Last year, I used the remaining money on a gift card to pre-order Stephanie Nielson's memoir, Heaven is Here.
Stephanie Nielson is probably more famous as NieNie, the author of a popular Mormon Motherhood blog, documenting her life as a stay-at-home mom. Here is a brief description:
Nielson... had her happy life, with four children, her husband, Christian, and the daily adventures of life. She skied, taught yoga and was an avid runner.
Then, in a plane crash in August 2008, she was burned on more than 80 percent of her body and Christian on 40 percent of his.
In her memoir, "Heaven Is Here" (Voice, $23.99), she honestly, tenderly and poignantly describes the trials, faith, lessons and the joys of small yet significant triumphs through her steady recovery.
Anyway, when I ordered the book last Fall, I was told the book would arrive on my doorstep the day it was released. Well, it didn't. Or the day after that (can you tell I was a little irritated? Thanks Amazon). Anyway, the book arrived on Friday, and I finished it less than 24 hours later. I flew through it, and not just because I'm a fast reader. Even though I read her blog - and knew how it was going to end! - I could not wait to read each page.
The primary takeaway was one of inspiration and the power of the human spirit. She was burned over 80 percent of her body - 80 percent. Her husband was burned over 40 percent. The pages dedicated to her recovery were so sad and hard to read - and they were real! She lived them - being unable to feed herself or go to the bathroom by herself or see her children. But she put one foot in front of the other, and on the one year anniversary of her plane crash, she hiked her old route.
The other thing that floored me was her family. I don't even know how to put it - her family is just spectacular. Her siblings signed up to take shifts to sit by her bedside during her four month hospital stay so that she wouldn't have to be alone at night. Her sisters took her four children in to their homes and raised them for the months that the Nielson's were hospitalized. It was really great to read. (But you know what? The whole time I was reading, I was thinking that my family would do those things too. Rank Rally!)
It was a great read. It's strange that I'm so intrigued by her - she's only three years older than me, but has been married for about a decade and has 5 children. She doesn't have a college degree (she didn't want to go to college, instead opting to become a wife and mother more quickly), and she's a huge supporter of Mitt Romney. Maybe that explains my fascination - she's my opposite.
One thought in closing - if anyone (Jen perhaps?) would like to borrow my book, I think it'd make great summer reading!