whats in a name


do you like your name?  i hated my name growing up.  i’m sure not an uncommon woe of a 9 year old.  honestly, i have a strangely clear memory of being in the elementary school bathroom, waiting in line, talking to other little girls and thinking to myself, “why can’t my name be jennifer or heather.  and, remember when you’d play house, store or restaurant and you always had to have a pretend name?  i usually went by nicole (due to my admiration of my older cousin).  i wasn’t happy with my cabbage patch kids name either…willma.  so since i could,  i re-named my cabbage patch kid to sandy nicole (sandy after my dog that died and nicole, again, after my cousin.  i think i even asked her if it would be ok to used nicole for the middle name – oh boy!) and i even remember my friend jill and i used to play “vicki and nickie” whenever we hung out.  we just pretended to be older girls driving around and having boyfriends (ughh… i know)….just don’t ask me about acting like kirk cameron was my boyfriend at the park in front of other kids or how i would “pretend” to drive the mini van when someone came over to my house (yes, i have a lot of stories?).

anyways, i wish i could say that my name was after a distant relative that did something noble, but it’s not.  if i was a boy i was going to be timothy (timothy tompkins- yuck) and i’ve been told that my mom wanted to name me katherine.  however, one day, at church, my dad heard the pastor announce his new granddaughter’s name, which was trina and he liked it.  so that was it….trina tompkins.  i’m not catrina.  just trina.  in high school i saw a trina turk label and felt much better about my name.  a fewllow “trina” and a fellow “t.t.”

of course, as you get older you settle into your name and don’t make such a deal out of it.  you just, sort of, become it.


i didn’t really pay much attention to names, again, until i started having babies.  and that was serious business,  you know.  first starting with ella grace, which the mister did not completely agree to until i was having major contractions (childbirth sometimes works wonders with men -ha).  all of my kids names have very special meaning to me.  and that is just it.  of course, we picked names that we like the sound of but its whats behind the name that is really who they are.  which got me thinking.

are we really what we are called?  i took an account of a few other people in my life and started looking up the meanings of their names.  for one, my grandpa (who you have heard me talk about), his name was warren, which means, defender, protecting friend, loyal, protector and guard.  there could be no better description of him.  my sisters name means beloved and she is surely is.  maybe i am on to something.

i know it might not always be true or work out this way but i had to know if there was any truth in what i was being called day after day, year after year.  i’ve always known that my name derives from katherine (funny, isn’t it since that is what my mom wanted to name me) and that in short it means pure (cue an eye roll from my brother and sister).

noelle ann

after i got looking though, i found that trina it is of scandinavian origin (maybe this has something to do with my love for scandinavian design) meaning pure and clear.  other origins are pretty much along the same lines.  pure is nice, yes, and i like the addition of clear (transparent, free from confusion, uncertainty and doubt) but i thought there might be more?  so i kept digging (because that is what i like to do) and decided why not look up the synonyms?  i won’t list every one but a few that stuck out to me are authentic, bright, classic, complete, natural, plain (feel this way a lot), neat (4 kids kind of messes with this one), simple, true and transparent.  i am not saying i am all of these things but what i would say is that they are all things i’d aspire to be.  although i’m a very private person (i know it doesn’t seem that way when i write on the internet, but i really am), i always try to be authentic.  authenticity is very important to me, both in regards to myself and those around me.  although, i like modern and stylish things, truth be told, you’ll likely always find a bit of classic mixed in (i just don’t think i can escape it entirely), i used to think simple was overrated but now i don’t see any sense in complicating things and love the idea of simplifying.  i want to be true (this encompasses a lot) and transparent (which goes along with authenticity).  and of course, i want to be bright.  yes, i’ll take bright as in smart but, by bright i mean i want my life to be a light.  not in a “shiny” (although i like shiny things) way but rather a light that lends warmth, a brightness that shines when there is darkness and a shimmer when dull needs to be brightened away.

basically, i want to be more me. 


what about you you?  have you really ever looked into what your name means?  does your name ring true to who you are or who you want to be?

on a fun note . . . some other names i used for make believe growing up were drew and then sandy or shelly when i was playing mermaid, duh!

and what about this?  did you have your kids names picked out in high school?  mine were, trevor and maisy. ha!

what were your play names?

also, i like this site for name searching.

gorgeous images by my talented photographer friend noelle ann



  • Joanna
    Commented on March 21st, 2013 at 9:32am

    I wanted to be Amanda (after a character in a mystery series I read as a girl) or Elizabeth, always. Joanna sounded so wimpy to me as a kid. But now, I love it. And I love name meanings! This was fascinating and I, too, want to be more me.

  • Trina
    Commented on March 21st, 2013 at 5:11pm

    @Joanna, thank you… and i’m so glad you love your name now! i do too! xo . t

  • Laura
    Commented on March 21st, 2013 at 8:29pm

    I loved this post, you made me laugh. When I was young I wanted a name like Samantha (Sam for short), because I thought it sounded tougher and like I would have more adventures!
    I had my kids names picked out at school, Charlotte and William. Now that I’m a grown-up we’ve gone with Evie and Dexter instead!

  • Trina
    Commented on March 21st, 2013 at 9:52pm

    oh, i forgot about samantha / sam. i loved that one too because of..who’s the boss! i love your high school kids names…so classic! and evie and dexter…. are totally darling! xo . t

  • Nancie Bartley
    Commented on March 21st, 2013 at 10:35pm

    Nancy is such 50s name. EVERYONE I meet named Nancy was born between 1949 and 1962. There were always a million of us in each classroom. So “ordinary”.
    In 7th grade I drew a lot and hated that the “y” hung down at the bottom of the page when I “signed” my artwork so I changed my name to Nancie with an “ie”. That made me like it a bit better- but not much. My husband calls me Elizabeth which is my middle name and one of my besties calls me Nelson which is my maiden name. I kinda like Nelson- been thinking I might just switch to that. (And yes.. NN like TT) Then again, my brothers called me Fang. There’s a name I was happy to leave behind. (As soon as I got my braces.)
    Supposedly Nancy /Nancie means “full of grace” or “graceful”. Graceful is not a word that has EVER been used in conjunction with my name. Klutz, uncoordinated, awkward- yes. Graceful- no.
    Nope- don’t love my name and don’t think the meaning matches.

  • Trina
    Commented on March 31st, 2013 at 12:46am

    nelson is so fun. my sister is amy and she is still (at 30) changing the spelling of her name all the time. amy to aimee to emi an so on. i probably would have tried this at some point but i always liked trina better than trena. your name has such a pretty meaning. grace can mean favor… so your name could mean full of favor… i think that is pretty great! xo . t

  • Bonnie
    Commented on March 22nd, 2013 at 6:45am

    I always liked my name because I was the only Bonnie in a class that had 7 Debbies! I didn’t meet another Bonnie until highschool. I had my first sons name, Wesley, picked out in highschool and as it turned out that was my husbands stepfathers second name. He was very close to his stepdad. My second sons name, Brendon, was chosen just before his birth.
    Back to my name…when I lived in Australia, Bonnie was one of the top 10 dog names :)

  • Trina
    Commented on March 31st, 2013 at 12:42am

    i love your name! i don’t know if it is a scottish name but it always seems like it would be. guess what… i had a dog named bonnie growing up. we had two terriers named bonnie and clyde. they were very naughty and chewed up our entire kitchen so they had to go live with my grandparents. love the names wesley and brendon for boys! xo. t

  • rae
    Commented on March 22nd, 2013 at 9:53am

    i love this subject and am always amazed at how peoples names fit who they are. don’t know how God does it!!! my name is rae. not short for anything. i got called a boy a lot and couldn’t understand why my parents didn’t name me natasha! i came to grips in high school though and have loved it ever since. the meaning of my name is “ewe” and that bummed me out… having a three letter name and a 3 letter meaning, LOL! but you’ve inspired me to dig a little deeper :) xo

  • Trina
    Commented on March 31st, 2013 at 12:39am

    rae is the middle name of one of my good friends from school. to me it sounds like a “ray of sunshine.” :) xo . t

  • Emily
    Commented on March 22nd, 2013 at 9:54am

    I was named after people and I always thought that was really, really special. My first name is also the first name of my great-grandmother. My middle name is for a family friend whom my parents just adored. I always thought it was neat that there was someone in their life they loved enough to name their child after him. He was Jack Meredith Miller and I’m Emily Meredith [maiden name] [last name]. Both names have always suited me, though now when I go to the park with my small child, it’s not unusual to hear “Emily!!!!” and I turn and it’s for someone much, much younger than me.

  • Trina
    Commented on March 31st, 2013 at 12:37am

    i think it is so special to be named after someone too and your name is lovely. i always loved the named emily! xo . t

  • Danielle
    Commented on March 22nd, 2013 at 6:47pm

    I never felt too strongly about my name. I remember a time when I was jealous of a girl named “Precious Elizabeth” but that’s because I must’ve been bratty ;) and I also envied those with names of Disney princesses. Nowadays, I appreciate it for it’s uniqueness. It’s uncommon without being too much so (if there is such a thing). I also like how it has French origin (after Hebrew) as I tend to spend more and more time within that beautiful culture.

    It sure is going to be tough to come up with names for my kids though!

  • Trina
    Commented on March 31st, 2013 at 12:35am

    danielle is a nice name and yes, great origins, for sure! was the girls first name precious? xo. t

  • Dominique
    Commented on March 22nd, 2013 at 10:55pm

    Great topic Trina. I love these kinds of conversations.
    I’m named after a family friend whose wife died shortly before my birth. HIs name was Dom and while I loved him very much the name, not so much. Thankfully my parents spared me from naming me after his late wife, her name was Alphretta or Fritzy for short. Yikes. Growing up with such a French name in the States made for LOTS of interesting pronunciations, none of which were very good. I have always longed for a simpler, more American name. Interestingly enough when people guess what my name is or forget and take a chance they ALWAYS guess Nicole. I guess that should have been my name.
    I looked up the meaning for Dominiqueand liked it. “Belongs to God” or “Of the Lord”. Sounds good to me.
    As for my children, they have nice, normal, short names, all spelled conventionally. I was a teacher and lamented all the “creative” ways people came up with spelling the simplest of names.

  • Trina
    Commented on March 31st, 2013 at 12:33am

    i love the meaning of our name, so beautiful. and i am with you.. i much prefer conventional spellings when it comes to names. xo . t

  • megan soh / petitely
    Commented on March 24th, 2013 at 1:57pm

    I used to hate my name also. I loved the pink power ranger and tried to change my name to Kimberly at one point in elementary school…haha, how embarrassing! I totally know how you feel, but I suppose I’ve grown into my name. Gotta do some research…

  • Trina
    Commented on March 31st, 2013 at 12:32am

    love this story! xo . t

  • Mary
    Commented on April 8th, 2013 at 10:27am

    I think we all go through phases related to our names. They’re such a huge part of our identity. I never had a problem with my first name – Mary, but I did find it annoying when there were multiple Marys in my classes. I went to catholic school my first several years, so as you can imagine, there were quite a few. Some of them used both their first and middle names to help differentiate us – Mary Katherine, Mary Elizabeth, etc. But I was adamant that I was just Mary. My fifth grade teacher tried to give me a nickname and I would. not. have it.

    I never liked my middle name as a kid, but I adore it now. Eliza. If I could go back, I might use my middle name.

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