Mindy Gledhill Music

One Person’s Influence

Posted on: September 17, 2008

Admittedly, I am not a blogger. Not until today, that is. I have long avoided the world of blogging, somehow feeling an inexplicable pressure to measure up to my talented blogging friends with their beautiful photos, clever essays, and perfect grammar. However, things change. Today marks the day of my first official blog entry—and believe me, it is LONG. I don’t care. Today I feel no pressure to impress or to highlight my best self. Today I feel compelled to share with you one person’s influence in my life.

Stephanie Clark has had an insanely magnetic personality since I first met her in high school. I moved into her neighborhood my junior year. Having lived abroad in a foreign country for the three previous years, I was rather unsure of myself in a large American high school where many circles had been tightly woven since pre-school. I spent much of that year watching and observing; searching for my place. Stephanie had a beautiful confidence about her with her signature boy-short hair and vintage-inspired clothing. She was the head cheerleader and member of Future Homemakers of America our senior year. I observed that she was very close with her family and Clark cousins that lived across the street and throughout the area. The Clarks are known as a very loving and close family with a humor and language they all speak fluently within their sphere. Such is the way of a large family. I’ve always loved watching them interact.

Allowing my own adolescent insecurities to get in the way of extending myself, it wasn’t until several years later that Stephanie and I became friends. One day, I received an unexpected email from Stephanie. I had just released my first album, “The Sum of All Grace,” an introspective and faith-based collection of songs. Stephanie (now Stephanie Nielson) was living in New Jersey at the time and wrote to tell me that her mom sent her the CD. She recounted how she had been homesick for her family, living so far away, and that from the first track to the last, she wept. I was dumbfounded. Little did she know that her simple gesture of thanks had washed over me like warm water. Stephanie continued to reach out and stay in touch with me, sharing photos and thoughts about her darling family. Soon, she had a blog up which she invited me to read and even be a featured guest on her “Friday Face” posts. Her evident sense of style and love of being a wife and mother made for very entertaining and inspiring reading.

For the last several months Stephanie had been helping me to organize a concert in Mesa, AZ where she currently lives. Several days after she last emailed me about the concert, I got word that Stephanie and her husband Christian were in a plane crash . Stunned, I hopped on my scooter and drove up the hill to her sister, Paige’s house to see if this was true. As Paige explained the gravity of the crash and their burns, my heart felt caught in my throat. I coasted the whole way down the hill, tears stinging my cheeks.

If the news of the crash wasn’t stunning enough, even more stunning is the overwhelming response of support from Stephanie’s admirers and readers of her blog. So overwhelming in fact, that even the Today Show among many other news programs and publications have covered her story. People might ask, “What is it about this person that has made her stand out among others who have suffered life-altering injuries?” You have to read her blog to understand. Stephanie imparts a portion of herself to her readers. She shares the message that being a mother is a blessing and that her husband and children are to be celebrated every day. She treasures living in the moment in order to incur a lifetime of precious memories. Her sphere of influence has encircled the globe by now. For me, it started with something as simple as an unexpected email.

To donate to the recover of Stephanie and Christian Nielson, click here .

P.S. I am still doing the concert Stephanie and I planned in Mesa on Oct. 25th at Mountain View High School. All profits from ticket sales will go towards Stephanie and Christian’s recovery as well as the family of the late pilot, Doug Kinneard who died in the plane crash. See my events page for details.

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9 Responses to "One Person’s Influence"

welcome to the blogging world! Sorry your first post is so hard. I hope the concert is a sell-out for the sake of your friend!

MRKH

How do you begin a story? How do you make a difference? I am in awe for the experience of having read about this family. I had begun my foray into the blogging world by way of design blogs. I own a little home interiors boutique in Washington state and found kindred souls in this new world. As I progressed into this new arena of inspiration and food for the soul I began to become more and more comfortable. I was finding many people out there who I felt a connection with. One day, while reading one of my favorite writers I noticed a post about a family who had been involved in a horrible plane crash. I remember thinking how sad this was but I wasn’t interested in reading about something so tragic. I needed more inspiration on decor. Weeks passed and I again stumbled onto another blog and then another mentioning Nie. I finally decided to take a look. I read her post and the writings of her friend who had taken over for Steph on her blog. I was moved. As I read her writings and marveled at this woman who had the ability to live her life to the fullest. Taking every moment to enjoy her childrens simple achievments and expressing the love she had for Christian and her excitement when he came home at night or from a trip, I felt a sense of gratitude. I, as I am sure many women, had forgotten to live in the moment. As I read, I cried and I felt regret for having not been aware. Aware of the passing days in which I had lived my life but never really enjoyed it. I have two children myself. One is still so young. I wished I could rewind the days. I knew I never could though and although it made me sad, it changed me. I hope to be half the mother and wife that Steph is. And the fact that she and her family have become such a symbol of strength and courage is no accident. God works in many wondrous ways. I believe he led me to this family to remind me of how fleeting it all can be and to cherish every moment with the people who love and depend on me. Your music is amazing. The gift you have and the compassion you possess must give Stephanies family a sense of comfort. Thank you for helping this lovely family. You are an inspriration. Now I call that food for the soul!

Carol

Mindy, I love your music, your voice, your writing. My first introduction to your music was when my daughter and I saw you perform in Houston, Texas at TOFW.

I wish you the best of luck in your pursuit of your career. You are an inspiration. You have a beautiful heart.

I have no idea why you would be hesitant to blog. Your grammar was perfect and you write a good line. You have skills.

Love your music! First saw you on a BYU tv showcase of pop bands, or something like that. Called my daughter who is the passionista of music in the blogging world and said you have to check her out, simultaneously you were the Friday face on Nie’s blog.

I pray for a great concert and only wish I could be there in person rather than just spirit. God bless.

you described your experience with nIE perfectly. even though i only know nIE through her blog, i feel so close to her and this situation. good luck with the concert. i’m glad cjane has mentioned you in her blog; i LOVE your music. totally asking for your cd for christmas!

Hi Mindy, we performed together a few years ago at Womens’ Conference. I was in awe of your voice and your beautiful presence then. I love your tribute to Stephanie and I wish I could attend your concert next week. She is very fortunate to have wonderful friends like you in addition to her amazing family!

Mindy! It was so fun to see that you have my blog link up on your blog. I didn’t know that until my younger sister was jumping around in the blogosphere from blog to blog and ended up at your blog and she saw my blog. She called me to ask me if I knew THE Mindy Gledhill and I was happy to say yes!

I am so glad I found you blog in time to realize that you are coming to Mesa this month because I live here now. I moved here from Boston about a month 1/2 ago to start grad school.

I will find a way to get tickets and invite all my friends! You are still as amazing as ever and I am blessed to count you as my friend!

Kylee

Mindy,
Thank you so much for your words on Stephanie and her family. She lives a life that I aspire to have and because of her openness and honesty in her blog I feel like she is my sister. I only found her blog after the crash through another wonderful women’s blog, Amanda Blake Soule, and from the moment I read about Stephanie and Christian’s situation my heart wept. I am so greatful for a forum such as the blogging world becuase even though I do not know Stephanie or her family she has led me into her life and they are in my thoughts daily. I am sending them all of my love and hope for recovery. Thank you for being such a good friend to her and donating the proceeds of your benefit concert. Your voice is soothing and beautiful. Thank you for letting me into your life a little too.

Mindy I’m so happy you are coming to Mesa!! You betcha I’ll be there!! I had been hoping for so long that you would sometime visit Arizona!!

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