Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

How Big Your Brave Is August 26, 2014

For some people, it’s as simple as getting out of bed in the morning. Or standing up to a coworker about some kind of injustice. For other people, it is the decision to get an ultrasound to try to find out the origin that nagging health problem they’ve been battling. For others still, it’s spending 12 hours in the waiting room while a loved one undergoes surgery to remove cancer.

Sometimes I think it’s too easy to forget the challenges those around us are facing on a daily basis. You go about your day doing what needs to be done, and that’s not necessarily wrong. But the reality is these things happen to people day in and day out. I know it because each of those things happened today. Family members and friends alike faced a variety of uphill challenges today worthy of pausing to recognize and respect. Thank YOU

Sure, it’s national dog day in America today. I could (and almost did) let myself get swept up in that, wondering why I didn’t get a special ice cream cone like I do on my birthday. Sure, it’s the day after my adoption anniversary, which went generally unnoticed by my beloved forever people yesterday. I could let that bother me. But life has taught me there is no reason for such things. There is no reason for negativity. Negativity is its own kind of cancer in my book.

The only way to beat it is to kill it with kindness. So today instead of fretting about what I could see as disappointments in my own little life bubble, I focused my thoughts and prayers on those people around me encountering a variety of situations. Like my mom’s good friend Dorian, whose dad underwent surgery to remove cancer cells today. And my mom’s good friend Mel, who had an ultrasound to figure out what might be causing her thyroid issues. These are real life things that happened in the lives of people I care about today.

It reminds me of some of the lyrics in that catchy song “Brave” by Sarah Barielles. “Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down by the enemy,” she sings, “fallen for the fear and done some disappearing, bow down to the mighty,  stop holding your tongue…show me how big your brave is.”

So to the loved ones I so deeply care about, and to the strangers I don’t know, show me how big your brave is. Because it might not mean all that much, but I’m rooting for you. I want to see you be brave.


The Last Word August 25, 2014

Apparently it’s normal. It’s one of those things most dogs do that I don’t. The doggie last word. From the ground up, it’s a game I infrequently play but often observe. My time with my cousins Buddy and Joey provides me with a wealth of knowledge in the area of this and other normalized doggie behavior.

Most recently, I observed both of them in something a person may have perceived as an argument. We all saw it as play. They were growling and grappling with each other. They wrestled and barked and wrestled some more. And just when I thought it was all over with, Buddy ruffed. Then Joey. Then Buddy again. And the next thing I know, they were at it again with the wrestling.

Partners in crimeMom and dad had their own kind of wrestling match today when they stopped home from that place called work over their lunch breaks. Carter was in rare form this morning, waking up at random times, screaming bloody murder, breaking things and trying to eat my food.

More than once, he made his way for my doggie food bowl, each time when a parent dared look the other way for some reason. He did not succeed either time, in spite of his relentless efforts, but it certainly disturbed me (as well as my forever people) thinking of him eating my food. Not at all because I don’t think he would not like the taste, but instead because of the danger it could be to him.

All in all, it was a challenging day. It was one of those days that makes a person (or both of my forever people in this case) throw up their proverbial hands and go to bed longing for tomorrow. Alas, that was not an option for any of us, but that wasn’t the worst thing.

Because apparently it’s normal to want the last word, and today was a rare instance where I not only wanted it, but I had it in my little doggie paws. Today it was a game I played in rather than observe. Today I provided much-needed comic relief. I played with dad and Carter while mom was away at that place called work tonight. I stayed close to mom when she was home instead of escaping to my thoughtful places like under the bed. I wrestled with dad while Cater napped.

Today I had the last word. And in spite of everything else, that word was joy.


No Place Like Home

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:20 pm

Getting back to your roots is important from time to time.

Wiley's Wisdom

Wiley’s daydreams was on the short list of other possible names for this blog. I spend the majority of my time either daydreaming or dreaming in my sleep, so I thought it would be a clever way to illustrate all those thoughts in my little doggie mind.

Blogging Away

Then the day happened that brought inspiration in the most unexpected of ways. Snow had been falling from the sky laying a beautiful blanket of sparkly diamonds on my backyard, and it came to me. My mom was so excited to get outside and play with me, she threw away caution with wild abandon, and she laughed. Oh dog, did she laugh to the point I wasn’t sure which came first – her joy or mine.

In that moment, it didn’t matter which came first. I felt such an overwhelming burst of joy I couldn’t help but want to find a way to…

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Painted Days August 24, 2014

29 and 35. They would probably not be happy with me for what I’m about to share, but I know they’ll get over it (I hope). That is how young my forever mom and dad are, respectively. And, for the most part, they act their age. But that could not be said this weekend, as all sorts of silliness broke lose in and outside the walls of my beloved forever home. I’m not sure what got into the hearts and minds of my forever people this weekend, but I’ll tell you this much – it was fun to watch.Happiness Captured

It started with an adventure making some sort of new (and delicious smelling) food on Friday night, followed by their acceptance of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge later that evening. It didn’t stop there. Yesterday, it looked like a kindergarten classroom had taken over the basement. There was paint and clay and picture frames. And there was laughing. Lots of laughing.

From what I can tell, it was an attempt by mom and dad to preserve the ever evolving hands and feet of my dear little Carter, who will soon be eight months old already. Into the paint and clay his little hands and feet went, albeit not very neatly. Over and over they tried for the perfect hand and footprints to no avail. Eventually they gave up and settled for a couple of slightly smeared versions of his footprint to add to a collage of the family footprints for the living room.

As I sat by and watched it all unfold I couldn’t help but feel the slightest bit left out. That used to be me, I thought to myself. I used to be the center of attention. Sometimes I swear mom can hear my thoughts somehow because about three moments into my melancholy, she called me over and I got my wish. I got my right paw all messed with paint and in doing so I felt like the peace in my heart was restored.

Which is a good thing since I absolutely loved the youthful playfulness of this weekend around here. There were other things too, but these were the highlights. These were the moments I will never forget. I don’t need to be able to distinguish all the colors in the rainbow to know these are painted days.

To see the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video, click here.





Progress Is Perfection

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:50 pm

On the journey, which I feel is as fun as the destination itself.

Wiley's Wisdom

Like so many things, words are what we make them. And in my humble opinion, there are far too many nouns in this world. Too many words that mean something instead of do something. That changes today.

If a noun is lazy, breathe life into it. Make it a verb. Take the word journey, for example. Whether it was career-related, a physical trip somewhere, or purely emotion, we’ve all been on a number of journeys in life. How did the paths lead? What do you remember? What was the destination? Have you reached it yet?

Progress is PerfectionMerriam-Webster and Bing both cite “journey” first as a noun and then as a verb. To me, it should be the other way around. We ought journey onward rather than simply be on a journey. Sure, it might sound like semantics to some, but let me explain.

The progress along the way, the scenery…

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My Favorite Time of Day August 23, 2014

Call it magic. Call it truth. Call it magic when I’m with you. Coldplay is a favorite band of mine (and my forever mom). Together we listen to lead singer Chris Martin croon about love and life and the pursuit of happiness on an almost daily basis. While some might think it melancholy, some of the words of one of their latest singles “Magic” came to life for me tonight.Seeing Is Believing

It happened during a bit of time I’ve come to look forward to each day. Not much about the nighttime routine has changed in the last almost eight months since dear baby Carter came home. He still gets the eat, bathe, rock, pray, sleep treatment each and every night. As a four-legged dog of mystery, it’s probably no surprise to anyone that I wholeheartedly support this routine. And not just because dad always gives me a dental bone treat while mom feeds Carter. Much like it is for babies, routine establishes a firm foundation in a dog’s life.

So you can imagine how I feel when it happens every night. It has been going on now for a couple of months, and I hope it never ever stops. Mom has always enjoyed keeping me company while I blog, which I always do after Carter goes to bed for the night. But lately, there is something special that has gotten added to my nighttime routine. I was going to keep it a secret, since it is so special to me that it verges on sacred. But it’s a secret I can’t keep any longer.

Every night at about the same time after Carter is asleep and before I blog, mom and I spend five precious minutes alone together. Sometimes we wrestle around on the bedroom floor. Sometimes we play fetch. But my most favorite activity involves something I’ve shared before called a love fest. She pets me in all of my favorite places and tells me about her day. Moreover, she tells me she loves me at least once. It’s my absolute favorite five minutes of every day.

It’s nothing against dear baby Carter. Or dad for that matter. I just enjoy the time with my forever mom listening to Chris Martin sing about life and love and the pursuit of happiness. That’s what I call magic.


Bursts of Love

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:41 pm

Joy happens in the little things.

Wiley's Wisdom

A day in the life of a dog is pretty simple. Generally we wake, eat, go outside, sleep, go for a weather-permitting walk or run, eat, sleep, play, sleep. Such is life. But every once in a while, the routine is uprooted into utter madness that results in nothing but pure joy. That was today for me.

Happy to Be AliveIt started like a normal Saturday, with a little extra sleep with my forever mom and dad in the morning, followed by my usual breakfast of health food (it’s supposedly “better for me” than the really yummy stuff) and my morning date with my backyard. The chill in the air kept my parents from doing the planting and yard work they slated for the day, so they got ready to go somewhere and I assumed I was staying behind like I usually do when they run “errands” (which is all right with me…

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Ice Bucket Challenge August 22, 2014

I watch my beloved forever people do a lot of silly things. From getting on all fours with dear baby Carter, to spending hours at a time caring for the backyard paradise I know and love (otherwise known as a lawn), there are a lot of things I don’t understand about how they spend their time.Feeling the Love

The same cannot be said for today. Today, they became party to a nationwide phenomenon known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which is a social media sensation taking the nation by storm to raise money for research in the misunderstood and underfunded area of ALS. It’s something mom has been talking about for more than a week already. It’s something she’s come across at her place called work more than dad has, but that doesn’t make it any less real.

To me, growing older as a human finds its value in the blessing that is memories. An older person gains experiences and memories and these things are gold as you grow older. That is why I don’t care for the people disease known as dementia (or Alzheimer’s) because it means a person is robbed of the thing that makes growing older worthwhile.

The same can be said of ALS, which is indeed a misunderstood and underfunded area of medical research in our country. Considering it involves the slow but inevitable loss of all bodily functions, it is something that I feel deserves some attention regardless of the sparkplug.

But in this case, my beloved people did a very silly thing for a very good cause. The way it works is one person is nominated, and that person nominates at least three others to participate by challenge and/or donation. It is understood that not everyone is capable of donating to the cause, but even the participation in the challenge is helping to raise awareness.

So my people today decided to do both. They dumped ice cold buckets of water on each other, intend to donate funds to the cause, and nominated others to do the same. At first it seemed pretty silly to me, until I better understood the cause. It is more than worthy of the silliness.

PS-the video will follow. 🙂



Over the Moon

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:37 pm

Considering ice cream cones. I kind of love them.

Wiley's Wisdom

I’m back in my world. My parents have returned from their journey, and my subsequent stay at grandma’s house has drawn to a close. While I had a fabulous time away, there really is no place like home.

I was reminded of that tonight as I sat in my beloved backyard staring at the brilliant white light shining down on me. I’m no astronomer, but I’d say the moon is fairly close to being full tonight and it is a sight to be seen. You can blame the canine in me, but I much prefer the full moon to any smaller portion of it. In fact, we four-legged people tend to run with the go-big-or-go-home mindset in most things. (That birthday ice cream cone I got this week? Consider it gone in 60 seconds!)

Ice Cream FaceSo you can imagine my confusion at Sarah Ban Breathnach’s suggestion today to find fullness in emptiness.

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That Place Called Work August 21, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:33 pm
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Sometimes I wonder what it would be like. I’ve watched my forever people leave for that place called work almost every workday in the four years I’ve known them. At first, I didn’t understand it at all. Why on Earth would they prefer to go to a place called work over playing with me at home? Moreover, why couldn’t I go with them?

I think it’s because of what they do. From what I can tell dad is some sort of computer wizard. I think he somehow draws things that are ultimately built. That sounds like tough stuff to me. Meanwhile, ever since mom left the financial industry she has been writing up a storm. That is something I can get behind. Love Many

Regardless of how they do it, I have come to understand it that place called work is a necessity, a reality, of life. It is how they buy things for themselves, keep a roof over our heads and keep our bellies all full and satisfied. It’s all because of that thing called money.

So today I wondered how it would be if I went off to that place called work instead of my forever people. What would I do there? Obviously, I would need something flexible that allowed me plenty of time for my mid-morning, early afternoon and mid-afternoon naps. Beyond that, I’m not sure other than one simple truth I’ve heard more than once. I would want to do what I love so that I never work a day in my life.

I’ve come to be a believer in the idea that you best ought to “love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe.” It’s etched on a pillow in my forever home and while I was skeptical at first, I think there is something to it, metaphorically speaking (me? paddle a canoe?).

I’m not really sure what my place called work would consist of, but I do know one thing for certain. If money wasn’t a problem and none of us had to work, I know exactly how I would spend my days. I would spend it doing what I do best – whole-heartedly loving my forever people.

As I thought today about what I would do at that place called work, I realized it doesn’t matter because my lot in life is and always has been a labor of love. I truly do love many, and I know they love me. As nice as it would be to have a little extra money lying around, none of that matters without the people you come home to every day. Because home, not work, is where the heart is.