Tag Archives: empty nester

Member Spotlight: Carol Reifsnyder

I am originally from Lubbock, Texas. I attended the University of Texas where I met my husband, Andy. We moved back to Austin in 1992, a time when Mopac had no cars and the hills had no houses.

Family Life:
My husband is a radiologist and has been the Chief at Breckenridge Medical Center for a long while. We have two children, my daughter, Erin, who works at a hotel in Brooklyn, and my son, Emery, who recently graduated from Tufts and now works in technological mapping in San Francisco.

Work Life:
I am just finishing a long (4 year) capital campaign to restore and renovate a National Historic Landmark sorority house near campus. I have some ideas about where I would like to go next, but I plan to take a break for a while and get back in shape.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
Women derive strength from being and working together. I feel like I work harder when working out with iGnite ladies. I’ve got to work to keep up!

The best advice I’ve been given…
The best advice I have been given is from my Brazilian scuba instructor way back in college. I still use his instructions today when dealing with a crisis. Per my instructor, the two most important rules of scuba are:
Always stay with your buddy. I use this symbolically at work as in “always have the back of/always support your co-workers and employees”. For my family, I use it to stay present and attentive to their needs and issues. And for my ailing mother, I use it to diligently advocate for her at times when she is vulnerable.
Stay calm. Don’t panic. I learned the hard way that if anything can go wrong, it will! I am a planner by nature so I constantly try to consider all the possible scenarios before I act. Now, if things do go astray, I don’t sweat it much anymore. I just stay calm, refocus, reconsider and get to it.

What I’m looking forward to right now…
Getting comfortable with and enjoying this “kids out of college and employed stage”. I have always been so excited for what lay ahead for my kids that I rarely
felt too sad moving on down the path beyond key milestones. Now, I feel like it is time to discover and create some milestones for myself. My work raising them is actually over. Don’t get me wrong; it often makes me sad to think back on those years that went by so quickly and in such a blur. The good news now is I get to be the “friend” or “advisor” or “supporter” instead of the strict “rule following” parent.

If I were a pair of shoes…
I would love to be a pair of bike cleats. Riding a bike brings back that pure sense of “joy” not felt much in life as an adult. In fact, research confirms quite simply that cycling makes people happier. In my opinion, the bicycle is one of the world’s greatest inventions – simple in it’s design, easily mastered and inexpensive – a means of play, exercise and transportation. In the 1900’s the bike gave women unprecedented mobility; women essentially rode the bicycle to freedom. Susan B. Anthony once said, “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” The bike allowed women to venture about without chaperons, liberated them from corsets and cumbersome skirts, provided them a healthier, more vigorous existence, and expanded their marriage pool (no more having to marry your cousin down the street). Today, strolling through street and parkways on a bike is one of the best ways to tour/see an area. Walking doesn’t cover enough territory and cars move too quickly and provide too big of a barrier from the environment. Even cycling excursions around Austin often stun me with the beauty of our Texas Hill Country. As a pair of cleats, my life would be outdoors, healthy, happy, adventurous, fun and even spiritual. So, make me a pair of old beat-up bike cleats any day. See you on the road!

Member Spotlight: Missy Hillhouse

I am originally from Dixon, a small town in northern Illinois, about 90 miles west of Chicago. I came to Austin over 30 years ago to attend UT, and like so many others, I never left! I love my city!

Family Life:
I have been married to my husband, Jeff, for 22 years! We have two boys, Drew (21) and Chase (19). Drew will be a senior at UT Austin. Chase will be a sophomore at the University of Arkansas. We are enjoying being empty-nesters!!

Work Life:
I am a third grade teacher at Caraway Elementary. I have been teaching for 20 years. I took a few years off when my boys were young, and I will always be grateful for that time. Before going back to the classroom full-time, I taught part-time and substitute taught. Easing my way back was the way to do it!

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
iGnite has taught me that building a community with those you workout with has such a positive effect on how I view exercising and taking good care of myself. The relationships I’ve formed with those I workout with (and work with!) are invaluable. I treasure the time I get to spend with my group, and it motivates me to want to keep coming to class every week. Molly has been instrumental in this, as she comes to our school twice weekly to lead us in amazing workouts.

I am most inspired by…
My late father inspired me with his selflessness as he raised a son with special needs. He did this on his own, everyday, for nearly 30 years. His huge heart and loving ways are an inspiration to me everyday.

In my free time…
I enjoy hanging with my family and friends, reading, boating, shopping and traveling when I’m able! We also love to take our dog, Cola, to all the dog-friendly places Austin offers!

My guilty pleasure…
Shoe shopping. I love shoes, especially boots!!

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