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Bonnie Gray joins John O’Leary on the Live Inspired Podcast to share an important reminder in embracing our scars and sharing our stories.

We all have stories, and yet frequently, they’re not the ones we share with the world. After being burned on 100% of my body, spending five and a half months in the hospital and losing my fingers to amputation, my dream was not to stand out, but to disappear and be ordinary.

Bonnie Gray spent 39 years hiding her story, too. Growing up as the Chinese American daughter of a mail-order bride and a busboy in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Bonnie’s childhood was far from idyllic.

Join us as Bonnie shares the journey that led to understanding her own identity and what it means to be loved.

Today’s episode is a reminder that in boldly owning, embracing and celebrating our stories, we are gifted the chance to live authentically and breathe life and possibility into others.

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  • Bonnie’s mother was sent from Hong Kong to America to marry a man 10 years older and serve the family.
  • An unintentional vow: After Bonnie’s father left, she made an unintentional vow to not ask about things she cannot change and stay quiet unless she’s able to add peace and joy.
  • Without support from her parents, other mentors in Bonnie’s life helped shine light on her full potential, provide support and guide her forward.
  • “I’m here for you.” After being assaulted, Bonnie’s former youth counselor gave her comfort + security.
  • “All of us have a defining moment where something happened that we did not plan. We long for love. We’re tempted to hide our brokenness. I carried that until I realized that sharing my story is going to draw others closer.”
  • Amidst life’s difficulties, Bonnie’s place of safety was her journal because using words was the key to unlocking her heart. Her future husband Eric captured her heart with a month-long series of emails.
  • Bonnie shares an excerpt from Sweet Like Jasmine depicting a toxic conversation she had with her mother.
  • Learn more about Bonnie on her website here.
  • Get a copy of Bonnie Gray’s book Sweet Like Jasmine here.

If you enjoyed today’s episode, you’ll love Brian Walsch. At 17 years old, Brian found himself clinging to life after being caught in a burning building. His hard-won resilience + tenacity will shift your perspective and help you see how you, too, can overcome the obstacles in your life today. Listen to Brian Walsh on ep. 272.


About our sponsor: Keeley Companies wholeheartedly believes that if you get the people right -the results will follow. They set themselves apart with a forward-thinking culture that empowers their people and fosters loyal partnerships. Keeley Companies are a proud sponsor, partner, and super fan of the Live Inspired Podcast. Learn more about Keeley Companies.


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  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. The Color of Water by James McBride.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. My artistic self.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. My journals.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? 
    A. Jesus.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? 
    A. Whenever I feel lost, I try to embrace that I'm right where I need to be.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? 
    A. Choose your path now. Don't edit yourself. You cannot live someone else's story.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? 
    A. You are beloved.