Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

3 Good Gifts, feat. Betsy Davies, Tracy Kornet, Shelby Moody

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Shelby on a windy day in NYC, pre-pandemic

My friend Shelby Moody recently gave me a small devotional called “A Moment with God,” by Betsy Davies. Betsy made it on Shutterfly – it’s a personal collection of photographs and meditations that she put together following the passing of her husband last year. I love the way she talks about wind…

The tree outside my window is still, there appears to be no wind. Then a few leaves move. Then several more, but some are moving to the left, some move to the right, some up, some down. Then they are still again, and then they all seem to move. We are like the leaves moved by the Holy Spirit. The same ‘wind’ blows upon us differently and causes us to move in different directions, based upon where we are and our attachments. This can be confusing in the church. We would like God’s Spirit to be like a powerful straight line wind, obviously blowing in one direction, but He does not always act like that. He can move each of us in different directions. I think God is telling me to not assume God is not moving someone just because they are not moving in the same direction as me.

This devotional is a good gift from Betsy to her children – and the world; and it is a good gift from Shelby to me.

*      *      *

My friend Tracy Kornet gave me a glass watering can not long ago. It’s a piece of art, but it’s functional too. It’s a gift that reminds me to water my flowers – and nurture my friends.

Today, I’m thrilled to share the gift of her Bacon interview!

Tracy, an Emmy-award winning news anchor at WSMV Channel 4, speaks with honesty and candor; discretion; and moderation. Usually she’s the one doing all the asking… today, all the answering!

 

After being so careful, for so long – you got Covid a few weeks ago. How was it? How do you feel now? Does it change EVERYTHING – or almost nothing?

I am quite sure I just caught my first hint of a whiff of my new Christmas perfume! It would be the first smell I’ve registered since early December. My sense of taste and smell are still gone, but thankfully my COVID experience was mild – mainly bizarre backaches in the middle of the night (easily remedied with ibuprofen) and major fatigue. I spent weeks in my PJ’s.

For me, there was almost a bit of relief testing positive. Like I had lost an intense competition I’d been trying to out-strategize for almost a full year. Of course, the long-term effects are still concerning, and I pray no one else gets it. But I am not fearful. 

Just please… wear a mask, wash your hands, keep your distance, and exercise! I’m more determined than ever that exercise is the best medicine for just about everything. 

What was the hardest thing about 2020 for you? The best thing?

The hardest: Going from reporting in the field after the Nashville tornadoes… to 24-7 coverage of this terrifying virus spreading around the world. I spent one of the first Saturdays in March in bed, sleeping for 14 hours. I was wiped. Emotionally and physically exhausted. 

Then fear of death became very real for my family. My father and step-mother were on the Zaandam cruise ship, which was not allowed to port after COVID broke out and killed multiple people. My dad got terribly sick and was quarantined with my stepmom for more than a week – in an interior cabin. I am forever grateful to Congressman Jim Cooper and his office for helping get them to dry land, where he’s fully recovered. 

The best: Being there for people. Having the honor of disseminating critical information minute-by-minute to a very scared public. Anchoring Governor Lee’s press conference for months on end and helping viewers navigate their lives, kids, schools, businesses…as calmly and lovingly as possible. 

The love part may sound a little weird, but I truly feel a calling to television news. People criticize us for provoking fear, but I believe news has the opposite effect, especially in times of crisis. Information calms. 

Another blessing of 2020 was the abundance of quality time with my daughter Nicole, who spent months in and out of L.A., quarantining with my husband and me in Nashville. Having her laughter and energy in the house kept me smiling through some grueling ups and downs and long days at work, the monotony of shelter-at-home orders, and eventually 3 weeks on the couch recovering from COVID.  

What’s the hardest thing about being a news anchor right now? The best thing?

Hardest: The 24-7 news cycle and its relentless breaking news. Today is a perfect example. Watching rioters storm the Capitol like that…ugh…it made my stomach turn after an already tumultuous election season. As you know, on Christmas morning an RV exploded in downtown Nashville. I wanted to be there for viewers and for my team. I left my family in Kentucky to anchor our evening shows that night. Vacations are hard for me to take with a clear conscience. It’s a non-stop job. 

The best thing: Using this platform for good, highlighting the wonderful people and non-profits serving our community. In the last 12 months alone, we helped Habitat for Humanity cover the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project with a full-week of coverage in every newscast, as they helped build an entire neighborhood for struggling families. In December I had the thrill of co-hosting the Nashville Symphony Ball from the Schermerhorn stage, which aired for the first time on television. News4 helped them raise $800,000 for our furloughed musicians and the Symphony’s community programs.

It is such a rewarding job. I feel incredibly fortunate!  

How do you plan to stay sane during the long, cold, dark months ahead? You’re a social person, Tracy…

Girl! You KNOW I crave deep conversation, coffee & cocktail hours! Thankfully, you are the greatest planner behind many of these – even during COVID with your socially-distanced, backyard hospitality. 

Staying sane? Much credit goes to my company, Meredith Inc. and the fact it values exercise and education. It helps pay for both. Hot yoga has been THE game-changer for me during Nashville’s gloomy seasons and the tough stories we cover. I’m also working on my M.B.A.. thanks to our tuition reimbursement program. I’m just four classes from finishing it! It will have taken me 5 years while working full-time, but my brain feels so much sharper. I hope to use the degree in a corporate news position one day. Meanwhile, the reading, writing, and researching is a stimulating distraction.

We’re all looking for ways to stay occupied. What are you watching or listening to? TV shows, podcasts, music…

I finally felt like a normal part of society getting to watch Netflix for the first time, once I came down with COVID. The Queen’s Gambit was excellent! I even made it through one and a half episodes of Tiger King. I love just about every renovation show on HGTV, particularly the mother/daughter team on Good Bones and the drama of Renovation Island in the early days of COVID.   

What are some of your top TV recommendations from the last year or so?

I’ve done so much news watching, I’m afraid. And a WHOLE lot of sports. Big fan of The Morning Show on AppleTV. I chuckle watching people “act” like producers and news anchors. I think Jennifer Aniston is brilliant in that role. 

What are you reading right now? 

At the moment I’m finishing up Chasing Vines by Beth Moore and starting Managerial Economics for class.

What is one of your favorite books of all time?

Loved The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Sue Monk Kidd’s Mermaid Chair and Secret Life of Bees. I’ll likely read James Clear’s Atomic Habits every other year from now on, and I think Tim Ferriss’ Tribe of Mentors is a fabulous concept, especially for fellow fans of the self-help and biography combo.

What was one of your favorite books as a child? As a teen-anger?

The first (and possibly only) book I even remember reading for pleasure is Judy Bloom’s Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret. It seemed to teach me everything I needed to know about girl stuff. I was a tomboy. Grew up in Tampa with three brothers, playing outside, riding bikes, always loved to sing and dance. In high school I was into concert chorus, a touring pop group, dance team, yearbook editor. No time for books! My required reading for AP English barely made the cut!     

Do reading and watching TV meet different needs, or do you see them both as entertainment/distraction?

As an adult, reading is a joy. I’ve become a biography junkie. I love learning the backstory of someone I admire and can learn from. I think I’ve read the entire biography section at the Richland Library.

I’m not a huge TV watcher. I mainly watch to give my husband and I something to do together. 

Favorite guilty pleasure in the time of corona?

Unlimited yoga packages and Panera’s $8.99 coffee subscription.

Favorite form of exercise?

Hot yoga & pilates and walking the stairs at Percy Warner park.

Favorite dance move? 🙂

 Any move awakened during Jazzercise! I love a good step, ball, change! 

Favorite child? KIDDING!! But – please give us an update on all 3, if you’d like!

Ohhh, don’t get me started! SO grateful all three are healthy and have not been alone during this pandemic. My oldest son John loves his financial analyst work at Stephens, Inc. in Little Rock. My daughter is hustling three jobs in L.A. and should make her film debut this summer in Space Jam 2 with Lebron James. And my son Luke plays for the Chicago Bulls right now. He and his wife are expecting a baby next month! 

Any New Year’s resolutions?

I just survived COVID. My kids are healthy. My husband and I both have jobs and will soon be grand-parents. No resolutions but to keep on keepin’ on

When do you think will things get back to “normal”? Or will it be a new “normal” for all of us, going forward?

What does “normal” even mean any more? It’s amazing the disruptions we’ve all experienced. My colleagues have anchored, reported, and occasionally run the teleprompter from home. Parents and teachers are instructing from kitchen tables. International travel has STOPPED.

Anything is possible. I’m praying this vaccine provides freedom, education, and encourages adventure again.

Who or what aggravates you most right now?

I plead the 5th.

What gives you hope?

Jesus. Babies. Godly people. Non-profits like Uprise Nashville, which is training men and women living in poverty to learn entirely new careers –  pulling them off government assistance and into a life of self-sufficiency and generational change through education and opportunity. 

Generous, happy, encouraging people give me hope. They are all over the place. Even after the sickening assault on the Capitol today. The next time you leave the house, expect to encounter kindness. He or she will show up. At the grocery store. In line at Jersey Mike’s. On your Zoom screen.     

Finally, laughter gives me hope. Oh, how I pray it gives you hope too.

“There’s a hidden knowing inherent in hope. In order to exist and persist, hope knows something real, however faint it may seem. That knowing is what we call faith. A white-knuckle knowing of what we cannot see.” – Beth Moore, Chasing Vines.

 

 

10 Comments

  1. What a treat to see Shelby, Betsy and Tracy in today’s Bacon! A lot of wisdom and grace shared by these ladies! Thank you for this post, Jennifer!

  2. What a lovely post to start my Sunday. Thank you, Jennifer and guests.

  3. Jennifer – this post started my Sunday morning off with HOPE! Loved the interviews and am especially thankful for Tracy’s dedication to our Nashville community! Aren’t we blessed!

  4. Thank you so much for including me in your magnificent blog, Jennifer. Every edition is artful inspiration! What a gift you are to your readers..and friends!

  5. Three excellent gifts! I’m looking at the wind in the holly branches outside now with a different perspective. Have Atomic Habits on my reading list. Thank you Jennifer for connecting us through Bacon.

  6. Thank you Jennifer!

  7. Love this post! Many thanks to Tracy for her tireless work. It’s been an incredibly challenging year to cover the news and I’m grateful for your dedication.

  8. Thank you for this bit of inspiration, Jennifer. I love all three of these fabulous ladies…they truly are gifts.

  9. Jennifer, thanks much for the interview with Tracy! I really enjoyed it!

  10. Jennifer everything you post, say and share are truly “stew for the soul” always!!
    Thanks to you for sharing Betsy and Tracy’s stories!! ❤️‘ed each of the comment’s Tracy made and knowledge shared about books I cannot wait to read!!
    Also, thank you to Shelby for sharing Betsy’s courageous devotionals-breathtaking words.

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