Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Heart Within A Heart August 31, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:33 pm
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It happened a little more than a year ago. It was mom’s 28th birthday and dad got her a very special gift. But there is this thing about gifts – sometimes their real meaning is lost upon the receiver. Usually that’s not the case with my (overly sentimental and sometimes emotionally hypersensitive) forever mom. I love her, but there’s this thing about being a female I simply don’t think I’ll ever fully understand.A Piece of Time

It certainly came to light for me that day all those moons ago when mom unwrapped what may have been one of the very most thoughtful gifts she has ever received from my dear forever dad. (Mind you, that is saying a lot since they’ve known each other almost 11 years now.) He brought it to her with his homemade breakfast in bed and she gasped at the sight of it all. At five months pregnant, I wasn’t surprised at her enthusiasm at the sight of freshly made food one tiny bit.

A Heart Within Then it happened. The great moment when she unopened what might just be one of the most thoughtful gifts dad has ever gotten her. And bam. She missed it. While she had a happy look on her face, it was not quite as happy as when he had entered the bedroom with homemade eggs, pancakes and bacon. “It’s a heart within a heart,” I remember dad saying, with a wilted amount of defeat in his voice. Clearly it meant something to him, and he was surprised mom didn’t instantly notice the thoughtfulness behind the piece.

While that may have been the case then, it is certainly untrue now. Since that day she has almost never taken off the heart within a heart. Sometimes when no one is looking, she cries tears of joy for what that tiny little heart means to her. She wore it throughout the duration of her pregnancy. She wore it while she was in labor. She wore it when dear baby Carter was born. In that moment, he was no longer a heart within a heart. But I’m convinced none of that really matters because the necklace has super powers. So far, it has helped her not just survive pregnancy and labor an delivery, but it has helped her come out of it all a proud, glowing mother of a contagiously happy baby.

To think it happened a while ago already when mom got this special little gift. She’s even already updated it slightly with some tokens that say “blessed” and “mom” on them. But there is something about this thing called gifts. Sometimes their value grows with time. And at least from what I can tell, dear baby Carter will not only grow with time, but he will always make up a (big, important and incredibly prominent) piece of her heart. In reality, he always will be a heart within a heart for her. And that necklace, which serves as a reminder of that, will become nothing less than a timeless treasure.



Joy To The World

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:02 pm

Is there really ever a “wrong” time to listen to Christmas music?

Wiley's Wisdom

I caught my mom listening to Christmas music today. There it was mixed in with the normal tunes of Phillip Phillips, Dido and Norah Jones. There’s no place like home (for the holidays). Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Sleigh Ride. I’ll Be Home for Christmas. That’s right, folks, all the classics joined the Christmas party. In June.Merry Christmas in June!

At first I was concerned, and thought perhaps she was confused by the really long winter/non-existent spring we’ve had around here. But we’ve had our fair share of randomly beautiful days too, so that couldn’t be it. My next thought was that something must be wrong at that place called work. But her job changed for the better a few months ago and the result was a much happier (not to mention more well-rested) version of herself. So it can’t be that. In my little doggie mind, I found myself making a…

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Belong To Your Dreams August 30, 2014

I wouldn’t say I’m a wimp. I’m not a weakling or a coward either. But in the face of pain, I will admit it. I don’t like it. I don’t like it in any variety I have ever experienced from physical to mental to philosophical. Pain is not my favorite thing.

Waiting to get going

No pain, no gain

Yet there is this popular people belief of “no pain, no gain.” It’s one that I will admit to completely blowing off in sheer denial the first time I heard it. Which is strange coming from me, since I generally love to embrace the musings of man. Not in this case.

Maybe it’s the physical abuse I encountered in the so-called care of the man with the leather belt. Or I guess it could be the emotional and psychological damage that followed not only his abandonment, but that of my first adoptive family. Such a thing calls into question literally everything you think you know about yourself. What did I do wrong? What would I (should I?) have done differently?

In many cases the answer to these absurd questions lies in the very same emotional space as their origin. Chances are, you didn’t do anything wrong. Most likely there is nothing you could have (or should have) done differently to change the outcome of a given situation.

I realize this now that I have had some time and distance to process how my personal emotional past plays an active role in my psychological future. Regardless of what I’ve gone through, I wouldn’t call myself a wimp or a weakling or a coward. I have shown bravery and courage when it was necessary, even if I still have nightmares of certain events to this day.

But I also have dreams. Really really good ones. Dreams that come alive in various situations of my daily life. Dreams I live in my sleep. Asleep or awake, they don’t look much different. In each of them I am (in one way or another) surrounded by two-footed friends otherwise known as family. Dreams. From the ground up, they are a pretty special antidote to the painful way of thinking about things. I get that now.

I wonder if I’d get that as clearly if I hadn’t had my fair share of pain. Though I suppose it’s possible I would have, I do think sometimes you need to live through the storm to better  appreciate the rainbow that follows. My storms were tough, but my rainbow is better.


Won’t You Be A Neighbor?

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:57 pm

So happy to report that Demon Dog is still AWOL, and has been since roughly the same time dear baby Carter came home. Coincidence? I call it a happy miracle.

Wiley's Wisdom

Sometimes the cattiness of people throws me off my game. Here I am, going about my life seeing the best in the people, places and things around me, and reality pulls the rug out from under me. Kind of like that day in the dog park when the pit bull attacked me. All I wanted to do was play chase around the park, and he (obviously) wanted nothing to do with that.

This story involves a different pit bull who lives in the home behind my backyard. He’s a terror of a dog, barking madly at nothing at all, jumping and panting by the fence close enough that I am often the slightest bit thankful my lead doesn’t allow me too close. Will You Be My Neighbor?

About a month ago, he was engaged in his usual crazed routine when his person came outside and spoke a bit to my forever mom and dad while…

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The Golden Hour August 29, 2014

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

It has almost never happened to me. I  can honestly say I cannot remember the last time I saw it. Like any canine, I value my sleep (morning, noon and night) above most things. Needless to say, it is one of those things I just don’t see very frequently. Nor do I think I really will.

But today, thanks to the absolutely ridiculous insistence of my mom, dear baby Carter and I got to watch the magic. Today, for whatever reason she got in her head, my mom got Carter and I outside together at about 5:30 a.m. to see it. The sunrise. From the ground up, it’s a pretty beautiful thing as it turns out.

Sure, I can’t see color like most people, but that doesn’t really matter. It is still one of those things worth getting uThe Good Lifep for in the morning. Not that I would do it every day because I do particularly enjoy my sleep (no matter the time of day). But today was one of those special days you always carry with you on the normal days.

Because today started with a sense of joy I can’t ever duplicate. Mom was happy to see the beautiful sunrise with Carter and I. Carter seemed happy to be outside in the early morning. I loved the contagion that was joy in these things. In all the things.

So I know it doesn’t happen very frequently. And I can’t say I would purposely wake up earlier than usual to see it again. That is, unless this is the usual protocol at the sighting of a sunrise. A new day. A fresh start. Sometimes you don’t feel like paying attention to such things, but that’s no matter. Because sometimes you are forced to look up and enjoy the view. It is a beautiful one at that.


A New Leaf August 28, 2014

There are a lot of people in my life who wouldn’t dare say or admit what I’m about to say. I even overheard part of an albeit disturbing conversation about it today. After the winter we had earlier this year, I can’t say I blame them. That doesn’t change the fact that they are indeed in denial. Yes, winter around here was much too long, spring barely made an appearance and summer was far too short. But tonight, as I soaked in the cool breeze coming in through the windows of my beloved forever home, it was confirmed. Fall is coming.Backyard Happiness

I could smell burning wood and hear the sounds of the night through the darkness, which is starting to fall much earlier these days. As I watched fireflies dance from one of my favorite spots in the grass of my backyard paradise, I could feel a chill rising up from the ground.

Soon there will be nothing left of summer and the long, warm nights outside will be replaced with bonfires and s’mores. Soon mom will inevitably go through her annual pie-baking phase, where she churns out more cherry and apple pies than any person could (or should) really ever eat. Soon the leaves will turn colors before eventually shedding from the trees.

Soon the leaves will turn colors before eventually shedding from the trees. For some reason, the essence of fall somehow came alive in the essence of those words in my mind. As I watched the branches of the trees sway in the breeze tonight, I was struck with the powerful message that accompanies the fall season. Just as spring is a time of rebirth and renewal, fall is a reminder that life goes on. Sometimes we need a reminder to move past something that has been holding us back. Sometimes we need to turn the page. Sometimes we need to think about finding a way to turn over a new leaf. For me, that is the essence of fall in a nutshell.

It might not be the most popular truth around the state right now, but that doesn’t change the truth. Fall is coming. Fast. And while yes, it brings cooler air and shorter days, it also brings encouragement. It also brings hope. From those bonfires to extra cuddle time to those leaves that need turning, I would agree with Irish songstress Enya that we have a lot to look forward to.

“The spring, summer, is quite a hectic time for people in their lives,” she said, “but then it comes to autumn, and to winter, and you can’t but help think back to the year that was, and then hopefully look forward to the year that is approaching.”


Courage Under Fire

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:19 pm

It happens all the time.

Wiley's Wisdom

A dog’s responsibilities in life are pretty simple. Most of us don’t cook, clean, or pay the bills. (Instead we eat, leave furballs in hallways, and make a hobby of collecting toys). But this is not to say we dogs aren’t responsible. To me, our biggest responsibility in life is no small matter – to love with all our little doggie hearts as big and full as possible.

Hard at Work

I found myself reflecting on this after I saw a commercial on the television tonight. It’s not unusual for me to favor Allstate Insurance commercials, but a comment in this one struck me: bad things can’t stop us from making our lives good.

This concept illustrates one of life’s most unfortunate truths: bad things that happen to good people on a daily basis. It’s just not fair. Trying to bring sense to it is a fool’s errand. But (like most things) it’s…

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