2017 READING CHALLENGE RECOMMENDATIONS
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Amy Ferguson Hackworth
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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, 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.
Praise for Heaven Is Here
"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
"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
"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
"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
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