One thing I never thought I'd be praying about was guest-room names. We had several lists of names based on certain themes. St. Paul history? Minnesota historical figures? People who have lived in the house? Then it became clear: name each room after someone's life work that has influenced us. In the same way that broken pieces of colored glass in a stained glass window make the light more beautiful, we wanted to highlight lives that refract truth and justice.
We have our Smith-George Suite. The roads our guests usually take to get to us are Smith Street and George Street. But our Smith and George aren't those namesakes. Our Smith Room is named after Betty Smith, the author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - for one sentence she wrote that influenced me as a young woman more than any phrase outside of the Bible:
"Look at everything as though you were seeing it for the first or last time:
Thus is your time on heart filled with glory."
~ Betty Smith
Our George Room is named after George Müller, a German man who took care of over 10,000 orphans in England by the means of prayer. As an adoptive family, orphan care is very important to us so we wanted to honor Müller for the profound influence he had on so many children and the generations that came from them. I often encourage guests to look him up online to read more about his life of prayer.
"My business is, with all my might to serve my own generation;
in doing so I shall best serve the next generation...
The longer I live, the more I am enabled to realize that
I have but one life to live on earth,
and that this one life is but a brief life for sowing,
in comparison with eternity, for reaping."
~ George Müller
Our Dickens Room is named after the incomparable Charles Dickens. We wanted to honor Dickens not because he was a great writer (which he was!) but because his writing brought attention to the working and living conditions of London's poor which resulted in countless civic and religious efforts to help people in need.
"No one is useless in this world
who lightens the burdens of it for another."
~ Charles Dickens
Our Charlotte Room is named after Charlotte Brontë and her sisters, Emily and Anne. The sisters lived a secluded, humble life in a remote village in the north of England. Their powerful writing reaches far beyond their time and place and still impacts people today with themes of courage, steadfastness, suffering, and redemption.
"I remembered that the real world was wide,
and that a varied field of hopes and fears,
of sensations and excitements,
awaited those who had the courage to go forth into its expanse,
to seek real knowledge of life amidst its perils."
~ Charlotte Bronte
Our Lewis Room is named after C. S. Lewis. He's best known for his Chronicles of Narnia but he also left his mark with important theological and philosophical works. Randy and I honor Lewis for the role he had in stirring our imaginations and in contributing to our theology. Our home houses several wardrobes and many books that harken to Lewis.
"We read to know we are not alone."
~ C. S. Lewis
Now, it is our ongoing prayer, that the guest-rooms of our home will be places of rest and inspiration. 🗝