Life is like a Jigsaw Puzzle

Life is like a Jigsaw Puzzle

Life is like a Jigsaw Puzzle

Life is like a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. When you are building a puzzle, first, you find all the border pieces. The ones with the flat sides – the edge pieces. Once you’ve completed the edge pieces or border of your puzzle, the best strategy to follow is to pick out major, easy to identify sections of the puzzle. Pull out all those pieces. Fit them together. Put them in their place within your puzzle. Then select out the next easy to identify section. Separate out those pieces. Put them together as best you can and put them in their relative position within the puzzle framework.

As you move along through this process of identifying specific areas of the puzzle and putting those in order in their relative positions, the overall puzzle begins to take shape. Not all at once… it doesn’t come together immediately. But over time different areas of the puzzle begin to form as you concentrate on them.

And after a while those pieces which at first you did not recognize as being part of one of the earlier sections, you start to notice patterns of where they belong. Pieces that are all one color, for instance, are really hard to identify where they belong. You start to notice shades of color difference that you hadn’t noticed before. Pieces of the sections you had already isolated and built but were missing a few pieces, you find those pieces mixed in with the hard-to-identify pieces because they just didn’t have that easy-to-find characteristic.

And over time the process builds on itself as you get more and more sections in order and put together, until eventually you’re almost picking up pieces and putting them directly in their places one after another.

Growing as a person is like this. When you find and identify the boundaries to build your life within that’s the beginning. This is like finding the foundation for your life. It gives you a starting place. You want to find the firm foundation that is true – that conforms to reality. We find this true foundation in the Bible and in the person of Jesus Christ.

Then you begin working on certain areas of your life and try to put them in order. It might start with your finances, your marriage, your work life, or your spiritual life. As you put the different areas together, your life starts to take shape. Getting additional areas under control and in focus and in order and productive starts to become easier. Unfortunately life is not completely the same as a jigsaw puzzle. For the puzzle there is finally a finishing point, a finite amount of time when you can put the whole thing together and say you’re done. With life however, although there is a definite finishing point for our lives, we never reach a state of being done on this side of eternity. We leave that to our Lord and Savior for the next life.

We can use this principle of focusing on specific areas of our lives, getting them in order as best we can, getting things in place and moving on to another area. This principle can help us move the ball forward in our lives toward reaching our goals.

Marriage Goal-setting Retreat

Goal-setting

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Start your Year with Goal-setting

Target by Jasper Johns

If you aim at nothing, you’ll be sure to hit it. [Target by Jasper Johns (Photo credit: cliff1066™)]

If you haven’t written goals for the year, I highly recommend you do so.

I’m a relative newcomer to goal-setting. I’ve only been writing personal goals for the last four years or so. My goals before that were more… abstract. The process has helped me to define what I am working toward with more precision and persistence. In many cases, my goals have provided an impetus for getting started in a new or risky area that otherwise would not have been there.

For my goals, I use a resource from Dan Miller, one of my podcast sources for inspiration. He recommends setting goals in seven different areas of your life: financial, physical, personal development, family, spiritual,  social, and career. If we neglect one or more areas of our life we will end up with problems in the long-term. For instance, one of my personal development goals is to read 24 nonfiction books this year. This as been one of my more successful areas the last couple of years. I also have some physical goals for exercise and eating right. These have been a little tougher for me to follow through with, but I need to continue to give them attention.

I try to use Zig Ziglar’s advice to track my goals, in fact, getting better at tracking is one of my goals. I’ve noticed that the goals I track regularly have a much higher chance of getting accomplished.

Finally, I try to be specific and measurable in my goal-setting. Dave Ramsey says a goal has five characteristics. A goal is specific and measurable, has a deadline, is owned by the goal setter (not put on them by someone else), and is written down.

If you haven’t already, take some time to think about and write down some goals for your life.

Here’s to a great new year!

Goals

If you aim at nothing you’ll be sure to hit it.
With the approach of 2012 just around the corner many people talk about New Year’s resolutions. I’ve not really been a fan of New Year’s resolutions in my life. However, in recent years I’ve had some success with goalsetting. I use a form which I download from Dan Miller’s 48Days.com website on life and career coaching. I also use Zig Ziglar’s guidelines and Dave Ramsey’s perspective as well.
Zig Ziglar has quite a bit of encouraging audio content available for free through his weekly Inspire podcast. His talks are both motivating and informative in regard to how and why to set goals. My significant learning from Zig this coming year is more carefully track my goals. In 2011 I was much more consistent with the goals I had devised a way to track.
Dave Ramsey says a goal has five characteristics. A goal is specific and measurable, has a deadline, is owned by the goal setter (not put on them by someone else), and is written down.
Dave Ramsey, Dan Miller, Zig Ziglar, and most principles of success writers explain that you need goals in all the major areas of life in order to be truly successful. Dan Miller’s goalsetting worksheets cover seven areas which are called the wheel of life. They are: financial, physical, personal development, family, social, spiritual, and career. You need to be addressing all seven areas of your life for your wheel of life to roll smoothly. If you neglect one area, you have a flat tire.
During this Christmas and New Year break which most educators enjoy, take some time to think about and write down some goals for your life.

Waking Up

I started working in public education over 10 years ago. I wanted to make a difference in children’s lives. I had a serious faith in Jesus, but I simply did my job and kept quiet about my faith and convictions. I avoided political issues related to school. When it came to politics or union involvement I kept my head down and did my job. Now I realize that I and many other sincere conservative Christian teachers have done exactly the same thing. We have kept quiet with our heads down and do our best in the classroom trying to love children and teach our students. Unfortunately through this practice of avoidance we have allowed ourselves to become marginalized. By staying quiet and not speaking up, I have allowed wrong policies to become entrenched in the rules and culture of our schools and workplace.

I began to wake up from this broken, weak, retreating position when I began to listen to WallBuilders Live! as a podcast about four years ago. I found someone who was talking about America in a way that I hadn’t heard before, talking about our founding fathers and their faith, and having evidence of original documentation to show their faithfulness. I started to hear a group of people talking about not just fighting a desperate, losing battle against the liberal slide of our nation but actually pushing forward into and winning battles for our nation… a group of people who are optimistic and positive about taking back the land. I’ve become encouraged to take a stand, to speak up, to begin using my sphere of influence to take back the land. For me a big part of the journey that was beginning to get the positive and encouraging input from WallBuilders, from Dave Ramsey, from Chuck Colson, from Zig Ziglar. That’s why I include links to their programs on my resources page and in this post. I want to encourage you to start listening as well.

Origins of this Blog

I have several reasons for starting this blog. The main purpose is to encourage conservative educators to use our voices. We can influence our schools to become places where children are raised up with good morals and manners once again. We have been silent followers for too long, meekly going along with what has become the immoral liberal agenda of teachers unions. I have put together my resources page to help teachers who want to get started.

One motivating event happened as a result of a recent local union election. At a rep council meeting I had learned that candidates were not supposed to use district communication systems for campaigning. I myself was not a candidate, but I had strong opinions about which candidate I would like to see elected. I decided to email and speak to some of my colleagues encouraging them to vote the same way I would be voting.

As the election progressed and the votes were counted, I was very excited when the candidates I was supporting won by a three to one margin. Unfortunately the losing side decided to dispute the results. We had one rep council meeting where the election was upheld locally. This was followed by a CTA ruling that the election was to be upheld.

When my efforts to communicate my opinions were called into question, I decided that maybe I had better use a more public, transparent method of communicating my views. I had already been thinking of blogging about conservative issues. The election experience crystalized that thought. I have a feeling there might be a number of other committed teachers who are feeling marginalized by the liberal agenda of the bulk of CTA’s leadership. You’re not the only one! There are lots of us. We can push back.

I had some uncertainty about starting a blog. I don’t have a lot of experience blogging, a wonderful 21st-century innovation that allows the common person to have a voice that can potentially be heard across the community, the country, the world. You will notice as I post entries on this blog that I approach the conservative point of view from a Christian perspective. In my deliberations this perspective gives the best explanation for understanding and living in this world we live in. I do recognize that others have reached a conservative point of view from other perspectives. I welcome allies from various backgrounds, and respectful, civil discourse from any side. For my part, I will be attempting to examine issues from a Christian perspective.