“On Fire,” by John O’Leary, Book Review

“To live a radically inspired life, you must choose to go All In each day with a purpose greater than yourself.” -John O’Leary, “On Fire.”

This book landed in my mailbox one afternoon, not via a publishing company in exchange for a review as is typical, but by a dear friend who was so moved by it’s content. The message of this book is as powerful and inspiring as the true story of the author’s survival. Through a tragedy I cannot relate to even through my worst nightmares, John O’Leary’s life defines radical better than any dictionary.

Burned terribly as a child, this book is the story of his survival, and the lessons he learned along the way. The pages of this book pushed me to think past what I know to be possible by considering what one boy did to prove the impossible. Through the remarkable people placed purposefully in John’s life, and his sheer will to live, he far more than just survived his personal tragedy. 

I, like my friend, could not put this book down. “I changed me,” I remember her saying. After turning the last page, my walk into my daily life shifted a little more to a radical perspective. I was definitely influenced and moved by this remarkable true story. 

O’Leary’s passion, faith, and zest for life jump off of the pages. He is to be commended, not only for finding the will to survive, but turning to help others live life and find hope by sharing his story. It’s difficult to share the parts of life that have scarred us. He could have easily closed the door to painful memories. Instead, he allows us an intimate look into what it took for him to survive, and how it led to his unlocking of how to live a radical life.

I highly recommend this book, even though the details of the horrifying accident O’Leary endured are almost too hard to read, at times. This book will make it’s readers grateful for life, and ready to live …radically. 

“So often we push people away, afraid that they don’t want to see the hard stuff. But the hard stuff is what we should be doing together. It’s what joins us as humans.” John O’Leary, “On Fire.”

Click here to purchase “On Fire,” by John O’Leary.


7 Proven Steps for Overcoming Resentment & Letting Go of Bitterness

“Apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NIV)

Hurt tempts us to comply with a variety of unreasonable emotions. We don’t aim to become bitter people in our relationships, but life happens. Scripture warns in Ephesians 4:26“In your anger, do not sin.” Bitterness is characterized by intense cynicism, antagonism or hostility. (dictionary.com) “Most of our bitterness and anger towards others is rooted in an inability to be profoundly amazed at Christ’s love for us in our sin.” (John Piper)  It interferes with forgiveness too and makes it hard to accept certain realities.

Resentment is the byproduct of bitterness and unchecked anger within relationships, most often marriage. Colossians 3:8 warns, “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” Resentment can transform from a behavioral reaction to a personality trait. However, when Christ stitches our wounds together, the bleeding stops and peace is restored.

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The Snuggly Strips (#jammed daily devo, day 352)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 352: Blankies.

“She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth, and laid Him in a manger…” Luke 2:7

“Reach,” I encouraged as my two-year old stretched up onto her toes and reached her DECJAM18arms up to the hospital basinet where her new baby sister slept, “you’re almost there!”

Through tears in my eyes, I watched my daughters bond for the very first time as she reached over and placed the blankie that she had picked out for her sissy in that basinet. From that day on, those two were blankie buddies. Fuzzy Wuzzy and Blankie Bear. The sweet softness of those new babies wrapped up in those fresh new blankies is forever etched in my memory.

They have drug their blankets through life with them. Leaned on them for comfort and security. Depended on them to chase midnight scaries away and mend sick bellies. Those blankets have dried a lot of tears and had a lot of nose crusties stuck to them. As they get older, we see them a little less, and I hope their hearts are learning to transfer those blankie securities into Jesus’ loving arms.

Today’s verse is so touching because it’s so leveling. Snuggled in a blanket, just like every other human being that has ever been born. Nothing special about it, except for who He was. The word-age is repeated when Luke quotes the angels:

“And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12

Anytime the Bible repeats anything, it’s important. Those strips of cloth communicated so much to the Shepherds. “Just like it was told to us,” they said upon arrival. It says so much to us. Christ came down to our level. He was never of the world, but He existed on our level. Why? God could have freed us from sin without Jesus living out over three decades of life on earth and dying a horrendous death …but it would not have been enough.

The weight of our sin had to be carried by someone worthy enough to sacrifice enough so that we could stand in the presence of our holy God …who requires “enough” for that to happen. He can’t be in the presence of sin.

That baby, cuddled by His momma and loved by His family. I remember those first moments in the hospital with my babies. Everytime they wander around with their blankies I remember those first sweet cuddles. The fullness of Mary’s heart is the model for every mother to come after her. Hold onto those baby cuddles while they can be held.  Blankets don’t last forever, and babies grow up. Our kiddos eventually let go of their blankies, and we let go of them as they grow …but we never have to let go of Jesus. The longer we know Him, the closer He feels.

click to tweet graph, dec jammed

Father, Praise you for Jesus’ birth. Thank You for allowing Him to come down to earth and take on our sin so that we can feel His closeness and stand in Your presence for all time. Like the comfort of a blanket worn in with memories, You have trod every second with us lovingly and patiently. Forgive us for failing to remember how much You love us back. Bless us to dedicate our lives to sharing Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Snuggling,


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The Strengthening Sun (#jammed daily devo, day 297)

October #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 297: Love is blinding.

“May all who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength.” Judges 5:31

A pink slit in the sky announces the giant ball of fire about to pierce through the clouds. day 297The show of colors that come before the morning sun is sometimes more beautiful that the actual site of it rising. Once it comes up, it’s too bright to look at, but the anticipation of it’s rising is beautiful to behold. The smallest fractions of light bounce into an array of colors that is never the same way twice.

Today’s verse is a prayer at the end of a song written by Deborah to commemorate a national victory.  It celebrates before the nations the righteous acts of the Lord and of his warriors. -NIV Study Bible Notes 

Deborah declared our love for the Lord to be as powerful and unique as the mark each sunrise leaves on our hearts. She speaks as someone who had witnessed a lot of amazing sunrises in her lifetime. As someone who rushes out to meet the sky each day, I recognize the same marvel of power that so quietly comes up over the horizon.

Our faith doesn’t have to be loud to be powerful. When we walk with Christ, the light is visible. In fact, sometimes it’s little too much for some people. It’s strong and radiant and it reaches into the cracks of darkness all around and lights it up.

The people that we were meant to shine on in this life, and those meant to shine on us, are all unique. Like the sunrise each morning, each one of us comes alive on this earth in our own way …in our own time …with our own purpose. We follow the Son’s steps home to heaven, and in the time in between, love shines bright.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:augFather, Praise You for the sunrise! Thank You for each day being different than the last, from beginning to end. We confess our passing by of days without effort to notice and be blessed by the brushstrokes of Your love. Bless us to shine, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Shining,


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The Bare Feet (#jammed daily devo, day 222)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 222: No shoes … no problem.

 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything August 10you need.” Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

There are so many pairs of shoes in my house …yet every morning it’s the same routine.

“Where are your shoes?!”

My daughters never have their shoes on when it’s time to leave the house. They look at me like I am some sort of alien creature from another planet to have expected them to put something on their feet before they walk out the door.

How can they forget to put their shoes on? It boggles my mind. Whether it’s cold, wet, or summer out …to go anywhere requires shoes.

Today’s verse is telling us to put our shoes on before we go out the door and into the world. But not literal shoes …well, those are good too, but our faith. When we walk out into the world it helps to have our faith on.

Though Christ never leaves us, we tend to forget about Him when we starting walking out into the world. Soon we look down and wonder why our feet are all cut up. When we neglect to remember Him all day long, we walk without Him … hurting our ‘feet.’

“…live righteously, and He will give You everything You need.”

Spending time with God in the Word each day is like putting on a brand new pair of cushy running shoes before leaving the house. He’s protecting the ground that we walk on, and less likely to let whatever we run into that day cut us to bits …emotionally, mentally, maybe even physically.

Light your path with the Word before going out into the day. 

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for protecting us in this life. There are things that we come up against each day that we don’t even realize, and we thank You for watching out for us. Forgive us for running out into the world with bare feet, and bless us to remember to carve out time to spend with You each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Trodding!


Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80.