God Never Wastes a Trial

“God never wastes a trial.”

If I had to choose a motto for my life, this would be one of my top five. You might think, “why in the world would you choose a motto about trials?” Great question! You see, sometimes the most seemingly ridiculous things end up being beautiful and good. Let me explain.

Imagine that I had one of those moments where my life flashed before my eyes and I was blessed with the benefit of seeing a panorama of events, both good and bad. I would see moments of love and joy, sidled up next to moments of pain and heartache. I would see stellar life choices that I made, but also some amazingly poor choices that brought great sorrow and distress into my life. You, too?

But, let me tell you the beautiful thing in all of this hot mess that is my life. God never wastes a trial or a heartache.  Every poor choice, every time those choices brought pain. Shoot! Even when my choices are good and right, there is the opportunity for God to bring something beautiful and useful out of a heap of ashes or bed of roses. AND HE DOES! I’ve seen it time and time again in my life.

 

God Never Wastes a Trial

 

 

Case in point! Years ago I shared about my decades-ago struggles with loving a family member in this video. Frequently, when I speak to women, I have the opportunity to share this same story. I cannot even begin to count how many times women have come up to me and said, What? You too? I thought I was the only one who felt that way! Just last week I had the privilege of coming alongside a beautiful young woman who is walking this very path in her own life. I pray that I was able to speak encouragement into her heart in regard to loving a family member when all you feel is anger toward them.

It is in those moments that the truth of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 comes alive:

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

I cannot resist giving you verse 4 from The Message:

 

He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.

It is true, y’all…..God never wastes a trial. He has purpose in them. He has good in them. They may not feel good or purposeful. You may just have to grit your teeth and think, ‘this too shall pass. It is passing like a kidney stone, but I have faith that it will pass…and that God will somehow redeem it.”

Even as I type this post I am walking a path where another person is slandering my character and reputation with lies and twisted truth, yet I keep trusting that God’s got it and that one day I will be able to use the comfort I am receiving from Him to comfort another person going through similar circumstances.

Do you have a 2 Corinthians 1:4 testimony? Sister, God did not allow difficult circumstances in your life for no reason at all. He has purpose in them, but you must walk by faith toward that purpose until you can see it with your eyes. If you can see above the circumstances to the good that God is working in your heart, are you willing to share it to encourage other people? I would love to read how God has comforted you in a difficult situation so that you can turn around and comfort others going through similar situations. Would you share in the comments or via email?

God never wastes a trial!

SDG/FCA!!

 

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Here is the link to a book that has brought me great peace in times of trial and trouble. I encourage you to check it out.

The ‘She Reads Truth Bible': A Review and A GIVEAWAY!

Most anyone who knows me know that I can hardly resist a trip to a bookstore. I love books, and in particular, I am crazy about Bibles and Bible commentaries. I, like many of you, am blessed to have multiple copies of the Bible within the walls of my home. Of all the Bibles I do have, the one that I have never purchased is a Bible written specifically for women. So, when the opportunity dropped into my inbox to review a Bible that is fresh to the market and targeted toward women, I jumped at it without hesitation.

 

She Reads Truth Bible Review

 

 

May I introduce you to the She Reads Truth Bible?

 

She Reads Truth Bible

 

 

“The She Reads Truth Bible aims to live at the intersection of beauty, goodness, and Truth. Featuring devotionals by the She Reads Truth team, and Scripture reading plans that include supplemental passages for deeper understanding, this Bible invites every woman to count themselves among the She Reads Truth community of “Women in the Word of God every day.” The She Reads Truth Bible also features 66 key verses, artfully lettered to aid in Scripture memorization.

Features include: almost 200 devotionals, 66 artist-designed key verses, 35 full-color timelines, 20 full-color maps, 11 full-color charts, reading plans for every book of the Bible, one-year Bible reading plan, detailed book introductions, key verse list, carefully curated topical index, smyth-sewn binding, two colored ribbon markers, and wide margins for journaling and note-taking.”

 

Go HERE to see a video about the Bible, then come back and read about all the things I love about the She Reads Truth Bible.

 

Y’all, I will go to my grave telling anyone who will listen that I am not the same woman I was prior to committing to a daily time of Bible study. My heart has been softened and molded by the Word of God. I make better choices because of my time in the Word. I speak kinder words because of the influence of Scripture on my tongue. I am a better wife, mom, mentor, speaker, author, and friend because of the living and active Word planted deeply within my heart.

So, why am I telling you about the She Reads Truth Bible? What makes it stand out among the hundreds of choices of Bibles on the shelves in bookstores? I’m so glad you asked.

 

First, and I’m going all girly here, it is pretty. The copy that was provided to me to review for B&H Publishing by FrontGate Media in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions is a hard-back in a lovely poppy color. The Bible comes in several different colors, including gray, poppy, brown, and navy. I’m thrilled that mine is poppy.

Another reason that I am a fan of this Bible is a super nerdy one…..I like the interior font (Bible Serif). It is beautiful, inviting, and easy to read.

 

She Reads Truth

 

While I do not have an artistic bone in my body, I absolutely love the artwork at the beginning of each book of the Bible. The editors have chosen one verse from each book of the Bible that embodies what that book teaches. That verse is highlighted at the beginning of the specific book using beautiful artwork. “Together, these 66 verses present the complete arc of Scripture, book by book.” Y’all, I love that like crazy! It is like getting a clue on the first page of a book what the entire book will be about.

 

She Reads Truth

 

She Reads Truth

 

In addition, at the beginning of each book, there is an overview of the book and a timeline. I do love me a timeline, let me tell you!! The other feature that I am really digging about the She Reads Truth Bible is a guide, or checklist, for reading through that book. It is broken down into weeks and days. So, for example, if you wanted to read the entire book of Psalms, there is a 15-week plan that gives specific readings on five days each week. And, if you want to go deeper, there are additional references that one can explore that pertain to each daily reading.

 

She Reads Truth

 

As if all that were not enough, there are wonderful devotions written by women for women scattered throughout the She Reads Truth Bible.

 

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The She Reads Truth Bible is not a word-for-word or thought-for-thought translation, but rather it uses ‘optimal equivalence’. ‘Optimal equivalence starts with an exhaustive analysis of the text at every level in the original language to determine its original meaning and intention. Then, relying on the latest and best language tools and experts, the nearest corresponding semantic and linguistic equivalents are used to convey as much of the information and intention of the original text with as much clarity and readability as possible.’ (Taken directly from my copy of the She Reads Truth Bible.)

The translation that is used in the She Reads Truth Bible is the Christian Standard Bible (CSB). This version of the Bible does not seek to be overly politically correct, but rather attempts to translate the ancient text faithfully. “While the CSB avoids using ‘he’ or ‘him’ unnecessarily, the translation does not restructure sentences to avoid them when they are in the text. (Taken directly from my copy of the She Reads Truth Bible.)  I will tell you that the CSB is not my favorite translation of Scripture.

Thanks for letting me share this beautiful Bible with you today. I am tickled pink to tell you that you can register to win a copy of it! Simply go to this link to register to win.

SDG/FCA!!

Want to purchase your own copy? Head over to my affiliate link on Amazon and order away!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

DISCLOSURE:  I was given this Bible to review for B&H Publishing by FrontGate Media.  While I was given the Bible for free all thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Hope for the Hurting Wife: Author Interview with Rebekah Hallberg

It looks like I may be settling into an every Monday posting schedule here at the blog. We shall see.

Over the past couple of years I have had the pleasure of getting to know two women who have made lasting impressions on my heart. It all began when we ended up in a writing group together. Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to one of those ladies.

Rebekah Hallberg is someone whom I have never met in real life, but I just know that if we did meet, we would be BFFs. Over the last year, Rebekah has been such an incredible encourager to me. Not only in words, but also in her actions. In addition to being a writer, wife, mom, and all around awesome friend, Rebekah is a virtual assistant. If you see almost anything from me on social media, you can be fairly certain that Rebekah was the one who created it. She is such a blessing to me because social media is a must in ministry these days, but I just do not enjoy spending massive amounts of time creating posts and tweets. Enter Rebekah. She is a master at Pinterest and Twitter and Facebook.

Today I am so excited to introduce you to Rebekah and her new book, Hope for the Hurting Wife. This book, y’all! It is the creation of Rebekah and another wonderful woman that I will introduce you to very soon, Jen Stults. I’m convinced that many wives out there would be so blessed by this book and its authors, because as wonderful as marriage can be and is, it can also be incredibly painful. So without more words from me, allow me to introduce you to Rebekah.

 

Hope for the Hurting Wife

 

LA: Rebekah, I may have readers who do not know you. Would you please tell them a bit about yourself?

RH: Thank you, Leah, for having me here! What a blessing to be able to spend some time with you and your readers! I grew up as a missionary kid. I was born in the states, but spent 4 years in West Africa when my parents followed God’s call to missions overseas. I learned about faith in God from a very young age, and my faith has always been a strong, important part of my life.

 

Rebekah Hallberg headshot

 

I have been married for 18 years and my husband and I have 3 children. I hold a degree in education and have worked in both regular and special education settings. I originally started my blog as a place to document our family’s journey with special needs after our second son was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. Over time, I transitioned to faith-based blogging, telling God that I’d blog about anything except marriage. Let me just pause right here for a minute to say this:

Don’t tell God what you won’t do.

I now blog about marriage. God must have had a few chuckles when I told Him what I would not write about. More on that in a bit.

 

LA: What occupies your free time? Hobbies? Interests? 

RH: I spend a lot of my free time listening to piano music as all three of our children play the piano. Our oldest son is a piano performance major at a local university and while he practices a lot at school, between all three kids, there are still multiple hours of piano practice in our home each day.

I also enjoy a good cup of coffee and some quiet time to read. I enjoy watching movies with the family and spending quiet evenings talking and laughing with my husband.

 

LA: What are some items on your bucket list? 

RH: I recently read an article about someone who traveled across the US by train, making particular stops at scenic destinations along the way. I think that would be a great trip to take with my husband someday! I’d also love to see our oldest play at Carnegie Hall in New York City. What an amazing opportunity that would be! I’d love to see my younger two perform as well, but God may have other plans for their lives, and in time, it will be wonderful to see them following their God-given gifts!

 

LA: How did you develop an interest in writing and when did you begin writing seriously?

RH: Writing is one of my newer hobbies. I am not one of those people who always knew they wanted to write – quite the opposite, in fact. I never enjoyed writing in school. It was always such a chore for me. When I started blogging, the writing came a little more easily. I think that’s because I was writing about topics that I was interested in, and could write at my own pace. I’ve been writing seriously for about 4 years now. As I follow God’s promptings on my heart, the writing becomes easier.

 

 LA: What is the story behind your book, Hope for the Hurting Wife?

RH: Remember when I told God that I wouldn’t write about marriage? I had what I thought was a pretty normal marriage. We were both active in church, we loved each other, we loved our kids and were raising them to love the Lord – by all accounts things were good! One morning we were startled by a sudden knock at the door, followed by a lot of shouting. As we opened the door, the bottom fell out of my marriage and my world fell apart. I was completely blindsided and had no idea what was happening. Reality was being revealed and I realized that my marriage was not at all that I thought it had been. Heartbroken and utterly devastated, I started the hardest journey of my life – to pray for redemption for my marriage. It took me about 6 months to decide that I wanted to stay, that I wanted to work through the choices my husband made that nearly cost us our marriage.
I met Jen, my co-author, in a blogging group. While our backgrounds and stories are different, God brought us together and gave us a deep connection because of our stories. We realized that women needed the hope, the understanding, of another woman who has been through a crisis in her marriage. We first released a 14-day version of our book as a download in February, 2017. The response was so great that we knew we needed to do more. After a lot of praying and seeking God, we decided to combine some of our writings, and to add some content that has never been published before, and turn our book into a 30-day book that we hope will bless and encourage women at any stage of their marriage. We’re proud to share Hope for the Hurting Wife with you.

 

Hope Hurting Wife September 11

 

LA: Tell us more about Hope for the Hurting Wife, please!

RH: Hope for the Hurting Wife is a beautiful story of God’s redemption in our marriages. The book offers 30 days of encouragement for your marriage (plus amazing bonus content at the end of the book). It’s also our story of how God has redeemed our marriages. Jen and I share personal stories from some tough times we’ve faced. We share how God used those times to strengthen us and to give us hope as we worked on issues in our own marriages.
Each chapter addresses a different issue that we have faced, and that most women will find relatable. We cover topics such as communication, dealing with our emotions, trusting God with your marriage, and feeling stuck in the “for worse” of marriage.
We hear from many wives who are in tough situations and want to make it clear that this book is not one that pressures a woman into staying in an abusive marriage. We support the need for women to get help and to find safety if they are a victim of abuse. Our book is not a guarantee to solve the issues in your marriage or to fix your broken marriage. While we’d love to offer that hope, only God has that power. What we can do is gently point you to God, to remind you that even amid struggles in our lives, He is faithful. We can’t make changes in your marriage, but He can! We use this book to offer that hope and encouragement.

 

LA: Rebekah, where can my readers find your book?

RH: Hope for the Hurting Wife can be purchased on Amazon.com in both print and Kindle versions. (Click links to be taken to the book page on Amazon)

SALE ALERT: The Kindle version of  Hope is available for 99 cents for a limited time, so click here to grab that deal.

 

LA: I would love for my readers to connect with you. How can they do that?

RH: You’ll find me at Sharing Redemption’s Stories (link to http://rebekahmhallberg.com ), on Facebook (link to https://www.facebook.com/rebekahmhallberg/ ), Pinterest (link to https://www.pinterest.com/RebekahHallberg/ ) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/rebekahmhallberg/ ).
I’d love to connect with you and be an encouragement for your marriage!

 

LA: Rebekah, do you have any final thoughts to share with my readers? 

RH: I’m positive that the devil came for my marriage they day they knocked on my door. I was so blindsided by all that happened, and I’m sure the devil planned for that to be the undoing of my marriage. But as I slowly waited on God, as I let Him work in every aspect of the situation, He kept reminding me how precious my family is and how much He loved each of us. He worked deep in my heart to remind me that redemption is for everyone, no matter what we’ve done. That reminder gave me courage to pursue redemption in my marriage.
And I want you to know that nothing is too far out of the realm of possibility for God to redeem. Nothing!

Hope for the Hurting Wife is a story of redemption because God still redeems today!

 

SDG/FCA!!!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

A Marriage Expert I am NOT, But Have I Got a Book for You!

I just decided to go ahead and throw it right on out there in the beginning. I’m NOT a marriage expert. In fact, I probably need as much help in the marriage department as the next person. I got an ‘F’ in marriage the first time around. I was young (21) and dumb and needy and sick. Very sick! I had no business saying I do at that time, but it seemed easier than saying ‘I don’t’. So I did. What a mistake!

 

I am not a marriage expert

 

Fast forward to me at the ripe old age of 30. I said ‘I do’ again. This time I made a better choice, but still I went into marriage with unrealistic expectations and unexplored issues. Lord, help me, did I have issues!  And because we did not seek pre-marital counseling I lived with those expectations and issues for a very long time. I thought my marriage would be like that of my parents, but what never hit me until recently is that Greg and I are not Wayne and Barbara. We have different personalities, needs, expectations, and desires than my parents had. Why that never clicked with me blows my mind, but alas, it did not.

A couple of months ago I was reading a book by Chip Ingram called “Good to Great: 10 Practices Great Christians Have In Common.

 

 

One of the chapters in this book is about reading great books. Ingram offered several books that have impacted his life. One of those was a book about communication in marriage. In the moment I read what Ingram wrote about the book, the Holy Spirit urged me to immediately order it, because who doesn’t need better communication in their marriage, right?  Communication: Key to Your Marriage by H. Norman Wright is the book, and I will shamelessly give you my affiliate link to the book’s page on Amazon. I want you to order it if you are married or want to be married. Do it now! You will not be sorry.

 

Friends, this book has rocked my world. It took me two solid weeks to get past the first chapter. Not because the reading is hard, (it is not), but because the material stopped me dead in my tracks and gave me so much to ponder. The first words in Chapter 1 are “Why did you marry?” As if that was not enough, in the same first paragraph Wright asks this question, “What did you expect from marriage?” Two weeks, people! Two weeks it took me to work through those two questions. Then on page 3 I find this:

 

Commitment is more than maintaining; it is more than continuing to stick it out and suffer with a poor choice of a spouse. Commitment is investing–working to make the relationship grow.

 

Before you assume I made a poor choice in a spouse, please hear me loud and clear, I DID NOT. Greg is a wonderful husband. He may think he made a poor choice in a spouse, but I clearly out kicked my coverage when I married Greg. What got me from that quote is that all too often husbands and wives just stick it out rather than invest in their marriage. I want to invest in my marriage. I want to up the level of our communication and make our marriage even better. I want the next 22 years to be even better than the past 22 have been.

If I could give every married and planning-to-be-married couple a copy of this book, I would. It is that good, y’all….or maybe I am just that slow of a study when it comes to marital communication. There are some young couples in my sphere of influence who will be walking down the aisle soon and you better bet your sweet bippy that I will be giving them a copy of this book.

This book by Emerson Eggerichs is another one that I recommend and will be giving:

 

 

If you feel like you are talking to an alien when you talk to your spouse, if you feel like your husband never listens to you, if you feel like your man never shares his feelings with you, if you just have a desire to have a better marriage, then Communication by Wright is for you. Order it today!

I know there are other wonderful books on marriage and communication out there. I would love to hear your recommendations for books about marriage and/or communication. This is truly one way we can be iron sharpening iron for each other.

 

SDG/FCA!!

NOTE: Affiliate links are present in this post.

 

Sharing Life: 3 Ways to Help Mentor a Teenager

Today it is my privilege to welcome Sarah to my Sharing Life series. We met in an online blogger’s group and I have found her to be engaging and serious about reaching out to teen girls. She is the founder and operator of Transformed4More.com, a ministry for teenaged girls. She has a heart for teenagers and wants them to realize that the false ideas and fantasies the world sells them will never fulfill them. That is something only God can do.

Please connect with Sarah using the links at the end of this post.

 

3 Ways to Mentor a Teen

 

Oh, the teenage years. Whether they were the best days of your life, or you’re glad you only had to do them once, most can agree it proves a stressful time. Parents, teachers, friends, dating, driving, getting your first job, preparing for adult life in such a short span can be overwhelming at times.

Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic shift in our culture towards the acceptance of sin in virtually any form. Today, it is more important than ever to be sure you are setting an example for Christ and mentoring any teenager or young person you can.

The thought of mentoring a teenager can seem intimidating to some; however, today’s post is geared to help you overcome your fear and show you how to help mentor any teen you come in consistent contact with. So how do you help?

Don’t let fear stop you

What if they don’t think I’m cool?”

“I haven’t been in high school in 20 years, what do I know about teens today?”

“What would we talk about?”

“What if I mess up?”

Fear commonly gets in the way when we attempt to do God’s work. Don’t listen to the fear; it is not of God. In fact, the Bible says “Fear not” over 300 times!

Many people think teenagers are particularly judgmental.  This may be true in how they relate to their peers, but, honestly, it does not often stretch to adults. Most of the time, they appreciate the chance to talk about themselves and have someone take an interest in them.

Don’t let the fear of “what if” stop you from making Kingdom impact.

 

Be consistent

Hebrews 13:8 states, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Does this mean you have to mentor a teen forever? No, but since we are to model the life of Christ, this verse reveals the importance of consistency.  This trait proves a key factor in building a mentoring relationship.

If you want to be a true mentor, you need to be consistent with your time. Whether it’s checking up on them Sunday at church, coffee on Thursday nights, or get togethers every other week,  being intentional about your time goes a long way in showing the teen that you genuinely care. They can “smell” fake. I swear.

 

Listen more than you talk

James 1:19 stresses, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”

When mentoring, it can be hard not to want to share your expertise and life experience that you feel would help your teen. However, always do more listening than speaking; sometimes all they need is for you to listen.

After you feel like they’ve “gotten it off their chest,” ask if they would like your advice or if they’d like to know how a similar situation happened to you. Realizing that you truly listened to them will make them more open to your stories and advice.

 

In Closing

 It’s been said, “Whoever wants the next generation will get them.” Satan is fighting hard to add to his numbers. We need take steps to do whatever we can to win this next generation for Christ. Is there any teen in your life you could invest more in to? Are there mentoring opportunities you’ve always wanted to do, but fear is holding you back? Don’t let it!

Never be afraid to do Kingdom work. If God is with you, who can be against you?

Sarah Tranformed 4 More

 

You can connect with Sarah in several ways:

Social Media:

Instagram: Transformed4More

Twitter: @Transformed4Mor

Facebook: Transformed4More

Pinterest: Transformed4Mor

You Tube: Transformed4More Ministries

Website: Transformed4More.com

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links

The World Celebrates The Deaths of the Two Witnesses

Ladies, I hope you are praying about joining me in September for the Come Away {retreat for women}. It will be a sweet time of intimacy with Jesus in the mountains of North Georgia. Click HERE or see the link in the side bar of my website to learn more.

 

We are back today to visit a bit more with the two witnesses of Revelation 11. We started last week by looking at the powers that God gives them during their tenure on earth. Today we move on through the chapter and learn about what happens to them as a result of their prophesying.

 

The World Celebrates the Death of the Two Witnesses

 

 

 

Vignette #2 ~ The Death of the Two Witnesses

Here is the passage that describes their deaths.

7 And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them,

8 and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified.

9 For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb,

10 and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth.

 

As a result of their testimony during the 3 ½ years they are on earth, they are killed by ‘the beast that rises from the bottomless pit’. A great question here would be ‘who is the beast?’. We are going to learn much more about this person in coming lessons, but scholars generally agree that this is antichrist. These two witnesses likely preach against antichrist and he is not happy about it, so he kills them.

Instead of being buried immediately, the bodies of these two witnesses lie in the streets of Jerusalem for 3 ½ days. The people of the world throw a big ole party to celebrate their deaths. The Scripture tells us that people exchange gifts to mark the deaths of the two who have tormented them for 3 ½ years. It is hard to imagine such a celebration over the deaths of two people, but it will happen.

 

Vignette #3 ~ The Resurrection of the Two Witnesses

11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.

12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them.

After 3 ½ days of a worldwide celebration of the deaths of these two guys, God says, ‘Enough’ and causes them to be resurrected from the dead. The celebration by the world turns to great fear. Suddenly, as the world watches, the two living witnesses are called to heaven and taken up in a cloud. As you might imagine this leads to….

 

Vignette #4 ~ The World Situation

13 And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14 The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come.

In the same hour that God calls these two witnesses to heaven, there is a great earthquake that seems to be centered in the city of Jerusalem. One tenth of the city is destroyed and seven thousand people are killed. Up to now the people in the world have done everything but give glory to God. Now, it seems this event has, at the very least, opened their eyes to the power and majesty of God.

This vignette closes by telling us that Woe #2 (the 6th trumpet) is now finished and the third, and final, woe is to come. Next week we will finish our study of Revelation 11. I hope you will join me then.

SDG/FCA!!

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

 

Whether one agrees with Jenkins and LaHaye’s timing and interpretations of the events of the end times or not, The Left Behind Series is a wonderful collection of end times fiction that makes for riveting reading. Check it out.