Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A woman's expo.

Last week, one of the hospitals in Utah County was holding a Women's Expo and Stephanie Nielson of  Nie Nie Dialogues was the guest speaker, so McCall and I decided to go.  I told McCall that I would pick her up from her house and we could head on down to American Fork together.  So after work, I gave her a call to confirm the plan. When McCall answered her phone she was crying.

"What's the matter Bug?"

She replied, "Everything.  I hate my job, I hate having to work, I hate leaving Libby, I have the worst skin and I think I have shingles again around my eyes which happens every time we are about to leave on a vacation!"

I really did feel her pain. So instead,  we decided to meet in the parking lot of IN-N-OUT so we could grab a burger on our way.  (Okay, and fries and a neapolitan shake.  When tears are involved, diets are immediately abandoned for any food that is high in calories.)

We talked, we commiserated, we ate, we enjoyed.  And then as luck would have it, on our way into the Expo, McCall's dermatologist happened to be walking our way.  He took a look at her face and said that it didn't look like shingles and gave her a remedy or two to try.  (My poor Bug is always having to try a remedy or two to clear up her skin, and with her being pregnant, it only adds to the ailment ... but she is SO excited to be pregnant and realized that she and Stephanie's little embryos are the same size - about the size of a blueberry now.)

We sat and listened as Stephanie spoke. Stephanie was sharing with the group that the hardest moment since her accident - the very hardest moment - was when her little daughter, Jane, did not want to look at her or have anything to do with her.  She said that when Jane went into her hospital room for the first time after the accident, she wouldn't look at her and then as Jane walked out of the room she said to her sister, Claire, "You do not want to go in there."

Big tears streamed down McCall's cheeks.  She said she couldn't even imagine how awful it would be if her Libby didn't want to have anything to do with her.

Stephanie shared a lot about the difficulties associated with her "new" life, post plane crash, but also shared the message of hope and how grand the role of woman is.  I know that Stephanie has blogged about mean comments and emails she receives from women who have criticized her for being vain and for the way she mothers and for not being very frugal with her resources.

My thought about that:  Really? Can you give the girl a break?  Would you want to be in her position?

To me, Stephanie is just a girl who was handed a raw deal and is doing the best she can with it.  She has certainly been an inspiration to a lot of people, and that night, it was clear that she is a celebrity in her own right.  There was a long line of women who just wanted to meet her, give her a hug and thank her for being an uplifting influence in their lives.

I thought she looked beautiful too.  She has certainly come a long way.  And it certainly puts your own life's trials into perspective.

I had mentioned to my sister Spring that we would stop by her house after the Expo because I had to pick something up from her.  Now I know I have already mentioned this, but Spring lives right around the corner from the Nielsons.  I decided since I had my camera, and since I had just been taking pictures of Stephanie, I would just go ahead and snap a picture of her house too.

I will admit, I felt like a stalker paparazzi and slightly uncomfortable, so I pulled over to the side of the road and said, "McCall, keep an eye out for their big black SUV.  Let me know if you see it coming."

And then McCall said, "Mom, it is sitting in their driveway."

Oops. So it was.

(It is rapidly becoming common knowledge that I have officially lost my mind.)


  1. Thanks for sharing your story today....just life and the ups and downs we all have to handle and get through! I hope your daughter's skin is improving....that can be very difficult! I have a daughter that deals with those issues too!

  2. I love that girl....I find her soooo inspiring and brave...thank you for sharing my friend. You never know what life or God will pluck on our laps. xoxoxo

  3. Oh this is so great! I am jealous you got to go see her speak. Maybe someday I will! I love seeing God use people like Stephanie! I am disappointed in McCalls stalking skills. We stalked ALL THE TIME in high school. ha.

  4. Stephanie is one
    of my heroes and I
    am over the moon
    that you got to hear
    her speak. She is
    such an inspiration ~
    That, my friend, is
    true courage. And
    what perfect timing
    for McCall to hear
    what she had to say.
    xx Suzanne

  5. i just love the suv part of this whole story. goo' goo' times da mama! love you.

  6. She is such an inspiration! I wish I could have seen her when I was there...and could have gone for neo shakes with you and bug! :)

  7. Okay...this is why I love woman so much...we all have a story filled with pain & joy & each story is totally different & totally beautiful...just like ALL the woman you mentioned today. :)