Tuesday, June 20, 2017

American Ninja Warrior

What an experience! Larger than life! I literally can't describe the impact this experience has had on me, my family, my community! I appeared on American Ninja Warrior last night!!!! They filmed 130 people, and showed about 20! And they so gracefully shared my story. I am grateful and honored. My kids life is made! ha! They are over the moon with us being on TV, and watching me achieve such a big goal!
We filmed in San Antonio a couple months ago. Before I left...my community, friends and family put together a "going away party" for me. It was an amazing way to start a weekend that I will never forget! They all wore their KTF (Keeping the Faith) shirts. Tons of banners and lot of hugs! Then, my brother is a PE teacher at a local elementary school. They asked me to come speak to the kids about achieving your goals, making big dreams, and overcoming obstacles. What an honor!!!! The kids were all ears and I was so proud of my hard work...to be able to hopefully pass along the lesson of good old fashioned hard work!
Off to San Antonio!!! I had 60 people come along for the show! 60!!!!! It was on a Sunday-Monday. So, people had to take off work, school, etc! And they did...for me! What a humbling moment to know you are so supported and loved. This is a true testimony to my journey...faith, family, friends, and fight for your dreams! I was blown away! Scott was on kid duty as I was bouncing between interviews, photo shoots, etc. He was busy, but the kids had a blast and were SO excited! My dad, unfortunately, couldn't make the trip. He is just not in good enough health. But, he was on the phone with someone every hour to get the latest update!
Well, here we go! It was time! Everyone got their KTF shirts on and we took over the stands! I ran very early in the night...number 10 out of 130! There are advantages and disadvantages to running early. While I couldn't watch and learn from others mistakes...I was able to have my husband and children come on the stage with me! To the starting line! What an HONOR! What a powerful moment!
My mom passed away from pancreatic cancer 11 years ago. Her saying was "Keeping the Faith" throughout her battle. She would say, "chemo can take my hair, cancer can take my life, but no one can take my faith!" So, she vowed to keep the faith and trust the Lords greater plan. In her final months, we had many talks about my future as a motherless mother. She had me promise that I would always fight to be the healthiest and strongest mother I could be for my family! I had kids 6 years later, and quickly saw how mothers put themselves on the back burner to care for their family. I decided now is the time to follow through with my promise. So, I decided to find something that made me love fitness, and I headed to the ninja gym to make fitness fun!
Little did I know that God's plan was waiting for me at that ninja gym. I started getting better and better at obstacles, doing good in competitions. One thing led to the next, and I eventually became a trainer at that gym (Iron Sports.) I teach a women's class and personal training. This naturally led to me starting a fitness program at my church, with the proud name of KTF Fitness! All of this was born because I said yes to that promise, 11 years ago, to my mom. Gods plan unveiled as I continue to help other women be the strongest and healthiest they can be!
Every year, on my moms birthday, we release balloons as a way for my kids to communicate to my mom. We attach notes, and it's a special way they feel connected to her. So, the producers asked if we would like to release balloons on the starting line. On the stage, before I start my run! It was amazing. A way to bring my mothers memory and spirit to the forefront of my run! We made history....the first kids ever on the American Ninja Warrior stage (amazing!) and Scott and I had the first kiss ever on the American Ninja Warrior stage (again, amazing!) So honored to provide this memory that my kids will have for the rest of their lives. The memory of triumph, hard work, honor, dedication, dreams and of their grandmother (Zsa Zsa) that watches over us!
Well, I fell on the "tick toc" obstacle! Darn!!!! However, an overwhelming amount of men and women fell on it! I felt confident about the rest of the course, but as people were dropping like flies on the tick toc, my concerns raised. I tried to stay confident, but I had my hesitations, and that showed!!! The lights, cameras, size of obstacles, water, crowd....it was all so much to take in! I didn't go as hard as I know I can, there were some reservations for sure! But, sometimes, falling is part of the journey. And knowing I can do better is what keeps the fire lit!! I'm frustrated I fell sooner than I hoped, but honored at the opportunity. It's not about having the perfect journey, it's about enjoying the ride...and that I am! I am enjoying the ride, and the journey continues as I plan to keep moving onward and upward!
The producers did a "hometown visit" and spent all day at my house a few weeks after the show. They wanted to film a day in the life of me. So, we worked out, went to the bust stop, played, and much more. Hunter thought it was AMAZING to have the American Ninja Warrior camera crew at his bus stop!!! What an experience!!! We had a blast! Scott took off work and we spent the day together as a family...plus a camera crew. So memorable, cool, and again....an honor!
In the time between filming and waiting for the show...I had lots of questions and excited "fans!" I was asked to host ninja warrior birthday parties, auction parties and more! I love my community so much, it was such an honor to serve my community in this way. Such a blast to see all the kids rally around me! I love the lesson that was spread...keep the faith, work hard and trust the Lord!
All the interest gave me the idea to run a ninja summer camp this summer at church. So, I did a one week camp (a couple hours a day.) It was a huge success! I'm actually doing another one soon because of the overflow of interest! We threw tires, battle ropes and worked out like ninjas. Cousin Ally and Jake helped me run the camp of 25 kids!!! It was work. But fun! And so awesome to be a light and role model to the children in our community!
As the season of American Ninja Warrior was gearing up to air, they showed some previews for the season. I appeared 2 times on their season premier preview, and my kids FREAKED out!!!! Like, almost cried with joy when they saw us pop up on that screen. That was just the warm up of the blessings in store for when my episode aired. Speechless!!! The support was unbelievable! My friends took over a local restaurant and had a private viewing party for me!!! Filled the restaurant with family and friends! When my run came on, the restaurant went silent. Eyes filled with tears and hearts filled with joy! I am so grateful to share this experience with so many supportive people. God has given me far more that I deserve. I vow to always Keep the Faith and try my hardest to be worthy of the platform this show has provided. I vow to lead by the example of keeping the faith and giving all the glory to God! Thank you, God, for this amazing experience!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Frio River Family Reunion

Leakey, Tx! One of my favorite places ever. We go every summer for a family reunion with my dads side of the family. We have been going every summer since I was little. My dad has been going every summer since he was little- so this is a lasting tradition that I plan to carry on forever! We all look forward to the simple fun, family memories and beautiful hill country! It turns out to be about 14 adults and 14 kids!!! It is a group that we enjoy so so much!


My dad wasn't able to come this year because of his health issues, which he was really upset about! He was planning on coming after his dialysis treatment, but he ended up in the hospital with infection. We were already in Leakey, so my dad demanded that we stay and enjoy the weekend. My brother stayed home with Dad, they were missed. Dad is now home and only stayed in hospital for 2 days. He is just really battling dialysis and the sickness/infections that come along with kidney failure. Per my dads request....we fully relaxed and enjoyed the long weekend!

What is not to love about Leakey? Fishing, hiking, outdoor adventure, cousins, campfires, smores, tubing, rope swings, Frio River, skipping rocks, kid talent shows and priceless memories! We did all the above. This was the first year that I feel our kids are out of the "edge of my seat" phase. We were actually able to enjoy the water without jumping up at every splash! It was great! My kids LOVE this trip more than anything in the world. They start a countdown like 3 months in advance and talk about it all year long! Trent found "the perfect Leakey skipping rock" like 8 months ago and has held onto it for this trip! We walked down to the river and he wanted me to skip it! And he was right, it was the perfect rock!  Trent hula hooped with an inner-tube for his talent in the family talent show. Faith Ann danced. Hunter did ninja obstacles on tree vines and logs! ha!

Oh sassy sister!!!!! She cracked everyone up all weekend! Her posing, her sweetness, her ability to keep up, her excitement and her dancing. Just too adorable! Hunter loves the cousin time the most. He is our social guy and thrives off of interaction. So, he loves playing games, laughing, and creating ninja obstacles on the campsite! Bentley always comes along. She is 9 now, but still acts like a puppy at the Frio! Her feet are sore for days afterwards from running on the rocks. But she LOVES it!

We stay in the same cabins every year at Camp Live Oak. It is such an awesome campground, river access and tons of land. It is simply beautiful! Perfect weekend. We missed my dad, but he loves Leakey so much, that he was calling throughout the weekend to get the play by play on what we were doing. I was texting Beau pictures to show him. Dad would laugh and chuckle at all the fun we were having! Leakey, Tx...you never disappoint! Frio River reunion success!