Life's A Puzzle

Life's A Puzzle

And I'm just waiting for the pieces to fall into place.
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puzzle:

verb: to exert (oneself, one's mind, etc.) over such a problem or situation.

Have you ever experienced an event in your life where you just can't seem to understand why it happened? But then after some time has passed, you look back and finally realize why it occurred and how it propelled you to the place you are right now?

Welcome to the puzzle of life. Pull up a seat, empty your box, and start sorting.

For me personally, some of my favorite childhood memories involve days spent working 1000-pieced puzzles with my sister and grandfather. I can still picture the wooden table we would sit at with thousands of tiny, colorful pieces scattered across it, and the look of steady contemplation across my grandfather’s face as he would peer over his glasses.

Even though we would concentrate on working the puzzle, that didn't mean we were always quiet. Working puzzles created a perfect time to have some of the best conversations with my grandfather and sister. Puzzle pieces weren't the only things exchanged during those hours, but wisdom and life advice as well.

If you have ever worked a puzzle in your lifetime, you understand the challenge that comes with putting one together.

First, you must pour out every precisely shaped piece into an array, being super careful not to lose one, for each piece is essential to the puzzle’s completion. Next, you might group the pieces based on color and build separate sections of the puzzle. Then comes the time, patience, and dedication you must apply to inspect and combine all of the pieces to create the final result: one big picture.

In many ways, this puzzle assembling process can be compared to our lives. Yet the difference is not knowing what your big picture looks like, not knowing exactly what you are working towards.

The pieces of your life puzzle are every moment you have ever experienced and have yet to experience in your lifetime. They represent life stages, memories, and events. As life goes on, our puzzle slowly comes together piece by piece, section by section.

We can’t choose how our life puzzle is going to fit together. I believe that God has already designed and predestined our complete life puzzle exactly for us. He is the only one who knows what our big picture looks like.

Sometimes we get frustrated because we can’t find that specific piece that would help us understand, or we try to fit a piece into our lives that isn't meant to be.

Yet we press on in pursuit of finding the right fit, finishing the next section of our life, and getting closer to the final, big picture.

Friends and family and those who are significant to us help us build our life puzzle. Their advice guides us through obstacles and challenges. They are always there, right across the table, to offer you a new piece of wisdom.

At times we find ourselves in the unknown as we wait for our puzzle to come together. The fear of unknown can become prominent as we anticipate what our big picture holds. For me personally, being the type-A college student that I am, I always long to know what the future holds. But that is where our faith and trust in the Lord must kick in to endure the contemplation and questioning of our life pieces.

The challenge of our life puzzle is waiting for those pieces to fall into place.

We don’t know what tomorrow holds. We do not possess the ability to foresee our future. Maybe you are unsure about what you are going to do after college. Maybe you are struggling with understanding why a certain event took place in your life. We all long to make sense of the pieces and see how they will assemble to reveal what our big picture looks like. Just like a puzzle, we must work through these questions and challenges of everyday life with time, patience, and diligence at hand.

We must never let the challenge of our life puzzle make us impatient. We must trust that in their own time, the pieces will fall perfectly into their place of purpose.

So here’s to right now. Here’s to the present day that is in the works of forming our life puzzle. Be excited to see how God has planned for them to interlock and establish the story of your life. What a glorious day it will be when the pieces have fallen, and the puzzle of our life is complete. Because then and only then will we finally understand why the pieces fell exactly the way that they did.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Why Getting Away From Where You Grew Up Is Important

College is the perfect time to get away from home and go out into the real world.
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As you get older, life sometimes makes it hard for you to take control and go to the places you've only dreamed of. There's always a work meeting, ballet recital, or something to hold you back from taking that trip planned four summers ago. College is the perfect time to get away from home and go out into the real world.

It's important to get away from everything you know at one point in your life. There is a whole world full of risk, chance, and experience. The security you have in your hometown can be traded in for adventure and change. There's a time to try something new, learn something that blows your mind, or go somewhere that takes your breath away. That time is now, to feel like you are actually doing something worthwhile with your life.

It is important to get away from where you have grown up for some of your life. You need to grow on your own, without anyone there to tell you you're wrong or out of line being a certain way. The transition from high school to college is the gift of independence. You choose who you get to be without anyone holding your past against you. It's a do-over, a second chance after the mistakes and regrets you lived through in high school. Yet, being away from home has its drawbacks as you lose familiar faces, a steady schedule, and many creature comforts. But, all of these can be found in a new place with time. Leaving the place you grew up gives you another chance to grow again, without boundaries. Travel whenever you get an opportunity because it may not come again. Test your limits while living your actual dreams. Go out and explore the world—you're only here once and don't have time to take it for granted. Leaving everything you know sounds scary, but there are great memories to be made out there.

Whether this new place for you is two hours from home, or 20, it's different, it's exciting and it's change. It is important to get away from where you grew up and learn from the adventures you embark on. It is the best way to find yourself and who you want to be. It's what you'll remember when you look back on everything you've done.

Cover Image Credit: Madison Burns

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For Camille, With Love

To my godmother, my second mom, my rooted confidence, my support

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First grade, March. It was my first birthday without my mom. You through a huge party for me, a sleepover with friends from school. It included dress up games and making pizza and Disney trivia. You, along with help from my grandma, threw me the best birthday party a 7-year-old could possibly want.

During elementary school, I carpooled with you and a few of the neighborhood kids. I was always the last one to be dropped off, sometimes you would sneak a donut for me. Living next door to you was a blessing. You helped me with everything. In second grade, you helped me rehearse lines for history day so I could get extra credit. In 4th grade, you helped me build my California mission.

You and your sister came out to my 6th grade "graduation". You bought me balloons and made me feel as if moving onto middle school was the coolest thing in the entire world.

While you moved away from next door, you were a constant in my life. Going to Ruby's Diner for my birthday, seeing movies at the Irvine Spectrum and just hanging out, I saw you all the time. During these times, you told me about all of the silly things you did with my mom and dad, how my mom was your best friend. I couldn't have had a greater godmother.

In middle school, you pushed me to do my best and to enroll in honors. You helped me through puberty and the awkward stages of being a woman.

Every single time I saw you, it would light up my entire day, my week. You were more than my godmother, you were my second mom. You understood things that my grandma didn't.

When you married John, you included me in your wedding. I still have that picture of you, Jessica, Aaron and myself on my wall at college. I was so happy for you.

Freshmen year of high school, you told me to do my best. I did my best because of you. When my grandma passed away that year, your shoulder was the one I wanted to cry on.

You were there when I needed to escape home. You understood me when I thought no one would. You helped me learn to drive, letting me drive all the way from San Clemente to Orange.

When I was applying to colleges, you encouraged me to spread my wings and fly. You told me I should explore, get out of California. I wanted to study in London, you told me to do it. That's why, when I study abroad this Spring in London, I will do it for you.

When I had gotten into UWT, you told me to go there. I did and here I am, succeeding and living my best in Tacoma. I do it for you, because of you.

When I graduated high school and I was able to deliver a speech during our baccalaureate, you cheered me on. You recorded it for me, so I could show people who weren't able to make it to the ceremony. You were one of the few people able to come to my actual graduation. You helped me celebrate the accomplishments and awards from my hard work.

When your cancer came back, I was so worried. I was afraid for you, I was afraid of what I would do without the support you had always given me. When I was in Rome, I went to the Vatican and had gotten a Cross with a purple gem in the middle blessed by the Pope to help you with your treatments. It was something from me and a little bit of my mom in the necklace, the gem.

Now, sitting so far from you away at college just like you wanted me to. I miss you. I wish I was there to say goodbye.

I'll travel the world for you, write lots of stories and books for you, I will live life to the fullest for you.

You are another angel taken too early in life. Please say hello to my parents and grandma in Heaven for me.

Lots of love,

Haiden

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