Jigsaw Tribute

#inspiration, tribute, motherThis week marks the 100th anniversary of my mother’s birth. I can think of no better tribute than to share an excerpt from something she wrote years ago. She’s been gone for many years now but lives on in the following message.

At some time in our lives, I would imagine that each one of us has worked on a jigsaw puzzle.

Usually, the first thing we do is to study the picture on the box. It’s much easier to know how the pieces fit together if we have the completed picture in our mind’s eye.

The second thing that we do is to turn over the box and empty out its contents. Often our reaction to that pile of pieces is to wonder how such a jumble will fit together to form the picture on the box.

However, we set to work, turn all the pieces right side up and begin to sort them out and fit them together. Each piece has its own particular spot. Have you ever found one piece coming into your hand every few minutes? You try it here and try it there, and it almost fits, but not quite – so you put it to one side and go on with the rest. Whenever you find it in your hand again, you give it another try. Eventually, you find the right place for it.

Every piece of the puzzle must be there to start with, or we can never hope to see a completed picture.

Joining any kind of group is something like this jigsaw puzzle. Before we join we try to get an overall view of the whole picture. Then we look around at the number and variety of people who attend and wonder if we’ll ever sort them out and fit them together to make the picture we envision.

First of all, we have to turn them all right side up – that is, we have to find the right and good side of each. We can’t expect a piece to fit into our puzzle ANYWHERE. It won’t fit if we’re looking at the back, or standing it on its side, and trying for force it into where WE think it should go. We have to accept each person for who THEY are and not try to force them to be what WE want or expect them to be.

Some people are like the piece of the puzzle that keeps coming to our hand and we have difficulty finding a spot for. We must recognize the fact that everyone does not fit with everyone else all the time, but there is a proper spot where each of us belongs, and that no one else can fill. Every piece of a puzzle is absolutely essential if we are to have a completed whole.

It is my belief that our lives will be happier if we let each person take his place as an individual. Together we form the complete picture.

A Mother’s Legacy

#inspiration, mothers, loveYesterday was Mother’s Day and I was blessed to be able to spend time with both of my children and all seven of my grandchildren. They gave me the best gift possible, the gift of time together.

The young children hugged me, said, “Happy Mother’s Day” and went off to play. My husband, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and teenage granddaughters sat at the table and we talked and laughed together.

We were also blessed to have our daughter-in-law’s mom with us. The decibel level rose higher as we all enjoyed our time together. The evening wasn’t as much a tribute to motherhood as much as a celebration of life. Stories were told that didn’t always portray me in a favourable light, but that was fine with me.

My family knows that I’m not perfect. I learned long ago to laugh at my mistakes. After all, these make for the best stories!

This, in turn, gives my kids permission to laugh at themselves. One of the lessons I hope to have passed is, don’t take yourself too seriously.

Besides laughter, the other ingredient of our successful gathering was love. It is a beautiful thing and I never want to take for granted the love we share.

This legacy of teasing, laughing and loving was passed on by my mother. She taught us by example. Although she passed on many years ago, I know she’d be pleased to see us carrying on in the same manner. The lessons were well learned and my goal is to ensure they are passed on to future generations.

“Train a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not turn away from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 GWT)

A Mother’s Wisdom

#inspiration, letter, wisdomWhen I was a teenager, my mother wrote me a letter. I was confused. Why would she hand me written words instead of just talking to me? She smiled and said it was some thoughts she wanted to share and this way I could go back and reread them at any time.

I honoured her by taking and reading the letter but didn’t think the contents were valid. To my credit, I didn’t share those thoughts with her!

Looking back, I see the wisdom in her plan. I was nineteen, ready to leave home and thought I knew everything about life I needed to. Spoken words wouldn’t have been as effective as I probably would have disregarded them.

Basically, my mom told me that I was the only one responsible for me. People would come and go in my life and my self-worth couldn’t be based on the opinions of others. I was the only one who would always be with me. The lesson was to follow my conscience and do what I knew was right.

Sadly, I haven’t always followed this advice. There have been times I’ve tried to make someone else responsible for my happiness. I soon learned that is an unreasonable burden to place on anyone.

Blaming others for leading me astray was easy. Far more difficult was to admit, even to myself, that I had a choice as to my actions. When I chose poorly, it was my fault, not that of anyone else.

The older I get, the more I appreciate the simple wisdom of a mother who only wanted the best for me. I have learned over the years that I am responsible for my own experience. Thanks, mom.

“The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up”. John C. Maxwell