Book Thoughts: “Shirley” by Charlotte Brontë (#3)

(In this post I share some of my thoughts after finishing chapter 17 in Shirley. Please be careful if you do not wish to be spoiled. You are welcome to come back and share your thoughts if you do get to reading Shirley. 😊)

“Oh, that is soon remedied!” exclaimed Shirley: “we’ll make him bid us good-bye.”

“Make him! That is not the same thing,” was the answer.

“It shall be the same thing.”

Miss Keeldar makes me laugh. I love how starkly different Caroline and Shirley are. Caroline is timid and reserved while Shirley is bold and speaks her mind. However, they both really appreciate one another and seem to compliment each other well.

One thought that has stuck with me since my last book thoughts post was, if Shirley was a representation of Charlotte Brontë “alter ego” and Caroline being a loose representation of her. From what I’ve read about Charlotte, she is often described as someone who was shy. I wonder if this was her way of speaking her mind, through characters like Shirley. I also found it interesting how one reader (Brontebabeblog) commented in my last post that she has noticed glimpses of Shirley from Charlotte’s juvenilia.

It’s been fun to read Shirley with this idea in mind, that perhaps Shirley is just stating what Caroline wants to yell after her disappointment with Robert Moore leaving without saying goodbye, “We’ll make him bid us goodbye.” Although, she does express her complete disapproval, about following after him to make him say goodbye, to Shirley afterwards. Which Shirley, seems to start picking up on Caroline’s odd distance towards her cousin, Robert Moore.

“I consider you very timid and undemonstrative,” remarked Miss Keeldar. “Why did you not give Moore your hand when he offered you his? He is your cousin; you like him. Are you ashamed to let him perceive your affection?”

One thing I am a little confused by is Shirley and Robert Moore’s relationship. I’m not sure yet if their relationship is more than friendly or strictly business. I can’t tell and I wonder if Charlotte Brontë created this ambiguity on purpose to create some kind of tension. It could be so because it has me quite intrigued.

Another thing that stood out to me was Mr. Hall. I like his character and how he responds to the dissenters who were trying to interrupt their march which of course Shirley was determined to teach them a lesson too:

“Bad manners!” said Shirley, “and I hate bad manners. Of course, they must have a lesson.”

“A lesson in politeness,” suggested Mr. Hall, who was ever for peace; “not an example of rudeness.”

I’m still trying to refresh my mind on some of the other characters since I stopped reading Shirley for a while. But it has been fun to pick it up again. I love how Charlotte Brontë does such a great job at helping us understand different characters so well and how they relate to one another, like Hortense and how she greeted Caroline:

“Hortense received her former pupil with a demeanour of more dignity than warmth. She had been seriously offended by Mr. Helstone’s proceedings, and had all along considered Caroline to blame in obeying her uncle too literally.

“You are a very great stranger,” she said austerely, as her pupil held and pressed her hand. The pupil knew

her too well to remonstrate or complain of coldness.”

Those are some of the things that have stood out to me in this chapter. If you would like to add or share your thoughts, please do. Thanks for reading!

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Love Is Patient

“Love is patient,…”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:4‬ ‭NASB‬‬

For a long time, I have been struggling with being patient. Patient with my children, patient with my husband, or patient with circumstances. I didn’t realize how much I was struggling until I read back through some of my old posts from almost a year ago on how I was faring with my children or my husband.

The common instruction I found throughout my posts were to be patient and I truly think that is the solution to my problem. That might seem obvious. But, after reading through my posts I wondered, “Why, after a year, am I still struggling in this area? What is going on?”

I realized that, for me, being patient is not such an obvious and simple thing. The instruction to be patient is pretty straight forward but to actually be patient, I don’t think I know exactly how to be that way. So, I prayed to the Lord to teach me to be patient because I don’t know how to.

To give you an idea on what my lack of patience looks like, it’s like this: Joy is learning to speak a lot more and her constant questions annoy me, after a while, especially if my attention is on something else. I’m not sure if being annoyed is the actual problem (even though I wish I never felt annoyed by my children) but the way I respond to her is the issue for me. Although, I do desire that God would purify my heart because even if I didn’t respond in impatience, I know inside I am grumbling about the situation.

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:14-15‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Another situation that comes to my mind is being patient towards my husband. About a year ago, he found a way to heal his chronic illness through water fasting. A part of me rejoiced selfishly because I thought, “Oh yay! We can go out a lot more now.” When I met my husband he was already ill and only got worse as time went on, so most of our days would be at home while he was in bed in pain all day. The moment he got better, his first desire was to find a job while my desire was, “okay let’s go out now.”

As I write about this, I realize how unrealistic it is for me to place that pressure on him. He went a very long time without working or receiving income because of his illness. Now that he is better, he is focused on getting us back on our feet so that we can comfortably enjoy going out but, as he has reminded me, these things take time. Therefore, I have to be (and desire to be) patient because when I am not patient I can be (and have been) very unloving towards him. This, according to our faith in Christ, is sin. I want to love my husband and my children.

Those were just glimpses of examples on what my lack of impatience looks like and why behaving this way is serious to me. It’s serious to me because I am behaving unloving towards them. There is a whole passage in 1 John 4:7-21 that came to mind. In one part it says: “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” I’d like to share the rest of the passage here because the entire context is important. I’ll highlight the points that stand out to me:

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:7-21‬ ‭NASB‬‬

After going through that passage, another thing stood out to me was that God gave up His Son to the world so that through His Son we might live. In other words, God gave up something that was so precious to Him for us to have life. In that same way, I am called to love other people. Something, that has become increasingly difficult for me to “give up” is “my” time to my children. Which in all reality, the only reason I have “time” is because the Lord has allowed me to take another breathe. I pray that I may honor Him with the time He has so graciously given me. I hope I can get to a point where I delight in giving “my” time to my children. As I examine this about myself, I am encouraged because I know God will help me. I know I can only become patient by having faith that He will do this work in me even if it seems impossible. I want to continue to have faith in Christ that He will do this work in me.

Just yesterday, I spoke with my daughter Grace (she’s 4 now) about being patient. I asked her if it was difficult for her to be patient at times. And she said yes. I asked her if those moments were when she is dealing with her younger sister, she said yea. I shared with her that I understood her because I felt that way too sometimes, with them, especially when they do not listen to mama but that it was still important for us to be patient during those circumstances that are difficult so that we can love each other. I also reminded her that Joy, her younger sister, is still learning and that one day it won’t require so much patience to play with her so for now we have to be patient. Which was a reminder to myself about them also, they are still learning so it requires a lot more patience. But if I hang in there it will pay off.

It felt good to be able to communicate that to her and afterwards through the day when my little one, Joy (who is soon to be 2), was needing to be disciplined, Grace would touch my back and say, “Remember patient, mamà. Patient.” I did explain that it was still my responsibility to teach them and for them to listen so that we can take better care of them and keep them safe but that she was right I must do it with patience. Thankfully, it was a much better day. Later on, while they were playing in their room, I overheard Grace reminding her self to be patient with her sister Joy. 😆

I pray that I may continue to grow in understanding what it means to be patient and being patient. Two things I want to keep in mind: being patient with my duties as a mother and giving this season of my life all the time it needs and being patient with my husband given the circumstance we are in. All the while, being thankful to the Lord for what He has given me today. He has given me time, my children, our home, my husband, Jesus and the hope of walking in righteousness so that we may love one another. In Jesus Name.

Thank you for taking the time to read! I hope this was edifying to anyone who may be seeking to mature in their faith in Christ.

(Some) Books I’ve Read

For the past few months, I’ve had the privilege of contributing to Books We Have Read. It’s something that I’ve enjoyed doing so far. This site is dedicated to informal reviews and anyone is welcome to contribute their own thoughts on any books they’ve read. I invite you to check out their page and share any of your thoughts on any book you’ve recently read. You can also simply browse around and see if you find any book you’d like to read next.

I’ve compiled a list of the posts I’ve been able to contribute so far:

Delirio by Laura Restrepo

Villette by Charlotte Brontë

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

I hope to add more to this list and update this post as time goes on. I’ll also leave a link to this post on my “About Me” so that it is easy to find.

Thank you for reading. 😊

Excited For Victober

There is a readathon that was announced on Booktube, it’s called Victober, that I’m really excited to participate in this year. It consists of reading Victorian Literature throughout the month of October. I’m so excited for it! I don’t know how to express it through a blog post.

Here are the links to the announcement videos from each of the hosts of this readathon along with their recommendations, in case you would like to participate. 😊

Kate Howe: https://youtu.be/z5fFUPDZdhc

Books and Things: https://youtu.be/gRavImuUH_0

Beyond the Pages: https://youtu.be/T3MMp2rkw1Q

Lucy the Reader: https://youtu.be/Za2gTU2u7sY

I think I’ve already decided what I’d like to read. The general challenge is to read a Victorian novel and watch an adaptation of it. For this challenge, I’ve chosen to read Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. I’ve already started this one so I thought it might be the perfect opportunity to finish it.

For one of the other challenges, to read a Victorian novel with a proper noun as the title, I’m hoping to read Shirley by Charlotte Brontë. Another one that I’ve started and I’m hoping to finish.

And lastly, I’ve chosen to listen to Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, which I hope fulfills the challenge of reading a novel by one of the hosts favorite authors. I’ve never read a Thomas Hardy novel but from what I heard, Hardy writes a lot about nature so I’m excited for that part. I’m hoping his writing has some autumnal feels to it.

Let me know if you are thinking of participating and what books you hope to read. If you have read Thomas Hardy before, please let me know your thoughts on his novels. Thank you for reading!

Book Thoughts: “Shirley” by Charlotte Brontë (#2)

In this post I share my thoughts after reading up to Chapter 11.

Please be careful if you don’t wish to be spoiled of any details if you haven’t read Shirley. If you do get to read, please come back and share your own thoughts. 😊

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“We are going to see Miss Shirley Keeldar.”

Enter in, Miss Shirley. Finally! 😊

We finally get to meet Shirley. Up until this sentence, there had been no mention of Shirley. I knew that she would come up later on in the book but I wasn’t sure exactly when and I was really excited for her to be introduced out of nowhere.

Caroline has been going through a hard time emotionally because of her unreciprocated affection for her cousin, Robert Moore. Caroline tried communicate to her uncle, Mr. Helstone that she was not doing well emotionally and was in need of a change of air. As usual, he doesn’t take her thoughts seriously but she continues to bear with him with patience.

Even though, he doesn’t take her thoughts seriously, it seems there is a part of him that is concerned about her emotions. So, he asked Caroline to come with him to visit Miss Shirley, who is the new property owner of Fieldhead in hopes that her company would do Caroline good.

I really enjoyed meeting Shirley. She seems very straightforward but not in a mean way. For example, she asked Caroline why she looked so pale. It didn’t seem like she asked in a manner to offend her but out of serious concern. This is how Shirley responds when Mr. Helstone explains that Caroline has been wanting a change of air:

“She ought to have one. You ought to give her one. You should send her to the sea-coast.”

Overall, in their exchange she doesn’t seem to be passive, like Caroline, or rude either.

I also found it interesting how Charlotte Brontë created a tense moment when Mr. Moore was brought up in conversation and Shirley was asking Caroline many questions about what he was like. As the reader, we know that he is the reason Caroline is not well but Shirley doesn’t.

Their visit was a short one but I am really looking forward to see how Caroline and Shirley will relate to one another and hopefully develop and good friendship. It would be interesting because Caroline seems to be very passive while Shirley is more confident in expressing her thoughts. I wonder if it will help Caroline’s depressed spirits. It’s also interesting to notice the contrasting situations they find themselves in, Caroline as dependent of her uncle and Shirley independent and property owner. I wonder what these things mean in their time and culture.

Those are my thoughts for now. I’d love to see how these curiosities will be answered as I continue to read. If you have read Shirley and have any thoughts you’d like to share, please feel free to do so. & if you haven’t read Shirley, you can come back and share your own thoughts if you do. 😊

Pursuing To Be Virtuous

“An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭12:4‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭12:4‬ ‭KJV‬‬

This verse has been my recent meditation. I hope to pursue excellence in being a wife to my husband or being virtuous. When I looked up the word virtuous in the concordance, the word valor and strength stood out to me. This is something I am sorely lacking in, at the moment.

But, I am entrusting myself to the Lord that I may be this virtuous woman. It has been difficult to exhibit this mental/emotional strength and valor but that’s what valor and courage is; its being strong in the face of challenges.

Some recent challenges I’ve been facing are:

1. My husband has been working more trying to find ways to support us.

2. Having to diligently and consistently discipline and instruct my children during these first months of pregnancy where I feel so exhausted. I must keep in mind the progress my children have made and that eventually they do learn.

3. Through these challenges I’ve also been sorrowful that I don’t have a physical community of followers of Christ, especially older women that can instruct me in wisdom and encourage me. Thankfully, I do have one sister in Christ. She doesn’t live near me but she was encouraging me and sending me the verse about being a wife of noble character. But I do wish there were more woman!

I have been finding encouragement in women like Hannah from 1 Samuel. Hannah was experiencing grief because she couldn’t have children but she entrusted herself to God and He remembered her.

I was also reading about how Jesus instructed His disciples:

“Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

‭‭John‬ ‭16:32-33‬ ‭KJV‬‬

I love Jesus’ attitude at the face of the reality that He would be left alone. He knew He wasn’t alone because the Father was with him even though His very disciples would turn away from Him.

I also asked myself, how did Jesus maintain constant communion with the Father? Jesus maintained constant communion with the Father through His obedience.

“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

John 14:23 KJV

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

‭‭John‬ ‭14:21 KJV

“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”

‭‭John‬ ‭15:10‬ ‭KJV‬‬

I pray that I may have this same mind of Christ and have this constant communion with the Father through obedience.

I also want to be obedient to my husband’s instruction which is to be patient, focus on my home, and be thankful. My husband advised me to be patient during this time as he tries to get everything together for us so that we can enjoy time together.

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:22‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Although, I have challenges coming my way. There are so many things to be grateful for. I can easily get discouraged because we don’t have the means to buy things that would make our home more functional or because we can’t go out to do fun family things but I want to remember that it is by wisdom a house is built. I can always walk in wisdom with or without the ability to buy or do fun things.

“By wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; And by knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭24:3-4‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The Mystery Blogger Award

I want to thank Emily who nominated me for this award. It is my first award and it was really nice to receive this kind of recognition. I’ve really enjoyed her work over at her blog. She is studying English at university and is soon to finish. Some of my favorite posts are her analysis and reviews on books, they have been helpful to me. I also enjoy her poetry, her recent A-Z list of poetic devices, and her short story series. If you enjoy literature, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy her blog.

Rules:

1. Thank whoever nominated you and include a link to their blog.

2. Tell your readers three things about yourself.

3. Answer the questions given by the person who nominated you.

4. Nominate 10-20 bloggers who you feel deserve the award.

5. Ask your nominees five questions of your choice (with one weird or funny one).

6. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.

What is the Mystery Blogger Award?

“This is an award for amazing bloggers with indigenous posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.” – Okoto Enigma.

Three things about me:

1. I was studying to become an English and Math teacher but decided to discontinue to dedicate myself to caring for my home and raising my children.

2. I have never read a Jane Austen book! I hope to.

3. I’ve translated one published children’s book to Spanish. 😊

Questions Given by Emily:

1. I’m going to start with a weird one. So, if you had to choose a favourite word, what would it be? You don’t even need to explain why you like it if you don’t feel the need to – simply, what is your favourite word?

I’m sure I have others but this is the first one that comes to my mind: gilded

2. Are there any ethical issues that you feel particularly strongly about?

This one was a tough one to answer because each opposing view on ethical issues (such as: sexual morality or abortion) doesn’t seem to fully represent where I stand on an issue and I also still have much questions to ask (through discussion) on these issues so I can fully understand. But I think I will go with what Jesus taught: loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind. And loving your neighbor as yourself. I believe this to be the ultimate form of morality and justice.

3. If you could travel anywhere in the world right now (completely free of charge), where would you choose?

Colombia! I’ve traveled there several times to visit family and lived there for a very brief time. I absolutely love it. I love the food, the music, the language, the vibrant people, the landscapes, the rivers, the homes, etc etc. I would love to visit the coast.

4. Do you have a favourite modern author? By “modern”, let’s say from the 1950s onwards (I’m an English student, so anything after this time is modern in my mind).

Sylvia Plath! My favorite poem by her is “Morning Song”. She’s the one that caused me to fall in love with words and what you are able to do with them.

I don’t know many other modern authors, so if you know of any others please let me know. 😊

5. Is anything bothering you? (I know, it’s vague, but it’s a question). This can be personal, political, or whatever you like – what’s on your mind?

This one is also tough because it is something I’m still trying to understand. My answer would be the state of Christianity in America.

Questions for my Nominees:

1. What do you know or believe about Jesus Christ?

2. What was the motivating factor for starting your blog? Or where did the passion that inspired your blog begin?

3. What is your favorite comfort food? (This one might be the weird question lol)

4. What is one thing that brings you joy?

5. What is one thing that irritates you? 😬

My Nominees

I nominate Brontë Babe Blog. As someone who has been really into reading Charlotte Brontë recently, this blog has been such a gem. My hope in mentioning this blog here is that others may enjoy the work that she has in her blog. She brings to light earlier works by the Brontë’s, particularly those written in their childhood.

I also nominate my good friend, Shelly. I’ve known her since junior high school and recently reconnected with her. She started up a blog recently and is now back on a fitness journey. For anyone who is interested in following her journey, I would highly recommend her blog. She also takes the time to research and write about the things she is learning.

To my nominees, please feel free to answer all, some, or none of the questions. My hope is that others can enjoy your blog too. 😊

(P.S. I could not think of 10-20 bloggers to nominate. I don’t consider myself an experienced blogger but I am glad for the few blogs that I have found)

Sleeping Joy

Laying across the carpet

You whined yourself to sleep.

Supported pillows of belly and cheek

“What do you dream of, my dear?”

Your back rises, your back sets

A twitch of a finger, a twitch of a leg

An upper lip pouts upward and out

A lower lip curled in

Twitching continues throughout

Pensive eyebrows

Long lashes hovering just above your cheek

“Sweet dreams, my sweet Joy.”

Read More »

Book Thoughts: “Shirley” by Charlotte Brontë (#1)

In this post I share my thoughts upon finishing Chapter 7 in the book Shirley by Charlotte Brontë. If you have not read it, please be careful as I discuss events within the book and my thoughts/questions relating to those events. You are welcome to come back if you decide to read and share your thoughts. If you have read it, I look forward to hearing your thoughts. 😊

I’ve been really enjoying this book so far. There are several things that stand out. One of them is the writing. I always enjoy Charlotte Bronte’s writing. I don’t think I’ve come across another novel writer as artistic and poetic as she is. Shirley, unlike the other novels I’ve read by Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre and Villette) is written in the third person. I was so intrigued to see how this would play out and I must say I love it. What has been fascinating to me about her third person writing so far is how she is not a passive story teller. At one point, the narrator addresses one of the main characters, Caroline.

“Yes, Caroline; you hear the wire of the bell vibrate; it rings again for the fifth time this afternoon. You start, and you are certain now that this must be he of whom you dream. Why you are so certain you cannot explain to yourself, but you know it. You lean forward, listening eagerly as Fanny opens the door. Right! That is the voice—low, with the slight foreign accent, but so sweet, as you fancy. You half rise.”

This was another part where the narrator breaks into the story and adds a sort of tension lol. The narrator makes a strong remark about Caroline bringing up her parents to her uncle in a conversation they were having. They were not seeing eye to eye in this conversation so she decides to mention her parents and the narrator says:

“Her father and mother! What had put it into her head to mention her father and mother, of whom he had never, during the twelve years she had lived with him, spoken to her?”

I thought that was so funny. 😆

Another thing about her writing, that I like, is her use of personification which I’ve seen Charlotte Bronte use in Jane Eyre and Villette. In Villette, I remember her personifying wisdom and imagination, I believe. I noticed that she capitalizes the first letter of the idea she is personifying. Here she personifies experience:

“Alas, Experience! No other mentor has so wasted and frozen a face as yours, none wears a robe so black, none bears a rod so heavy, none with hand so inexorable draws the novice so sternly to his task, and forces him with authority so resistless to its acquirement. It is by your instructions alone that man or woman can ever find a safe track through life’s wilds; without it, how they stumble, how they stray!”

There is a lot more that I’ve appreciated about her writing. I love the way I have gotten to know the characters as they relate to one another. One thing regarding her characters, that has also stood out to me is Caroline’s affection for her cousin, Robert Moore. That does seem odd to me. Are they directly related? Or do they simply refer to one another as cousins?

I also love how she was describing Caroline’s social anxiety when company came over. 😆 I could relate so well to the fear of small talk and having to entertain your guests. Caroline also feels so strongly about books. She also has great hopes in being a good wife, specifically to Robert Moore.

Through the characters, I’ve also learned how differently she relates to her uncle and Mr. Moore as she expresses her opinions. Her uncle does not have patience or care about what she has to say or think while Mr. Moore seems to value her opinion and encourages conversation.

That might be all I would like to share for now. If you’d like to share anything relating to the chapters I’ve read, please feel free to leave a comment. Do you know of any novels that are written in the third person where the narrator has personal reactions and commentaries to the story he or she is telling? There really is so much more these chapters had to offer that I enjoyed. 😊

A Study On Walking Without Sin

I would highly recommended this video to any Christian who is seeking to mature in their faith. It’s quite lengthy. But please take the time to listen, pause as needed, examine what’s being said to see whether or not it’s true, and reflect along with your bible. & if you do not have a Bible, you can follow along the Scriptures within the video. Discussion and comments are encouraged within the comment section of the video.

We Can Live a Life Without Sin (Part 1: Oppositions)