Sunday Summary, 11.13.16At moments when life feels dark and heavy, I find myself truly grateful for Appellation Mountain.

This week we buried the mother of a child my child has known since, well, his version of forever. There was an election so divisive it actually felt painful to look at social media. (Until recently, I was blissfully unaware how many people I like and love believe so differently than I do. That should be okay – in the past, it always has been okay, even good. But this time, it was so much more difficult.) And then, Leonard Cohen.

A hard week, to be sure. There is much less leftover Halloween candy in the house than there was a week ago, and my kids are not responsible for the decrease.

And yet, turning my attention back here reminds me of all the good in the world. I received three birth announcements this week – all girls, all with amazing, carefully-chosen names. And that’s not counting the dozens of birth announcements from various message boards and discussion groups I follow.

The bottom line: this site is often about pop culture and celebrities and history and language, but really, it’s about hope. Naming is an act of optimism, of belief, of courage. An awareness of the potential of every new person on this earth, and the desire to equip them them with a name worthy of all that possibility.

And it is a privilege to spend so much time with that potential.

On to the name news:

  • Word names just keep getting more and more mainstream, don’t they? I no longer blink at a child called River or Willow, names that really didn’t exist a few decades back.
  • Some good observations about why name regret is on the rise – and what to do if you’re struggling with it yourself. Also, a good reminder: … perfect names aren’t chosen in perfect circumstances, but grow through loving relationships.
  • Just when you feel like you’ve read every possible inter-family naming conflict, something brand new emerges! Duana answers this one nicely.
  • And because maybe you’re not already reading everything Duana writes: in this post, she argues that the Golden Age of Names is here. Could she be right? My instinct is to agree – there’s more information about names than ever before, and certainly more freedom to choose.
  • And yet another dilemma that intrigues me – what to do when you want to love an honor name … but don’t?
  • Name quotes from Nancy, and now Sephiroth is on my radar.
  • We had such a great conversation about Sally recently. Remember? Over dinner last night, our son was talking about a video game character. He described her as a “Sally girl.” As we listened to his description of the character, my husband started to smile. “A Valley girl?” he asked. Yes. A Valley Girl. He and I collapsed into laughter, as our children looked on, confused. Cultural references do not last the way we think that they do … And if you’re trying to figure out what all of this means, here’s the movie to seek out if you need all things Valley Girl explained. To bring everything full circle, a met a 40-something woman named Valley this weekend.
  • Are you following A Cast of Names? Some gorgeous finds there, like Delyth. Found via the marvels Name News at
  • Is Alaric the next big thing? I can see it catching on, and this post offers some compelling data.

That’s all for this week. As always, thank you – so very much – for reading. Have a great week!

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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  1. Thank you for putting such an optimistic spin on this past week Abby…and I’m so sorry for your loss in the midst of an already difficult time. This blog is my little ray of sunshine as I combat morning sickness and attempt to navigate newly strained relationships and uncertainties about the future. I so appreciate the space for lightheartedness you curate here.

    1. Thanks, Hettie.

      And, oh – morning sickness! It really is draining, isn’t it? Here’s hoping you’re through it soon.

  2. “It’s about hope. Naming is an act of optimism, of belief, of courage. An awareness of the potential of every new person on this earth, and the desire to equip them them with a name worthy of all that possibility.”

    Wow. The most beautiful quote I’ve ever read about naming.