Inspiring Mom Recovers From Tragic Plane Crash Through Faith, Family, and Community

my worldmoms making a difference

Nie Nie and Christian Christian Nielson describes his wife's personality as green, because she's "mild, lovely, and creative." Even after only meeting Stephanie once, I would agree!

Stephanie, or Nie Nie, as many refer to her, writes the Nie Nie Dialogues. Her bio reads: "Stephanie Aurora Clark Nielson returns from an almost fatal plane crash. Happy to be blogging again from Utah and recovering too. Four happy children and one sweet husband make her life as good as it gets."

She inspires, she motivates, she shares. And people read. Lots of people! If you haven't made your way over, grab a box of tissues and stop by, but make sure to start at the beginning because this is one inspiring mama!

August 2008 marked a time of change for Stephanie and Christian when their plane crashed near St. Johns, Arizona and more than 85% of Stephanie's body was badly burned. After more than 3 months in a coma and now more than a year in recovery, Stephanie shows us how to overcome challenges through faith, family, and community.

"My faith is everything," Stephanie says when asked what has helped her overcome life's challenges. "It is my life and my strength.  I rely on the amazing power of prayer and being guided by the Holy Ghost.  It is really a beautiful thing. It guides me and leads me to understand my children better. I believe that my children are precious spirits of our Heavenly Father and I am preparing them to be good parents and citizens themselves.  I couldn’t do that if my faith didn’t play a role."

Her husband, or her "Mr. Nielson" as she refers to him in her blog, has also been a strength to pull her through. "He took care of me when the accident happened as if I was his child.  He became mother and father for almost a year.  He has been there to lean on when times get frustrating and tough…and they did and still do.  He is my listening ear, my best friend, and most importantly my greatest support in this life."

When I chatted with Christian, I got a sense of the good friends that he and Stephanie are. He shared with me that at his last job, he used to have his desktop set to his wife's blog. He said reading her blog was the first thing he did every day before delving into work-related tasks. He joked that he learned so much more about his family that way!

Nielson Family II When Stephanie was unable to blog, her sister Courtney took over the writing for her, updating her growing readership regularly on Stephanie's status and progress. The blogosphere cried together as Stephanie struggled to make it through each day. We were thrilled when Christian was able to finally see her for the first time after the accident, and we banded together to raise money to help offset the medical bills.

"When the accident happened," Stephanie shared, "So many mothers and women sent me gifts, letters, cards and donations.  My favorite was getting handmade crafts that they made for my children or me.  They made me smile and cry knowing that other mothers were feeling my pain and using their creative works to help me heal.  It was overwhelming and so kind."

Now, Stephanie and Christian are reunited with their children, living near family in Utah, and are experiencing a lot of "AC" (after crash) firsts. When I visited Stephanie, she excitedly shared that she had just vacuumed the stairs for the first time since the accident. I sat in wonder, thinking how much I typically complain about vacuuming stairs. She commented, "I think the toughest part right now is not being able to help [my kids] tie their shoes, button their shirts, and run around with them. We really take those for granted." I asked her what her favorite part of being a mom was and she replied: "I think the best part is being needed.  I am nothing if I can’t serve them."

Learn more about Stephanie and her family by reading Nie Nie Dialogues or CusineNie. You can also follow her @nieniedialogues on Twitter. If you'd like to hear her speak in person, be sure and check out her key note at next summer's Evo Conference for women in social media in Park City, Utah.
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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.

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