Sunday, December 17, 2017

What's in a name?

I love my name. I think it’s beautiful. 
I love the way it sounds rolling off the tongue with that initial breath of a Hebraic “H” like a gentle whisper, followed by the ending of the strong, cutting vowel “A.” Even the vocal inflexions suit me. I love that it’s spelled uniquely from the other thousands of individuals with my name. And I love its action: “She is gracious.”
However, only until recently did I truly appreciate my name and begin adopt it as my … well, as my motto. It is who I am, after all.

And it’s made a big difference.

Care to nerd out with me for a few minutes? Ok, great.

What’s in a name?
Apparently, a lot. 
So, the study of names actually has a name: onomastics. According to Behind the Name, this field touches on linguistics, history, anthropology, psychology, sociology, philology and more. Clearly, there’s a lot of information behind names.
But, I want to talk about a name’s etymology – the literal denotation of the word.
The meaning behind names has ancient cultural significance. According to a 1997 article by Kristine Elliott, last updated in 2014 in the Society for Creative Anachronism, the origin of name-giving selection is largely unknown. 
“Most names appear to have had some sort of original meaning, usually descriptive, rather than being simply pleasing collection of sounds,” Elliott writes.
Many names were developed from nouns or pronouns – case in point, “Conan” means “hound, wolf” and Fial means “modest, honorable, generous” in Gaelic.
“A more elaborate descriptive naming practice is exemplified in the Bible when Rachel names her son Benoni or ‘son of my sorrow,’” Elliott writes of a story from the Biblical book, Genesis. “And his father, Jacob, re-names him Benjamin, ‘son of the right hand.’”
Some names were also compounds – for example, Sigibert is Frankish for “victory-shining.” Others would create compound words including names of their gods – like the Norse name Thorbjorn.
With the rise of Christianity, many parents were encouraged to name their children after Biblical figures, saints and martyrs – Jewish and GrecoRoman names.

Names like Hanna.

Although, while mine is most often associated with the Biblical figure, Hannah, its spelling comes from Gaelic origins.

***WARNING - nerd level is about to rise to an all-time high***

On, the name Hanna is listed in more than 1 million historical documents; 314,904 birth, marriage and death certificates; 200,458 census and voter lists; 42,071 military records; 36,727 immigration records; and 410,425 member family trees.
There are 84-250 people with the name Hanna in the state that I live in with the majority of other U.S. states having only 1-83 per state.
Generally, according to 1880 Federal Census Data, the top three occupations for historical Hannas were 39 percent farmers, 9 percent laborers and 7 percent home keepers.
In the Civil War, according to war service records, 946 Hannas served in the military – can someone say “bad ass” – with the majority being Union, 578.
Hanna primarily originates in Ireland, then England, Germany, Great Britain, Syrian Arab Republic and Scotland – according to immigration New York Passengers Lists. This makes sense, because my family is Irish.

As far as etymology goes...
According to Ancestry, the spelling “Hanna” is a shortened form of the Gaelic name O hAnnaigh – meaning, descendant of Annach. St. Anne is a popular figure in medieval art and legend. Scottish, it’s a variation of Hannay. German, it’s a pet form of Hans. It’s also an English medieval female personal name stemming from the lore that Hanna was the name of the Biblical Virgin Mother Mary’s mother and means “God has favored me.”
And that’s where it all goes back to that Hebrew origin from the story in which Hannah, who was barren, becomes pregnant – “favored by God” with a child.


***If you’ve been skimming through, this is a good place to jump back in because it’s getting less nerdy HERE***
P.S. You can find all this detailed info about your name by visiting I highly recommend.

Fast forward some several thousand years to Dec. 13, 2017. 
I work in a deadline-based environment where even the greatest amount of “planning ahead” can easily turn on a dime. As someone who despises procrastination, I plan weeks in advance for projects – probably earlier than necessary – to avoid last-minute problems. It’s preventive maintenance. 
That afternoon, I was feeling great about the amount of work that had been done for that day’s deadline – compiled neatly and ready to go. And then I got some terrible news that shook my day: One of my staff members had written down the wrong deadline and hadn’t even begun working on the assigned project.

My blood boiled. 
Now, “telling people off” is simply not in my nature. No matter how badly I think of or feel about someone – momentarily or long-lasting – I rarely have exploded on a person. When I am angry, I tend to go quiet. Dangerously quiet. Terrifyingly quiet.

So, I went quiet and then the kettle began to whistle as steam poured from my ears.

But, see there’s this thing. My name means gracious. And it’s something I’ve adopted, remember? Standing in front of the desk of this staff member with the heat rising in my face and several four-letter words jumping around in mixed variations through my brain, I remembered that I AM GRACIOUS, SO HELP ME GOD.

So, I assessed how things went wrong, explained the place it now put our team in and then asked the employee in question to immediately prepare a plan to fix it. And he did.

This is just one way I’ve applied my namesake to my life – how it’s become something I’ve claimed as not just the historical denotation of my name, but who I am as a person.

And gracious? Here’s what Merriam-Webster says it means:
  1. Archaic, pleasing, acceptable
  2. Marked by kindness and courtesy
  3. Graceful
  4. Marked by tact and delicacy
  5. Characterized by charm, good taste, generosity of spirit
  6. Merciful, compassionate

Again, I love my name. And the really funny thing is that, before I truly researched the meaning behind “Hanna,” these traits were already things I strived for. 
I grew up in a home where my dad was very sick for many years. There was no room to be “extra.” My natural behavior assumes a gracious disposition, but it was also a choice I made.

Now, as a wife and student medical practitioner, these traits take on an even more vital meaning to my life – I strive to show compassion and graciousness to the people I encounter in all situations, from my spouse to my family to my future patients.

So my charge to you?
Who are you?

I’m not necessarily talking about the literal denotation of your name. Mine just randomly happens to align with the baseline behavior I strive for. This whole thing? It’s simply a lesson and a charge on making daily decisions to be who YOU are.

What do you want to be known for? What's that baseline behavior from which you build the remainder of your words, actions and thought processes?

It’s easy to lose sight of who we are in the middle of a million expectations pressing from spouses, family, work and beyond. But, I’d encourage you to re-identify, or maybe discover for the first time what YOU mean. 

I’m Hanna the gracious.
And, from that point, I strive for my words and actions to reflect that core element of my personhood.

What about you?
What are those definable traits that are the motto by which you create a baseline for your actions?

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Martial science: The Adam Study

It’s day 1,062 of the Adam Study.
That’s nearly three years since he asked me on our first date — Dec. 2, 2014 — and, tomorrow, it will be two years to the day since he asked me to marry him, Oct. 30, 2015. Today marks about three years of analytical data compiled within the gray matter between my ears including his habits, expressions, non-verbals, verbal responses, body language and so on.

Does this sound creepy? Probably a little.
Let me explain.

I love personality assessments. No, not “What-icecream-flavor-are-you-based-on-these-10-random-questions” personality assessments. I love the science of personality, the chemical processes that fluctuate person to person and comprise the composition of me and you and that person and the next.

Neurology, psychology, data analysis in general: I love it. I always have.

As a child, I was quiet and I’m still what is called an extroverted introvert — a sort of middle ground on the spectrum of social expression personalities. This personality type makes me an INTJ, based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
According to Myers-Briggs, this means I operate on introverted intuition, extroverted thinking, introverted feeling and extroverted sensing – which makes up about 2 percent of the population and is an even rarer personality for females; about 25 percent of INTJs are women. This personality relies on data and analytics, plans ahead, and spends a lot of time in their heads.

It’s only natural then that when I began dating Adam, I immediately took to studying him because I genuinely wanted to learn more about him. That’s how I experience the world around me, by collecting information and asking questions.

I think this analysis is one of the reasons why I fell in love with him, too. See, he’s very difficult to read — a less exaggerated Capt. Ray Holt from Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He’s always calm, always collected and always generally pleasant. It’s one of the aspects that makes him a great medical practitioner. It also makes it difficult to tell what he’s thinking sometimes.

But, because I am an INTJ, his demeanor and psychological processes fascinated me and I wanted to learn more about him as our relationship progressed. The way he cares deeply, the way he assesses situations and brings calm and clarity – the more I learned about his brain the more I fell in love with it.

Now, that did sound creepy.
But, you see what I mean.

But, this is why I’m a firm believer in studying those close to you – even if you’re not the thoroughly analytic type. You may be the exact opposite of me in personality, but there is still benefit to taking the time to really learn about each other.

As an EMS wife, this is particularly important for me. Early on, I knew that it was going to be very important for me to understand his mental processes if our relationship was going to succeed. He is a very strong man with an incredible internal process of handling and assessing situations. Like I said, his mind fascinates me. His bosses have applauded him for a personality which is able to handle trauma in a very unique way. It’s a rare personality and it’s one built for care taking. But, care takers also need to be taken care of.

We are very similar in the sense that we are both care takers by nature. However, our mental processes of assessing situations can differ. He is more internal than I am. I enjoy talking out situations with trusted individuals to sort out my thoughts. He sorts out his thoughts internally and then expresses his assessment externally afterward.
Since we know how the other person processes situations — whatever the case may be — we are better able to be a trustworthy, reliable and non-judgemental partner.

And that’s why I continue to study Adam and plan to do so for the rest of our marriage.
If we don’t agree, I want to know what his mental processes are that have led him to his opposing conclusion. Rather than dismissing his logic, I’d rather learn why he thinks the way he does and come to a valid conclusion. It’s like a courtroom proceeding and I greatly prefer that to arguing. So does he.
I made him take marriage counselor and author Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages” test to determine how he best perceives love and acts of affection.

My great-grandmother always said fear is the absence of knowledge. I think this also applies to marriage and relationships and is why the Adam Study really has no end. I’ll continue to learn everything I can about him to learn better how to express my love, be his best friend through the happy and difficult times, and fine tune my conflict response.

I’m not a Gary Chapman. I’m just a nerdy INTJ who’s one year into her marriage with a man she’s crazy about. But, I do know that if I’m crazy about something, I’m going to learn everything I can about it. And I have facts to back that up – facts from people like Chapman or the Myers-Briggs test that are based on psychology and science.

On that first date, I was thrilled to ask questions and learn all the new things about him – as all first dates implicate. So, you might say, my continued learning of Adam is an extension of that first-date curiosity and wonder. The Adam Study is still new, but it’s made me even more thrilled to spend the rest of my life with my husband.
Yeah, saying it that way sounds a lot less creepy.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Traumatic Brain Injury Continues

Concussion Syndrome

Many Suffer - Few Understand

As a wife of someone with TBI, I can empathize with those who suffer in their marriage because of this unfortunate result of head injury.

There is so much to be said about TBI but for today I only want to say

I Understand
I Feel the Pain
I Know the Hard Days
I Have So Much to Say But Don't Feel I Can

But I Will

Often times people only see what we want them to see, not the hurt of being a care giver to someone with TBI. While my heart goes out to those with TBI, just know, beautiful woman, you are not forgotten.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Introduction: Hanna Smith

"The world is a book and those who 
do not travel read only one page."
-St. Augustine

It's the idea of life as a book. We are ultimately stories, after all. Our material belongings and physical bodies are entirely fallible. So, our greatest impact left behind are the memories we shared and the stories that are told when we are long gone.
So a story, essentially, becomes our ultimate legacy.

Hello — my name's Hanna Smith, Sheri's daughter and a new blogger on The Lemonade Digest women's blog. I'll be collaborating with my mom doing posts together and independently as we share our thoughts, adventures and more on this blog.

A little about me: I am the wife of a talented emergency medical technician, Adam. We have been married a little over a year, but have known each other the majority of our lives. I am the features editor of a business newspaper, prior to which I worked as a news reporter covering the justice system. Journalism is one of my greatest passions, and I am proud to be the eyes and ears of the community through news writing.

I am also a student surgical technologist, currently in my first year of studies. Never heard of a surgical tech? We work in the operating room maintaining the sterile field and providing a third set of hands during the operation. I plan to specialize in neurosurgery, the most effective method to treat chronic pain. I am very passionate about chronic-pain awareness and you'll find frequent posts on this topic here in addition to STEM related topics.

Although my husband and I live in southwest Missouri, travel is a large part of our lives. I make this priority as a firm believer that travel is one of the most worthwhile investments a person can make. It sweetens the story and broadens worldview.

Through my upcoming blog posts, I hope to share how I am trying to consistently dive into each page of each stage of my life — and I hope to encourage you to do the same. Life has made me resilient from a young age and taught me that experience is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

Please comment on any of my posts and discuss your views or something you've learned in your own life relating to the topic. Agree? Add information. Disagree? Voice your opinion. I want to hear it either way.

I look forward to being part of this blog and sharing life through it's (online) pages.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Resisting Arrest

While watching the video of a health care worker being arrested, I thought

Why did she resist so physically?

Being hand cuffed and brought to jail does not mean you will be charged!

When someone resists arrest and fights like she did, an entire host of problems can follow.  
She panicked which so many do in high stress situations. 

The officer was found to be in the wrong but I say she was also.  It is one thing to stand our ground and educate uninformed authorities but when she physically resisted she put herself in serious danger.  


Monday, August 28, 2017

Emergency Etiquette

My sweet grandma Alice always told me to wear clean underwear everyday in case I got in an accident.  She thought it was important to be proper and clean even in an emergency.  

I just heard a recording of an "angry" call for help. She is demanding first responders save her NOW! She wasn't in a life or death situation, she just wanted them there immediately, her safety above those in more serious situations.

How about PLEASE come as soon as you can.

How about THANK YOU for volunteering to risk your life to save mine.

I understand it's an emergency but to be rude is unnecessary. 

How people hate our first responders one minute then demand for their service the next....

People can be very rude to emergency responders.

Alex and his partner had a call the other day.  The patient was very rude and demanding. Once she was done with her rant, the EMT politely said, "Ma'am, I've spent a lot of time and money in school to be able to take care of you. I know what I'm doing. I want to help.  That's why you called, right?  Please let me do that."

In emergency situations people do not act like they normally would and our emergency workers understand that and are trained for panicking people.

Yet, there are times that people are not in that "life or death" situation and instead of being thankful and respectful to those who have come to help them, they are rude and disrespectful.

This tragic story from Robstown, TX shows a family of faith and hope.  There strength is inspiring. 
The Rojas family lost their home to a fire caused by Hurricane Harvey.  They are migrant workers who have worked for years to build a life in America.

So what is Emergency Etiquette?  the customary code of polite behavior in emergency situation.

Here are a few guidelines that might help you weather the next disaster/emergency.

1. Watch the weather well in advance. Remember, weather forecasters are just that, forecasters.  They canNOT tell us what a storm is going to do.  Weathermen/women use their best computer programs and knowledge to make an educated forecast, but it is not guaranteed.

2. "They've said a hundred times a tornado is coming and it never has." Don't be one of those people who say that because they've been fine in the past they will be fine now.  Each storm is different and could be the one to break the "I've been fine" record you may have.

3. Know where your shelters are located.  Go talk to the people in charge of the shelter, before a disaster, to find out how many people they can hold and how long they can provide assistance before they run out of supplies.  You may flee to a shelter only to find out they only have enough supplies for one week for 100 people.  Then what will you do?  What is your plan?

4. It is not the government's responsibility to save you. Many American's have this mentality that says the gov't is supposed to bail them out of every problem.  You are responsible for you so get educated. Get prepared.  Do your part to stay safe.  Once you've exhausted all your resources then turn to others for help. Don't be the first one to say, "I didn't know!  We have no food!  I don't know what to do!"

5. We've always heard that we should have two weeks of food storage in case of an emergency.  There is a list of items that we should have in a bucket at home and another bucket in out vehicle.  For a list please go to and

6. If you family is split up do you have a place to meet?

7. Do you have a weather radio?  Extra batteries?  Cell phone battery extenders?

8. When calling for non-emergency aid, please say please. Remember, you aren't the only one needing help.  There are many who do.  Be patient and see what you can do to make it less stressful for those who are risking their life to save you.

9. Many people who go out to aid in rescue operations are volunteers. They are risking their life to save yours. It is not their fault you are trapped by a flood or other emergency. They have to make a plan to save you that will not put others in jeopardy.  Most of these first responders are trained to assess a situation and implement a rescue plan. It helps them do their job if you aren't panicking and being rude.

10. My son, daughter-in-law, and son-in-law are all some of the people who might save you.  Keep my family safe, also.  I want to see them and you tomorrow, after the emergency.

For more tips on emergency preparedness go to