An Update on Beatrice & on Us


How’s B doing?

A few weeks ago our 1 and a half year old, Beatrice, caught a stomach bug and threw up all night and the next day. The following day she had four seizures in about 20 hours.

After the third seizure Betony and I found ourselves driving to the Children’s Hospital emergency room at 4am. We watched an incredible moon-setting and sunrise on our drive. I remember humming a hymn and Betony praying. I’m sure we were quite sleep deprived as we cried and felt so much fear for B.

They let us know at Children’s that this was actually normal; that when a child is coming out of a stomach virus it can cause a seizure or cluster of seizures to occur. We’d never heard that.

beatrice eeg

Since then the CT-SCAN, EEG, and EKG have all come back normal. We are watching to see if B has these continued problems after stomach bugs or it also could be linked to her getting really upset and holding her breath.

The important thing- she’s doing great and feeling better.

We are so relieved.


How We are Doing 

This medical emergency actual came at the end of a really difficult month for the Coons family. While readying everything for Easter (I’m a church worship director) we found out two big things: the pastor I work for was leaving so my job’s future was uncertain and we were pregnant with our 4th child. In the midst of this uncertainly and these hard discussions is when B had her seizures.

So everything has somewhat come to a halt for us. All our energies have gone towards these big things: Making sure Beatrice is okay, coming to grips with a new future and processing having a fourth little one, and vocational questions. (Another good update: it looks like I’m remaining at St. Andrew, continuing the work of the church service we’ve started but also getting involved in other areas too!)

When this year started we decided we were going to choose a theme each month and let that guide our exploration of belief, the subject of our next music & art project for Giants & Pilgrims.

This month’s theme we’ve chosen? Re-awaken. After so much to process, figure out, and re-imagine, we are simply letting ourselves re-awaken to dreaming the new future. It feels a little like we’re just about to leave a holding pattern.

We are taking our time and I, personally, am beginning to feel those great warmths of hope and optimism.

An ending note: We’re SO thankful for all of your prayers and well-wishes and calls and encouragements and Facebook comments during this time! The care and concern for Beatrice and the Coons family was so tangible. It was humbling.

Thank you.

Here’s to this May being about “re-awakening”.

Naming Our Children

One of my favorite things to ask new parents is why or how they chose their child’s name. I love hearing those stories. Speaking a name over our children has been something Betony and I have taken very seriously (and with some fear, too) and I’m always excited to share with friends and family how our girls’ names came to be. I feel like it not only tells the roots of their story, but so much of ours as well.

(Alongside asking why we give our children their names it’s good to also ask what meaning do you find in your own name? Why were your parents drawn to it? Is there someone’s legacy you are embodying? A biblical story? A piece of nature that holds a memory? It’s good to ask our parents such questions.)

So, shared here are some reasons why we’ve chosen these names for our girls. Actually, choosing Beatrice, Hattie, and Lucy’s names came from a collection of several reasons, that and they just “felt right”. I’d like to share pieces of those reasons here, for each child.


The name Beatrice means “She who brings happiness, blessed”. When it comes to our children never have Betony and I felt such completion and blessing.

The name Beatrice also means “Voyager”, which since this little one has been to Iceland and back already we thought was appropriate.

And the “beatitudes” share a common root-word with Beatrice (again, meaning blessed). This poetry from a sermon of Jesus’ is all about how God is with the broken, hurt, and empty who are giving themselves to the world. (See Matthew 5). It’s a beautiful passage.

Elaine is the name of Betony’s mother. She’s been a wonderful presence of calm and peace for us and our family. We’re excited to honor her with the name-sake.

Dianne is my mother’s name. Along with my wife (and children) I consider her one of the most important people in my life. She’s strong, resilient, and non-stop-busy loving us and her family.

One Christmas I was reading Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit to Lucy while Debussy’s Claire Du Lune was playing. The wonderful memory has stayed with me as a father.

Shortening the middle names to E. D. and you get my father’s name. We’re planning on “Edie” (EE-dee) being her family nickname.


Betony’s grandfather, Harold “Hal” Snyder, was a wonderful man who passed away a few summers ago. He was a big-band drummer, a humanitarian, and an etoro prowizje kryptowaluty banker (Rad!). Harriet is not the true “feminine” version of Harold, but in our minds… sure it is.

Betony grew up on an apple orchard. It was a magnificent and magical place to be a child.

One of my favorite verses is from Psalm 1: 3-4, referring to a person planted by streams of righteousness:

“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—

whatever they do prospers.”

And this picture of a tree firmly planted giving life-bearing fruit to the world around them- this has been one of the best pictures I’ve held to for my life.

In thinking of strong females in history, Betony and I thought of Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe immediately.

“Harriet! Harr-i-et! Hard-hearted harbinger of hagass! Beautiful, bemuse-ed, bellicose butcher.” -Mike Myers, So I Married an Axe Murderer… greatest 90′s comedy, ever!

“Harriet” means “home-maker”. If you’ve experienced the food and hospitality Betony gives, you can feel that value of ours in your soul.

Lastly, “Hattie” is a beautiful word to say aloud.


My grandmother, Beulah Arnold, was a progressive, compassionate woman who’s nickname (from my grandfather) was “Lucy”.

Betony had a “Peanuts” shirt that said “Lucy” on the back when we first met.

Lucy, translated in latin, means “light”.

One out of every 15 or so people who meet Lucy quickly sing, “Lucy in the sky with diamonds!”. I wanted that to be the response in meeting my daughter: immediate song!

“O Israel, trust in the Lord!” is the chorus of a Waterdeep song that Betony loves.

Jacob “wrestles with God” and is renamed Israel. I speak this over my daughter: faith is not easy, it is something you will always wrestle with. And sometimes come away with a limp.