Book Review: How Can I Run a Tight Ship When I am Surrounded by Loose Cannons?

June 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Book and Movie Reviews

Written by Kathi Macias
Reviewed by Margot Starbuck

Though I expected Kathi Macias’ How Can I Run a Tight Ship When I’m Surrounded By Loose Cannons? to be a book about strategies for domestic efficiency, I was delighted—and relieved—to read Macias’ story of one woman’s quest for spiritual maturity. 

Early on in her Christian journey, Macias sets out to find another Christian woman who can mentor her into the kind of superwoman described in Proverbs 31: the perfect wife, housekeeper, mother, and entrepreneur.  Along the way, she finds herself in some unlikely places, including in bed with a leaky stranger.  (Don’t worry, there’s a perfectly good explanation for this.)  She also finds herself in the same places many readers have found ourselves: seeking to mature in faith, wanting to share the gospel with others, longing for deeper intimacy with the Lord.  With transparency and humility, Macias describes a journey toward “perfection” in the Christian life which is anything but.  Ultimately, her striving to be the woman with all of her ducks in a row, and all her canons secure, gives way to both a deeper trust in God and a rest which frees her from the need to be the captain of her own ship.

In the hands of a new believer, this charming lighthearted read will provide a long-range vision of the life of faith as a journey, giving the newer Christian permission to be imperfect as she pursues God.  In the hands of a more mature Christian, it effectively describes the stages of life as a child of God: crawling, walking, running, flying, and—ultimately—leaning.  Specifically, Macias provides several questions and a scripture at the end of each chapter which can be used individually, as a springboard to spiritual journaling, or as discussion starter for groups.

Though I’d expected to find some pat answers to keep my home running smoothly, I found instead the story of woman with a deep and abiding faith in God, specifically when things don’t run smoothly. The answer to “How Can I Run a Tight Ship?”, a message of grace, is one which we all need to hear.

Margot Starbuck is an author and speaker. Her writing has been featured in Today’s Christian Woman, Focus on the Family Magazine, and Adoptive Families. The Girl in the Orange Dress: Searching for a Father Who Does Not Fail is a featured book in the Great Escape 2009. You can find out more about her at

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