Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Holland Annabelle: About Her Name

It was a beautiful, sunny, fifty-degree day when we moved into that house in mid-November.

We had, just a day earlier, said "Goodbye" to our friends and family and traveled 12 hours from our home in Baltimore. Jason accepted a position working in-house with his company, and that required us to move our little family of three to the headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

As the movers unloaded our boxes, I was hopeful. Hopeful that this new life we were starting so many miles from our family and friends would be rich and full. Hopeful that we would find meaningful friendships. Hopeful that we could do this.

We settled in amongst our unpacked boxes on that beautiful fall day and the very next day, it snowed.

And, it snowed.

And, it snowed.

It snowed every day until we left to go back home for Christmas. I was pregnant with Max and the snow - oh, the SNOW - it was everywhere. We quickly learned that automatic car starters aren't made for the lazy, but for Midwesterners. That snow boots will save your tailbone and toosh from a good pounce on the ground. And, that people really do buy those full-length down coats in the Eddie Bauer catalog.

It snowed all winter long, and we were immediately baptized into life in the Midwest.

We welcomed Max in February, then joyfully welcomed Spring and spent our first summer trying to find our way around our new town. We met new friends and spent most of our time close to our home and savoring the summer's sunny days on our back deck.

Because we knew - THE SNOW IS COMING!

And, it came. It snowed all winter. Again. I looked at my husband one bleak day in the middle of that second winter, as my arthritis raged and I kicked snow off of my boots as we carried in the groceries, and cried out in despair:

"I don't want to live here anymore."

We made it through our second winter, and summer arrived. We decided one day to pack up our two little boys and explore. Jason had heard buzzings of a little town just outside of Grand Rapids and told me it sounded perfect for a sunny, summer day.

We drove 30 minutes outside of town and as we got closer, Jack pointed out the sailboats on the water. We saw ice cream shoppes and families on bikes and beach houses.

We pulled up into the parking lot that sits just above the beach and we couldn't believe what was before us:

Lake Michigan - in all of its grandeur and beauty. Sand - stretching for miles along this massive expanse of water that met the horizon out as far as we could see. Beach umbrellas, sand castles, families, ice cream cones, rafts, and gentle, fresh water waves that lapped up against the shore - the perfect playground for our boys.

As we drove home in our sand-bathed car that beautiful, glorious, fun-filled day, we couldn't believe the treasure we'd just discovered. This precious, quaint little town. That glorious lake. That powdery sand between our toes. Just 30 minutes from our home. Ever-inviting us to come and enjoy.

After tucking in two sun-kissed faces, and crawling into bed, I rested my head on Jason's shoulder and quietly whispered:

"I can live here now."

In the three more years that we lived in Grand Rapids, we eagerly awaited each summer and spent most of our weekends at that beach. Playing in the sand, splashing in the water, walking through the streets of downtown with ice cream cones dripping down to our elbows. Date nights. Double date nights. Family nights. And, every time we had out-of-town visitors, we always took them there.

The name of this perfect, little beach town situated on the shore of Lake Michigan?

Holland.

Holland. Our forever reminder that God loves to give us the most unexpected of gifts.

Holland. The name for our girl.

We chose Annabelle for her middle name.

It is my great, great-grandmother's name and my sister, Anna, is named after her. We also chose Annabelle to honor Jason's great-aunt, Anna Bell (her maiden name) - whose love for life and sweet spirit are truly remarkable and who is still gracing our lives with laughter at ninety years old.

We call her Holly - a nickname we chose because we celebrate our wedding anniversary every December, and that time of year is so very special to us.

We praise God for our Holland Annabelle - God's beautiful, unexpected gift to us.


Photobucket

20 comments:

  1. What a sweetheart! And congratulations! I've been soooo out of the blogging loop this year that I knew you were pregnant, but not any other details.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Krista - I've been WAY out of the loop, too. And, thank you!

      Delete
  2. oh my goodness!! I LOVE, LOVE hearing the story behind her name. how perfect. How absolutely perfect..."Holland. Our forever reminder that God loves to give us the most unexpected of gifts." Love it! Love her!!! Thank you for sharing with us. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, my friend. Thank you for always encouraging me. Love you!

      Delete
  3. love the meaning behind her name - and hopefully that you still remember those of us who still live in west michigan and Holland!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Terri - I could never forget you or your crazy sisters. :)

      Delete
  4. I'm glad you remember us West Michigan folk too and I really like that name - especially with all the meaning behind it.
    PS - I've had it with the snow this winter. Terri, on the other hand is reveling in it. So - who is the crazy sister? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HAHA! Since she's the only one absent here, let's go with Cheri! :)

      Delete
    2. YES! - Let's pick on Cheri

      Delete
  5. I love her. And the blanket.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Missi - She LOVES that blanket. Thank you for such a precious gift!

      Delete
  6. Beautifully written, of course. Sheis precious!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I know when Lindsey heard her name she fell in love with it. I'm sure it was for the very same reason as you. She loves our lake and misses it. I wouldn't be surprised that if someday she has a daughter she would be called Holland.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This made me smile. :) And, I miss it, too! I hope we'll get back for a visit before too long!

      Delete
  8. What a beautiful story; thanks for sharing it!

    ReplyDelete
  9. oh sarah. her name is perfection. i adore the memories. the stories. the love behind her sweet name.
    she has been so very blessed to be chosen for your family.

    xoxo

    p.s yes indeed, people do actually buy those long down filled coats. we sure do.

    ReplyDelete
  10. From one mid-westerner to another, yes, it sure does snow! What a great story behind Holly's name! For the record, we LOVE Holland too. Made the trip up from Lansing during grad school many, many times.

    ReplyDelete
  11. A lovely story!! Holland is a beautiful place, I have been a 2x and loved that area of Michigan!

    ReplyDelete