I pre-ordered NieNie's book Heaven is Here way back in January. I couldn't wait for it to come, and I was counting down the days until its arrival. On Monday, April 3rd, when it was promised to be delivered, I checked the mailbox and the front porch multiple times throughout the day. I was disappointed it hadn't come. On Tuesday, the same thing happened. I knew it was silly, but I actually prayed that it would come. It had been a fairly mundane day, and I was wishing for something exciting to happen. In the late afternoon after daddy called and told us he'd be getting home late from work, I dragged Ellie out into the yard with me to take some pictures of the blossoms and spring flowers. I nearly cried when I saw a little cardboard box from Amazon with my name on it resting on the front doormat. I was thrilled. I screamed and danced and cheered and Ellie looked up at me smiling and bent her knees up and down in her enthusiasm. After finishing my picture taking, cooking dinner, putting Ellie down for the night, and exercising with my friend Megan, I finally curled up on the chair in our room to read. I didn't stop until 3am when I finally willed myself to get in bed- knowing I would regret it the entire day if I didn't. I finished the book yesterday afternoon while Ellie napped and my spirit was singing. I love NieNie. She is incredible. Her book is inspiring, heart-wrenching, and joyful. Above all, it made me overwhelmed with gratitude for my life and my family.
"I do think that insofar as heaven is a joyful place filled with people you love, and where you feel peaceful and genuinely happy, then it's true. Heaven is right here."
"The more I make the choice to see and feel joy, the more joy there is to see and feel."
"As the children drifted off, their little bodies were so relaxed and still, they seemed to radiate an almost tangible peace. I imagined the wonderful dreams that awaited them. Claire would be creating her own little book of stories and pictures that only her brilliant imagination could dream up, Jane would dream of organizing some sort of neighborhood trampoline extravaganza, Ollie's dreams would find him flying a fighter jet that turned into a motorcycle that turned into a boat that turned into a spaceship, and Nicholas, baby Nicholas, would be dreaming of a delicious meal of big, milky boobs."
(All quotations by Stephanie Nielson from her book Heaven Is Here.)