What’s in a Name?

Fame, Bells and Shoulder Shrugs

I’ve published a lot of short pieces under my married name of Nola Passmore. So why am I using my Christian names of Nola Lorraine for my author site? One reason is to distinguish my creative writing from my other business activities, but it’s more than that. It’s all in the meaning of the names. 

Depending on whether you’re looking up the Latin or Gaelic origins, Nola can mean ‘famous’, ‘fair-shouldered’ or ‘little bell’. I joked to my husband, Tim, that I was a famous fair-shouldered ding-a-ling. He didn’t think it was as funny as I did. Tim dug a little deeper and found that Nola could also mean ‘champion’. I like that better than ‘famous’. To me it gives the impression of someone leading others into battle, like a chariot driver at the head of the pack. 


The Cross of Lorraine

Investigations of my middle name weren’t exactly earth-shattering. Lorraine simply means ‘someone from the province of Lorraine in France’. I suppose I should be grateful my middle name’s not Yackandandah, yet it didn’t thrill me either.

Then I thought about why my parents gave me that name. It turns out that The Cross of Lorraine was my Aunt Valma’s favourite film. Valma was only 22 years old when she passed away, so it seemed a fitting tribute to name me after something she loved.

The Cross of Lorraine has two crossbars, with the top one being shorter. It symbolises the sign nailed to Jesus’ cross that declared him to be the King of the Jews. The Cross of Lorraine was often carried into battle, and was used as a symbol of the French Resistance during World War II.

Courage and Hope

So here we have two images. ‘Nola’ as a champion leading others into battle, and ‘Lorraine’ as a symbol of resistance against the forces of evil. When I look at my name in those terms, I have a lot to live up to. I wouldn’t describe myself as a courageous person. I have enough trouble standing up to the odd cranky person, let alone leading anyone else into battle.

However, I found that we don’t have to enter those battles alone. God grants us courage when we need it, and the hope and promise of better things to come. As you peruse the posts, poems and stories on this website, I pray you will find hope in dark places and the courage to stand up for what you believe.

Have you ever researched the meaning of your name? I’d love to know what you’ve found.

Photo credits: Author photo by Wayne Logan at WRL Photography; Cross of Lorraine by Guillaume Bonzoms at Pixabay.


10 Responses

  1. Love this Nola Lorraine. What beautiful meanings for the names of a beautiful lady ( who can be a ding a ling 😂. I really appreciated that joke even if Tim didn’t😂). I believe you are a champion leading us into battle, and you champion us to do what God has called us to do re our writing. Where would lots of us be if you hadn’t come along us and encouraged (nagged 😆) us about our writing? I for one, wouldn’t be about to publish my first book. So many thanks Nola. The names are very apt! And I’m sure many others will agree. xx

    1. Thank you for that lovely comment, Janelle. I wrote this blog a few weeks ago before COVID-19. I’m not feeling very courageous at the moment, but it’s good to know God is walking with us. We don’t have to be champions by ourselves. And thank you so much for all you’ve done for our group. Where would we be without our active listener? I’m so proud of you for getting your devotional book out there. That took a lot of courage in itself and many will be blessed by your words. Can’t wait to read it!

  2. I love the quote, Courage is nothing more than taking one step more than you think you can. – Holly Lisle.
    You are definitely a champion of mine 😊

    1. Thanks Kirsten. That’s a great quote. You might see it popping up in a meme on my Facebook page soon 🙂 And I really appreciate all of your encouragement. I think we all have a bit of champion in us. Thanks for commenting.

  3. That was nice to know about Valma. You got the Lorraine for your middle name and I got the Valma for my middle name. I have always wished I had known her but her memory lives on.

    1. Hi Lynn – Yes I was sorry I never met Valma. From the stories Mum told, I think we would have had a lot in common, especially movies and comic books. Mum often told me how when Valma got a bit too old for comics, she’d send Mum into the shop to buy them and then Mum would get in trouble if she got the wrong one 🙂 And Valma used to drag her along to a couple of movies every Saturday. Mum has a photo of the three sisters in her room at the nursing home and she has two china pink ladies that Valma gave her. She also has a vase Aunty Joan gave her and a little garden statue outside that reminds her of Aunty Joan. Yes, their memories live on. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  4. Love this post, Nola. Though you do have a gift for finding (or is that creating?!?!) quirky humour in a situation, I think Tim is quite right in his dissection of the deeper meanings underpinning your name. Can’t wait to celebrate the release of your debut novel. Not long now!!

    1. Thanks Adele. It’s interesting how all of those bits about the name and the tagline came together. Though I’m also happy to tag along as your fair-shouldered, ding-a-ling sidekick the next time you want to take your chariot out 🙂 Thanks for commenting.

  5. You’re my favourite famous, fair-shouldered ding-a-ling of all time! And certainly a champion when it comes to leading the troops (and a few odd troupes) forward into the fray. As for your courage – I’m reminded of the Scripture in Acts where it describes how people were healed as Peter’s shadow fell on them; the Spirit’s work done through a willing servant. Likewise, I’ve been inspired and provoked to step out as a writer when your courageous ‘dare to do it’ shadow has fallen over me. For that, I am very grateful, Nola Lorraine.

    ps: love the website. 🙂

    1. Aww thanks Mazzy. That’s very kind of you. I think we’ve all held hands and helped each other to be courageous when it comes to writing. Looking forward to marching into the fray with you for a long time yet. Thanks for commenting. <3

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