Welcome back to part 2 of Meet the Family, this time it’s all about ME (Tiffany). I am going to tell about where I grew up, how I got to where I am today and a few other things along the way.
I am originally from the small town on Fair Grove, Mo population 1,200. Myself, 2 brothers and sister, mom and dad lived out in the country on a few acres of land. My grandparents lived across the field behind our house so we spent a lot of time over there as well. We also spent a lot of time helping my grandpa with various projects. My grandpa isn’t your typical grandpa. Most grandpas teach you simple things and proably tell you good job even if it’s not such a great job. Not my grandpa, my grandpa taught you how to use heavy duty powertools,taught you how to take criticism, that your best can always improve, and to get paid what you are worth. I could on and on, but we know deep down there somewhere he has a heart and he loves us. Otherwise he would of let us be satisfied with a lack luster performance while using the table saw, don’t worry no one lost any fingers while working with Grandpa. Grandpa was a very successful contractor so going over to grandma and grandpa’s house on Saturday usually meant some form of physical labor, and the same till holds true today, but at least grandma gives you cake. Still to this day we all enjoy going over to grandma and grandpa’s house. You have to be prepared to be teased rentlessly, or to be told your most recent DIY project was a diaster. Either way it was really a blessing to get grow up so close to my grandparents.
Aside from my grandparents, I grew with three other siblings and my parents. I am the oldest of two girls and two boys, and somehow managed to also be the shortest. My first “little” brother who tops that height chart at 6’8 is Justin. Justin was always athletic, played basektball, football, baseball and threw shot in track in high school. In college he was the skinnest offensive lineman you had ever seen, but he had success at Southwest Baptist University. Justin started as a walk on, and ended as a scholarshiped started for the offensive line. After college he went on to be a State Trooper. Justin and his wife Jennifer have two kids my nephew Dallas who is in the 1st grade and Charlotte. Charlotte is 3, and the best way to describe her is walking hurricane. The girl is a force to reconed with…good luck with that one. My sister Amie, also played about every sport possible in high school, which did her good as she now teaches and coaches in Aurora, Mo. She coaches middle school students in basektball, track, and volleyball and then also manges to run K-2nd grade physical education. Amie and her husband AJ live in the Carthage, Mo area where Aj is also a State Trooper. The youngest brother, is a Marine. He attended Southwest Baptist like the rest of us did and then choose to join the military. He is currently stationed in Kings Bay, GA with his wife Seiler and their two German Shepards.
All four of my siblings graduated from the same high school and university. A feat I am sure not many accomplish. I started and finished my public school education there in Fair Grove. There were a total of 52 kids in my graduating class, and about 80% of them also went to the Fair Grove from kindergarten all the way to graduated seniors. While I enjoyed growing up in a small rural town, I didn’t quite realize how ready I was to leave until I left. I wasn’t one of those can’t wait to get out here and never look back kids, I was more of a once I got out I didn’t have strong desire to go back. There are lots of things that I still miss about Fair Grove, especially the annual Heritage Reunion Festival or “Fall Festival” as it was called in Fair Grove. I miss the stillness, closeness, and the everyone knows everyone aspect of Fair Grove, but I was ready to go, and I did.
After high school graduation I went a whopping 25 miles away to attend college at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo…go bearcats! It should also be noted that I only applied to one college, I don’t know why, I just wanted to go SBU and so I did. I also didn’t take my ATC till I was a senior, barely squeaked out a score high enough to get my extra scholarships and then called it good. I also had no idea, concept or clue of what an Athletic Trainer was or did, and I for sure did not want to be one. I originally wanted to be a Physical Therapist that worked with athletes (insert face palm here), I wanted to be an Athletic Trainer I just didn’t know it. I got signed up for the course Intro to Athletic Training, applied for the program and made it. I would say the rest is history but that’s not quite it.
All through my undergrad degree I still pursued the career path to be a Physical Therapist, I even re-took physics! I went through the whole process, I shadowed people, and I hated it. I hated Physical Therapy inpatient rehab, neurology was pretty cool, but overall I was bored to death, but I still kept at it. I applied to PT school as a senior in undergrad and didn’t get in right away, so I started working.
The more I worked as an ATC the more I liked it, but I was really holding on to being a Physical Therapist, it didn’t help that I was living and working in the same town that my classmates from undergrad were attending graduate school to earn their Doctorate of Physical Therapy, or that I saw them often at the YMCA where I was working. I worked at the YMCA as well as a part time Athletic Trainer, one day I decided I wanted to work one job, and get paid well for doing it. I got on to the job search site for the Athletic Trainers found the posting for a job in Siloam Springs, AR, applied, interviewed and then it was packing up to move.
It really happened about that fast, from the time I applied to the time I moved and started a new job was less than a month. It was during this time that I got a letter saying I was acccepted in to a Physical Therapy program, the thing I had been wanting for so long was literally in my hands. I could of said sorry to my new boss, and gone to school, but I couldn’t. I was to happy, too excited, and too ready to move on with being an Athletic Trainer, I also remembered how much I did not enjoy my job shadowing experience, and how much I did enjoy my time as an Athletic Trainer on the sidelines of basketball, football, and other events. So I moved to Siloam Springs, and started working as an Athletic Trainer.
During my time in Siloam Springs, I pursued a Master’s degree, it was always a goal of mine to have a graduate degree. It took a while to find the right one for me, but the University of Alabama offered just what I wanted. I feel I need to publically apologize to Brian Nitz for having textbooks, papers, and computers all over the car on the way to multiple football games. It was interesting being a full time online grad student the same time I was working full time, but at least I always had plenty of volunteers to proof read papers. Honestly it helped a lot that I had students on a regular basis who were complaning about doing homework, or projects. It pushed me to be the best example I could be for them, and a lot of the time they saw me putting finishing touches on papers and projects in the training room when I had a few rare minutes to spare.
Aside from pursuing professional goals, I also greatly enjoy travelling to as many places as possible. I have had the opportunity to travel to Serbia in college for a mission trip, St. Lucia, Panama, Antigua, and lots of other areas such as Souther California, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, and my all time favorite, Wickes, AR for AWANA Camp. Not really sure how I got the travel bug, but I have never once regretted taking the time to go somewhere new. This summer we are taking a much anticipated trip to Colorado! While there Caleb and I will hike, tent camp, and enjoy the beauty of Colorado. I am very excited to have this opportunity.
I love to travel, I also love to bake, I can crochet, and I enjoy just being out and about. You can often see me walking in the neighborhood with our two dogs Emma and Little Bear. I also have have two cats, Sundae who I got from my grandma’s house as a stray, and then Spartacus who I rescued from the side of the road on Progress Ave in Siloam Springs.
I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about me. The next and last Meet the Family Blog post will feature the pets! Be prepred for fluffy cuteness.