Occupation: Speech language pathologist and co-owner of Tennessee Therapy Solutions, Inc., realtor with Town and Country Realtors of East Tennessee, mom and wife.
Family: Married to Tab Burkhalter, and they have three daughters: Abbie, 3, Mandi, 20 months, and Austyn, 1 month.
Kristi Burkhalter knows how to ad lib when she needs to…just ask the mother of three about her most embarrassing moment.
“I rewrote the lyrics to our National Anthem at a sold-out Nashville Sounds baseball game. I’ve sung and/or acted my way out of a lot of on stage ‘goofs’ throughout the years, but there was no mistaking things that evening. Thank heavens I didn’t offend anyone and somehow, I still managed to pull out a standing ovation - go figure.”
Kristi met the man who would one day become her husband, Tab Burkhalter, when they were both seniors in high school in Nashville. They had the same orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist, but they never could seem to get together. They gave up and went their separate ways.
A year later, they bumped into each other on campus at the University of Tennessee and exchanged phone numbers. Two weeks later, they say they knew they wanted to be together forever.
“He wasn’t supposed to be at UT, and I wasn’t supposed to be at UT. When we ran into each other, he was late meeting friends, and I was late for rehearsal. Still, ‘boom,’ there we were.”
Kristi graduated with a degree in speech pathology and vocal performance. She earned bachelors and master’s degrees at UT. After college, Kristi and Tab married and moved to Seymour where they lived for six years before he bought a CPA firm in Maryville.
“We missed Nashville and have family there, but we just fell in love with this place and now this is where we have our roots.”
Kristi talks a lot about her faith in Christ and said it guides her family’s life. “Our entire life is built on faith, and we are firm believers that God is directing our paths. He takes us where we are supposed to go.”
The couple’s first daughter, Abbie, was born after they had been married 10 years. “It has totally completed us, made us better people individually, and definitely made us better at prioritizing what is really important - being with each other and our girls,” she said.
Here is Kristi Burkhalter:
What is your favorite quote from television or a movie?
“I love ‘Toe Pick’ from ‘The Cutting Edge,’ because it’s normally the little things in life which trip us up.”
What is your favorite material possession?
“Photographs of my family and my girls’ artwork.”
What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
“Smiling and energetic - the latter of which I’m severely lacking lately. If you asked Tab, I’m sure he would say stubborn and fiery! He says I have a temper to match my Irish bloodline.”
What is your passion?
“My family and music are my passion. I truly feel I was put on this Earth to be a wife and mom, and music because it is really the essence of my soul.”’
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“Queen Esther. She overcame suppressing fear and ignored stereotypes to rise to a monumental calling, one that only she could complete. She courageously redefined her self-image and emerged victorious, impacting an entire nation.”
If a movie were made about your life, who would play you and why?
“Maybe Sally Field with her passion, intensity and flair for the dramatic crossed with Julia Roberts and her smile, stage presence and humor.”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“The day the Berlin Wall came down. Since high school, I’ve periodically had this reoccurring dream about the destruction of the Berlin Wall. I’m in the crowd chanting, clapping and shedding tears of joy with those around me. We are all taking turns swinging at the stones and mortar.”
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“My engagement ring. Really, it wasn’t the ring itself, but the promises that came with it.”
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
“Give ‘it’ to God, Kris.”
Do you Myspace, Facebook or Twitter?
Are you a cat person or a dog person?
“I love dogs, and simply adore Dachshunds. I have had doxies since I was 7 and can’t imagine my life without one.”
What are you reading currently?
“Sadly, I’m not. With a new baby, I’m not sleeping much at all these days! But, I am revisiting ‘Believing God,’ a Bible study I completed some time ago and flipping through a dusty stack of Southern Living and Martha Stewart magazines.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“Wow, I have so, so much work on! Probably how critical I am of myself and setting unrealistic expectations of myself. I really don’t want those traits to rub off on my girls.”
Other than your parents, who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
“My best friend, Tab, braces and balances me. He inspires me to be a better person. And yes, we are still hopelessly in love after 17 years.”
What is the theme song that best describes you?
“Right now, with three daughters 3 and younger, I’d have to say ‘Stayin’ Alive.’”
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
“Travel, travel and travel. I so love exposure to other cultures, drinking in diverse landscapes and experiencing tons of adventure.”
What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon and why?
‘“Bugs Bunny and Friends.’ I would curl up in my Daddy’s lap with my blanket and as many stuffed animals as my little arms could carry, and we would giggle and snuggle the morning away.”
What irritates you?
“Selfishness, people who think they are better than others, bigotry and hypocrites top the list, along with those who walk diagonally across parking lots.”
What’s one place in Blount County everyone should visit?
“Louisville Landing at sunset.”
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself at 18?
“Breathe, be bold and don’t hold back.”