Monthly Archives: January 2014

Standing Out in the Crowd

My plan for transportation to and from work and school this year is to run as much as possible.  Why?

  • If I run to school I don’t have to make time to exercise later.
  • It takes about the same amount of time as driving and parking.  I live 2 miles from the University, 3 miles from work.
  • If I run I don’t have to pay hundreds for parking or gas.
  • It helps me stay mentally and physically up during the dreary winter months.

What does this look like?

How I Get Myself to School
How I Get Myself to School

Yes.  I have a stroller.  You know why?  Cuz I have to carry my school books, my professional clothes, my business gear, and my lunch with me everywhere I go.

I love it.  I can pile so much stuff up in this thing.  It’s great.  It’s effective. It’s efficient.  And it’s all terrain.

Do I blend in at school?

Absolutely not.  I wear minimal 5 finger toe shoes, cold weather running gear, gloves, glasses, a hat tied under my chin, head phone wires coming out (This American Life on my ipod) from under my hat, and a goofy grin on my face because I love listening to stand up comedians when I’m running.  The running time flies by when I’m laughing.

So when I roll up, a 43 year old student with a stroller, crazy looking geddup, sipping green things out of my mason jar, and eating raw food, I’m just not quite normal.

It’s okay.  I’m good with it.  I try to blend in a little because I don’t want to have to explain myself to everybody in my path.  I’m not trying to get noticed.  I’m trying to be practical.  And besides, I’m surprised there isn’t a jogging stroller for business people or students.

This is what I showed my kids when we were talking about how unusual it was to use a stroller to get to school.

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I don’t ever want to be afraid to be the shirtless dancing guy in a crowd.  No fear baby!

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

 

 

 

 

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Valentine’s Day-Love on the Rocks!

It’s cold, cold, cold outside and this is the perfect time of year for a Hot Stone Massage!  Every year we do a special on Hot Stone Massages for Valentine’s Day, but this year is different!

We are cutting the price of a Hot Stone Massage from $125 to $100!  Permanently.  That’s a $25 savings.  Always.

Now there is no reason for you to just get a regular massage.  If it’s winter time you should at least get 3 Hot Stone Massages.  One a month.  Because that’s how cold it is.  It takes the edge off and gives you something to look forward to in the cold.

And if you’ve never had a Hot Stone Massage then, “Shame on you!”  You deserve it.  Get on in here!

Schedule a Valentine’s Day Hot Stone Massage:  479-251-7422

I.M. Spa

25 N. Block Ave.
(Above Hugo’s)
Fayetteville, AR  72701
www.imspa.net

 

 

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Pushing Boulders Up the Mountain

I was talking to my Uncle Ray on the phone today.

This is the Uncle Ray who used to charlie horse my knee with his vice grip fingers, laugh maniacally, and say, also rather maniacally, “Horse eats hay!  Horse eats hay!”  This same Uncle Ray convinced my to smell his feet when I was five and a whole room full of people burst out laughing.  He would say to me, “You want to drive?” when I was 10, let me sit in his lap while we were driving the insanely windy roads of Newton County Arkansas.  He would let go of the steering wheel and stomp on the gas.  And yes, he was laughing maniacally as we careened off the road.

Does everybody have an uncle like this?  Maybe not.  He’s pretty exceptional.

We used to play chess with Uncle Ray when we were ‘back to the landers.’  We all, all of us cousins and neighbors got beat.  A lot.  It was a HUGE deal the day that I actually beat Uncle Ray at chess.  What an great feeling. I had arrived.  My brother and I worked long and hard getting our chess game up to par, because Uncle Ray wasn’t just going to give it away.  We had to earn it.  

Ray is still an exceptional guy.  He’s not ordinary by any means.  He is less maniacal these days, but he still has some pretty amazing stories to tell me when he makes time to call me.  And I love it.

But today he was asking me why on earth are you going to Nursing School full time, keeping your small business going, and being mom to all those boys.  And my response was, “I guess I really like pushing boulders up the mountain.”

From the other side of the room I heard Craig (my husband) say, “It’s a hell of a lot better than hanging on to them while they’re rolling down the mountain!”

Which makes for an amazing visual that I keep seeing in my mind’s eye, accompanied by the sound, ‘fwump, fwump, fwump.’

If you see me giggling uncontrollably to myself, it’s probably this image that I can’t get out of my head.

And while I know Uncle Ray has done his share of pushing boulders up the mountain, I’m sure he can share a giggle with me about that out of control boulder careening down the mountain.  Fwump, fwump, fwump!

To my readers, “May all of your boulders remain solidly in your grasp and in front of your body!”

Amen.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

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15 Things to do Before a School Day in January

What I did before school today mom!

  1. made oatmeal for breakfast and woke the kids up
  2. made raw marinara and spiralized zucchini pasta for kids (and parents’ lunches)
  3. made strawberry banana smoothie for lunch snacks
  4. let Sean, my 15 year old, drive himself and Ben, my 8 year old, to school (I still get to be in the passenger seat).
  5. printed out W2s
  6. printed payroll checks
  7. paid mortgage, AMTA membership, spa rent, postage stamps, and other bills
  8. updated quickbooks files
  9. dropped off payroll checks at work
  10. ran by the bank
  11. printed W3, 1099s, and 1096
  12. moved 2 dental appointments
  13. gathered end of year tax documents (inventory, accounts receivable, etc)
  14. made and ate guacamole
  15. studied statistics for school
  16. Caught the bus to the University at 1–in class till 6.
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All in a Days Work

Today I was in the massage room for 7 and a half hours.

Seven and a half hours of heavy duty people mashing.  This is why I don’t need to go to the gym and lift weights.  I mash the heck out of people all day long.

Our clients are so awesome.  I am so lucky to be able to work with them.  So honored to be there.  One of my clients said to me today, “You have a gift.”

She’s right.  The gift I have is that I have the opportunity to connect with so many amazing people in such an intimate way.

She has a friend who is in hospice care right now and she said, “Maybe you could go see her and do energy work.”

I said, “Maybe we could go together.”

For me, energy work is allowing, with gratitude love and acceptance, then witnessing and supporting the flow.  Ya just have to get your brain out of the way to do it.  And yes, it’s tangible.  You can feel it.

We all have this gift.  The ability to connect with touch.  It’s a beautiful thing and I’m so lucky that I get to share it with my peeps.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

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Tourist in my Life

Today while I was getting settled on the University bus I had the uncanny sensation that I had done this before.

If you know me then you know that’s not far from the truth since I graduated school 11 years ago.  So in that way it is similar.

But today it felt distinctly like my time in Mexico, arriving for the first time in a foreign country, my backpack at my feet on the bus, 4 years of Spanish classes jumbled up in my head, heading down the road with a vague understanding of the lay of the land.

Going to a country I’ve never been to before is so exciting to me.  I love it.  New roads, new bus routes, new languages, new (to me) history.  And the feel of a place is something that can’t be replicated.  Sitting in the presence of the Jade Buddha, or Chichen Itza, or any place where hundreds of thousands of people come to show their respect is a feeling that chills my spine.

Sitting on the bus today, with my traveling backpack full of nursing books at my feet I had the same thrill.  I’m not going to Mexico, Costa Rica, or Thailand this time.  I’m a tourist in my own life.  Destination: Nursing School.

I know where I want to go, and I have a general idea of what I want to do.  I don’t know how it’s going to happen yet, but I know I’m gonna keep getting on that bus with my traveling pack at my feet.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

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I.M. Spa Girls on the Road!

We had a staff meeting at I.M. Spa, my favorite workplace in the whole wide world, the Friday before I started classes at the University of Arkansas to study Nursing.  In addition to talking about what we needed to do to pull together while I was time challenged (to say the least) with classes, we also talked about what we would do to celebrate when we made it through to the end of Final Exams in May.  And no I won’t be completely finished then, I will still have 4 semesters to go.  We’ll have to travel after every semester I think.

All of us I.M. Spa girls are going to all pile into my minivan for a road trip to Visit Dallas to steam it up at King Spa and whatever other cool spa like places and Raw Food Restaurants we can discover.  I’m going to need some serious relaxation after working at the spa, being mom to my 4 boys, and going to school full time.

To make it more interesting though, we need suggestions for where to go on the way and while we’re there.  So if you reply on the bottom of this blog post with a great suggestion for where we can go and we’ll put your name in a drawing to win $100 worth of Spa Services at I.M. Spa, or, if the winner is not close to Fayetteville we’ll send them a $100 gift basket.  We’re interested in–Spas, great independent bodywork places, hot springs, Farmer’s Markets, Raw Food restaurants, yoga studios, independent businesses that make Dallas unique, and must sees.

For instance our friend Alpha, who is like the sun shining so bright, mentioned an amazing foot massage place in Frisco.  I’ve got to get with her to get the name of that place.  Suggestions like that are gold to us.

  • So here’s the deal:
  • get together your favorite places in Dallas, or in between Dallas and Fayetteville. Spas, independent businesses, hot springs, yoga studios, raw food restaurants, or things that you’ve heard about but haven’t been to yet. Each one can be a separate entry.
  • post them in a reply at the bottom of this blog post
  • or post them on our Facebook Page
  • or post them on our Twitter Account.  We’ll hashtag #itouchpeople on our trip so you can see what we’re up to.
  • we’ll draw for a winner when we SURVIVE Spring Semester at UofA and come back from Dallas!
  • look for our upcoming posts for pictures and a full report!

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

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Something’s Gotta Give

For 12 years I was either nursing a baby or pregnant.  I was a stay at home mom and we homeschooled until my oldest was in the seventh grade.  My kids were my life.  That was all.

Then I started a business.  It was part time for 3 years.

Then we got a store front location.  It was more than full time, more like ALL the time, but I went home at 2:30 to be with my kids and came back for odd hour appointments when Craig was home.  I did paperwork after 11 hour shifts on Saturdays, and on Sundays and Mondays.  That’s what it’s like when you own your own business.

Then Craig broke his arm and was out of work for 4 months.  Then Craig’s employer went out of business and Craig decided to go to Nursing School.

Now I work full time and go to school full time and Craig is in charge of picking up the kids.  It’s a little weird.

I had an out of body experience today.  Like I was in the wrong place, in somebody else’s life.  I was in the hallway of my Statistics class with my jogging stroller and my backpack, wearing my running shoes, running pants, and warm weather gear.

Truth be told I feel a little naked without my kids.

It was a Talking Heads moment.  “And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?”

So Zach and Sean, my two middle kids, have birthdays on January 7th and 11th.  And do you think we’re having a birthday party for them?  Nope.  Not a chance.   Ain’t gonna happen.

I tried to explain to them that they could have a birthday party but that I wouldn’t be able to be there, I couldn’t get the presents, or bake the cake because I am in school till 9pm on Fridays, and I work all day Saturday.

By executive order, I hereby move your birthdays to June.  (Me waving my magic wand). January birthdays are a pain in the butt anyway.  They’re right after Christmas and New Years, it’s miserably cold, and there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

So, you are invited to a birthday party for two amazing kids.  It’s gonna be sometime in June, there will be lots of cake and ice cream.  There will be tons of friends and family, and we’ll probably go somewhere outdoors, because that’s something that kids with January birthdays never get to do.  We’re going to burn candles and sing Happy Birthday really loud.  It’s gonna be awesome!  I hope you can come.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

 

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Back When I Was Your Age…

You know you’ve heard your parents and certainly your grandparents say it.

“Back when I was your age we had to walk a mile and a half in the snow up hill both ways just to get to school.”

And yes, I used to be horrified when I heard those words coming out of my mouth, but Holy Cow!  Now I can’t help myself.

I  was the running water when I was a kid.  Me, a ten year old girl with two metal pails and a hand dug well.  We really did have a party line, and if you wanted to use the phone you might have to wait for the neighbor to get done visiting before you could get on it.  We did not have electricity, it was wood cookstoves (even in the 100 degree heat) and kerosene lanterns.  And no, we didn’t have indoor toilets.  If it was snowing outside you still went to the outhouse to potty and it was cold.

So I realize that I have an unfair advantage on the hand on the hip, finger wagging, “Let me tell you something about how good you got it…”  I don’t whip that out on just any occasion.

But this week, back in college again, things have changed.  I mean really changed.

I remember when people were outraged by the idea of voice recording their phone message.  The mere thought of leaving a message was absurd.  If a store clerk was on the phone and a customer came in, the clerk would ditch the phone call in favor of the real live human in the flesh in front of her.

Ten years ago when I graduated with my baccalaureate in English, we still used paper and pen.  It was still rude to answer the cell phone in stores and public situations.  They were simply not tolerated in class.

Now, in a classroom, students are on their phones and their laptops are open.  The teachers all have every power point for the semester posted on a mysterious website called Blackboard that everybody in my Microbiology class knew about but me on the first day of class.  I made an ink and paper note to myself to Google that, which by the way is a strange word to have infiltrated the English language.  We didn’t Google stuff when I was a kid.

Tests and quizzes are now taken online, notes are taken on computer or stored as a picture on the phone.  Heck, my whole Masters degree in Nursing is going to be done online.

Not only have I had to learn where my classes are, like a Freshman, but I also have had the experience of finding that the Campus Bookstore is not in the Union anymore, Hillside auditorium is GINORMOUS these days (it seats 450 kids in one classroom).  I’ve had to learn what Blackboard is and how to use it, where the buses run–will they let me haul my crazy stroller around, how to access the internet on campus with my laptop, where the new computer labs are and how to print a million things, and I think the most bewildering thing is trying to decide if I can let go of my old learning habits–using pen and paper–and adopt the new, more efficient way of collecting data.  I’m feeling a little lost.

I’ll figure it out, but there is a whole lot of information that I need to prioritize.

I like Craig’s approach (my husband is also starting school for the first time in 20 years).  Freak out!  Take all of your stuff to the computer lab, print out every single power point from every single lecture for the next 15 weeks.  Then resume breathing normally.

I’m not going to do that.  But I like it.  He’s ultra prepared.

So yes, when I was a kid you could freeze a pan of water in my bedroom.  But these days, not only do we potty indoors, but we get information at the speed of light  and it can be a little intimidating.

I haven’t even stepped foot in the spa this week (well, except to drop off paychecks).

That’s all right.  I may be older than dirt, but I got this!

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

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Nursing School

I am 43 years old. I have 4 sons.  I run a very busy small business.

Why in the world would I go to school now for nursing?

My husband and I have been independent for over 20 years, since we both got out of the Air Force.  He’s a carpenter and I run a spa and practice massage.  Last year he broke his arm and was out of work for 4 months.  No workman’s comp, no insurance, no safety net.  Later in the year his main source for work went out of business and he decided to reexamine what he wanted to do for work.  He came out one day and said, “I think I’ll go to nursing school.”

“That’s a great idea for you Craig!”  The more I looked at it with him, the more I thought, ‘that’s a great idea for me.’  I only have two and a half years left to get a bachelors in nursing, I have a 3.9 GPA, and all of my prerequisites are with the University of Arkansas so I’m a preferred candidate for their nursing program.  At some point while I was looking at the options it hit me that this was the direction that I was going to go.

I couldn’t breathe for two days.

There was a tightness in my chest as I processed the realities of nursing school and accepted the possibility that the spa might have to die, because how in the world could I possibly do it all.  I came to accept that I needed to be independent, no employees if I was going to go to school.  Jessica (my right hand therapist at the spa) and I looked for a place for the two of us to practice massage independently.  We came up with a plan for how to handle the new procedures.

Becoming independent looked very much like starting a new business.  Just as much work, our people wouldn’t know how to find us, we’d have to redefine ourselves, rebrand, rebuild the new concept, remodel, move everything, reestablish procedures, lose clients in the shuffle.  It didn’t make sense.

The spa wouldn’t die.  It’s like a person anyway.

People run into each other at I.M. Spa.  Connect with each other.  Bring people there that they care about.  Give our services to their loved ones for Christmas, Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Birthdays.  We see the best of people there.  Men taking care of their pregnant wives, or their wives who’ve been taking care of everybody in the family but neglecting themselves.  Kids take care of their moms there.  Roommates take care of each other there.  Grown up brothers at the counter getting gift certificates together for their sweet mama.

People go to I.M. Spa with health questions.  Gout?  Fertility?  Sleeplessnes?  Pain?  Headaches?  Life changes?  Panic attacks?  Lose weight?  How do I get healthier?

People go to I.M. Spa for help with grief, to deal with pain, to celebrate success, to feel better, to share the good things in life with people they love.

I guess it’s a testament to the business that we couldn’t kill it off.  And how cool would it be to become a nurse practitioner, practice massage therapy, and develop the community of the spa.  What a vision that would be.

So yes, I’m going to nursing school full time, running the spa and doing as much massage as possible (fortunately it’s a very calming meditative type of work), and being my weird foodie type mom self–feeding my kids as much raw food as I can manage.

Our staff at the spa are awesome and I’m counting on them to help me through.  I’m so fortunate to have such a great community, to have such amazing friends and clients, and to have such a wonderful church community at St. Paul’s.  And I’m so lucky that these are the challenges that I have to deal with in my life.

This may be my last lucid post until May.  Wish me luck!

 Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

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