The state of Texas hangs there to remind me of where I come from and the reason for my love of big hair. There is a sand dollar that speaks to being home in Corpus Christi, Texas, and walking along the beach with one of my favorite high school friends. There is a little silvery pagoda that brings back memories of my two month adventure in China, of playing Chinese jumprope with kids that I could not understand and trying to sample their seaweed snack offerings without gagging. I think of walking at night through the village of Baisha, watching the families relax on the grass in the center of town. Motorcycle taxis, pirated DVDs, tai chi, water buffalo, and cashew chicken. I can't think of China without thinking of cashew chicken.
There is a tiny little cheerleader with her pom pons in the air. I don't care that I haven't been a cheerleader since 1997. You can mock cheerleaders if you want, but I loved cheering. I would be a cheerleader still if it were a respectable, grown-up thing to do (and if I still had the legs for it). I have a little flag that has "Chicago" stamped across the top, a reminder of two of the funnest trips ever and three of my most fabulous friends ever. It makes me miss the city and the friends. One of my favorites, and the oldest of the group, is a little wood burning stove that an 8-year-old me chose as a souvenir from the Alamo. I have no recollection of the logic behind that choice. I have nine hearts that were original, and I believe were supposed to hang alone, before I went places and did things that required remembering. There is an ichthus with a cross inside that reminds me of who I am and why I am.
I don't wear it that often. After all, sweaters are valuable, and I try to keep my church service disruption to a minimum. But sometimes I do wear it. There is not much space left, but I intend to keep adding to it until it fills right up. It reminds me that I have been places, and I have done things. I have loved and I have been loved back. And if I were to die today (and Lord knows I hope I don't) I would say that I lived well. Don't believe me? I have the charm bracelet to prove it.