Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Name

I've already mentioned that my friend Misty came over last Saturday to do a photo shoot with Shav. Wanna see some of the pictures she took? ;)

I love this birth announcement that she designed!
I'm so impressed by the way Misty has developed her talent. She's the type who actually reads camera manuals and understands things like aperture. She's worked hard, practiced a lot, and it's really paying off. I'm so proud of her! :)
Of course, she did have an awfully cute model to work with, if I do say so myself! :)
This last picture has got to be one of my favorites. Of course, I look at all of them and think they're my favorite :), but really, this one draws me in a special way. His fingers, my arm supporting him, his pleasant mouth, his umbilical cord stump that proclaims his newness--but most of all, his eyes, so alert and gorgeous--all of these contribute to the beauty of this picture in my eyes. I just love it! I just love him. :)

I have a little time before Shav's next feeding so I want to spend some time writing about his name.

Way back on January 7, Jeff and I had a discussion in our living room about names; and we "decided" that if it was a boy, we would name him Shav. I noted that fact here in one of my weekly pregnancy updates, but I wasn't sure at the time if we would stick with it or not. Sure enough, in my 31 & 32 Weeks update, I wrote about the indecision we were feeling (mostly my fault) about whether to go with such an unusual name or settle for a more common one. I don't remember exactly when it was; but at some point fairly soon after that, Jeff and I independently came to the conclusion that we really preferred Shav; and when we told each other what we were thinking and discovered that we were unified, it was easy, at that point, to make the decision for sure. :)

But where did the name Shav come from? To answer that requires a trip back in time to January 1996 when I traveled to Israel to spend a semester abroad there as a student in Jerusalem. I took a teddy bear with me and named him Shav, thinking of the meaning "return" in the context of returning to my home and family and all that was known and dear to me at the end of the semester...but also the idea of someday returning again to the land of Israel. I didn't want my encounter there that semester to be the last time I ever experienced that mind-boggling, fascinating country. And so I had this teddy bear Shav, and I cuddled with him and whispered secrets to him that semester as I began to fall in love with Jeff. What a surprise that was! If someone had told me, at the beginning of that semester, that I would marry this long-beard-wearin', plaid-flannel-shirt-lovin', lumberjack-lookin' mountain man from California, I would never have believed it. And furthermore, if someone had informed me that someday I would give birth to our fourth son and name him Shav, my shock would have known no limits! Of course, to be fair, if someone had told Jeff that he would marry this country bumpkin and someday live in small town Virginia in the house behind her parents', he would have been quite incredulous, too. It's a good thing we don't know the future, but simply approach it one day at a time!!

Interestingly, Shav wasn't really a name we considered when I was pregnant with the other boys. Josiah and David were names we had chosen long, long ago; but even when we were deliberating for so very long before we decided on Tobin, we didn't talk about possibly using Shav. It was as if I had forgotten about it, tucked away somewhere in the back of my mind. Until this child... :)

I wrote here that Shav means "return, restore," and here are a few more verses that use a form of the Hebrew root for Shav in them...

Exodus 33:11 - The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent. - I have been particularly fond of this verse for years because I find it inspiring to contemplate both the depth of relationship that God had with Moses and the devotion of Joshua who did not leave the tent but stayed before the Lord.

Leviticus 25:10 - in the instructions about observing the Year of Jubilee - Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan.

Deuteronomy 30:2-3 - When you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. - These verses are special because they include both the concept of returning and restoring.

I'm sure that among our circle of acquaintances, no one has ever heard the name Shav before. However, Jeff did a search on and found 14 other Shavs in the U.S., ranging from California to New York, Alabama to Washington. He even found a mention of a Shav Fisher on some website of athletic scores! So our Shav is certainly not the only one in the world, but maybe the only one you'll ever meet. ;)

For the middle name, it didn't take us too long to decide on this. In Jeff's family, the tradition is for the first son to be given the father's first name as his middle name--hence, Josiah Jeffrey. The second son gets the paternal grandfather's first name for his middle name--David Wallace. The third son's middle name is the maternal grandfather's first name (although we changed it and used my dad's middle name instead)--therefore, Tobin Ezra. And the fourth son? Well, we couldn't find a record of anyone with four sons, so there was no pattern to follow! However, we chose Daniel for a few reasons: first, Daniel Fisher was the beginning of the Fisher line in America, way back in the 1700s (I think--Jeff knows the date for sure), so it's a family name on the Fisher side...second, I had a great uncle named Daniel and also have a cousin named Daniel; and if I had been a boy, that would have been my name: Daniel Austin (Austin was my great-grandfather's name)...third, we admire tremendously the man Daniel in the Bible: for his courage and boldness, for his depth of conviction and lack of ungodly compromise, and especially for his life-long faithfulness to God. It's hard to find examples of people who were continuously faithful...much easier to find examples of people who were faithful for a while and then blew it. Obviously, we don't believe Daniel was sinless; of course, he blew it, too. But his example of serving God and holding fast to his beliefs over years and years and through various kingdoms (Babylonian, Medo-Persian) is without equal in the Bible, in my opinion.

So, Shav Daniel was the name we had in mind, not knowing if we would get to use it or not. I remember thinking in the weeks before the birth, "Will I get to have a Shav? Will God give us a son for whom we can use that name?" How happy I am that the answer was YES! :)


Valerie said...

I truly love how much thought you put into naming your little one. We have always prayed about and put great thought into naming our children. I believe that there is a lot to a name and I always want something with a powerful meaning. I enjoy seeing others do the same thing. :) Knowing the story behind Shav's name makes it even more beautiful. Thanks for sharing. :)

Cherishing Young Biblical Womanhood said...

I love the name Shav! And those are the cutest pictures, my favorite is the where he is all wrapped up in green. How precious.

Cindy said...

I love the name even more after learning the meaning. Shav is such a beautiful baby!

Michelle said...

Beautiful photos of a beautiful baby boy!

chicknboy said...

what neat photos!! they are darling!
love the story behind the name. :)

Emily Joy said...

The pictures are adorable! I think my favorite is the third in full color. He looks like a little pea! So cute... :)

Sarah-Anne said...

Misty is such a talented photographer!! I love looking little boys wrapped up in green cloth; especially this one! :D And the story behind the name was the icing on the cake, for me, at least. I have somewhat of a baby name obsession, I guess...
But, now I'm curious of the girl name that you picked out, and I'm sure other people are, too! Would you consider letting us in on that little tidbit of info?? Of course, if you'd rather not, for the sake of that "just in case" type thing... ;-)

Davene said...


I'm afraid the girl's name will have to remain a secret. Like you said, it's that "just in case" thing. :)

Baby names are fun to think about, aren't they?

Have a great day!

Jo Ann said...

The precious baby, the stories, the beautiful photos...making strange things happen inside of me! ;)

Thanks for sharing.

Kristy said...

Davene, he is so, so precious!!! Those pictures are priceless treasures. I have loved reading all your posts about his birth and the days after. I love his name too!!!! Very unique and with such great meaning.

Congratulations to you!!!! You must be one proud mama!

Sarah-Anne said...

I figured that you had that "just in case" thought in the back of your head like I did! Now we have all the more reason to hope for a girl! ;D

Margie said...

I loved every part of this post about his name. And THIS, Davene, is why your children will love to read what you write.

My favorite picture is the one of you holding him, too. I think it's the eyes, the look he's giving you.

Just an FYI - thanks for all your comments today. Honestly, you're so busy that you don't have to, but they helped, somehow, because I was in a slump. Better day today, though, and I hope I'll be up to posting again, soon. But please don't feel like you have to comment! You're at a busy place in life!

Jolanthe said...

Those pictures turned out wonderful!! :) Great job, Misty!

Love the story of his name too.