“On Fire – #2 What are You Hiding?”

“What are You Hiding?”

John had a miracle in the midst of the horrific fire when his little sister threw water on his face and his face was saved, although 87% of his body had 3rd degree burns. John spent 5 months in the hospital and 3 more months before he was finally free of the wrappings. He then covered up to hide the scars.  Later he hid behind alcohol to “fit in.”

As a young adult, John entered a chaplaincy program and his adviser challenged him to tell his story.  “We all have a story.  We all have unique experiences that make us who we are.  Those experiences create the gift that is you, specifically, and only you, can share with others.”  You cannot help others unless you first know your own story - what you’ve been through and what matters to you.

John’s family never discussed the fire. They chose not to be defined by it until his marriage.  His parents, overflowing with gratitude, wrote a book, “Overwhelming Odds”, about their experience.  He felt exposed, but he realized that the fire happened not only to him but to his family also. He realized the miracle and that it was all a gift.  The fire led to where he is today.  

“The challenges led to experiences that shaped me - the character that drives me, the the faith that guides me, the life around me, and to the possibility in front of me….. It was my story…. and it was time to claim it.”  

The scars remained, but they were there because the wounds had healed. They were evidence of a miracle!

It is time for us to pull off our masks as well and allow the miracle of our lives to shine brightly!  If you want to live a radically inspired life, it is time to embrace your story and to celebrate the amazing miracle of your life.  

The times where we were broken and healed are the spaces that connect us to our fellow humans. Lower your mask and let others into the deepest corners of your heart.  This is where/when you will connect with others!

Seeking to tell my story,





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On Fire

“On Fire” – #1 Do You Want to Die?

The specifics of the fire rush through John’s mind as he lays in agonizing pain as the doctors and nurses rush around him in the emergency room.  He does not recognize his body.  He feels desperately alone and then he hears his mom’s voice.  She will make things better!  She can fix this!

She pulls back the curtain and smiles at John.  He begins to cry and asks her if he is going to die.  He so wants to hear her say that she will take care of everything.  But she says the most surprising thing that makes all the difference.  She takes his hand gently and looks into his eyes and asks, “John, do you want to die?  It’s your choice, not mine.”  WHAT?!!!  Is that what you say to a scared little boy in the ER?!  John replied, “I do not want to die.  I want to live.”  His mother responds, “Then, John, you need to fight like you’ve never fought before.  You need to take the hand of God, and you need to walk this journey with Him.  Race forward with everything you have.  Daddy and I will be with you every step of the way.  But John, you listen to me:  you need to fight for it.”  YOU need to fight for it.

This was a moment in time that changed everything that followed.  That day, when John was teetering on the edge of death, his mom courageously walked to the edge of the cliff with him.  She pointed away from the cliff and to the mountain.  It was huge and looked impossible to climb but she said that he could do it.

John should not have survived the fire.  He was burned on 100% of his body and 87% were 3rd degree burns - deep through the skin, muscle, and even to the bone in some places.  His scalp was the only place skin could be possibly removed for the donor skin.  His lungs were damaged from smoke.  This little boy expected to die is now abundantly alive, happily married with 4 children enjoying amazing lives.

John’s question to us is -“Do you want to die?”

“Your first choice you must make to ignite a radically inspired life is to own your life.”

Leave entitlement behind and realize that it is up to YOU to make the changes in your life!

Choose to own it!  Choose life!!

Choosing Life with you!



“On Fire”

I believe John O’Leary’s book “On Fire” will inspire and ignite you to live even more passionately than you do already!

Through the “painful ashes of recovery” from being burned on 100% of his body as a 9 year old, John grew in character, audacity, compassion, faithfulness and drive.  The fire and recovery led to a clear perspective on what actually matters and a bold vision for what is possible.

John defines a “Radically Inspired Life” to mean you

embrace the lessons from your past,

actively engage in the miracle of each moment,

and ignite the limitless possibility of tomorrow.

Do we allow the fires that we each go through to do this for us?

Blessings this week,


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