5 in the morning and I wanted to take a pistol to my alarm clock. The last thing I wanted to do this morning was dance, or even wake up for that matter. However, I DID push through and make it through 2 hours of dance, which was much better than the usual 3-4 hours of rehearsal we have. First period was a drag, and that's saying something. I usually love English, but I just couldn't keep focused or awake for the full hour and a half. To sum it up, school was rough today.
This evening, I drove up the canyon with my beautiful mother and had some much needed time with her. I told her all about the book I've been reading. I haven't been able to put it down this week. It's the most inspiring book written by the most amazing woman, wife, and mother on this planet, Stephanie Nielson.
If you haven't heard of this beautiful little lady, she lives here in Provo. She had started a blog and posted cute ideas for crafts and darling photos of her gorgeous self. She had darling children, a handsome husband: basically the ideal life.
She got in a plane crash in August of 2008. Her whole body suffered very severe burns and she could very well have not made it through. However, she did. She made it through so much, and her book is about exactly that. It starts off with her small town life and her love story with her Prince Charming. She takes the reader through the joys of her life prior to the crash, as well as the sorrow she felt afterwards. I couldn't help but shed a couple tears as I read her words of despair. It must have been such a dark place. But I shed even more tears of joy at the end of the book. Even though I don't have the pleasure of knowing Stephanie, I felt like I had gone through her journey with her. I felt proud of her with every step of progress she wrote about.
You have probably all noticed that my posts have become much more uplifting and positive within the past couple of weeks. I can honestly say that the main contributor to that would probably be this book. I have gone through some difficult things, some that people know about and some that people don't. For so long, I harbored so much bitterness toward... Well, sort of toward everything and everyone, even myself. This book took me through struggles I could never even imagine, and showed me how to conquer the minor imperfections of this beautiful life.
This book made me believe.
My testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has been strengthened more than I can even say. Along with the bitterness I harbored for so long came confusion. Everything, especially religion. Nothing about it made sense to me. It didn't seem necessary for my life, and I thought I could surely get through life without believing in some higher power. How wrong I was. Stephanie has so much faith in her Lord, Jesus Christ and it radiated from every page of her book. It made me want what she had, the warmth of Christ. I opened my heart to religion again and found what I've needed for all these months.
This book made me believe in love. It seems so impossible these days. It seems like all that exists anymore is lust. But with every word Stephanie writes about Mr. Nielson, you can almost feel how much love she has for him. With everything Mr. Nielson does, it seems that he has Stephanie's well being in mind. Their love is absolutely, positively, purely unconditional. They made me believe that maybe one day someone will love me like that, and we can have a beautiful, imperfectly perfect life together.
This book made me believe everything I've ever said to girls who look up to me. "Beauty isn't physical. Your soul is what makes you beautiful, not your body, your hair, your clothes. YOU make you beautiful." I've always enjoyed hanging out with younger girls. Girls don't get enough credit these days. There is so much pressure along with being a girl now, and I want to try my best to be a good example to them and shape good girls for our future. They always come to me feeling self conscious, and my reply has always been the same. "Beauty is what's inside."
How hypocritical of me.
For years and years, I've been self conscious about pretty much everything about my appearance. Nothing has ever been perfect, something has always been needing whitening, tanning, growing, shrinking. But this book truly made me see beauty for what it is: for what I tell the younger girls I hang out with, and not for what I couldn't help myself but to think.
"It's a beautiful heart, not a perfect body, that leads to a beautiful life."
-Heaven Is Here by Stephanie Nielson, Pg 304
Stephanie was so beautiful, practically flawless. Dark hair, green eyes, freckles, red lipstick. She doesn't look the same now, but she is exactly the same person she was before. Her soul is the most beautiful of anyone I've known of. Her faith, her testimony, her selflessness, her amazing ability to be a mother, her ability to make such an impact on a 17 year old girl's life, THAT is what makes her beautiful. And that's exactly what I want to be, because I know now that beauty cannot be bottled: beauty needs no fixing. Beauty is imperfection.
What an impact these 310 pages have made on my life. I would highly recommend this book to anyone- LDS, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Atheist. It's not just a testimony strengthening book, it gives you a sense of direction and purpose in life. It inspires you to get through another day. It reminds you that life isn't supposed to be easy, but it will all be worth it eventually. Time heals all wounds- emotional and physical.
With that being said, it's time for me to go to sleep.
I'll probably dream of meeting Stephanie Nielson, the most amazing woman I've NEVER known. :)