Tag Archives: Planet Noun Quick Fast Book Review

Persistent papers pepper patience as Life Changing Tidying Up works its Magic

(FROM WHERE I SIT)—Good Lord, the papers have sprouted feet and are taking over because they want to be recycled. This latest rebellion is underway because I’ve been holding things up for way too long.  But I persist, because the end results will be worth it.

Gratefully ditching clothes that didn’t bring me joy wasn’t nearly as hard as getting rid of these clingy papers. It’s been a trudge. Kinda-sorta. Deciding what to keep and what to toss wasn’t that difficult. Now, there’s so much stuff to shred. If only the pile could rip itself to pieces. Yesterday. But as it’s taken me years to accumulate all this shite, it’ll take at least a smidgen of time to get this foolishness back under control.

Such a slow roll. But shredder wheels keep on turning, proud Lizzy keep on burning. I’m encouraged to don’t stop, get-it get-it because there’ll be time enough for resting when the shredding’s done.

Part of my KonMarie possessions laxative includes purging through all papers and only keeping the ones that bring joy. Of course, as The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up says there are always very necessary papers that must stay, no matter how much they dull the senses. Necessary is necessary.

Some paper goods I’ve considered for the rubbish pile: Treats from students during my teaching days. Every now and then, parents and students blessed me with holiday gifts: Things like a journal, a tile decorated with a little boy’s artwork, a Christmas card made from construction paper, a sporty skirt and top that I wore for a long while before I gave them away. Of all those kind treasures, I still have the journal and use it to jot down recipes. I also have the decorated tile, homemade card, and a different skirt that I still wear during the fall and winter months.

These things still bring me joy. Even the oversized construction-paper card with first-grader penmanship wishing me a Merry Christmas.  I’ll keep them until I can’t keep ’em anymore. Some bring back such wonderful memories. And I’ll treasure them… …. …… …….. .. . always.

there are always very necessary papers that must stay, no matter how much they dull the senses. Click To Tweet

Now, back to the other papers. Part of me wants to find a beach bonfire and introduce them to the flames. Another part of me wants to bake them to a crisp inside the stove, crumble them and use them to fertilize some plant. All of me wants them gone.

Inch by inch, it’s a cinch. That’s what keeps me from tossing everything out the window. That, and not wanting to catch a littering charge.


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QFBR: Measure of a Man

Person: Martin Greenfield; Maximilian Grunfeld
Thing: This book—Measure of a Man; a well made suit
Place: Pavlovo, Czechoslovakia; Concentration camps—Auschwitz, Buna, Buchenwald, Baltimore, Brooklyn… Various locales.
Idea: Grace makes an improbable life wonderfully possible.

Martin’s life started in Czechoslovakia. He was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household, but Martin says their faith wasn’t especially zealous. Life was good. They worked their own farm, took care of their livestock and even employed workers.

Then the trains arrived… and scuttled Martin’s family away. His mom, baby brother, younger sister and grandparents were sent in one direction. His other sister—taken away as well.

And then there were two. Martin and his dad. But they, too, were separated.

Martin never saw them again.

He survived Auschwitz, brutal marches through the snow, and Buchenwald, which is where Americans liberated them.

Martin’s main question through the succession of atrocities: “Where was God?”

His life took a few twists and turns after liberation–a stint in the Czech army, making a living as a cigarette runner, and meeting young ladies and having fun.

Martin was working as an auto mechanic when a letter arrived from the United States. He got someone to translate it, and learned he had extended family across the Atlantic.

Eventually, he settled in Brooklyn, worked for the suit maker GGG, a company with a client roster that included many high-profile Hollywood names.

Martin married, worked his way up the GGG ladder, and eventually purchased the company and re-named it.

Some have said Martin’s top-notch, made to measure suits are the best in the world. Repeat clients include U.S. presidents, Hollywood stars, athletes, and late night TV hosts.

Martin, whose family was almost decimated by hate, now runs the business with his sons. He notes how grace afforded the opportunity to create another family to love and nurture. Though there were MANY opportunities for death to smother him during World War II, it wasn’t able to snuff his existence.

After decades of hard work, opportunity, and success, and a bar mitzvah at age 80, Martin says he’s “left with nothing but gratitude for my life. Some things, it turns out, are beyond measure.”

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Quick-Fast Book Review: Quitting Church

Person: Julia Duin
Thing: Book—Quitting Church
Place: Various
Idea: Once adherent congregants are ditching their churches. Whether they’re fleeing in droves or trickling one member at a time, the attrition is noticeable. But those who leave aren’t necessarily ditching their faith. So what’s the deal?

In this book, Duin breaks down some reasons God-fearing and God-loving folks are finding a more comfortable home outside church structures and strictures.

In short, the faithful pack their belief and find spiritual solace elsewhere because the church is:
• Irrelevant and not addressing 21st century needs.
• Not a teeming and supportive community that folks need.
• Not concerned about singles over 35 years of age outside of how those unattached individuals can serve the church.
• The teaching is too basic and doesn’t stretch the mind. Some need basic biblical teaching, but that doesn’t encompass everyone’s needs. And what about tough areas of ambiguity? What about questions with no easy, pithy answers?
• Some churches are strangled by controlling pastors.
• And although women make large, large swaths of church membership, their leadership presence is glaringly absent… and in some cases, glaringly stifled into second-class status.
• Some can’t find that passionate spirit they so long for within a church body.

I think this book brings up some interesting points. Some I relate to more than others, as a once-weekly attendee who now finds a growing comfort with regular, but decreased frequency.

I recommend this book for anyone who is frustrated with the church experience and anyone who just wants to know they’re not alone. As for help fixing what’s broken, that’s an individual decision. Maybe you’ll find solace in leaving your church, or inspiration to tinker about and repair what’s broken in your local congregation—or even your denomination. If you’re not religious at all, ignore this recommendation and continue being kind to your neighbor… Amen.

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QFBR: Why Certainty is Sometimes Certainly Wrong

Person:  Peter Enns
Place: The mind
Thing: Book – The Sin of Certainty
Idea: A bunch of Christians might get sad reading this book.  Maybe they’ll weep or get steaming mad and gnash their teeth. According to Enns, the rock-solid certainty many segments of Christianity seek—is a sin.  Clutch your church pearls, your beads and your prayer cloths folks, and I’ll explain what he says:

Faith has nothing to do with knowing rules and tenets of what you believe. Faith is about actual trust in God. It’s also about distinguishing between knowing doctrine and trusting the God of whatever denomination to which you adhere. Enns says separating the two is key to a deeper, abiding Christian faith experience.

Christians seem certain about everything. What happens when people die, how the world developed, how the world will end. But with so many denominations and interpretations of scripture, someone’s certainty is certainly faulty. Doubt is cast as an enemy to be avoided… and vanquished if it pops up anywhere. Peter Enns writes that doubt isn’t the enemy a Christian should fear. Doubt is something to be faced head on… not as a warrior, but an explorer. Doubt’s pain and uncertainty, if explored, can be a means to develop trust. (I imagine trusting God is the entire point of being a Christian…)

Ditching certainty at all costs can unsettle and challenge faith…  It’s a lack of certainty that can make a person cut and run or stand firm (or curl up in a writhing ball) and insist “ I’m going to trust God anyway.”  THAT seems more demonstrative of faith than running down a list of creeds.  It’s certainly more Christian than shafting and bad-mouthing fellow believers who dare rethink faith as something bigger than reciting fundamental beliefs.  But maybe that’s too much of a challenge to some Christian communities. Knowing what you believe is nice (Enns insists knowing those beliefs is not a sin) but it’s never, ever better than trusting God in all matters… even the ones that seem counterintuitive, stupid and senseless. Doubt forces us to look deeper then our tenets  and find, define, and refine a relationship with the divine through difficult moments.

Ends insists God is still God, even if and when we get pissed off at Him… or Her… (or Him/Her).  Enns challenges readers not to fake like all is good when we’re mad at God. Just be mad, but work through the mess to find a closer, trusting connection with God. Trust is a habit you won’t find in a doctrine book. Folks just have to live it because (as the books subtitle says) “God desires our trust more than our beliefs.”

This is a highly recommended book because:

  1. It’s controversial… I imagine this might ruffle some stuffy fundamentalist feathers (and I say this as a Christian).
  2. It’s also a fun and thought-provoking read that might make someone reconsider another aspect of what it means to “have faith.”


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Quick-Fast Book Review: Think Like a Man; Act Like a Lady

Person: Steve Harvey
Thing: Book—Think Like a Man; Act Like a Lady
Place:  The dating world
Idea:   When it comes to dating, heterosexual women just need to give up. Not on men, but give up on hoping and praying men will “act right.” Often times, “acting right” means men should start acting like the dudes in a woman’s fantasy land.. which can be her mind.

Ain’t. Gonna. Happen. That’s the word according to Steve Harvey.

In this book, which is an easy and pleasant read, Harvey insists men are simple creatures. If women learned about and accepted what drives men, and how their ways of expressing love are different from the ways women tend to show love, things could be better in that arena.

But women need to accept the differences.

This book, when distilled to its essence, is a handy checklist of things to remember while navigating  romantic relationships.

If a man loves you, he’ll profess it, provide for you, and protect you. And Harvey says a man only needs three things from a woman he loves: Your support, loyalty, and “the cookie” (yet another way to say “good lovin’” or sexual healing).

Just don’t expect him to engage you like your girlfriends do.

He ain’t them.

If you want one man’s perspective, and a funny one at that, pick up this book. Take or leave his advice, but (IMHO) there’s something to be said about taking advice about men… from a man.

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Quick-Fast Book Review: Learn to recognize and drop a jerk in less time

Person: John Van Epp, PhD.
Thing: Book—How to Avoid Falling in Love With A Jerk
Place:  The Human Heart
Idea:   Van Epp says a love-interest’s jerk-like tendencies will manifest themselves within a set amount of time. And by following his suggested Relationship Attachment Model, budding relationships can maintain thoughtful balance, which decreases the likelihood of falling for a jerk.

Ahhhhh, February! Black History Month, heart health month, and the LOVE month!

Well this week’s Review is especially for all of you lonely souls—who look forward to growing to love the man or woman of your dreams! Maybe you just want a February Valentine.

This book is meant to prevent you from falling in love with a pendejo, an “a$$hole.” The title is more genteel…. “How to Avoid Falling in Love With A Jerk”.

I read the e-book version. Having fallen for a jerk or two in my past lives—when I read this, my aim was to avoid doing that again!

A few years ago, a man I went out with a few times alerted me to this book—along with one of the book’s major premises: That there is no substitute for TIME when trying to avoid falling for a jerk. How much time? Ninety days. And the author contends that 90 days is plenty good time for jerk-like patterns to reveal themselves.

Side note: In hindsight…the guy who recommended the book——was he warning me about himself? Hummm…

Van Epp says the principles in this book are part of his PICK program—that’s right—for folks trying to literally PICK a partner. If followed, the author pretty much guarantees you won’t marry a jerk! This book is chock full of acronyms—mnemonically friendly devices for you to keep handily in mind as you date.

For example:

FACES are critical in getting to know your partner:

  • Family Background
  • Attitudes and actions of the conscience
  • Compatibility potential
  • Examples of other relationships
  • Skills in relationships

Use these areas to get to know your partner, while using the RAM model—which is supposed to strip jerks clean. You’ll see a jerk for who he—or she—is. By taking time to examine FACES, you will be well informed about potential partners.

RAM stands for Relationship Attachment Model, and essentially states that there are five dynamics intrinsic to all humans. They concern how deeply one knows a person, how well you trust, rely, are committed to them, and have sexual involvement with them.

As you get to know a potential partner, you’ll find out about their background, attitudes, compatibility, etc.—and as you do, and the relationship grows. ALL relationships are based on knowledge first.   And if any of the other steps get ahead of knowledge—that puts relationship parties in a precarious situation—not necessarily physical but emotional.

You’ll have to get the book for the other nifty examples, and visual models that help make some principles easier to remember.

How to Avoid Falling In Love with a Jerk is a highly recommended read.

Next review—another love book!

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Book Review #5 | Quiet Strength

This week’s Review is a memoir by Tony Dungy—called Quiet Strength.

This book chronicles Tony Dungy’s journey—from his formative years in Jackson, Michigan, to the coach of the 2007 Superbowl champion Indianapolis Colts. The backbone of Dungy’s belief is that all should strive for excellence—and resolute strength in whatever sphere we may occupy—through disappointment, tragedy and happy times. This book was published in 2007, and though not exactly a new release, it contains timeless advice.

I like this book because it is a nice read for one, and it is a reminder that no one is alone in his or her journey. Dungy also shares about the suicide of his son. If there is anything I can imagine would send a parent into a depressive spiral, that is one of the things I can imagine. However, Dungy decided to follow the counsel he had given others through the years—including football players… And trust God through the pain—and keep their minds on God—no matter what. So no cursing or cussing God and shaking fists to the sky. Instead of asking “why” Dungy asked what he could learn from the situation—what could he do for God—and to help others.

Another recommended read—mainly because of its inspirational and uplifting value.

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