Books: Organizing for Life

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Organizing for Life by Sandra Felton (Revell Books)

Sandra Felton, the “organizer lady,” teaches more than just a few quick tips for cleaning out the closet. Although Organizing for Life explains ways to improve home cleanliness, its main purpose is to help uncover the deeper problems that make “messies.”

Organizing for Life gets to the heart of what it is that turns some people into packrats, as well as what makes some people love clutter and struggle with time management. Felton explains how messiness can be more significant than just a lifestyle choice. It may stem from something deeper.

This book is not just a quick-fix manual for a messy problem. It provides a chance to understand how messiness may be the effect of some other cause, perhaps even biological. Felton offers a glimpse into several possibilities, enabling readers to decide for themselves whether they think further help is necessary. This realization helps pave the way to making permanent changes.


Felton also supplies tips on keeping a clean kitchen and putting on makeup the right way. She has created “Messies Annonymous” groups around the country, so people with this problem can get together to share stories and encouragement.

Rebekah Hardage


Social Work with Volunteers by Michael E. Sherr (Lyceum Books)

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Thousands of social work professionals and students will read Social Work with Volunteers in the coming years. But every minister of education—and add to that just about anyone who recruits and works with volunteers in a congregation—should read it, too.

Michael Sherr, assistant professor at the Baylor University School of Social Work, is a social worker steeped in church life. Although the middle section of his new book focuses on professional social work, the beginning and ending sections read like a manual for staffing and operating well-run church programs.

Sherr first focuses on the act of volunteerism. He’s particularly helpful at explaining why people volunteer and keep on volunteering. And he offers a fascinating examination of the motivations behind volunteering, which provides not only practical applications for soliciting volunteers, but also for keeping them trained, focused, energized and effective.

In his last section, Sherr explains “context-specific optimal partnership.” That’s an uncharacteristically jargon-ish phrase for describing how to organize and deploy volunteers to solve problems and accomplish goals. And that’s important in every church.

Marv Knox, editor

Baptist Standard


Now and Not Yet: Making Sense of Single Life in the Twenty-First Century by Jennifer A. Marshall (Multnomah Books)

Jennifer Marshall poses a compelling question for single women: “What if in 10 years you were still single? What is your response?”


For most women Marshall surveyed, the response was disappointment and resentment, but it also was followed by a desire to walk in God’s will.

Now and Not Yet is about the “gap between expectations and reality” when it comes to being a single woman.

Marshall contrasts women today with those in their grandparents’ or even parents’ young-adult eras. In earlier generations, marriage was expected, and it was expected early. Women followed a path that led them through high school, maybe college and straight into marriage. But today, more women are starting families later in life. They are graduating from college and starting down a path that leads toward a career and not a family.

Marshall also presents surveys and stories of single women along with a plan to help women find comfort during their period of singleness. She offers advice for women on how to live life for today and understand “singleness is not a holding pattern.”

Jessica Dooley



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