Sanity Secrets for Stressed-Out Women

In the past eight months, I’ve had dental surgery, planned a wedding, planned a 3-week honeymoon in a foreign country, traveled to Virginia and back five times, lost my dog to bone cancer, helped my husband navigate unemployment and find a new job, searched for an apartment, battled a shady landlady, and slogged through immigration paperwork (that one’s still on-going). If anyone needed sanity secrets, it was me. And into that chaos stumbled Sue Augustine’s book Sanity Secrets for Stressed-Out Women.

Augustine provides twenty-five sanity secrets to help women manage their time better, prevent or deal with burnout, take control of their thoughts and emotions, and learn to be more content. She undergirds it all with Scripture and uplifting reminders to turn to God in prayer.

This book’s strength is in the way Augustine gives a variety of examples of how to apply her concepts, ensuring that each reader can find at least one that suits her. Augustine recognizes that women aren’t mass-produced dolls who all have the same strengths and defects. She’s provided additional insurance that there’s something for everyone by giving twenty-five “secrets.” Maybe you don’t have a problem with drooping body image, but you do have a problem with procrastination. Maybe you don’t struggle with negative self-talk, but you do need hints on how to develop healthy coping mechanisms or find more creative solutions to your problems.

As someone who considers herself a member of Augustine’s target audience, my biggest problem was the length of the early chapters and her verbosity. I sometimes found myself wanting her to get to the point rather than making me wade through piles of adjectives and phrases. Yes, her language was pretty, but when my time is short, I want solutions fast.

Overall a useful book. I tend to be skeptical about self-help books, but I liked this one enough to donate a copy to my church’s library.

Sanity Secrets for Stressed-Out Women by Sue Augustine

Published by Harvest House

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Talking to the Dead

Sometimes it’s hard to let go of the ones we love . . .

The day after her husband Kevin’s funeral, Kate Davis falls apart. She refuses to eat, shower, or sleep in her bedroom. She can’t remember large chunks of time from the last year. And she hears Kevin talking to her.

As Kate attempts to stifle Kevin’s voice, she seeks help from a “spiritual” counselor, an exorcist, a psychiatrist, and group therapy. None of it works, and when she begins to uncover the truth about Kevin and their relationship, his voice turns from playful to accusing. No longer knowing who she can trust and believing God hates her, Kate wonders if she should give up on ever being “normal” again.

Despite the unusual events, Kate’s situation is still one that every adult in a relationship can identify with. Love, unfortunately, always comes entwined with the fear of loss. Grove also paints a sad but accurate picture of the damage we cause when we deny the truth.

Kate’s story will remind you that only God can put our broken parts back together. Between Grove’s eloquent use of language, touches of humor, and compelling plot, I didn’t want to put this book down. It deserved its win in the Contemporary Novel category of The Word Guild’s 2010 Canadian Christian Writing Awards.

Her second novel, Time and Time Again, was due for release in September 2010.

Talking to the Dead by Bonnie Grove

Published by David C. Cook

This review is an updated version of the one that originally appeared in Maranatha News in August 2009.