Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Cabin Gets a Name

Paul's great-aunt Berneice didn't have a name until she was 4 years old.  They always called her "Babe," and somehow never got around to giving her an actual name.  Then one day the parents had to fill out some legal documents in town and had to fill in their children's names.

Well.  What do we call Babe?  They decided on Berneice, and, as I recall the story, came home from town and informed her of this.  She was quite pleased.

We had been calling our project The Cabin and The Writing Cabin and the Acorn House and similar things while I waited on The Right Name.

Various readers weighed in.  "Don't choose Acorn Cottage!  It'll become The Nut House!"  "DO choose Acorn Cottage!  The Nut House is a fun name!"

And it was my decision to make, and even something this small can be terrifying when the final word is yours.

I made lists of synonyms for house:

And I listed natural features:

And words for "quiet":

Someone suggested using the word "Selah," in the sense of "pause and think," which I thought was a great idea, especially since it would tie in well with some of my favorite verses, in Psalm 84, that I hope to accomplish with my writing:
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
    they are ever praising you. Selah.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
    they make it a place of springs;
    the autumn rains also cover it with pools.[d]
They go from strength to strength,
    till each appears before God in Zion.
"Baka" means "balsam" and represents weeping or bitter.  I really like the idea of going through a bitter time and turning it into a place of springs for whoever comes after me.

Also, the part about the autumn rains covering the area with pools seemed appropriate for our location.

But nothing came together, name-wise, or felt Right.

It crossed my mind that I had forgotten to pray about this.  So I prayed about it, but I didn't ask for a sign, only for wisdom, not wanting to be a wicked and adulterous generation. [Matthew 16:4].

The next day Ben was flying in from points afar, and I needed to pick him up in Portland.  I decided to leave early and eat supper with my brother Phil in Newberg, so I fixed a cooler of homemade food, as a good sister ought to, with chicken soup and fresh tomatoes and Mom's "goommera salaut" [cucumber salad] as best as I could replicate it.  As I was leaving, I grabbed a few cd's to play on the way, and for much of the drive on I-5 a cd of hymns was playing, but I didn't listen much, because when I am alone I like to Think.

Among other pressing matters, I thought about a name as I drove, and realized that one name I hadn't considered was "nest."  Hmmm.  Well, what kind of nest would it be?  Eagle? Raven? Robin?

Hey!  Sparrow!

Yes!  A quiet place for an obscure little brown bird who isn't anything to brag about but the Father still watches over it!  Yes yes yes!

The Sparrow Nest.

I said it to myself, and I liked it, and Right Then I came back to reality and the hymn that was playing in the car at that exact second--"His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me."

How could it be anything but a Sign?

Later, some of the family thought it should be "Sparrow's" and not just "Sparrow," and Paul said cautiously that sparrows don't nest in the oaks by the creek, and someone mentioned Captain Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean.

But I said The Sparrow Nest just feels right.

Later I realized that it still goes perfectly with Psalm 84.  Verse 3, just before the above quote, says:

Even the sparrow has found a home,
    and the swallow a nest for herself,
    where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
    Lord Almighty, my King and my God.

Lovely, isn't it?

I'm happy to have this settled.

But maybe we don't need to mention to Great-aunt Berneice how much time and complication this naming process involved.

Meanwhile, like a nest accumulating straw by straw, this cabin is becoming reality.  Paul is doing most of the work, so it has to fit in between preaching, principaling, and grass seeding.  But it IS happening, little by little.

Yesterday they poured the 8-foot concrete posts that should keep it above the 100-year flood plain.

And the cabin isn't the only thing that's up high and out of reach.  I told Paul he is setting the bar so high that pretty soon husbands everywhere are going to resent him.

Quote of the Day:
"If you put "the" in, it changes it."
--Cousin Simone, who wasn't sure about Sparrow vs. Sparrow's


  1. VERY nice! Perfect, in fact.

  2. Yes! I love it. Psalm 84 was the Scripture for our opening meditation in church this morning, and I found it freshly inspiring. Your comments on the Psalm add to my appreciation of the passage.

  3. That, I can tell by your account, is the PERFECT name for your cabin! So many things coming together brings such a joy and is so RIGHT, despite the nay-sayers. Those verses are among my favorite as well!

  4. I like those verses too, and naming things/people meaningful names are important to me, too. I also thought of "Oasis". Hope your "nest" continues to progress without too much interference.