K is for Kish

K is for Kish

In my last post, the one for the letter J, I wrote about the pros and cons of having the surname “Jones.” Jones is my married name. My maiden surname is Kish.

Simple, right? Four letters… rhymes with fish, dish, wish… it’s probably a good name for a Dr. Seuss book.

Look, oh look! Oh look, little fish.
I think I see a Sara Kish!
Why is she bathing in a dish?
Hear the water go swish, swish, swish?
Put some clothes on, Sara Kish!

I didn’t really like growing up with this name. First of all, no one could pronounce it right. For some reason, people often think it’s pronounced the same way as quiche. As far as how to spell it? I’ve seen all sorts of crazy interpretations. Kirsh, Kisch, Kiss (yep, I’ll talk about “kiss” in a moment), Kush

Then there were the kids at school who thought it was funny to call me “Sara Kiss.”

Or they’d say things like, “Can I kish you?”

Fortunately, the teasing was mostly harmless, but I was a little self conscious about it.

Now, before anyone judges me for not liking my family name—the name that my beloved father bestowed on me and my siblings—know that Kish wasn’t even supposed to be my last name. My dad’s mom married five times. Her first husband, and my dad’s birth father, had the last name Beitlich (pronounced Bite-lick). Honestly, I prefer Kish.

“First I’ll bite you then I’ll lick you…”

Yeah, that would have been a fun one at school.

When my dad joined the Navy as a young man, he decided he didn’t want to use his birth father’s last name, so he chose the last name of his favorite stepfather. The story is that he scratched out his real last name on his birth certificate and wrote in “Kish.” I’m not so sure about the truth of that story, but maybe back then you could do things like that to official documents and get away with it.

However it was accomplished, my dad officially became Dale Kish. An English, German, Scandinavian man with a Hungarian-Jewish surname.

Since the name is not common, anyone who knew my family placed me right away.

“Oh, you’re Dale Kish’s daughter, aren’t you?” 

or, “Ohhh… you’re _________ Kish’s little sister…”

or, “I didn’t know you’re ____________ Kish’s big sister!”

Some sibling associations were positive and some weren’t, depending on the sibling.K

I always wished I could have a cool Irish name like O’Something or McAnother, but in the long run, it didn’t matter; I lived with Kish for 24 years, and I survived, so it must not have been too bad.

My First Lent

Technically, it’s my 40th Lent, but it’s the first one I’ve ever observed.  As a product of a Baptist-heavy nondenominational upbringing, Lent was always a “Catholic thing”.  Now that I’m working for a Free Methodist church-based school, I’m learning that Lent is more than just a Catholic practice… other Christian denominations observe it, as well.

What is Lent?  Well, I’m no Lenten scholar but my understanding of it is this:  Lenten is the season between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday (approximately 40+ days).  It is a time to identify with Christ’s suffering, the time He spent fasting in the desert.  During this time, He was tempted by Satan to use His position as the Son of God to test God’s faithfulness and provision.  Of course, Jesus did not give in to the temptation…  but it was 40 days of  self-denial.

Participating in Lent is not something you’ll find mandated in the Bible.  In fact, the practice of it didn’t begin until a few centuries after the death and resurrection of Christ.  Like other practices and traditions, its practice is more symbolic and acts as a tool to bring us closer to God through prayer and study of scripture.

Usually, during the Lenten season, participants give up something.  It can be dietary sacrifice, such as giving up meat,  sugar, or caffeine.  Others may give up watching TV or listening to secular music.  What is sacrificed is usually  something that is important to the individual and is something they feel will bring them closer to the Lord in its absence.

I know a few people who are giving up Facebook for Lent (what does that say about our culture today?!).  My sister-in-law is giving up sugary drinks.  Several people at the school where I teach are turning either vegan or vegetarian for 40 days (including my carnivorous, hunter-fisherman brother).   I am giving up all my Facebook games.  No Farmville… no Cityville… no Petville… no Frontierville… no “villes” at all.

Why?  Are my Facebook games evil?  No, but they are time-consuming.  It doesn’t matter how quickly I think I’m going to harvest my crops or collect rent, I always end up spending too much time there.  Time that could be much better spent doing… well… just about anything.  The pastor of my home church recently did a sermon on how we spend the time God has given us.  I felt justifiably convicted by this sermon.  I figured Lent would be a good time to see how my life (in all aspects, including spiritually) might be improved if I spent my time more wisely.

How is it going?  So far, so good.  I’m not missing my games too much and I’ve been more productive.  I’ve even had time to write up this blog on Lent!   I now know more about Lent than I did before… there’s the spiritual growth.

Are you participating in Lent?  If so, what are you sacrificing and how is it going?