A new baby lives at our house. He has curly, reddish-blonde hair that looks very much like my daughter’s hair, which is a sure sign he belongs with us. Never mind the fact that I already have a dog. And four ducks. And far too many chickens.

This baby is a purebred miniature poodle. I love poodles, and have wanted another one ever since Tiffany left us when I was in my late 20’s. Tiffany was a gift. So when I found out how much purebred poodles actually cost, I figured I’d have to wait for that NYT bestseller to make its appearance. But even though I knew I couldn’t afford one, I often troll through Craigslist hoping for a miracle.

Last week, I found one. A guy in central Texas, selling purebred miniature poodles, complete with shots and papers, for $200 a piece. I wondered what was wrong with these puppies. I wondered if the man mistyped the price, and meant $2,000. But no . . . this old codger is just a nice guy who breeds his poodle pair and sells the puppies at an affordable price to people he thinks will be good poodle owners.

He had one left. A little boy. I wanted a girl. But I agreed to take a look anyway, and as soon as I saw the little fellow, I knew. This was my puppy.

Naming him took a little more work, because every member of our family had a different name pick. I wanted to name him Wilson. It’s a family name, a dignified name. But my son ruined that one when he acted out the raft scene from Castaway, with a half-crazy Tom Hanks calling out, “Wiiillllssoooooon!”

Foster’s pick was Gunner. Cute, but no dice. Rick told us his name for the dog is Squirt, regardless of what the rest of us decide. Poor dog. That leaves my daughter Charis . . . and she suggested CJ.

I like the name CJ. It sounds both dignified and fun at the same time. I’d just about decided to go with CJ (I paid for the dog, so I get the final say) when Charis revealed what CJ stands for: Charis Junior.

I’m all for gender neutral names, but I want my boy-dog to have a more manly name than Charis Junior. So I made a decision. CJ it is. Charis can think of him however she wants, but his official papers will reveal his full name as Christopher James Green.

A name is important. The Bible tells us a good name is more valuable than silver or gold. Okay, I know it’s talking about one’s reputation, but I believe our names, or what people call us, plays an important role in how we see ourselves. I mean, what if my parents had named me Hippopotamus, or Kangaroo? I might be a totally different person than I am.

God understands the importance of names. He has names for His children; they are beautiful names, and they remind me of who I am and Whose I am.

He calls me Beloved.





And my favorite of them all: He calls me His.

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly-perfect children, and far too many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com.