What’s Missing in Your Puzzle?

(About a four-minute read)“It’s always the small pieces that make the big picture.” ~Seen on Pinterest, not attributed

We wiped out the refrigerator, packed up coolers, stripped beds and heaped up laundry baskets to overflowing as we said goodbye to “the lake” a couple of weeks ago. Our daughter’s family cabin will sit quiet and empty for a while now.  It will wait patiently until it fills up with its people next time. When we return, it will wrap itself around the noise, the mess and the laughter of family and friends. I honestly believe the cabin is actually happy when it’s full of people, and that in some way, it has a soul of its own.

We left an unfinished puzzle there again, spread out on the big kitchen table.  A few pieces are added each time the cabin comes to life but we’re still not finished. We’ve worked on it for at least two summers now, rescuing fallen pieces from the crumb-and-sand-filled dustpan and eating meals around it, careful not to spill. There’s a picture on the box so we know how it will turn out if we will only get it done, but still, it’s taking lots of scrutiny and lots of hands to make it come together. I think the box says there are 1500 pieces in that mind boggler and each thumbnail size piece has not only a unique shape but subtle and distinctive colors and shading. It can be torture, but we relish the challenge!

Each time I sit down and write a post I’m putting another tiny piece in a puzzle, a puzzle as daunting as the one we left undone on that table. Trouble is, there’s no picture on a box to show me how my life will turn out when I’m done. Every day I work on my own “why” and every day I discover how another little piece fits in the picture. Except on some days, when nothing seems to quite fit.

Other days, though, I find something new that makes me want to do a little happy dance and share! I have a head start on most of you. I’ve been working on my own puzzle for lots of years. I’m beginning to see how it’s going to look when I’m done, at least I hope so. The picture taking shape is of someone who looks for the best in all people and loves to encourage others.

Aren’t we all trying to make the pieces fit in our own life? Things can be really puzzling, there’s no doubt about it. I have learned it’s much easier to make it all come together when we have some help along the way.

“Life is like a giant puzzle… and people are the pieces. Without each other, we will never be able to complete it. Allow each piece… each person, to be who they are. Don’t try to mold them… change their shape or color, file down the rough edges or remove them completely. No two puzzle pieces are alike and we serve a certain purpose. We need each other… we need to work together to make life complete.”~ Tighmir

As I piece together the picture of the person I hope to become, I question myself just like you do. I’m not quite sure what’s made me so driven to help others discover their gifts and learn their why, but I am! Sometimes I even ask myself, “What am I thinking?”  What makes me believe I’m smart enough or worthy enough to attempt it? There are days I think maybe there’s been a mistake but it continues to burn inside me. I believe I’ve found my why and I want nothing more than to help you discover yours.

I’ve spent over sixty years on my puzzle, reading and studying more about what makes us all tick than anyone I know with the exception of people who spend their lives engaged in counseling others. Why? I don’t honestly know except I find it endlessly fascinating to learn why some people thrive with so little and others wither despite every advantage.

Over the years I have come to the conclusion that it comes down to something so personal, so internal and is centered on our core beliefs. Once we find out what genuinely matters most to us, we will do almost anything to protect and serve that purpose. It comes down to our values and ultimately to the values we hold that are most worthy. When we intimately know and understand what we cherish most, I assure you all the pieces begin to fit.

I hope you find some wisdom in what we share with you and know you have our support in helping you find your way to becoming the best possible version of the person you are meant to be. We welcome your comments and questions and we’re determined to be your partner in the exciting process of finding your why! Thanks for joining us!





  • Gail

    Thank you again for your thoughtful writing! Is it possible that our “real” self is completely whole (always!) and that our person is just reassembling? I love your puzzle analogy – it is supposed to be fun!

    • Betty Streff

      As always, you have such an interesting perspective! I appreciate your thoughts! Maybe we do arrive with all the pieces in the box and then it’s up to us to put them together.

  • Grant Newbold

    Dear Blog Subscriber. Betty and I are both “searchers” and have been for a very long time. You can gain some insight into that by reading our biographies on this website. The “puzzle” is a great way to think of our lives. In searching we sometimes find pieces and sometimes seem to lose pieces. When you work on your “why” you are working on painting the “picture on the box.” It is much easier to figure out the pieces and where they go, when you know what’s the “picture on the box.” You are also much more likely to persist at the task of doing the puzzle when the “picture” represents worthy values that are important to you and in many ways represent your unchanging core as a person. Thanks again, Betty.
    Subscriber, thanks for accessing our website. Talk to you again soon. Grant “Doc” Newbold.

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