The Puzzler

Are you a puzzler? Sounds like a villain from some ancient comic book series, doesn’t it? I’m not sure what they are called, but I am referring to “one who does jigsaw puzzles.” (Check out my social media if you want the answers to what they are really called…) At the start of the Coronavirus lockdown, we, like all the other families we know, got out the puzzles. Gonna be stuck for couple of weeks, might as well tackle that 1000 piece object of frustration, right? Or maybe you are the 1500 or 2000 piece master. Hats off to you. Ours started out well. The youngest was determined to finish… even time-lapsing the evidence to show the progress (see below). Alas, our kitchen table was no match for the unfinished work of art. Pieces began to slide and fall off, lost to the abyss of the living room floor. The table was taken up with other projects, and the purple flowers of the Thomas Kinkade painting eventually all blended in with the blue-green grass. We were “done” — the puzzle soon became too time consuming for our small attention spanned minds. The box got put back in the cupboard again. Maybe if we had a dedicated workspace. (I say this for about half the projects I start). I have a friend who refinished a table just for puzzles. I recall basements of older relatives set up with folding card and T.V. tables with jigsaws on them. I honour ya’ll with thought and admiration for your dedication. Sorry, not our cup of tea.

our attempts at jigsaw puzzling…and sharing videos on the blog…

Which is probably detrimental to our mental health. They tell me puzzle building is good for your brain. It makes all kinds of connections between your left and right brain hemispheres and releases “good” brain chemicals leading to calmer emotions, better memory, creativity, and eventually can raise your IQ levels by up to 4 points. Does it have to be the kind of puzzle that takes up my dining room table, though? Perhaps my denim quilt will achieve the same results… or matching tupperware lids. Or dividing brownies into enough pieces to last longer than two days in a house full of teens. Those are puzzles, right?! But, I digress…

The idea of “the puzzler” and cutting out almost 500 squares of denim for above said quilt project, had me thinking about the idea of piece work. Many of you are familiar with the Bible’s description of the church as different parts of one body. 1 Corinthians 12 goes on to explain in details how all the parts fit to make a complete whole — much like the pieces of the puzzle are designed to complete the picture (eventually — if you have the patience!).

photo credit: mcc.org

As a beginner quilter, I have new appreciation for the work that goes into a huge quilt… so many tiny stitches and pieces of fabric tediously folded and tucked — often by multiple hands to complete a masterpiece! I can’t help but think God has a folding card table set up somewhere in Heaven for His puzzle of “the Church”. Or a great sewing room somewhere with giant quilts of age-old stories weaved together with tiny, perfect stitching.

We’ve been blessed in the last couple of weeks to “fish around” a bit for a variety of online church services and worship videos. Not because we don’t love our own church body, but because isolation has given us the opportunity to see what the world is doing! His church is alive and reaching out in new and wonderful ways. We’ve had to be creative and be challenged to work together to get things done. We may be physically distant, but we are certainly not isolated! Much like the quilters of old — each working on our part of the puzzle to create a masterpiece. Younger and able bodied groups are reaching out to seniors. Gifted musicians are joining together to make concerts on balconies. Bakers and baristas are serving frontline workers. The internet has exploded with “church online”… with traditional and non-traditional services being broadcasted world wide. We need to put aside our differences and look beyond our tiny warped piece and see how our bumps and grooves align with dips and waves of others. Do we fit? Can we flip to fit even better? Does our straight edge align with the straight edge of others to frame the puzzle? Does our flash of colour blend with other, similar flashes to blend into a beautiful tapestry? Who are we to think that we have all the answers? Perhaps the Master Puzzler has given us this world wide pandemic because He wanted to pull out the old Heavenly folding card table for awhile and mix up some puzzle pieces and make something beautiful out of us. And He’s got a whole lot more patience then we do! What will you do with your piece of the puzzle?

What will you do with your piece of the puzzle???

Meaning of Green

Well! The world has changed so quickly! And things continue to be in a state of upheaval as I write this post. Matters that were once fairly stable and routine have become unknowns. Most of us have had to adapt and grow during this Coronavirus Pandemic. Self isolation and social distancing are the new buzz words. I’m giggling a little because my introvert self is lovin’ it! What?! We don’t have to go out? No problem here, I have a hundred and one projects to tackle… it’s all you other people that are home that seem to be getting in the way. Seriously though, I pray that you all are safe and keeping the faith. Be encouraged that God knows, and loves His children.

Perhaps you’ve been like me and survived your first week at home with kids in tow, trying to keep one step ahead of the chaos. You’ve worked hard at making sure everyone is sane and that there are enough snacks and toilet paper as you juggle the finances to be sure things stay afloat when there may be less work available. Take a deep breath with me, my friend, and let’s pull out the last colour in our crayon box: Green.

“The grass is greener on the other side” seems an appropriate proverb for our current affairs. We may think our situation seems dire compared to others, but it’s not true. Our blessings are many if we look for them. The “Green, Green Grass of Home” is truly a pleasant place to be for most of us. Our people are there, and we feel safe among them. Maybe we just need to see this as a forced season of rest. Certain shades of Green make us feel refreshed, relaxed and in a place of peace and security. We often talk of the colour green with financial security, wealth and abundance. The colour green lies in the middle of the solar spectrum and the human eye can see the most shades of green, compared to other shades. It must be one of God’s favourites, too, because there is so much of it in our environment! Which is also why marketers use it so often to help us “go green” as we associate it with all things environmentally friendly and “naturally good for us”.

But in the fateful words of Kermit the Frog, “It’s not easy being Green”. Hopefully you are not “feeling a little green” from all these idioms, because despite the green Irish luck of leprechauns, too much green can leave you feeling lazy and apathetic. Or “green with envy”. Yes, green is certainly one colour we use a lot in our everyday language! But what about in the scriptures? In the King James Version of our Bible, the word “green” appears 44 times, interestingly, only 4 times in the New Testament. And most Bible scholars would agree that of those 44 times, most reflect growth, renewal and immortality.

So let’s look at some examples:

“Happy are those who trust in the Lord… They will be like trees planted by the streams, whose roots reach down to the water. They won’t fear drought when it comes; their leaves will remain green. They won’t be stressed in the time of drought or fail to bear fruit.”

Jeremiah 17: 7-8 CEB

“All the trees of the forest will know that I the Lord bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.”

Ezekiel 17:24 NIV

“For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Luke 23:31 NIV

And one of my personal favourites:

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
   He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
  He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.”

Psalm 23 NIV

So we see the idea of growth — literal trees that either wither or flourish depending on their life circumstances. And so it is with us. If we are attached to the vine of Life, and abide in the fullness of His love and care, we will flourish and grow. Even in uncertain times, like in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, we can rest assured that the One who is in control of the growth of the tallest tree, will not allow us to dry up and wither away. He will prune and shape us to start new, healthy growth. He will water and fertilize with encouragement and gentle prodding. He will give us strong foundations and rich soil to feed our needs. He will shine down on us as we timidly raise our tiny shoots heavenward. Even the “greenest” of us will begin to bloom and blossom in time.

So perhaps Kermit was right: it’s not easy bein’ green. But in a world of uncertainty, I must take hold of the promises I see in God’s word, and trust that He is looking out for us, and intends for us to be forever alive.


   

Thanks for following along in our “colouring party” posts. We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s thoughts on “green”. Want to make sure you don’t miss the next exciting adventure? Sign up here for weekly muses! And don’t forget to check out our other colours from previous posts! As always, I love to hear your thoughts and comments!