Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Other Shoe September 30, 2014

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

The following is a guest post from my dear forever mom, who has had an exceptionally challenging few days so I offered my blog as a sense of refuge from such hardships. Please humor her and welcome her, as this is certainly something new for both of us.

It all started nine months ago tomorrow. Dear baby Carter, as Wiley calls him, was born and everything changed. When I say everything, I mean everything. I had no idea how badly I would want to become a stay-at-home mom, I had no idea how badly I would want to nourish him for as long as possible, I had no idea how on Earth I could ever have loved something so tiny so much.

Since then, I have taken a significant pay cut to switch jobs to doing something that allows a lot more time with Carter, embraced breastfeeding in all its challenging goodness, and loved Carter to the moon and back. And, in general, everything has been absolutely charmed since I made these decisions. Sure, there have been proverbial mountains to climb, but they have been nothing I couldn’t handle thanks to the support system I have come to know and love.2014-09-30 19.58.26

So today, when it happened, I felt like I had been kicked in the gut. I’ve said for months now I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop. Everything has been going too well. Unlike Wiley, who I know makes a point to find a silver lining in absolutely any negative situation, life has hardened me to such things. In 2009, I lost my dad and a job I loved within two weeks of each other. I know it was all part of God’s plan, because it enabled me to throw my heart and soul into helping my mom straighten things out and be there for her as she has been there for me all of these years. I was honored to do it.

But that’s not the point. As a generally happy and optimistic person, I had always made a point to bring the same happiness and optimism to whomever I came into contact with. The events of that year made it harder to do this, to live the life of joy I once knew.

Finally this year, I thought it had almost all come together. Being with Carter more is a gift. The job is great. Money is tight, but it ultimately doesn’t matter confronted by the truest and sincerest joy I’ve ever felt. And today it happened.

The letter came out to myself and everyone else that works for the newspaper group with which I am affiliated. The voluntary separation letter. ‘You can leave if you want to’ is what they say. ‘And if you don’t leave, we could lay you off’ is what I hear. I know it sounds terrible, but in my short life this is already the third (or it could even be the fourth) time I’ve seen a letter like this, so I can say with some authority that it is not good news. Believe me. I read every painful word of the information they sent and it’s true. It. Is. Not. Good. News.

And I am not sure what is coming next. I have a bachelor’s degree in communications and psychology from a reputable school. I have a master’s degree in clinical psychology from (an arguably even more) reputable school. Writing is my real passion, and the opportunity to pursue something I love while maintaining balance in life means the world to me.

So it has happened. The other shoe has dropped. Today I stand at yet another turning point in life, and for the first time I am trying to keep an entirely open mind. Because, in a way, it all started nine months ago tomorrow. My life changed forever the day Carter was born. I can’t believe the person he is becoming. Or the person I am becoming as a result. So yes, I will pray. And I will keep an open mind. If Carter has taught me anything, it is that sometimes life-changingly amazing things come in small, unassuming and unexpected packages. Maybe all I need to do is wait.


Obedience School Drop Out

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:35 pm

Sometimes when I think about my former years as a “behaviorally challenged” doggie, I have a small swell of pride. And I like it.

Wiley's Wisdom

I’ve been called a lot of not-so-nice things in my relatively short doggie life. Obedience school drop out. Behaviorally challenged. Approved for homes with children ages 12 and above. Yet I find in life’s greatest contradictions lie some of the most intricate sources of wisdom.

Its true of animals and people alike if you ask me. If you hear something enough times, you start to believe it as truth. In a dog’s life, words like stupid, naughty, and troubled haunted my puppyhood. In a person’s life, overuse of words like stupid, disabled, or challenged as a child can impact a person for the rest of their adult life. Truth becomes us. But can we become truth?

Becoming Truth

I’ve often wondered this as I think nostalgically back on my time before my people brought me into my forever home. I encountered a variety of characters in a myriad of settings who each taught me invaluable…

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In The Valley September 29, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:39 pm

Sometimes the sun shines and the birds sing and it’s almost like the pursuit of happiness does not take any effort at all. All the ducks fall in line, everything gets checked off the to-do list, and life is good. In general, today was not one of those days around here. Except that, as always, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Eyes on the Prize

As you know if you read my bitter breastfeeding diatribe yesterday, my dear forever mom is struggling with a very important decision about timing weaning from breastfeeding. At nine months old, dear baby Carter is over it. Simple as that. And it has been painful in more ways than one for mom to see it happen. Which means it’s been heartbreaking for me to witness. The toughest part is knowing with absolute certainty there is literally nothing I can do to help.

I think that’s the hardest part for anyone who sees a loved one in pain. You love him or her so very much and their pain makes your heart ache. You would do anything to help, but most often there really isn’t much (if anything) you actually can do. I think sometimes people end up making a gesture almost as much to help soothe their heartache over not being able to help more than it actually helps.

But that’s neither here nor there. Because today was not a day the sun shined brightly and the birds sang. Instead, the temperature plummeted more than 20 degrees and it rained. But it’s okay that the stars didn’t quite align. A decision has been made in the whole breastfeeding debacle, and I’ve taken a very important lesson from it. Mom is going to keep it up. She is going to listen to her body and wean as it slows naturally.

What that means to me is something I’ve thought about before. The valleys between the mountains we climb in life can sometimes be the worst. But they are ultimately what gets us from one mountain peak to another. And that is more than worth it to me.


Life’s Power Outages

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:25 pm

Finding light in the darkest of situations is the only way to live your silver lining.

Wiley's Wisdom

The sky cried so hard today the tears did some serious damage in my neighborhood. I usually do all right with storms, but I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced one like this alone before. My people were still at the place called work, which seemed unusual since it was incredibly dark outside. The lightning was blinding and the thunder deafening. The wind seemed to shake the house and I thought the rain was going to break into the house somehow. Then the power went out and all I could do was wait.

Everything quieted down outside, but pandemonium continued when dad got home and let me outside. Trees are down and power is out throughout the neighborhood, I heard a stranger tell my dad, and basements are flooding everywhere. We were fortunate that our basement was the exception to the rule, but our neighbors on either side weren’t so lucky…

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It’s A Real Bitch September 28, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:33 pm

It’s something I’ve been wanting to say for a while. Like for at least eight months already. But I’ve done my best to keep my mouth shut since I make a habit of not complaining about things. That all ends now.Life's Big Questions

I know I put on a good face and I always find the silver lining. I know I am always the biggest proponent of all good things. That ends today. Because today I will say something I have been holding in for almost nine whole months. Breastfeeding is a bitch. There. I said it. And I don’t mean it like most dogs would mean it. It’s not a female dog. My meaning is about as real and  honest and physically personal as you can possibly get.

For all of those out there in support of it, please know I am not in disagreement with you. My dear forever mom has continued with it for almost nine months of dear baby Carter’s life, and for that I give her mad props. Because I’ve seen it all. From the first few days and the pain they brought, to the interim where there seems to be more pumping than breastfeeding, to mom’s recent battle with what to do next, I have seen it all.

I have seen it and I have lived it and that is why I can say with confidence the truth I have come to know. Breastfeeding is a bitch. I’m so happy for mom and Carter that she has continued with it as long as she has, but I also commiserate with her current life situation. Carter could care less whether he is offered a bottle these days (as opposed to some other organically created specialty mom made), and it is starting to take its toll.

Meanwhile, I know that (as time consuming and painful as it can be), it remains a special and important thing to mom, in spite of what any naysayers might tell her. She will get her body back eventually. Some day she will be able to diet and work out like she dreams. Today is not that day.

Which is kind of ironic since it’s something I’ve been wanting to say for so long already. Breastfeeding is a bitch. I know I’ve said it a lot, and that is not like me. But it’s true. After the countless hours I’ve witnessed my dear forever mom in pain over it, I know there is some truth to my opinions. In truth, dreams come alive, even though it might take time to realize their meaning.


Doorway To Heaven September 27, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 10:09 pm

Sometimes it is that simple. It’s something that might seem complicated, but really it’s not. That is today in my life, as I think and pray for a dear friend of mine. Sleeeeeeep

While in my mind there is absolutely nothing wrong with a person leaving the reality of life to enter the beauty of heaven, it can admittedly be a tough thing to wrap my mind around. A dog never likes to see a dear two-legger leave for heaven, in spite of how happy it may be there.

But sometimes we don’t have a choice. Sometimes, for whatever reason, we need to come face to face with the idea of loss. Be it as a supporter, a relative, or a friend, these times are never easy. But, at least from what I can tell, having such people around in times of trouble is worth almost as much as a good meal. Coming from a dog who knows a thing or two about hospital food, please know that means something.

Fortunately, in the game of life there is a dealer who knows how to mix things up. I believe in such a dealer, who knows imagination is real and there is more than the occasional breakdown in communication to prove it. There is love. Life. And  the pursuit of happiness, which does not always look just like you would think it would.

I’m my case it really is that simple sometimes. But that’s more than okay because God has other plans for us as a couple. It sounds far-fetched, but that doesn’t bother me. I’m all things far fetched, assuming there is a home for the original idea.

Of the hundreds of thousands of people to attend something called a “”Harvest Festival,” her understanding is priceless. We can’t take chances with such things. But today I was reminded that it doesn’t matter when your shields may go up. It doesn’t matter. Because I old a sincere value of light to him and the rest of his crew.

Not because of anything necessarily, but because this is something we are doing as family.


I Believe I Can Fly

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:37 pm

This is about as appropriate as it could be, since I flew today.

Wiley's Wisdom

It’s a sight to be seen. Sometimes when I see other dogs doing it I laugh a little inside. But it doesn’t change the pure unadulterated truth. We canines sure do love sticking our heads out the windows of cars. It doesn’t what we look like, generally with our eyes all squinty, fur all slicked back, and ears out like wings. We are flying high and nothing can get us down.

And as we are (in my neck of the woods) in the heat of a time of year when it is best for dogs to avoid car rides altogether, I find myself reflective on some of my best car ride moments. I’ve had so many its hard to choose just one, but the heat of the day today reminded me of a day at about the same time of year two summers ago.

Laughter so incredibly gut-wrenching it brought my…

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In So Few Words September 26, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:15 pm
Tags: , , , ,

It’s something I think about on a daily basis. It’s one of those things that makes me wish I could speak people because sometimes writing in people isn’t enough. Especially since there is this misconception that us four-legged folk can’t see color. The truth is, we can see it, just not to the extent that people can. We see a limited color spectrum, but that doesn’t mean I can’t tell what is happening around here right around this time of year.Tom and I

Dear baby Carter is almost nine months old and something magical is happening outside. Fall. From the ground up, I think it is my favorite season. I noticed it today because all of a sudden the leaves on the trees started turning colors, seemingly overnight. There are a lot of trees in the neighborhood of my forever home, so it’s quite a sight to be seen.

It is powerful enough to make one pause and ponder the passing of the seasons. To think about the travel of time, and how no moment is worth wasting.

So today as I found myself enjoying the slightest chill in the air, I reflected on life and the pursuit of happiness. My people recently ventured out of town for a night, the first time they had both spent time away from dear baby Carter, and I think they are the better for it. Well, really I know they are the better for it, but not because of any words.

I’ve been with them for more than four years now, so I can say with some authority it doesn’t take words for either of them to show compassion for one another. And I don’t think it does for any other relationship either, at least from what I can tell. Instead, I have observed nonverbal cues that say so much with so few words.

Like dad opening the door for mom when she gets in the car. Or mom taking an extra step (or three) to make sure the house is clean when dad gets home. Its these (and other) little things that bring their love to life.

It might be something I think about on a daily basis. And yes, the ability to speak people out loud would change so much about how I communicate my feelings. But that doesn’t change the feelings themselves. Those remain steadfast and true, regardless of how I communicate them. Because, whether you have four legs or two, feelings have a language all their own.


Compassion In Understanding

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:51 pm

Today I interrupt your regularly scheduled Wiley’s Wisdom programming to make a plea.Life's Big Questions

Lately, I’ve felt small in a very big world. While physically speaking that is not any kind of new information, I feel like I have so much to share and not enough people to listen. So would you do me a favor? Please share my joy with whomever around you might need a little sunshine in their life? I believe joy is best when shared, and this blog is no exception.

Please take a moment today to share my joy with someone who hasn’t seen it yet. And to you I am eternally grateful.


Tick Tock (The Watch-Dog)

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

Tick tock. Tick tock.

Wiley's Wisdom

My mom has a thing for clocks. Big ones. I realized it the moment I cautiously tiptoed into my forever home for the first time. Excitement abounded as I was greeted by all sorts of new smells, sights and sounds, but two things instantly stood out to me. Both hang above the stairway leading to the basement; one is a sign that reads “home is where your story begins” and the other is an enormous clock.

Time is on our sideIt’s not the only oversized clock in the house, and sometimes when I’m all alone waiting for my mom and dad to come home from that place called work it’s all I can hear. Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock. The tiny rhythmic sound drowns out all others in those final moments before one of my beloved people arrive home.

I for one generally have mixed feelings about clocks. On the one paw, it is a constant signal…

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