My mom and I just finished reading a great book that I'm excited to tell everyone about. The book is Heaven Is Here, an inspiring memoir written by Stephanie Nielson. If you haven't heard of Stephanie before, she's the young wife and mother who was burned in 2008 when the plane her husband was flying crashed shortly after taking off.
Stephanie's been writing a blog called Nienie Dialogues since 2005. I've been following it for the past several years, so it was a real treat to be able to meet Stephanie in March of 2011 when she spoke at a women's conference at my church. That was an awesome experience!Here are some pictures of Stephanie, her husband Christian and their family before the plane crash:
In the book Stephanie talks about being burned and how her severe injuries turned her ordinary life upside down. After the crash she was in a coma for months and since that time she's endured dozens and dozens of surgeries and procedures to graft her body back together again. At first Stephanie had little to no movement and she had to relearn to do the simplest of things over again since her body was damaged so severely.
After months and months of surgeries and therapy Stephanie was able to leave the hospital, which was a huge milestone, although going home was just the start of an even more difficult task… learning how to care for herself again so that she could be the wife and mother that she was before she was burned.
In the book Stephanie talks candidly about her recovery and what it was like having her husband and children see her again for the first time. She also talks about her feelings of self-consciousness, going out in public where people invariably stare at her and becoming comfortable in her new skin.
One of the things that worried Stephanie the most after her accident was the reality that she might not be able to have more children. Stephanie said that she's always wanted lots of children, and although she already had four children before her accident she and her husband were hoping to have more. Earlier this year on April 3, Stephanie had another baby, a little girl named Charlotte Christiansdatter Nielsen. (I love her patronymic middle name!)
Here are some beautiful pictures of Stephanie and new baby Charlotte (or Lottie as they've nicknamed her):
The Nielsen family appeared on Anderson Cooper's talkshow in May. (Needless to say, I'm extremely jealous that she got to meet Anderson!)I loved the book and there were so many things that I could that I could relate to Stephanie on since I've also been in a catastrophic, life-changing accident. When reading about the different feelings she experienced I thought, "I've been there," or "I know what that's like." I truly feel like she and I are kindred spirits!
If you love true stories that are inspiring and uplifting, you will definitely enjoy this book!