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Esther has read 11 books toward her goal of 50 books.

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Esther Spurrill Jones. Powered by Blogger.
19 September 2017

Softly falling quiet snow
Dancing, swirling all around
Piling up upon the ground
Lightly falling gentle rain
Washing snow and ice away
Puddles where the children play
Sweetly falling flower petals
Filling all the air with scent
Heat and spice makes us content
Gently falling golden leaves
Bringing in my favourite time
Inspiring my heart to rhyme

02 September 2017
“Have you lost weight?”
It seems like such an innocent question, a compliment really. It’s a way to let someone know you’ve noticed a change in them, and it’s a positive change, right?
But I didn’t think I was fat before. Was I fat before? I’ve always been pretty happy with my body, with it’s size and shape. I walk regularly, and I don’t usually get out of breath even on long treks (as long as there’s no mountain climbing involved). I’m not thin, but I didn’t think I was fat.
Just over a month ago, I had severe stomach pain that landed me in the emergency room, where I discovered my gallbladder needed to be removed. They didn’t want to do the surgery right away though; they wanted to wait for my gallbladder to “calm down.” Apparently, gallbladders can have tantrums.
I learned to make sushi, which is a plus
In the three or four weeks that I waited for surgery, I was on a low fat diet since eating too much fat causes gallbladder attacks. I learned to love boneless skinless chicken breast and salmon steaks and rice. I scoured grocery store shelves for spices and read the nutrition labels on everything I bought. Choosing a meal from a restaurant menu was actually quite easy, while uninspiring: most places had only one or two options that worked for me.
I’ve never believed in diets, but with the threat of a repeat of that misery hanging over my head, I had little choice.
After less than two weeks on the diet, none of my pants fit without a belt. I don’t own a scale, but I was clearly losing inches. That’s when I started to hear the comments about how much weight I was losing. Well-meaning people often added remarks on how I should think about keeping up with this diet after my surgery. Because a low fat diet is what most people think of as healthy.
Did you know that nuts and some fruits (like avocado) are very high fat? But they’re also very good for you. Did you also know that soft drinks and candy contain zero fat? My low fat diet wasn’t necessarily good for me, and losing weight doesn’t always mean you’re healthy.
I did try to eat a lot of vegetables because I love vegetables, but I also ate sugary sorbets (it was August and super hot—don’t judge me). I may have lost weight, but I don’t know if I was healthier than when I was eating cheese and bacon (in moderation).

Since saying goodbye forever to my gallbladder, I’ve gone back to eating normally and I feel great. It’s been three weeks since my surgery, and I’m walking again and my energy levels are higher than they’ve been in years. But every time someone asks me if I’m keeping up with my low fat diet, I wince. No, I’m not. And I’m happy and healthy. I don’t need to be on a diet.
28 July 2017
Yesterday, someone replied to a comment I had left on an online article. They made huge, erroneous assumptions about me; insulted me; and swore at me. After my initial horrified, angry reaction where I kinda wanted to yell back, I realized that it just wasn't worth it. So I wrote this instead.

Thank You

Thank you for reminding me
How vile people can be.
How some, no matter what, will choose
To merely shout abuse.

Understanding, compromise,
And kindness they despise.
Also, logic, facts, and proof;
They think they know all truth.

Thank you. I remember now
And I will not allow
Myself to waste my energy.
Blocked. Bye bye.

26 July 2017
Love is the beginning and the end:
All the Law and Prophets hang on that.
Without love, it’s all a vast pretend:
Clanging cymbals, nothing, falling flat.

Love is the foundation and the peak:
Never failing, always hoping, sure.
All you need, and everything you seek;
In the arms of love you are secure.

Love was, and is, and is to come again.
Faith and hope abide, but love has won;
Kind and patient, over all love reigns,
Bows its head and whispers, “It is done.”

Love is father, mother, lover, friend;
Love is love and it will never end.

19 July 2017

John Pavlovitz said something in a recent blog post that really resonated with me. He said that many Christians are finding themselves “homeless” within the church, that “they’ve arrived at a spot where they realize, often with tremendous grief and a fair bit of denial—that they no longer belong where they once did. They no longer fit in American Christianity.” I’m Canadian, so my experience isn’t exactly the same, but lately I have been feeling adrift. I no longer feel at home with fellow Christians.

I am reminded of Rich Mullins’ song “You Did Not have a Home” where he reminds us that Jesus “did not have a home… [and] did not toe the party line… but the hope of the whole world rests on the shoulders of a homeless Man.” Jesus didn’t have a home church. Jesus wandered in the wilderness, preached in the mountains, rode the waves on the open sea, and asked us to follow Him.

There is a tradition in the church that we must attend services. This is mostly based on Hebrews 10: 24-25, which says
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (NKJV)
It’s that “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” that gets read as a command to go to church every Sunday. But that’s not what it says. All it says is that we should spend time with other Christians.

Now, I love many things about church. I’ve attended all my life, and there are things in services that I just can’t find anywhere else. I love worshipping together with other Christians. I love the sense of community that is found in the best congregations. But I don’t feel that lately in any church I’ve tried. Instead I feel ignored, misunderstood, or shunned.

Maybe it’s time to “shake off the dust from [my] feet” (Matt. 10:14) and find something new. I just wish I knew how to begin.

29 January 2017
“Never again!” we cry aloud.
We stand before the foe unbowed.
We will not stand idly by
While our brothers and sisters die.
We’ll stand up strong—we’ll not be cowed.

This one thing we all have vowed:
We don’t care if we’re allowed.
We will turn a blind eye
Never again.

Millions strong, we are a crowd,
And in our union, we are proud
To stand with those who testify
Evil you cannot pacify.
Remember those who fell—enshroud.
Never again.

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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