A resolution etched in my skin


What have you resolved to do – for yourself, for others – in 2016? Some people agonize over New Year's resolutions, only to ignore them. Some people set the bar too high, and then get mad at themselves for not keeping their resolutions. Others pick so many resolutions, they end up forgetting them all. I made one resolution this New Year. It's etched in my skin. I chose to be better. These words are the encouragement I need to keep on going, a tattooed reminder I'll carry until the day I die. They were engraved on a silicone band that Andrew Ashcraft had made for himself and wore until the day he died. Andrew was one of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30, 2013. I tell their story on my book, The Fire Line, to be released on May 3. Another one of these Hotshots was Sean Misner. Sean had "Philippians 4:13," his favorite Bible verse, tattooed across his chest. The verse says, "I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength." Sean believed in it, deeply. Sean and his wife, Amanda, got matching tattoos on their second anniversary – the words "God gave me you." It was a line from a song they loved and, Amanda told me, "it was exactly how we felt for each other." She had warned Sean that she would never get a man's name tattooed on her body, unless that man was her child. But it all changed after Sean died. Amanda put his name above the tattoo that matched his. Then, she got a tattoo of "Philippians 4:13" and another of Sean's puckering lips on her shoulder, right on the spot where he used to kiss her. "This way," she reasoned, "I will always have his love with me." In his love, Amanda finds inspiration to be better. Where do you find inspiration?

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