Ever go through one of those times where you wake up in the morning to find a truckload of manure in your driveway? You didn’t order it. You don’t need it. You can’t return it, because the midnight interloper has left no forwarding address. And you’re not going to be able to get your car out of the garage until you get the pile moved.

What’s a person to do?

Why, read a book and plant a garden, of course.

On the book front — as Cait continues to face some of the emotional challenges of becoming a teenager, I’m always looking for ways to help her put it into perspective. I’m a firm believer that learning how to keep one’s balance and sense of humor go a long way in the sanity department. And I’ve found that storytelling is the best way to keep reminding Cait of that.

While Cait (mostly) loves my stories, I also try to provide her with reading material that supports the view that what’s important in life is not so much what happens to you, but what you do with it.

Cait’s and my favorite book on this subject at the moment is: Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung? by Ajahn Brahm.

In it, you’ll find a collection of 108 tales nimbly covering topics such as perfection, love, commitment, fear, pain, anger, forgiveness, happiness, freedom and humility. Each story is only a couple of pages long and can be read one at a time when time is short. Brahm, a former Cambridge University theoretical physics professor, is now an abbot.

One of my favorite stories in it for Cait has to do with how we can let perfectionism prevent us from seeing the bigger picture and feeling a sense of accomplishment, which can make it hard for us to let go and move on. In “Two Bad Bricks,”  a bricklayer builds an entire wall–1,000 bricks worth–but he can’t enjoy his work, because all he concentrates on are the two “bad” bricks that are slightly out of alignment. That is until it’s pointed out to him the beauty of the other 998.

On the garden front–

Not having the time I need to keep up with both vegetables and flowers this year, something has had to give.

My solution? I’ve cut back on my flower gardening. Way back. To just window flower boxes. * windowbox-coon

How can anyone look out a window and see this, and not smile?

Except for maybe Finn. He’s twitching. There’s a Robin sitting in that tree taunting him. But that’s another story…


* Shooting through the window screen created the gauzy effect of the photo.