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

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

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, 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594626237
Publisher: Hyperion
Publication date: 02/19/2013
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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


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.


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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Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 77 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mrs. Nielson is an inspiring author and incredible woman. The crash brought unspeakable tragedy into her life, but with faith in Jesus Christ she overcomes much of the difficulty and uses this tragedy to share her love for the Lord (by writing this book, public appearances, etc.) and spreading a message of hope. It is a beautiful book. Thank you NieNie!
TaylorPTP More than 1 year ago
EXCELLENT!! This story is a reminder to all of us that we have a choice in this life as to how we deal with life and in this case adversity that most of us would have to do much battle with ourselves to face. This is pretty heavy subject matter. It starts out telling Stephanie’s story before the plane crash, growing up adorable, meeting her husband and having her family. The plane crash left her face disfigured and terribly scarred. It really helps you to understand what it feels like to be a patient and the difference that a care giver who really cares can make. There is great detail written in about the medical side also that showed that much research had to have been done. Excellent!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
320 pages seemed like 80. It is a fast and wonderful story - well written, well edited and just plain inspiriting
KateLfromNJ More than 1 year ago
Loved the book, thought it was a well written document of Nienie's life before, during and after the accident. Well done, Nie!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the best I've ever read. I’m a little over 2/3 of the way through it, and it has been so amazing. It is a memoir by Stephanie Nielson, who survived a plane crash in 2008 that burned 80% of her body. It is about her life before the crash, and the trials of the plane crash, her life in the hospital, and what happens afterwards. There is so much faith in God and love in the story. Her husband also was in the plane crash, but he helped Stephanie all that he could (which was a lot) and their love for each other is so beautiful. I cried while reading it, because it is so touching. I have stayed up very late reading it because it’s so good, and it has such a miraculous story line. Some of the people in this true story are Stephanie, Christian (her husband), her children, her siblings and parents, hospital staff, and the many people in the world who have reached out to help her. Younger children probably wouldn't understand a lot of it, and it has some things in it that are for more mature people. So I would have them wait until they are a little older to read it. As I've said, it is very engaging, and you’ll want to find out what happens to Stephanie and her family. It is very well-written, and there is an amazing balance between the events and Stephanie’s thoughts and feelings. There is also a very good word choice, and it is full of detail. I've loved all of it so more, and I definitely encourage you to read it.  I'm so glad Stephanie wrote it and has shared her story with the world. It will strengthen you, and help you make it through the trials that you face in your life.Enjoy!
ireadmanybooks More than 1 year ago
I was sad to finish this book. It was so well wriiten. Inspiring
di17 More than 1 year ago
Loved the book, such an amazing and beautiful story. I would recommend this book to everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Insirational story a very strong womans journry. This book helps to remind us all of how precious life is and how quickly it can all change. I went thru many tissues!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to all my friends
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautiful and heartwarming book.
ellasmeme on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting story of a young mother horribly burned when the plane her husband is piloting crashes. One can't help but admire her determination and her refusal to be broken by this devastating turn of events. Memoirs are not my favorite, but Stephanie Nielson tells her story well, and anyone who likes true-story accounts will want to read this one.
Nebraska_Girl1971 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Overall, I found this book to be very positive with many messages including: never give up, always move forward, and the Lord is there in whatever struggles comes to your life. Stephanie is an inspiring person and goes through a tradegy that is beyond my worst nightmare. The story is well told, however I was left with some unanswered questions - like what did happend exactly? and What exactly did cause the plane go down?? Like I state before, this was a positive and a good book, though I am not running out to tell my freinds to read it.
abcarroll on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Life is perfect...until it isn't. The Nielson family has it all, life is everything Stephanie could have ever dreamt of, a loving husband, beautiful children and an amazing extended family. The courtship and first years of marriage for the Nielson's was a fairytale, until the day of a tragic accident that left both Stephanie and her husband horribly wounded. This memoir is a true story of faith, hope, courage and love, a wonderful read worthy of your time.
revzonian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Thank you, Hyperion Books and Library Thing, for the Advance Uncorrected Proof. "Heaven Is Here" is a quick, emotional, and inspiring read. Prior to reading this memoir, I had never read Stephanie Nielson's blog, and honestly, I was not aware of her story. It is heartwarming to read how her supportive family helped her regain hope and the underlying love story between her and her husband, Christian. Although some details are left out (what happened that day, the financial support, etc.), I felt her fears, struggles, strength, and triumphs through her writing. I was particularly moved by her feelings and experiences with trying to win over her children again after the accident. I commend her for her bravery and for sharing her story. I am going to enjoy life and not take things, like being able to run or even button my children's coats for them, for granted.
WillowOne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book touched me deeply. The strength of Stephanie Nielson and her family is truly amazing. The book is through the eyes of Stephanie before, during and after a horrific plane crash. The life that she thought she would have, changed in an instant. She saw her life through different eyes and had to re-learn many things that we all take for granted, but by the grace of God she is alive and able to be with her family. Stephanie was blessed with a soul mate that through thick and thin has always been by her side, fighting for her and with her, at times while fitting to recover himself. You will laugh, cry and cry some more as you read this book, it is inspiring.
lisabee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I followed author Stephanie Nielson's blog, nieniedialogues, after the plane crash she and her husband survived. I found her blog to be uplifting and very compelling and emotional, and was very excited to read her new book. Unfortunately, the book left me bored and wanting. But, I think that readers of romances may respond well to this book.
SAMANTHA100 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph and Everyday Joy by Stephanie Nielson is an unforgettable memoir written by an unforgettable woman.In an instant an airplane crash changed a life that she loved and was grateful for into a life full of unimaginable challenges. She had burns over 80 percent of her body and her husband, Christian, had burns over 40 percent of his body. Stephanie was in a coma for 4 months and it was not certain she would survive. Thankfully, she does survive and this is her story of courage and faith and love. She gives much credit to all who helped her and her family. However, it is her inner strength and her unconditional love of her family that motivates her to return to them and to become even stronger. She has written a moving memoir and it is a story of inspiration. She is a remarkable woman. I will never forget her story.I received this book free of charge from LibraryThing Early Reviewers and I give this review willingly for free.
KristiB41 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing book that hooked me from the first page. It is a story of a great love between two people who must then endure a devastating tragedy for both of them. They have to fight through the battles of getting better, holding each other up, praying to God trying to understand what his purpose is in all of this. The love they have for each other is so profound. With love for each other and their faith in God, they overcome so many obstacles that I think most people would give up on. A great read and I don't think anyone would be disappointed in this story.
kristenl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Stephanie Nielson describes her full, beautiful life that was disrupted when she and her husband were in a fiery plane crash. She then details the first year of her recovery following the crash. Despite the tragedy that she experienced, Nielson ends the narrative with hope and the recognition that she can still have a beautiful life.For me, the most compelling parts of Nielson's story were the interactions between Nielson and her husband and children. I also appreciated the descriptions of the burn treatments and therapies, the emotional difficulties that Nielson faced, and the insensitive reactions of others. (Although they were not easy to read.) The optimisitc conclusion makes this an uplifting read.
LivelyLady on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Stephanie Nielson writes of her life. She begins with her fairytale Brady Bunch-esque childhood and young marriage. Soon she and her husband, Christian, are the parents of four. Christian is getting his pilot license. One day, when Stephanie and Christian are flying, along with friend, Doug, the plane goes down.The fairytale becomes a nightmare as the author details the year of recovery. She had burns on 80% of her body, while her husband's burns were at 40%.Through the power of love, faith in God, help of neighbors, family and friends, they both make it through the ordeal. While the author still has surgeries ahead of her, she is expecting their 5th child in April, 2012.Very well written and inspiring book for this 29 year old. It certainly makes the little complaints of everyday life even smaller when compared to the road of recovery that this couple had to travel.
mel927 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Stephanie Neilson had a perfect life. She was raised in a large, loving family. She married her ideal man at a young age and promptly had four beautiful children. Her life was exactly as she dreamed it would be. She wrote and published pictures of her idyllic life on one of the original ¿Mormon Mommy Blogs¿ The Nienie Dialogues. One day in August 2008, she and her husband Christian were in a near fatal airplane crash (the one other man in the plane did die). Christian was burned over 20% of his body and had a broken back. Stephanie was burned over 80% of her body. She was in a medically induced coma for 3 months. This book is her story. It is one of devout faith, devastating injuries, great hope and true love. She details her memories of the accident and how she escaped the airplane with help from the other side of the veil. She tells of waking up in the hospital with, initially, no memory of what happened and her horror of coming to grips with what happened to her and what that meant to her and her precious children (who were being cared for by her sisters). She explains the excruciating details of what her body had to go through to heal. She shares with the reader her underlying, undoubting, unshakeable faith in her Father in Heaven and how He helped her through this terrifying time. There were passages that made me weep, but overall she taught me about extraordinary courage and faith.
kphillip9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I did not think that I would be able to read this book, only because flying sometimes scares me. Stephanie and Christian's unshakable faith is what helped keep them together. What was remarkable is Stephanie's ability to see that yes, this can happen to anyone. The entire family has had to deal with what most of us can hardly imagine. I don't think that anything can stop this family, due to their strong convictions. It is good to see positive things come out of this tragedy.
Cottontail on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Prepare to shed a few tears. This is a great book about true love and devotion. Stephanie is a real heroine; she is a true survivor and a great inspiration. Being able to overcome burns over 80% of her body is a true testament in how strong she truly is. I loved how supportive and loving her family is, always there to help in any way needed, that is how family is supposed to be. The devotion of her husband shows there is hope for the rest of us to be able to have that in a relationship. I really liked this book and will pass it along to others without hesitation. I admire you Stephanie and good luck to your and your new baby next month!
JaneSteen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Where I got the book: ARC won on the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program. To be released on April 3, 2012 (according to the publisher; the author's blog says April 2).I had absolutely no knowledge of Stephanie Nielson's blog, nieniedialogues.com, when I requested this book. I'm not, on the whole, a follower of mommy/homemaker bloggers, although I have a couple of friends who are active in this niche. No, what made me interested, I think, was that it was about time to tackle a memoir because it's good for me to read outside my favorite genres.So I spent the first quarter of the book, frankly, feeling a little bored. It was pretty hard for me to relate to a woman whose ambition since childhood was to be a homemaker and mother of many, for one thing. And then it was all so perfect...a life with few real challenges, perfect husband and healthy kids (look, those of us with disabled kids never think any other mom has it hard, deal with it), large, loving extended family all active in the Mormon church, successful blogging career, yada yada yada. The only thing that kept me reading was the knowledge that the Finger of Doom was hanging over it all. Which makes me a bit of a ghoul, really.And then the perfect husband and wife were in a small plane crash that killed their friend and left both of them badly burned, and from that point on I was completely hooked (and having slight twinges of guilt about my cavalier way of approaching memoirs of tragedy, which is to treat them a bit like these are not real people really suffering). As you can see by my reading dates, I basically devoured the last three quarters of the book in a day, a rare feat.What words should I use to describe this book, co-written (ghosted?) by Amy Hackworth? Harrowing? Honest? The writing still got a little saccharine at times when it came to describing how the perfect family copes with disaster, but on the whole I found the narrative straightforward and, yes, compelling and frequently moving. The story focuses on Stephanie Nielson and how family and faith gave her the hope she needed to survive being 80% burned, including extensive facial disfigurement, but there is one telling glimpse of a teenage girl with similar injuries who took the path of depression and hopelessness and died of her burns. I kind of needed to see that, because these perfect-family tropes are always suspect to me; most families just aren't like this and I wonder how such a memoir can help someone in their suffering when they DON'T have such an impressive support system.Because, after all, unless you're going to read such memoirs merely for ghoulish entertainment, you have to get something from them. And I did, in the end, find Nielson's story uplifting, but this is one of those books I have to stew in my head for a while before I can really understand the value of it. And the writing, editing and layout were all very good, thank heaven. I had a long run of iffy books on one or the other of these scores, but now I seem to be back in the land of high standards, and I'm grateful for it.
readingfiend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Stephanie Nielson is a wife and mother and creator of the blog "nieniedialogues". She was born and raised in Provo Utah the 8th of 9 children in a Mormon family. This book is about her, her life, her family and the plane crash in August of 2008 that left her burned over 80% of her body.The book is divided into 3 parts - the first is about her life growing up and meeting her husband to be Christian Nielson while she was working as a receptionist at her father's office. She says she knew after their first date that this was the man she was going to marry. They did and she gave birth to two daughters while living in Provo. The moved to New Jersey for Christian's work and she had her first son. This is also when she created her blog to stay in touch with family and friends.Eventually they moved back west to Mesa Arizona, Christian's hometown and she gave birth to her second son. Shortly thereafter, Christian started taking flying lessons. He received his license and was working towards flying bigger planes so the whole family could fly to Provo for visits. On a Saturday morning in August, their instructor friend Doug and he were flying to Bluewater for the day and Christian asked her to go along. She wasn't crazy about the idea but decided to go along.Part 2 details the accident, and her time spent in the Maricopa Burn Center in Mesa Arizona and at the University of Utah hospital recovering from her burns. It is difficult to read without tearing up. Christian suffered burns as well and a broken back and other injuries. Their friend Doug, suffered burns on 50% of his body and he died as a result of the crash. 3 of her children went to live with her sister Courtney and her baby went to live with her younger sister Lucy. The whole family was so involved in her care and recovery and they had her moved to Utah to be closer to home. Her older sister Page and her husband purchased a house for them in Provo for when they were both recovered to live. It meant selling their home in Mesa and leaving that life behind. Part 2 end with Stephanie leaving the hospital on December 31, 2008 - 5 months after the accident.Part 3 deals with going home -- but not yet being home as she moved in with her sister Page until she was more able to take care of herself and to be sure Christian could take care of her because his injuries limited him as well. Their children are still living with her sisters but they come over every night so they can have dinner together. Since she woke from the coma, the children had been to visit once she got to Utah. One daughter would not go into the room to see her. Once she came home, they would be in the room together but Jane would never look at her. After she transitioned to living in her own home with Christian, they decided it was time for the children to move home too. Her sister's were upset by the abruptness of the decision but she realized they had to get their life back together as a family. There were alot of adjustments to be made because she was limited with her movement and still had (and has) many surgeries to go. She started her blog back up a month or so after she got home and continues to write daily.I've been reading Stephanie's blog and reading about Stephanie and her family since the accident. There is such love and hope and faith and honest emotions in this book that I just couldn't put it down until I was done. I'm glad her blog is there to follow her progress.