My closet is full of stories.
I’ve got all these shirts and shorts and dresses that bring me back to times and places I loved so much I can’t bring myself to throw them out, even when they’re torn or faded or terribly out of style. Maybe this is why our guest bedroom is really “Katie’s second closet.”
Just as certain smells can bring back certain memories from long ago, when I slip on certain pants or old hoodies, I am transported back in time and can’t help but smile. These clothes are lined with memories; the pockets are stuffed with laughter and adventure. They hang in my closet and remind me of God’s goodness.
Does anybody else get this weirdly attached to their clothes?
I was thinking about this last week after I split my favorite pair of jeans. Put them on, did my usual lunge/stretch, and riiiiiiiip! Giant hole in a very unfortunate spot.
I fell to the ground and yelled, “Dang it!!!!”
Because I’m not very dramatic.
I was so bummed because those jeans have been places with me. They’ve been bundled up in suitcases and worn all over this planet. They’ve traveled with me through my twenties and into my thirties and were even there when I licked a glacier:
They’ve been like an old faithful friend, and have, pardon my french, but covered my ass on many occasions. Literally covered my ass- these pants never showed my butt crack when I bent over. They were practically magic.
There are a bunch of other items in my closet about which I am overly-sentimental. Items that, if ever lost or destroyed, would really make me sad. Here are some of their stories:
1) My Alaska flannel.
Three years ago, I bought this flannel in a consignment store in Alaska. All my shirts felt way too California, and I wanted a more “rustic” look so I could blend in with the locals. In a few days Paul and I will be packing our bags to visit Jenny and Chris and their (now much bigger) kiddos. You’d better believe I’ll be reaching for my flannel; it’s itchin’ to go on more adventures.
However, I will not be packing those shoes from the picture. If you recall from THIS POST, we had a minor sewage spill and human poo splashed on them. No memory is fond enough to make me keep poo-splattered shoes.
This shirt travels with me whenever I’m heading for a mountain adventure. Not only are we going to see Jenny and Chris this summer, Paul and I will also be road-tripping it out to Fort Collins to see Katie and Cameron:
Jenny and Katie are two of my weirdest friends. In the best way possible. I met them both my freshman year at Westmont, Jenny a roommate and Katie a teammate. I instantly knew our quirks were compatible. At a time when I was quite vulnerable, with no idea how the next four years would pan out, God provided in one of the greatest ways: He gave me these girls.
I’ve been adventuring with them for fifteen years now. Fifteen years of sweet friendship, fifteen years of laughter and weirdness. It’s been a remarkable fifteen years.
Both Jenny and Katie live in picturesque places a bit off the grid, and they both are on the lookout for adventure. When I’m with them, I laugh so hard it hurts and I typically bust out this flannel. So when the school year feels long and the days seem to drag, I pull out the flannel and remember that I have “quirky, mountain friends” just a phone call away.
2) My sequin dress
I found this treasure on the clearance rack at TJ Maxx. I bought it with no event in mind, but now laugh at the places it has been.
Here I am with several of my girls who were in my Wednesday lunch Bible Study for four years. Now they’re off in college becoming real-life adults and I am reminded how blessed I am to get to point girls to Jesus during such formative years.
I love this picture with my sisters, but there’s a picture from this day I love even more.
This was the day I introduced Paul to my extended family. My aunt Laura ran over and embraced him before I could make introductions. My aunties had been praying for Paul for years. They just didn’t know his name.
Later that night, I asked Paul if I could post it on Instagram.
This would be our first Instagram post. Our first announcement on social media that we were “together.” For a girl who had never had a boyfriend and let tons of students “follow” her, this was HUGE deal.
But Paul still had a dumb phone and didn’t realize the magnanimity of posting a picture together, so he shrugged and said, “Sure, go for it.” I was giddy with excitement as I hit “Share” because I knew what this meant for me. I was telling the world, “Look, world, look what I found! Isn’t he wonderful? I plan on keeping him forever.”
Don’t worry, I didn’t say that to Paul. Might have freaked him out. On second thought, he proposed 30 days later, so it probably wouldn’t have scared him.
Yeah, I have a friend who wrote a book. And it is awesome! Single ladies, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Who’s Picking Me Up From the Airport?
When Cindy first started writing the book, I was in the same boat as she. Single with no prospects in sight. Throughout the book there are letters written by Cindy’s single friends talking about their experiences. In case you can’t find my letter, it’s the one with the mention of my date with the 47-year old janitor from Compton.
When I was writing that letter, I had no idea I would one day bring my husband to Cindy’s book release party. And Cindy, confession time: Paul and I stuffed my purse with those sugar cookies at your party. They were delicious.
3) My pink shirt
The ironic thing is that my mom originally bought this shirt for me to wear on a first date. Yes, I was over 30 and my mom was still buying me clothes. And no, the date was not with Paul.
I remember the day my sister took me to Nordstrom to pick out the perfect first-date outfit for what would hopefully be the perfect first date. I hadn’t been on a date in a long time and we were all hoping maybe this guy was “the one.”
But he wasn’t.
We both knew it right away and there was never a second date. Story of my life. However, what Heidi and I didn’t realize is that when we were searching for the perfect “first date” outfit, we were actually buying the shirt I would wear when I got engaged. God must have been giggling in heaven.
Often I have these plans in my head of how everything will work out in my future. And I really do wonder if God laughs. He has such better plans in mind. Such grander things in store. If I would but wait and trust Him.
So this pink shirt reminds me sometimes I need to simply wait. Sometimes I need to stop and trust His plans are better than I can even imagine.
4) My collection of international hoodies
Paul owns two sweatshirts.
So he was more than just a little shocked when I moved in and brought over a tub overflowing with only sweatshirts and hoodies. I assured him I had already gone through it and had given away everything I didn’t absolutely love. Again, I get way too attached to my clothes.
My problem is I get cold easily and assume the weather everywhere on the globe will be like Southern California. So I arrive places and end up buying a sweatshirt out of sheer necessity since I didn’t pack warm enough clothes.
If you were wondering, yes, Trent is holding a stuffed ferret.
I love my collection of warm-weather attire from around the globe because it reminds me life is full of adventure. And like my pink shirt, these sweatshirts remind me God’s plans are better than my own.
So so so much better!
If I had met Paul when I was in college, I never would have been able to travel like I did throughout my twenties. (Plus, he was still in Middle School. Ew!) But since God’s plans required me to wait, I have gotten to see places I had never imagined. I’ve collected memories and hoodies I will keep forever.
Now that I’m married, I don’t anticipate the adventuring to end. I might not cross the Atlantic Ocean as often, but now I’ve got a partner in crime to search for adventure all around us.
5) My Boston Marathon jacket
This jacket hasn’t been many places.
But that’s simply because it’s fairly new. Here is it’s story:
When my friend Christina qualified for the 2015 Boston Marathon, I gave her two pieces of advice:
1) Bring your own toilet paper. The hardest part about running the Boston Marathon was using the porta-potty before the race. Thousands of people stand in long lines to “unload” in these germ-ridden, private poo-holes, aka: the bowels of hell or Satan’s stench-room. I estimate roughly 300 people had already stankified the stall I entered with their morning dumps, so the toilet paper was long gone. I looked around frantically and discovered my only wiping option:
The cardboard roll.
Desperate times, people. Desperate times.
2) Buy the jacket. Each year there is a new jacket for sale for those who run the Boston Marathon. The Dutch in me couldn’t fork over the dollars, so I settled for a cheap t-shirt instead. Though I do wear that shirt all the time, I deeply regretted not buying the jacket and insisted Christina buy one for herself.
She’s the kind of friend everyone needs. The kind that not only buys incredibly thoughtful gifts, but tells you what’s up. Christina is the reason I have the wedding ring I wanted. After I told her I wanted to marry Paul, she pulled up the Tiffany’s website and made me pick out styles I liked.
Then when Paul got ahold of that info and bought me my dream ring, it was Christina who noticed I had never washed it. She is the kind of friend who will point out when your diamond ring looks grimy.
Not only that, she offered her tip of cleaning rings with denture cleaner and a toothbrush. And when I procrastinated, she brought me the denture cleaner. See what I mean? This woman is an answer to a prayer I had never thought to pray for myself- a friend to help me navigate “adulthood.” A friend to tell me what’s up.
And this incredibly loud jacket will always remind me of her friendship and the way God puts people in our lives we don’t even realize we need.
I’m not done yet. I have five more items of clothing with stories of God’s goodness I want to share, but this post is getting out-of-control long so I’m stopping here. Tune back in later this week when I’ll tell the stories behind my wedding dress, yoga pants, and more. And if you have a story behind your clothes, I’d love to hear it!