As mentioned in a few previous posts, I follow Stephanie Nielson's blog, Nie Nie Dialogues, and I love how inspiring her life is and I adore the stories about her family so it was a no brainer for me to read her memoir, Heaven Is Here.
The memoir follows her personal journey from falling in love with Mr. Nielson to her first 3 pregnancies and then the story of her tragic plane crash and her recovery from her burn injuries.
The book was so easy to read, I could not put it down. Stephanie is a practicing Mormon and even though my thoughts on God and religion are kind of up in the air at this moment, I could not help but respect her undying faith and devotion to her God and her religion.
When I was in grade 1, we lived next door to a prominent family in our community. They were devout Christians and the father was a well known business man. They had 3 children - all girls - and one of the daughters was my age, one was my brother's age (5 years older than me) and the oldest was in a wheelchair (developmental challenges). I spent countless days swimming in their pool, playing with the daughter who was my age (and in my Kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 2 classes). Their house was covered with religious art and decor - bibles littered every room. Out of the blue, we got a notice that he was in jail for assaulting the oldest daughter (in the wheelchair). There was a big trial and he went to prison but he was able to get out after only a few years due to good behaviour so the mother took the daughters into hiding. We ran into them before they completely changed their lives and their mother told us that it was their faith and belief in God that allowed them to move on with their lives. That God had a purpose and a plan for each of them and would never give them more in their lives than they could handle.
To this day I think about this family often. I was not brought up in a religious home (my mother is an antagonist) but my parents let me explore whatever religion or church I wanted. Nothing ever really stuck with me but I was always in awe of those who were deeply religious and held on to their beliefs so tightly that it got them through the dark times. I admire it and almost feel a twinge of jealously for those who have that in their lives.
THAT is exactly what Stephanie Nielson has - her faith is stronger than anything else in her life and it has gotten her through so much pain and suffering. It has allowed her to thrive and even go on to have another beautiful baby (Charlotte) after a year of recovering from the plane crash. Her life will never be the same and she has come to terms with that. She is a survivor, a thriver and a believer.
If you are looking for a little inspiration in your life, I highly suggest Stephanie's book and blog. No matter what you believe, her family will put a smile on your face and life your spirits when you are having a not-so-great day. Enjoy friends! xo