Thursday, May 3, 2012


Story Description: 

Hyperion | March 26, 2012 | e-BOOK | KOBO 

When Stephanie and her husband, Christian, are in a horrific plane crash in 2008 – he was burned over 40 per cent of his body; she over 80 percent and wasn’t expected to live – they needed the strength of their family and friends their faith and their love for one another, more than ever.  In the aftermath of harrowing tragedy Stephanie has maintained a stunning sense of humor, optimism, and resilience – a strength of spirit that infuses her daily blog posts at, which currently averages four million visitors per month.  

Riveting and uplifting, HEAVEN IS HERE offers a gripping account of the crash and the aftermath.  With her trademark wit and good cheer, Stephanie will share the wisdom and insights she’s gleaned in the wake of her near-death experience and offers readers inspiration for how they too can find the best in themselves and embrace the joy and beauty of the journey, no matter what life throws at them.  In the vein of THE MIDDLE PLACE, SAVING GRACES AND HERE IF YOU NEED ME, Stephanie’s book will be a moving and poignant reminder of how faith and family, love and community can bolster us, sustain us, and quite literally in some cases, save us. 

My Review: 

Stephanie and Christian lived in Mesa, Arizona.  They had four children together: Claire, 6; Jane, 5; Oliver, 3; and Nicholas, 20 months and were married eight years when Christian learned to fly. 

A year and a half before, Stephanie had given Christian a helicopter flight over Scottsdale, Arizona as a surprise for his 28th birthday.  Christian had always dreamed of flying so she knew he would be super excited about her gift.  “Near the end of that flight, the pilot gave Christian the stick.  He came out of the helicopter a new man.”  Christian couldn’t stop talking about the flight and how exciting and freeing it was and “how alive” he felt in the air.  A year later he was interviewing flight instructors and found Doug Kinneard who was a retired air force major and a trained fighter pilot and he was also Christian’s co-worker at Boeing. 

On August 16, 2008 not long after Christian received his pilot’s licence, they kissed their four children good-bye and told them they’d be home in a few hours.  Christian and Stephanie were going to fly Doug to Christian’s great-grandfather’s farm in Bluewater.  After touring the farm and refuelling the plane on the way back, the plane went down and crashed. 

Stephanie tells the story of her and Christian’s recoveries.  The emotional pain was equal to the physical pain but their deep faith helped them through some rough times. 

My own son was burned over 50% of his body in 2006 in a fire and explosion so this story really resonated with me.  I knew of the excruciating pain Stephanie endured during dressing changes and the pain of debridement.  I watched my then, 16-year-old son, scream as nurses carefully dressed one finger at a time, one hand at a time, one leg at a time, and the pain I felt as his mother was truly overpowering. 

Stephanie’s immense faith in her God is what has and continues to pull her through this horrific period in her life.  I promise that when you’ve read this book, you will appreciate yourself, your life, your husband, your family, and your friends a lot more.  Stephanie’s courage and strength in the face of extreme adversity is truly awe-inspiring.  I wish nothing but the best for you Stephanie as you continue to heal.  You are one brave and courageous woman, a true survivor.

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