Monday, September 19, 2011

Look who we got to meet!


 This picture makes me laugh. Not because of the Nielsons, but because Dennis is standing with them!

Since we had a sort of sudden change in weekend plans, 
I thought, why not, sign us up for this dinner and evening with Stephanie Nielson
from the Nie Nie Chronicles. Anyone who is in the blogging world at all, knows them. 
When I asked Dennis if he was interested in making the over 6 hour round trip 
he said like he always does, "Sure let's go." 
Seriously, half the time he doesn't even know what he's agreeing to.

So we headed up to Loomis, Ca which is in the Sacramento area.
And after driving through this gate...

We came upon this ranch home. Really, it was out in the middle of nowhere.

We arrived about 30 minutes early and the man who greeted us just after we got out of our car said, 
"If you would like to meet the Neilsons, just go on in the back door." 
So we did!

Surprisingly there was Ken and Jenn Thomson who use to be in our ward! 
Jenn was anxious to meet Stephanie because Jenn's little nephew was recently badly burned 
and she wanted to thank her for her inspiration and hope.

Dennis and Stephanie's husband Christian talked for quite a while 
about the plane crash, life, their kids, our kids, BYU football, etc. 
Stephanie had wandered into the next room by then so he asked if we would like to meet her. 
As soon as I came up to her, she put her hand out to me and said, "I am so happy to meet you." 
Then she reached out and said, "I want to give you a hug." 
I was worried about hurting her fragile skin but it didn't seem to bother her at all. 
We talked about her pregnancy and how she is so very nauseous. 
I could see that in her eyes.
She was holding food but not eating it. That's another sign.  
She said the baby is due April 2nd and how this pregnancy is so different from her other 4. 
She also said she has been very grouchy. 
That's when Mr. Nielson, (as she calls her husband on her blog) sort of shook his head 
and said, "That's like Snow White being grouchy."

The food was a self serve fajita bar, and then we all got to sit back and listen to the Nielsons speak.

I think what struck me most about the Nielsons is how genuine they both are.
For example, when they were talking to us it didn't feel like small talk.
They would both look right into our eyes and ask us specific questions about our lives
...and they didn't even know us!
They made us feel like we were the only ones in the room with them.
At times we sort of were. For example when Mr. Nielson asked Den about his line of work, 
and he mentioned how he was with LAPD for 30 years, 
he wanted to know what that was really like, etc.

I asked them where their 4 children were and they said they were home with Aunt Courtney (CJane). 
How for the past 3 years they have not been with their children during Fall Festival weekend...
so their kids think of that tradition now with Aunt Courtney.

During her speech to us that night, Stephanie talked some about the plane crash. 
She said she had always believed there was a God...all of her life....
but because of a very personal and sacred experience that happened to her right after the crash, 
she knows there is a God. 
She said she is very grateful to be able to pass this knowledge on to her children, 
and later to her posterity. 
She also said she would go through the crash and burning all over again just to learn what she knows now.

Stephanie also talked about the little things of life, and how those are really the big things. 
She is SO happy she can make her children's lunches 
and she especially loves putting carrots in little baggies and ziplocking them....
something that took her months of therapy to learn how to do.

The evening was scheduled to end at 8:30 but ended an hour early. 
I think whoever scheduled this seminar expected the Nielsons would speak longer than they did.
He spoke about 5 minutes, she spoke about 20. 
I think she was struggling with the nausea so cut it short. 
I completely understood. I was just so happy to get to meet her.

 Thanks Jenn for taking this picture of us.
It proves I was there too. 
I could have taken more of the Nielson's but I didn't want to feel like the Paparazzi. 

Soon I will do a post on who we got to see the next morning, since we were in the area.
She is 7 and her name starts with an H.


the Rich girl said...

Jill! What a cute picture of you and Dennis. You both look so good. And how fun that you got to meet Stephanie Nielson. She really is an amazing woman--she has reached out and touched so many lives for good. I'm sure that she's been a blessing to lots of people everywhere.

grandmapeg said...

You and Dennis take some really fun and interesting trips. I'm so glad you got to meet these people since you follow their blog. Do they speak all over the western states or how did you find out about this? I love this picture of you and Dennis. You sure look like your mom!

cristie said...

i am so happy you took such great photos! you look lovely and what a great opportunity ... nice that den would make the drive. xox

Karen Mortensen said...

You are so lucky you got to go. I was thinking about it. I wish I would have known you were going.

Scrapally said...

What a wonderful opportunity for you! i'm glad you got to mee them. they are truly inspiring...and what a good sport Dennis is...kind of like Dave driving 6 hours to take me to DI. :) I think I could live in that beautiful ranch house...thank you for sharing this great story with us!

Ammy said...

I am so happy you got to meet them..I love stephanie! I have read her blog for a LOOONG time and have always wanted to meet her..what an inspiration she is!!!

Fisher Family Fun said...

Sounds like you had a good time!

I have some friends that are moving into your ward. I told her that you are very nice and friendly! :)

Dad and Susan said...

What an interesting weekend with amazing people. Your blog is always informative. I'm guessing I know who the mystery guest is. Love, Dad and Susan

Eileen said...

I'm so happy for you that you were able to see and hear this amazing couple in person. They are such an inspiration.
I just feel so overwhelmed and humbled when I think about them. I was talking to my daughter about Stephanie after I visited your blog this morning and she said she felt the hardest thing must have been when Stephanie's youngest didn't really know her. 'Hard enough to be suffering physically and emotionally from such trauma, but added to all that the heartbreak of a mother thinking she might lose that bond, it's too much to bear.
And the beautiful first thoughts she had of her children and her life as a mother, wanting to go home and make the pizza.
'So hard for me to even think about this situation, and yet they live it, and they live it with such faith and such positive affirmation. Just amazing.
Thanks for posting this, Jill.
Love and Prayers,

Connie said...

It must have been a wonderful evening for you. To me, Nie Nie is more famous and respected than many of the current "movie stars"
Love the picture of both of you. Glad you got in front of the camera this time!

Mar~ said...

Darling photo of you and Dennis!
It's so cool how you and Dennis just get in the car and head out for adventures together.
What a fun and uplifting experience for you!

Darlene said...

Wow! That was some kind of a ranch house, wasn't it?

How fun for you to be able to meet the Nielsons. Of course I read Nie Nie's post every few days. What an inspiration she and Christian are to everyone. They are just so gracious. I'm sure they made you feel comfortable to just visit with them. I would love to be able to meet them too.

It is so neat that Dennis just seems to be willing to go at the drop of a hat. I think you are very lucky to have a guy like that.

I haven't been a blogger long enough to know that Dennis was on the LAPD force for 30 years!! No wonder Christian was so interested in that. I would be too. I guess it is because I cannot believe that anyone would ever want to be a policeman and put themselves in harms way every single day. It takes a special sort of person to do that. I admire that in him.

I wouldn't want to be a fireman either, but I have three grandsons (brothers) who are in three different Fire Departments in Orange County. They are all paramedics. They love what they do also.

I really liked the picture of you and Dennis. You need to post more pictures of you. People tell me the same thing, but I hate to have my picture taken. Is this a good reason for not posting mine?

Lisa said...

This is what I consider a meaningful & wonderful way to spend time. I was just telling a friend about this amazing woman of faith because my friend has never heard that this happened. Thanks for sharing. I'll never forget the beautiful video the Church website had of her. Her life is so moving & her story is a Miracle & Testimony.

Sue said...

How exciting to meet Stephanie. I think you know that I am a big fan of hers.


Holly Decker said...

how wonderful! sounds like a fantastic time. I just adore Stephanie :)