As part of being a liberal arts major at UT, I had to obtain fluency in a foreign language. I tried my hand at Spanish, but came down with Mono at the beginning of the semester. My professor showed me incredible mercy, first by giving me a "C" that I didn't earn and then by telling me that I needed to pick another language because I would fail miserably if I tried to go on with Spanish.
I looked at my other options and chose Italian. It wasn't always easy, but I made some great friends, learned a beautiful language, and I get the joy of putting "Fluent in Italian" on my resume today, which always draws curious reactions.
The point of that story is to bring you into the genesis of my love with the name "Bella". In learning Italian, I placed notecards all over my apartment with Italian phrases. Above the door - "porto". Above the bathroom - "bagno". It was my way to learn. If I could have, I would have put a notecard above my sister (who, bless her heart, also happened to be my roomate). It would have read, "Bella".
The literal meaning is "beauty", but in Italian it is used between friends along with "Bello" for men in sort of the same way we would use "dude" or "chica".
Hey Friend!! Ciao Bella!!
Fast Forward a few years...
As a single guy, living in Africa, I met this woman named Beauty. She cleaned the church for dollars a day, all with her baby on her back. Her baby, Areah, didn't cry and didn't fuss. I almost imagine that if you had given her a duster, she would have helped.
As any reader of the blog would know, Stefani eventually met Beauty and Areah and an incredible bond was formed. Stef and Beauty became best friends. Areah became my de facto daughter. The two of them became the most incredible, inspiring, and altogether loved people in our world.
When we found out that Stef was pregnant, names naturally started racing through our heads. When we found out the baby was to be a girl, we somehow went straight to Bella.
Then, we vacillated, because apparently Bella is a really popular name these days. And, always the contrarian, I wasn't really excited about setting my daughter up to be one of 23 Bellas in her Kindergarten class.
So Bella means beautiful. But what about Areah? Would you believe that it is basically Hebrew for "lioness"? Yup, Bella Areah would be "beautiful lioness". Bella Areah would be an African, Hebrew, Italian way to honor some really special people in our lives. Bella Areah would be a gateway to stories about generosity, sacrifice, diligence, graciousness, rescue, and love. Bella Areah would be the perfect name for our daughter.
Therefore, all hesitations aside, that is the name.
In about three months, she'll make her first appearance...
Bella Areah Burkholder