Meaning of the name:
Highly-Regarded, Strong

Courage… The attribute that led to the popularity of Brian. Use of the name increased in tribute to a king who stood against the Vikings.

Early Ireland consisted of many kingdoms (with many kings). It was a time filled with unrest and power struggles. Matters intensified with the surge of the Vikings, as they came and went, raiding coastal communities. Eventually, their desires increased and they established themselves along the shore. Claiming territory. Those opposing them were usually killed.

When Brian Boru became king, he seemed to be among the few willing to stand against the Vikings. And respect for him grew. In time, his reign extended beyond his given realm – and he became High King of all of Ireland.

The Vikings were livid. Fights ensued – with a battle in 1014 ending the Viking dominance. Brian was hailed a hero and use of the name spread.

Currently, the name is still actively used in places like the U.S., UK, and especially Ireland – where Brian is among the top 50 names used for boys.

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Monogram B by Patricia Griffin
Monogram B


Meaning of the name:
Pure, Chaste, Loving

Some names come from common phrases. This was the case for Nancy.

Origins of the name dates back to the Roman Empire. A time when Roman rule sought to crush the Christian movement. During the 4th century, a young woman (some believe as young as twelve) was publicly persecuted because of her piety.

Yet what was intended to scare people away, actually helped to strengthen the Christian community. Her courage sparked awe and stories of her bravery spread. Later, when Constantine converted to Christianity, and became Emperor, a basilica was built by her grave.

And use of her name (Agnes) grew. Eventually variating to other names like Inez and Annis. Terms of endearment, mine/thine Annis, sparked new inspiration…

life lesson_Nancy Picture1 by Patricia Griffin

Nancy… inspired by the courageous innocence of a young woman, came from ‘loving’ words. And stands among the top 100 names used in the United States, England and Wales.


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Nancy (sample wood poster)


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Meaning of the name:
What is God like…
Who can compare to the
Sovereignty of God…

The first, most-recognized Michael is found in biblical testament. Protector of God’s people. Champion. Warrior against evil.  The role of this archangel was admired and seen as an inspiration.

This sentiment grew during the reign of the Byzantine Empire. Several emperors donned the name. Popularity spread throughout Bulgaria, Italy, parts of France, Germany, England. Even Russia.

Europe wasn’t alone…
Michael became one of the most popular names used in the United States. Well over 4 million share the name.

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Bear-Strong. Brave. Standing on hind legs these carnivores can reach up to 7 feet (or more). They are revered for their physical power and have become a symbol of strength. Businesses, municipalities, sports teams, and mascots have adopted the bear’s image (by name or physical depiction). While tribute names, like Bernard, were inspired by their robust hardiness.

Bears can also become inactive. They’ll spend months in a state of hibernation. Then. When seasons change, these sleeping giants awake in full swing…

Like a sleeping bear
We too lay dormant.
Our purpose sleeps.

If only we’d awake…


Wake Up – Sleeping Giants

W E  U P

Bernard (sample wood poster)



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Great. Defender of Faith. The first most noted name-bearer was an author. The Gospel According to Mark was written in response to those empowered by the preaching of Peter. Now, being members of the Christian community, they wanted what they heard in tangible (written) form. The result… A vivid, holistic depiction of the life of Jesus Christ.


Mark covers it all – with realism. Indeed. The underlining purpose of Christ’s ministry was not always understood. Even among the leaders… Peter was no exception. Throughout the text, Mark preserves the heart of the ministry while not hiding from its complexity. Yet, once the purpose was fully revealed (and realized), the disciples continue the work of building the Christian community.

It was work well-received. The Gospel According to Mark was shared at numerous assemblies and continues to impact today… included in one of the most read books in existence.


Heroic. Challenger. Names like Larry, Laurence, and Lawrence are synonymous in derivation. Stemming from the Laurus nobilis: a robust, hardy tree. Its leaves made into wreaths and used to symbolize triumph over circumstance.

The first, most-noted name bearer was a prolific Deacon. A servant of charity. Responsible for the wealth of the church and its distribution. Known for his wisdom.

At a pivotal point in the Deacon’s ministry, Roman authorities sought to oppress the church and increase their own treasury. A demand was made to hand over all goods belonging to the church. He convinced them to wait 3–days.

Rather than gathering the wealth for the Roman empire, goods were given to those in need. After 3–days, he came before the Imperial court and stood in bold defiance. DeclaringThe poor and deprived… were the greatest treasures.

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Lion Brave. Throughout history lions have become part of human culture – symbolizing strength, bravery and prestige. Massive animals, they weigh up to 550 pounds. Able to run as fast as 50 mph in short distances. Distinctive and social. The mane of the males are captivating.

The influence of lions can be found in a variety of architecture. Mascots, municipalities, and country currencies have donned their image, as well, either by name or physical depiction. No surprise… first names would also be inspired. The name Leonard deriving from their fearless quality.

Men… have been traditionally defined in part by their fearlessness. A quality that can reveal itself in varying ways.


To the fearless…
Good. Men.
Doing their best. Determined.
Willing to push beyond circumstance.
And blaze their own trail…

To the fearless…
Holding things together. Purposeful.
Wanting to be the one – others look up to.
Good. Men. Persisting in this sometimes-chaotic-existence
called life
Thank You


Root of Greatness. In the ancient world, a mighty tribe was among the most esteemed families of Rome. Their ancestral legacy excelled – becoming prominent diplomats, military commanders, and propraetors. Distinctly strong and powerful, they were considered part of aristocracy.

A distinction that has carried into the English language. Esteemed words like valiant, valor, evaluate, value and valedictorian – all stem from this same root of greatness. Including the name Valerie. Its use popularized from those martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ.

Valerie  embodies     
strength   and
capability  • • •

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