Recently, a co-worker once asked me what I do to alleviate stress in my life. Some people go for a run to achieve a Zen-like state. Others will meditate or do yoga. I told him that for me, working on a good jigsaw puzzle has always brought me some peace in this crazy life.

I’ve written about jigsaw puzzles before, but I thought I’d give you a visual so you can see how much our family enjoys them. Everyone from my parents to my kids gets involved. Some of them think they are funny and try to sneak a piece in their pocket. This is so they can be sure to put the one to put the last piece in. Sometimes at the end of a puzzle, we wind up with several missing pieces.

Andrew got a little frustrated.Our most recent puzzle masterpiece is a general store. There was so much to look at, which made this puzzle a lot of fun to do. We could easily break it down into sections to tackle. There are several old-fashioned signs, flower beds and baskets of fruit to piece together.

First and foremost, we do the border first. I know others who like to do the middle and work their way out to the end. Our family doesn’t understand this logic but to each his own.

As you can see, we are missing a border piece at the top. This became a constant source of frustration. But after taking the time to go through the pile, piece by piece, we decided to proceed without it. We do have lives, you know!

This picture was taken after the first day. We get a lot done when we work together.


Over the next few days, we each find some time to put together a few pieces until it is complete. Jenna was particularly happy to find that missing border piece.


Jenna works on the green and white awnings in the puzzle.



We typically keep the finished puzzle on the dining room table for a week or so before taking it apart and starting a new one. One may wonder what’s the point of putting together a puzzle that you are just going to undo eventually. To this, I say it is the journey that makes it so enjoyable. You have to imagine the engaging conversations, the no-screen time rules, and the laughter that takes place around our dining room table. Jigsaw puzzles bring me joy, a sense of accomplishment, and, yes, those awesome moments of Zen.

9 comments on Puzzled

  1. Nancy Smith
    January 24, 2020 at 10:05 am (5 months ago)

    love this…it brought back some memories as well working puzzles with my family. I enjoyed too, seeing the photos you took as this puzzle evolved.

    • Elisa Heisman
      January 24, 2020 at 1:42 pm (5 months ago)

      Thanks Nancy!

  2. Julie JordanScott
    January 24, 2020 at 1:38 pm (5 months ago)

    I became impatient with puzzles some time in my early adulthood and I never picked it up again. There is something very satisfying in it – perhaps I ought to consider trying it again! I know as I get older, doing things like this may help my brain stay healthy and fit!

    • Elisa Heisman
      January 24, 2020 at 1:42 pm (5 months ago)

      Yes! There are plenty of cognitive benefits to this activity. But, if you are more of a crossword puzzle person – do that instead. 🙂

  3. Carrie
    January 24, 2020 at 5:24 pm (5 months ago)

    We used to do puzzles as a family when I was a kid. I don’t dislike doing puzzles, but it isn’t a go to activity for me. Love that you have no screens while doing this.

  4. Anne
    January 24, 2020 at 6:37 pm (5 months ago)

    Members of my family love puzzles for the same reasons you talked about! I can add a piece or two or “give my 2 cents” on what to do next! 🙂 Nice that it brings you so much pleasure!

  5. RAAckerman, PhD, EA
    January 24, 2020 at 7:26 pm (5 months ago)

    Ah, puzzles. I remember when those were among our family activities. Then, Scrabble. Then, College. Then, marriage…

  6. Karen
    January 25, 2020 at 12:12 am (5 months ago)

    I enjoy a good puzzle too. Unfortunately, once I get started on it, I don’t want to go to sleep until it’s done so probably not a good activity for me. Enjoy!

  7. vidya
    January 25, 2020 at 11:59 pm (5 months ago)

    This is so wonderful.. We don’t do puzzles as much as we did earlier, and your post brought back those memories


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