Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart April 30, 2014

Going to get ice cream!I don’t know why it happens. Nor do I honestly understand what it means. Heartburn. From the ground up, this is one of these mysteries I can tell is destined to never be solved for me.

Here is what I know. It was bad for dad for a while until he made some changes to his diet and it seemed to improve. It was awful for mom throughout pregnancy and has stuck around for the aftermath, at least to some extent. It seems to happen when they eat spicy or acidy foods, and yet they don’t stop eating spicy foods. Lasagna. Enchiladas. Pizza. These are all things I can smell in all of their deliciousness, and I always know what is coming.

Heartburn. Discomfort that makes one (or both) of them irritable, uncomfortable and upset. Whenever it happens, I fight the urge to say I told you so. That, and I have no way of actually saying such a thing to them. Because my doggie mind definitely understands the concept behind cause and effect. Stimulus and response. Behavior and treat. Or, in the case of heartburn, the opposite of a treat.

Except for times like tonight when heartburn leads to happy things. Tonight dad’s heartburn prompted a family car ride to get ice cream. Which is funny because I’ve heard there is no scientific proof that dairy does any good to help heartburn. But tonight I was reminded it doesn’t have to.

Because I think the car ride did the trick itself. My people would tell you I’m mad (which, let’s face it, I was when I didn’t get even a sample of the deliciousness). I would argue I’m logical. It’s happened before and it happened again today. Cause and effect. Which is ironic since I don’t really understand the concept of heartburn other than what comes after the cause and effect.

It’s not the worst thing when they both get heartburn bad enough to merit such a trip. I wish no pain for them (ever), and yet I always get excited when they have an especially acidy or spicy meal. I know what’s coming. Sure, it isn’t always a car ride to get ice cream, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s the idea, the memory, the tradition, that brings me joy. From the ground up, that is heart burn to me. I know I’ve got it all wrong, but I don’t care. Don’t go breaking my heart. Because this heart loves to burn.

 

 

Paw it Forward: Spring to Live

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:01 pm

So many animals are abused. Or homeless. Or worse. Please do what you can to help.

Wiley's Wisdom

It probably surprises no one that I am a lover of spring and an admirer of 1800s poet Christina Rossetti. She was a lover of life, words and any combination of the two. “Spring is when life’s alive in everything,” she once said.

I love life, so I love spring. The resulting words are ones of appreciation for what happened today. Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow in Pennsylvania this morning and he didn’t see his shadow. Halleluiah! That means spring is coming early this year!

What better way to celebrate the life in spring than to reflect on what it means to us? A favorite author of mine Mark Twain believed life is best lived for a reason. “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living,” he wrote. “The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”

With that I find myself reminded of the world that…

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Labor of Love April 29, 2014

Matilda is her name. Selling high-quality wood furniture is her game. Well, sort of. I guess you could say she assists in the sales of the furniture, although I would argue toward the former.

The seven-year-old golden retriever has been living the dream with her forever people since she was a puppy. Every day, she enjoys a 30-minute car ride (every day!) with her people (Skip and Joyce) to their furniture business, where she spends her days napping in between greeting visitors to the store with bright eyes and a wagging tail. Apparently customers have been known to stop by just for some time with her. It sounds like a dream job to me. And, at least from what I heard mom telling dad earlier today, it has been a dream job for her (and her forever people) for the last seven years.

Longer than that for Skip and Joyce, who have owned and operated the business for the last 30  years. The time has come for them to retire, and do a very sad thing for them – say goodbye. To the business. But that’s not really what they’re going to miss. They’re going to miss the people. And the people are going to miss them. And Matilda, of course.2014-04-29 13.35.44

It all got me to think about this thing people say about doing what you love in life. I’ve always been a proponent of the idea that if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life. That was thrown into question for me today, thinking about the time these people spent working 12 (plus) hour days to run their business.

They rarely (if ever) took a day off since the store was open seven days a week. They never travelled together. And, while I know they wouldn’t change a thing about their experience, they worked. Hard. Their love for the place was stronger than the oak they sell, but that doesn’t mean it went without effort. On the contrary, it was because they loved it that they put in the passion it takes to keep a small family-owned business afloat these days.

“Commitment is an act, not a word,” suggested French philosopher Jean Paul Sarte.

Sometimes it is the act, the effort, that makes the whole thing worthwhile. Commitment. From the ground up, I imagine it to be something resembling the four-legged sense of loyalty (which is stronger than oak as well). Certainly dear Matilda knows a thing or two about that. As do her people.

 

 

Finding Freedom in Flangipropping

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:23 pm

Inquiring minds need to know – what would your use and definition of the word “flangiprop” be?

Wiley's Wisdom

Susan G. Wooldridge is one wise wordsmith. It has been a while since I picked up my copy of her book Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words, but today I felt inspired to take a wordy walk down memory lane. As always, my walk with Wooldridge’s words did not disappoint. The beautiful scenery she paints for this “outlaw on a poem walk” bring poetry to life all around me.

“Poems arrive,” she writes in the introduction. “They hide in feelings and images, in weeds and delivery vans, daring us to notice them and give them form with our words. They take us to an invisible world where light and dark, inside and outside meet.”

The notes in the margins and the (admittedly) threadbare pages bear witness to the role this book has played in my life as a lover of words. Sometimes I think it takes a little crazy…

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Acres of Diamonds April 28, 2014

I stand for a lot of things. The least of which is a dog’s right to the occasional piece of bacon. But I also make a point to stand for the big things too. Like freedom. Love. Life. The pursuit of happiness. I live these things in my daily life. They are part of who I am.

So you can imagine how it was today to see baby Carter stand for something. He stood for himself today. At the tender age of (almost) four months old, my dear little person actually resembled a little person today. He stood on his own two legs all by himself. Kind of. He had a little support from the ottoman behind him. But it was still such a remarkable developmental milestone to witness.This is what happiness looks like

It reminded me that he is going to stand a lot in his life. It’s easy to forget this since he still spends the majority of his time in someone’s loving arms. He’s not mobile (yet). He still sleeps more than he’s awake. (Not that I can talk in that regard). But soon enough my little person will indeed be standing on his own, both literally and figuratively speaking.

He’s going to have thoughts and opinions about things. He’s going to learn right from wrong. He’s going to learn about powerful emotions. He’s going to live. It’s all so surreal to think about right now, yet I found myself wondering today what he will stand for in his life.

I hope he takes a page from my book about the bacon. If he doesn’t (apparently it’s not the best thing for people’s health), that’s okay as long as he learns to stand for the big things instead. Like freedom. Love. Life. The pursuit of happiness. And Joy. From the ground up, this is my wish today. Because as I watched dear Carter stand up today, the words of American motivational speaker Earl Nightengale came to mind.

“You are, at this moment, standing right in the middle of your own acres of diamonds,” he said. That is all I can hope for today and always.

 

Faith in the Future

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:51 pm

Why is it in so many cases we don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone?

Wiley's Wisdom

“Make the most of your regrets,” Henry David Thoreau once said. “Never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.”

Yesterday, I wrote about five things I would attempt to save if my house was burning down. Reflecting on the contradictory definitions a “spark,” I focused more on the fire than its aftermath. Its so easy to do in the heat of the moment. Why is it that in so many cases we don’t appreciate what we have until its gone?

Today, I realized all of the precious things I left behind. Practical things came to mind like my warm doggie bed and my Packer jersey. But I know those are replaceable. They’re just things.

Far more devastating are the memories lost in the ashes. I’ll never forget the first day my parents…

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The End of The Tunnel April 27, 2014

I’m sure it looks different for everyone. In its various forms, the darkness has a way of encompassing us sometimes. Be it in a job we hate. Or a project that never ends. Maybe in a toxic relationship. Or, in the case of this four-legged life lover, the foe otherwise known as winter. It was awfully nasty this year, despite the bundle of joy it delivered into the lives of my family. (Thank goodness for that!)

Seriously though. Between the record low temperatures, and the snow sneezes that kept coming down on us every couple of days, it was a pretty epically horrendous winter in Wisconsin. And that’s coming from someone who knows winter in Wisconsin. Not to mention someone who makes a point of not complaining about things. I seek to find the good in all people, places and things, and all this talk about terrible weather has certainly not been filled with much (if any) of my usual silver-lining perspective.

Until now. Because the other day it was 70 degrees for the first time in seven months. It was gorgeous outside. And I got to spend time reveling in it all with my beloved family in my backyard paradise. That’s when I realized something I guess I’ve always known but never really paid attention to about that light at the end of the tunnel.

It is so very important because it keeps us going. It motivates us to be better. To do better. To live better. Because it’s always there, guiding the way. But maybe more importantly, the wait is always worth it. Sometimes the longer the struggle, the higher the mountain, the darker the times – the more sincere the joy is when you reach the end. When you reach the light.

That’s certainly how I felt the other day as my whole family laughed together and I wagged and they laughed and none of us knew which came first. I know it looks different for everyone. It happens at different times and varying frequencies for all of us. And I don’t think it’s ever the same twice. Except maybe it is in that one crucial way. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. We just need to focus to see it.

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