ROAD TO HOPE
How One Woman Went from Doubting Her Path to Embracing Her Inner Journey
Genre: Memoir / Inspirational / Christian Life
Publication Date: November 15, 2019
Number of Pages: 240 pages
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Have you ever felt stuck? If so, you are not alone. As a 36-year-old wife, mother, and corporate executive, Dena Jansen’s life looked successful by society’s standards. But she found herself at an intersection—stranded at a real-life crossroads in her life.
Over a matter of years, darkness and doubt slowly crept in, leaving her unsure and unsettled in her life, marriage, and career. And after stalling out multiple times and nearly wrecking everything, she finally grabbed hold of a life-saving truth:
She had a choice to make. She could stay stuck, or she could try and find new roads that would lead to the peace and joy she was looking for.With a glimmer of hope, Dena embraced the gifts of curiosity and grace and began a journey of self-discovery. And she chose to believe in a new truth:
She was meant for more and could no longer settle.
In Road to Hope, Dena invites you to join her as she wanders the roads she traveled and take anything you need from her story to help you in yours. She shares how she grew from a woman who doubted her path to one who is confident and ready for the next adventure. And she wants you to experience a similar shift. And more than that, she believes you can.
I will kick off this review of Road to Hope by Dena Jansen by gushing over the cover. Gorgeous! The color palette is soothing and the image of the open sky and road is the epitome of an inspirational journey. Even the font used has that distinct inspirational look to it. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Take a stroll through the inspirational or spiritual aisle next time you’re at Barnes and Noble and you will see variations of this style of font.
Truthfully speaking, I was a little wary of this book when I was only a few chapters in. I felt like Jansen was pitching her new business model right at me and I was worried that the rest of the book would continue with overused mantras mixed with subtle hints to check out her website. I can assure you that this is not what happens and this book really dives deep. As Jansen shares her journey of introspection and sometimes brutal revelations, you might find yourself standing before a mirror and asking questions like, “Who am I really?” and “What do I want?” as well. I found it refreshing that, for most of the book, Jansen didn’t have any answers for those questions. She truly walks us through her journey, every twist, every pitfall, and the intimate details of each pit stop. I admire her ability to recall how she felt at different moments along the way and her honesty about how her answer would change as she realized that she had changed.
I often feel like inspirational books written by Christian authors gloss over their own un-Christianly behavior. I was surprised and very much appreciative of Jansen’s candor when writing about her mistakes and a very close call. She is fortunate to have people in her life who keep her accountable for her actions. We should all be so lucky to have someone who cares enough about us to tell us when we are wrong and how to make things right with the people we love. And if we do have someone like that, we need to make sure to check in and make sure we stay on course.
Jansen uses some really great metaphors and I was tickled to find that I’m not the only person who reads meaning into a particular song that plays at just the right moment or a written passage that floats right to you when you need it most. And to be quite honest, this book came at the right time in my life. I have been itching to find what I really love to do. A happenstance discovery of old emails made me realize that my husband has been in the same limbo for over 10 years now. He doesn’t devour books the way that I do, but he enjoys my recaps immensely. I plan on sharing this one with him so that it might help him embark on his own journey. In the name of stability, I might need to be the check-in point should he decide to set off and find a new path. Once he’s found his way though, it will be my turn to explore.
Definitely read this book if you feel like you need to make a change in your life. Read this book if you’re scared of the unknown and need encouragement. Give this book to someone that might need reminding that life is all about the journey not the destination. Bon voyage.
Dena Jansen’s calling to lift others up is profoundly personal. She understands the fears and doubts that hold people back because she has them too. Her own path to fulfillment is a real-life journey that’s still very much in progress. As a CPA and retired partner from Austin-based CPA firm Maxwell Locke & Ritter, she launched Dena Speaks to inspire potential seeking individuals and businesses. Dena shares life and love with her husband, JP, and their two children, Trace, and Elizabeth in Buda, Texas. She loves romantic comedy movies, listening to podcasts, and spending time with her family and friends.
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ONE WINNER: Signed copy + $10 Starbucks Gift Card + Dena Speaks swag
TWO WINNERS: Signed paperback OR audio code + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
JANUARY 21-31, 2020
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WHY I HATE GREEN BEANS
and other confessions about relationships, reality tv, and how we see ourselves
Date of Publication: February 6, 2018
Number of Pages: 208
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Insecurity. As women, we all struggle with it. Our skinny jeans mock us. Our age-defying serums with flecks of gold refuse to erase our crow’s feet. Our social media feeds taunt us with everyone else’s picture-perfect lives. If you’ve ever felt uninteresting, unlovable, or unattractive, you’re ready for Lincee Ray’s particular brand of hilarious (and hard-hitting) self-reflection.
Like a trustworthy friend, she shows us that the fastest way to happiness is to embrace ourselves in all our imperfection and trust that God knew what He was doing when He made us. From maneuvering the muffin top to navigating the sketchy waters of singleness to walking the judgmental halls of the workplace, Lincee’s laugh-out-loud look at real life reveals many of the key truths she’s learned about her identity:
Yoga pants are your friend, Jesus sees you, and green-bean diets are never the answer.
PRAISE FOR WHY I HATE GREEN BEANS:
“Lincee is a brilliant writer. She once described me as ‘smelling of worn leather, a vintage nine iron and swagger.’ She pretty much nailed it. She is definitely worthy of the final rose.” —Chris Harrison, host of ABC’s Bachelor franchise and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
“I found myself laughing out loud, wiping away a few tears, and cheering her on every step of the way. Lincee is the best friend you wish you had. Get ready to fall in love with her and her fabulous debut book!” —Melanie Shankle, author of the Big Mama blog
“By the end of this book, you’ll think of Lincee as a favorite friend: someone who shoots straight, finds the funny in every situation, and reminds you what matters most. You are in for a treat!” —Sophie Hudson, author of Giddy Up, Eunice and cohost of The Big Boo Cast podcast
For a good while, I thought there was another girl in Texas living my exact same life. I, too, am an introvert with extrovert tendencies. Ray and I share the discomfort of people noticing us out in public, but are totally fine dancing up a storm or stealing the mic to sing our lungs out. We also dated a younger guy in high school who we left behind when we went to college. And there our stories diverged, but I continued to be captivated.
Was it her Disney internship that had me chomping at the bit? I had always dreamed of being Mulan or Pocahontas. Or perhaps it was the funny coincidence that we both worked in oil and gas. Those are just a few places where our adult lives intersected, but I found so much that I could relate to. As I read on, I realized that Ray had a few years on me, but we share the same generation. Our parents were different but the same in many ways, just like we are. And the pop references from childhood through adulthood kept me thoroughly entertained.
As a Christian, I appreciated her sprinkles of scripture here and there. But to be honest, I was a little taken aback when she really goes full on Bible at the end. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I feel compelled to write it here. I guess I hadn’t really seen the book going in that direction all along. But if that section brings someone to Christ, or closer to Him, I can get behind that. I know that I can always use the reminder about the Refiner’s Fire. Everyone knows the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” But I always loved the Biblical imagery of your hardship being the equivalent of you being thrust into the fire and each strike making you stronger.
Some of my favorite parts include the section where her friends share stories about her with their children. I like how she has a comical quip to add at the end of each anecdote. I loved how she had a great Language Arts teacher (they’re always the best for some reason) that assigned a coat of arms design assignment like mine did. I can’t remember all the bits on mine, but I do know that the young me held a lot of the same values and quirks as me today.
My only regret is that Ray never tried Events and Adventures. I’ve been begging my single friends to give it a try and report back, you know, for science. Maybe she could include it in her next book – the one about all the crazies she met while speed dating.
I think women in all walks of life would enjoy this book, but especially ’70s and ’80s kids. If there’s a pre-teen or teen girl in your life that’s got it rough, the first few chapter are really uplifting. I plan on sharing this book with my group of gal pals.
Lincee Ray is an accidental blogging superstar from Texas who now writes for EW.com and the Associated Press. An active speaker, she can be found at her popular website ihategreenbeans.com, where she makes it clear that she believes it’s important to tell your story—even if it makes you seem a little crazy.
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FEBRUARY 13-22, 2018
Copy of Why I Hate Green Beans with a signed book plate, $50 Barnes & Noble Gift Card, and Lincee’s Loves Basket which includes: Rave travel hairspray, Minnie Mouse ears, Vodka*, Heartbreakers Candy, Dr. Pepper, chocolate rose, and green jelly beans.
Copy of Why I Hate Green Beans with a signed book plate, $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
Copy of Why I Hate Green Beans with a signed book plate, $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
(U.S. Only; *proof of age required for vodka)
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