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

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

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...

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Title:Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy
Author:Stephanie Nielson
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Edition Language:English

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

  • Sarah Dominguez

    I so needed this book. It's a book about exactly what it says- hope. I found myself reading through tears throughout most of the book and felt my faith and testimony strengthened constantly. It has helped confirm to me that I truly can do hard things. I have thought of so many I want to share this book with so that they, too, might enjoy the joy that comes from reading this beautiful book!

  • Chanda

    I was hesitant about reading this. I've been reading her blog for years, since before the crash. Recently I've not been a huge fan of the blog. I felt like it was a little heavy in the self-promotion and I just didn't get the inspiration from it that I use to. I also wondered if the book would be boring if I had already heard much of the details from her site.

    That said, I was totally wrong. I LOVED this book. I could not put it down and when I did, I couldn't stop thinking of it. A w

    I was hesitant about reading this. I've been reading her blog for years, since before the crash. Recently I've not been a huge fan of the blog. I felt like it was a little heavy in the self-promotion and I just didn't get the inspiration from it that I use to. I also wondered if the book would be boring if I had already heard much of the details from her site.

    That said, I was totally wrong. I LOVED this book. I could not put it down and when I did, I couldn't stop thinking of it. A wonderful story of survival, strength and faith. But what it did most for me was remind me of the joy of being a mother. It reminded me how much I love my family. It reminded me to be thankful and enjoy even the mundane tasks. I totally enjoyed folding laundry today. :) I held my baby a little longer. Had more patience with my daughter's homework. Spent the night at the park with my family and never felt happier or more thankful. I hope I can carry this feeling with me and that it will make me a better mother. Totally life-changing.

  • Natalie

    This book exceeded my expectations by far. I learned two lessons from this book.

    1. As a nurse, it was very interesting to me to read the perspective of the patient, going through horrific emotional, physical and mental pain. What eased her pain? What were the characteristics of those who helped in her healing process. She gave great examples of both healers and non-healing experiences. I really learned from them and hope that I can be more conscious of how to better help others.

  • Elizabeth

    i have followed or checked in with

    for years. i remember well when she and her husband were in the airplane crash. i also remember one of her sisters updating readers on the blog about stephanie's long road to recovery. the outpouring of love & support was incredible. this book is an account of her life before accident & after accident. she lays it all out there & at times it is a devastating read. i've read a few of the reviews here on GR & had to stop because i was

    i have followed or checked in with

    for years. i remember well when she and her husband were in the airplane crash. i also remember one of her sisters updating readers on the blog about stephanie's long road to recovery. the outpouring of love & support was incredible. this book is an account of her life before accident & after accident. she lays it all out there & at times it is a devastating read. i've read a few of the reviews here on GR & had to stop because i was so shocked & off put by the vitriol & negativity. many readers take issue with her for writing about her "perfect life." they assert she is somehow not authentic because she & her husband lived a life free of financial burdens. she is called fake, materialistic, accused of bragging. people can be so mean. she was part of the "mommy blogs" & featured on sites like

    &

    for her creative house interior. her blog was about her family, faith, & momlife. she is mormon & her life revolved around those very things. i never got the feeling while reading her blog or this book that she was crowing about her good fortune before or after the accident. she is clear from the beginning of her story that up until the airplane crash life had been mostly exactly what she hoped. she wanted more than anything to be a wife & mother. both defined her. after the crash everything changed & that is what her story is about. she was burned over 80% of her body, in a coma for 10+ weeks, & she would go on to have dozens of surgeries ( & many complications ) all while worrying about her four small children. she ruminated constantly about how she would ever care for them again. life as she knew it was over. but she did it somehow. with the incredible support of her family, friends, church, & faith she got through that day & the one after. she could not have done it without her family. they rallied. they stepped up & they never faltered. her sister took care of her three oldest. another sister took care of the baby. they bought a house for stephanie & her family to come home to when she was well enough to leave the hospital. they packed up her house in arizona & moved the family to utah. stephanie & her husband never lost sight of their goal to put the family back together. their extended family did everything in their power to support them in that goal. recently, i checked stephanie's blog & learned that nine years have passed since the accident. she had recently lost a pinky to amputation & had another surgery on her nose. she manages pain still & has more surgeries in her future; & yet there she was smiling & looking unbearably proud of her family & good fortune. AMAZING.

  • Melissa

    I am half-way through this book. I am familiar with Nielson's story and somewhat fascinated with the culture of "Mormon Mommy Bloggers" because their experience is so different from mine. My life is good and great, but I struggle with parenting, I'm on a pretty tight budget, I have one child. The first third of the book left me with a lot of cultural questions. Is every LDS household in Utah well to do? There's a lot of consumerist name-dropping- her mom's convertible Audi, Banana Republic this

    I am half-way through this book. I am familiar with Nielson's story and somewhat fascinated with the culture of "Mormon Mommy Bloggers" because their experience is so different from mine. My life is good and great, but I struggle with parenting, I'm on a pretty tight budget, I have one child. The first third of the book left me with a lot of cultural questions. Is every LDS household in Utah well to do? There's a lot of consumerist name-dropping- her mom's convertible Audi, Banana Republic this or that, buying a house as a college student- that made me uncomfortable. Flying lessons? Those are super-expensive. 9-11 kids? How does one afford college tuition for all of those kids (much less groceries!) on one income? This is so far afield of my own experience that I'm somewhat awe-struck by the financial implications of having so many kids, regardless of cultural/theological emphasis on large families.

    There were other questions, too, like how did the plane crash? How did Stephanie and Christian rebuild their marriage? To be sure, her recovery (their recovery) is inspiring and uplifting, but I have many more questions after reading than I did before reading.

    In the end, I felt that the book was uplifting and inspiring. Not a great piece of literature, but not every book aspires to be literature. I am happy for the Nielsons that they've been able to put their lives back together after such a horrific accident and that they've had so much familial and community support. I'm chalking my discomfort up to cultural differences and leaving my questions unanswered, because mercy, people would certainly have questions about my life and decisions if they were open to the world.

  • Susan

    Hooo boy, everybody seems to love this book but I just didn't. Even the Pioneer Woman loves this book. I am not much of a blog follower and I pretty well left the Mommy Blog years behind before there even were blogs or Mommy Bloggers but I had read a few entries and about Nie Nie's accident and recovery. It's an amazing story. I love her courage and faith and perseverance. And in the vein of "don't say anything if you can't say something nice" I should probably stop right here. If you totally lo

    Hooo boy, everybody seems to love this book but I just didn't. Even the Pioneer Woman loves this book. I am not much of a blog follower and I pretty well left the Mommy Blog years behind before there even were blogs or Mommy Bloggers but I had read a few entries and about Nie Nie's accident and recovery. It's an amazing story. I love her courage and faith and perseverance. And in the vein of "don't say anything if you can't say something nice" I should probably stop right here. If you totally love this book you should probably just stop reading now.

    I didn't love the first part of the book, her courtship, marriage and satisfaction in motherhood. I imagine it was written to demonstrate her fairy tale like happiness, everything she ever wished for and more, and juxtapose all that bliss against the shocking hardship of what follows. Somehow for me that could all have been summed up in one chapter without all the brand name dropping. She grew up happy and sheltered, and well off, married a man she loved, apparently also well off, and set about building the life of her dreams - that of a devoted wife and mother. A worthy goal I both appreciate and personally embraced whenever I possibly could. I also applaud how candid she is as to her fears and feelings about reconnecting to every day life. Incredible honesty. So. So I keep wondering, am I heartless, am I just being petty and envious that so many things should come to her so easily or what the heck is it about this book that bugged me, because it did. I hope not but it's possible. Doubtless part of it is what I consider to be the overly earnest tone of so much LDS writing (I myself am LDS) - it's not great literature but I don't think that was the goal For me I guess I would have appreciated more info about what caused the plane crash (is there a legal thing going on because there sure seemed to be a dearth of info on the crash itself and I'm kind of wondering if she doesn't say anything about it strictly to put the focus on the recovery or because legally she/they can't comment or discuss - do I have a suspicious, nasty mind?). How in the world did they afford all of this, what financial struggles did the decision to move back to Utah (and thereby become unemployed, I assume) entail, how did they overcome those? Donations? I also would have liked hearing more about her husbands recovery, and perhaps his side of this story. How DID he find the strength to be such a pillar of strength for her? How did HE feel about her parents taking control of certain choices that from my point of view he should have had the final say in?

    Well, again, let me say this IS a story of faith and courage, it's a great reminder that we can do hard things, that scars are reminders of miracles - it's not just one I enjoyed as much as I anticipated and based on the huge amount of 4 and 5 star ratings I am in the minority.

  • Lesa Parnham

    As a long time reader of NieNie, I knew most of what this book is about. She is a woman with a lot of courage and faith. If the same thing had happened to me I would crawl into bed and not come out again. That being said, I followed the entire aftermath of Stephanie's accident. There were major fundraisers including an Ebay auction, tee shirt sales, straight up money donations etc. I donated money I could ill-afford because I was touched by this story.

    When NieNie started writing agai

    As a long time reader of NieNie, I knew most of what this book is about. She is a woman with a lot of courage and faith. If the same thing had happened to me I would crawl into bed and not come out again. That being said, I followed the entire aftermath of Stephanie's accident. There were major fundraisers including an Ebay auction, tee shirt sales, straight up money donations etc. I donated money I could ill-afford because I was touched by this story.

    When NieNie started writing again it turned out they have a huge sailboat, a house bought and paid for, land where they will someday build a house, very wealthy relatives, including Christian's family who own a ranch. NieNie describes a lifestyle of being able to ski at Sundance, go to fancy resteraunts and buying things at stores like Anthropologie and Mod Cloth. Things that most of us who donated money to her could never do. It was never stated that she was a wealthy woman from a family that seems to have amost unlimited funds.

    Now, some people may be thinking that I gave the money, and should accept it. However, I did not know the facts. Most of the charities that I give small amounts too are established--Red Cross, William Clinton Foundation, to help people in real need.

    The other thing that disturbed me was the few sentences donated to the flight instructor who died in this crash. It is obvious that Christian was flying the pane. Are there lawsuits? Are they just oblivious? hmmmm....

    I still read NieNie, and I am happy she just had a baby, but I still have these nagging questions....

    Ps. Just think about the money she will get from the sales, and perhaps movie rights to this book!

  • Kacey Kendrick Wagner

    First of all, what this woman went through is horrific. I can't imagine surviving such terrible, severe injuries. I can't imagine my baby crying for Mommy and he didn't mean me. I can't imagine my child being too scared to look at me. I can't imagine not recognizing myself in the mirror. I can't imagine having my eyes sewn shut multiple times. She did many very, VERY hard things.

    However, I have some issues with this book. It is not very well written. She spends way too much time disc

    First of all, what this woman went through is horrific. I can't imagine surviving such terrible, severe injuries. I can't imagine my baby crying for Mommy and he didn't mean me. I can't imagine my child being too scared to look at me. I can't imagine not recognizing myself in the mirror. I can't imagine having my eyes sewn shut multiple times. She did many very, VERY hard things.

    However, I have some issues with this book. It is not very well written. She spends way too much time discussing how perfect her life was before the accident (and shares way WAY too much about sex with her husband), then glosses over details about the crash, getting back into daily tasks, etc. I wanted to read more about her life now...not what it used to be. My biggest problem, though, is the whining about having another baby. When she wrote how jealous she was of her sister having her FIRST baby when she already had four beautiful children of her own, I wanted to scold her soundly! The whole book is supposed to be about being grateful for a second chance at life on earth. Complaining it's unfair that you "only" have four kids (now five) when you are lucky to even be alive (not to mention the many couples out there struggling with infertility/miscarriage/child loss who would do ANYTHING to have one child) just isn't very hopeful, triumphant, or joyous as the title claims.

  • Becca

    I probably wouldn't have read this if it weren't for my book club. And I do admire the faith and strength this family has needed to overcome such a trial. But I just wish that Mormon women had different kinds of role models out there, other than the "All I ever want to be is a mother and wife". While I want these things in my life, they are not the ONLY things and I really dislike that the world out there gets a taste of Mormonism from these women, like these are the only types of women in our c

    I probably wouldn't have read this if it weren't for my book club. And I do admire the faith and strength this family has needed to overcome such a trial. But I just wish that Mormon women had different kinds of role models out there, other than the "All I ever want to be is a mother and wife". While I want these things in my life, they are not the ONLY things and I really dislike that the world out there gets a taste of Mormonism from these women, like these are the only types of women in our church. I'm sorry, but I do not love making my bed and cooking dinner for my family! She spent the first 90 or so pages talking about how perfect her life was and it made me want to vomit! I realize (at least I hope this was the case) that she was probably writing it that way as a contrast to her life dealing with the accident, but it was a little sickening! We need to see more examples of Mormon women who didn't find their soulmate at 19, who had to wait even longer to get married, who long for more education, who don't get pregnant right away, and/or who work or go to school while they raise their kids. This family/book was too Mormon trendy for me!

  • Sarah

    Okay. So. Here's the thing. You might know who this chick is. Heck, if you live in Provo, you might know her personally. She writes that one blog that I'm actually not going to say the name of because I prefer that no one look it up and give it hits. Of course, if you're already a subscribed reader of it, hit to your heart's content. I read her book because I thought, hey, if anyone could represent her personality more in depth and honestly, it would be her, right? Her story is that she had a "p

    Okay. So. Here's the thing. You might know who this chick is. Heck, if you live in Provo, you might know her personally. She writes that one blog that I'm actually not going to say the name of because I prefer that no one look it up and give it hits. Of course, if you're already a subscribed reader of it, hit to your heart's content. I read her book because I thought, hey, if anyone could represent her personality more in depth and honestly, it would be her, right? Her story is that she had a "perfect" life with a husband and her four kids and then they were flying in a small plane (never getting in one of those small planes by the way. And my opinion is that no one should. Ever.) and it crashed and she got burned over 80% of her body. Then she went through hell recovering from it and was able to miraculously have a fifth child. The book gives all the details of this story that is (or was) everywhere. Pretty much everything that she relates in the book before the crash made me want to vomit more than all of the burn and recovery stuff after the crash. If you want to read this book, do yourself a favor, don't read the first 50% of it. It's mind blowingly superficial. Also, when she was 19, she was apparently super crazy. Crazy in the "I saw this guy once and know he will be my husband and I'm going to stalk him, obsess over him, and cry about him every single day until he finally weds me" kind of way. And it seems she never gets less obsessed with appearances. Even after the crash, appearances (figuratively and literally) drive almost all of her thoughts, actions, reactions, and choices. I will say that she went through something utterly agonizing that I could never begin to comprehend and that she has an amazing spirit for merely living through it, much less trying to gain control of her life again. I read her book, got an idea of herself in her words, and now I will try to never talk about her or think about her again. I don't recommend. If you want to know the crash story, this article:

    does a way more factual, informative, readable, and eloquent job of it than the book.

    P.S. She and her husband lied on Oprah about the crash, saying that he saved her life and other such nonsense. The book doesn't give hardly any details about the crash; I'm pretty sure it doesn't for legal reasons because they are suing the town and the co-pilot's (who is dead) family [nonsensical suing is really up there on my reasons for disliking people list]. Because of all the lying and shady business and consumerism driven lifestyle and obsession with looks and just all around scent of entitlement . . . I do not desire to know anything more.

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