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Expected to die, today he’s inspiring others to truly live.

World-renowned inspirational speaker + national bestselling author John O’Leary wants to help you wake up from accidental living so you can do, be, achieve and impact more through your life.

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  • Every Monday, John shares a quick burst of inspiration to help start your week on fire.
  • Every Thursday, John interviews an amazing guest on their story, successes, failures, lessons, and life to help you uncover tips to apply in yours.

Find the Live Inspired Podcast here:

Jan 13, 2022

Mattie Jackson Selecman dreamt of being an author, yet she never expected her first book Lemons On Friday would be about the tragic + unexpected loss of her beloved husband of 11 months.

Daughter of country megastar Alan Jackson and New York Times bestselling author Denise Jackson, Mattie became a widow at 28 years old and was forced to navigate a future drastically different from the one she had planned. Relying on her faith, she embarked on a deeply personal journey through devastating loss and the difficult dance that followed.

This conversation is a reminder that no heartbreak or loss is unredeemable and by confidently clinging to hope, we can truly heal.


  • Value of work + humility: Growing up in the quintessential country music family, Mattie is grateful for how her parents raised her and her siblings.
  • In her book, It's All About Him, Mattie's mom Denise candidly shared her and Alan's marital struggles, giving Mattie the confidence to share her own difficult journey.
  • Intrigued by the history, science and art of wine, Mattie spent six years owning a wine bar restaurant.
  • "You are the sweetest and best thing that ever happened to me." Mattie describes her late-husband Ben as joyful, abundant and filled with momentum for each day.
  • Eleven months into their marriage, Ben suffered a fatal traumatic brain injury while vacationing in Florida.
  • Nearly a year later, Mattie surrendered, chose to trust God and did not need to understand the "why" of her loss.
  • Advice to those with friends, families and others close to someone experiencing a devastating loss:
    • It’s less about what you do and more about being present.
    • In the midst of being emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted, open-ended questions are overwhelming. Direct questions like “do you want to get lunch today or can I drop something off?” helped her manage to make even the simplest decisions.
  • During difficult moments, such as baby showers, Mattie would recite Romans 12:15: Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
  • Through researching heaven, Mattie found comfort in knowing where Ben was. Books that helped her were Randy Alcorn's Heaven and John Burke's Imagine Heaven.
  • Approaching the two-year anniversary of Ben's death, Mattie wrote Racing the Dark, sung by her father, to fight the instinct to run away and find the courage to face challenges.
  • "Grief is less about learning not to hurt. It's more about learning how you hurt and how to navigate it."
  • Learn more about Mattie's give-back company NaSHEville, which helps women and children in need-specifically orphans, widows, and trafficked women, here.
  • Get a copy of Mattie Jackson Selecman's Lemons On Friday here.