Surrender 66: Namesake Day

This holiday is part of Celebrate your Name Week, which is always the first full week in March. Onomatology hobbyist Jerry Hill established this holiday in 1997. Namesake Day offers the opportunity to discover the story behind your given name. 

  The grandmothers I was named after: Great-grandma Cynthia and Grandma Mildred Lorene. Their faces appear stern in this photo, but these were fun, lively ladies.  

I know that story. I was given the name Cynthia Lorene Lauderdale at birth. Cynthia came from my maternal great-grandmother. Although her first name was Cynthia, she was called Cynthie. And Lorene was my maternal grandmother’s middle name. It was common for the kids of my generation to have a formal name and a nickname. I was always called Cindy, unless I was in trouble! 

I didn’t think much about my name, until my fascination began with words. I was one of those nerdy kids who loved reading through a dictionary, trying out new words, and studying origins. I made the connection between the power of a word, and the power in a name. Both had origins and meanings, symbolism and story. 

I learned that my first name, my birth name, was from the Greek Kynthia, a name for Artemas, goddess of the moon. My first thought was hmmmm…moon…goddess of the moon. I came to appreciate that Cynthia could be seen as one who embodies the moon or one who is a “reflector of light”. I liked that. 

Suddenly I felt a connection to the moon, that I’ve continued to embrace my whole life. I am drawn to that silvery, magical light. And I remember that I am reflecting the Light, bringing Light. It became a characteristic that was uniquely mine, to uphold, to honor, to live out of. 


My middle name, Lorene, was one I disliked initially. It seemed so old fashioned. I realized, as I grew older, that my mother could have given me my grandmother’s first name and my great-grandmother’s middle name, which would have resulted in Mildred Ann. I accepted my name with grace! 

Lorene is a derivative of Laura, which comes from the English word laurel, as in laurel tree. The laurel tree is symbolic for victory, the leaves used to create a victor’s crown. This was an easy symbol to assimilate into my life. I was victorious. I was the victor, in all situations in my life. 

Cynthia Lorene, then, carries the meaning of “moon goddess, reflector of light…victorious”. That was a name I could grow into. I am grateful for my name. 

  Grandma Mildred and me

There is such incredible potential, in a name. Matthew Tobin Anderson wrote, “There is a power in names…a power which runs through all things, subtle and flexible, which finds its most potent expression in human utterance; so that it is a terrible thing to call down terrible imprecations on an enemy, or wish for anything but good, for what is said out loud is forged into truth.” 

Imagine how many times our names are said out loud, in our lifetimes. What truths are being forged by the repeated speaking of a name? Consider, then, how important are the names we give our children…or even our pets, our cars, our homes. 

I took that responsibility seriously, spending hours in the biggest baby name book that I could find, before each of my children was  born. I desired to choose a name that was not only interesting and pleasing, but carried a story, and deep meaning. 

Elissa Dawn – “consecrated to God, at the break of day”

Nathanael Gregory – “gift of God, be watchful”

Adriel Lauren – “God’s chosen, be victorious”

I’ve used that same thick baby name book over the years to select names for pets and fictional characters in stories. I still enjoy thumbing through it, reading about the origin of names.  

I shared recently how I received the gift of intuition from my grandfathers. From my grandmothers, I have received a precious gift as well. Both of these women were strong, capable, independent, lovers of their families and of life. I am honored to carry their names. 

I am a moon goddess, a reflector of Light. I am victorious. 

I am Cynthia Lorene Lauderdale Moore. I am Cindy.