Wednesday, October 12, 2016


“I don’t think I can do it, mom.”

“Baby girl.  I know you can.”

And just like that, she amazes me. 

Time after time.

Words are hard to find when it comes to describing a life with my Lily Bean.  Every second with her is like a really deep, cleansing breath.


When she was a baby, I always said we could leave for the weekend and she would be fine, as long as she had food, her blankie “Bay” and her two fingers. It’s actually amazing to think about now.  Something about her was just so calming, even as an infant.  She brought such a balance to our family that was desperately needed. That remains true to this day.

On this past Sunday, her confidence wavered.  She had brought four of her dear friends to a climbing facility to celebrate her birthday.  I don’t think she thought through the fact that she had never been rock climbing before.  Immediately in her first climb, I could see an unfamiliar look in her eyes.

“Mom.  I’m scared.  What do I do?”

“You can’t give up now, girl.  Just take it one step at time. Remember. If you fall, there is something there to catch you.”

The first step was the hardest.  With each reach for the next rock, her pace increased and her strength improved until she finally reached the top.  And then she climbed to the top over and over again.

That girl.  She is something else.

When I think of being the mother of Lily Katherine O’Bryan, I think of lyrics from one of my college favorites:

Feet on ground

Heart in hand

Facing forward
Be yourself

~Jann Arden

Happy Birthday, my sweet Lily Bean.  May you never stop climbing.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Redemption Ride

I had been looking forward to this specific ride all summer.  If there were ever a year I need to refocus, it was this one.  Partially because I finally took some significant time off  this summer and enjoyed three weeks in New York.  But mostly due to the fact that last year was the most difficult of my professional career.

Every year, I take a long bike ride before the beginning of the school year to clear my head and set goals for the new year.  This year was delayed for a variety of reasons.  After a full week of school, I finally found the time and energy to take a Sunday afternoon ride. 

Earbuds In.
Playlist on.
Eyes to the path.

It started like any other ride.  I started off slow, gaining speed with each push of the pedal.  I pedaled faster hoping to clear my head.  It was quickly evident, the Lord had other plans.


I just couldn’t get it out of my mind and I wasn't exactly sure why.  For some reason, I had a replay of every redemption story I had encountered.  I couldn't help but wonder if the Lord was preparing me for something or settling something.  Either way, he had my attention.

I witnessed my first redemption story at a young age.  I remember watching the story unfold and wondering if I would ever see things the same way again.  Since then, I’ve seen it happen over and over again.


Being a high school principal, I watch the redemption story happen daily.  Let’s face it.  Teenagers screw up.  Over and over and over again.  Just recently, I have watched the most amazing transformation of a student that couldn’t get out of his own way.  Fall after fall after fall, he just couldn’t stand back up.  And then it happened.  He was finally able to claim his redemption story.

The one thing I have learned over the years is that redemption is a journey and it doesn’t happen overnight.  I think that’s the hardest fight we battle as Christians.  We expect that once we accept Christ as our savior, that our struggles should be done.  Wouldn’t that make for a simple story?

A friend of mine once told me, “Forgiveness doesn’t show weakness, it exhibits the greatest of strength.”  I firmly believe if you can’t love through adversity then you never really loved at all.  Redemption is not simple.  Christ’s love for us is just a great example of what he expects from us. I’m thankful he loved first.  I’m thankful he forgave us.  I’m thankful he died for that which he forgave.