May 22

10 loving words we don’t have in english


A facebook friend shared a link with these today and I found them interesting. I normally don’t post super gushy things, but I really love how different languages express things differently. I wonder if there are English words that express things other cultures don’t have words for.

1. Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan, an indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego): The wordless yet meaningful look shared by two people who desire to initiate something, but are both reluctant to start.

2. Yuanfen (Chinese): A relationship by fate or destiny. This is a complex concept. It draws on principles of predetermination in Chinese culture, which dictate relationships, encounters and affinities, mostly among lovers and friends.

3. Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese): The act of tenderly running your fingers through someone’s hair.

4. Retrouvailles (French):  The happiness of meeting again after a long time.

5. Ilunga (Bantu): A person who is willing to forgive abuse the first time; tolerate it the second time, but never a third time.

6. La Douleur Exquise (French): The heart-wrenching pain of wanting someone you can’t have.

7. Koi No Yokan (Japanese): The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall into love.

8. Ya’aburnee(Arabic): “You bury me.” It’s a declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person, because of how difficult it would be to live without them.

9. Forelsket: (Norwegian):  The euphoria you experience when you’re first falling in love.

10. Saudade (Portuguese): The feeling of longing for someone that you love and is lost. Another linguist describes it as a “vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist.”

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Jan 28

when i’m not sleeping

When I’m not sleeping, I think.

I get more thinking done at night than I do during the day. I think about all sorts of things. I wouldn’t go so far as to call these thoughts profound, but many times I do go beyond remembering tomorrow’s agenda or making mental to-do lists.

For example, when I’m not sleeping, I think about life. I think about how short it is and whether I’ve wasted mine. I think about the road I’m on and whether it’s the right one. I think about what my future life could look like if I keep living this way. I wonder if I’ll be happy 20 years from now.

When I’m not sleeping, I think about death. I think about what my life would be like without the ones I love. I wonder what their lives would be like without me. I wonder which of my friends would come to my funeral. Who would cry? I think about whether the people I’d die for would do the same for me.

When I’m not sleeping, I think about how much I crave approval. I think about how impatient I am when I want something. I think about how easy it is to get selfish when it’s just me, talking to myself in the dark. I think about my sinful heart. I think about my jealous attitude. I think about how unworthy I am. I think about how He loves me anyway. I wonder if I’ll ever understand His love enough to stop looking for fulfillment elsewhere.

When I’m not sleeping, I think about love. I think about how it’s stronger than death. I think about how True Love saves me every day. I wonder if I have a true love on earth and where he might be. I think about the people I know who He uses to show His love far more than I deserve. I think about the rewards that come with serving Him even when it’s hard. And I think I’m blessed. I think I love Him. And I think I’m gonna make it.

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Jun 27

merely breathing

Last night I was reading Isaiah chapter 2 and verse 22 says:

Stop trusting in mere humans, 
    who have but a breath in their nostrils.
        Why hold them in esteem?

I’m sure there is more than one way to interpret this verse, but I just really felt an emphasis on but a breath. I started thinking about how we only ever have one breath in us at any given time.

When I breathe out, I don’t have any more breath until I take another one. I can’t really take two breaths at once, or even a half a breath, even if I’m feeling the need to do something impressive. A breath is just a breath.

I mean, there are even deep sea divers that can hold their breath for a long time compared to the average person, but they will still eventually run out of air. They only have that one limited supply of oxygen to nourish their body, until they reach the surface and get a new, fresh supply.

I was thinking how awesome it is that God only gives us one breath at a time. One day at a time. One season at a time.

It paces us. It requires trust. It fosters perspective. It diminishes our greatness as humans, and makes room for Someone Else to be in charge of our lives. It makes the most commonplace things suddenly seem miraculous. His plans for us are so wise, so perfect! His greatness no one can fathom.

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Jun 15

happy birthday, Sarah

Well, today you are fourteen!

I kind of feel like crying, but i’m happy for you too. This is exciting [;

In honor of your birthday, I have a few things that I feel are important to say.

First, I am so glad that we are so close. I have met many people who don’t even talk to their family members. I can’t imagine that. Your goofy nature makes hanging out with you so much fun, and I am thankful for your friendship.

Second, I know I can’t always be there for you in life. Every day I wish that I could give you the tried-and-true formula for how to survive growing up, but I don’t have the ultimate answer. You’re going to have to figure it out yourself (with God’s help of course)! But if you ever need advice or just want to talk about something, hopefully you already know that you can always come to me. I probably will make it horribly awkward but I really want to help, and I could buy you a shake or something.

I love all my siblings. I couldn’t play favorites even if I wanted to. But you were the first to make me a big sister – just one of the things that makes you special to me. I remember when you were born, and because i was the new big sister, I got free ice cream in the hospital cafeteria. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Now that I’m older I know that being a big sister continues to be awesome even after the free ice cream is all gone, because I am so stinking proud of you.

I know that growing up is hard and confusing. I did that. I’m still doing that. And I know there are days where life sucks and you don’t feel like you’re worth much of anything. And I know I yell at you about getting out of bed on time and taking shorter showers and  not eating so much applesauce at one sitting – and that’s probably good advice, just saying – but I just really, truly want you to realize that you are already amazing. You are already talented. You are already beautiful. And if you keep your head up and do your best each day, it will only get better from here.

Happy birthday, sister <3

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Jun 12

how i feel about cow rugs

I am as big a fan of animals as any other person. Really, I love them. I think conservation is important and I think people are sometimes really irresponsible when it comes to preserving certain animal species (or the earth in general, for that matter). I understand that for some people, their advocacy of choice is for animals, and that’s really important to them.

But just because some people are offended if there is a genuine cowhide rug on the floor doesn’t mean that the person who picked out that rug is going to rot in hell. You could be the president of PETA, and the cow rug people still don’t have to agree with you.  They don’t have to like your vote for president, or love your kitchen wall color, or use the same auto mechanic you do, nor do they have to agree that cows should not be rugs. Furthermore, there are a heck of a lot of cows around, if you haven’t noticed. I don’t think buying a cow rug will suddenly make Holsteins a thing of the past (or whatever type of cow it is that is most often rug-ified).

Okay, I’m done.


Apr 18

perfect lies

Negative feelings have a funny way of distorting the realities in life. Often it feels like I am so stuck on something negative that everything I tell myself during that time is a complete lie.

Today, the lies piled up, and I listened.
1. I am not cut out for this.
2. It is not worth trying.
3. I can never be as good as them.
4. I am a fake.
5. I am a hypocrite.
6. They are more perfect than I am.
7. I am worse than they are, because of what I have done.
8. They would think I was awful, if they only knew how I lived.
9. I have no right to be with them, because I am so terrible, and they are so good.
10. It will always be like this.

When I find myself facing lies like these, I know in my head they are lies. I think, with my brain, that I am wrong. But my heart still feels heavy with shame.

Because the truth is not what most people would think. The truth is that many wouldn’t quickly guess some of the things I’ve done. The truth is that i have done some terrible things.

There is a song I’ve been hearing on the radio about scars.
“Praise God, we don’t have to hide scars. They just strengthen our wounds and they soften our hearts. They remind us of where we have been, but not who we are.”

It’s the last part that trips me up in real life, because sometimes I just feel consumed with imperfection.

Sometimes, I feel like I have no hope of becoming unstuck from my frame of mind.

Sometimes I think that what I do is who I am.

Sometimes I have no reason to forgive myself.

Because I am a terrible, terrible person. A sinner, through and through. The only reason I am still here is by God’s grace, and I don’t understand that, not even the tiniest bit.

I am not a perfect person. I kill myself trying to be one, but I never even come close. I will never ever come anywhere close. I know that, in my head. and I am finding that realizing it in my heart is a slow, painful, ongoing process.

On days like today I feel like I just need to remember that I have not “ruined” God’s plan for me by being imperfect. Rather, imperfection IS part of God’s plan for me. Someday, I’ll get to the perfect part, after i’m done and through with this life. But for now, I’m right where He wants me to be. broken. messed up. twisted. filled with problems. laden with burdens. yes, a sinner through and through. Because God is in the business of life transformations.

And so I imagine God, seeing me.

Realizing I don’t measure up.

Knowing that I have done shameful things.

Understanding that my heart is fragile and scarred.

And not just in spite of that, but BECAUSE of it, He chooses me. Out of all the others, he wants me.

And as he scoops me up in His hand, he says,

“This one’s perfect.”


that’s all I really need to hear.


Mar 29

the spirit of art museums

Today my family went to an art museum.

With my family, any destination can be interesting. But a destination where there are priceless, often breakable objects surrounding you at all times, in hallways and rooms that echo with just a whisper – those are arguably the most interesting. It’s not that a 4 year old and a 7 year old can’t appreciate art. They just can’t always appreciate it quietly. or calmly. or in any other manner deemed “appropriate” for visitors.

The older I get, the more I see that art is a part of everyday life, and the more I feel that people should live with art all around them. I think kids should grow up with that too. They don’t have to be walking art encyclopedias or become artists themselves. I just think it’s important to foster some appreciation in as many areas as possible, in the interests of becoming a well-balanced individual. With art specifically, I think it’s healthy and so interesting to see the world how other people see it. This is just as true when you’re a kid, when your own world is quickly changing and expanding. And there is so much art, of so many different kinds, that it easily rises to the challenge of accompanying your own life, however unique it may be.

With all of that in mind, I am glad to see my local art museum make an effort to be family friendly. And they do really make an effort. They recently added a sculpture garden on the grounds that includes several kid-friendly structures to play in and around. The Storytelling Hut, a winding tunnel-like structure, is a favorite of my younger siblings.  Inside the museum, they have backpack scavenger hunts, a mini computer lab, a small library area, and a coloring station. The museum also has family days where kids can do crafts and activities as well as see current exhibits. However, the idea of “kid friendliness” in a museum isn’t always a given.

On our museum trip today, we viewed the current Egyptian exhibit. My four-year-old sister could care less, but my seven-year-old brother was very interested and spent his time looking for the “real mummies”. There were a few school groups taking tours at the time, and we were careful to stay out of their way as much as possible. They were making a notable amount of noise, due to the fact that most of the students were murmuring amongst themselves instead of listening to the guide. At one point we were near the group, and my brother commented on something we were looking at. I don’t remember what he said, because as soon as the words left his mouth one of the tour guides turned around and said pointedly, “I’m going to have to ask you to be quiet. There are tours going on right now.” In my mind, I said, “yeah, OURS” but instead I just walked away.

I would have understood the lady’s actions if he had been yelling, or running, or jumping up and down on a Persian rug, or spitting at other patrons, or any number of other things. But I don’t understand why his normal volume and tone of voice caused such an issue for her.

It’s times like these that make me feel like art museums aren’t on my side. I’ll admit I may be overreacting, but this is not the first or only time I have felt that our art museum is full of only snotty people. In fact, I feel that way almost every time I visit.

As a student, I have been called upon to visit the art museum to complete various assignments, usually sketches of actual works. Each time, the people assigned to security in that particular area paced back and forth warily, asking questions to be sure I was not taking flash photos or anything else equally terrible. None asked about my project. None offered more information about the piece I was looking at. None even smiled at me, though I did my best to appear cheerful and non-threatening (go ahead, try to imagine me as threatening). The sad truth of the matter is that I feel a bit like an intruder whenever I visit. The only truly personable staff members I have met are the ladies in charge of the gift shop, and who doesn’t love the gift shop?

What happened today makes me angry and sad. I understand that everyone in a museum needs to be concerned about the security of the priceless pieces housed there.  I understand that art is better viewed in the proper environment, which usually means peace and quiet. I understand that some who walk through the museum aren’t always attentive or respectful, so it’s easy to generalize. I understand that in every situation, there are standards of professionalism and rules to be enforced. But at what cost? Can kids grow up loving art if they feel like it’s not for them? Will students have a hunger to learn if they feel like an inquisitive nature is something to be squashed when in a museum?

If you ask me, the most wonderful thing about an art museum is accessibility. I can walk in those doors and see art of all kinds, from all over the world, and from any time in history. An art museum is something that doesn’t belong to just one person. Rather, it belongs to everyone, for all to enjoy. I just wish “my” museum had staff who loved to share the wealth.

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Mar 04

2012 – a bold journey

This year I chose a word instead of a New Year’s resolution. I wanted a word to guide my choices and attitudes over the course of 2012 – something that would stretch and challenge me as a person and as a Christian. I thought long and hard about what word I should choose. I asked God to point me in the direction he had in mind. I had a few word ideas, some of which I liked and one of which scared the heck out of me. Of course, that scary one was God’s idea. In the end, of course he won. My word for 2012 is BOLD.

Anyone who knows me at all could tell you that I don’t exactly embody BOLDness. In fact, I’m pretty much the opposite. I do have opinions and feelings that are just as strong as anyone else’s. But I think that most people I meet only get to know the timid side of me, and only the ones who stick with it will ever really see any of the BOLD stuff that I sometimes wish I could live out better. Those things are hidden by all the fears and insecurities that I have. Believe me, I have A LOT of them.

And the thing about living in fear is that as much as you want to break out of it, it kind of gets comfy in there, where you can shift the blame and make excuses. The thing is, I have long known that my comfort zone is cramped and narrow. But I like it. It’s predictable. It’s simple. Most of all, when I’m in my comfort zone, I am in control.

The reality is that I should be far more comfortable trusting all aspects of my life to God, than taking it all into my own foolish hands. This year’s word is a way of encouraging myself to do things that I can’t control so that he can step in and take the reins.

The physical manifestations of this so far have been terrifying. I took a speech class to face my fear of public speaking. I used the bank drive thru, which turned out to be not so bad. I dyed my hair, something i’ve been wanting to do for a while. I’ve maintained and formed new friendships despite my fear of rejection. I’ve spoken my mind in situations where my point of view wasn’t necessarily popular. Of course, I find these things freeing, once conquered.

But if the real-life, everyday part has been scary, the intangible part is even worse. My idea of what BOLD looks like has slowly been picked apart. I’ve found that BOLDness is less about being strong, confident and self-sufficient, and more about being  honest, willing and vulnerable. So basically, being BOLD is even scarier than I originally thought. It’s not something that I can conquer. It’s not something that I can get a 4.0 on. I know now more than ever that this will be a journey, not just a state of mind or a one-size-fits-all formula for life. Stopping and assessing my situation every few steps to reflect on my fears will just slow me down. I just have to move, and ask myself this question: what would I do if I weren’t afraid?


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Feb 26

a fish story (but not a whopper of a tale)

I have decided never to make promises on my blog, because whenever I do I feel a moral obligation to fulfill them. So, as promised, here’s my fishing story.

Besides this latest escapade, I haven’t been fishing in forever. The last time I went was when I was a wee little person and my family was camping. A guy was fishing with his son who was about my age, and they invited me to fish with them. I knew nothing about fishing, but I loved it. A few years before that, my neighbor was into fishing, and he used to give me his fishing rod and send me out into the yard and let me cast it as far as I could. The hook landed in the tree a lot, but he always got it down for me and let me keep playing. It’s worth mentioning that neither of these experiences caught me a fish or taught me how to bait a hook or anything like that, so basically I have zero experience with real world fishing.

Regardless, I went to a party a while back where the family lived on a lake and I felt like fishing. SO, I did. Kind of. I did watch carefully as to how I was supposed to put bait on the hook. The person telling me how to do it was very good at it – the hook went right through the top of the teeny fish mouth just like it was supposed to, very easily and no blood or guts or anything. It was not nearly as gross as I had thought it would be (for which I was glad – and I thought maybe I have the courage to use live bait after all). Anyway, so I got all set up, settled in, casted the line and instantly got it all tangled up. Once it was untangled, I plunked my hook into the water and sat there for a few minutes. It didn’t seem like very long before there was a tug on the line and I got excited, but by the time I got the line reeled in I realized whatever it was had eaten the bait right off the hook. SO, I got another little fish (which was an adventure in itself and it took me like five whole minutes trying to catch one from the bucket with my hand) and my dad was trying to help me put the hook in its mouth, but we did it wrong and the poor fish started gasping and bleeding and we couldn’t get the hook all the way through its head. It was quite traumatizing. Anyway my dad finally got it on the hook and I plopped the line back in the water. I had not been fishing 15 seconds before another fish came and ate the bait off the hook again. I got really mad at the fish, because they are not supposed to be smarter than me, even if I am a beginner. After that I took another six minutes or so to catch another fish out of the bucket and a few more minutes after that to put him on the hook (again unsuccessfully and the poor fish took a beating. It amazes me how slowly they die, I felt bad). By the time that one was finally on, I was ready to catch the dumb fish instead of the fish stealing my bait. After that though, perhaps sensing my confidence, the fish would not bite. No more fish came. None. Zip. Zero. A boat floated by and caught one very near me, but I didn’t catch any.

Still, I feel accomplished in the fact that I caught two live bait fish thingies with my bare hands, didn’t freak out when they were bleeding and dying right in front of me, and I only got the line tangled once. Also, the fish did actually come to me, whether I caught them or not, which makes me feel good. I also enjoyed just sitting on the dock and watching boaters and jet skiers and stuff go by. There were some people tubing, and someone had a tube that was like a couch! It had 3 people sitting on it and it looked way fun. Also I was reminded that everyone waves to everyone around water; why is that? It’s a weird boating and water sports complex or something. It actually also happens when camping, so maybe it is just some sort of generalized recreational complex?

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Feb 06

the psychological effect of psychology on my psyche

Am I the only one who can’t take personality tests or quizzes or anything remotely psychologically related without worrying about whether a certain answer could skew my results completely? Just knowing that choosing answer A instead of answer B could totally change my outcome drives me crazy and I suddenly have no idea whether the answers that appeal to me are merely chosen on a whim thanks to a tiny little rebellious part of me, or whether my personality really does prefer the word “casual” to the word “structured.”

When I’m supposed to choose “funky” or “classic,” do I choose classic because that’s how I tend to act and dress? or do I choose funky, because I like the idea of funky? Does funky mean I appreciate orange platform shoes, and does classic mean my personality results will be “boring, standard, structured person who has a future in general fields?” Because some days, I am considerably more boring than some people, and other days I feel like leaving notes on strangers cars at school. How do I summarize such a broad spectrum in one little test?


Ironically, when I took a communication style test for one of my college classes, my result said I think too hard. I guess this is proof. which means I apparently CAN sum up my personality on a piece of paper. But I am going to stop thinking now and go to bed. because sleeping is an integral part of my personality.

Alicia <3

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