Magazine collage.

Few words uttered by teachers during my school days carried such hope.

The glossy saturated colors. The silky pages. The images of faraway people, textures and places that made my sparkle sparkle and my imagination wake.

Generally, the teacher who assigned the collage project hoped for self-expression, a representation of what each of us cared about, what made us us. I couldn’t wait to begin. Some kids dreaded this, but, more than I could admit, I relished these explorations of my inner self.

After just a few minutes of clipping, my work space filled with photos of dogs, woven baskets, a comfy-looking couch, tribal dancers, gardens, mountains, ocean waves, squares of emerald green, coral, turquoise. I could snip for hours, but too soon, the teacher would say, “If you haven’t started gluing your pictures in place, you should start doing that now.”

I’d panic. There’s no way I can fit all those scraps onto one piece of paper, I thought. Can’t I just keep cutting? Should I choose the flowers or the puppy, the two girls deep in conversation or the shell? Which ones say more about me?

Eventually, I would settle on some pictures, paste them down and accept the result as good enough. But I never liked that I had to rule out beauty.

And here’s what I love about life: we don’t have to rule out a scrap of it.

In my life, I can continually choose to draw near to the present moment, the one filled with its own marks of lovely. Each week’s, each day’s collage is different. Some days mine fills with ravishing passion shades. Other days it’s mottled by glue drops and curled at the edges. But it’s mine. The unique art of my life.

So today, I am choosing to gather up my armload of clippings and savor a few of this week’s beauty moments. Among them:

– My J-Bug running gleefully through wet grasses, smiling eyes inviting me to follow

– After dinner sister entertainment — back-up “loud mimes” included

– Syrupy sweet on baby cheeks

– The plunking of gems into J-Bug’s “Joy Jar”

– My Lala girl running around the rack at Fred Meyer to hug me as if we’d been separated for years

– Scarlet maple leaves under my feet

– My big Sici girl remembering to turn off her reading headlamp so she could give me a really good kiss good-night

– Love words from husband, mama, papa, sister, friend that remind me of my value

– Crafting a class newsletter with an enthusiastic group of 4th graders. It’s going to be “epic!”

– Pretend camping trips and journeys to Hawaii in the basement

– Rain drops on my sunglasses

What “lovelies” are you savoring this week? And tell me, am I alone in my love of magazine collage?

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