Thursday, December 26, 2013

How'd You Get Into Television?

Kudos to the college student who just met me here at work to learn about my job. This junior journalism major already has a leg up. She sought me out, scheduled time with me--yes, the day after Christmas--and showed up.

Kids, if you want to make it in this business (or most careers for that matter) that kind of initiative speaks volumes. 

My son suggested I write a blog detailing how I got into television news. Let me warn you, it was quite a circuitous route. My road is not for everybody. But I do believe the advice I learned along the way is.

So, John, here goes.

I like to say my career began in 5th grade. I sang a song while my dad accompanied me on piano for the school talent show. I tied for first place. The grand prize was a trip to McDonalds. Not only did I finally get my own fries and a chocolate shake, but the experience planted in my 10-year-old brain that I might be kind of good at this performing thing.

My 1st piece of advice for aspiring television journalists? Get comfortable in front of people. Perform. Speak. Sing. Dance. Play the piano. It all builds confidence.
From that point on, I auditioned for every play, musical, dance and cheerleading squad. Loved oral reports and live presentations. Felt extreme joy and fulfillment from an audience’s positive reaction.
I also LOVED school, in particular English, writing, and foreign languages.
This brings me to tip #2:  Write. Get really good at it. You will need this skill for the rest of your life. Plus, writing will greatly enhance your adlibbing abilities, if your dreams are to be on camera.
I continued to sing and dance in college, got an agent and began auditioning for local commercials for extra cash. During Christmas break of my sophomore year at Vanderbilt, a military friend told me he saw young Americans singing and dancing at the new Disneyland theme park in Toyko, Japan.
I immediately called Walt Disney World in nearby Orlando for more information. They were holding auditions for Toyko Disneyland the very next day! So I grabbed my shiny white unitard and Reebok high- tops and drove to Orlando.
I got the job.

You’re probably saying, “Okay, this is not helping me. I don’t want to be Cinderella or Mary Poppins. I want to be a news reporter.”
Hang in there. There's a point to this story.

Working in Japan was a game-changer.  After my Disney contract ended, I auditioned for a HUGE Japanese pop star and joined her for two tours as a back-up singer/dancer. We performed in massive, sold-out arenas; taped music videos; appeared on numerous national television shows; and, my personal highlight, hosted Michael Jackson, his dancers and band when he brought his "Bad" tour to Tokyo. 

I traveled to Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, and hitchhiked with a friend across Japan to Korea. It cost me next to nothing. And the tales I could tell you from these trips are ridiculous. 

So tip #3: Find a way to live, work, and/or study in a foreign country. At the very least, you can teach English. Tons of companies will pay you to travel and teach, all the while soaking up life experience and expanding your world view. Plus, it will provide jump-off-the-resume job history to help you stand out from the crowd.   
It’s how I got my first job in television news. Here’s how THAT went down.
A couple of years after my Tokyo stint, I was finishing college, had married my college sweetheart and started a family, and was taping a local commercial in my husband’s hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. While the spot was being edited, the station’s general manager happened to walk by.   
He asked for my number, took me to lunch, and within a couple of months hired me to start anchoring his popular morning newscast, “Kentucky Sunrise.”  
Why would he do such a thing? He says he “believed in hiring interesting people.” He could teach them *how* to do the job later.
Guess that Tokyo gig made me interesting. But boy, did I have a WHOLE lot of learning to do. Journalists take their jobs very seriously. Standards are high. But I was a smart girl, a really good writer, and had the confidence to embrace the opportunity and make the most of it.
Tip #4: Always say YES to positive opportunity. You can figure out HOW to do it later!
Once they let me in that WLEX-TV newsroom door, I was not about to let them kick me out. And twenty years later, I’m still doing the job. And I no longer suck at it.
That’s tip #5—Never stop learning.
I (eventually) taught myself how to anchor without sounding like an idiot; how to write for news; how to do live shots without my hands or upper lip trembling. I went from morning news anchor, to host/producer of my own lifestyle show, to anchoring the 5:30pm news and field anchoring coverage of the Kentucky Wildcats’ two National Championship runs.

I eventually moved the family to Phoenix to launch and host the city’s first morning magazine show. Seven years later we moved here to Dallas to anchor TXA21 News, First in Prime, the market's first prime-time evening newscast.

I am currently in my 8th year anchoring, reporting, and hosting here at CBS11. I emcee and speak regularly at community events, love to mentor young people, and even had a stint as the lead singer of our station band, Eleven21.

Sure, my career path required risk, a temporary departure from traditional college life, and much loneliness and isolation…UNTIL I had a family of my own.

 Luke, Nicole and John Kornet then...and now.

These little guys are what’s made work incredibly rewarding--coupled with the opportunity to serve the public by delivering information that protects, informs, and improves people’s lives.  
It’s been an exhilarating ride, this career. I feel really good about how it's all worked out.
But it hasn't been easy. 

Honestly, I probably wouldn't appreciate it so much if it were.

Monday, December 9, 2013

What I Finally Have the Guts to Admit

My girlfriend just posted a blog that truly takes guts.

Gina Miller, the long-time sports anchor/reporter-turned-social media guru, has long touted the fact she does NOT feel guilty being a working mother.
The prolific blogger and entrepreneur even changed careers recently and is probably putting in more hours than ever, building her new business. She says she STILL doesn’t feel guilty while raising her darling daughter, Jordan. Not a bit.
Jordan & Gina, "That Sports Girl"
Let me tell you, I have never lived guilt-free. Not a day in my life.
But I tell you what, I am starting to now.
My three children are now in college. One is about to graduate in May and begin his own career.  I truly miss the activity and purpose they brought to my life when they lived at home full time. And I now find myself struggling to fill my spare hours with meaningful tasks and goals.  
Tracy, Luke & Nicole Kornet
I just returned from visiting my youngest son in Nashville who, as I learned upon landing, was battling flu and strep. Had to pick him up at Student Health, in fact, and was henceforth on a mission to help make him feel better before I left town.

Taking care of my 7-foot son put me on Cloud 9—buying him medicine, making him eat, driving him to the gym, setting him up on the king bed at my hotel so he could sleep on a mattress that finally fits his frame.
The following day, after he slept a good 10-12 hours, we went shopping for winter clothes and better dorm bedding.
I loved every second of it.

It’s crazy how much I love being a mother. Absolutely crazy. I feel I have soaked up every ounce of joy from every single stage of their lives.

And yet, had I not nurtured the working side of me alongside motherhood, I would feel utterly lost in my current stage.

I have needed both family and career equally. I knew it as a teenager; I anguished over maintaining a proper balance throughout my 20s and 30s; and now in my 40s, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am better off having had both.

Why on earth do we feel so guilty--even go so far as to perpetuate guilt among other women--for desiring a career AND motherhood?
It makes NO sense.  
And I‘m happy I finally have the guts to admit it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Don't Blow This Off

A colleague just told me she was chosen to give a TED talk.

I almost flipped my lid. What an honor.

I love those things and try to listen to one of the educational, inspirational 20-minute lectures every day-- if I can remember to log on.

In fact, I’m listening to one now by psychotherapist Meg Jay. She is debunking the myth of what Americans claim is the “changing timetable of adulthood” and how we have trivialized our 20s.
She says research shows the stakes are high if you wait until your 30s to plan your career or start a family.

*80% of life’s most defining moments take place by age 35

*8 of 10 major decisions and ah-ha moments will have happened by mid-30s

*Female fertility peaks at age 28

*The first 10 years of your career have an exponential impact on the amount of money you’ll ever make

I’ve been seriously beating myself up lately, wishing I still had the joy and energy of my children at home instead of being an empty nester in my early 40s. So this darn talk is helping me feel MUCH better.

But more importantly, it is encouraging me to make sure MY kids seize the “defining decade” ahead of them--and to encourage you to share Meg Jay’s following advice with the 20-somethings you know:

1.       Get “identity capital.” Explore work and make it count.  Do something that adds value to who you are and who you might want to be next, i.e., that cross country job or start-up you want to try.

2.       Use your “weak ties,” people OUTSIDE your inner circle of friends.  Jay says 20-somethings who huddle together with like-minded peers limit who they know, how they speak, where they work, and what they learn. Half of new jobs are never posted.  Use your weak ties.

3.       Be as intentional with love as you are with work. The time to start picking your family is NOW. The best time to work on your marriage is before you have one.
See why I’m thrilled for my colleague, Tammy Kling, about her upcoming TED talk? She’ll be speaking about the power of words and how each one of us can use our words to save a life.

I certainly hope these words of mine will help someone YOU know. 

P.S. Tammy gave her talk last month in the Turtle Creek area of Dallas.
Click here if you'd like to check it out!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Nashville News

Why I feel the need to blog about something bigger than the 5 for $5 Chobani yogurts at Sprouts yesterday, I do not know.

Colleagues advise all the time, "Just BLOG. People will read anything!"

I think anyone taking time to read this thing deserves a little more than that.
So today I'm forcing myself to not only write about the mundane, but also what typically inspires a Tracy blog: travel, kids, girlfriends, or a fabulous book I'm learning from.

Last weekend I got a healthy dose of all four when I took a day off to visit my youngest son in Nashville.

Hanging in the hotel room with my Luke
Not because Luke misses me, but because I totally miss him and the energy that swirls around his bright eyes and bushy eyebrows (off of which I trimmed a good 5 pounds, I might add. For grooming reasons alone, I must pay that boy regular visits!).

The kid amazes me.

First, he gave me his ENTIRE Saturday, an extremely generous act, considering most college kids want to hang with friends and watch college football.

Second, he has grown another inch! He says he's now the tallest athlete on the team.

Third, he loves most of his professors. And nothing makes me happier than to hear my child is not only enjoying learning, but enjoying the adults teaching him.

The weekend was also a college reunion.

I got a chance to catch up with a childhood girlfriend from Tampa-turned-Vanderbilt-sorority-sister, who has her doctorate in Astronomy.

The girl is brilliant!

I also got to see several of the awesome guys from 1988 & 1989 who made up one of the greatest basketball teams in Vanderbilt history.

'88-89 Media Guide: Goheen, Booker & Kornet
Barry Goheen, Barry Booker, Will Purdue, and Frank Kornet still got it, baby!

They beat out dozens of basketball legends and other pro athletes in a Naismith Awards golf tournament. Go 'Dores!

Finally, I started and finished the book "Lean In" by Facebook CEO Sheryl Sanberg. FABULOUS.

What a surprisingly relatable woman, presenting eye-opening research and personal tales.

The studies she references should quell the guilt in every working parent and empower every stay-at-home one, male or female.

Should be a must-read, especially for women and daughters.

I am tempted to create a book club, so we can break down each concept and celebrate the evolution of men's and women's roles in America.

So far, so good on the stimulation scale since this empty nest thing started.

I just may grow to like this stage.






Friday, August 23, 2013

Tracy & Tammy's 4 O'clock Folo

Tammy & I taping our vlog in the CBS11 lobby
What do you get when you put two chatty blondes together in front of an ipad and hit record?

As CBS11 traffic reporter Tammy Dombeck and I have proven, you get one hot mess of unscripted girl-talk.

The two of us truly enjoy working together and are similar what-you-see-on-tv-is-what-you-get-in- real-life kind of girls. So we started video blogging after our 4pm news hour on CBS11. The vlog is posted on our station website and mentioned a time or two during the newscast.

Much to our surprise, “Tracy & Tammy’s 4 O’Clock Follo” appears to be a hit!

The content is sparked by a few of the news stories that elicit the most comments & quips from our peanut gallery, a.k.a. our studio floor crew.  (One of these days, you WILL meet Johnny Prompter.) We plan to have guests have join us down the road in case one of us is on vacation or if the fabulous  @ThatSportsGirl, Gina Miller, is in the building. That sports anchor is a social media/blogging QUEEN.

But most days it’ll just be Tracy & Tammy, blah blah blah’ing about the stuff we women like to talk about.

Seriously, who can’t use a good laugh every day?

At the very least, you will laugh AT us.

We’re good with that.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Little Luke," My Seven-foot Son

School pictures have always cracked me up.
Especially my son Luke's.
And especially in middle school, when his picture was snapped right after P.E. class, his unkempt hair caked with sweat. 

In high school Luke refused to take senior pictures like the rest of the boys and girls, whose parents paid a fancy photographer to capture their kid in "candid photos," posing against brick walls and rusted out pick-up trucks.

In fact, all I have is the picture marked "PROOF" in his cap and gown.

My boy Luke as an official Vanderbilt Commodore
So when Luke texted us his most recent official photo, his first as a Vanderbilt Commodore basketball player, I was over the moon.

There stood my little boy, hair actually in place, stretched so tall, his head was cut off on my phone.

I absolutely ADORE this picture.

I love his sweet baby face looking all serious, perched atop his 6'11" frame.

I love that he's wearing the wrong number on his jersey, as it's the only uniform that fit him for the photo shoot. (He plans to wear #3 during these college years.)

I am absolutely thrilled, imagining the future this kid has ahead of him.

Oh, Luke. How I love you.

I hope you never change a thing.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tracy's Take-aways

For almost 7 years Lisa and I would meet for coffee a couple of times a month near my Chandler, Arizona home.

We connect at the heart level and continue to help each other grow in our professional lives, something that makes our friendship unique.

So when Lisa invited me to Willow Creek Association's Global Leadership Summit, hosted by the Mesa church her husband pastors, I was all in.

For two full days last week, we listened to a dozen different lectures on life, learning, relationships, and how it all affects leadership.

I had eagerly anticipated Dr.Brene Brown's topic "Daring Greatly" and was not disappointed when this woman, made world famous after her Ted Talk went viral, spoke about "The 3 Irreducible Needs of People."

I was delighted by the content and delivery of one Patrick Lencioni, who nailed his topic, "How to Lose Your Best People."

And I marveled at celebrity speakers General Colin Powell and Mark Burnett, executive producer of Survivor, The Voice, and The Bible

I love to learn.

It is why I love my career so much.

And it is one of my five core needs, something else Lisa helped me identify last week during our time together.

The Summit is something I will likely attend yearly from now on, as it is exponentially more meaningful with my girlfriend Lisa, laughing and note-taking at my side.

Since you may have missed out this year, here are some of my personal highlights from the conference.

Global Leadership Summit 2013: Lead Where You Are

*How to Lose Your Best People--Anonymity, Irrelevance, & Immeasurement (Patrick Lencioni):

      Good people don't want to work for a company where they're not known.

      Managers should share what your job means to the organization.

      People need a way to know they're doing a good job.

      Money is just a "satisfier." These 3 are "drivers."

*A good leader infects his people with perpetual optimism (Gen. Colin Powell)

 *Good leaders multiply the intelligence and capability of those around them. (Liz Wiseman)

  We must ask ourselves, "How might I, with the best possible intentions, be shutting down our best people and be accidental diminishers?"

 *Choose your companions before you choose your road. (Mark Burnett)

 *3 Irreducible Needs of People: To be seen & loved, to belong, to be brave. (Dr. Brene Brown)

  The #1 reason people give for leaving an organization: feedback. People feel unseen.

   You can choose courage or choose comfort, but you can't have both. 
  To be courageous, you must have 2 things:

   1. absolute clarity of your values (for me, that's love, family, faith, adventure, and intellectual stimulation)

   2. someone who loves you despite your imperfections

*Dr. Brene Brown's definition of love, based on 1500 pieces of data from her research:

    Letting ourselves be deeply seen and known with trust, kindness, affection, and respect.

           It is something that's grown and nurtured.

           It is something that's cultivated between two people only when there is self-love already present.

           Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the absence of affection damage love at the very root.
Hope these concepts give you a little something to think (and comment) about!






Thursday, July 11, 2013

My Cure for Stupid

The brain research we report preaches it all the time: Use it or lose it.

Not only have I been absolutely bored lately, but I've been feeling dumb.
Like my once relatively sharp brain has turned to pudding.

See, I can't even come up with a creative or witty metaphor!

So yesterday I pulled into the place with the cure for stupid.

I visited my neighborhood library.

I admit it. I looked like a grandma. A crazy grandma.

I actually walked the library aisles audibly muttering: "Tracy, what's speaking to you right now? What do you need to read?"

I grabbed only the titles that made my heart flutter. Didn't want to overthink it.

Six books and two books-on-tape later, I drove straight home, showered, put on my PJ's, and spent the evening rebuilding my diminishing brain cells.

The library is serious brain crack.

For the first time in months, I woke up today early and energized.

I poured my first cup of coffee, went straight to the family room couch, and read some more.

Felt so alive to be learning something new, so awakened by fresh ideas, I darted off to Zumba class.

I swear, my stimulated brain is waking up the rest of me.

Better wrap this blog, as an utterly inspiring book-on-tape by Beth Moore awaits on my typically interminable commute home.

Honk if you see me smiling on 1-35!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Finding Peace

I've been taught my whole life that feeling peace is the one sign you're on the right track--whether at work, in your relationships, or even while choosing the destination of your next vacation.

Peace is the supernatural signal you're walking in God's light. Following His path.

I realize this may not be everyone's definition. But for this girl who was raised by a tambourine-playing, Bible-reading, Spirit-filled mother who planned our summer vacations with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker at Heritage U.S.A. and led her four children in praise and worship songs while driving from Florida to North Carolina in a Toyota hatchback with a twin mattress in the back--feeling at peace is the only way I want to live.

They keep getting taller!
If you've read this blog or know me at all, these last few years with my pre-college kids have been exceptionally difficult for me. John, Nicole, and Luke have filled my life with such purpose and joy, I have feared doing life without them. This transition to empty nest has prompted me toward some serious soul searching, much of which has brought even more tumult to my already tortured soul!

But I believe I may be coming out the other end.

And I didn't even see it until a weekend chat with my little sister.

I called Tiffany after seeing her Facebook post about it being 9 years since our mom passed away. I knew something seemed familiar about July 7th, but I had completely forgotten it was the anniversary of Marilyn Martin's death.

My brothers & sister Tiff. (Missing Nate!)
As Tiffany and I were catching up on her budding counseling practice, her impending wedding plans, and the state of our siblings' lives, she asked how I was *really* doing. And I realized, I am doing quite well.

Sure, I'm a little bored without summer basketball activities to plan and travel to. But I'm actually feeling at peace--letting the dramatic changes and conversations I've experienced this past year simmer awhile.

And so far it's feeling...well...peaceful.

I must celebrate that. And I must continue to tune in to my peace-ometer, trusting each step I'm supposed to take will reveal itself when the time is right.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Newsroom Thief

It sucks to have someone steal from you.
It hurts even worse when it's a co-worker.
And it's doubly painful when it follows a few hours on a natural high.

Yesterday, after filling on the 10pm news, I saw that someone had stolen the gift a friend sent me in honor of my son's high school graduation.

I had left the large, rectangular gift box on my desk, covered in my typical piles of paperwork, notes, and scripts, trusting I had no reason to doubt the wonderful people with whom I work.

But alas, someone swiped it.

I've been broken-hearted ever since. Could barely sleep last night. Felt depressed from the moment I woke up. Have felt bummed out all day.

I'm trying to shake my sheer disappointment in mankind. And I'm even more afraid of what I'll find when I go through the last few days of security surveillance tape. I hope the suspect is not a good friend of mine. That will really hurt.

I am especially sad that this desktop robbery followed some of the most joyful hours I've experienced in a long time.

My radio friend Andrea and I hosted a workshop for young women to help them hone their presentation and public speaking skills, before they head off to college and beyond.

These girls were such a delight--and so gifted! The tips and skills I hope they soaked up will serve them well down the road. Their one requirement is to share what they learned with at least one other girl, to help build her confidence.

The evening with these eager, energetic girls reminded me of my high school years and the many adults I clung to for encouragement, support, and belief in my talents. I feel forever indebted to my choir and English teachers and my many surrogate parents around the country.

It's crazy how a kid can find what she needs from a variety of sources, if and when her family falls short. At least I did. It's probably why I become extremely attached to my co-workers. As a counselor once told me, I need a lot of love back from the people I work with and care about, in whatever I do.

Which is why this newsroom robbery feels so personal.

Please, thief, if you're reading this, put that black box back on my desk. No questions asked.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Meaning of Life

Nicole & dad heading to dinner
I believe I have an answer to the enigmatic question plaguing me of late, "What is the meaning of life?"
Before I share my answer, I must share some of the beautiful, brilliant reflections you posted on Facebook:

The goal is to love as many people as possible before you die. No matter what.

Love God, love people.

Life is the greatest gift there is.. because with it comes love, laughter, friends, family, challenges, peaks, valleys, mistakes, forgiveness and everything in between. Life should never be taken for granted and should always be lived to the fullest!!

I think the meaning is the actual search for the meaning.

Live each day with your eyes WIDE OPEN and take in every inch & second, knowing that anything that happens, at any moment, could change your life, so you'd better be present...don't waste time doing anything that doesn't fill you up inside...experience new things, meet new people.

Did you notice the recurring themes? Love, life, and the actual search for meaning were mentioned in almost all of the dozens of responses I read. 

Glory Days-in' it on Vandy's campus
And here is why I thank you for answering this question in the first place.

Last weekend not only did my son, Luke, graduate high school (and give a wonderful Salutatorian speech!), but my siblings and family members from Florida and Chicago flew in to celebrate my father's 70th birthday the following night. A few hours after that, my husband, son, daughter, and I left for Nashville to move my fore-mentioned son into college. 

Your insight on "the meaning of life" sparked in me a major, mental shift--motivating me to try and savor every milestone, conversation, and celebration. I also embraced what I now claim as my own answer:

Enjoy every sandwich.

Okay, I admit it's not original. I've seen it before. But only now do I actually get what it means.

Enjoy every sandwich.

What a simple, magnificent way to remember to stop and savor life with the people we love. To enjoy our kids, our commutes, our jobs, and every conversation.

Yet I must couple my answer with a second component, as I am finding myself struggling with contentedness these days, a "neediness" as I discussed with my little brother via text today.

He put words to my exact feelings (or his wife did, as Nate was driving):

"Nate's definition of "neediness" isn't a bad thing. It's a constant need to explore, in all contexts of the word...physical (travel), emotional (personal and interpersonal), spiritual, etc.. It's a striving. He's always trying to improve, and he's restless without improvement. On the downside, it makes for a general discontentment when things are static. We try to find a balance."

Wow. Can you relate? Or are we the only ones seeking a new meaning of life every day?
Let's keep asking the question.

Grandpa Jim & his "Exceptional Grandchildren"

Thursday, May 30, 2013

"Whose Body Is Better?" Results

It is time to reveal the results of  "Whose Body Is Better" experiment my weather guy and I began in January.

If you missed it, CBS11's Jeff Jamison started the Insanity workout, while I embarked on a Pilates journey at S2S Functional Performance, a small rehab and exercise studio near my home in Argyle, Texas.

I was not going for weight loss or inches. I was simply hoping to FEEL GOOD again. My whole life I've exercised regularly, even more so these last 3 years. But last fall I fell off my wedge shoes and broke my foot, which caused me to change my gait, which led to shooting pain in my legs and the pads of my feet.

Every exercise I tried hurt. Which made me cut way back. And when I don't exercise, I don't feel good, my hormones go awry, and my confidence is shot. Not a good combination for a wife and mother of three who makes her living doing live television!

So I reached out to S2S owner Meredith Tittle, a physical therapist and orthopedic specialist who built her unique business from scratch. She assured me the controlled, mindful movements of Pilates would change everything for me.

I committed to a 3-month membership.

I'm telling you, the positive changes I've experienced in these last 12 weeks have transformed my approach to and beliefs about exercise. (They also prompted this story on CBS11 if you'd like to check it out.)
I did need to make a few adjustments along the way--i.e., stop attending so many 6am classes and add a few days of high-intensity cardio on a treadmill--but I could not believe how my foot and leg pain disappeared.

A few other Pilates life-changers:

1.  I can see now why celebs like Madonna, Jennifer Aniston, and Sarah Jessica Parker have such lean, strong bodies--and can endure 2 hour workouts every day in order to maintain them. They all do Pilates on a reformer machine. It does not involve crazy cardio routines or weights. It actually FEELS GOOD. And while it can be exhausting, it does not make you feel famished for the rest of the day!

2. Pilates really does build muscle and definition, but it doesn't bulk you up. As a result, you look slim yet strong, and your clothes just fit better.

3. Reformer Pilates, led by a well-trained instructor (major shout out to Lauren Monroe!), will change the way you do any kind of exercise, ever, for the rest of your life. The awareness I now have of my supporting muscles? The proper way to work my abs? Both will make future workouts safer and much more efficient. And I truly feel I have a better sense of balance and coordination than I've ever had in my life.

4. My pelvic floor is back, baby! What a bonus of the deep lower abs work Pilates encourages! What the heck is a pelvic floor, you ask? Well, you know those Kegal exercise doctors prescribe after childbirth? Try doing them in a classroom setting for a set amount of minutes with an instructor. Your insides will feel 20 again. Who knew?

5. Finally, I believe we totally under-estimate our joints until something serious blows up. As a physical therapist of 11 years, Meredith believes there is nothing better than Pilates for maintaining joint strength.
Imagine never having to deal with injury to your shoulders, hips, knees, wrists, or ankles?! You'll feel young forever. And you'll never, ever have to stop moving. I don't know about you, but that's how I want to live. I want to travel and work and have a blast with my kids and future grandkids.

I will say there is one challenge to this fitness routine: it's expensive. The financial commitment is extremely difficult in my family budget, as classes can range from $20-$50 per hour. Tough to justify, especially when you can get an ordinary gym membership for $30/month....or run outside for free. 

So, is it worth sacrificing a few dinners out or a few cute dresses every month to feel youthful for the rest of my life, remaining active and pain-free? That's for you to decide. We all find a way to do what's truly important to us.

And as for who won the "Whose Body is Better" challenge, I say Jeff Jamison and I both did. He reports going down a couple of pants sizes and having more energy. I definitely came out a winner too, learning first hand that the core strength, flexibility, and feel-good results of reformer Pilates are second-to-none.

For more information on S2S Functional Performance,  call (940) 241-1215 or email Address: 2652 FM 407, Ste 115, Bartonville, TX 76226.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tales from the Kornet Kitchen

I'm sitting at my kitchen computer, while my youngest son types his graduation speech behind me.

In 48 hours Luke will finish high school; 30 hours after that, we will move him to college.

At that point all three of my kids will have officially launched, and I will be left to ponder the meaning of life without them part of my daily routine, my life focus, and my main motivation to work and breathe.

So I've tried to get a head start in the pondering department.

Yesterday I asked the question "What is the meaning of life?" on Facebook and Twitter, hoping to spark a future blog.

The responses have been beautiful, moving, stunning, and thought-provoking. I honestly don't know where to begin now, as I've been inspired to think more profoundly about life, motherhood, marriage, God--and where my impending stage of life fits in to all of it.

It's been a difficult year, adjusting to my kids growing up and out. But life must go on. And I must find a new purpose and place to pour out my heart and soul.

"Empty Nest" is such a lame, nerdy phrase, especially for something that feels so utterly monumental.

But rest assured, we sappy parents will fly again!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What? He's Becoming a Priest?!

I haven't enjoyed the reaction to a story like this since my feature on the 55-year-old grandmother trying out for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders!

And the topic couldn't be more different.

Brett Metzler, future priest
The strong response this time is to the story of Brett Metzler, a 20-year-old, former Athlete of the Year at Liberty Christian School in Argyle, who left Texas A&M after his freshman year to join the priesthood--and how the number of young men joining the priesthood is WAY up across the country.

The story is the most shared on our station website with 6,000 likes so far.

And yesterday I received an email from a Mrs. Judith Verrier in the archdiocese of Washington, confirming the same thing is happening there:

Dear Ms. Kornet,

Thank you sincerely for your recent article on seminarians and the priesthood, which casts a positive light on all that is good about the Catholic priesthood.  I can attest that the topic of your story is true:  there are currently 25 men studying at this seminary for our archdiocese (there are a total of 74 seminarians which includes our seminary, and 3 others in our archdiocese).  Our seminary is currently under construction – we’re building 2 more floors to accommodate 20 more seminarians!
Sure, any time one's work resonates with others always feels good. But it's especially rewarding when it's the result of a young person with a pure heart for serving others, who is not only listening for but responding to what he believes is God's calling for his life.

What a rare thing to see in this day and age! And what a rare opportunity--afforded me by my television station--to fly to New Orleans and tell Brett Metzler's story.

If you missed it, click here for the full story. And feel free to keep "liking" if the Spirit moves you.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Rest of the Story

Blabbermouth Tracy wanted to wait for her boy to break the news first. So pardon the delay of this follow-up to Monday's blog about my son's whirlwind college basketball recruiting experience.

Luke announced the big news last night: he committed to play basketball at Vanderbilt University!

It's an extraordinary choice for many, many reasons. Not only is Vandy an exceptional school academically and athletically (and in the SEC!), but it's one my family happens to know exceptionally well.

My husband Frank played at Vanderbilt from 1985-1989 on one of its most successful teams in the history of the school. His Milwaukee Bucks jersey hangs in the Vanderbilt Hall of Fame. And even I have a small basketball connection, dancing on the Vanderbilt Basketball Pom Pon squad from1986-1987.

We have attended many games through the years at Memorial Gym, and almost always stop in Nashville on our regular drives between Texas and the Kentucky Kornet relatives.

Vanderbilt was even one of the five schools to which Luke applied last fall. He liked it that much--the campus, the location, the athletics, and of course, its reputation to deliver one excellent education.

For all of these reasons, we are beyond thrilled Luke can call himself a Commodore now.
The Nashville paper just posted this article about Luke's commitment this morning.

So grateful for this dream come true.

Thank you for sharing our joy. Your wonderful words have warmed my heart.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Last-Minute, Head-Turning, Life-Changing Miracle

Homecoming 2012-2013 with my youngest son, Luke
I've been in social media hiding for 3 weeks now, fearing my blabber-mouth tendencies would totally screw things up.

Can't share everything for another day or two, but I can share this:
A miraculous set of events has just occured in the life of my youngest son.

It was March 13th when I blogged about the ongoing arguments in the Kornet house as to whether a prestigious, name-brand university is worth the money, should Luke be accepted.

We believed we had found an ideal solution, thanks to some generous academic scholarships SMU awarded my future engineer. We were thrilled to know Luke would stay close to home in an esteemed, private institution with an excellent engineering school--and a Division One basketball program to boot. We were all at peace, believing this was a wonderful win-win.

And then everything changed.

We made a call to a dear friend and former coach, asking him if he knew someone at SMU we could talk to about Luke walking-on the basketball team. That friend talked to another friend...who asked Luke to come to practice with his AAU team, composed of top 17-year-old recruits ...which happened to be an amazing fit...which was playing in a series of upcoming tournaments, the first of which was 2 days later in which the team played so well, they made it to the championship game...which was attended by national basketball recruiters...who then alerted D-1 programs across the country to this 6'10" unsigned, 17-year-old senior named Luke Kornet who can shoot 3's, dunk, rebound, and has grown 6 inches since last summer. And he is still growing.
DFW Airport, back from Spring Break 2013

I am not exaggerating when I tell you, the phone has not stopped ringing ever since.

Luke played the following weekend in Minnesota, again with this exceptional AAU team, this time with dozens of D-1 coaches in attendance.

The phone has continued to ring; we have had head coaches visit our home and Luke's school; we have flown across the country to meet players, engineering professors--all to see where Luke might fit in best when he commits to play college basketball.

Yes, Luke *will* be playing college basketball.

It is a dream come true for this humble, hard-working, incredibly grateful son of mine. When an official decision is announced--I will excitedly blab it immediately.

And I hope you will help me cheer on Luke this fall!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

New Orleans Nonsense

I just returned from a barely-24-hour-work trip to New Orleans.

Our actual location was about an hour north of the city, so we got to sample the cuisine of a couple of fabulous places off the beaten path. The food was so delicious, and so rich, I haven't been able to eat since!

But it did spur me on to exercise. Specifically, as soon as we wrapped shooting, I threw my workout clothes back on, scarfed down a couple of beignets with my photographer, then jogged through the French Quarter to burn some of it off before we caught our plane!

I tell Gina about here in our latest edition of The Real Botox Diaries--along with an unusual massage I wasn't expecting. Plus, Gina shares her tips for going barefaced.

By the way, if you're trying to plan your next vacation, I highly recommend New Orleans. Trust me, you WILL have stories to tell when you get back!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Friendly Follow-up & Your Best Advice

Thought I should follow up to my last blog entry regarding the woman for whom I've been trying find services and housing in Fort Worth.

Your comments were so insightful, I thought posting them here might help someone else.

But before I do that, I must share a few life lessons I've learned through this situation:

First and foremost, it finally clicked in my pea brain that sometimes truly helping someone may require giving them tools and resources--and then stepping back, allowing them to use those aids. Otherwise, we can end up hurting the very people we're trying to help.

Second, I learned how truly difficult it is to find affordable housing, especially if one has bad credit--even when she has a full-time job. What a struggle. It was incredibly disheartening to me, and I had access to  excellent contacts and a car!

Third, and I learned this years ago from a counselor, just because someone calls you on the phone, does not require you answer! My fellow pleasers understand this. Experts will tell you that simply picking up the phone can enable abuser types--whether that's a jilted lover, spouse, or abusive boss, or a pressuring coach or negative parent or coworker. In my case, I logged 17 calls in a 36-hour period from this clearly desperate woman. It was affecting my work and bled into my emotional state. I finally told her no more phone calls and communicated via short texts only.

Bottom line? If you're starting to feel manipulated or taken advantage of, take your power back. Demand boundaries.

In the end it will free up more space in your heart to love.

Below are a few of the Facebook comments I found valuable after posting my previous blog. Whatever your circumstances, wherever your heart is lead in regards to helping others, I hope you find the following advice helpful. 


Tracy.... if she really wanted your gracious help, she would be grateful for what you have done for her. She has to help herself now and unfortunately, you have put yourself in an awkward position. You must stop and tell her that that is all you can do for her. If I was in need (been there) I would be sooo darn grateful... and quietly would accept anything you (or anyone else) offered. 
--U. Boettcher

It looks like people have been helpful already. But when I've been in similar situations as an teacher/social worker/friend I am very clear with them, as I try to be from the start, with what I have done, what I won't be able to do more of until they take ownership of the plan, and I tell them what I see from my perspective. I let them know I will be there for them when they are ready (so they don't have that excuse), but I remind them that these same opportunities may not. I advocate, but I have them do the leg work. I recommend counseling to try to learn how to move beyond the issues that are keeping them from moving forward. She's afraid and doesn't feel worthy. It can make a person angry, but this isn't personal.
--J. Holland

 I am wondering if the things she is complaining about really warrant complaining ( in the current housing situation). Where is her appreciation for what she has? It has to be better than what she had. I agree with what your friend said about giving her tools and now she has to want it and fix it herself. Otherwise, she will be back where she was sooner than later.
--T. Blakeman

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