Pieces of My Heart

Challenge number two is in the box.  Actually it’s out of the box and still sitting on my table but you get the point.  I put together a 500-piece-puzzle with a little help from Andrew. Actually a lot of help.  Basically he did the puzzle and allowed me to assist but it’s done.  It was pretty much framed out by the time I realized he’d started.  I’ll admit it took me a bit to get going. First of all, it was kind of overwhelming so many pieces, so many shapes and colors.  And, since the edges were already done, where do you start?  Plus, I needed my reading glasses which was a bit humbling.  But just like riding a bike, once I got on again it all came back to me.  Pretty soon we were working side by side, piecing together smaller sections, searching for their place in the larger picture.

In prepping for this challenge I got some valuable insights from experienced puzzle-doers. One mentioned that puzzles are basically a problem-solving activity, which is so obvious to me now.  I’d never really thought about it before.  Andrew has always loved a similar activity: legos.  He even mentioned, while we worked, that when he doesn’t have a lego set to build that he likes to do puzzles.  Didn’t know that.

Another puzzle advisor told me that part of the joy of doing a puzzle is working on it with other people.  For me, truer words have never been spoken.  I did enjoy the search for the right piece and the pleasant feeling of it all coming together.  But my favorite part was standing shoulder to shoulder with my seventeen-year-old son, no phones, just a shared task with a singular purpose.  I think he enjoyed it, too.  I can write that because there is no way he’s reading this blog.


One of the unexpected benefits to working my way through these challenges (two so far!)  is that in order to best recall how you think and feel about something you have to be present in the moment.  It’s forced me to examine my emotions in a place and time.  We live such busy lives that stopping occasionally to see “hey, how does that make me feel, and why do I feel that way?” kind of slows life down.  Doing the puzzle together also slowed time down.  Just for moment.

So, did you try your hand at a 500-piece-puzzle?  Were you inspired to dust off the old puzzle boxes and put puzzles back into your life again?  I won’t be designating a portion of our kitchen table as a permanent puzzle station but I will do one again.  If fact, Andrew and I have plans to start on a 1,000 piece dandy in the near future.

Before you go…if you, like me, are prone to snacking while you are watching tv or reading or doing basically any other hands-free activity, puzzles are a great way to keep your hands busy!  It’s hard to eat and do a puzzle at the same time…unless you can get someone else to keep working while you are eating.  Ice cream may have been eaten during the completion of this challenge.


I’m Puzzled by Puzzles

Hey, I feel like I’ve accomplished something!  Maybe you do, too!  That’s about as many exclamation points as you are ever going to get from me.  So, trust that I’m feeling pretty good.  The first challenge was definitely challenging but also kind of inspiring.  Bear with me.  We have 99 challenges to go and they aren’t all going to make you feel as good about yourself.  Ready for the next challenge? COMPLETE A PUZZLE…WITH 500 PIECES OR MORE.  Full disclosure:  I’m not a puzzle person. I don’t dislike them, I’ve just never really been particularly drawn to do them.  Games? yes.  Puzzles? not so much.  But this isn’t like eating a burger with mustard on it…this I can do.

In case you aren’t aware, January is National Puzzle Month.  Don’t feel bad, I didn’t know that either until the sign at Barnes & Noble told me.  All three of my kids like to do puzzles and I’m pretty sure my sister, Laurie, likes to do puzzles (or at least she used to).  But, I think part of my problem with puzzles is that they feel a little pointless to me.  What do you do with them when you are done?  I certainly don’t want to break up a 500-piece puzzle immediately after completing it.  And, I also don’t have the wall space to glue then frame it or the desire, quite frankly, to do that either.  I’m also afraid that I might not have the patience.  That being said, there are a lot of very appealing looking puzzles out there. It took me a bit of time to choose, eventually deciding on a 500-piece beauty depicting classic travel posters.


I realized after I started to write this that the puzzle could actually have been more than 500 pieces but I will acknowledge here that I’m not much of an overachiever.   Five hundred pieces satisfies the challenge so that’s good enough for me.  If you are joining in, feel free to go for it.  Seven-hundred and fifty!  One-thousand! I won’t judge, I just won’t be helping.  Or take advantage of the buy one, get one half price deal that Barnes & Noble is running this month and do them both!

I feel, at this point, that I should offer an apology, only four blog posts in and I’ve already name-dropped Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s, Target, Panera and now Barnes & Noble.  If only they were my sponsors and I was getting paid for all this product placement.  As you can tell by now, I am actually sponsoring them.

Do you like to do puzzles? If so, may I ask, why?  Heck, maybe by the time I check in later this week I’ll have discovered I like them, too!  Got any insider tips or hints for me?  Just not the old starting-with-the-edges tip…I have done a puzzle or two, you know.  So, clear your card table, choose your puzzle, and dig in.  Or, at least cheer me on!

Before you go… if you read closely you will have realized that I used more than two exclamation points.  I’m a bit embarrassed by that for some reason.  I’ll save you the trouble of counting them.  I used eight…counting this one!