We all need things to look forward to, even if they’re just something small and important only to us. But we also need those little surprise moments that stun a little and then lead to a smile or maybe even a good laugh.
This work gave me one of those little surprises. At first I glanced at it and started to walk on by, but the texture pulled me back. What is that? Instantly I realized what I was seeing and had one of those little surprise moments of delight.
This work is made out of puzzle pieces – does that make you smile? Bet it does!
God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. Romans 5:5 NRSV
Love so amazing, so divine. God’s love is poured down upon us just as water in a fountain cascades down filling one level after another. He doesn’t use a funnel that’s wide at the top and narrows down at the bottom; he pours his love full strength over us and through us so it fills us from one layer to the next. It’s not a flooding torrent either like some of the storms we experience here in South Texas that end as quickly as they begin. God’s love is soft and gentle, yet strong, covering us securely without drowning us.
But, unlike the fountain that has a recirculating pump to carry the water back to the top, once his love fills our heart it flows out from us to reach others. As we receive God’s love, mercy, and grace it overflows from us naturally. Yes, sometimes things don’t go right and we feel separated from God or we separate ourselves, but the love is there always. Just remember to turn the fountain back on!
And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insightPhilippians 1:9 NRSV
My poor, very crowded mimosa tree is loading up with blooms. Early morning, through the day, and in the evening they fill the air with a gentle scent that is fragrant and very soothing without being over powering like honeysuckle. I enjoy the delicate blossoms way up on the tree, but they do make a mess when they fall. I just wish I had a way to capture the scent and bring it inside so it would last until next year.
There’s something so refreshing about a bite of ice-cold watermelon on a hot afternoon.
Recently I bought a small watermelon to chill and slice. The stores market them as “personal size” melons which always makes me smile, but they are ideal for just one person to eat over a few days. It had been a while since I bought a whole melon, but decided it was ridiculous to pay the price of an already sliced bowl of watermelon when it would only take a few minutes to cut up the small personal size melon. As I cut into it and the juice spread rapidly over the cutting board I had a flash flood of memories of summer watermelon cuttings and also the quick memory of why we always cut them outside on a nice stack of newspapers!
As I sliced I remembered my grandfather’s large sun-browned fingers and how expertly he could thump a watermelon to select the best choice. He knew exactly the right thump and no one ever argued with him. The melon would be brought home and stored in the old refrigerator in what was called the utility room of their house. Late afternoon when the heat and humidity was at its finest the melon and a large butcher knife would be taken outside to the concrete table in the backyard. There, on the stack of newspapers, the melon would yield its red or yellow fruit.
The adults offered plates and forks as well as a shaker of salt. However, the kids always declined all offers. I preferred to bite into the slice and knaw all the way to the rind with juice running down my chin and arms onto my clothes. I knew I would suffer a lecture from my mother about the stains on the clothing, but that would be later. For now it was serious eating on the cool, sweet watermelon. Lasting memories were created on those afternoons under the pine trees.
I remember in particular one round, very dark green watermelon that my grandfather brought in one day. It was still warm from the field and he stated that he got it from a certain farmer and had picked it from the field. As a child I assumed that the farmer was there and told my grandfather to help himself to a fresh melon. It had the darkest yellow meat and as I remember it was the best watermelon I ever ate. When I mentioned this particular melon to my father many years later Daddy chuckled and shared that the adults had all suspected that the melon was not a gift from the farmer (as I had assumed), but that it had been plucked from the field when no one was looking. Stolen!
I’ve always loved to work puzzles and generally have one spread out on the breakfast table at any time. If company is coming and I need to use this table I just spread a table cloth over it and tell the company not to spill anything. Family knows what’s underneath and will usually pull back the cloth and start working on it!
Each time I work on a puzzle I am reminded that working a puzzle is very similar to life and many life situations. Each puzzle is different, just like every human life, and there are different situations with each one. So today I’m sharing a few observations about the similarities I’ve found.
Every puzzle worker has a little different process, but I always start with the outline as the straight edge pieces are easy to spot (assuming you are working a straight edge puzzle); the subject and color determine how to proceed. The outline reminds me of our early, formative years when we are babies and toddlers. As we grow and mature the inside pieces are gradually filled in, usually in sections, until the life is complete and we pass on to the next life.
Many times I end up with a missing piece. With this puzzle I knew fairly early that the piece just wasn’t in the box. In life there is often a piece missing, too. It may be a physical or psychological problem that presents itself at birth or later in life. It may be something like a desired career or happy marriage that just never is “in the box”. However, I’ve found that sometimes the missing piece does appear later or, as in this case, I accepted the fact that it wasn’t there and proceeded anyway. So too in life with the missing piece.
Most puzzles are challenging and can often lead to giving up and crumbling the pieces in the box or at least being tempted to do so. The challenge can also become a driving force of determination to finish. If a certain section just isn’t coming together then it is time to move to another section; often when you return to the difficult section it will come together much easier. I’ve also had the experience of casually walking by the table and oh my, there’s the piece I need and then I can proceed! So too in life with the challenges we encounter.
While working on this puzzle I had another piece that I thought was also missing. I had tried all the pieces that I thought were the right color and shape and nothing worked. But as I kept working I realized that surrounding pieces weren’t coming together either. The culprit turned out to be a nearby sneaky piece that was a close match, but not the right one. After I pulled out the offender the section went smoothly. So too in life when we let an oversight hinder everything.
The handwriting debate (cursive vs printing and legible vs illegible) is nothing new. It’s been going on since the caveman started drawing on walls. Mothers have moaned over children’s handwriting and complained about the new methods for a long time!
So, on a recent visit to the Texas State Capitol I had to laugh as I was reading a display about the Secretary of State’s office in the Capitol and the duties of the Secretary of State which include overseeing state elections. A timeline entry for 1946-47 states:
The Secretary of State’s annual report noted that elections are “recorded in longhand, which is a tedious job, and few are qualified to write so that it can be read”.
I think we’ve all felt like this from time to time! And since it hovers over the electronic device repair shop I have to think of all the times I’ve wanted to take a device and just obliterate it. Do you know what I mean?