Genesis - God’s creation account; The fall of man and God's promise of salvation or redemption; God sends the flood to wipe out evil, but delivers Noah and his family; God’s covenant to Abraham; God changed Jacob's name to Israel, and his twelve sons became the ancestors of the twelve tribes of Israel; God’s people living in Egypt.
Exodus - Moses delivers the Hebrews from Egypt; God gives Moses the 10 Commandments; God orders the building of His tabernacle so that He can dwell amongst His people.
Leviticus - To separate God’s people from the heathens, He provides them with instructions and laws to guide them.
Numbers - Israel lacks faith in entering the Promised Land; They wander in the desert for forty years.
Deuteronomy - Meaning “The Second Law”, a recounting of the laws that God previously gave to His people at Mount Sinai.
Joshua - The conquest of The Promised Land and the division of the land among the twelve tribes of Israel.
Judges - The people of God began a cycle of sin which included idolatry; Judgement of God by an invading army; The people’s repentance and clamor for deliverance; Raising of a judge and the peace of God’s people. This cycle repeats itself twelve times in the book of Judges.
Ruth - Occurring during the time of Judges, this book tells the story of a foreigner called Ruth, who becomes part of God’s people through marriage, and the grandmother of Jesse.
1 and 2 Samuel - The prophet Samuel anoints Saul as the first king of Israel and is witness to the rise of the united kingdom in Israel. This book includes Saul’s demise and David’s ascendance and kingship.
1 and 2 Kings - Narrates the Kingdom of Israel from the glorious building and dedication of Solomon’s temple to its destruction by Babylon; the division of the kingdom; and the reign of the kings of the 10 northern tribes, until the 10 northern tribes were carried away captive by Assyria; the reign of the kings of Judah until they were carried away by Babylon; God’s judgment of his disobedient people into exile. Includes the mighty ministries of Elijah and Elisha.
1 and 2 Chronicles - Narrates, primarily, the Kings of Judah beginning with David, as well as a selection of southern kings; Judah’s judgment into exile and Babylonian captivity; The devision of the kingdom of David under Jeroboam and Rehoboam; The two books span history from the time of David to the destruction of Jerusalem.
Ezra - Records the return to Palestine by decree of Cyrus; The re-building of the temple begins by a Jewish remnant; Ezra restores the law and ritual.
Nehemiah - Nehemiah leads the re-building of the wall after a remnant returns to Jerusalem; Restoration of temple worship.
Esther - Occurs during the exile of Israel and tells the story of Queen Esther, a Jew who saves her people from an evil plot to destroy them - by trusting God.
Job - The story of Job's faith (and patience) being tested by removing everything that is of value to him. The bulk of the story involves his three friends who argue about why Job is suffering. Elihu enters and rebukes the three friends and Job; the three friends for having no answer to Job’s complaint and Job for justifying himself rather than God. God finally answers Job by questions that magnify the Lords greatest, which in turn reveals to Job his self righteousness. The book ends with God restoring twofold everything that Job had lost. The key verse to the books is, Job 23:10; “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
Psalms - The Book of Psalms is essentially a hymnbook for the Hebrew nation. There are 70 Psalms attributed to King David, many of which detail Saul's vengeful pursuit of the would-be king David. The Psalms fall into one of three categories: Praises; Cries for Deliverance; and Repentance.
Proverbs - A collection of short sayings that communicate wisdom for Godly living, gathered by Solomon.
Ecclesiastes - Solomon examines the meaning of life. One of his conclusions is that all of men's actions are all vanity. The author's final conclusion, however, is the most noteworthy: “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (Eccl 12:13).
Song of Solomon - This book is a symbolic parallel to our relationship (as pure and righteous people—the Bride of Christ) with our groom, Jesus. The Song’s imagery demonstrates flawlessly God’s love for Israel and Christ’s love for His believers.
Isaiah - The Prophet Isaiah was primarily called to prophesy to the Kingdom of Judah. Judah was going through times of revival and rebellion, and was threatened with destruction by Assyria and Egypt, but was spared because of God’s mercy. Isaiah proclaimed a message of repentance from sin and hopeful expectation of God’s deliverance in the future. More than any other book in the Old Testament, Isaiah focuses on the salvation that will come through the Messiah. The imagery of chapter 53 is poignant and prophetic and contains a complete picture of the Gospel. Key verse: Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
Jeremiah - As painful as it was for Jeremiah to deliver a consistent message of judgment to his own people, he was obedient to what God told him to do and say. His message to Judah was to “submit and serve Babylon”. Once Babylon began carrying away the captives the message to those that would flee to Egypt for deliverance was, “if you go to Egypt the sword will follow you”. In other words you’re not going to outrun this judgment! Key verse: Jer. 25:11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Had they submitted to the judgment of God, by serving the king of Babylon, they could have stayed in their land.
Lamentations - As a result of Judah’s continued and unrepentant idolatry, God allowed the Babylonians to besiege, plunder, burn, and destroy the city of Jerusalem. Solomon’s Temple, which had stood for approximately 400 years, was burned to the ground. The Prophet Jeremiah, an eyewitness to these events, wrote the Book of Lamentations as a lament for what occurred to Judah and Jerusalem.
Ezekiel - God appointed Ezekiel to be a watchman unto the house of Israel ( Ezekiel 3:17) and the message to his generation (born in exile) was to keep before them their sins, which had brought them so low, and to sustain their faith in national restoration. He taught that: God works through human messengers; Even in defeat and despair God's people need to affirm God's sovereignty; God's Word never fails; God is present and can be worshiped anywhere; People must obey God if they expect to receive blessings; and that God's Kingdom will come.
Daniel - Daniel, whose long life extended from Nebuchadnezzar to Cyrus, is the prophet of the “times of the Gentiles”. His introduction to New Testament prophesy included: The apostasy of the Church; The manifestation of the man of sin; The great tribulation; The return of the Lord; and The resurrections and judgements. We see in the stories of the fiery furnace and Daniel in the lions’ den a foreshadowing of the salvation provided by Christ, and his vision of the end times depicts Israel’s Messiah by whom many shall be purified and made white. (Daniel 12:10).
Hosea - God’s love for the idolatrous nation of Israel is displayed through the symbolic marriage of Hosea and Gomer, a prostitute. After bearing Hosea a son, she walks away from him and returns to her lovers and bears two children with them, which God names Lo-ruhamah, meaning “I will no longer have mercy”, and Lo-ammi, “ye are not my people.” God tells the children of Israel that they are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6) and yet tells us, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.”
Joel - The overriding theme of the Book of Joel is the Day of the Lord, which Joel proclaims is “great and very terrible; and who can abide it?” (Joel 2:11). Judah is devastated by a vast horde of locusts followed by a severe famine throughout the land. Joel compares these happenings to God’s future judgement unless they repent. It ends with God’s promise to outpour his spirit upon them… “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten…” (Joel 2:25)
Amos - Amos' ministry takes place while Jeroboam II reigns over Israel, and Uzziah over Judah. Not since the days of Solomon have times been so good in Israel, which makes it hard for the people to believe his messages of impending doom. (Being that the nation is corrupt to the core.) He warns Israel that there will be a famine of hearing the words of the LORD. (Amos 8:11) The book ends with the message of Lord’s returning and restoring Israel.
Obadiah - The book of Obadiah is a lesson in pride. When enemy armies attack Israel (the people of Jacob) they ask Edom (the people of Esau, Jacob’s twin brother) for help. Edom not only refuses - but chooses to fight against them instead. Obadiah tells Edom “ The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee…” (Obadiah 1:3) and warns them of their future destruction. The book ends with the promise of the fulfillment and deliverance of Zion in the Last Days when the land will be restored to God's people as He rules over them.
Jonah - Jonah’s disobedience leads him to an experience in the belly of a great fish for three days and three nights, which is not only a picture of our Lord’s own entombment and ressurection, but is mentioned by Jesus as well. (Mark 12:39-41) Eventually Jonah leads the Gentile city of Ninevah into a revival and God repents of the evil that He was going to do unto them. This angers Jonah to which God’s response was, “Doest thou well to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4)
Micah - Micah condemns the rulers, priests, and prophets of Israel who exploit and mislead the people. Fortunately, he tells us that God retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy, and that He will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea! (Micah 7:18&19) It is in this book that the wise men knew to search for a ruler in Bethlehem, whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2)
Nahum - 150 years after Ninevah responded to Jonah and turned from their evil ways, they turn back again to idolatry, violence, witchcraft and arrogance. Nahum’s message to them was one of sure destruction, which came upon them nearly a centry later, precisely as he predicted.
Habakkuk - Habakkuk pleads, “O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear!” to God to have mercy on Israel. The Lord’s response is that He is going to work a work that they wouldn’t believe if He told them! (Hab.1:5) Habakkuk testifies of the holiness of God (Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil…-Hab. 1:13) God warns those who spoil his remnant then proclaims His great promises to them.
Zephaniah - Zephaniah pronounces the Lord’s judgment on the whole earth - on Judah, on the surrounding nations, on Jerusalem and on all nations. He then proclaims that our God is mighty to save! (Zep. 3:17) and to, “be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.” - Zep. 3:14
Haggai - The word of the LORD came to Haggai to encourage the remnant of the people to “consider their ways” in that they were living in cieled houses while God’s house lie waste. (Hag. 1:4&5) He called them to build the Temple in spite of local and official opposition, and to not compare it to the glory of Solomon’s temple, as the glory of the latter house (Jesus!) shall be greater than the former. (Hag. 2:9)
Zechariah - The Book of Zechariah teaches that salvation may be obtained by all. He preached that God is sovereign over this world, and that through His intervention He will bring human events to the end He chooses. (Not eliminating the individual's freedom to follow Him or rebel against.) Among Zechariah’s Messianic prophecies: “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” (Zechariah 13:6)
Malachi - The last prophet of the Old Testament, Malachi wrote to God’s chosen people who had gone astray, especially the priests. Animals with blemishes were being sacrificed even though the law demanded animals without defect, and people were not tithing as they should have been. (“Will a man rob God?” - Malachi 3:8) Malachi prophesies of the next time (400 years later!) that they will hear from God…“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me:” (Malachi 3:1) speaking of John the Baptist.
Matthew - presents the events in Jesus’ life as fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy to show their Messiah had come. For instance, the promise of an eternal kingdom had been given to David in II Samuel 7, therefore Matthew begins his book with the genealogy of Jesus Christ to show He is descended from King David. We find in Matthew the phrase that the scriptures might be fulfilled over and over again as Jesus fulfills prophecy after prophecy. Also, Matthew is one of the two gospels (Luke being the other) that records the birth of Christ, for the birth of a King is big news!
Mark - presents Jesus Christ as a servant. The book of Mark records more miracles of Jesus than any of the other three. Jesus is shown serving. Mark does not record the birth of Christ, and although we do not know for sure why, it is not surprising that a servant’s birth was never recorded.
Luke - Luke presents Jesus Christ as the Son of man. The phrase Son of man is found in all the gospels, but Luke’s presentation seems to emphasize aspects of His humanness and His human relationships. We are told of His cousin John the Baptist as well as the events surrounding John’s birth. Interestingly, as God uses Matthew, a civil servant, to present Jesus in His kingly/governmental aspect; here in Luke, God uses a physician to give the most detail of all the gospels about His human birth. Although the Bible reveals little of Jesus Christ’s childhood, it is Luke that gives us the most information, telling us of events to the point of twelve years of age.
John - John’s gospel presents Christ as God. Like Mark, John does not address the birth of Jesus Christ; for right in the first verse John tells us that the Word was in the beginning with God and the Word was God. He goes on to tell us “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 10:30, 8:58, 6:51, 8:23, 14:10, 20). Toward the end of the book John is clear as to why he wrote the book; “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31).
Acts - The Book of Acts serves as a transition from the Old Covenant of law-keeping to the New Covenant of grace and faith, and provides a history of the early church. It sheds light on the gift of the Holy Spirit, who empowers, guides, teaches, and serves as our Counselor. When met with opposition, the disciples response was, “… Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19&20) Includes the conversion of Saul to Paul. (Chapter 9)
Romans - The Book of Romans tells us about God, who He is and what He has done; it is the Gospel of God! For new believers it is a spiritual birth certificate. The Book of Romans makes it clear that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves… “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9&10)
I Corinthians - Paul’s first letter to the self-centered and devided church at Corinth was to address their carnality and admiration of wisdom. Paul explains works done in the flesh vs. works done in the spirit, and their result. (1 Corinthians 3:12-15) and encourages them to walk a more self-less walk. A right practice of The Lord’s supper is described in chapters 10 & 11, and the issue of tongues is clearly explained in chapter 14. Noteable verse: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)
II Corinthians - In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul expresses his relief and joy that they had received his first letter in a positive manner. To walk a more gracious walk, he begs them not to take God’s living and sustaining grace in vain. (Chapter 6) Chapter 8 covers being a cheerful giver and in chapter 12 verse 9 we get, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Galatians - In this epistle to the churches in Galatia, attention is particularly directed to the point that men are justified by faith without the works of the Law of Moses. This book encourages perfection through a spiritual walk versus a physical one. We get the fruits of the Spirit in chapter 5, and the key verse: “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3)
Ephesians - The aim of this epistle is to confirm and to equip a maturing church. The walk we learn of here is a humble and submissive one: submissive as the church unto Christ as well as each other. In this book we are given the power to stand against the wiles of the devil by putting on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:11-17) and every Christian should hide this verse in their heart: “ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8&9)
Philippians - The Epistle to the Philippians, one of Paul’s prison epistles, was written in Rome. It was at Philippi that Lydia and the Philippian jailer and their families were converted to Christ. (Acts 16:12) Having sound doctrine, the Philippians were encouraged to walk unified, having one mind, keeping Christ as their (our) goal with strength and joy through suffering, lowly service, and anxiety. Key verse: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Colossians - Paul wrote Colossians to defeat the heresy that had arisen in Colosse dealing with a defective view of Christ (denying His real and true humanity and not accepting His full deity). Paul warns us not to live for men - “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy…” (Colossians 2:8) We are to have a secure walk, complete in him, “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9)
1 Thessalonians - There were some misunderstandings about the return of Christ in the church of Thessalonica, and Paul desired to clear them up in this letter, presenting them with comfort and hope. He also writes it as an instruction in holy living, and a steadfast walk- “…how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.” (1Thessalonians 4:1) Key verse: “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
2 Thessalonians - While the first epistle to the Thessalonians was concerning the “day of Christ”, this second one clarifies the difference of the “day of the Lord”. They were being persecuted badly and were beginning to think they were living during the “great and terrible day of the Lord”. Much of his teaching on the end times in this letter is based on the prophet Daniel and his visions. There are also some great prayers in 2 Thessalonians that can be an example for us on how to pray for other believers, including our brothers and sisters enduring persecution today.
1 Timothy - As the churches of Christ increased in number it became necessary to regulate them. Paul wrote to Timothy to encourage him in this responsibility, making 1 Timothy a leadership manual for church organization and administration. Key verses: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” (1 Timothy 2:5) “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)
2 Timothy - Paul wrote this letter to Timothy shortly before his martyrdom. His last words encourage Timothy, and all other believers, to a senior walk by persevering in faith and proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, especially during the time of apostacy. (Which had already begun, starting with legalism.) Key verses: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16
Titus - Like Paul’s two letters to Timothy, the Epistle to Titus is known as one of the Pastoral Epistles. It advises Titus regarding what qualifications to look for in elders of the church. He also tells Titus to rebuke the Cretians, for “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him…” (Titus 1:16)
Philemon - Philemon was a slave owner who also hosted a church in his home. His slave, Onesimus, had robbed him and ran away to Paul. Onesimus was still the property of Philemon, and Paul wrote to smooth the way for his return to his master - as a brother in Christ and not merely as a slave.
Hebrews - It has been said that the Book of Hebrews was written by a Hebrew to other Hebrews telling the Hebrews to stop acting like Hebrews. In truth, many of the early Jewish believers were slipping back into the rites and rituals of Judaism in order to escape the mounting persecution. This letter is an exhortation for those persecuted believers to continue in the grace of Jesus Christ. Three separate groups are addressed in Hebrews: believers in Christ, unbelievers who had knowledge of and an intellectual acceptance of the facts of Christ, and unbelievers who were attracted to Christ, but who rejected Him ultimately. It is very important to understand which group is being addressed in which passage. Hebrews also gives us encouraging examples of God's "faith heroes" who persevered in spite of great difficulties and adverse circumstances (Hebrews 11). Key verse: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
James - James, the brother of Jesus, was not a believer until after the ressurection. He was writing to the scattered Jews to encourage them to continue growing in this new Christian faith. James emphasizes that good actions will naturally flow from those who are filled with the Spirit and questions whether someone may or may not have a saving faith if the fruits of the Spirit cannot be seen. Key verses: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22) “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you…” (James 4:8)
1 Peter - 1 Peter is a letter from Peter to dispersed believers who were under intense persecution. He tell us to count it a privilege to suffer for the sake of Christ, as our Savior suffered for them. Key verses: “ Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (1 Peter 4:12&13) “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Peter 5:8)
2 Peter - False teachers were beginning to infiltrate the churches, so Peter called on Christians to grow and become strong in their faith so that they could detect and combat the spreading apostasy. He strongly stressed the authenticity of the Word of God (Amen!) and the return of our Lord Jesus. (Amen!) Key verse: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:20&21)
1 John - First John is written to help the brethren understand the importance of maintaining fellowship with Jesus Christ, without which, true fellowship can not take place between the saints. He not only addresses the need for walking in the light, and confessing of sins if such fellowship is to happen but also reveals benefits of this fellowship, the greatest to be assurance of ones salvation. Assurance is not to be confused with eternal security. We are eternally secure based on the salvation which is in Christ Jesus but many saints may not have assurance within themselves due to broken fellowship with the Lord Jesus.
2 John - The Book of 2 John is a warning concerning deceivers who were not teaching the exact doctrine of Christ and who maintained that Jesus did not actually rise in the flesh but only in the spirit. He warns them that these deceivers would draw them away and of the danger of not reaping full rewards. As God’s children we are to walk in the truth. (2 John 1:4)
3 John - Third John seems to be a personal letter to a man name Gaius, which John wrote after writing a previous epistle a local church, (vs. 9), which apparently was blocked by a church leader named Diotrephes. The focus of the letter is the “brethren and strangers” which Gaius shows charity to. John commends him, telling Gaius that they ministers to the gentiles without taking substance from them. “We therefore ought to receive such…”. The theme of the epistle is assisting those who are fellow servants of Jesus Christ. Apparently, John, at first, attempted to send this information through Diotrephes but was rejected of him. John exhorts Gaius to continue in this good and warns him of Diotrephes, whose motivation was preeminence within the local church. He also commends the example of Demetrius. This letter show corruption of conduct, based on envy, that had already began to filter into the local assemblies in John’s day.
Jude - The book of Jude is the only one given entirely to the great apostasy. After Jude warns of false teachers, he advises us on how we can succeed in spiritual warfare. Key verses: “How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” (Jude 1:18&19) “ And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” (Jude 1:22&23)
Revelation - The Revelation of Jesus Christ was given to John by God “to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass” (Revelation 1:1) It is lavish in colorful descriptions of the visions which proclaim for us the last days before Christ’s return and the ushering in of the new heaven and new earth. It is the only book where God tells us we are blessed for reading it. (Revelation 1:3) The description of the antichrist mentioned in Daniel 9:27 is developed fully in chapter 13 of Revelation. Outside of Revelation, examples of apocalyptic literature in the Bible are Daniel chapters 7-12, Isaiah chapters 24-27, Ezekiel chapters 37-41, and Zechariah chapters 9-12. All these prophecies come together in the Book of Revelation. Key verse: “ And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” (Revelation 22:12&13) “
Have you ever read the Bible? I just started, and am swept off my feet every time I open it. I never wanted to be a ghost writer, but a Holy Ghost writer is something else altogether. With Bible Bait, I intend to share some of the great wisdom I am just now discovering in the pages of the Great I Am's most holy book on the past, present, and future of humanity.
Jesus Is Our Hope Bumper Sticker
6" x 4" Vinyl sticker made With removable Adhesive. Only $5.00 each, or a huge donation of your choice! 100% of your donation goes to missions. TO ORDER Send a check or money order written out to: Branch Hill Baptist Church ATTN: Missions and mail to: inspire! P.O. Box 37875 Cincinnati, Ohio 45222-0875. Include the address you would like it mailed to. Click on "Jesus is our Hope" image above for more information.
If you are seven, you may know me best as the illustrator of the "Mallory" chapter books. I am the Author/Illustrator of "Standing on My Own Two Feet: A Child’s Affirmation of Love in the Midst of Divorce", a contributor to periodicals, serve on the National Board of Mothers, a brand new Bible study enthusiast, and mother of two teenagers.