The Benefits and How-to of Collage Cards


Making a collage is an easy way to get inspired, gain clarity, find creativity, and refocus. It can help deepen faith, add a new dimension to personal growth, and pinpoint personal preferences for style and home decorating. It's how I found my style to wear what I love, decorate my home, and even discover basic branding for my blog.

Making collages is also a fun activity to do in a group, either as a girls night in your own home, or in a larger community like at a church or women's retreat. Just choose a theme, collage away while you chat and connect, then share some reflection time together at the end.

Keep reading for how to get started including the benefits of making collages, ideas for collage themes, and reflection questions for when you're done. Get it all in the Pinnable/printable image at the bottom of the post.

Enjoy!

Why make a collage...


Gives something to do in the silence.
I've been trying to make more time and space for quiet. Especially leaving social media alone in the evenings and each Sabbath. Reading and getting outside are great things to fill those times, and so is making a collage. It gives something to do with your hands and direct your thoughts in a positive, more productive direction.

Teaches how to be observant.
As you pay attention to images or text that makes you pause, it teaches your heart and mind to pay more attention in other areas of your life, including hearing God and seeing Him show up.

Shows what’s inside, namely God’s image.
We are made in God's image, and any good that shows up in us is from Him. It's worth paying attention to.

Helps uncover hidden creativity.
I spent years saying that I'm just not creative. Now, after lots of practice and paying attention, I'm starting to believe we are all creative because we were created in God's Creator image. How our creativity plays out may vary, but creating collages is a very simple way to uncover some of that creativity.

Visually expresses thoughts, feelings, ideas in ways words can’t.
It's said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that's exactly what happens when you put together a collage. Suddenly something is expressed or noticed that might have remained unnamed.

Helps solve a problem.
Whether you're trying to decide how to decorate a space in your home or wondering what to do next in your life, the simple act of creating collages can help work out those problems and find solutions.

Use for inspiration.
A collage can serve as a sort of goal board of sorts to keep you focused on some end result you're working toward. It can be displayed somewhere for inspiration to motivate you. You can use it to reflect and journal, then collect in small album or box as you make more collages in the future. Or refer to it as you refine your wardrobe or decorate a space in your home.

How to make a magazine / paper collage card. It's perfect for personal growth, uncover creativity, discover personal style/brand, and even connection in a small group.


How to start a collage...


Gather supplies.
Scissors, stick glue, 5x7 cardstock (or other similar size), and magazines, cards, catalogs, old calendars, or whatever other type of images you can cut out.

Choose a theme.
See ideas of what to collage about below.

Collect first, reflect last.
Cut out whatever makes you pause or fits in with your theme, even if it might not end up in your final collage. Start to piece them together until it works for you. There's no right or wrong way. You don't have to fully understand why a particular image or text speaks to you, just the fact that it does is worth having it in your collage. When you're collage is done, spend a little time reflecting on it. See questions for that below.

What to collage about...


Spiritual Life—prayer, God, devotional time, faith, Bible text

Identity—passions, values, challenges, seasons of life, work, youth

Relationships—spouse, friends, family, motherhood, church

Future—life goals, career, things to save up for, when age 83

Inspiration—styles, colors, products, patterns, combinations

Reflect


What made you pause for each image?
What does the card say about you or about how God created you?
Is there some message or clarity you get from your collage card?
Does anything about your collage surprise you?
What is the overall feel of your collage card? Is there a common theme or any particular elements that stick out to you?

Have fun with it!

Pin or print:

How to Collage: Benefits of making a collage, how to get started, themes to collage about, and reflection questions for when you're done.


>>>

also see:
new? start here...
30 girls night ideas
beginner beans email

8 Ways to Help Your Kid Ease Back-to-School

Back-to-school can be a tough transition time for everyone involved, but being positive and having an open mind with your child and school can make all the difference. Read more: 8 Ways to Help Your Kid Ease Back to School

Our girly is headed off to kindergarten this month. Because it's all-day everyday, and because I've been home with her all-day everyday for the last 4-ish years, this is a big transition for all of us. In preparation, I asked my go-to education guru (my sister-in-law, Michaela) to write up suggestions for helping us get ready for this life change.

Michaela was a first and second grade teacher for seven years before she transitioned to staying home full-time with her own girly. Now, she puts her gifts of creativity and childhood education into creating educational resources for teachers and parents and now a great kindergarten curriculum, too.

Below is Michaela's experienced and balanced teacher/parent perspective on getting ready for back-to-school and first-time-at-school. Even if your little one's school year has already started, these are great to keep in mind throughout the school year.

>>>

1. Set a routine.

Night-time (getting to bed at a decent time is so important), clothes laid out, baths, breakfast, out the door time, etc. I love the visual schedules for kids that have pictures of what they need to do to get ready in the morning.

2. Make time for a quality breakfast.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Try to make it a priority to give your child a nutritious and filling breakfast. It’s a long time before lunch and a grumbling stomach makes it very difficult to concentrate in the classroom.

3. Create a quiet space with adequate supplies for “homework”.

Continue to be involved in their learning by reading with them, asking what they learned in school that day, and communicating with their teacher. A parent is a child’s first teacher after all!

4. Stick to the list.

It actually is important that you purchase the brand that the teacher requests on the supply list. I feel slightly bad telling you this, since I am a frugal to the core person myself, but trust me on this one.  If you skimp on glue sticks and crayons...you just may be receiving a letter from your teacher soon letting you know they have broken (or never worked in the first place), and it’s time to replace them. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so. ;)

5. Allow your child the freedom to have school be their space.

Wait for them to invite you into their world. This may include letting them say good-bye to you at the door, allowing them to carry their own backpack and supplies, and respecting their newfound independence. They still love you and want you to be proud of them!

6. Give your child (and yourself) some grace!

With test scores, readiness outlines, and grade expectations, it’s easy to get caught up in the go-go-go of trying to measure up. If your child’s teacher has suggestions for improvement, take them of course and do your best...but infuse it with grace, love, and patience towards your child and their personal developmental pace. (You’ll be glad you did.)

7. Speaking of grace...your child’s teacher could use some too!

Remember that we’re all human and make mistakes; your child’s teacher is no different. At the same time, they’ve committed their life to pouring themselves into children and specifically into your child, so give them grace and thank them when you can. Don’t forget you’re both on the same team for your child!

8. Make it special.

Think of a special way to let your child know you love and support them this year. It can be committing to place notes in their snack or lunch boxes, setting aside special time when they get home to have time to talk about their day, or a special handshake or signal when you drop them off that is just for them. It doesn’t have to be much, but knowing that mom or dad is rooting for them during the day can give them the confidence they need to tackle those difficult tasks at school.

Back-to-school can be a tough transition time for everyone involved, but being positive and having an open mind with your child and school can make all the difference. This year will be what you make it. If you think this will be the best year yet (or the worst ever)... you’re right. Make it a great one!

<<<<<

I may have choked up reading through some of those. Maybe that's partly because of my unstable emotions, but it's also because this encouragement and insight is just what I need for this season.

Thank you so much for these words of support, Michaela!

Whether you're looking for things you can do with your little ones at home, a gift for your child's teacher, or maybe you are a teacher--be sure and check out Michaela's great designs, resources and printables at We Heart Edu, as well as her awesome kindergarten resources at KinderQuest!

For more from Michaela...
instagram | @WeHeartEdu
store | We Heart Edu // KinderQuest

>>>

also see:
new? start here...
a note for the hard days of motherhood

Originally published Aug. 12, 2013; updated Aug. 8, 2017.

We Still Aren't Big Enough, and God Still Is

Ten years after our small little college lives got flipped upside-down with an unexpected pregnancy, I can't help but wonder if it was meant to be this way for Jesus to bring us back to Him. Proving His goodness--not by His acceptance when we're "good," but by His persistence when we wander and veer. While we weren't, and still aren't, big enough, we actually were never meant to be. We were always meant to see that God is.

Ten years ago I told my then-boyfriend I was pregnant while we sat on a round picnic table on our college's campus at 6 a.m. We'd been a couple for 6 months + 1 day, and had loose plans to get married the following summer. Afterall, we both had about a year of college remaining, and while neither of our parents were paying our full tuition, both had jobs that discounted our tuition. A discount we'd lose if we got married, and we couldn't afford that.

None of that mattered now, because we chose our fate a different way.

We sat on that table, feet propped up on the seat below, blue-capped stick in my hand with the word pregnant displayed in tiny digital letters as evidence. My then-boyfriend now-husband managed four simple words in his just-out-of-bed morning stupor: "Are we big enough?"

Looking back, I can say we clearly were not. Two more pregnancies later, I wonder what parent is ever fully prepared or "big enough" for what we're walking into, even when we think we know.

The words I wrote to God in my journal back in my dorm room after that groggy, pre-dawn exchange ring true even now 10 years later. "'Are we big enough?' Truth is: I don't know. But I do know You're big enough and that's all that matters to me."

As we navigated through doctors appointments and Medicaid application, premarital counseling and wedding planning, and so many first trimester symptoms, we'd dream a little. What would it be like to be married and have a baby? Everything was crazy, rushed, financially bleak (tooth paste got a line item on our first joint budget because literally every cent mattered), and it was all covered in a fog of morning all-day sickness.

What about 10 years from then or even 5 years? What would life be like after time slowed and finances improved and we caught our breath?

Where would we live and work? How many years before we'd buy our first house and have our next baby? When would I start working on getting my Masters (because a bachelor's in English doesn't do much for a career)? Where (and when) would we go on an anniversary vacation since we couldn't afford a proper honeymoon? Surely 5-10 years would be plenty of time to start checking all of that off our list.

We didn't know--how could we?--that two years into teaching, Daniel would lose his job and change careers. That the job suited for him with great benefits would actually start with less pay than his salary as a teacher. That we'd wreck our car with only liability insurance and waste months and dollars recovering from that. That we'd have news of our 2nd pregnancy in the middle of his job uncertainty, and news of our 3rd pregnancy the same month we'd decide it was financially irresponsible for us to have anymore kids. That maintaining family expenses would derail us from paying off our student loans. That my being home while our kids are young would matter so much to us--enough to put everything on hold financially.

We hadn't yet experienced for ourselves that just as time moves on, so do life circumstances and how we choose to respond to them. I'm learning I can get caught up in the privileged self-pity of it all that we didn't get our "rightful" honeymoon, we still aren't any closer to owning a house, and we're still a poor family living on one income with too much student loan debt.

Or I can see how Jesus' grace covers us and provides for us even after (and as) we screw up His plans for us. While choosing a different fate for ourselves changes our trajectory and places us paces behind our peers in the accouterments of this life, we are actually forever rich in God's mercies.

A few days after the news of that first pregnancy settled, when 3 days felt like 3 long, drawn-out weeks, I wrote out some of the lyrics to a hymn: "Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace. Streams of mercy never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise. Teach me ever to adore thee, may I still Thy goodness prove, while the hope of endless glory fills my heart with joy and love."

Ten years after our small little college lives got flipped upside-down, I can't help but wonder if it was meant to be this way. Sure, it clearly wasn't God's perfect plan for us, and imagine where we'd be if we followed His plan! Still, this side of Heaven--this sin-stained Earth side--I wonder if the veering from the plan in some ways is the plan for Jesus to bring us back to Him.

If it wasn't this particular life choice, it'd be another, and often it has been more than just one choice that gets us off God's perfect course. These areas we mess up and are in need are just opportunities for our hearts to sing in His grace, for His blessings to flow in streams of mercy in spite of our scarred and messy humanity. Proving His goodness--not by His acceptance when we're "good," but by His persistence when we wander and veer.

The hope of endless glory fills my heart with joy and love... When I think of my 8 1/2 pregnant self getting a call of a job offer out of the blue, the God-given miracle to provide our needs while my husband finished his degree. When I think of our short homeless and jobless season that could have ruined us but by God's grace and my sister's kindness didn't. When I think of all the hiccups and detours and every step see that we weren't alone. While we weren't, and still aren't, big enough, we actually were never meant to be. We were always meant to see that God is.

I see that, even as ten years later we still face our same ol' mountains (that mostly revolve around finances). The miracle is that God saw us and assured us that we'd be okay anyway. That while our choices changed our circumstances, they didn't change His love. He wouldn't leave us.

There are times in our last 10 years when I praise God for the miracles in our impossible situations; when He delivers us because He can. And there are many others when I simply thank Him for being present in the midst of our struggles, because God is with us even when He doesn't heal us.

When we were on our college's campus this week, I snapped a picture of our three kids, including the one-that-made-me-a-mom, sitting on that same table my now-husband and I sat on ten years ago. I imagine going back to that young couple, scared out of their minds of the unknown that lay before them. I would probably just affirm what they already hoped: "You'll never be 'big enough' for the lives you'll live, but you will continue to celebrate all the times that God is."

Whether or not we've made the best choices that have led us here, God's not leaving us and never has. And for that, I am truly and deeply thankful.

>>>

also see:
new? start here...
our wedding story, shame-free
my motherhood ebenezer
monthly emails