we gave ourselves the entire plane trip to pick out a name for our 12 day old, yet-unnamed baby, forgetting that the plane would have no internet access. how the heck do you name a baby without the internet?!

the process went something like this:
watch an episode of seinfeld.
“what name do you like the best right now?”
“you answer first.”
“let’s watch another seinfeld.”
(lather. rinse. repeat.)

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ashal was a name that we had briefly considered before sky was born, but never even reached the “let’s research this name” phase. basically, we wanted to call him ash, but give him a slightly more dignified full name. “asher” had a little too much R action with our last name (asherrrrrroberrrrrts), so ashal was a lovely alternative.

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my dad did some research on the name. (cause, you know, he had internet. such a useful invention.) he found that it means “tamarisk tree” in hebrew, and “a flower in the heavens” in arabic.

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joel asked why the baby even needed a middle name. i informed him that depriving a child with the ridiculously common last name of “roberts” of the many internet-age options a middle age name provides is not very nice. joel capitulated.

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ashal’s has haitian heritage, so i used our half-hour layover in phoenix to look up popular haitian names for inspiration.

unrelatedly, the phoenix airport carpet is weird. (though i suppose a pdx native can’t really boast in the matter of airport carpets.)

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and there, right near the top of the list.

god with us.

it all came together.
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today we’re snuggling our little flower from the heavens, who brought the hope of god-with-us back into our life after a desolate year of pain and grief.

web ready-039i wondered if i would ever say this again.

merry christmas.


6 thoughts on “emmanuel”

  1. Lani (and Joel too) – I am so blessed to have discovered blog this week. Since we first heard of your loss of little Sky through your dad’s facebook page, we have been hurting for you and praying for your hearts. I happened to see your wonderful news this week on a friends facebook page with a link to your blog. Your heart and your beautiful style of writing drew me to read more than just the one post…and I am blessed and it has turned me to Jesus in reading of the mystery, pain, struggle and joy of your lives. 4 years ago Christmas week we were in Ethiopia holding our little miracle. It had been 9 years of marriage with no children. There was a lot of emptiness and longing…we had wondered if children would ever be a part of God’s plan for us. The healing began to come as we held our little son and embraced God’s gift to us – to be parents. I am so blessed by His provision to you and by your genuine heart – offering all your pain and longing and joy to Him. Your beautiful family shines the good news of Emmanuel…in the dark seasons and in the seasons of light…we are praying for you and rejoicing with you!
    In Him, Anna

  2. I love Ashal Emmanuel’s name. And the meaning is so beautiful. Praise God for his perfect plan to bring Ashal into your hearts and lives during THIS SEASON to restore some of the joy therein. Continuing to pray for you all.

  3. Lani and Joel, you have our happiest congratulations! We will continue in prayer as you continue the journey. …Misc baby notes, on hours and hours passing without food– granola bars. I used to think of these little things as luxuries, but they can be a precious source of nutrition! At least desperately needed calories. On baby slings, I wore my babies a lot. I loved “baby pockets” most of all, especially with tiny newborns, but on up through my two year olds. If I can send you any let me know I’ve got a few I’ve been given, just drop me a line, dateeter at gmail. Thanks for sharing, it’s been a blessing.

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