People of Yorkville Series
Penee with Penny Moss
Me: How long have you been in business?
PM: 17 years. I’ve been in this location (26 North Congress) a little over a year. I started out at 17 North Congress and I was there five or six years and then that building sold, so I had to move. I was going to build onto my house, and Ann over here at Hummingbird Florist heard I was leaving downtown, and she said, ‘You can have my building. I’ll give you the same rent. We don’t want you to leave downtown; you’re a big asset.’ So I moved from 17 down to 35, which is now Holley’s Beaded Dragon.
Penny goes on to explain that she then, through a series of events, ended up moving across the street to 26 North Congress, which is where her spa currently resides.
We’re having conversation about client base, where people come from…
PM: My type of business, these days people fist pump, they use hand sanitizer, they don’t like people touching them. They communicate through typing and text, you know; nobody really gets touched. Especially if you’re single. And so a destination like this, once you come to relax – and I won’t even just say Penee – a massage therapist, somebody you can connect with and that can also touch you and can pray over you….you remember that. It stays in your heart.
God called me to this. He gave me a vision. I was working in corporate America and I had a terrible day one day. And I went and got a massage. I went to Carmen and Carmen because I worked in downtown Charlotte. I went in and I was like – I need a massage, I need to relax. She said, ‘We don’t have any massage appointments available but we have a facial.’ I’d never had a facial before, but I took her word and went in. And sure enough, I was at one of those crossroads in life and I was laying there and I was in tune with the Spirit and He gave me a vision. He showed me doing what she was doing to me. And I thought, gosh, this is what I need to do! I researched it, went and took out my 401K, lived off my 401k, went to school, and opened up my business in December.
She went on to share about getting started and moving into her own space, the first space at 17 North Congress.
It has been like that. He (God) has opened doors. Every time.
Me: Memorable clients, moments, stand out poignant instances?
PM: I would say this is the one… The Lord put a specific calling on my life. He said you will make people happy and you will inspire a billion. And I didn’t know what “billion” meant. And then He sent me to the Pregnancy Crisis Center and I learned that one in three women have had an abortion. Well, I had an abortion in my early twenties and I knew God had forgiven me, but I didn’t realize I hadn’t forgiven myself. So I actually got healed from an abortion I had 20 years ago. It put me in dangerous situations with men, with life, I didn’t feel I was worthy, and I overdid myself trying to make up for that. And I got healed there. So, I am a career counselor there on Wednesday, and I counsel women that are in crisis situation. … Well, when I share my testimony here (Penee), and I don’t share it with just anybody, but when God lays it on my heart to share, I would say those instances are the ones I remember.
Penny goes on the share that when she shares her story at her spa, women will open up and share their stories with her. Women that have had their own abortions, their own traumas early in life and haven’t ever told their husbands. Women open up about burdens they’ve held on to from before ….. Before marriage, before kids, before ____.
PM: And it is such freedom to be able to speak it. And some of these women have never said it. And when they say it, it’s just a flow of tears, and the enemy can’t hold them anymore. It’s like Vegas in here. What is said in here, stays in here, and people know that. It’s a place to come out of the world, to just come in here and be gone for a little bit and just recharge.
What is a facial?
I have a 30 minute, 1 hour, and an hour and a half. If you’re a beginner, and you just want to feel it out, I recommend the 30 minute, but after, you’re usually like, Ohh, I need an hour at least! It like Starbucks – you got the tall, the grande, and the whatever.
There’s a double cleansing, an exfoliating mask, a peeling mask, I put it on and I have these cucumber eye patches and then I start the massage. I start with the decollete (the shoulder blade, chest area), and then I go to the shoulders, and the neck and down the arms and then I put a heated bag across your chest. Then I go down and I massage your feet. Our hands and our feet are all connected to our organs, so I use different massage techniques on your hands and feet. I put essential oils on your feet. I have a scanner I use on your hand so I know what oils to use, and I put a hot towel over their face, and then I ask if there’s something I can pray over them for, and then I take that hot towel and that last mask off. I then use a toner, a serum, and a thicker cream over dry spots and I put on an eye cream, and that’s about it.
Me: That is a facial?!? Laughter…SOOO much better than Walmart! (I joked about buying my facial scrub at Walmart because I am not typically a girly girl.) It does not even compare!
PM: (Laughs) It does not even compare!
Then she explains lots of other treatments she can do. Visit her website for dermabrasion, peels, make up, and more.
She goes on to discuss future plans and listening for God’s call. Penny has started a Facebook page called Heart Rebalanced for women that would like to reach out to her. Penny and I had a wonderfully uplifting conversation, and I highly recommend everyone go see Penny. She has such a positive and infectious, joyful spirit that any customer is sure to have a renewing and heart filled experience.
26 North Congress Street, York, SC 29745
I must admit, in a culture of more, having a way to focus the entire year seems smart. What a marvelous solution to the overwhelming push of excess in our lives, living into just one word, c’est la vie to all other words.
I drove around for at least two days, sometimes consciously, sometimes not, thinking about the concept of choosing my word. Did I feel brave? Could I be persistent? Do I even want to dominate? What if I failed at faith? Am I ready for growth?
I thought about the New Year’s card the boys and I created together.
– from an interview with Ann Voskamp, found here.
It’s amazing how our Spirit reaches out, touching our thoughts; how a soul feels what a brain names. The tears welled up, and I drove along, streaks running down my cheekbones. Friends and family gifted us more love than I shall ever be able to repay. What humbleness it is to receive that which is unpayable!
2017- a year of such intense heartbreak and challenge and turmoil – held captivating miracles of Grace, Thanksgiving, and Joy.
And yet, as the rush subsides and the memories of a year past slow, I feel fear – a pinch of the throat, a doubt in my choice, a questioning of my ability to live into such a courageous word. Because every time in my life I have chosen a path righteous for God, requiring focus and discipline and practice and intentionality, the devil has shown up to play. I am not sure I am willing to tempt the devil just yet, and I am certainly doubtful I am ready to give what Eucharisteo asks. Eucharisteo is the act of saying in the face of agony that I choose Thanksgiving. I choose Joy. I choose Grace. In the face of adversity and trauma, during the storm of chaos and legalities and uncertainty, I choose God. I choose to give thanks. I choose Eucharisteo. It comes before all else. It must come first in order for the forgiveness and the love and the faith to come too. To choose Eucharisteo means to choose bravery and courage, to give thanks for the broken and the angry and the whole mess. To say in this hard good, I choose to see God, I choose to say Thank you. For all of it.
That feels quite daring, and frankly, a bit audacious.
(Thank goodness I have a whole year to work on it.)
**My current reading list that has greatly influenced my thoughts and writings recently:
One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown
We’re a soccer family. As in travel soccer. Meaning Oreo cookies, juice boxes, and five minute commutes to games is a thing of the past. No participation medals here. Those ribbons that hang on the wall get earned in this house.
My thirteen year old son started playing soccer when he was five. We did the whole recreational play thing, getting up on Saturday mornings and standing on the sidelines, cheering. Snack sign ups existed back then. (Recreational soccer is feel good.) But then at the ripe old age of seven, a coach suggested Key do a developmental program. Being our first born, we took this as a sign that Key was talented; possibly on a path to scholarships; definitely worth the investment to find out. Since darling actually did want more soccer and the mental benefits to him of running that much were easily visible, we did it. Then the next year, at the prompting of his developmental trainer, we attended the club level evaluations. The coaches promised it wasn’t a big step, given we already participated in the development program. And so our whole club experience began.
At first, we were shell shocked. The jump from Oreo soccer to club soccer is a big one. Yes, it’s just three practices and two games weekly. But those practices are run by professionals, lasting around 90 minutes each, often at locations farther from home. And the two games? Those can be considered local at up to two hours from home, often with start times at 8am and 3pm. Warming up beforehand? Of course! Please be on the fields in matching gear a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour prior to start time. Immediately, the idea of an early cup of joe before a fun little match is over. Whole families are up and dragging toddler siblings around Timbuktu at 5am on a Saturday (and/or Sunday) in order to get to darling’s club game in time. Sound insane? It is.
When we first entered this new realm, it was actually worth it. In many important ways, six years later, it is still worth all this chaos. But along the way, it seems like either I am getting tired, I am gaining perspective on youth sports, the clubs are demanding more each year, or maybe it is all of the above.
The worth in all this is the phenomenal mentors and life lessons and enduring friendships both boys have received. These men (and women on the girls’ side) that coach at the club level, some fathers and some aspiring professional players, offer our boys dedication, energy, character building, training, kindness, and role models. They provide us a positive community of people to coach our boys in much, much more than soccer skills. The coaches my boys have had these past seven years are unsurpassed in their dedication. Plus the training is almost always top notch across the board. I gotta say, in this regard of recreation versus club, you get what you pay for. (Not to mention the geography and cultural life learning that comes from looking up the many coaches’ home countries. Seriously. We can check off several US states, plus Canada, Thailand, Uganda, Cote de Ivoire, England, Ireland, Brazil, and Argentina.) The people. The relationships. The superior training in a sport both boys love. The extended friendships for both boys and for us as parents. This is where the worth lies.
The rub comes from the commitment factor. After driving to hundreds of practices and games and giving up family events and vacations with the grands, it gets hard to keep going. Yet when the question of common sense and whether this is all needed in order to build those worthy relationships is raised, the first thing doubted is the commitment. Commitment of the child to the game. Commitment of the parent to their little player’s potential greatness. It has begun to raise in my heart the questions back – When did a nine year old committing all his free time to the game become desirable? Healthy? Reasonable? And when did a nine year old with multiple interests and a need for free play time become undesirable? Less lauded? Requiring excuse or further explanation? And then to take this whole thought process further, let’s trade out the nine year old for the thirteen year old. Why is it unacceptable to only want to play one season per year? Why is year round, meaning both spring and fall, not good enough? Why are players discouraged from taking the winter off? What is the benefit of obsession in sports? When all of our research repeats the dangers of overuse injuries and burn out and anxiety disorders from performance stress, what drives us to ignore common sense? Is it glory? Is it the scholarship? And is that really the reason 98% of them are going to college? For the game? Can we not develop reasonably trained players, friendships and a sense of commitment to team, without absolute obsession? When my two boys were scheduled for practices thirty minutes apart at overlapping times on the same days and I responded with a concern about our ability to be in two places at the same time, the response from our club? Challenges as described would need to be overcome by more commitment from the parents. When we couldn’t get to an extra conditioning practice or an out of season tournament? Players on this team would need to condition and train during their own free time to be able to continue playing at such a level. Neither of my boys are or strive to be on a premier level team, so is this reasonable? Maybe. But maybe not.
The $4000+ each year it takes to fund two boys in club soccer, the countless hours, the endless driving, the sacrifice of family both in time and in care, the extra volunteer hours – this all is no longer enough. Adding up last year’s fall and spring hours, my then twelve year old (and therefore us as parents as well) spent 320 hours on soccer. I haven’t calculated the then eight year old’s year, but his time commitment was even more hours than his older brother. This means we easily used 700 hours doing soccer last year for a then 3rd grader and 7th grader. And we did less than most families on their teams. Every year, we are asked for more time, more commitment to extended training, more serious focus from our children, and more money from our wallets. All in the name of proving our commitment.
Have we as parents collectively lost our minds? This isn’t enough?
It isn’t enough.
Because it is too much.
And yet, my boys are in the minority (as in the only ones on their teams most likely), because we drew the line this year. No more off season soccer. No winter indoor league. No expensive summer training program. A half day camp for fun because they beg come July? (Miraculously, they still love the darn game.) Mmm, Maybe. But, even that will take some serious thinking. Caving under the pressure that sweet baby will fall behind in skill? Nope. Take it elsewhere. This Chick is claiming back her holidays and her Friday night TV and her Saturday mornings with her cup of joe and her dates with her husband.
Soccer is worthwhile. Sports in general do mimic adult life challenges. The coaches of past and present deserve our utmost gratitude. There is great value in that yearly $4000 investment. (Before y’all balk at that $$, music lessons and all those parents with girls in dance are spending more than me. And to the hockey crazed parents up north, my sports bill is peanuts.)
But rest and care and family and free play and quiet time (AND CHURCH) are also:
deserving of gratitude
deserving of time
deserving of commitment
And this soccer mom – venting – needed to get that off her chest.
Recently we had the pleasure of seeing some Norman Rockwell artwork up close. A travelling exhibit featured a few of his most famous pieces, and also offered insight into his process. Though I think of Mr. Rockwell as having captured life in action, his pieces were actually planned. Early in his career, he used models that would stand in poses for hours as he sketched. But with the increasing popularity of photography within the art world, Rockwell switched. He would use everyday people, kids next door, neighbors down the street, and get them to pose. A professional photographer would take pictures and print them. And Rockwell would have his inspiration. First he staged, next he photographed, then he sketched, and finally, Norman Rockwell painted.
With this full process in mind, the boys and I took off in search of what we consider local, southern, Americana.
We found it at our favorite monthly bluegrass night.
What has transpired is a month’s worth of art projects in our study of Norman Rockwell’s process.
Step One (Week One): Photography – Take pictures that provide personal inspiration and represent Americana in your local community. I have a few samples below, but I have not shown several different angles. When taking the photographs, make sure to include the entire scene from various angles. Also take close ups of the scene in parts. In the photograph below, I also would need separate close ups of each player. These close ups help provide detail we may not easily catch. When moving into the sketching stage, the variety in your photographs helps with inspiration and observation of detail.
These three gentlemen practice in the back Sunday school rooms while the featured band plays the stage in another part of the building. Bluegrass is an integral part of culture where we live.
This is the house band performing to the late night crowd at the end of a bluegrass night.
We have other photographs we are also using as our inspiration.
Step Two (Week Two): Sit down and sketch a scene using photographs as both basic structure for the piece and for inspiration. In this phase, we can remove unwanted items and add elements we deem necessary. As an example, for the three players, I can leave out the background posters, toys, and clutter and simplify any curtains, decor, etc. Maybe have them standing on wooden floors instead of linoleum tile. For the crowd picture, I would remove air conditioning units on the back wall and increase the size of the stage to feature the performers. But no matter how I might alter my sketches, I still have the photographs as my guide.
As an example of an earlier practice round, here are some of my canning jars filled with seeds.
And here is my sketch.
Step Three (Weeks Three and Four): Finally, Rockwell converted his sketch to paint and canvas. So as a final phase in the activity, I would do the same. Personally, because we do not have a lot of experience with paints, this final step of Rockwell’s process is purely fun and educational.
This activity is a lengthy process. It can easily be divided into sections or used in small parts for photography, simple sketching, elements in art, and as lessons in various mediums. The main point is to have fun, be creative, and learn about one of America’s favorite artists.