Saturday, November 23, 2013

naming our son

Choosing a name is difficult.  For Andrew and me, we strive to choose a name that is unique, yet classic.  We want the name to have meaning, to have a story.  We want our children to be able to understand and be proud of where their names come from, and we choose to honor our family heritage by taking names from our familial line.  We hope that Shepherd Louis will one day understand the meaning of his name and feel connected to the men who inspired it.

Emil Shepherd Davis
Emil Shepherd Davis was Andrew's maternal great-grandfather.  Emil was quiet and stern, but kind. He was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on November 27, 1894.  He was very involved in his Catholic parish, starting the Knights of Columbus there and collecting "pew rent."  He was a manager at Standard Coosa Thatcher textile mill, and that job took him to Cuba quite often.  Accordingly, he loved a good cigar.

During his lifetime, he had 18 grandkids living in Chattanooga (including Andrew's mother Anne). Each Easter he would hide eggs all over his yard, and the grandchild who was lucky enough to find the golden egg received a dollar from Emil.  His grandkids called him "grandpa."  He and his wife, Katherine, often took Anne and one of her brothers on drives to give her parents a bit of a break.

Though Emil Shepherd Davis was the source of the name, Shepherd also has beautiful spiritual significance.  Shepherds are ever-present in the history of both the Christian and Jewish faith. Abraham, Jacob, Moses and David were all described as shepherds.  Moreover, on that magnificent night when Jesus entered this world as an infant, his birth was first announced to the shepherds in fields nearby.  And what was their response?  They went immediately to find Jesus, then told others all they had seen, and finally returned to their home glorifying and praising God (Luke 2:8-20).  I cannot think of a better example for our son.

Louis Shafer
 Louis Shafer was Jeff's dad, Andrew's grandfather.  Like his son, Louis was a talker with lots of personality.  People loved being around him.  He had a wonderful sense of humor and could find the fun in people and situations.

Louis worked in publishing, and he worked on all kinds of books, but spent a large portion of time working on Bibles.  Although he himself was Jewish, he was a student of the Bible and knew it very well.  Louis was quite artistic.  He designed many book covers, and he loved to paint.  He painted with oils and signed all of his works "Luigi" in one corner, and he painted a red rose in the other corner.

Louis loved food.  Every night he asked his wife what was for dessert, as he needed "something cool to push down dinner."  He enjoyed playing and watching golf, loving it most when he was able to play with Jeff.

More than anything else, though, Louis loved his family.  He was a devoted father.  At Jeff and Anne's wedding he served as best man, because he was truly Jeff's best friend.  We pray that Louis's devotion to his family will serve as a guidepost for Shepherd throughout his life.

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