Thus far one of the best books I read all year. Oct 24, Don rated it liked it Shelves: Beal's work here is solid - it is well researched, provides relevant details, and is mostly, I think, accessible for most readers. As the title suggests, this book is about "The Bible. As Beal notes, there has been a boom in Bible publishing in the last 3 deca Beal's work here is solid - it is well researched, provides relevant details, and is mostly, I think, accessible for most readers. As Beal notes, there has been a boom in Bible publishing in the last 3 decades, with a multitude of different translations available, and various Bibles that have a plethora of study guides and explanatory material involved to the point where some of these Bibles devote more words to explanation than to the believed actual "word" of God.
What Beal argues in his first section, quite persuasively, is that the Bible has reached a cult or iconic status that has actually suppressed spiritual exploration. Many if not most people who have a Bible have not read it, yet they view it as the "authoritative source" for moral and religious behavior. Others, having read it and maintaining the same belief, or led to disbelief due to the inconsistencies and conflicts throughout.
In the second part of the book, Beal discusses how those inconsistencies and conflicts came about. For anyone who has read about the history and development of the Christian religion, and thus by extension, its holy book, Beal does not cover new ground. That said, because his background is one ultimately of faith, his discussion is perhaps more sensitive than other materials may be, and thus may be more accessible for many readers. In all, I found the argument in the first section to be well stated and even persuasive at times, and the second part to be, though redundant of other materials I have read, to be well-written and thoroughly researched.
Ultimately, I enjoyed Beal's conclusion where he suggests that it would be healthier to view the Bible and more historically accurate as a library, as opposed to a book. A library is a place of many different sources and voices, to ask questions and research, to engage in exploration. Such a thought does make one wonder how different things would be if this was the view of the Bible throughout history to the present.
Wish I'd read it earlier! I've led Bible Study classes for a long time, but have so many questions, especially about how the book the books! Beal has answers, but that's not the point. The point is to appreciate the questions that the library of books known as The Bible brings to our lives. This book touches on textual history, literary criticism, theology and spirituality, all with depth.
Very readable, in a crisp funny style. I was im Fascinating! I was impressed by Beal's description of being raised in a conservative, evangelical family - he is not uncritical, but kind, generous, and appreciative. I loved and chuckled at being reminded of the popularity of The Way version of the Bible! I nodded my head as he described how daunting it can be to try to make sense of the Bible - how many people try and end up being frustrated, buying more copies and versions A few of my highlights: Interpretation was not simply a matter of trying to ascertain passively the meaning of a text.
It was active and creative. How rare such places have become in a society addicted to quick fixes, executive summaries, and idiot's guides. The canon of the Bible is that kind of place. Feb 16, Miles Fowler rated it liked it Shelves: Beal, who reads both Greek and Hebrew and sometimes gives his own translations of the texts, also describes the historical development of the Bible, concluding that it is not so much a book as a library: Both ancient synagogues and early Christian churches did not have Bibles so much as they had collections of the separate 1Cbooks 1D that now make up the Bible.
It was not until rather late that anyone tried to put all of the books of the Bible into one volume. Beal uses a great deal of humor in this book. In describing the popular use of the Bible for divination, Beal recalls the time in his own adolescence when he asked, 1CDoes Joanne like me? A section of chapter eight is entitled 1CLoose Canon, 1D a pun that could have many meanings, and Beal just might mean all of them at once. But all is not pop culture and jests.
Beal has some serious points to make. A recurring theme is a critique of the limiting belief that the Bible is a book of answers that is consequently intimidating to anyone who tries to pick it up and read it. Do I understand it, people wonder anxiously, and if not is there something wrong with me? That is, each book of the Bible revisits the themes and subject matter of earlier books and does not always arrive at the same understanding. Usually doesn 19t, as a matter of fact. Beal finds this liberating rather than discomfiting. He rejects as self defeating the views of those both believers and unbelievers who insist that the Bible must stand or fall on its inerrancy.
No, he demurs; rather, to expect the Bible to speak with one voice and to answer all questions with one sure answer is to expect the Bible to be what it was never meant to be. The Bible is polyvocal, not univocal. It is a collection of many voices, often in dispute with each other rather than harmony.
Beal counts four or five different accounts of creation in the Bible. These are often contradictory, and two are both found in the first book, Genesis. Beal points out that the ancient editors of the Genesis were not stupid; they knew they were stitching together two contradictory accounts of creation, one after the other.
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Obviously that is what they intended to do. More contentiously, the Book of Job provides an argument against Deuteronomy 19s declaration that bad things only happen to bad people. Job is sometimes regarded as a contrary point of view that somehow snuck into the Bible when no one was looking, but Beal recognizes that its contrariness is not that unusual in the Bible, where books regularly take different positions on similar issues or explicitly re-reinterpret the meanings of earlier books.
Beal carries this conceit to a radical extent. He seems to be saying that everyone in the Bible is reinterpreting each other, so we might as well join in the act. Beal looks at the present and future and sees the possibility that the Bible could be re-envisioned through the Internet where all texts can be connected hypertextually, collaboratively invested with new contexts and meanings.sa2i.net/restore/sprint/surveiller-sms-dun-portable.php
Bible – Kim Cash Tate
And yet, ironically, it also looks very like the scriptural culture of early Christianity 1D where scattered communities shared various books with each other and copied and commented and edited. Beal takes the Bible as a post-modernist text, arguing that it has already deconstructed itself, but this attitude may go too far in overlooking the fact that the ancient authors and editors had their own meanings in mind 14meanings that are neither entirely unknowable nor of lesser value than all readers 19 interpretations; understanding as much as we can about the earlier intent of biblical authors and editors is crucial if we are to get something of real value out of the Bible rather than merely mirroring our own or someone else 19s opinions and prejudices.
The meanings intended by the authors and editors should be acknowledged as the starting point for our understanding of the history and thought behind these texts. Beal is right that there are more questions in the Bible than there are answers, but within reasonable parameters there can be wrong answers, as Beal concedes, for example, in his discussion of how the Matthean proof text for the virgin birth was indeed based on a mistranslation of the Hebrew word 1Calmah 1D which means 1Cyoung woman 1D but was translated in the Septuagint or Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures as 1Cvirgin.
Throughout their history, Christians have probably been particularly egregious 14in comparison to all those who eccentrically reinterpret scriptures 14in interpreting the Bible in illegitimate ways in order to justify their doctrines after the fact, the prime case being Matthew 19s 14and many other Christians 19 14 reinterpretation of Isaiah and some other Jewish texts to make them speak about the Messiah when they clearly do not. This may not have been done with intentional deceit in most cases, but it was a wish fulfillment done with so little respect for the original intent of the earlier authors that it impoverishes Christianity to the extent that some Christians 19 faith is thus hanged from a single falsification of the original text.
However, Luke does not rely on the same proof texts that Matthew does 14another example of polyvocality: Apr 14, Dee Halzack rated it liked it. This was an interesting book, though not riveting. Sort of a former evangelical raised with the Bible at the center of his life coming to terms with its inconsistencies. Lots of interesting facts. Lots of interesting perspectives. Bible as library of questions, rather than definitive how-to manual. May 05, Cindy rated it it was ok. Lightly researched and somewhat subjective musing about the history of the Bible ; an easy read with a few interesting perspectives and takeaways.
While reading this book, I kept thinking of that line from the musical Wicked: This is a belief that people tend to hold unless an 4. This is a belief that people tend to hold unless and until they actually read the Bible, at which point they tend to have a crisis of faith because they've been taught that their faith is solid because the Bible has all the answers. Nothing in this book was new or earth-shattering for me, but I did find it a compelling and well-constructed read.
Beal begins by talking about the current state of the Bible — in response to people's not finding in the Bible what they think it should contain clear, straightforward answers for life , publishers have produced a multitude of translations, commentaries, and formats that sometimes overwhelm and drown out the words of the original book. Though, as Beal shows by taking us back in time, the idea of a single "original" Bible is also a myth. The closest we've ever had was the couple of centuries when the King James Bible was considered the single authoritative English translation, and that came about many hundreds of years after the various texts that make up the New Testament were written, but the decisions about which texts to include and which versions of those texts were the "best" were made and remade in the centuries following Jesus' life.
My only real critique is that Beal's writing isn't always stellar. He uses the phrase "the end of the Word as we know it," which would be a clever play on words on its own, three times in two pages in a chapter titled that same thing. But it's well organized, there are plenty of funny parts, and I highlighted a ton of paragraphs that explained particular ideas clearly and succinctly. One of my favorite points was that those fundamentalists who insist that there are no contradictions in the Bible, and those atheists who believe that the Bible's contradictions mean Christianity is a fraud, are two sides of the same coin, accepting as true the faulty idea that faith in Christ is dependent on a univocal Bible.
Although he doesn't ultimately tell you what you should "do" with the Bible, Beal provides a new framework for accepting the Bible as it is while still seeing it a rich resource of faith. I definitely recommend this book. Apr 12, William Stanger rated it it was amazing. The Rise and Fall of The Bible is an excellent book, well worth reading if in your reading of the Bible you have ended up with more questions and answers, and in this have felt guilty because you have been led to believe by some well-meaning person that it was the place where you'd find all the answers.
This is the first book by Timothy Beal that I have read, but it won't be the last. This book is very scholarly, but, in saying this, it is also very readable. What he writes comes from both perso The Rise and Fall of The Bible is an excellent book, well worth reading if in your reading of the Bible you have ended up with more questions and answers, and in this have felt guilty because you have been led to believe by some well-meaning person that it was the place where you'd find all the answers. What he writes comes from both personal experience and a great depth of study in and around the Bible.
One of the arguments the author makes is that because we often tend to approach the Bible with a set of preconceived ideas or notions of what to expect, we miss out on so much, because we fail to face up to what the Bible really is. My favourite quote, in regards to this idea, comes from page There is no way to grow and mature in one's faith without wrestling with the ideas and traditions that one has inherited. No one else can do it for you - not parents, not ministers, not youth group leaders, not professors, not Bible publishers. The iconic idea of the Bible as a book of black-and-white answers encourages us to remain in a state of spiritual immaturity.
It discourages curiosity in the terra incognita of biblical literature, handing us a Magic 8 Ball Bible to play with instead. There is so much I could write about this book, but rather than doing too much of this, I'd recommend that you read it. It's not a long book, making you wish that it would end soon.
If anything, I found myself wanting more when I got to the end. I borrowed this copy from our local library, but I know that I'll need to get my own copy soon, because it's a book I'll need to return to at some time. The best thing about this book is that it allows the reader to honestly ask some questions that they may have found hard to express, perhaps because they have been taught more what to think than how to think.
This allowance of asking questions shouldn't lead to a lessening of one's faith, as some may suggest, but should help bring depth, understanding, and maturity to one's faith. Even if you don't agree with all that the author has written, it will hopefully bring you to a point where you begin to question why you believe what you believe.
It may also bring you to the point where you realize that questions or doubts are not wrong, but are helpful on your life journey and can lead to a better, even, deeper understanding and experience of your faith. Raised in an evangelical family his parents worked with Campus Crusade for Christ and similar organizations and now a professor of Biblical studies at Case Western Reserve, Beal knows his Bible and its history. He begins by surveying all the rather peculiar ways in which the Bible is marketed today, especially to evangelicals.
I had seen some of these in bookstores but I didn't know about "Biblezines" in which the sidebars of commentary and Tips for Teens eclipse the Bible text; manga Bibles; Raised in an evangelical family his parents worked with Campus Crusade for Christ and similar organizations and now a professor of Biblical studies at Case Western Reserve, Beal knows his Bible and its history. I had seen some of these in bookstores but I didn't know about "Biblezines" in which the sidebars of commentary and Tips for Teens eclipse the Bible text; manga Bibles; and Bibles for every age and gender, with "appropriate" bindings -- there's even a Duct Tape Bible!
He also points out the use of "Bible" as a term for the definitive work on a subject, from the Shooter's Bible to the Cake Bible. Readers who are fairly familiar with the history of the Bible and its criticism may find a lot to skim, but I believe nearly everyone has something to learn from this book.
Beal's book also deals with what I might call the sociology of the Bible and how it achieved a sort of iconic status quite apart from the actual texts and their meanings. He gives a good rundown of Bible history, reminding us that the earliest Christians did not have a common Bible but rather collections of texts which differed from group to group. Beal also has some excellent suggestions for how Bible studies might best be conducted. If his ideas, which are quite similar to my own, were to be adopted, I'm afraid there'd be a lot of Bible study workbook authors out of work.
I think both clergy and laypeople could get something from The Rise and Fall of the Bible and that even atheists who so often seem to be just a different variety of fundamentalists could learn enough from it to make some of their arguments a little less ridiculous. Sep 16, Fox rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is the sort of book that more people need to read. Beal is the reasonable sort of person who needs to speak out about Christianity.
The first two thirds of the book are divided into a brief history of Christianity itself, and more interestingly, a history of the Bible. Beal takes the time to dissuade any reader of the Dan Brown styled notions that things are cut and dry, and instead explains the lack of consistency throughout the Bibles many incarnations. This is fascin This is the sort of book that more people need to read. This is fascinating stuff, and moreover, it is important stuff to know when people tend to be hardlining notions that The Bible Says X when it reality that may not be the case.
The final third of the book is spent discussing how one can move forward with the knowledge they have. Beale takes the time to explain that turning anyone to atheism is not the message of his work. If it happens, it happens, but nothing is explicitly stated within his piece that says God is Dead. Rather, the book is a celebration on the lack of a univocal Bible and a reminder that one can peel back the layers of these books to make their own meaning. This book is a throwback to the deeply intellectual religions that Karen Armstrong celebrated and Bert Ehrman spends so much time focusing on.
These are the intellectuals who find that knowledge itself is a form of worship and questioning the very basis of life. Some things don't require clean-cut answers, and for may things answers do not exist. This should be celebrated. View all 4 comments. Oct 25, Lee Harmon rated it it was amazing. Beal is a professor of religion at Case Western Reserve University, and an accomplished author. His writing style is fluid, intelligent and entertaining. The subtitle is The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book, which is pretty open-ended, and Beal takes advantage of his generic subtitle to meander around a bit, working in a number of interesting tidbits and topics.
Makes for a great, if a bit undirected, read. Less than half of all adult Americans can name the first book of the Bible, or the four Gospels. More than half of graduating high school seniors guess that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife. Instead, value-added products such as magazines and graphics novels is a thriving industry. The Bible is not a book of answers, but a library of questions. Not a wellspring of truth but a pool of imagination, rich in ambiguity, contradiction, and argument.
The Bible is dead; long live the Bible. Aug 29, Bookworm rated it it was amazing Shelves: Received a free review copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review I wasn't sure what to expect with this book but it looked interesting so I requested it.
I was pleasantly surprised. Beal wants us to revise and rexamine our notions about the Bible and our interactions with it. The prevalent way of viewing the Bible seems to be that it is God's Word and that it contains the answers to every question in life. But that view is only about years old and comes from the American evangelicalism of the time period. But Beal finds that belief incomplete. Instead he challenges us to view the books of the Bible as retellings and reinterpretations of earlier Scripture. He wants us to bring ambiguity back in to our relationship with the words.
One definitive answer is not necessarily what we should take away from our reading of the Bible. He further decries the outpouring of Bibles with value-content added. Meaning added sections that provide one interpretation as if it is the only one and are sometimes more read than the actual Scripture thus giving people a false sense of their understanding. The production of so many different types of Bibles is also describing the sacred capital that has been accrued, something Beal applauds as it will help readers acquire their own thoughts and feelings instead of having them imposed on them by history.
Fascinating read; highly recommended! Feb 14, Frank Roberts rated it it was amazing Shelves: In turning readers away from the struggle, from wrestling with the rich complexity of biblical literature and its history, in which there are no easy answers, it perpetuates an adolescent faith.
When I say we've made an idol of the Bible, I don't mean we've idolized the Bible itself, as a stand-in for God; I mean that our iconic idea of the Bible as God's Word incarnate is an idol that stands in for the Bible itself, which is no such concrete, black-and-white thing. Bible debunkers and Bible defenders are kindred spirits. They agree that the Bible is on trial. They agree on the terms of the debate and what is at stake, namely its credibility as God's infallible book.
The question for both sides is whether it fails to answer questions, from the most trivial to the ultimate, consistently and reliably. But you can't fail at something you're not trying to do. To ask whether the Bible fails to give consistent answers or be of one voice with itself presumes that it was built to do so.
That's a false presumption, rooted in thinking of it as the book that God wrote. Feb 23, Sarah rated it really liked it Shelves: The modern Bible is a mess. But that doesn't mean it's no longer valid. An interesting look at the Bible, past, present, and future, from a man who understands what the thing is but who remains dedicated to Christianity.
I've recently come away from the idea of the Bible as inerrant and complete. My background makes it difficult to care about the Bible as a spiritual text after having done so.
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So, I really did need to see this man's viewpoint. That is, that the first thing to remember is that there The modern Bible is a mess. That is, that the first thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a single book titled "The Bible. The second is that, as such, contradictions and confusion are just a part of its character, not some damning flaw like people who treat the Bible as a rulebook for life tend to think which is why they go to such efforts to make it appear that contradictions don't exist.
Third, instead of thinking of the Bible as a place to turn for answers, we can think of it a place where the eternal questions continue to be asked and argued over. His thinking here is that anybody who claims to know an answer to the great questions of life is usually the guy that actually knows the least about it. He hits on the way Buddhism works -- a comparison I've heard alluded to before. In other words, the point of reading the Bible isn't to solve your every little problem, but to make you think about it for yourself. I recommend this book, especially after having read Misquoting Jesus.
Dec 21, Reid Mccormick rated it really liked it Shelves: It is easily the most influential work in history. However, the Bible is also the most divisive work in history. The Christian church, which puts great authority in the Bible, has split over and over again due to the abundant interpretations of Scripture. How the Bible came to be is an important question that needs to be answered. I picked up this book because it sounded very interesting and I have always been intrigued by the evolution of the Bible and biblical interpretation.
This book definitely did not include the harsh criticism I expected. Though critical toward biblical inerrancy proponents, I felt like this book examined the history of biblical publications and the Bible itself. The author objects to modern versions of valued-added Biblical literature such as biblezines, graphic novelizations, and audience-oriented study Bibles. The book gets better as the author starts reviewing the history of the Bible and how books became canon and others did not.
I was hoping for a better history lesson on the formation of the Bible than what this book provided. I feel like there is a lot of information out there could have been included. I enjoyed the conclusion of the book, though I know most conservative Biblical scholars would be appalled. The author attempts to create a conversation about the Bible and I think that is admirable. Mar 22, Steve rated it it was amazing.
Books of the Bible
This is a wonderful book. Well-written and very substantial, despite its relatively small size.
Beal considers the Bible both as a scholar and as an individual Christian, and many of his personal thoughts are the same as mine. As anyone who has read it should know. There's no one definitive version of the Bible, and it's not just one "univocal" book. To quote the author: In fact, the name began as a mistranslation of its earlier Greek name, ta biblia, "the books.
They don't all come together into a single, book-length story. Moreover there are many different versions of Bibles. And behind each of those translations are hundreds of ancient manuscripts in many different languages. The Bible is not a book, let alone The Book. Saint Jerome, a Latin translator, had another name for it: Mar 04, Deirdre Good added it. Tim Beal, Florence Harkness professor of Religion at Case Western Reserve University argues that the abundance of online Bible materials, 'zines, Manga Bibles, and a profusion of functional-equivalence modern translations contribute to the devaluation and even disappearance of the Bible.
Bible magazines actually promote not the Bible but notes highlighting what the text should be made to mean. The biblical text itself on these pages is not what attracts the reader's eye. And there's a lot of mat Tim Beal, Florence Harkness professor of Religion at Case Western Reserve University argues that the abundance of online Bible materials, 'zines, Manga Bibles, and a profusion of functional-equivalence modern translations contribute to the devaluation and even disappearance of the Bible.
And there's a lot of material in these magazines that jumps off the page in targeting a specific focus group: There's an interesting chapter using Luke 4, Jesus' first public experience of speaking in a synagogue, to argue that the Bible Jesus read would have been a scroll of Isaiah Jesus chanted. But Luke's community might have known a version of the Lxx, or collections of testamonia or a Pauline collection of epistles rather than the Bible as we know it.
So icons of Jesus holding a book are anachronistic. At the end of the book there are some good examples about gatherings in churches dialoguing about the meaning of the parable of the Sower. But in the end, as the author would agree, it's a book about the Bible. May 10, Sarah rated it really liked it.
I really enjoyed this book. Obviously, it's a subject that can be HIGHLY controversial, especially if you are someone who believes in the inerrancy of scripture. I thought it was a thoughtful and informative discussion of 1. When you understand that in the days of the early church, there was no Bible a I really enjoyed this book.
When you understand that in the days of the early church, there was no Bible as we know it but that they read and reread and interpreted a number of texts and yet they still believed in earnest, it makes it easier to accept the questions of our faith and a wider interpretation of our Bible. To read the Bible as a black-and-white book of answers diminishes its depth, its complexity and makes it appear hypocritical when there are such obvious contradictions. Rather than diminishing the Bible, I feel that this book leads to liberating the Bible from our little box in which we want to place it and releases its real power and depth.
Read this expecting more questions than answers but really, isn't that what our relationship with God is all about?
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I, for one, have no problem believing that my small human mind and heart cannot comprehend all the mysteries of God. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. He has published ten books, including Roadside Religion: Gender, Ethnicity, and Annihilation in Esther. So I pray for the Lord to not only keep me focused, but to laser focus me on whatever I need at that time. Then once again I read the verses that came before. Jesus had been teaching in His hometown. After all, they knew Messiah was coming. Surely, this could be Him. I read the first two chapters, then read them again, and my eyes were drawn to the word lust.
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. And as I cooked a spinach omelette, words to a video swirled in my head.
I have this clock that fools me every year. It is factory-set on the old daylight savings dates, and every fall and spring, when I least expect it, it pulls a gotcha in the middle of the night. This morning, I hopped up when the clock read 6: I made my coffee anyway, talking to God, praying He would show me why I was really up.
Pilate questioned Jesus personally, then announced:. Herod questioned Him at length—as the Jews again accused—and sent Him back to Pilate. I have found in Him no guilt demanding death. He wanted to release Jesus. Yet, the Jews were in such an uproar. Crucify a man in whom there was no guilt? Pilate could not have known. He was part of an eternal plan.
Nothing deserving of death has been done by Him. The guilt was mine. And in that earlier-than-normal hour, I allowed the grief and tears and praise and worship to flow. Lord Jesus, let me never take lightly the debt of sin that You paid for me. Let me never take for granted that You had to endure even a trial for my sake, let alone the spitting and scourging and thorns and nails. You died for me. I worship You and thank You, Jesus, for dying for me, so that I could live.
Help me to live completely for You. I am nowhere near a prayer warrior. I count my mother one, praying several hours a day, often rising at three in the morning to do so. I would be fast asleep in no time. When my kids were little, that was my alone-time with God though it got interrupted too! I like quiet, which helps, so the television is rarely on during the day and, in the car, the radio is mostly silent. I love how simple yet powerful it is. In fact, our prayer can be that we understand the verse.
In praying Scripture, we renew our minds with truth while also asking God to establish that truth. Also, how would you describe your prayer life? And I somehow thought that if I meditated on the word of God, and by Gods grace, walked in obedience, things would go well. Not only go well, but prosper. Did you notice Joshua 1: Is it not awesome that meditating on the word leads to obedience to the word?
But in the past two or three years, there seems to have been one trial after another, in the midst of which I could have been hard-pressed to believe I was prospering or having success. And yet, I was. Being in the Word consistently helped me to focus on the Lord in times of trial. It gave me a wellspring of knowledge about Him and His attributes, and an eternal perspective. But I was able to draw upon Scripture that helped me to trust, believe, and endure. I am amazed at the ways in which the word of God builds us up and causes our souls to prosper.
But hey, maybe the video will persuade one or two of you to give it a try! So what do you do to stay consistently in the Word? And are you memorizing anything right now? In my first post of ahem…Happy New Year! I thought, Great idea. If I ever get time. But on the treadmill last week— why do so many things come to me on the treadmill? So then I prayed about. How do you study? What tips can you share? If you journal, do you incorporate journaling into your studies? So glad you stopped by. Maybe you've been coming for years, and you're on your way to chime in on the blog.
Or maybe it's your first time Check out the posts, join the convo. Sisters here offer amazing encouragement.