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LocalLit book review: 'When Life Gets Shaky'

All of Dale Hansen's books, including this 56-page chronicle, are rooted in his Christian faith.
All of Dale Hansen's books, including this 56-page chronicle, are rooted in his Christian faith.

The title of Dale Hansen's book, "When Life Gets Shaky," is an apt theme for 2020, starting with the novel coronavirus and certainly not ending there.

But while this little (56 pages of large print), very readable book mostly shares Hansen's battle with Parkinson's and how that led him to grow in his faith, the principles he shares can help anyone through any trial.

After all, Hansen did mention other challenges he and his wife Patti have experienced: infertility, breast cancer (twice), kidney stones and prostate cancer.

Nevertheless, readers with a Parkinson's diagnosis will appreciate Hansen's factual bullet points of the disease (he keeps those to a minimum) and may relate closely to his experiences, which Hansen explains in a matter-of-fact conversational way, as if you were sitting across a table having coffee with him (or having a video chat, because it is 2020).

Hansen doesn't preach and he doesn't laud himself. Rather, he simply lays out the steps of his journey, which includes the anxiety of whether or not to undergo deep brain surgery, and how he grew closer to God in the process.

"I pray all of us make the right big and small choices we are confronted with each day, knowing God is with us even if we aren't sure," Hansen wrote.

In fact at one point, Hansen echoed the same sentiment another friend of mine (deceased) said when his aggressive prostate cancer moved to his bones. My friend had said he didn't want another book on how to pray. He needed to pray.

Now my friend was a man of deep faith, an Orthodox priest, and he said he thought he knew how to pray. But he also said God, through his cancer, was teaching him how to pray.

Hansen said the same thing thing in "When Life Gets Shaky." Hansen said he didn't need another book about prayer. He needed to pray.

"When Life Gets Shaky" is not a book on how to pray.

Rather, Hansen invites readers to walk with him and learn from him so that they, too, can be "intentional" in their own walk with God.

In fact, Hansen said his favorite word is "intentional."

"I want to be intentional in my actions," he wrote. "For example, I work at being intentional at making phone calls for encouragement, praying for someone I promised I would pray for, spending time with God and growing my faith."

Now that's something most of us can do, even in the middle of a pandemic.

Buy the book on Amazon.

For more information, visit

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Contact Denise M. Baran-Unland at 815-280-4122

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