Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Glowing in the Dark November 25, 2014

It doesn’t make sense. I have never and will never understand it. I will, however, question why this trick of nature happens every year. Here we are in the midst of all things holiday and literally speaking it is the darkest time of year.

The sun seems to rise later and set sooner every single day. That means less sunshine, which (at least from what I can tell) means less happy people. None of this is good news in my world. It’s also not the worst news, because I make it a point of mine in life to be a light amid the darkness in whatever way possible. This thing called daylight savings time will not break me down.

My faith in the power of one’s inner light was renewed tonight as I watched as another bought of silliness unfolded between my forever parents and dear baby Carter.Hard at Work

There we were, the four of us, in the darkness of the basement. I was sure either mom or dad would turn the lights on eventually. Instead they grabbed out these little sticks and I listened as they cracked them to life. I’m not sure of the correlation between the cracking sound and what happened next, but I suppose some things are best left to mystery anyway. Within a few seconds, the room was dimly lit by little florescent glow sticks, which brought far more joy to everyone involved than I would have ever expected.

The fun continued as mom suggested Carter have a glow-in-the-dark bath time. He loved every minute of it. He was happy. Mom and dad were happy. I was happy.

It doesn’t make sense to me why there is so much darkness during such an otherwise joyful time of year. But that’s okay. It sounds silly, but the glow-in-the-dark games tonight reminded me it’s possible not just to let your light shine, but to find new ways to do it. Routine has its perks, but switching it up from time to time is good for the soul. How you choose to shine ultimately doesn’t matter. What matters is that you shine at all.

Because as Dutch Renaissance humanist Desiderius Erasmus put it “give light and the darkness will disappear.”

 

My Purpose-Driven Life

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:17 pm

What is your purpose in life?

Wiley's Wisdom

It’s a big deal. I don’t know why anyone would say it isn’t. But a pressure exists in our society to figure it out sooner rather than later and I can’t say I agree with that. What are you going to be when you grow up? We ask it of our little people, who (more often than not) respond with some pretty big ideas. They want to be a lawyer. Or a writer. Or (better yet) a balloon maker (this was my mom’s dream job at the tender age of four).

Then they start school, and the ideas change. The dreams continue to evolve, but the question doesn’t go away. What do you want to be when you grow up? A lawyer? A writer? (At this point you have matured enough to rule out balloon maker as a profession). Then comes college where the pressure sounds the worst. What are…

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On Stupid Friendship November 24, 2014

I thought it was a terribly stupid idea. I’ll be honest and come right out and say that. In doing so, I’ll stand by dad on what mom insisted was the wrong side of the fence. Because to us it was a no-brainer. Today we had the first significant snow event of the winter and I know the havoc that wreaks on people.

Not necessarily the people I love, but people in general completely forget how to drive for the first few snow storms each year. Accidents clutter the freeways, cars fill the ditches, and sirens seem to run almost as rigorously as the snow plows and salt trucks. Snowy Dreaming

That’s why tonight was not a good time for people to come over to my forever home. Obviously mom did not know when she planned an event she referred to as “Friends-giving” that mother nature herself would try to put a damper on an otherwise festive evening. Nonetheless, she could have called it off several times on account of the weather, as dad and I thought she should.

She suggested it, sure. A couple of times. But no one agreed to postpone a dinner they had looked forward to since it was finalized on the schedule several weeks ago. Friends-giving was on, snow or no snow. And as it turned out I may have been wrong on this one.

There was turkey and potatoes and vegetables and rolls and all kinds of other goodness (which means there were table scraps for me). There was love, which has its way of seeping through all the concern about the weather. And there was joy. From the ground up, Friends-giving brought joy to life tonight.

As the night drew to a close and a few of mom’s dearest and closest friends packed up to leave, I knew for sure I hadn’t misjudged the situation. It’s never easy for me to admit wrongdoing, but I have decided not to budge on this one. Because I know dad and I were right. It was dangerous what they did tonight, braving the storm to come together. Yet that’s exactly what they did. They came together. And it was worth it. Everyone traveled safely after sharing a delicious meal with great people.

“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them,” suggested transcendentalist thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson.

As we celebrate a holiday about pausing to count our blessings, I’ve paused tonight to count mine. What my dear mom (and her friends) did tonight was stupid, but I guess it’s okay to be stupid sometimes. Because they were in it together. And their hearts were in the right place. I suppose that’s what friendship is all about.

 

Don’t Want To Miss A Thing

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:17 pm

Sometimes I still feel this way about life in general.

Wiley's Wisdom

Must. Keep. Eyes. Open. This was my mantra on August 25, 2010. All day long, it’s all I could think. I don’t know if it was pent up nervous energy, lack of sleep, or the overwhelming amount of activity all day long, but the day I was adopted was one to remember.

It started like most days at the humane society, except I could sense a bittersweet excitement in Katie (my favorite angel helper) when she let me out of my cage that day. Something was up, that much I knew, but I had no idea the adventure that day would hold. I got a bath, and a snazzy haircut, and my nails trimmed, and I felt like a million bucks. I got walked a whole bunch, and I swear Katie even snuck me an abundance of extra treats while we played outside. I didn’t realize it would be our…

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A Life Worth Fixing November 23, 2014

There’s a simple truth I’ve come to know as an observer of people. It almost never takes as long for a person to break down as it does to recover.

The same can be said for dogs, but usually its with little unimportant things. Like tonight when I uncharacteristically tore apart a beloved member of my comfort circle. My dear Angry Bird toy is no more after I ripped it apart beyond repair. There was no good reason for it, but that’s not actually important to the story. My Comfort Circle

What is important is how long it took me to do such damage. Or maybe I should say how long it didn’t take. 45 seconds. That’s how long it took me to completely break down one of my favorite toys.

I think with people it’s frequently less than that. A lot less. Sure, it could also be longer, but regardless of how long it takes there is something I know for sure. It never takes as long for something, or someone, to completely break down as it does to put the pieces back together.

A mom goes to the grocery store for something silly she thinks she needs for a recipe on a cold, rainy night and never comes home to finish what she started. An unsuspecting person goes to a doctor for a checkup and leaves with the kind of news that no one ever wants to hear. A curious little boy burns his hands beyond repair investigating the inside of an open oven. These are things that can happen, and at a moment’s notice change absolutely everything. Not just for one person but for everyone that person knows.

Life can change in an instant, a day, or over time, but more often than not putting it back together again, moving on, starting over? These things can take time. And frequently they do. A lot of time.

But there’s a simple truth I’ve come to learn as an observer of people. You can’t rush it. Rushing the recovery process never helps the situation. Though it might not seem fair given the amount of time it takes (or doesn’t take) for life to change, I think it’s that way for a reason.

I think it’s that way because it’s worth it. It’s worth the time and effort and stress and emotional strife it takes to move on. Because it’s worth fixing. We can’t always control when life throws us a curve ball. We can control how we react to it. A life worth living is always a life worth fixing. No matter how long it takes.

 

 

The Shoe Problem

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:56 pm

Do you think you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes?

Wiley's Wisdom

Stupid is as stupid does. You have to do the best with what God gave you. Mama always said dying was a part of life…I sure wish it wasn’t. I agree with Forrest, Forrest Gump on many of life’s philosophies. His take on life was so simple many people confused him for being stupid, but I recognize the wisdom in his simplicities a mile away.

I definitely agree with his theory about people and their shoes. “You can tell a lot about a person by their shoes,” he said, “where they’re going, where they’ve been.” Us canines have kind of a love affair with shoes. I know this is probably strange to consider since we don’t wear them (I know they make them for us – I avoid them at all costs), but that definitely doesn’t negatively impact our infatuation.Deep Thinking is Simple

As with anything one becomes obsessive about, I realize…

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A Kindness Too Soon November 22, 2014

Stop. Pause. Breathe. If people could learn tricks, that is what I wish I could tell them to do this time of year.

I’ve said before the holidays are a favorite time of mine, what with all the family time and music and snow and snuggling. There are few things about the holidays I don’t enjoy. But there is one thing in particular that gets to me. It happens every single year and seems to intensify as the countdown to Christmas continues.

I Am Listening!People get rude. Pushy. Rushed. And completely inconsiderate of those around them. I don’t witness much of it in person, but I hear plenty of stories exchanged between my forever people to know what’s up. It drives me crazy. Not just because it’s the season of giving. Gratitude. Unconditional love. But because of the impact this behavior has. Negativity has an awful way of spreading like a disease no one can control, and while I would hate to see that happen at any point in time, it bothers me most around the holidays.

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late,” suggested one of my favorite transcendentalist thinkers Ralph Waldo Emerson. If there is a reason to rush this holiday season, that’s the reason.

Because this is supposed to be a season of kindness. A season to share love with others who may otherwise not receive it. This is supposed to be a time of joy, and any ignorant person in a parking lot who steals a spot from an elderly lady or shoves their way in front of someone in line or loses patience with the overworked clerk who is only in the challenging position because the store is understaffed…well, they are doing nothing but stealing joy from other people. Not sharing it.

So I say stop. Pause. Breathe. Remember what the season is really about. It’s not about the gifts or the wrapping paper or the perfect Christmas tree. Its about joy. From the ground up, that is the real reason for the season.

 

 

The Mouse Will Play

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:11 pm

Mischief is a dog’s best friend. And worst enemy.

Wiley's Wisdom

From sneaking people food right off the dinner table to jumping four-foot fences, I used to fancy myself a master of mischief. Somewhere along the line, I determined it was best to use my God-given brains to cause trouble because it triggered attention from people. Sometimes it was even the good kind of attention. Though they were few and far between, occasionally my behavior merited a “oh, that is so cute” comment in place of the dreaded “bad dog” nickname.

Me? Sassy? No...But something changed for me the day I escaped through the doggie door and jumped the fence of my first adoptive family. I remember feeling so disappointed when they found me and brought me home, and then (almost) relieved when they took me back to the humane society. (This ended up being a very positive thing because I met my forever people a few weeks later as a result). Forever changed for me that day as I wandered the…

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Lease on Life November 21, 2014

I couldn’t believe my ears. Mom had the speaker on her phone today while she did an interview with a woman who owns a doggie daycare called “A Dog Sanctuary.”

She says its unique because she and her staff make an effort to actively engage the dogs in a variety of mental and physical games while they are there. She says its unique because its a place dogs go to be happy and dogs have a way of rubbing off on their people. She said this is her life’s passion.

That all sounded well and good. Drive safely

What shocked me was why she, at the age of 22, decided to quit her job as a post office worker and open a business. Just over a year ago, at the age of 21, she was the victim of an attempted homicide. The man snuck up on her from behind as she was leaving the dog park with her one-year-old German shorthair pointer, Millie. She was exceedingly happy because Millie had enjoyed the swim in the pond she’d been trying to encourage for months. Her glee turned to the most serious and breathtaking kind of fear when she saw the knife and roll of duct tape. As she fought for her life, she didn’t even feel the knife slice through her hand. All she said she could think about in those moments was how badly she wanted to live. And live she did.

A week later, the man went on to murder a woman of a similar age. Last month, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. But all of that is water under the bridge for this woman. She doesn’t even think about it anymore, she said, because she knows she is living her life’s mission. The mission she couldn’t spend one more day not doing. She’s more than a survivor. She is a giver of life to those around her.

All because she was given the kind of second chance that not everyone gets in life. A second chance I got (in a far less graphic and terrible way). I couldn’t even believe my ears as she told her story, seeming completely unphased by what happened to her a mere year ago. As surprising as that was to me, I realized there is a lesson to be learned from her passion. From her mission to share joy with the world. From her drive to live.

Second chances don’t come along every day. When yours comes, take it and hold on for dear life. Take it from me – you won’t regret it.

 

 

That Time I Fooftered

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 4:49 pm

Laughter has to be one of my favorite sounds.

Wiley's Wisdom

Forget milk. It’s humor that does the body good. I say this partially because I’m not allowed to have milk (even though I’ve sneaked a delicious taste from my dad’s glass a few times), but also because I’ve seen laughter at work. It’s a pretty amazing thing that creeps up on me at some of life’s most unexpected moments.

It Wasn't MeTake tonight for example. There I was, scratching behind my ear with my back paw when bam. I fooftered. (This is my more delicate way of saying farted, for anyone that didn’t already connect the gastrointestinal dots). It was far from dainty, and seemed to almost echo through the room. To be honest, it startled me. It brought my scratching to a complete halt for crying out loud. (It isn’t unusual for me to stop and pay attention to my butt region when these foofters happen, but I’m not usually stopping mid-scratch to do so)…

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