Thursday, July 21, 2011

Healthy Touch

One of the first things my teacher Nancy said when we started school was to "Never underestimate the power of touch". I strongly believe that as a culture we've minimized the importance of touch and it was one of the main reasons I was attracted to Massage Therapy in the first place.

During the first week or two of class I decided to conduct an experiment. For one week, I kept track of how often I was touched [not including class time where we were practicing strokes] even the most absentminded pat on the shoulder. I was shocked when by the end of the week I had only been touched 4 times. I know I'm single and busy and for the most part my family isn't particularly touchy, but this strikes me as abnormal.

After moving home from Africa where straight men freely hold hands and space bubbles don't exist, it was a glaring cultural difference I noticed right away. We sit alone in our cubicles, need 5ft of personal space at all times with strangers and we wonder why depression and suicide is so prevalent in our society? And often, because we are either desperate or have never been taught any better we use unhealthy touch as a poor substitute.

We know that without touch babies can literally die, but for some reason it's okay to minimize the need as an adult?

These are just some rambling thoughts, but do I believe that we are a touch starved nation and I am so excited to play a small part in changing that.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Photos

These are my favorite summer pictures so far!


[Maybe not the best of photos, but I love how goofy my brothers are]



[This is about as close to the fireworks as I could get]

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Freak Out

Since the beginning of this year, I've been stressing out about my 25th birthday. The idea of turning 25 really hit hard and for the longest time I couldn't figure out why. Like sooo many people have felt the need to tell me, I'm still young and it's not like I'm approaching old age yet or anything. I really do know that.

The fact that it was bothering me so much really bothered me! I'm not someone who's ever worried about aging, but this past week when the day finally came I figured it out.

My mom says that when I was a little girl I would tell her that when I grew up I was going to move right next door and marry a man just like my dad. All through my childhood years and into high school my dream was to get married and have a family. That was literally all I wanted. I was going to be the most amazing mom ever.

Now I just turned 25 and I realized a while ago that life rarely goes according to plan and even though I loved Africa and I love Massage Therapy, I have to fight against a feeling of disappointment.

It is so frustratingly human to always want what you don't have, but I guess I just have to settle for being cliche and hope God continues to work on my heart and teaching me to be content with him.

I continue to be a work in progress.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Finding My Bliss

Every Tuesday I have a 4hr class on Deep Tissue/Structural Integration. The subject is fascinating and I love slowly deepening my understanding of the human body and how everything is interdependent and connected . . . but that topic is for another time. The man that teaches this class is amazing. He has a deep, abiding passion for both bodywork and teaching and it comes across in his every gesture and word.

He inspires me to look at things from a different angle and to explore my own motivations and preconceived notions and while he has said lots of inspiring things one in particular sticks out to me.

"Find your bliss"

I believe we've all been given gifts and talents in different and unique areas. I've always been one of those people who drifted and played at many things, but never one thing in particular. I love kids, but lack the patience to be a teacher. I can write, but I'm not especially motivated. I can take a pretty picture, but nothing all that spectacular. Crafting is good fun, but I refuse to follow silly things like patterns so everything is slightly 'off'. I love people so the non-profit angle seemed to fit and that was good and right for awhile, but my heart moved on.

I prayed and prayed. I hated that feeling of restlessness and wondering 'is this really it??' I felt a little cheated to be honest. But of course, He always knows best and I never fail to forget that and so I found Massage or God gave me Massage and I've finally found my bliss.

It's like slipping into your favorite pair of jeans that are worn from so many washings and wearings that there are holes in both knees and in the butt, but it doesn't matter because it's like coming home and this whole time I've been homesick for something I didn't even know I was missing.

So now I'm in a place of awe and thankfulness towards God. His sense of timing while puzzling and often downright frustrating is impeccable nonetheless.

TBC . . .

Monday, June 20, 2011

End of a Long Pause

I obviously haven't been blogging much lately which is weird because I feel like I have so much to share! Life has become crazy busy, but I love it because I love what I'm doing and every time I say or think that I'm slightly shocked.

I never thought I'd find something I am as passionate about as massage. I thought I would be one of those people that survived on some meaningless job to pay the bills until retirement, but I am so grateful that that's not my story anymore.

Anyway, I have so much to tell you, but it really is too much for one post so you'll be seeing some more activity on here at last! I love blogging and it's a creative outlet that I definitely need!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Visiting Friends

It's kind of a dream come true to have my friends/family from South Africa come and visit me in my hometown, first Keri Dodge and just this last week Zach and Anneke Price! We talked and laughed and had amazing food and talked some more. Its was superb.

Though the visit was a short one, it was a huge blessing to be with some of my favorite people on the planet. Thanks Zach and Anneke for taking the time to come and see me and my family. I love you both and miss you more than I can say!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Oregon Fun

Yes, once again Hayley and I made our way to Portland for a weekend of fun and the joy of being together! I love these times. We always make a list of activities we want to do, but at the same time hold everything loosely as we both know the true purpose of meeting up is to simply be together.

Here are some random pics from the weekend!

I miss Hayley everyday and we always have such a good time catching up. Saying goodbye this time was harder than normal and I cried for a good hour on the drive home, but I'm so grateful for these times and I can't wait for our next adventure!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Inspiring Videos

These two videos have really inspired and encouraged me lately. Both are by two super talented artists who obviously have huge hearts for God. Enjoy!

"TheGoodNews" by Propaganda

P4CM Official Poet Janette

"I will wait for you"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hydrotherapy & Aromatherapy

This past week I officially started at Northwest Noetic School of Massage! It started off a little boring as there was a lot a basic hygiene and school procedures we needed to go over, but we also had our first weekend class and it did not disappoint!

All day Saturday was devoted to lecture. It was fascinating to learn the history of both these fascinating forms of therapy!

Image found here.

is simply defined as the 'therapeutic use of water' and for thousands of years different cultures have been using this method for healing since ancient Greek and Roman times to Native American sweat lodges. We learned techniques from using hot and cold compresses to hot stone treatments to ice massages to saunas. It's amazing how extensive this topic is and I feel like we barely touched the surface!

healthy living
Image found here.

Aromatherapy is the art and science of using essential oils for the purpose of detoxifying, rejuvenating, and enhancing/amplifying the body systems; with the intention of creating change. Now this was a topic I was a little more hesitant about and not very interested in, but I found it fascinating in the end nonetheless! Our teacher had degrees in natural medicine and had established her very own apothecary so she was clearly passionate about the topic! She got a little technical with some of the botanical and distillation details, but I love that I now know how to make my own massage oil!

All day Sunday we were given the chance to put into practice what we had learned the day before so we spent 8 hours giving each other spa treatments. It was a great weekend and I learned so much!

Steam Cabinet

This is a steam cabinet we used. Basically it's a portable sauna and you can see the steam coming up from the opening at the neck! So cool.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Grant!

Today is my little brother Grant's [a.k.a. Granite, Grantie Poo, Bamper-head] Birthday! Though he turned 22 today, in my mind I still tend to think of him at this age . . .


. . . and he still loves fishing! Though he's obviously grown up quite a lot he still has the softest heart of anyone I know. He's extremely intelligent and hard-working and I'm so proud of him and the man he's become!

Happy Birthday, Grant!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Nostalgic Memories & New Beginnings

I can't believe it's been over six months since I left Africa! I'm always amazed at how quickly time moves and lately I've been reminiscing about these past few years and how life has changed so drastically.

This time last year, I was traveling to Zambia with the DTS. I spent 24hrs on a crowded bus with my friend Keri and saw Victoria Falls! Life looked so different just a year ago than it does now. In a few days I start Massage Therapy School and while I couldn't be more excited, I can't help missing the beauty and excitement of Africa. I can't help missing my friends, my dog, and my favorite coffee shop.

So here's to the next chapter of life [which after six months I feel is finally starting!]. Here's to nostalgic memories and new beginnings. I'm so ready.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Craft Fun

Last Friday was my mom's birthday and I wanted to give her something unexpected and special. While surfing looking for that perfect gift I saw something fun and thought 'I can do that!'.

I had so much fun working on this and stretching my creative boundaries and I think it turned out pretty awesome!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Spasms

For the last few years, I've experienced what I thought were panic attacks. They had all the classic symptoms of a panic attack. Pressure in my chest, shortness of breath, etc. It always kind of bothered me as I'm not a particularly anxious person, but I really didn't think there was any other explanation.


Well, yesterday I went to the doctor for a completely unrelated matter and casually mentioned my 'panic attacks'. The doctor was interested and asked me to describe them. So I told her how painful they were and how it felt like my ribs were being squeezed together in a vise and how whenever they hit me I would be curled on the floor in pain for at least a half an hour. She then calmly told me that, no, those weren't panic attacks, they are what is called 'Esophageal Spasms'. Which is exactly what it sounds like- when your esophagus seizes up.

Now there really isn't a lot they can do about these spasms, but that's okay cause I walked out of that office with this huge weight off of my shoulders. It changes my view of myself and how I handle life and I really wish I'd asked a doctor 4 years ago rather than self-diagnosing!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cooking Light

Tuesday is my day to cook in the Deniston household and I love the opportunity to try new recipes and experiment. One book I've discovered that I love is The Best of Cooking Light. I've loved every recipe I've used and have a list going of the ones I still want to try.

[Warm Apple Buttermilk Custard Pie. Sooo good!]

[Smoked Gouda Macaroni]

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wishing I was there . . .

I met David Song about 3 years ago. I thought he was so weird! A Korean-American New Yorker he was nothing I was used to, but it didn't take long for me to see the amazing man of God he is and we became friends. Through lots of great conversations and leading an outreach to Uganda and Mozambique together, David became a real mentor to me [he's super old] and I can't really begin to describe the positive influence he's had on my life.


He's getting married right this instant [I'm watching it live] in Capetown, South Africa to the most beautiful Nigerian woman! I can't believe I'm not there, but thankful I at least get to watch.

Congrats, David and Grace! Praying for you and wishing you both all the best!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Voodoo Doughnuts

A few months ago when Hayley and I were in Portland, we kept hearing about the amazing doughnuts at Voodoo, but the line was so long and it didn't seem worth the wait. Well on this visit, we decided that we were going to try these famous doughnuts no matter how long we had to stand in line . . .

Almost two hours later, we walked out with our 6 doughnuts. You have to remember that this shop is famous in Portland and its been featured on the Food Network channel multiple times so we expected these pastries to be like nirvana in our mouths! Some kind of near-religious experience for sure.

Voodoo Doughnuts

Unfortunately, the doughnuts tasted like normal, earth-like doughnuts no singing in our mouths or anything, but we did have an awesome time talking in line [despite being freezing!] and now we have a fun story! Plus, the shop was decorated really neat and I loved snapping photos.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Photoblog: Weekend with Hayley

[Photo by Hayley]

I love you, Hayley Nicholls! Thank you for an awesome weekend!