You might notice a new button on my sidebar: I Read NieNie.
NieNie Dialogues is written by a beautiful young woman named Stephanie Nielson. She is a daughter/sister/friend/wife/mother of four very young kids/expressive human being with strong faith who recently survived a near fatal small plane crash with her husband. He suffered burns over 30% of his body; she has 80%. She was a blogger before the crash, but I didn't know her blog then. Bad news travels fast online, and many of the other blogs I do read posted notice of her crash and links to donate to help their family. In the weeks after I first learned of her blog, I visited a few times here and there, but since Stephanie herself has resumed posting, I check in nearly every day. I am profoundly moved by her entries, her honesty and openness not only about (some of) the pain she currently experiences but moreso the tremendous effort she makes to focus on the joy in her life, the love in her marriage, and the countless happy memories of simple moments that any one of us experiences daily and takes for granted, as she probably did before. When I read her blog, I don't feel sorry for her. She seems to have an amazing support network of loving family and friends who care for her, her husband and their children. Rather, when I read her blog, she opens up a new level of mindfulness for me, reminding me to be present in the beautiful, joyful moments life offers up every day, the tiny things that could go unnoticed or even be a nuisance in some ways but are blessings in others. When I have a bad day, I don't think "my woes are nothing compared with hers"; rather, I am reminded to notice all the moments of joy that were hidden from my sight at the end of the day by my exhaustion or echoes of the tantrums. She has given me a gift of mindfulness. I read her blog and I wish I could be her friend, could help her smile, could offer support...but the closest I can get as a complete stranger is linking to her blog, so that's what I've done.