Category Archives: Parenting

Betrayal of Age

The frisbee came flying at me and as I moved to catch it I tripped over this step in my yard.  It was one of those falls in infinite slow motion.  I was going down incrementally, with each new hit I thought surely that was the end of the fall, but it just kept going.  I tripped, my leg hit the step, then my hip, and I thought, ‘surely this is it,’ but no, then my upper body toppled over and hit the shed.

That’s right nursing humans.  I’m a fall risk.

When I finally came to rest my kids were silent.  I think if I were 30 years old we would have all been laughing our butts off.  But when you are almost 50 and you fall people get scared.

Levi came over to help me up, but I needed to make sure I hadn’t broken anything before I moved because the pain was pretty intense.  Zach said, “That looked bad.”

In my head I was thinking, “this is what it looks like when an almost 50 year old woman plays frisbee with the kids.”

There are defining moments when we have to face the betrayals of age.  When I discovered that the painful feeling in my fingers was never going to go away because I had arthritis–that was one of those moments.  My kids’ reaction to my fall was another one.

In my job as a nurse I have patients who tell me, “this has been a wake up call for me.”  These are the words of a patient who came into the hospital with blood sugar of 690 (normal blood sugar is 60-100).  Or the alcoholic who suffered debilitating seizures while detoxing and knows that he might not survive another bout with the bottle.

When we’re younger we can get away with eating all of the things.  We can get away with drinking too much.  Our body can recover from all of the abuses we inflict on ourselves–for a while.  We are invincible.  And then, usually incrementally, sometimes suddenly, the betrayal of age sets in.  Many times it’s incremental and we continue to ignore it until it smacks us to the ground.

If you ignore the smackdown, things don’t go well.  Whether it’s limiting the number of massages you do in a week, getting into an alcohol recovery program, adhering to the diet restrictions that keep you from getting an A1C of 14 (that’s really bad for diabetics), taking up exercise, meditation, massage, and relaxation practices to help keep your blood pressure down, if you don’t make those changes life becomes incredibly difficult.  And not just on you, but on everybody who cares about you.

I guess that means I need to be a more cautious frisbee player.  Dylan Thomas comes to mind.  I don’t want to have to be careful!!  My bruises are still healing, but I was able to get a chiropractic adjustment today, and when my bruises clear up I’ll get a massage.

The underlying message in all of these things is to stay open to new ways of living, new ways of eating, new ways of managing health.  It is inevitable that the betrayal of age will hit us all at some point, and our quality of life is directly related to whether we are open to adapting to those new normals.

Or maybe I just need to pay better attention to my surroundings eh?  Yep.  Cuz I’m a doofus.

 

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Recovery

This is my ‘year of recovery.’  Last year and the year before it were the ‘years of divorce.’  My ex-husband struggles with alcoholism and I finally felt able to make the leap.

He’s a beautiful man, talented, sweet, gentle, insightful, creative.  He was a good dad.  I love him.  I always will.

He’s also a man who struggles with depression, anger, and addiction.

What a 20 pound sledgehammer can do to a $400 blender.

I shared 27 years of my life with him and this divorce has been like the grieving of a death.  So much pain.

It is so complex and complicated that it is very difficult to write about because when I write about one aspect I feel as though I am betraying the other aspects when in reality they all coexist in the same moment.

If I say he was terrifying and my children weren’t safe then I feel like I’m not being fair to the fact that he was a wonderful dad and that he didn’t physically abuse our kids.  If I say that he’s an alcoholic then I feel like I’m ignoring the times when he was sober–his alcoholism came in waves progressively getting worse with each new wave.  When he was sober and not struggling with depression we fit together so well.  If I say he was domineering and that we all tiptoed around him then I feel like I’m betraying all the times he was so generous and supportive, insightful, and steadfast.

I’ve been around alcoholism my whole life.  My dad was an alcoholic, my brother was an alcoholic, my husband was an alcoholic, his dad was an alcoholic.  Even now in my job as a nurse I detox alcoholics regularly, over and over again, often the same people.

Alcoholics have taught me so many valuable lessons:

  • I don’t need anybody else to make me happy.
  • I can live peacefully even though there is darkness and depression around.
  • It is not necessary to stop loving and having compassion for someone even if you have to let them go.
  • Alcoholism is a family disease
  • I am not responsible for another person’s successes/failures or emotional state.  I am responsible only for my emotions/successes/failures.  This is huge and I love it.
  • Boundaries are healthy.
  • I am not a victim.
  • Independence.
  • Humility.
  • Compassion.
  • Acceptance.
  • It is hard being a human on the planet.
  • Life is fragile and precious.
  • Respect for all humans struggling with addiction or living with an addict.

My ex-husband was an amazing craftsman and carpenter.  He did beautiful work.  He could put things together that would leave other people scratching their heads.  ‘How in the world are we going to get this massive full wall of window installed on the drop off side of Mt. Sequoyah?’  He would find a way.

But our house hasn’t had siding for 20 years.  We have sub-floor in the dining area.  For some reason he didn’t have it in him to work on our home.  It’s a common problem for tradesmen.  Add that to the fact that when I told him we were getting a divorce he took a 20 pound sledgehammer through the house and destroyed about $30,000 worth of property–so you can see that I have some rebuilding and recovery to do in my life.

In case you didn’t know, it is legal for your spouse to destroy your property since it is also his property as defined by marriage.

Things that were destroyed? A guitar I bought when I was 17 years old, the TV, the TV stand, my Vitamix blender (if you have read any of my blog you know how important this piece of kitchen equipment is to me), built in bookshelves, an oak desk, computers, my hot tub, our wood burning stove.  He destroyed it all with a sledgehammer.

What a 20 pound sledgehammer can do to your guitar
Takamine Guitar I bought when I was 17 years old.

But it is all just stuff, and the point of all that is to say that this year I am in recovery.  I’m being optimistic calling it the year of recovery because recovery is a lifelong process.  So far during this process I have learned how to patch and repair sheetrock, I finished siding my house with concrete hardie board–in the process learned how to use a nail gun, compressor, circular saw, and a bunch of other tools, and I have learned so much more.

One of my favorite things, my hot tub, after the 20 pound sledgehammer problem.

My house is coming together, and so much of my time has been dedicated to that process.  There are many other pieces to this recovery.  Fortunately the process of physically rebuilding my house has helped tremendously with the process of reclaiming my life, redefining myself, building a better life for my kids, and providing them with a secure environment.

I hope that my ex can find his way back to his own recovery.  But I don’t have any control over that.   Anybody who has ever successfully negotiated their own recovery knows that it is a full time, life long job, and sobriety is only one piece of the puzzle.

I’m looking forward to the point in my recovery when I can use my time creating music, hosting get togethers, and writing books.  In the meantime I’m learning carpentry and writing in my spare time when I’m not being a single mom, working as a nurse, doing massage, or teaching massage therapists.  The work is good for me.

Being able to finally write about this is good for my recovery too.  I think another very important thing I have learned about alcoholism is that we are not alone.  This is such a pervasive illness that there are few people who have not been touched in some way by alcoholism.  Just knowing that is a comfort when coming from the culture of silence and stigma that follows addiction.

Our oak desk and computer after the sledgehammer

This weekend I’m going to try to inspire my kids to help me caulk the house to get it ready for paint.  When I’m not doing that I’ll be writing, running, and doing the few massage appointments I have scheduled.  And when I get my house painted I promise to post a few pictures so that all my images are not depicting destruction.  There is a rebirth that happens with recovery.

Let me know if you want to get on the massage table.  I’m doing massage most Fridays and some Sundays.  It’s part of who I am and I love it.  I hope you’ll make time to get on the table soon!

By the way, massage therapy can be a very helpful part of recovery too.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, former owner of I.M. Spa, registered nurse at a hospital, Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, runner, world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 24 plus years, a massage therapy educator, and a gardener.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

 

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Gratitude and Abundance!

It has been almost 2 years since my husband Craig and I both decided to go to nursing school full time.  At the time I didn’t think there was any way possible for me to continue with I.M. Spa and be in school full time, and I am grateful every day for the opportunity to keep walking into our space and connecting with our community through health and massage.  I’m grateful to our staff because they truly are the ones who have made it happen.

 

We’re also grateful to you. Without you choosing to get massage, facials, acupuncture, and waxing at I.M. Spa we would not be here. Thank you for choosing I.M. Spa for your bodywork needs.  I’m so honored every time I walk into a treatment room that I get to share that space with this community.

 

I am busier than I have ever been at this point in my life. I work with I.M. Spa, I go to nursing school full time, I have a part time job at the VA as a student nurse tech to get experience, and I have 3 of my 4 kids at home doing everything they do.  Thank goodness we have such an amazing community helping us out. Friends helping pick up our kids from school when we’re in class, friends helping kids get where they need to go, community everywhere supporting us all along the way.  You know who you are :). Fayetteville is an amazing place and I can’t imagine making it through without this beautiful combination of people in our community.  We’re so grateful.

 

I’m really looking forward to getting done with nursing school in May of 2016!  What a relief that will be!  We’ll have to have a party!

 

There are some exciting changes in the works for I.M. Spa.  We are moving to Evelyn Hills (next to Ozark Natural Foods, Uncle Sam’s, Cardamom & Curry, Treasures from Africa, and Handmade) and expanding to include a yoga studio. Downtown has been good to us. We are looking forward to more great neighbors, great parking, a place for you to drop off your kids while you get a facial or do a yoga class (Arkadia), and continuing doing what we do best.

We’ll keep you posted as the transition happens. We’ll be on Block Street till the beginning of January. And then we’ll have a big party in the new space!!  In August we will have been on Block Street for 6 years! Hard to believe.  It has been a sweet time.
Thank you for continuing to support I.M. Spa!  We look forward to serving you. It’s a favorite.
Love, love, love,
Wendy Finn
Schedule a massage, facial, acupuncture, or wax appointment at I.M. Spa:  479-251-7422
Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, student nurse tech at the VA hospital, 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.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422
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Father’s Day Foot Massages

It’s that time of year again.  Time to honor our father’s for their contributions to our lives.  Whether it’s with time fishing or a hiking date, time in the spa for a foot massage date with your dad, I hope you are able to connect with your dad this Father’s Day, the 21st of June (which also happens to be the Summer Solstice).

My dad has passed, but he was a troubador, traveling all over the states, playing music, sleeping at friends houses and in a camper on his truck on the way.  I wouldn’t hear from him for months sometimes and then one of my friends would have what we called an “Ed sighting.”  Somebody had seen him at a festival or some town along the way, Luckenbach, Kerrville, Mexico, Cody, or somewhere in New Mexico or Arizona and they always went out of their way to tell us about it.  It was a pretty good system.

I was at the bank last week and ran into an old friend, Josh, who has a deep appreciation for my dad.  I hadn’t seen Josh in a few years.  We hugged and he started to tell me a story about coming home one day to a hand written card attached to a CD of my dad’s music.  The card said, “a wind blew through while you were gone.”  It was a reference to a song that my dad had gotten some recognition for called, “A Wind Blows Through West Texas.”  It was the first “Ed Sighting” we have had for a while.  My dad was a character.  A charismatic performer and story teller.  I’m so glad when people remember him to me.

Do you have a good memory of your dad to share?

Call to make a foot massage appointment with the Dad in your life: 479-251-7422

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.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422

 

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Mother’s Day Local Shopping Guide!

Mother’s Day is coming this Sunday!  And you already know that the best thing you can get the moms in your life is a Gift Certificate and a Gift Basket from I.M. Spa.  I can’t tell you how many women come in to the spa and say, “I keep telling them to get me a massage, but they never remember.”

But you may not know about some other awesome local businesses in the area that would be perfect for your mom’s day presents.  For instance, there is a Mother’s Day tradition here in Northwest Arkansas at Chotkowski Gardens where you can walk through the peony gardens from 1 to 4p.m.  Every year I see the invitations for this event and never seem to be able to make it out, but this year I’m taking my whole family and as many friends as I can wrangle.  I love peonies

I wish there was a smell feature on the computer, because peonies smell divine!

Other places you will want to shop for Mother’s Day are:

Click here to buy a Gift Certificate for a massage, acupuncture treatment, or facial online! Or call us at I.M. Spa and we can make it beautiful for you: 479-251-7422

Read here if you want a little giggle about why you should honor your mother.

Me and My Mom
Me and My Mom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day!!

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.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422

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Fayetteville Skyline Love

Ben Climbs Cross in the Skyline
Ben Climbs Cross in the Skyline

When you have a small business and you are a full time nursing student and you have four sons, it’s important that you grab every moment you can to do special things like go up to Mt. Sequoyah at sunset with your 10 year old.  These are the best things in life, eh?  Not to mention, he got up early with me this morning to do yoga together. My life is amazing.

Another Cross in the Sky Tonight
Another Cross in the Sky Tonight

Spring is my favorite. Vibrant colors. Clouds. Fresh turned dirt. Clouds. Sunshine. So much green. Fayetteville is amazing in the Spring, and I’m so glad I get to share it with my sons. Makes me breathe deeper just looking at these pictures.

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6 Commitments or New Year’s Resolutions

Today was the first day back in nursing school after a 3 week break.  And during the break I took some time to try to define what was important to me to keep up with if it was at all possible during the craziness that is full time nursing school, full time business owner, and full time mama of four boys.

Planner
My 2015 Planner (covered with post its).

Things I put in my planner were:

  1. I want to continue to run to school and to work, but I’m also training for the Hogeye Half Marathon with my son Sean (he’s 16) and Ellie, a young colleague from nursing school.  We’re training 5 days a week.  Yeah.  I don’t know how that’s gonna get done either–but there it is.
  2. I want to meditate daily-15minutes.
  3. I want to blog 3 days a week and not get onto myself if it’s not perfect.  I at least need to show up.
  4. I want to do yoga with Ben one day a week (Mondays because it’s a rest day from running).  When your nine year old kid wants to do something with you, you’d better make time for it, because God knows, soon enough he’s going to have a life that is too busy for yoga dates with mom (hopefully not, but it’s a distinct possibility).
  5. I want to continue developing my book.  Yeah, I said it.
  6. I want to invite friends over to play once a month.  Because I love them and they’re just going to have to forgive my messy home.  It is what it is.

I really don’t know if there are actually enough hours in the day for this crazy list.  But surely if I just do a little bit regularly I will be okay.  I’ll try to keep you posted on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.  But if you don’t hear from me for a while, you’ll know that I’m buried with school work.

And if I lose my mind in the process, you’ll be hearing bout it.

Schedule your appointment at I.M. Spa :  479-251-7422

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.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422

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Running with my Sons

It’s Christmas break in between semesters of Nursing School at the University of Arkansas and my boys got me running in 30 something degree weather at 10:30 at night.

Midnight Run with my Two Middle Sons
Midnight Run with my Two Middle Sons

My life is amazing and I am so grateful for these two guys and that I live in a town where we can run late at night and not be afraid!

Where do you like to run?

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.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422

 

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Grateful Year in Review: 18 Things Remembered

This has been an amazing and busy year.  I wonder if I’m normal because I take on so much work.  Does everybody do that?

There are so many amazing things I want to get into and so little time.

My Stroller makes it possible for me to run everywhere I go
My Stroller makes it possible for me to run everywhere I go

My year in review:

  1. Completed 3 semesters of nursing school with a 4.0 gpa (not sure that matters to anybody but me, but there it is).

    My Clinical Group 2014
    My Clinical Group 2014
  2. Fed my family mostly vegan, mostly raw, most of the year!
  3. Ate lots of veggies out of my own garden (which was a miracle because I had zero time for gardening).
  4. Kept my business going for a whole year while I simultaneously attended nursing school.
    I.M. Spa Store Front
    I.M. Spa Store Front

    Also didn’t think that was possible.  There are amazing people who work at I.M. Spa, that’s all there is to it.

  5. Took my work crew to Dallas spas and raw food restaurants.

    I.M. Spa Crew
    I.M. Spa Crew
  6. Traveled to Disney World with my family over Spring Break.

    Ben Wins the School Spelling Bee
    Ben Wins the School Spelling Bee
  7. Watched my kids:  win the school spelling bee (Ben), play soccer and baseball (Zach and Ben), march in band (Sean) and go to Disney with the Band, sing a solo in the St. Paul’s Christmas Pagaent (Ben), take crazy courses in college like Calculus 3 and chemical engineering (Levi), attend their first homecoming dance (Sean), and fall in love with drumming (Zach).
  8. Floated the Buffalo River with dear friends.

    Float the Buffalo
    Float the Buffalo
  9. Saw Boston in concert.
  10. Revived my meditation practice.
  11. Ran to school and work regularly.
  12. me and my momMade dreamcatchers with my mom and just always love being with her.

    Made Dream Catchers with My Mom
    Made Dream Catchers with My Mom
  13. Watched Craig pour a concrete slab for a Hot Tub that we have not yet found.  Watched Craig do amazing things in personal growth, change his food, and get his blood pressure under control with meditation.  He amazes me.  And he bikes 60 miles round trip to nursing school in Bentonville.
  14. Took my neice (Bella) to the Nutcracker.
  15. Picked blueberries with my family from Texas.
  16. Maintained my gratitude practice with my Gratitude Partner via email.  For that I am eternally grateful 🙂
  17. Snuggled with my boys a LOT!  It’s a favorite.
  18. Blogged a little.My Family

I am so grateful to be here and can’t even begin to imagine what kinds of things we’ll be getting into this year.  I’m glad to have survived a year of nursing school while being a working mom, and I am constantly amazed at all the opportunities and experiences that we have.

What are you grateful for this year?

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.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422

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Tea Tree Sanitizer

Flu Season is Coming!

As soon as my kids started back to school they started bringing home the germs.  Ben, my 9 year old just recovered from an upper respiratory infection that knocked him down for 3 days.  Yuck.  And all the girls around me in nursing school are sniffling and sneezing.  Flu season is coming!

One of my teachers was actually teaching a section on proper procedures and systems to help employees be able to go home sick without consequences to keep from spreading contagious illnesses in the nursing home.

She taught this class while she was so sick she couldn’t even talk.

I was sick this semester and didn’t want to contaminate the patients at the hospital and stayed home for one day, but I probably should have stayed home 2 days.

Sometimes it’s hard to go home when we should.

You may have heard me say it before, we are 10 times more bacterial cells than we are our own cells.  We need those little buggers.  But we don’t want to get those germs that make us get sick and have to call in.

I have a bad attitude towards the toxic hand sanitizers that are all over our kids’ schools, hospitals, and in the checkout lanes of the major stores.  The ones that are alcohol based are just fine.  The ones you want to watch out for are those containing TRICLOSAN. It is a thyroid and estrogen disrupting chemical that is also related to an increase in food allergies.  It is found in hand sanitizers and toothpastes and has been banned in Minnesota, and is being investigated by the FDA.

When we are looking at products we can put our name behind here at the spa we look for products that do the job, but don’t make you sick in the process.

We carry a hand sanitizer at I.M. Spa that uses Tea Tree Oil and we love it.  So if you feel like you need a hand sanitizer this flu season and you don’t feel like damaging yourself in the process, come by and pick some up.

When I took Microbiology at the University of Arkansas, we did a lab test on different kinds of antiseptics to see which ones were most effective, and tea tree oil outperformed all the others.

Tea Tree Sanitizer
Tea Tree Sanitizer

I think the future of medicine is going to involve more development of healthy bacterial biomes and environments, and less attempts to wipe out bacterial populations.  In the meantime, this hand sanitizer will help you maintain your bacterial biome without threatening your hormonal balance, your potential for food allergies, or your risk for getting the flu.

Can’t wait to see you at the spa!  Happy shopping!

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.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422

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