How to write about yourself without sounding like an a**hole
(Guest blogger, Christy O’Brien, soon to be Christy Floriani)

Hey everyone! I’m so psyched to be here, writing this entry, to YOU, wow.

When Brian first asked me to write a little something to introduce myself to you, I was honored. But then reality hit, like a flashing cursor on a blank page.

I had nothin’. You’ve heard of caller reluctance? Well, this must be writer’s reluctance.

For two days, I started and stopped but could not figure out how to talk about myself without sounding like, well, an a**hole.

Naturally, I googled it: “how to write about yourself without sounding like an a**hole”. Apparently, I’m supposed to tell you who I am, what I do and why I do it without boasting. Boasting? I just want it to sound somewhat interesting.

I can tell you this, the reasons I love Freadom are the same reasons I love Bernie’s Book Bank, the same reasons I love reading and writing, and the same reasons I love Brian Floriani. In the Venn diagram of loving things, my circles overlap. Nature made me an avid reader; nurture helped me have a vision for how I can bring positive change to my community. My parents, a high school teacher and a social worker, raised me to be connected to our community and always pursue service without recognition. Therefore, I’ve been a social worker for many years (pause for laughter among social workers). So yeah, I might be a teeny bit boastful, but I’m finally living my best life professionally and personally after a LOT of searching. I’m engaged to my best friend (and so much more) and working at the best company, with the most noble mission.

Next up: Google how to say fiancé without sounding like… naw, now I’m stepping into “it”!


Final 4 OR Final 5?

For you college basketball fans, this time of year is like Christmas, March Madness and this weekend, the Final Four. Good luck to Kansas, Villanova, North Carolina & Duke (not really 😊). I’m just looking forward to this year’s version of “One Shining Moment”.

Speaking of one shining moments, our educators deserve a lot more than ONE. Our educators deserve it daily for their hard work, sacrifice and passion. To this end, Freadom hosts our Elevate an Educator Campaign annually to highlight the exceptional work of our educators nationwide. Our March has been “mad” with Regional Voting here at Freadom, thousands of votes. And now, we’ve come to our FINAL FIVE.

From these FIVE, we will crown our MVE, Most Valuable Educator for 2021/2022.

Cast your VOTE HERE!


Money in sports, just sayin’…

  • more than 200 college football and basketball coaches earn more than $1,000,000 annually
  • more than 50 college coaches earn at least $3,000,000 annually
  • Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City QB, is paid $2,465,686/game
  • Mike Trout, LA Angels center-fielder, is paid $219,393/game
  • Lincoln Riley, USC head football coach, $110,000,000 contract
  • Mel Tucker, Michigan State head football coach, $95,000,000 contract
  • Brian Kelly, LSU head football coach, $95,000,000 contract

Avg. annual salaries of educators in America (2018/2019) – $61,730

Just sayin…


Gratitude dump

For what are you grateful?

Have you thought about it recently?

I find it helpful to write it down periodically (I should do it daily), here’s a few of mine:

  • God’s love, grace & forgiveness
  • the ability to breathe & walk
  • my children | Zoë, Ziggy & Benen
  • The Masters begins in two weeks
  • love & soon to be Christy Floriani
  • life of purpose
  • ALL the people I work with, past & present
  • Bernie’s Book Bank supporters
  • Freadom supporters
  • Derek & Annie (Freadom Team members)
  • my parents, who never quit on me
  • laughter
  • sun & warmth coming soon (I think)
  • the ability to read


Dear Bernies…

This week’s blog will represent #13 since we began in early January.

I’ve found it to be time well spent.

It’s been time to be still, reflect, learn and unpack life; in a word, therapeutic.

As you may already know, I have two Bernies in my life (well, now 3, keep reading), my father, Big Bernie & my older brother, little bernie. Unfortunately, they have both passed on. They were, are and will forever be big influences in my life. As such, I find myself “talking” to them regularly and often find myself wanting to call them for encouragement and advice or to share exciting news. And so, I thought a semi-regular “Dear Bernies” blog entry would be useful for me. I hope you find it useful in some way too.

Dear Bernies,

Though I know you are together and resting peacefully in the presence of God, I miss you and candidly wish things were different. Losing you hurts, daily. Mom misses you. Lindsey misses you. Christy (bernie’s Christy) misses you. All of your friends and family miss you both, dearly. We talk about you often. We laugh, we cry. We remember. Yes, we wish things were different, but we have faith in a greater plan. We accept it. We press on with the comfort of our memories. And, we promise to continue to take our pain and use it for good.

I am doing better and feeling more peace than ever before.

I wish you both were here to experience it all with me, with us. Though you aren’t here, I keep your memory alive by “introducing” you both to new people each and every day.

I really wish you were here to meet my fiancé, Christy. And to all enjoy life together.

You’d both agree, she’s a perfect match; she’s kind with an immense heart, a big reader & learner, gorgeous (inside & out), she loves to laugh & smile, appreciates everything in life (big & small), an incredible mother, sister and friend, she’s humble but hungry, graceful but tough. She loves me for exactly who I am, thru my brokeness. She “gets” me. Be assured, she “knows” you both and she loves you too. Unbelievable, but Christy’s father’s name is Bernard as well. I know, right? It’s my assumption you all have met “up there”. Christy’s dad liked beer too Dad, but I wonder if he likes Old Milwaukee?

We will all continue to live life by your examples, with no quit and always CHOOSING HAPPY.

I won’t say goodbye, just farewell for now,



Today is NOT… too late

Is there something you’ve wanted to do for a long time?

Maybe it’s a note you’ve been meaning to write.

Mid-day nap?

Or someone you’ve wanted to apologize to.

Maybe it’s a place you’ve always wanted to visit.

Someone you’ve been meaning to thank.

Could be something you’ve wanted to purchase …for yourself.

Someone you’ve been meaning to call?

Making a gratitude list.

A book you’ve had on your list to read.

There’s no time like TODAY.


Word of the week

It’s a word we’ve all heard before.

But if you are like me, you’ve never heard it used like this before.

I guess this is when you know you’re transitioning into another age bracket.


Based on how I recently heard the word used, it seems to have replaced a few words my generation used to use when we liked something: cool, rad, sick or money.

Here, I’ll use it in a sentence.

“Dang, I loved that movie, it claps!”

Who knew?

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