Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Things I Get To Say December 28, 2021

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:32 pm

Perspective is a funny thing.

For starters, I can’t even comprehend how it’s been so long since I’ve put paw to paper otherwise known as the keyboard. So much has happened.

My puppy brothers are so grown – Carter will soon be eight humans person’s years old. Conner will be six humans person’s years old shortly thereafter. It confuses my protective doggie mind.

But rather than recap what has been a strange, gratifying, happy, challenging, fulfilling, terrifying, strange last few years, let me tell you a few things I heard today that prompted me to break my silence on the interwebs.

I have to. I ought to. I get to.

It’s a prophetic theory attributed to this very wise human named Hyrum Smith. I’ve learned a lot about him and other wise humans in recent years thanks to my dear forever mom’s ever-evolving interest in personal growth and development.

Today I heard the familiar thoughts about how we have emotions that drive our mindset – something about moving feelings of fear to feelings of love along a continuum. I’m not 100 percent sure I understand how it works, but what I know for sure is it has to do something with gratitude, which is something I’m very familiar with.

It’s about seeing things through different lenses. It’s about seeing things through a different mindset.

It’s about seeing things as a blessing. Which it is – always.

Rather than thinking of things as something we have to do or something we ought to do, it’s about seeing things as something we get to do. That changes things.

I believe this with my whole doggie heart. Why?

I introduce to you the bedtime routine with my puppy brothers…a series of events that has evolved over time and has become the very living and breathing example of this “I get to” philosophy.

It hit me tonight as I heard something I’ve heard hundreds of times: I get you tonight, mom.

What does that mean?

Well, for the last few years, my forever humans have practiced this routine around bedtime when they rotate time with each other before everyone falls asleep. It seems like far more work to me – I would much rather do my thing in circling to find the perfect spot – preferably as close to my forever dad as possible – and stay there until morning.

For my puppy brothers, however, it happens to be a rotation between my forever mom and my forever dad. The rotation seems self-evident and continues to this night.

Tonight something struck me when Carter said it. Tonight, dear Carter said something I’ve heard so very many times from both him and Conner: I get you tonight, mom.

I get you tonight.

What a special thing for my people. I don’t know why it didn’t resonate with me sooner, but it sure did tonight. They get to spend time together before bedtime. They giggle and they snuggle and they read all kinds of stories and they love. They live. And it makes my heart happy.

To me, it is one of the most perfect, innocent, unintentionally thoughtful applications of that thought from the very wise Hyrum Smith about gratitude and mindset.

They get this chance. They get to make these memories. They get to spend this special time together.

And I get to document it here.

Perspective is a funny thing.

So much has changed. So much has happened. Yet here I am pondering one very important question yet again…

How blessed are we for these simple things?


On Being A Mom May 8, 2016

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:46 pm

I know it’s been a while.  Believe me, in dog time, it’s been an especially long while. And so, so much has changed.

Suddenly there are two little people to consider. Not one little person and a baby. Now there are two little people. Carter and Conner are now a fearsome twosome who are not to be messed with. While I can’t really explain why, I find myself more trusting of Conner than I was with Carter. Or maybe I’m just more easygoing these days. One can’t be sure.

What I do know with absolute certainty is my dear forever momma has hit rock bottom. It makes me picture the deepest, darkest places I’ve ever traveled to in my mind. That must be where she is lately. And I hate it. There is seemingly not much any of us can do to shine sunshine on an already dark place aside from one, very important thing.

In a few short days my mom will no longer do that thing called work. She won’t leave to get things done. She won’t watch as I join the boys in what is admittedly a pretty pathetic farewell. She is quitting that thing called work. She is going to be a mom. She is going to be home with my little pups and I and we are going to have the best summer ever.

Because we have to.

Lately things around here have been pretty bleak. My dear forever mom has not been herself for quite some time and it has a way of rippling through the entirety of our group. But today. Today I saw special things I couldn’t help but share.

Mom wasn’t expecting anything. Yes, it’s Mother’s Day. But she has a lot of work to do on a new project and planned to spend the day doing that out of necessity more than anything. But dad had other plans.

He let her sleep later than usual while he made breakfast for her with the boys. I watched as he let Carter stir the eggs and beat up the batter for the waffles. My little doggie heart swells in these moments.

Then it happened. The big moment we were all waiting for.

My forever dad brought in the food and dear baby Conner and Carter brought the gift. A card, with  a special message inside about some sort of jewelry that would arrive soon.

“Here you go, momma,” dear baby Carter said.

Well, you may as well paint my dear forever mom a forever shade of pink the way that touched her heart. It didn’t matter what was inside. Her dear baby boy had given her something he thought to be pretty special. And so it was.

None of it lasted long. Carter lost interest in being snuggly, Conner opted to eat most of mom’s breakfast, and she even let me lick off the plate. But those moments were priceless and special and something I won’t soon forget.

So many more happy moments followed.

Among them was one I will cherish forever, as my dear little buddy Conner said some words I’ve so often wished I could say.

“Momma!” he said.

He’s said it before, but never so pronounced. Never so on purpose.

“Momma,” I heard him say again.

Well, tickle me emotional. Hearing dear baby Conner’s first word be momma on a day we celebrate mothers pretty much made my day.

I know it’s been a while. And so much has happened. But today things happened I couldn’t help but share.

Today Carter and Conner said the things I wish I could have said myself. Momma, I wish I could say. I love you, I think all the time.

Today is a special day. To my dear forever momma and all of the beautiful women in my life, I say thank you. Because believe me. You are appreciated much, much more than you could ever possibly know.


Tiny Little Fingerprints August 31, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:04 pm

Something has changed around here in the last couple of months. My dear forever mom has reached a boiling point with things. In general, she is an overtired, emotional wreck of a person who I barely recognize.

But that’s the thing about motherhood.

She’s also stronger, healthier, and happier than she’s ever been.

Such is life. Baby pic

And from what I’ve observed from the ground up, I can tell you with no doubt that she needs people. She needs someone to listen, as you have to me for the last two years. It’s a different perspective, but it’s a good one. Trust me.

So today, I resign my post as the reporter of all things joy: from the ground up in hopes you will check out the new variation on our lives at something she’s decided to call Tiny Little Fingerprints.

Please consider continuing to follow our excitement at this new place. Trust me, it’s where the joy’s at.


The Open Door Policy May 27, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:46 pm

I’ve never been one to question having an open door policy at my forever home. As a semi professional in the art of being an attention hog, I don’t particularly mind when we have visitors more regularly. It happened when dear Carter was born and it is happening again with dear baby Conner. Loving Company

Everybody wants to meet him. And snuggle him. And maybe sneak a kiss (or two) on his pudgy little cheeks. And I love every minute of it. But as a permanent resident of my home, it is something somewhat confusing to me at times. Not that I would ever question someone who wishes to visit. That’s beside the point.

What I question is whether it’s really a good idea for my dear forever parents to be welcoming visitors in the first place. Please know that both Carter and Conner are very good sleepers (at least so far). But they are typical babies and for us that means no one is getting much solid sleep around here these days (except Carter, who somehow manages to sleep regardless of what’s happening).

Dear Conner eats every three hours around the clock, just like his brother once did. I see it taking its toll on the efficiency and overall productivity of my dear people. They’re tired. Anyone can see that. So why would they want to have so many people over to meet dear Conner is admittedly somewhat of a mystery to me.

Or it was, at least. Just as it happened with Carter, so it happened again. My doggie pal Diesel’s mom, Jessica, was here a few days ago and suddenly I understood. As mom ever so carefully handed dear Conner off to her, I saw it. Joy. From the ground up, it filled the hearts of both my mom and Jess in that moment. And it filled my heart with a familiar sense of peace with it all similar to what I experienced as I watched the same phenomenon occur with Carter.

Yes. My people are tired. But they know it’s temporary. I know it’s temporary. What isn’t temporary is these beloved people and the joy that fills the room in moments. That is real. And that’s what makes the open door policy one of my very favorite things.


On Chasing Rabbit Holes May 26, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:14 pm

It’s a scary place. For that reason, it is feared by many and revered by those who dare to confront it. The unknown. From the ground up, it is one of those things in life that people approach in all sorts of ways. Despite that, there is something about it that unites us all together in our journey to discover. Our journey to live. 20140301_172020

That was a philosophy of a dear friend of mine, who I learned passed away recently. Amid the joy that has been brought into my forever home in the last couple of weeks with the early arrival of my new little person, the world has lost one of the good ones. The author behind the brilliance of Chasing Rabbit Holes passed away suddenly on May 15, a mere two days after dear baby Conner was born.

I only just learned of it last night, and thought at once it could not be so. An avid and loyal reader and supporter of mine, I spoke with her regularly aside from the blogosphere. She had become more than a reader. She became a friend.

I can’t believe she’s gone now. It had been a while since I heard anything from her and now she’s gone. I’m happy she was able to greet her dear Claire at the Rainbow Bridge, but I’m sad for those she’s left behind. I’m sad for the light she shined so brightly in her humble way. I’m sad about the unknown that awaits the world following loss.

A rabbit hole is often referenced as a measurement of the unknown. And that is what happens to us when we lose someone special. Though I wasn’t around to witness the immediate aftermath when my dear forever mom lost her father suddenly in 2009, I know the aftershocks from that continue to persevere from time to time.

But I find faith and hope in knowing even the unknown gets less scary eventually. It’s one of those things that one can choose to approach in a number of ways, yet there is common ground in what happens next. We learn. We discover. We live. For that I am grateful.


A Teeny Tiny Little Hat May 24, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:49 pm

I felt pretty left out at first. There were comfy blankets and lights and all things fancy filling up the living room of my forever home, and I had no part in it. So I watched, as I do a lot, as beauty unfolded right before my eyes.

It turned out the visitor to our home was here to photograph dear baby Conner. I watched in awe as she took her time to place him just so. As she did her best to get dear Carter to embrace what she was doing. As she captured precious moments in my family. And then it happened. Tiny little hat

She grabbed out a teeny tiny knit hat that looked like a dog. But there was more to it than that.

“I did my best to have it look like Wiley,” she told my mom. And in that moment, my heart skipped a beat. I watched as she carefully placed the hat on dear Conner’s little head and posed him as she had done before. She asked me to get in the shot and I was more than happy to oblige.

In that moment, in my minutes in the spotlight, I felt silly for feeling left out at the beginning. I felt silly for feeling left out ever, really. Because in that moment I was reminded again of the value of family. Of the importance of being together, being present, in moments like these. They are fleeting, but that they happen at all is something to be cherished.

So I watched, as I do, as beauty unfolded right before my eyes. And as that happened, I felt it. Joy. From the ground up, it lives in things like that teeny tiny little hat.


A Life Less Ordinary May 23, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:18 pm

When it comes to change, there is something I have noticed seems to stand out regardless of the circumstances. For better or for worse, change always is accompanied by a “before.” Though, in every instance, before is defined differently, the simple truth remains. Joy

In our case, “before” has come to be a place with myself and my dear forever family of three. The before was a time when things went a certain way and followed a certain routine. The before involved its own set of challenges at the beginning, but developed into the norm. The before was just that. All that has changed now, yet some things are the same.

Tonight as bedtime for dear Carter approached, I heard the words of a familiar tune for what was probably the fiftieth time. I’ve seen this particular Curious George movie how many times, yet tonight it was kind of like hearing it (really hearing it) for the first time. The words that stood out to me were to ‘live a life less ordinary, make life extraordinary.”

It got me to thinking about change. There’s nothing wrong with all things familiar. There’s nothing wrong with being ordinary. Yet there is something to be said for living a life less ordinary. For changing with the tide. For making life extraordinary.

My vision came to life today as my family of five took to the streets of my neighborhood on what was our first walk together in our current familial configuration. It was anything but ordinary wandering that albeit familiar territory I’ve come to know so well in my time with my family. We didn’t make it very far on account of several uncontrollable variables, but it didn’t matter.

Because in those moments we were together. As a family. In a time of change. The before, while prevalent, is no longer the focal point in the face of these adjustments. Together we are living a life less ordinary. Together we are making life extraordinary. Together we are in the now, and it is a beautiful place to be.


A Lot Like Love May 20, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:44 pm

There are a lot of things I enjoy about not being able to talk. I didn’t always feel this way, but as I grow older (and therefore wiser) I feel there are things I understand now better than before. The power of the human word is one such thing. Instead, I snuggle. Or wag. Or jump. Which I’m good with most of the time. But there’s this thing about words, about the art of language, that I value above my entire arsenal of nonverbal vocabulary. Few things are as powerful from person to person as the right (or wrong) set of words. Chronicles of Life

It’s been happening around here more and more, as dear Carter learns to talk. He is saying his toddler version of things like “hi, baby” to his new little brother and “what’s that?” about various unfamiliar (and some familiar) things. He says “uh oh” when an episode of Curious George ends or he drops his sippy cup when he’s in his high chair. He says momma and daddy. And he understands way more than he says.

So when it happened tonight it really was a thing of beauty. Mom and dad say it to him all the time. They’ve been saying it since the day he was born. But now he said it back. “Love you,” mom said, as she always does throughout the usual bedtime routine. “Yove You,” he said back. It didn’t matter that the diction wasn’t quite right. What mattered was the word. Yove. From the ground up, it sounds a lot like love.

So it went on like that for a while, ultimately involving dad too. It was an all out love fest around here as a result. It made me long for the power of language so I could have joined in the fun. Instead I stood by, as I always do, and bore witness to the power of language. I don’t need to be able to talk to appreciate moments like these.


Quality Time with Me May 19, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:33 pm

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does I make the most of it. I know it’s probably unusual for a dog to say so, but it’s time I anxiously look forward to. I went and saw my friends at the groomer today.

Mary and all her doggie comrades were in full force and I was in doggie heaven. It’s nice to see everyone and catch up with things, and (most of all) be pampered. I came home feeling refreshed and renewed.

It was a good reminder of something I think people frequently forget to do. I know my mom does it. And my dad. And my extended family…they all have this weakness with putting themselves last on the priority list when it comes to certain things. I know it’s not just them, either. It seems to be a commonality among the way a lot of people with big hearts function in the world.Sitting pretty

Yet I can’t help but wonder how life would be different if they just paused every now and then and did something nice. Not for each other or for the stranger in the grocery store, but for themselves. A little bit goes a long way, too. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Or fancy.

But just taking the time, taking a moment or two to pause and breathe and find renewal (in whatever form is best suited) is so powerful.

“Take a walk with a turtle and behold the world in pause,” suggests American writer Bruce Feiler. It doesn’t have to happen often, but when it does it’s simple. Do something you love and make the most of the time. You won’t be disappointed.


Life As We Knew It May 18, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:33 pm

It hit me tonight as my forever family was together in my backyard paradise. Dad had just finished mowing the lawn. Carter was causing trouble with the water from the bird bath. Mom was holding dear baby Conner. And I was there, in my favorite spot by my tree. I'm Sorry Now

Life is different now. Obviously. It seems silly to even say so out loud. Of course having another little person around will change things in major ways. Most of which we were prepared for. Yet that doesn’t subtract from the reality of change. It’s real. It’s significant. And it’s happening daily.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t sense a bit of fear in the hearts of my forever parents. Change is scary, too.

But we’ve been through this before. And I’ve learned a thing or two about change in the process. It’s less scary with each passing day as the new normal takes its place in our hearts.

It hit me tonight as my forever family was together in my backyard paradise. Dad had just finished mowing the lawn. Carter was causing trouble by the bird bath (and other places). Mom was holding dear baby Conner. And I was there, blessed to simply bear witness to it all.