and Naomi, and their families, and all of our grandkids, all of our family, they’re the wind in our sails. And last but not least, my brother, Joe Dearman is the voice at the end. He’s got the best voice I know. Sharing, until next time, go in peace. This is the Letters. From Home team, and thanks for popping in.
Shiloh: I hope you like this podcast.
Links from our guests will be in the show notes. For more everyday extraordinary faith stories, go to our website, lettersfromhomepodcast.com, and click subscribe or follow on whatever platform you’re listening to.
Eden: 2 Corinthians 3:3, And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.
Until next time, go in peace.