Monday, February 11, 2013

"Heaven Is Here" by Stephanie Nielson

Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy
Mormon mom and blogger, Stephanie Nielson, and her husband Christian were involved in a plane crash in 2008 leaving Stephanie's body 90% burned. This is her story about her experiences and how she was able to overcome this trial in her life. She is the author of the blog nieniedialogues.
This book had an unusual effect on me. I had mixed feelings throughout the whole book. In the beginning, she gives a little of her background story- little snippets of growing up, meeting Christian, beginning their family, etc. and I cringed and rolled my eyes at most of it. Seriously. It reminded me of my journal when I was 16 and it made me want to gag. Everything was so perfect and lovely. Her wording was so childish to me. I know- that's mean, but seriously, it took me awhile to get through the first part of the book. And I've been Mormon my whole life. It makes me wonder what people not of our faith think when they read this part. Or maybe I'm just really cynical... I don't think I usually am. Haha. Although, it did make me laugh when she mentioned how when she and her husband moved to New Jersey it was such a shock to her how standoffish people were. Mostly because I couldn't imagine living in one place for my whole life and actually knowing my neighbors as well as she did growing up. The whole first part made me think it was a little dramatized because she was remembering all the happy times. And although I was not a fan of her style of writing, it was her story to tell and if she felt that life was always perfect for her, then I guess it was and I'm happy for her.

I really started to enjoy the book (I know! It surprised me too! :)  ) after the plane crash. It was like she was a different author. Her words felt more real- there wasn't as much pretense to her emotions. And although I never have gone through, nor is it highly likely that I will go through what she did, I felt much more connected to her story. There are still bits here and there that I couldn't empathize with, but I found myself crying with and for her several times.

I am amazed at how strong the human spirit is. I am amazed at all this woman was capable of overcoming. I couldn't help but to keep turning to the pictures of her before the accident. She was GORGEOUS!! I couldn't help but feel a little sadness and sympathy for Stephanie losing her beauty- for not wanting to see herself for a long time afterwards. And although I didn't really care for her rendition of her "perfect" life at the beginning of the book, I think that attitude she had was what saved her from giving up.

After reading the book, I started looking in on her blog and read a few posts from before the crash and a lot since. In some ways her life still seems picture perfect. A little too perfect... But maybe that's OK. Maybe it's OK for someone to have a good life and to be happy. Maybe we can all learn from her example and make our lives perfect for ourselves. Life IS what you make of it.


  1. Loved your comments about this one. I haven't read her book (thanks for the heads up about the beginning!), but have followed her blog since maybe a year (??) after the plane crash. I was thinking that about her life, too, that even now her life seems a little bit too perfect, she has daily adventures with her kids, eats wonderful food, her house is perfectly decorated for every holiday. But I agree, it's her story to tell, if she wants to make it perfect, that's her right. I still think she's inspired a lot of people, and probably shared the gospel with more people than we can count, that is awesome. I will someday get around to reading her book!

    1. I completely agree with you about her inspiring so many people! And how awesome for her to be able to have a way to share the gospel!! :)

  2. I have been wanting to read this book. I am glad you said what you did about the beginning...

    Is it worth buying or is it a book to borrow?

    1. I personally wouldn't buy it. It was inspiring but I didn't LOVE it, if you know what I mean. I found my copy at the library and I think that was good enough.