Friday, June 29, 2012

Heaven is Here: Stephanie Nielson

Heaven is Here:   Stephanie Nielson

I always look forward to the Parade Magazine insert in my Sunday Washington Post and usually put it aside for later reading.  On April 8, 2012, I was riveted by the cover of a young couple and their story. I immediately devoured the article about Stephanie Nielson and her monumental journey. I was thrilled to learn that Mrs. Nielson had written a memoir of her experiences and proceeded to read her book in about two days. Here is my review:

In August 2008, Stephanie Nielson was a loving wife and devoted mother of four children. She happily chronicled her life journey on a successful blog: which became a very successful endeavor. The blog stood out for its authenticity and Nielson’s inherent love of motherhood and her devout Mormon family. On one fateful August day, Stephanie and her husband, Christian, embarked with flight instructor, Doug Kinneard, on a daytime flight to her in-laws retreat in New Mexico in a small Cessna airplane.  On the return flight, the plane crashed and was consumed with fire.  Mr. Kinneard perished and Stephanie and her husband were severely burned. Mrs. Nielson was burned over 83% of her body and was not expected to survive her injuries. She was in an induced coma for six months and her loving sisters, Courtney and Lucy, took her children in as their own, embracing them in the large Clark family fold in Provo, Utah. In this tale of resilience, Mrs. Nielson describes her harrowing journey out of her coma and back to a new normal of motherhood. She picks herself up through inexplicable pain, depression, and disfiguring burns to triumphantly return to her one true calling of motherhood. One of the most painful portions of the book involves her difficulty reuniting with her small children as a severely burned person. Yet, she overcomes these obstacles with an unmatched bravery and determination.

I shared the YouTube video of Heaven is Here with my college English students and they were moved beyond expectation. This book is why I share what I read; to connect others to the written word and the brilliant messages they contain. Please read this amazing story of human survival and love. Readers will be changed in their outlook of the life and will garner understanding of the true meaning of perseverance.

*Update: On April 3, 2012, Stephanie Nielson gave birth to baby Charlotte Nielson and her book is now on the New York Times Bestseller list!

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