Remember how I had the privilege of working with an amazing team of people to help Jen Hatmaker launch her book?
It turns out that I like having access to books before they’re published and getting a chance to help spread the word about them when I strongly believe in the message
And since I didn’t steer you wrong last time, I need you to trust me today when I tell you about an incredible book that you all have to read.
John O’Leary is a lifelong St. Louisan with an amazing story to tell. When he was nine years old, he was burned over 100% of his body – by a fire he set in the family’s garage – and was not expected to live. In fact, shortly after the fire, he asked his mom if he was going to die. (I have to pause here for a second as a mom every time I read this, because it takes my breath away to think about having to answer that question.) Her response, which John says changed everything as he laid in the hospital in excruciating pain was, “John, do you want to die? It’s your choice, not mine.”
Miraculously, after months of hospitalization, and surgeries that included the amputation of his fingers and multiple skin grafts, he was able to go home. Obviously, he had years of physical therapy and recovery ahead of him, but he persevered with the support of his family, his faith and his community.
I have had the honor of hearing John speak (and play the piano!), as well as meet and talk with him, and I promise, you will just not find a more inspiring, encouraging, real person than him. His story, and outlook on life, is one you have to hear/read to believe.
And fortunately for all of us, he has written his story. His book, On Fire: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life, is available starting today.
Friends, it is so beautiful, and so clearly conveys his message of hope, faith, love, gratitude and living boldly to impact those around you. You will laugh and cry at his honest storytelling – he walks through his entire experience, including the key players in his recovery (his family and Jack Buck, the legendary Cardinals broadcaster), and what his life – challenges and blessings alike – has been like in the nearly-thirty years since the fire (spoiler: he has a lovely wife and four beautiful children). You’ll be inspired to embrace today for the gift that it is, and live #OnFire.
Oh, and there’s this. You know how much I love Brené Brown, right? Here’s what she had to say about John’s book:
This is a book about coming alive – about practicing courage and fully showing up at home, work, and with the people we love. John is a storyteller, change-maker, and cage-rattler. Reading this book is like having a good friend look you square in the eye and say, “The time to be brave is now.”
So you don’t even have to just take my word for it…Brené loved it, too!
Click on that link above, and order yourself a copy of the book. You won’t be able to put it down. Then come back here and let me know what you thought!
And hey: follow John on Facebook and/or Twitter. He writes a blog post every Monday, and has a short vlog every Wednesday, and posts to Facebook a few times a week. You won’t want to miss these doses of inspiration!
PS…big, big congrats to John and his whole team (especially Abby and Deanna, who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting) who have worked so hard for this very day. Cheers!