I had no idea how much my middle adult daughter loves jigsaw puzzles! We rarely did any when she was growing up, just not my thing, you know. She says it’s a stress buster, and just plain fun.
Now that I know this little tidbit of info this one who lives half a continent away, I’ve decided to give her a year-long birthday present of a puzzle a month. Only with a little twist: Bob and I will build the puzzle first, turning it over when completed and writing a message on the back.
She’s all in!
But wait, there’s more. I’ve sent out an APB to family to get them involved. Now, when the hub and I finish a puzzle, I (carefully) wrap it up and mail it to different family members for THEM to write/color/draw on the back, send it back to me (postage pre-paid) and then I break it up and send it off to its new coastal home.
They’re all in!
Okay, yeah, this is getting expensive. Hopefully I’ll have some ready and rolled up when we travel to actually be with family and get a few done in advance that way. It’ll be worth it though, helping my middle child connect with family in a unique way, dontchaknow?!
So, here’s the non-puzzle builder building puzzles, and I’m learning a few things:
- Always keep the picture handy, the template. (Oh, yes, here starts the comparisons…)
- Jesus is my template, and the Bible is where I start.
- Flip all the pieces upwards.
- This may seem obvious, but in life, clarity is rare. We need to really “see” what we’re dealing with, piece by piece, rather than just being overwhelmed with a unorganized pile. With Jesus, I also have the Holy Spirit, my Counselor. But I have to avail myself to Him.
- Go for the boundaries first, since everything else needs to stay inside.
- I’m not talking about legalism, but let’s be real—there are behavioral standards that honor God. We are responsible for defining these in our lives BEFORE temptation comes…which it will.
- Next, work on the easiest parts, images unique to the puzzle (as opposed to frustratingly large swatches of blue sky). Success gets your mental and emotional momentum going, and momentum is a powerful thing.
- The same is true on a spiritual level.
- Don’t just try to connect pieces based on matching the colors; look at the edges to identify what might fit the best. What may seem obvious by color may have a completely un-fit-able edge. This, from an experienced puzzler: “As you get familiar with these shapes, you’ll be able to visualize the negative space and recognize more quickly what will fit together and what won’t.”
- Obvious analogy. Practice, practice, practice.
- As everyone knows, don’t force a piece that doesn’t fit—not only is it unnatural looking, but it will throw the entire puzzle off!
- Whatever I’m working on, whether myself (which is constant) or in relationship with others, it’s not just about that particular project or relationship, but how it effects the whole.
- Take a break, but don’t give up. Eye strain will get you if you’re not careful, as will boredom.
- Warning: this doesn’t mean moral compromise (see point #3),
- Just because you can’t find the piece that fits, doesn’t mean it’s not there. There have been times in this little project I wonder if maybe we’ve lost a piece (we found one partially dog-chewed on the floor—really had to search for that one!)
- Similarly, I don’t immediately have all the answers in my relationship with God. But I’ve fit enough of the pieces (see examples above!) to know there is a design, there is a plan, and the missing piece does, in fact, exist. Go work on another part of the puzzle while you keep an eye out for the missing fit.
- Lastly, ask the experts for tips and encouragement. Here’s an example from the quote in #5: https://www.puzzlewarehouse.com/jigsaw-puzzle-tips/
- In other words, I am not alone in this process. There are others who have gone before me with more experience and wisdom, so why reinvent the wheel? Get advice, help, support.
And eventually, all the pieces will also be…(yeah, I really do have to say it),