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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Organize as You Go by Marie Ricks

Yep, it’s confession time again. I’ve had Marie Ricks’ book, Project: Organization, on my “to read” list for a long time. I never got organized enough to order it. Or something.

When her newest book, Organize as You Go arrived in my mailbox a tiny portion of my brain was excited. The rest was tired, a little scatter brained, (see that last post about my deadline) and a wee bit skeptical. I think I’ve mentioned before that I tend to be a bit of a self-help/DIY book junky. I think they’re fun to read and see what I can come away with to stress my husband. ;) So, I’ve read a few organization books in my time, some good, some not-so-good, and I’m still my same ADD self.

Here’s what happened as I read.

My first happy moment arrived when I realized how long the chapters were: never more than a few pages. Whoopee! That was totally do-able for my feeble and taxed brain.

My second came when I recognized some of the techniques I’ve used in the past to put myself in order. It was pretty self affirming. Organize as You Go seemed to be on my wave-length, picking out the best of a plethora of organizing tips available. I’m a big fan of the 10-minute, 30-minute, and 90-minute approach to life and I have absolutely no qualms about putting myself in time-out when I need to. It works for me in most things. Still, it wasn’t all things I have heard before, I had quite a few “ah-ha!” moments as I was reading. I am sooo taking duct tape on my next vacation.

There was another emotion going on as well. I was getting a little frustrated as I read. You see, Marie kept suggesting areas of my home or life that could probably use some attention, but wasn’t big on giving many specifics. I found myself whining, “But how?” I wanted more than what was there.

Then, a few days later I picked up a women’s magazine that promised to help me get organized. A flip through the pages and I discovered what usually happens. 98% of what they gave me as “real organization solutions” were totally impractical for me and my lifestyle. I could suddenly see the wisdom in the way Marie coached organization in her book. She kindly suggests where the problems probably are, a few things to think about, then encourages you to find your own solutions.

I did find a little bit of an answer to my whining though. Marie Ricks has a website. If you want something more specific about what you’re reading, I bet you can find some help there. I also got the impression from both the book and website that if I were to open my chaotic life to a professional organizer it would be someone like Marie. Her writing felt very non-judgmental and encouraging. There were no three-page rants on how my stuff is weighing me down and I’m stupid for hanging on to it.

Also, don’t expect the book to just focus on, um, stuff. Marie makes a good effort at pointing out that every aspect of our life has an affect on every other. She offers thoughts on how to organize stuff, schedules, crowded minds, families, etc.

There were the typical amount of copy problems, nothing that completely threw me off, and not more than I’d expect, but might be more than a language “purist” would be willing to read. (Okay, there are obvious copy problems with that sentence, so who am I to judge. :)

All and all, Organize as You Go is worth the read. It’s like a therapeutic talk with a wise friend. But, don’t expect it to solve all your problems. That’s doesn’t seem to be its purpose. Instead is just gives you gentle encouragement and points you in the right direction.

Friday, July 10, 2009

On Deadline

Can't remember own name.

See you in August.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Previously Engaged by Elodia Strain

I have decided that Elodia Strain needs to learn how to write faster. I can not possibly wait another year or two for her to give me something new to read. Elodia has definitely earned a place in my reading heart. She’s one of those authors who just makes you feel good on every level. She tells a fun, engaging story that also inspires and uplifts you.

If, like me, you fell in love with Annabelle in The Icing on the Cake, you have to get your hands on Previously Engaged to see what happens next.

Here’s a sneak peak at what Annabelle’s up to this time.

I’ll admit that the first time I got married all I really cared about was the dress and actually getting married. I was young and it was all very exciting, but beyond “me look pretty” I foolishly let my mother do whatever the heck she wanted. Sooo I could fully feel Annabelle’s pain. I also didn’t have to deal with the total weirdness she faces as she enters the world of weddings. What’s up with that? Do brides actually act that way? I’m told they do. *Shudder*

Point in case: The second time I got married (gasp!) I wore the dress I’d worn to my college graduation and got married in a jail (double gasp!). No, the groom was not in the jail. Technically, we were married above the jail in the little city courthouse, but my children will still never let me live it down. I have learned that while having a beautiful wedding can be nice, it very rarely dictates the success of the marriage and I think that’s way more important than “me look pretty.”

So, what I really want to know is do the types of charitable organizations she described really exist? I’m betting they do. And boy does that make me feel like a schmuck for not using more of my time and talents to bless the lives of others. I promise Annabelle, and Elodia, I will repent one of these days. Does anyone know how to go about setting up a nonprofit? Come talk to me in, um, ten years and maybe I’ll have a plan by then.

In reality the message I take away from Elodia’s books is that we all have choices, we all have opportunities to do good and be good. It’s all about which opportunities we take and what our choices mean to us.

Whines for Previously Engaged? Very few. I was a little sad that the copy editing wasn’t better, but that’s a whole different ballgame than the story itself. I also didn’t like the cover as well as I liked The Icing on the Cake. It’s cute, but it didn’t attract my attention as much as I would have liked. I hope it doesn’t blend in too much on the shelves and get overlooked because it’s definitely worth the read.

Yippee for Annabelle! You’re my hero! And, hugs to Elodia for creating a character and message that can so totally capture my heart. Learn to write faster. I’m a very impatient woman. ;)