Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Hopeful Impulse June 25, 2014

For me, it’s the grill. Not only does it create some of the most delicious smells ever known to man, but I’ve observed something else about the grill. Thank YOU

Around here, a grill is a social status symbol. Around here, a grill brings more than perfectly smokey sausages, burgers, and chicken breasts. Around here, a grill means joy. From the ground up, I’ve become somewhat of an expert on the matter in recent years and I know it to be truth. Because where there is a grill, there is happiness.

It happens with my people more this time of year than any other. They spend time together outside enjoying all things beautiful and bam! The next thing you know, there is a host of delicious food. Not that food equals happiness. That is not the case by any means.

But that’s okay because it’s not about the food.

“Every heart that has beat strongly and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world,” suggested Scottish poet Robert Louis Stevenson, “and bettered the tradition of mankind.”

I can hardly change the world with simply my observation of human interaction. So I know my observations about the people and the grill will not be changing anything for the better. But I do know what I learn from such things can help make the world a better place.

Because for me, it’s the grill. It probably sounds ridiculous to some people, but to me it makes perfect sense. It creates the most delicious smells that I see as evidence of hearts beating strongly. It frequently involves impulse as it pertains to what exactly gets grilled in the first place.

But ultimately none of that matters. Because whether it’s just my people, or them and some of their friends, I know this thing called grilling brings joy to the table. This thing called grilling makes hearts beat strongly, with or without the hopeful impulse.

And that, like Stevenson said, betters the tradition of mankind.


My Castle in the Air

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:36 pm

Ah, the wonders of imagination.

Wiley's Wisdom

I’ve noticed a trend in popular literature lately. While The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Matched series are all brilliantly written, society is writing itself a morbidly bleak portrait for the future I can’t say I enjoy. I would much prefer to dig into the daydreams I have, in spite of the nonsense they might contain. Dreaming of the Castle

I realized today I spend a good deal of my day dreaming. I dream sleeping, but I also daydream in vivid images that bring joy to my heart. Today I dreamed of what my utopia would look like, and I have to admit it looked nothing like the dystopian future societies of District 12, Dauntless and The Society.

In my dream, I saw the sun and felt the warmth as I heard the faintest strumming of a familiar song humming through the breeze. All of my favorite people and canines are there, happy and well. And I…

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Everybody Wins June 24, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:19 pm

Wow. That’s odd. My reblog and new blog have similar names and I didn’t even check out the re-blog title until AFTER I posted the new one. I think it’s a sign. We must find our own sunshine from time to time. Whether its a hug or game or anything you see fit – make some sunshine today.

Wiley's Wisdom

If attention-getting were an Olympic sport, I would compete for the gold medal. In literal terms, dogs aren’t that great at playing games. Don’t get me wrong, we love our catch, fetch and agility as much as the next species, but in my humble opinion most of us are too honest to be good at most games. We wear our hearts on our fur and couldn’t tell a lie to save our life. You can see it in our eyes. But emotionally speaking, dogs are exceptionally skillful attentioPlaying in the snown stealers.

While I don’t posses the skills required for most human games, I do have this attention-stealing game I like to play especially with dad, where I sit and stare at him, paw at him and jump at him until he pays me what I consider due attention. Sometimes I even throw a toy at him. I almost always win these battles of the…

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Everyone Wins

It’s pretty silly. It’s one of those things that probably would be classified by most of us four-legged folk as embarrassing. But I don’t really care what people think. I know happiness. I know joy. From the ground up, it happens in these moments. Silly or otherwise.

When it comes to tricks and training, my dear forever mom has always taken the lead. From her, I’ve perfected sit, stay, roll over, play dead, give kisses, and a host of other talents I’ve come to know and love. While I love the treats (especially anything involving bacon or any imitation thereof), the joy I see run across the faces of my people is a treat in itself. Hugs

What dad and I have is different. He’s been the primary initiator of my favorite family game (otherwise known as pickle in the middle), but lately he’s done more than that. He’s been my primary buddy ever since dear baby Carter was born, and though I had my reservations about this at first he has not disappointed. He’s surprised me with a number of new things, such as catch and (my personal favorite) hugs.

Here’s the thing. I know it’s pretty silly, but I’m not too much a (doggie) man to admit I need a hug from time to time. And the best part is, dad always seems to know when those times are. I don’t know how he does it, but that’s no matter. Because when he does, it’s the kind of moment us canines live for. “Wiley, come give me a hug,” he says. And I do. And I’m not lying when I say it brings my heart just as much joy (if not more) than it does him.

I think it’s something frequently forgotten about by people these days. And although I personally believe everyone needs a good hug from time to time, it doesn’t have to happen in hug form. It can be a smile. Or a caring conversation. Or anything really, that involves truly and sincerely caring for another being.

It probably sounds silly, but I don’t care. Neither did a favorite American poet of mine named Shel Silverstein, who once wrote “I will not play tug o’ war, I’d rather play hug o’ war. Where everyone hugs instead of tugs. Where everyone giggles and rolls on the rug. Where everyone kisses, and everyone grins, and everyone cuddles, and everyone wins.”

That is the kind of world I chose to make for myself. Won’t you do the same?


A Cup of Joe June 23, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 10:30 pm
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I think it’s a great idea. It’s one of those things you hear and think you wish you would have thought of that. That, or you realize you have thought of it already (perhaps before this person did) so why didn’t you do something about it? My dear aunt Morgan is tossing around the idea of starting a coffee business. That’s the daring entrepreneurial spirit she was born and raised to have, that’s for sure.

I know it could be risky, but this is a risk I can stand behind. It’s like a food truck, but for coffee, and she would call it “A Cup of Joe” after her dog Joey. Joey (who is just about one of the cutest doggies you’ve ever seen) could be her mascot and all things public relations for the business.

It all sounds like a lot of work to me. But that’s because I like to spend the majority of my day napping in various spots throughout my forever home. Morgan is young and free to do so much in life. And I know she can. I guess I always have, but it was somehow reaffirmed in my mind today.

Because great ideas happen all the time. Kind of like those commercials you see for the product you thought of ten years ago but never followed through with inventing. The difference is vision. Today as I listened, I heard it come alive.

“Vision without action is merely a dream,” suggested author Joel A. Barker. “Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.”

It might sound silly, but I the right combination of action and vision can bring clarity to even the haziest of futures. Maybe it can even do so one cup of coffee at a time.

Joey and I



A Wiley By Any Other Name

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 10:08 pm

A rose? Nope. Just call me Wiley. 🙂

Wiley's Wisdom

I was called Zorro once. The family that adopted me for a short time tried calling me that and it was honestly the strangest couple weeks of my life. The name simply didn’t fit. It was dark and mysterious whereas I am sunny and somewhat of an open book. Wiley fits my personality perfectly. Spontaneous, outgoing and a little bit crazy? Yep, that’s me.

But now that I am set in my ways as  Wiley, I sometimes wonder what I would look like in someone else’s paws. What if I were more pensive, agile or mysterious? Would life be different? Would life by any other name be as sweet? But my past has taught me I can’t live without embracing my personality. And one of the best ways I’ve found to embrace my personality is to explore my space. Most dogs would agree that defining one’s territory is obviously very important, so I find it…

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The View From Above June 22, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:32 pm
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It was pretty much of a train wreck you need pull over to see. Or a car accident you need to slow down to properly observe. Or that guilty pleasure of a television show you can’t help but watch. It happened on a beautiful fall night when there was just enough crisp to the air you needed a light jacket. Or, in my case, a Packer jersey. I knew when that thing got pulled out something fun was about to happen. So when we ended up at a football game of one of my favorite little people after an hour car ride, I was pretty excited.

Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights

So was mom. I would describe her as childlike that night, in both good and bad ways. Let me be clear – I always maintain the truth that we are as young as we feel. But that night almost two years ago mom took it one step (or maybe I should say three feet) too far. She and her niece Sophie climbed up into a tree to take pictures while I stood watch. They giggled and smiled and my heart was happy. Until it wasn’t.It may as well have been a crack of thunder. First Sophie jumped down from the tree. Then mom. But when mom did it, the movement was accompanied by this awful tearing sound from her knee. And so it was the end of life as her ACL and MCL knew it. The worst part was watching it all happen and there not being a darned thing I could do about it. Well, that and watching the excruciating pain that followed.

It was a night that will live in infamy in my forever family. Yet the more time that goes by, I continue to find more wisdom in my recollection of the events leading up to the fall. The first and most obvious is that sometimes God pushes us on our backs to force us to look up. But there’s more to it than that. Sure, it was a silly risk mom took climbing a tree of all things that night. And jumping down like she did was…well, it was like the train wreck and car accident and guilty pleasure television show all rolled into one. But I uphold the idea that these things need to happen sometimes. We need to be silly and take risks and know that sometimes things don’t go as we want them to.

Not that I’m happy that was the last straw for mom’s knee. Far from it. However there is some joy in taking risks. In jumping out of trees without a care in the world.

“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes,” suggested American entrepreneur David Packard. “if you don’t make mistakes, you’re not reaching far enough.” At least in my opnion it is better to have jumped and lost than never to have jumped at all.


Hand Me the Lemons

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:59 pm

I’ll take lemons any day of the week. I make a killer lemonade.

Wiley's Wisdom

Hand Me the LemonsMy parents like to watch this television show called “Chopped.” I think it is one of their favorites. It pits four chefs against each other in a battle with mystery ingredients and a prize of $10,000 for whoever is the most creative in putting the ingredients into something delicious. I prefer the commercials to the show, since there generally are appearances by some of my favorite dog stars like Ceaser and the dog in the Traveler’s Insurance and Cymbalta commercials. But there is something about the show that caught my attention recently.

The judges all talk a lot about repurposing the mystery ingredients into something new or different. Usually, the ingredient is something the chefs either aren’t familiar with or have been classically trained to strongly dislike for whatever reason. Whoever said creativity killed the cat clearly missed this powerful metaphor for challenges in life.

Creativity saves moments, days, and…

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The Importance of Emotional Attention June 21, 2014

To most people it probably sounds pretty ridiculous. Mom is blessed. I see her a lot more than I used to. But that’s beside the point. Because when this happens, it doesn’t matter how often we see each other. She gets pretty mad.Life's Big Questions

“So…what did you do all day?” is probably one of the worst questions a husband can ever ask a wife. Especially when there is a small child involved. It carries with it a somewhat hurtful (albeit probably unintentional) amount of loathing that makes one hard-working mother feel as though she isn’t quite working hard enough. While I know in my heart that is certainly not the message dad intended to deliver this afternoon upon return from his day at the race track with his dad, that is exactly what he said.

And, as it were, his intentions didn’t matter. Mom’s feelings were hurt and there is sometimes no turning back from that. Because in her eyes our day was plenty busy. We played and ate and slept and played some more. Auntie Morgan even came over for some pool time. Granted, no laundry was done. No dishes were cleaned. Nothing was dusted. But that didn’t matter, because overall, it was a very nice day.

I think this misunderstanding that happened between my people today reflects a common misconception in society. Because the way I see it people all work very hard. And I was raised on a “work hard, play hard” kind of philosophy. But that’s so far from reality for my people. There is no playing hard around here since (for the most part) they would rather be with each other than anywhere else on a Saturday night.

So I suppose it sounds pretty ridiculous to most other people, but I stand by the truth I know in my heart, which is that my dear forever mom and dad are truly blessed. It might not seem like it to them as the hard working people they are, but they are fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with dear baby Carter. Not to mention with me, as I do require an average (to above average) amount of emotional attention. I just think it’s too easy sometimes to forget the importance of emotional attention.

And that reminds me all to clearly of the words of dear transcendentalist thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson, who suggested “nobody can bring you peace but yourself.”

I know he’s right. Yet I know the peace I felt in my heart today when several of my favorite people were happy together. That is a peace of emotional attention money can’t buy.


Where Dreams Come True

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:09 pm

It doesn’t matter when it happens. It matters what we do with it when it does.

Wiley's Wisdom

It’s triggered by the oddest things. A birthday. A walk around the neighborhood. Playing catch in my forever home. Regardless of what triggers it, I sometimes get upset when I think about my birth parents. I don’t understand it when it comes to my dad. I have no memories of him and the ones I do have are of the impact he left on my mom when he left.

Somewhere Out ThereShe hated him, then she missed him, then sometimes she would get so angry that my brothers and I would know to stay away because she needed time to cool down. With every emotional turn, I found myself loving her more and hating my dad more in the same breadth. It makes perfect sense why I get upset when I think about my mom. I loved her. She showed my brothers and I how to love unconditionally. She brought home to us…

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