FIRST Wildcard Tours presents Confessions of a Control Freak by Priscilla Knox Morrison

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Priscilla Knox Morrison
and the book:
Confessions of a Control Freak
Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2012)
***Special thanks to Ginger Chen of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

Priscilla Knox Morrison
serves in a women’s prison ministry, speaks at conferences and retreats
on women’s issues, and writes on topics related to these ministries.
Priscilla enjoys entertaining, playing with her grandchildren, reading,
crocheting, and walking in the woods on the Blue Ridge Mountains where
she resides with her husband, Larry.
Visit the author’s website.


For every woman who can’t let go of control—and for those who live and work with them—comes
Confessions of a Control Freak,
by Priscilla Knox Morrison. Through her practical advice and humorous
personal illustrations, readers will learn to accept their limitations
and trust God with
the future.

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99

Paperback: 144 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736946209

ISBN-13: 978-0736946209



Wow did I ever need this book! Sometimes I am a total control freak, and this book shows me just how much of one. A couple of the main things I came away with reading this book is that I need to stand back and let people help when they offer. I like to jump in and do and do….and sometimes thats not so good. Other’s may need and want to help, and I should consider that.

And one that probably all of us need to realize more is how to let go and trust God to take care of our situations. Isn’t it just so easy to step in and take care of things for yourself? Well it is for me, and especially when there is fear of something involved. But we must trust God in everything. Letting go is very difficult, but letting God is so much better.

I highly recommend this wonderful book for your personal library. It is a great reference to go to many times when we are striving so hard to be in control.

This book was provided by the publisher, Harvest House and FIRST WildCard Tours for me to read and review. I was not expected or required to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.



Are We

Talking About Here?

We all know a control freak when we see one. It’s the person
hardly anyone can stand to work with because it’s her way or the highway. The
mother whose children have to file their socks. The father who gets obedience
from his family but scares the living daylights out of them. The guy who can’t
relax because things around him aren’t perfect. Or the woman next to me on a
plane recently who not only demonstrated how to put my tray down, but told me
where to put my cup. These people can be the bane of our existence, or worse,
we might realize that we’re control freaks too.
Am I a control freak?
Perhaps you’re honestly asking
yourself, “How do I know if I’m a control
freak?” Here are some recognizable signs:
nagging others
trying to orchestrate outcomes
butting into others’ affairs
worrying about things beyond your
feeling anxiety about the future
never feeling peaceful
needing everything to be in perfect
It takes some harsh
evaluating to recognize some of these habits in yourself. If you’re a detail
person, it’s tricky to wear the planning hat and not put on the micromanaginghat at the same time. Before admitting to
this aspect of my nature, I was a very frustrated person. I grew up in a big
family, and I was the neatnik. I loved to clean and organize and had plenty to
work with since our house was always Grand Central Station. If I was a control
freak when I was younger, though, I certainly wasn’t aware of it! Then I got
married and had children. If you’re single and think you might
be a bit of a control freak, just get married and have some kids. Your
tendencies will blossom into a garden of full-blown habits.
My husband, Larry, and I have six
children. I wanted all six. I love
all six. But it was in parenting that my control freak dilemma surfaced. I
still marvel at how many details come into play for eight people to get through
one day—you have to plan for rising times, cooking, dishes, carpooling,
surprise throw-ups, chores (yours and training them to do theirs), squabbles,
laundry, missing socks, sports (in different locations simultaneously), music
lessons, music practice, weather (which is always a challenge to control),
grocery shopping, phone calls, junk mail (thankfully e-mail hadn’t been
invented during those busy days), paying bills, running to the Emergency Room,
making reservations, visiting friends, helping each child with homework,
doctors’ visits, church activities, clubs, kind deeds, character building,
listening, encouraging, wife-ing, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Over time, I
morphed from detail-person to Frau Commandant. When did I cross the line? Where
did good mothering, wife-ing, and friending end
and controlling begin?
Where does the term
“control freak” come from?
Curious as to how exactly the term
“control freak” became so popular, I decided to look up the word control in the
dictionary. According to Webster, control means…
to regulate financial affairs
to verify, as an experiment, by
comparison with a standard
to exercise authority over; direct;
to curb; restrain; hold back
authority to direct or regulate
a means of restraint; check
a standard of comparison for verifying
or checking the findings of an experiment
an instrument or apparatus to regulate
a mechanism; as, the controls of an airplane
See anything negative here? When I read
this, a light went on. Not all control is bad. I had become so self-critical
about my controlling nature that I was afraid to tell my kids to take out the
trash. My new goal was to figure out how my personality could flourish without
driving others nuts. There might be a place in the world for someone with my
If the term “control” isn’t all bad,
then perhaps being controlling isn’t all
bad either. Yes! I asked friends about conditions in which it was proper or
valid to be controlling, and they mentioned these situations:
when taking care of children or the
elderly; when you’re responsible for other people
when you’re the chairperson of a
when you need to take charge in an
when you’re an employer managing a
when you’re in an experimental
laboratory and there must be strict control of conditions
when it’s a question of duty—military
leaders, police officers
when it’s forced upon you by people who
are too passive
when you’re in church leadership
So what’s a “control
You know them. You avoid them:
the mother who watches her child’s
every move
the friend who tries to orchestrate a
situation to his or her benefit
the husband who wants to monitor his
wife’s comings and goings
someone who wants to make all the
decisions at the office with no input from others
the one who deliberately joins the
committee in order to run the show
the acquaintance who continually gives
unsolicited advice
We get the idea. When people call us
control freaks, they’re not paying us a compliment.
When I started journaling on the
subject, I actually thought that control was a woman’s problem. This probably
grew from my frustrations as a wife and mother and knowing so many other women
who were in the same boat. In time I saw that control is, of course, a human
problem. I think we all have our areas where we’d like to have more
control—some of us just have more areas! The urge to control is a universal
trait found in women and men alike. My paternal grandfather, for instance,
controlled the household finances, and my grandmother had to go to him each day
for the grocery money. The man was into control.
I a hopeless case?
In the midst of many happy years of
raising what I felt was a wonderful family came some agonizing times. As life
spun out of control I was frustrated beyond belief. I had many difficult
lessons to learn if we were all going to survive. Three things helped me make
Finding that the Bible, God’s holy
Word, was relevant for today. And not only was it relevant, but it was true,
and it worked. Whenever I took the time to search out an answer in Scripture, I
got help. And amidst all the wisdom and help was a relational God who loved me
and graciously revealed purpose to all I was going through.
Reading several books, which I’ll
reference throughout. It’s fun to keep learning and discovering through the
wisdom and experience of those who have been through the same struggles.
Discovering prayer. I was raised in a
Christian home, I married a pastor, and I taught my kids about Jesus, all
without much prayer. Simple, right? Nope—it was the hardest—and most
foolish—thing I ever tried.
What drives us to
control others, or even just our own circumstances?
Some of what drives me—and perhaps you
too—will be covered in the following chapters. Each of us has our own past and
our own unique personality, both of which form our reactions and responses to
life. But control freaks all have some things in common. They might say things
I actually have more talents and
abilities than some others I work with.
I want to feel better about myself.
I’m afraid—afraid of the future, afraid
of losing control, afraid to trust someone else, afraid of failure, and afraid
for those I love.
Are any of these statements true for
you? If so, perhaps you will identify with one or more of the confessions that
follow. If you find yourself in these pages, I hope you will turn to the God
who enlightens, forgives, delivers, and, most of all, loves.
Before we dive in, take a few minutes
to consider the following questions about your own need to take control and
your attitude toward those who seek to control you.
In your own words, describe a control
Would you consider yourself to be a
control freak? Why or why not? (If not, skip to question 10.)
If yes, does this bother you about
yourself? Why or why not?
Do others accuse you of being a control
freak? If so, why do you think they do?
Does it bother you that others feel
this way toward you? Why?
What might you like to change about
yourself, if anything, as it relates to this issue?
What do you think may cause you to seek
control? Is it just a part of your personality? Does it relate to your
childhood experiences?
How did you first become aware of this
Can you think of certain circumstances
that cause you to want control?
of someone you would describe as a control freak. What do you think causes them
to act in this way?
you have a good relationship with this person? If you do, how have you learned
to get along with them? If not, what changes would need to be made before you
could be close?
do you find most difficult about your relationship with this person? Have you
been able to talk with them about it? If so, what was the outcome?
you could communicate one idea to this person, what would it be?
you think it is ever proper/valid to be controlling? Explain.
you are a person who reads the Bible, what have the Scriptures taught you in
regard to the desire to control other people and events?
have other people and life experiences taught you about control issues?

Small Space Organizing by Kathryn Bechen…With interview from the author

Small Space Organizing  by Kathryn Bechen

Dwell Well in a Small Space

A room-by-room ‘small space bible’ to maximize living in minimum space

Whether you’re downsizing your home or just starting out, professional organizing and decorating author Kathryn Bechen will show you how to create a space where you can live well regardless of the size. Dedicated to helping small space dwellers thrive in their home for over 20 years, Bechen wants everyone to feel proud of their comfortable and welcoming living space regardless of the square footage.

In Small Space Organizing: A Room-by-Room Guide to Maximizing Your Space (Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8007-2028-5, 240 pages, January 2012, $12.99), Bechen compiles 20 years of real life organizational tips and tricks. This ‘small space bible’ will help anyone transform cramped space into a perfectly petite living space as Bechen goes room-by-room giving design and organizational advice as well as taking on the extremely small spaces of studio and basement apartments, loft and high-rise spaces and even tips for RV living.

“A true home is really about the size of your heart, not about the size of your space,” says Bechen. She encourages readers to embrace living in a small space and assures them that even the most teeny-tiny space can be transformed into a welcoming environment to maximize the space – and more importantly, maximize living.  Bechen tells clients to “always remember that it’s far more important to have a spirit of hospitality and friendship as the emphasis of your home, rather than neglecting to invite others to visit you there just because you lack large rooms or expensive furniture.”

After reading Small Space Organizing readers will be able to:

–          Create a non-traditional entryway space

–          Find a creative space for a home office

–          Craft a spa atmosphere in a teeny-tiny bathroom

–          Design a nursery space to nurture a  newborn

–          Find storage space that’s hiding in their kitchen

–          Downsize their living space successfully

Small Space Organizing will help readers at every stage of life create an inviting home and maximize living. Everyone from the newlyweds struggling to fit all their wedding presents into a small apartment to empty-nesters with years-worth of sentimental possessions moving to a smaller home can benefit from Bechen’s expert advice.

For the reluctant downsizer faced with the daunting task of moving into a smaller living space, Bechen offers encouragement and practical tips for the emotional process. “It’s normal to go through an array of emotions during your downsizing process,” says Bechen. “It helps to get through it by keeping your mind’s eye focused on the end results of a lovely new right-sized home, decorated in a style you love, in a neighborhood that’s just right for you at this new stage of your life.”


My Thoughts

Small Space Organizing  by Katheryn Bechen

For me, this is a good book to start of the New Year; my house is not so very big, so I needed advice, tips and ideas on how to organize each room better. I found this book to be a lot of help for me in a number of areas in my house.

The chapter on downsizing was really good because that is something I really need to do, but just can’t part with stuff. I like that the author realizes the emotional issues of getting rid of stuff. Making a list of things you need and want to keep, and things that you no longer need is a wonderful idea, and one I will be using. I think I will do one room at a time, making it easier for me.

The resources at the end of each chapter are helpful as well, because some of the things I had no idea where to find. I appreciate Kathryn Bechen for writing this book on organizing small places to help people like me! If you have problems with space, or just want to learn to organize you things better, I highly recommend this book for you.

“Available January 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

I received this book from the publisher Revell to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 55.


Special Blog Interview from the Author 

Kathryn Bechen INK Professional Writer &  Book Author




Author of

Small Space Organizing:  A Room-by-Room Guide to Maximizing Your Space


Sample Media Questions

Q:  Do you consider small space living a “quality of life” choice and if so, why?

A:  Indeed, I do.  Whatever housing lifestyle choice you make for your family I think is okay, but I think that you should make sure you’re consciously choosing, and not just going with a McMansion in the ‘burbs or an acreage in the country with a big house because you feel outside pressure from anyone else to do so.  I believe housing size is a lifestyle choice too in that housing size and the number of possessions in it take up time in your life, and time IS your life, so you want to be sure you’re spending your time in a way that feels right for you because you can never get time back! If living in a large home with a large yard full of flowers makes you happy because you like having big family and friend gatherings there, and you are comfortable with all the time, maintenance, and expense that all involves,  then I think a larger home is right for you.  If, like me and my husband, you would rather live in a (high-quality) small space that does not require hours of cleaning and large outlays of money for home maintenance, lawn care, and furnishings, plus gives you more time to spend doing enjoyable things together, having small dinners with a few friends, and traveling, then I think small space living is for you.  And always, no matter what the size of your home space, personalize the furnishings and decor to your taste so it feels beautiful to you.   That doesn’t mean you have to spend tons of money; it means choosing furnishings and accessories within your budget that you feel are attractive.

Q:  What does “rightsized” living mean?

A:   I think “rightsized” is a relative term, personalized to you and your family.   A home that seems small to one family might seem big to another.  A home that seems small to you at one phase of your life might seem large at another time in your life.  When I personally think of small space living, I think of about 400-1200 SF, but some people might think my 1200 SF apartment is big.  I’ve heard people say they’re downsizing to a “small 2700 SF house.”  To me, 2700 SF is big!    Again, I’d like to inspire people to make very conscious choices as to the size of home space they live in, so they’re happy, because I believe when you’re happy at home, it radiates out in a positive way to others in the world.  Kind of like when you find the perfect jeans that fit just right!   And likewise, I’ll be bold enough to declare here that when your home space doesn’t feel appropriate and supportive to you, you sadly radiate that crankiness out into the world too!

Q:  What’s the first step to downsizing?

A:  Buy a 3 inch three-ring notebook and clear sheet protectors and a pencil case that you can put on the binder rings so you can take notes, keep biz cards  etc. in the sheet protector, and put pens and your keys in the pencil case. Begin by walking through every room in your home and list out every large item and furnishing that you want to donate or sell so you will be able to see what you’re going to have to move.  Do this with any outside storage sheds and the garage as well.  Don’t forget the attic or other out-of-the-way spaces.    It’s not carved in stone; you may have to walk through your home numerous times, and you may have to negotiate the items with your mate and family as well.



Q:  Can someone really be happy, and stay organized, living in just one room?

A:  Absolutely!  Some people actually prefer it, especially if they live in a studio apartment in someplace like New York City where the excitement and culture of the city is their “backyard,” or in San Diego, where parks and beaches are the same.  In one room, everything has to have its place, and I believe every home should have only the things in it that really bring you joy, but when living in one room, that’s even more important.  Make your home beautiful to you, even if it’s one small room!

Q:  What’s your best tip for creating a foyer if you don’t have a “real” foyer?

A: If you enter right into your living room, create a “foyer” near the front door using an attractive small bedroom nightstand.   Hang a mirror over it, and place a basket under the legs of the nightstand.  Put your keys in the nightstand, put your shoes in the basket, and check your “do” every day in the mirror before you leave the house.

Q:  What are your two best small space organizing tips?

A:  1. Keep your gadgets and appliances simple by buying only what you’ll truly use.

2.  Use all-white dishes and clear glassware to cut down on how many dish sets you buy.  If a dish breaks, you can easily find a new similar white piece and not have to get a whole new set.

Q:  How in the world can you create a “spa-like” experience in a teeny-tiny bathroom, especially if the kids’ rubber duckies have taken up residence?

A:  In a small home, especially if there is only one bathroom, the bathroom should ideally be totally free of clutter and toys.  You can achieve that by giving each family member a plastic basket or tote to hold their toiletries and toys.  Instead of being stored in the bathroom, each family member keeps their basket in their bedroom and carries it to and from the bathroom.  They also keep their own towel and washcloth in their bedroom–hang it on a hook in the closet.  Many of us used this M.O. in college.    Assign time slots for each family member to bathe for 30=45 minutes daily each so there is no squabbling about sis taking too long in the bathroom.  Set a timer if need be.  Make it a family rule that each member will respect others’ time in the bathroom and not interrupt so each family member feels they can have their private bathroom “spa time.”  And last but not least, each family member cleans up after themselves immediately after their bathroom time so it’s clean for the next person.  No whiskers in the sink and no pantyhose dripping on the bathroom rod!



Q:  What’s your best tip if a couple has to share a small home office?

A: (Laughs.)  Pray!  Seriously, unless you work on projects together often and need to collaborate, each person should have their own side, corner, or at least a desk that’s uniquely theirs, and the other person should not invade their turf without permission.  Do your best to keep order on both sides; don’t let it get totally out of control with clutter as that’s disrespectful to your mate if you are sharing a space.  That being said, Nancy Neatfreak is going to have to lighten up a bit if she’s married to Max Messy.  My husband and I share a home office, and he has one side of the room and I have the other.  I systematically put everything away at the end of the day, and he’s a little bit looser with his paperwork, but not a messy.  He uses a big black chair and office armoire that closes up so I can’t see his paperwork, and I have an Old World feminine style desk that I love, and a pretty slipcovered chair.  Put your personal decorative stamp on your side of the room, and don’t worry about your styles matching. When people walk into our home office they laugh and immediately comment on whose side is whose because it’s very obvious!

Q:  What’s your best organizing tip for kids sharing a bedroom?

A:  Just like a home office shared by mates, kids should each have their own side that’s personalized to them.  Or at least their own bed if using bunk beds, for instance.  I think each child should have their own desk for school studies as well, and their own dresser and side of the closet.

Q:  How is it possible to create an organized “library” in a small home?

A:  Buy tall white bookshelves and line your longest living room wall as a focal point.  Arrange the books on the shelf in an artful way, mixing in collected knickknacks for an interesting look.  Or, today your e-reader, in lieu of bookshelves, can be your library in a small space if you don’t want to dust bookshelves.  Also, if you have a dining nook, you can put floor to ceiling bookcases to create a charming little library.

Q:  In your book you talk about the binder notebook method.  What is that exactly?

A:  It’s the three-ring binder notebook I mentioned in the downsizing question above.  It helps you have a portable place to jot down your thoughts, plus store biz cards and fliers from housing developments you’re touring etc.






Q:  What free download do you have today for our readers/listeners so they can get started right away in organizing their small space home?

A:  Go to and sign up to get the free article I wrote, Small Space Savvy in a Big Stuff World.  There’s also another free home organizing and decorating article there as a bonus.


Bio for Author Kathryn Bechen

Kathryn Bechen is an award-winning professional writer whose articles have appeared in popular national and regional magazines and newspapers. She specializes in lifestyle feature articles and has also published several organizing and decorating e-books. The lifestyle companies she founded, Organized with Ease and Kathryn Bechen Designs, have served clients worldwide. Kathryn has organized and decorated 13 personal small space residences together with her husband Steve, and they currently live in their favorite small space ever: a 1,200-square-foot high-rise apartment in beautiful San Diego, California. She blogs about timely lifestyle topics at

Kathryn Bechen is an award-winning professional writer whose articles have appeared in popular national and regional magazines and newspapers. She specializes in lifestyle feature articles and has also published several organizing and decorating e-books. The lifestyle companies she founded, Organized with Ease and Kathryn Bechen Designs, have served clients worldwide. Bechen has organized and decorated 13 personal small space residences together with her husband Steve. They currently live in their favorite small space ever: a 1,200-square-foot high-rise apartment in beautiful San Diego, California. She blogs about timely lifestyle topics at


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