Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Month: August 2013 (page 1 of 4)

The Hipster Beside Me

Dear Beautiful, Young, Hip Woman on the Yoga Mat Beside Me, 

Thank you. I so enjoyed our yoga practice this morning. It’s clear you’re a regular. It could have been your well-practiced inversion or your full back bend that drew me to these assumptions. But it was probably your confidence, your ability to listen to your body and respond as needed. Your intuition that didn’t require permission or instruction from the teacher before you moved. Watching gave me inspiration for my own future practice. 
It also led me to a peace about myself. Your body reaps the benefits of regular practice, and when you laid your mat beside me I felt a sense of jealousy and longing for my more fit days rise up inside. Oh, to be young again. 
However, this morning’s practiced centered on gratitude. It began by reflecting on having the opportunity, the time to even make it to the studio this morning. It was thankfulness to those who made the weekend possible, such as my parents. As I reflected on it, I became more grateful for my life as it is. 
My belly may not be firm, but in its softness, it has made a brief home for 4 beautiful creatures. It served as more than decoration, but as a means for bringing life into the world. 
I left more gracious toward my body as it is, not what I wish it would be. I want to treat it with respect and honor because it has served me well. Sometimes service looks a bit saggy and raggedy, but I suppose that if it didn’t cost you something it’s probably not worth the effort. 
So thank you, Beautiful Woman, for your presence. Your confidence seeped off your mat and onto mine. I grew in my gratitude because I saw my current place in life and decided I would choose it any day of the week, not as a constellation prize, but because I love it. 
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OU? Oh yeah. (OR: The way in which I became who I am).

About this time of year, when I’m reading all the college students’ statuses (or, more accurately, the statuses of my friends who work on college campuses), I reflect on my own experience at Ohio U. It was, hands down, the four best consecutive years of my life.* 

When I arrived to my West Green dorm room, I knew one person. I intended on living the college life to its fullest. Little did I know what that would look like. 
My first week of school I filled out some survey at the dining hall (much like the bazillion surveys I had filled out at the Taste of Athens/Freshmen event). A few days later 2 gals knocked on my dorm room door to invite me to a pizza party. They used a few key words: Free. Pizza. Party. You mean I could meet people while eating something I didn’t pay for? IN. My roommate opted out, but I had no fear back then and showed up solo. 
I walked in and a few girls said hi. We played a round of 4 on a Couch , ate Papa John’s, and Jill shared her story about how God had changed her life. It was nice, I felt welcomed and they invited me to come back to a different place (Morton 237) on Thursday. 
Uh, Morton? Allllllll the way across campus? I don’t even have class in that building. Then 2 girls chimed in: We’ll pick you up! We live behind west green and drive over. 
So I arrived at 180 and they sang. And clapped. What the wha? Def not my experience with all things Jesus-y. But it was nice. I awckwardly stood with my arms folded but smiled. I heard a great story and I’m a sucker for a good message – no doubt BMac was the one speaking that night. And after it was all over, I walked down the stairs to leave and a girl turned, looked at me and called me by name. Tessa was authentically excited to see me. 
I kept going back to 180, making a few friends here and there. I joined those girls who drove me in a weekly Bible study. I hid my Bible when I walked down the hall – then it turned out that Steph did that, too. By Spring quarter we could at least admit it freely. 
We would hang out on weekends, eat chili cheese dip and play Psychiatrist, ie the best group game ever. For spring break we took a large bus down to Panama City to tell people about Jesus – one more completely foreign form of God stuff that made me wonder if I was in over my head and my parents wonder if I had joined a cult. 
I met more girls on that trip. I began to eat in the dining hall with Allison and I even branched into the East green girls for friendships. Jill and I would take walks down the bike path and she tried to teach me to rollerblade. 
That freshman year started something big in my life. It introduced me to Jesus as I never knew him. It showed me friendships as I’ve never experienced them. When people ask me why I loved my time at OU so much, I now realize that it’s so dear to me because this is where I learned what love looks like
Only once in the 4years did I have the same roommate twice (Ziska wins!) because my circle of friendships began to run deep and wide. These women who journeyed with me had a capacity to forgive, to love as I was and to encourage me to live into the person they saw I could be. When I walked around the apartment without pants, they rolled their eyes. When I wore the same pants for 5 days they shook their head. We shared late night talks, tears and uncontrollable laughter. 
And Jesus. Well, He showed up in those 4 years in ways I had never expected. I realized that faith was more than something I did on Sunday. Jesus got into the core of who I was and completely rearranged me. My dreams of working in a big office in the downtown, wearing trendy dress suits and make up – those disappeared by my junior year. I knew clearly that I was made for something else. 
Little did I know that it would translate into a season of living on pizza and late nights with teenagers. And then into coordinating meal trains and writing random blog posts about life or the Bible passages I never read quite like that before. 
I don’t always get to talk with my girls from OU. We really only gather around weddings, save the random trips by one of us to see another. But when we finally pick up the phone, when we get off the plane – we pick up at the same place. One of the girls in our circle said it best: it’s like our spirits mesh
So I keep all of this years’ freshmen close to my heart at this time of year. I never imagined a survey, a pizza party, a ride and my name would matter so much to the greater path of my life. But they did. They do. Someone’s prayers, someone’s efforts to include me – they made a difference. They changed me. They provided some of the best friends and a basis for faith for the rest of my life. 
Here’s to the Bobcats, the community of people who planted seeds of faith into my life and even stuck around to do the hard work of weeding and sheltered me during storms. I can only pray that each of my kids find themselves among such kindred spirits, friendships that shine true light. 
Future Bobcat, class of 2036
*I’m not sure how to include my 7 years of marriage in this. They’ve been great, too. But the 4 years at OU was highly-concentrated goodness. Marriage wins on the point of longevity. 
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When everybody wins

The eldest children spent the past several days with their Papa in Michigan at the lake house, a highlight for them (and papa). It’s been planned for some time that at least Miss M would join him, and H boy won out by getting to tag along. Their days revolved around the kayak. 

Which left me at home with Lady C and the baby. Now, Lady C and I enjoyed some quality time before the baby was born as the bigs spent time at the lake with Grandma Carol, but that time centered around my need for rest and the fact that I was still pregnant. 
Combined with her recent advancement of verbal skills, our time together these past few days has been much more fun and memorable. I rarely get to spend quality one-on-one time with any of the children, but because M Man still spends most of his time in slumber, I could give my utmost attention to this little lady. 
We went to the store a few times. We worked out to Jillian Michaels. We played. She climbed up into my chair to read a book (as is currently). 
Both of my girls have a strong spirit and an independent nature that I cannot describe because they are also soooooo different. Lady C believes she’s one of the big kids and won’t let a lack of faith in her abilities discourage her. She exhibits a sense of confidence that I pray will be left untouched by the trials of middle school. And she has a sweetness that cuddles up to you. She has little reason to doubt that you want to give her your utmost attention because she’s THAT adorable. 
Lady C is also in that adorable toddler stage where she mumbles pretend words as she plays and is entertained easily by 3 coasters, a potholder and one of those round pieces you use to unscrew a jar when it’s stuck. For hours. To make “pancakes”. 
It’s precious and I need to remember it forever. 
Especially as potty training grows into a priority… 
25 months old! 
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