Three First Names

September 9, 2007
Misty-Dawn Shelly

Good morning

I am Misty-Dawn Shelly, your student minister for this year.

I am a middler at Andover Newton Theological School which means I am half way through my MDiv program.

I may have met some of you towards the end of May last year when I came to visit First Parish. 

As soon as I entered the doors of this church I was welcomed and you allowed me to get to know you as a congregation by sharing some of your stories like: how long you’ve been a member here, how your children have grown up in this church, the rich history of this meeting house, and the love and support of this community.

And so I have chosen to share a story with you…for with a unique name like mine there must be a story…

You all might have your own ideas of how I was named Misty-Dawn…

It is definitely different: Misty-Dawn Shelly – three first names,

it has a hyphen and I am continually spelling it for people.

I can tell you I have had this name since birth – it is not one I have chosen and

I can also dispel the belief that my mom and dad were "hippies" who perhaps emerged from their tent at an all night Peace vigil to see the sun rise and the mist of the cool morning dew.

My mom and dad met while they were in the military. Both of them were medics in the U.S. Army and met in Germany. See, my mom worked out of the base in Germany and my dad flew soldiers from Vietnam to the base in Germany. They were married spring of 1974. In August of that same year, my parents went to visit my father’s family in Florida.  During the visit my father’s sister-Aunt Penny- took my mom to the horse track.  Mom bet $5 on a horse named Misty-Dawn. The horse didn’t win but that didn’t matter to my mom.  She had found a name for her child that would be born that December.  That’s right, my name would not be Mary as my father had hoped after his mother but Misty-Dawn after a race horse…simply because it was different and unique…and it is…how many Misty-Dawn’s do you know?

As we continue on our journey this year, I hope we’ll have opportunities to share more stories, for I believe in the act of sharing with one another - we cultivate the sacred in our lives.