31 December 2011

Resolutions, Part 2

I just wanted to share here a follow-up to last year's post about New Year's resolutions.  Last year I said that, although I'm not much of one for New Year's resolutions, I would be trying for the third time to read through the Bible in one year.

Well, I did it!  I'm super proud of myself.  How many of us know the guilt of going however many years as a Christian without having read the whole Bible?  I think I started having that guilt when I was about 12.  (Although to be fair, I was attending an Evangelical Christian school at that time...)  I'm glad to have that behind me, and I look forward to many re-readings in the future.  Although not in 2012.  I need a breather.  I think instead I'll try to get through the Apocrypha and a book about how the Protestant canon came to be.

[I looked a little like this sometimes...]

I guess I wanted to mention two things here.  One is the manner in which I finally accomplished my goal.  Since my daily Bible reading was coming to my Google Reader via an RSS feed, I decided that my rule would be that I couldn't read any posts in my Reader before I read the Bible reading for the day.  This gave me some leeway (I could go several days without doing my reading if I needed/wanted to), but also some urgency to get the readings done eventually (I didn't want to get too far behind on my favorite blogs!).  It was the perfect mixture and the perfect motivator.  I think the furthest behind I ever got was 5 days and 300+ blog posts, but I eventually caught back up.  So, I'm not saying that method will necessarily work for everyone -- it's definitely one suited to my particular personality and interests.  But I am saying that you should keep trying to reach your goals using different methods and incentives until you eventually get there.  Never stop starting!

I guess I also wanted to share a bit about what reading the whole Bible has meant to me and some of my thoughts about it.  I'm certainly not going to write a book review on the whole thing or anything!  And a year is a long time to hold anything in one's head, but I had some general impressions as I read:
1.) I was often surprised to read what it actually said, without all the commentary and preconceptions and opinions swirling around the text.  A lot of the time I found it to be a lot more straightforward than people act like it is.
2.) ....and other times I had to admit that I had no idea what was going on.  None.  Now, I'm a mystic (as defined by my husband on his blog -- check the link), so I'm more okay with that than some others would be.  But people have opinions and commentary and preconceptions about those parts too, which also surprises me, since the text is so seemingly inscrutable.
3.) ...so as a result, yeah, I think I'm more liberal than I was at the beginning of the year. That's a weird sentence to type.  But honestly, I think that's partly due to the fact that I've also been reading Rachel Held Evans's blog all year, and...
4.) ...the most specific observation I had about the Bible was... ::drumroll:: .... Yahweh was upset at Israel because they were cruel and unfair to orphans, widows, immigrants, and poor people.  That seems to be His most common indictment against them.  Second would probably be engaging in religious sex rituals.  But, yeah.  Dang.  That observation really got to me.  How often do I think of treating poor people with kindness and justice as even in the top 10 of things I should work on in my spiritual life?

So anyway, there ya go.  Bible read.  Goal achieved.  Marathon finished.  I win!

11 December 2011

Jessie Lyman's Journals, Part 6

I previously introduced you to my great-great grandmother, Jessie Lyman Eckert.  You can read the first post here, and subsequent post are filed under

Jessie Lyman was born January 2, 1877.  She graduated from Westport High School (Westport, MO, now part of Kansas City) in 1897 at the head of her class.  From what I have read of her diaries so far, it appears she went on to teach school for a couple years in Columbia, MO.  She married Herman Eckert in June of 1899.  On July 26, 1900, she died giving birth to twins Conrad and Cornelia at the age of 22.  Conrad is my mother's mother's father.


Sun, Oct. 24 [1897]

We went to church and saw Forest. I took his overcoat and patching. Rob sold his horse yesterday for $47. Forest was pleased to get so much. It is more than he paid for her.
Mr. Emmett Scott came this afternoon. After chatting a while he suggested that we take a drive. We had a lovely time. It was dark when we got home. He came in and we ate a lunch, and he stayed till 9:15. I enjoyed his call very much. We are going driving again, and he is going to take me skating too. Oh I see some fun ahead.
While we were out, John Wilson and his sister came. I was sorry to have missed their call, as I have been expecting them for a good while.  John is a good skater too.
I do hope I will hear from Herman tomorrow.

Mon, Oct. 25th

Aunt Mary was taken sick this morning, and Logan came for Aunt Florence. We got along the best we could for breakfast. I left all the work and when I got home there was plenty to do. I went to work to get supper, and clean up. I made baking powder biscuits, with great fear and trembling. I was frying rabbit when Aunt Florence came bringing the children. She helped me finish. My biscuits were fine.

Tues, Oct. 26th

Nothing unusual happened today. Aunt Mary is much better, and I got a letter from Herman.

Wed, Oct. 27th

The children came over again today because Aunt Mary's head ached so badly. They will stay till Uncle Willie sends for them now.

Thurs, Oct. 28th

The boys went for hickory nuts yesterday, and today Clarence went to a sale. It is quite cool this evening.

Friday, Oct. 29th

This ends my second month of school teaching.  I have just finished making out my report.  I will get some money this month that I can buy some necessary articles with. I will get a hat tomorrow.
I got two letters today, one from Mamma and one from Nettie Munsell.

Sat, Oct. 30th

We went to town today and got my money. I bought a hat and pair of shoes.
I saw Jehu Wilson in town, and Emmett Scott too.  He talked quite a while as I was waiting in the buggy for Aunt Florence. I afterward saw him on the street, and he followed me into the book store and asked me to take a drive with him tomorrow.  I accepted with pleasure.

Sun, Oct 31st

It was raining this morning, so we just mailed some letters, for Forest, and came home, instead of going to church. Forest likes my hat very much.
Mr. Scott came in the afternoon and spent the evening. As it was raining, we didn't go driving. I had a very pleasant evening. We had a religious talk.
Mr. Scott seems to have a very high opinion of me. He surprised me this evening by some of his remarks on my character, nature, etc. when this was only the third time I have met him. I must be a little on my guard. He complimented my hat, and spoke highly of my taste in selecting it.


Oooo, drama!  How exciting.

I've been trying to figure out why she abbreviates every day of the week except for Friday.  The best I can figure is that there has historically been some superstition surrounding Friday -- it was considered unlucky, apparently up into the 1900s, if this source is to be believed.  Anyone have any other thoughts on this?

Also, and I quote, "Jehu is not in the top 1000 male names for any year of birth in the last 131 years. Please enter another name." Ha ha! Not so surprising.

05 December 2011

Jessie Lyman's Journals, Part 5

I previously introduced you to my great-great grandmother, Jessie Lyman Eckert.  You can read the first post here, and subsequent post are filed under

Jessie Lyman was born January 2, 1877.  She graduated from Westport High School (Westport, MO, now part of Kansas City) in 1897 at the head of her class.  From what I have read of her diaries so far, it appears she went on to teach school for a couple years in Columbia, MO.  She married Herman Eckert in June of 1899.  On July 26, 1900, she died giving birth to twins Conrad and Cornelia at the age of 22.  Conrad is my mother's mother's father.


Tues, Oct. 12. [1897]

This was a beautiful morning and I wore my blue shirt waist.  It was the first time since I came here, that I have worn it.
I got a letter from Mamma and one from Emma today.  Mamma writes such good letters.  Emma is a case -- a freak of nature.

Wed, Oct. 13.

Arah and I took a horse back ride this evening.  It was quite dusky when we got home.  We had a great time.  I never laughed so much.  Old George is awful hard on the trot.  I had lots of fun out of him anyway.  We want to go Friday afternoon.  I will have Old Annie next time.  She is a great pacer.  Lovely color -- white with chocolate spots.

Thurs, Oct. 14.

I got a jolly letter from Muriel today.  She is a case.  School went off very well today.
I must answer some letters.

Friday, Oct. 15.

I had a very pleasant day.  After recess, I read a story to the children, and recited for them.  After school I ran another race with Clara Spilman and beat her.
Arah and I took a ride.  I went on Old Annie, and what a time we did have!  Annie certainly is a beauty.  That "side pace" of hers is a curiosity.  I don't care, she "rides easy."
Arah laughed heartily at the figure I cut.  We got home just at dark.  I am very fond of riding.  I wish I had a horse of my own.

Sat, Oct. 16th.

I wanted to visit some of my pupils today, but Arah couldn't go with me and show me the way in the morning, and I expected Uncle Wallie in the afternoon, so I didn't go.  Aunt Florence and I took a walk over to the percimmon tree in the afternoon.  Uncle Wallie didn't come after all.

Sun, Oct. 17.

It was raing [sic -- raining] this morning, so we didn't go to church.  It began to clear off about noon, so Francis and I started over to Aunt Sallie Lenore's.  The horse got lame, however, so we just went to town and mailed some letters.  We spent the afternoon at Uncle Wallie's.
In the evening, Francis and I went to Midway to the Epworth League.

 Mon, Oct. 18.

This is Forest's 21st Birthday.  He is going to live in town after this as it is so far from here to school.
I have a sore throat.

Tues, Oct. 19.

My cold is very bad.  I dismissed school at 3, and came home to get doctored up.  I think I had a slight chill in school.

Wed, Oct. 20.

Aunt Florence gave me medicine all night last night.  My cold is pretty bad, but I can get along at school if I don't get any worse.  Clarence took me to school this morning.

Thurs, Oct. 21.

My cold is pretty well under control now, thanks to a stitch in time.
I haven't had a letter from Herman this week.

Friday, Oct. 22.

Aunt Florence had company all day, but I was so late as to miss them.  Mrs. Hultz [?] and her sister, however, called on me after school.
Francis and I went to call on Pattie Scott in the evening.  We found her in bed, but she finally made her appearance.

Sat, Oct. 23.

We had company again today.  I finished Forest's patching before they came, however.
After they were gone, Francis and I went to town.  I forgot to wear my Ivak, and to take Forest's patching.  We went to see Forest, and he put his over coat around me.  I didn't get a letter from Herman today either.  I wish he would write.

I am 98% certain that the word there is indeed "Ivak", but I have no idea what that means.  I must therefore assume that it is a brand of coat that has somehow avoided internet detection.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, because I know I was: Arah.  Also, according to the Social Security baby name database (a fabulous resource), Arah was the 818th most popular baby girl name in 1882.  Their records only go back to 1880.  The variant spelling Ara was in the top 1000 baby girl names from 1880-1918 skipping only a few years.  I was assuming this Arah was male, but reading back over it, Jessie doesn't use ANY pronouns to refer to this person!  Looks like odds are it was a girl.

02 December 2011

My New Diet Plan

Hahahahahahahaha... OK, not really.  I'm just trying to eat a little better and move a little more.  I had an epiphany the other day, which was that if I want to have another baby, I'd better lose this extra weight I've got hanging on before I get pregnant, or it'll be as good as stuck there for a while.  I got back down to pre-baby weight at some point during Lucy's life (it was at that point that I finally got rid of my old pants -- if they didn't fit then, they weren't going to!), but it has crept back up.  This wouldn't bother me so much, except that I know I don't move around nearly as much as I should, and I eat my own version of junk food all afternoon, every afternoon.

So. The moving around problem I hope to remedy by buying Lucy a semi-expensive balance bike for Christmas, so I'll have put so much money into it that I'll feel compelled to take her on walks with it all the time. (Using the normal human misunderstanding of sunk costs to my advantage.)

And on the food front:

Yes, that it as extra large pill box filled with chocolate chips.  You see, lately Norman and I have been going through a 10 oz bag of Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate chips every week by ourselves.  And that's reining it in to only one bag a week.  This cannot be good for me (especially when I'm so sensitive to caffeine and sugar).  So I now have my daily allotment in the pill box.  It's working pretty well so far -- I haven't cheated, but I did get a little snippy one afternoon.  But in my defense, it turned out to be a really bad week to cut back on the chocolate, reproductive-system-ly speaking.

I will leave you with this, which is on my refrigerator above my list of approved snacks:

This is the real reason I'm so strict with food, so it helps to be reminded.

(Here is the article in which Drew Carey said that.  I highly recommend it -- he is wise and inspiring.)