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Like a picture puzzle, our lives become clearer as we watch positive patterns develop
Laila and Summer Young came to visit grandmother Sherry and they spent time working at a beautiful wooden Christmas puzzle. It was had going at first but by organizing the colors and working together the puzzle began to take shape. - photo by Sherry Young
Our son Jims family gave us a lovely present from Liberty Puzzle of Boulder, Colorado. The puzzle is cut into many intricate twirly pieces mixed with a few elves and different recognizable Christmas figures that fit into the pattern of the puzzle.

We didnt open it until a few days after Christmas when Laila and Summer and their brother Jax, the children of another son, Steve, came to stay for a few days. It looked impossible, but as we began sorting the pieces into different groups, we began to see the pattern develop. Once we found some of the main pieces to fit together, we were hooked.

As we sat around the puzzle looking for the pieces, there were some good conversations that wouldnt have happened had the kids been looking at their phones or zapping away at a video game. As we talked and puzzled, it seemed that just when we were about to give up and go do something else someone would fit a piece in and we would work on it a bit longer.

It reminded me of years ago when we would fly out from Connecticut to Park City where the family gathered for many years. It was a wonderful time of skiing, eating and enjoying each other, and also a time for sitting around a big table in the dining room doing puzzles and talking.

At that time Steve was single and, although he enjoyed meeting with the family, it was a hard time as well as his four siblings' families began to grow. How much better it is for him now as the puzzle of his life has come together with a wife and four children. And he is actually very healthy in spite of all those years playing football, including in the NFL.

Through the years, as each of us has opened our puzzle box of life, just like the wooden puzzle, it seemed daunting until we started sorting out preferences and enlarging on our talents and abilities. Still, piece by piece, life emerged into the picture we put together.

At this point in my life, many of the patterns have emerged. Some have been harder challenges than others and there will be those yet to come. Everyone faces challenges, that is what life is about, but trying to fit lifes puzzle together and trying to keep the picture bright and complete is the important part; to not give up and dump everything back in the box,but keep looking for the pieces of our lives that fit together well.

What will 2018 bring? For my husband Grit and I there may be additions to the trio of great-grandchildren in our family picture. At our ages, there could be some health problems. Our lives will be more like the intricate border of the puzzle we were doing. The body of the puzzle had faces and colors which made our choices easier. The border took more time to piece together and was more intricate, felt more random and was more difficult.

For instance there will be things we dont want to choose. Grit had cataract surgery in December. He put it off so long that what seemed normal to him, as he looked back, was some scary night vision. He finally gave in because he couldnt follow his own golf ball, and not being one who likes to rely on someone else, he conceded. His world is now back in focus. Hes seeing highway signs he hasnt seen in 10 years.

Here is hope that you will be wise and puzzle out your choices and bring your world into better focus as you add to your experiences in 2018.