Tuesday, November 01, 2011


When I was young I hated my name. Dorcas Yoder. It was full of R's and O's, and it twisted your mouth, and it was was so WEIRD among all the Lories and Tammies and Vickies. And nobody who wasn't Mennonite had ever heard of it.

I could never buy a cute key chain with my name on it.

And I had a sister who went by Becky, and she was cute and vivacious, and I knew if we switched names I would have a chance at being cute and vivacious too, and she would be awkward and overweight. What was really irritating was that Mom and Dad had "Dorcas" all picked out before Becky was born, and then right before that their good friends had a baby and named her Dorcas, so Mom and Dad switched to Rebecca and saved Dorcas for me, a year later.

THAT close I could have been a Becky. Imagine.

And then my younger sister was named Margaret, a lovely name as well.

I doubt that the Beckies and Suzies of this world ever had to put up with stuff like the lady behind the counter saying, "DORcas??? [Lord's-name-in-vain] WHAT a NAME, eh?"

I used to read Newsweek magazine and gaze in envy at the column by Jane Bryant Quinn. What a perfect name. If I had a name like that, full of N's, I could be a writer too.

Well. If there is a young person reading this who has something in his or her life that seems irritating and unchangeable and beyond redemption, let me just say that you never know. God takes delight in redeeming the very thing that you think stands in the way of you ever doing anything successful and meaningful with your life.

Obviously I got used to "Dorcas" somewhere along the way and had much weightier things to worry about, and it really didn't matter any more.

And then the world kept spinning around and I started writing.

And a very strange thing happened. People thought I had the most wonderful name, that it sounded just like a writer's name ought to sound.

Bizarre, isn't it?

A lovely local woman whom I got to meet one time posted this on her blog--

In this part of Oregon I share my name with several Kathy Davises, and the name Kathleen Davis is just about as common. . .At Adams Elementary School in the 60s it seemed there were Kathys in every classroom. I believe it was in 2nd grade that there were 3 of us. . .At one point, I remember, I wished for a dreamy princess name like Cinderella or something. . .

That’s why I stuck my maiden name in my title for this website. I may still be a little bit envious of people with simple but unique author’s names like Dorcas Smucker, but I’ll get over it. I’m thankful for what I’ve been given.

Interesting, isn't it?

So, you with the celiac disease or "too many" younger siblings or weak ankles or dandruff or strict parents or dyslexia: Hang in there. The Lord loves to redeem these things.

Quote of the Day:

"She strikes me as Godly but unintimidating."

--Jenny. We all like that kind, don't we?


  1. I love this post! And the QOTD is priceless. That is what I would long to be....

  2. Oh, Dorcas, I have 3 big brothers and my mom wwanted a girl SO badly. But she didn't want to jinx it, so she picked a name for me that she could use even if I turned out to be a boy--Jody for a boy, Jodie for a girl. Of course, I'm a tomboy not a girlie girl, as much as my mom tried to make me feminine, I was athletic and my talents ran toward math and science and engineering, not frilly dresses or make-up--although I'm a good cook and seamstress, I lack the power to overcome clutter--or care particularly. So I always felt like I fell short of my mom's aspirations. (and nevermind that people always ask me, "Is that with a Y or an I?").

    But there came a point in my lfe when I was sure I would never fit into this world, never get a husband, never meet anyone's approval--but God took me aside and said to me, "I made you the way you are, with the particular talents that you have. I wanted you to be who you are. Quit fighting to fit into the world's idea of "feminine" and just be wo I made you! You are acceptable to ME!" And if who I am is delightful to God, what do I care what the world things?? (but please spell my name with an I-E !!!)

  3. ALMOST I was a 'Becky' (Rebecca) too--my mom's choice of a name for me; however, the opinion of the older siblings came into play for the naming of me, and when they still couldn't agree on a name a couple of days after I was born, the nurse told my mom she couldn't take me home until they gave me a name. So mom gave in to the choice of the siblings, and I became 'Maria,' instead of 'Rebecca.'
    I've never minded my name (apart from the meaning), but I do rather cringe whenever someone inadvertently calls me 'Marie' when I'm actually 'MARIA'.
    Enjoyed your imaginative and descriptive thoughts on your name, and how the Lord has redeemed it for you!

  4. Go, Jenny! :) -PC in VA

  5. I LOVE THIS POST! You did an amazing job writing that :)

  6. I didn't like my name either when I was growing up. Other girls with names like Mary, Susan, or Rachel could find barrettes and things with their names on them. No one ever made anything with Romaine on it. Like you, I got used to it and it doesn't matter anymore. But sometimes when I'm in an office or something and give my name to someone who doesn't know me they will look at me and ask, "Like the lettuce?!" Yeah. And sometimes you can buy Romaine hearts for 99 cents. Sort of like a K-Mart blue light special.

  7. Fascinating, the stories behind our names! And Romaine, I think I would find it disturbing to find my heart for sale for 99 cents.

  8. Dorcas Byler11/02/2011 4:20 PM

    Oh, Dorcas, you made me laugh twice today. Once with your FB post with the text you got. Then again, with your response to Romaine finding her heart on sale for .99!! I fully understand your name pain. On the bright side, it has started many interesting conversations.

  9. I knew before I opened the post that this would be an interesting post! I have always been glad that my parents choose Tabitha over Dorcas when they read the Bible Story days after I was born. I think that my name has helped shape who I am. I have to spell it for people and I get lots of comments, but it sets me apart. AND I strive to be like my namesake. stories of names are a delicious treat! thanks for sharing your story (in addition to your insight) and for all the comment name stories too!

  10. God takes delight in redeeming the very thing that you think stands in the way of you ever doing anything successful and meaningful with your life. - this is awesome... thanks!

  11. I laughed and empathized fully with this post. It brought up a whole bunch of stories about my name. I hope you don't mind that I linked you on my blog. Thanks for the smiles!

  12. I love this post! I had a friend named Dorcas in high school and she hated her name - but she got us to call her "Dori." I've always had an Aunt Dorcas, and we do call her that, but she also goes by "Dee."
    And I love what you say about the Lord redeeming things - he does, indeed. Such a good reminder.

  13. Dorcas Byler--I do believe you were the culprit responsible for my sis not being named Dorcas!

    Thanks for sharing your "name" stories, everyone. You know, I should have had people call me "Dori." That's cute.