Thursday, October 22, 2015

Interview with Sarah M. Johnson, Author of "Life is Beautiful"

Sarah M. Johnson shares part of her own touching story with us today. Keep reading to hear more from Sarah and more about her book, Life is Beautiful!

Life is Beautiful by Sarah M. Johnson

Life is Beautiful: How a Lost Girl Became a True, Confident Child of God, by Sarah M. Johnson, takes you on a full journey of trauma, loss, and finally resilience. While on a mission’s trip in Guatemala, a small Cessna Caravan’s engine blows while carrying fourteen passengers. Unfortunately, the Cessna crashes in a remote village, leaving eleven of the fourteen passengers dead. One passenger, Sarah, shares her story in Life is Beautiful, about the deaths of her father and brother; her mother’s extreme physical and emotional injuries, and Sarah’s self-discovery to accept this new life.

Life is Beautiful, however, is more than a story about an airplane crash. Life is Beautiful shares the personal struggles of Sarah’s father’s drug use, his recovery, and redemption to be a better person. He gives back by doing missions work in Africa, takes in Sarah’s aunt dying of uterine cancer, and eventually leads their family to the mountains of Guatemala. Sarah also discusses her struggles with alcohol use and depression; where she eventually hits rock bottom. It is not until she starts seeking God through prayer, books, and therapy, where she starts to turn her life around.

Life is Beautiful is not only a unique story, but it shows the strength of God’s Will. When all hope is lost, she never gives up on God. This story is a true testimony of God’s love for His people, and when one seeks a spiritual journey and connection with God; He gives back in love, forgiveness, and happiness.

Life is Beautiful will be released on August 25, 2015. It is available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

About the Author:

Sarah M. Johnson is currently a graduate student seeking her Marriage and Family Therapy degree. She will graduate in 2015. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work. After graduating, she plans to open up a private practice office and guide those who are seeking their own self-discoveries of love and happiness.

Sarah believes that adversity is a gateway for change, and that through the difficult times of sorrow, loss, depression, anxiety, relationship issues, trauma, disease, or other mental illness, we can use this adversity to self-explore and change for the better. We must not run away from the adversity, but face it, heal, and use this particular adversity as a learning lesson.

We all have the capacity to be happy and love ourselves; but we must utilize all necessary support systems, medical professionals, mental health professionals, Religious affiliations, (and many more that I am not mentioning) to help us find the Power Within. The Power Within helps us to accept our adversity and create necessary change for a life of love and happiness.

To learn more, go to 

Connect with Sarah on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Chapter 1 The Crash

I remember all of the emotions, the trees whipping by, everything happening so fast, dad yelling, Here we go, and mom screaming, Stop it. I remember my brother Zachary looking back at me, his eyes bright with fear as I prayed God please...

I remember the sense of something coming; you know it’s coming and wonder: will I live?

I remember the violence of the plane plowing into the ground as we attempted an emergency landing in a roughhewn field...Boom, boom, boom...and then nothing but an unnerving silence.

I don’t know if I blacked out or merely paused with my eyes closed in the stillness of those first few moments. Awareness comes slowly. Then in a rushed breath of shock and revelation, Thank God I’m alive.

My eyes open to an eerily lit silence where sunlight and shadow intermingle, making it difficult to see into the new geography of the plane’s interior. My head and body buzz. My mind trips on the dissonance of dangling upside down, held a few inches from the ceiling of the plane’s cabin by my seatbelt.

Taking stock of my body, I notice that I peed my pants and there is a small cut on my left arm. Looking up, I see that one foot is missing its shoe. My eyes squint into bright sunlight that passes through a relatively large doorway next to me that was torn open.

The only noise to break the silence is the erratic popping of electricity; the final groans of a dying airplane.

I move my arms first and then my legs, which causes small shards of glass to fall from where they’re lodged in my clothes and upturned seat. I tilt my head back toward the ceiling beneath me and it is covered in broken glass.

My hair dangles down away from my face, but the position of my body and the way sunlight cuts through the cabin makes it difficult to see much of the plane. In those few seconds I realize that I am okay and begin to think that maybe we are all okay; that the crash wasn’t so bad.

Interview with the Author

1. What is one of the main things you want readers to take away from your memoir?

I want readers to know we all go through difficult times in our lives. We go through these difficult times ever wondering if they will pass, we question "why me?" we even wonder if we have the strength within ourselves to get through it. But, I want people who read, Life is Beautiful: How a Lost Girl Became a True, Confident Child of God to know is that no matter what happens in our life, whether it be a particular trauma, loss, divorce, relationship conflict, job loss, illness, financial crisis, etc. that we all have the capacity to get through it. And once we get through this difficult time in our life, we have the ability to become stronger individuals because of it.

2. What was it like for you, writing out your story? Do you think the writing process contributed to the healing process?

Writing my story was not only healing, but it allowed me to go back in time and relive the trauma, hurt, and reality I experienced. Reliving the experience of the airplane crash was something I had done in therapy, but writing it out alone, I was able to heal a lingering wound. When I was writing, I was able to cry again and be "in the moment." Experiencing this pain again, alone, allowed me to grow and blossom personally as well as professionally.

Writing also allowed me to understand
who I was at the time, as well as my father, mother, and brother. I was able to see my family as characters in life with love and compassion vs. being entangled with judgement and harsh criticism on the reality of my experience during the two years the book takes place. For me, looking at my life during the times of alcoholism, experiencing my father being caught for his drug use, and the real struggle my mother and I faced during all this of, it is easy to judge myself and my family for the choices we all made. But when we are all merely characters, it is easier for me to look at myself and my family with true compassion, love and acceptance.

3. What compelled you to publish your story, rather than keeping it to yourself?

I knew I was going to write a book and share my story with the world right after the crash occurred. Surviving an airplane crash, yet alone walking away with no physical injuries, is not very common. My story is unique, but it is also inspiring. I knew my story could personally touch others and I needed to share it with the world! Sharing my story of trauma, loss, and resiliency is my purpose on this planet. I look forward to this journey.

4. Your bio says that you believe "adversity is a gateway for change." Could you explain that further?

As mentioned before, we all go through difficult times in our lives. For me, I awakened to my reality and life only because I experienced death and trauma through a vigorous airplane crash. I was forced to start life over, at the age of 19, because half my family was killed (dad and my brother) and my mother was seriously injured. With the help of therapy and my Higher Power, I was able to look at my experience with acceptance and allow myself to be sad and allow all other feelings arise when necessary.

As time passed, I slowly was able to look at my life as a series as events. All the difficult times, or adversities as I like to say, challenged me and brought me pain. It was not until I faced the true pain of my experiences was I able to grow and develop compassion, empathy, and understanding of myself and others. I believe adversity is a gateway for change, because when we go through difficult times and use them as lessons in our life, we become better individuals.

Everybody on this planet goes through adversity in their life. For many of us, the adversity is out of our control. When we truly face the pain of our adversity, or do the "work" as I like to say, can we blossom into the people we are destined to be. This work involves accepting we want more or that we are hurt and want something different, and reaching out for help. This help may be with God, through a church group, a therapist, spiritual mentor, or a trusted family member or friend. We bond with others through our vulnerability and suffering; which brings about compassion and love for ourselves and others. If we have true compassion and love for others, because of our adversities, then we are one step closer to our purpose as human beings.

5. What part would you say God played in turning your life around?

God came into my life when I was 18 years old. As a young girl, I was always curious about God, but never really realized how much I yearned for this special relationship. It was not until I was speaking with a young man, who I dated at the time, where my curiosity spiked. One night, he asked me to take his hands, and I reluctantly did. As I did, however, I was sucked into the Light… a channel, a wormhole. In that very moment, I knew God was real, because I physically saw the Light. More about this experience is found in my book Life is Beautiful.

After this experience, God was definitely real to me. After I experienced the airplane crash, I used this experience as a foundation for my faith. A faith in knowing I survived for a reason. A faith in knowing I was supposed to use this tragedy to help and inspire others. A faith that God was going to use me… This faith has kept me moving. This faith has allowed me to follow my intuition personally and professionally. God uses all of us; however, this faith is what has turned my life around.

6. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

I just want your readers to know that we all struggle. Your readers right now are struggling with something in their life. I want them to know that I have struggled and currently struggle with everyday things. However, I have also made the choice to reach out for help when I needed it the most. I have accepted my pain and allowed it to flourish my life. We can’t run from our pain and expect to be happy. Instead, we must accept our pain, face it with love and compassion, and reach out. Only then, can we move forward with the next chapter in our lives.

If we don’t do the work, attempt to start life over, we may miss the opportunity to see that life is beautiful.
More information about me and my book, Life is Beautiful, be found at

Peace and Love to All.

Thank you so much for being with us, Sarah!

Make sure you guys check out her website and her book to find out more about her story!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful interview! Thanks for sharing, especially that last part about how we can't run from our pain and expect to be happy. We have to accept it and turn to the only One who can truly heal it. :)
    Thanks so much for this! :D