Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy

Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy

4.5 51
by Stephanie Nielson
     
 

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Go on an unforgettable journey, with a woman who has unimaginable strength.

Stephanie Nielson began sharing her life in 2005 on nieniedialogues.com, drawing readers in with her warmth and candor. She quickly attracted a loyal following that was captivated by the upbeat mother happily raising her young children, madly in love with her husband, ChristianSee more details below

Overview

Go on an unforgettable journey, with a woman who has unimaginable strength.

Stephanie Nielson began sharing her life in 2005 on nieniedialogues.com, drawing readers in with her warmth and candor. She quickly attracted a loyal following that was captivated by the upbeat mother happily raising her young children, madly in love with her husband, Christian (Mr. Nielson to her readers), and filled with gratitude for her blessed life.

However, everything changed in an instant on a sunny day in August 2008, when Stephanie and Christian were in a horrific plane crash. Christian was burned over 40 percent of his body, and Stephanie was on the brink of death, with burns over 80 percent of her body. She would remain in a coma for four months.

In the aftermath of this harrowing tragedy, Stephanie maintained a stunning sense of humor, optimism, and resilience. She has since shared this strength of spirit with others through her blog, in magazine features, and on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Now, in this moving memoir, Stephanie tells the full, extraordinary story of her unlikely recovery and the incredible love behind it--from a riveting account of the crash to all that followed in its wake. With vivid detail, Stephanie recounts her emotional and physical journey, from her first painful days after awakening from the coma to the first time she saw her face in the mirror, the first kiss she shared with Christian after the accident, and the first time she talked to her children after their long separation. She also reflects back on life before the accident, to her happy childhood as one of nine siblings, her close-knit community and strong Mormon faith, and her fairy-tale love story, all of which became her foundation of strength as she rebuilt her life.

What emerges from the wreckage of a tragic accident is a unique perspective on joy, beauty, and overcoming adversity that is as gripping as it is inspirational. Heaven Is Here is a poignant reminder of how faith and family, love and community can bolster us, sustain us, and quite literally, in some cases, save us.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mormon homemaker Nielson was leading an old-fashioned happy life with a handsome husband (she called him “Mr. Nielson,” à la Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy), four kids, and a successful blog about her perfect life. Then she and her husband were in a small plane crash. Both survive, but are badly burned; Stephanie is burned over 80% of her body and in a coma for four months. After she awakens, she isn’t sure she wants to live, but she is sure she doesn’t want to see her children, and most of all she doesn’t want them to see her, disfigured by burns. Nielson heals, as the subtitle immediately telegraphs. But the road to recovery is deeply cratered with difficulties: pain, depression, the inability to look in a mirror and behold her scarred features. What saves her almost in spite of herself is her large family: parents, brothers and sisters, and her husband, himself recovering from injuries. Nielson’s journey from a simple life taken for granted to complex and challenging daily joy is moving and authentic. (Apr.)
Ree Drummond
In Heaven Is Here, Stephanie chronicles in harrowing detail the unspeakable tragedy that would forever alter her life. But the real story is this: Through all the tears, pain, upheaval, sadness, and struggles, it was Stephanie's faith—and the abundant love of her beautiful family—that brought her back to life. I recommend this book to anyone who needs a reminder of just how strong the human spirit is, and how instrumental faith can be in overcoming what life throws at us. (Ree Drummond, New York Times bestselling author of The Pioneer Woman Cooks)
Liz Murray
Moving and transformative, Heaven Is Here is one of those rare books that causes you to count your blessings, and it reminds you that even in face of devastating loss, you can rebuild to become stronger. Gripping from beginning to end. (Liz Murray, author of the New York Times bestseller Breaking Night)
Gretchen Rubin
How do you find your way back to happiness after your everyday life has been shattered? Stephanie Nielson paints a vivid picture of the happy life she possessed before a devastating plane crash—and how she built that happiness again. Honest, insightful, and compulsively readable, this book gave me much food for thought. (Gretchen Rubin, author of the New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project)
Lee Woodruff
For anyone who wonders how they will come through a difficult time, Heaven Is Here proves that human beings were built to survive. Stephanie Nielson weaves a humbling and spellbinding tale of how her perfect life was upended on one beautiful afternoon. Her story is a powerful testament of the healing powers of an unyielding faith, the gift of family, and the unshakable love of her husband. As I read this book it was impossible for me not to think of the parallels to my own story and the tender mercies that can be found in the wake of disaster when everything you hold most dear becomes crystal clear. (Lee Woodruff, author of the New York Times bestseller In an Instant)
From the Publisher
"For anyone who wonders how they will come through a difficult time, Heaven Is Here proves that human beings were built to survive. Stephanie Nielson weaves a humbling and spell-binding tale of how her perfect life was upended on one beautiful afternoon. Her story is a powerful testament of the healing powers of an unyielding faith, the gift of family and the unshakeable love of her husband. As I read this book it was impossible for me not to think of the parallels to my own story and the tender mercies that can be found in the wake of disaster when everything you hold most dear becomes crystal clear."—Lee Woodruff, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, In an Instant"

How do you find your way back to happiness after your everyday life has been shattered? Stephanie Nielson paints a vivid picture of the happy life she possessed before a devastating plane crash-and how she built that happiness, again. Honest, insightful, and compulsively readable, this book gave me much food for thought."—Gretchen Rubin, author of the New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project"

Moving and transformative, Heaven Is Here is one of those rare books that causes you to count your blessings, and it reminds you that even in face of devastating loss, you can rebuild to become stronger. Gripping from beginning to end."—Liz Murray, author of the New York Times bestseller, Breaking Night"

In Heaven Is Here, Stephanie chronicles in harrowing detail the unspeakable tragedy that would forever alter her life. But the real story is this: Through all the tears, pain, upheaval, sadness and struggles, it was Stephanie's faith—-and the abundant love of her beautiful family—-that brought her back to life. I recommend this book to anyone who needs a reminder of just how strong the human spirit is, and how instrumental faith can be in overcoming what life throws at us."—Ree Drummond, New York Times bestselling author of The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Kirkus Reviews
Family, friends and faith support a woman through personal tragedy. As a young stay-at-home mother, Nielson was living the rewarding life she had always dreamed about. She had a loving husband who worked hard to support her and their four healthy children, a nice home, compassionate friends and extended family, a strong Mormon faith and a successful blog read by people around the world. Life only promised to get better when her thoughts turned to the possibility of another child. Then tragedy struck when Nielson and her husband, Christian, were badly injured in a plane crash. The author suffered disfiguring burns over 80 percent of her body and was in a coma for four months. Her husband suffered a broken back and burns on 40 percent of his body. Nielson recounts the ensuing months of struggle to regain some semblance of her former life. Graphic details of the numerous surgeries, physical therapy and daily existence as a severely burned patient are interconnected with the emotional roller coaster Nielson rode throughout her months of recovery. Her yearning desires were to tend to her children, husband and home, but she battled depression as she watched her children pull away from her disfigured body. Ultimately, self-determination, the encouragement of Christian, empathetic relatives and total strangers and Nielson's devout faith helped her reclaim many aspects of her former life. Strength found through faith helps a woman combat personal disaster--will appeal most to Christian readers.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401342791
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
04/03/2012
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
81,487
File size:
17 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Stephanie Nielson was born and raised in Provo, Utah. In 2005, she began nieniedialogues.com, a popular blog about her life as a wife, mother, and Mormon. In 2008, Stephanie and her husband survived a near-fatal plane crash in which they were both severely burned. Stephanie has maintained a positive outlook in the aftermath of this ordeal and through her extensive rehabilitation, a journey she continues to share on her blog, which is visited by four million people every month. Her story has been featured on Oprah, The Today Show, and in People magazine. Stephanie lives in Provo with her husband and their four children.

Read an Excerpt

Heaven Is Here


By Stephanie Nielson

Hyperion Books

Copyright © 2012 Stephanie Nielson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4013-4179-4


Prologue

A voice whispered, "Roll."

I fell to the ground and crushed the brilliant flames that licked at my clothes, my skin, my hair. The mangled wreck of our airplane blazed nearby.

I lay on my back at the base of a tree, looking at the clouds moving across the sky. Through my tears, I noticed a leaf that fluttered in the breeze, bright green against the blue sky, far above the chaos.

A stranger rushed toward me and knelt at my side. He cradled my head in both of his hands and put it in his lap. "It's going to be all right," he said, a hint of doubt in his eyes.

The fire roared in my ears. An oppressive wall of heat pulsed against me. The air was sour—a sickening mixture of fuel, singed hair, and burning flesh. That smell is me. I am burning. How did this happen?

Where is my husband? Just minutes ago, I was in the backseat of the Cessna, admiring how capable he looked staring out the window of the cockpit as we taxied down the runway. Where is he now?

I had pizza dough rising on the counter at home and four young children to feed. Christian and I had planned to pick them up from my in-laws in an hour and a half. I felt an irrational desire for someone to just pick me up, brush me off, and send me on my way. If I didn't get home, who would make Claire's butter and honey sandwiches for her first-grade lunch box next week? Who would know to get Jane off the kindergarten bus in the middle of the day? I pictured her little red head climbing off the bus to an empty porch—no mother to hug her home from school, no little brothers playing in the yard. I imagined the bus pulling away, Jane locked out of the house.

People rushed in and out of my line of vision with a sense of urgency. Some of them wore work clothes, as if they'd been mowing their lawns or working in the garden until the moment our airplane crashed on their street and they'd been called to duty. I felt guilty for interrupting their Saturday. Like me, they all had other things to do.

"Thank you for being here," I said to the man who held my head. "You don't have to stay."

"I'm going to stay," he said. "I'm going to be right here."

Other people hovered around me a few minutes at a time. They tried to reassure me, but it seemed they needed convincing as much as I did. Their lips mouthed words of comfort, but their faces betrayed them.

They are scared, I realized. When they look at me, they are scared.

Until then, some miraculous dam of adrenaline or heavenly help had held back the agony of my injuries. But the faces around me were crowded with worry, and the dam buckled. Suddenly, pain spilled over, crashing relentlessly against me, wave after stinging wave. Every inch of my body throbbed, overloaded with agony.

"It's going to blow!" someone yelled. "Get the hose!" The burning airplane popped and crackled dangerously near a propane tank, and neighbors-turned-rescue-workers yelled back and forth above the noise. I braced myself for another explosion, but the roar of the fire held steady.

My jeans kept the heat tight against my legs. I rubbed my hands against them, trying to pull them off, but my hands didn't seem to be working. I lifted them to see why. Flaps of skin hung from my wrists. My hands themselves were gray and bloody. I saw my bones. I dropped my arms to the ground and willed away the image.

"Hey, you're going to be OK," the stranger said with believable conviction. The doubt in his eyes was gone. "You're going to be all right."

Above him, the leaf fluttered, alive and healthy. A feeling swept over me and took root in my heart.

I am going to be all right.

The dark smoke billowed around us, and blackened the sky, the tree, and my leaf.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Heaven Is Here by Stephanie Nielson Copyright © 2012 by Stephanie Nielson. Excerpted by permission of Hyperion Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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