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Esther has read 11 books toward her goal of 50 books.
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15 December 2016
Lead Me NotLead Me Not by Ann Gallagher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Warning for homophobia and homophobic language.

When I started into Lead Me Not, I was hesitant. This is not the first LGBT book I have read, but it is the first Christian LGBT book I have read. And when Isaac is first introduced, his thoughts and actions are harsh and homophobic. This was the protagonist we’re supposed to cheer for? Not likely. But then, Isaac slowly began to grow on me. I realized that he was actually in the closet himself, so deep he couldn’t see his way out, couldn’t see much of anything. He was blind.

Isaac’s family and the environment he grew up in are incredibly toxic. Ann Gallagher paints a masterful picture of the way these so-called Christians twist the Scriptures to condemn homosexuality. Isaac’s brother William is especially hateful, while Isaac himself sincerely just wants to help people—although he is very wrong in how he tries to do so. Isaac’s father has already disowned two of his children for not believing exactly as he does. Scenes with Isaac’s family are not easy to read.

The premise of the plot gave me pause as well. Isaac’s twin sister Ruth suggests that they make a documentary to prove that you can choose to be gay—by Isaac “choosing” to be gay, then “choosing” to be straight again. Of course, the problem is that he is not straight and never has been. And never will be.

Then Colton—a bartender at a gay club—saves Isaac from getting beaten in the alley behind the club, beaten by homophobic thugs who probably believe a lot of the same bs Isaac believes. Colton drives him to the hospital and stays with him and drives him home. That a stranger, a gay stranger, would do that for him shakes Isaac’s worldview to its core. Then Isaac finds out that Colton is a Christian and that he volunteers at a local church helping save LGBT teenagers from the streets, and his world tips on its axis again. There is a crack in his closet door, letting in just a bit of light.

It’s not easy of course. While Isaac “lives the gay lifestyle” for the documentary, telling everyone around him that he is gay, he still very much believes that he is not. The closet door might be ajar, but he is still huddled inside, trying to hide from the light. This changes slowly, but he fights it every step of the way.

Despite the harsh language and rhetoric, this really is a very uplifting book. Isaac’s family is shown clearly to be wrong. There is no insistence on forgiving someone like that either. Sometimes the best thing to do is to put distance between yourself and that toxic relationship. I’m used to romance novels being rather shallow in theme and content, but this one surprised me. I would highly recommend it, and I will likely read it again.



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27 November 2016
I lost my mom four years ago;
I miss her still today.
When I think of her this time of year,
I remember…


The smell of fresh-baked bread;
Of apple pies and cookies;
An overdose of colour on the tree;
Mario, Bing, and Elvis sing carols on LP;
Soft and buttery shortbread,
Rolling out and cutting;
Stockings pinned along the couch for we had no fireplace
Filled with oranges, candies, toys, and chocolate,
A tiny house filled up with love;
Eight children crowding ‘round the tree,
Then turkey, mashed potatoes, and homemade apple pie.
We never had much money,
But Mom made Christmas special;
She showed me why she loved this time of year.
And, though I miss her sharply
And wish that she was here,
I am deeply grateful
For every memory.


09 November 2016

It seems the world has gone insane...
“Make America great again;”
Swap love for hate and peace for war.
This morning, in the darkest hour
My hope’s not faded—it was slain.

Today, a racist holds the reins:
What can profit one so vain?
I spent the night and day in pray’r
For He will save.

Our hope is built on Christ who reigns;
His love and peace will still remain,
And He will keep us through these years
For He will save.




31 October 2016
In October of 2012, I first participated in OctPoWriMo. I wrote a few poems that year about how sick my mom was with cancer and how scared I was. In November of 2012, cancer took my mom away from me. I miss her. But I know that some day we will be together again, and nothing will ever part us. Today's prompt is eternity, and we are encouraged to choose a form we tried for the first time this year and really liked, so I wrote a decuain about my mom.

We'll Dance Together

My mother loved Jesus with all her heart;
She taught me how to love by loving me
And, though I wish we never had to part,
I know someday I once again will see
Her in that land where she is fully free.
We’ll dance together on the golden streets,
Singing praise for all eternity.
Although it seemed cancer was a defeat,
To open Heaven’s door she had the key
And now, forever joy and jubilee.



30 October 2016
Tomorrow is the last day of OctPoWriMo, and I can hardly believe another one is almost over. Today's prompt is simplicity, and I chose to write a kyrielle about something that has been on my heart and soul a lot lately, especially in light of the current US election and the people who call themselves Christians who think Jesus wants them to hate members of the LGBTQ+ community and deny asylum to refugees. My Jesus is not that Jesus. As a church, we need to go back to the start, to the basic simplicity of "love one another."

Where We Were

Jesus said, “Love one another”;
Everyone sisters and brothers.
We’ve strayed so far, this now my prayer:
Let’s return to where we were.


We’ve complicated everything,
Drifted far from our Wellspring,
Contaminated what was pure.
Let’s return to where we were.


Our fundamental, simple base
Is merely love and joy and faith.
In light of this, now hear me roar,
“Let’s return to where we were.”


Widows, orphans, refugees
Are everyone the “least of these.”
Their troubles should compassion stir.
Let’s return to where we were.


Our Father loves us all the same
No matter if we change our names,
Or who we love, or who we are.
Let’s return to where we were.


29 October 2016
Just recently, I watched the Netflix original series Stranger Things where they travel to a sort of alternate reality they call "the upside down." So, when today's prompt was 'upside down', I had to reference the show. I loved the ghazal form I did a few days ago, so here is my second attempt at this fascinating form.

Upside Down

They disappeared into the dark upside down;
A monster lurked deep in the murk—upside down.

Some days it feels my life is great, I have it all together,
But then, something subverts my heart upside down.

Eleven times I took a swing and missed;
It only takes one single hit to turn the work upside down.

When I met you my life was good—I didn’t know
I was kindling you would spark—upside down.

Change can be for good or ill—turn yourself about,
Flood above the watermark and upside down.



28 October 2016
Today's prompt just didn't inspire me at all, so I decided to follow from yesterday's "scent" and write a poem about taste. I chose to write a HexSonnetta today. This poem is dedicated to my husband, Mark.

The Taste of You

Coffee when I wake,
Salted avocado,
Chocolate cookie dough,
Frosted carrot cake,
A thick and juicy steak,
And savoury risotto.

And yet, above all this,
Nothing can compare
To the flavour rare
Found within your kiss.
Nothing is amiss
In this embrace we share.

Every day anew,
I love the taste of you.