Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Christmas Coal December 26, 2014

To say my dear forever dad was upset was an understatement. I don’t particularly care for when my people are unhappy, so this is something I’ve come to dislike almost as much (if not more) as my dad. It’s nothing he won’t get over, but it’s something that I can’t stop thinking about.

There’s this news story flying around the Internet right now about the “Christmas Coal,” otherwise known as a complete shutdown of video game systems due to hacking issues. It started Christmas Eve and three days later the issue still has not been fixed. In the Deep End

The group of hackers responsible for the problem is claiming a big reason they did this was to raise awareness about the lack of proper security procedures and methods within the networks that support the systems. That this was something in the best interest of gamers everywhere who they are ultimately trying to protect.

I think that’s a bunch of rubbish. Even if its true, there is something awfully sad about everything involved with that idea. It diminishes an underlying tone of hope and trust and understanding of common decency in society. It’s rude. And it’s sad.

Dad will get over it. Surely those like him will also get over it. As will the families who saved up all year to buy their children a system for Christmas I suppose. I guess I too will even get over the disappointment dad had (and still has, since the network remains compromised three days later). I also recognize the silver lining in all the extra time anyone who has been affected by this will have with their friends and family as a result.

But I won’t get over the lesson I’ve learned from all of this. I can’t get over that. It’s a simple lesson that is apparently lost on some people. It’s something you may even debate in Ethics 101. Doing a bad thing for the right reasons doesn’t make it the right thing to do. It’s as simple as that.


A Little Kick

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:23 pm

Few things were as magical as this moment.

Wiley's Wisdom

Habits. Good, bad and ugly, we all have them. Some are so ingrained into our daily routines we probably don’t even realize it’s happening.

Lately I’ve been going about my nights mindlessly following mom. This is not that out of the ordinary, as I love her and would literally follow her anywhere. Consequently, it’s no surprise I get nervous when she gets into that shower contraption. Perhaps its because I know how accident prone my mom is (bless her heart). Perhaps it’s a projection of my own dislike for baths, showers, and all things that take away one’s natural smell. Regardless of my reasons, I think mom senses my discomfort as she always puts a towel down in front of the shower for me to lay on while she’s inside.Happy Happy

Tonight’s shower followed an event I’m not sure I’ll ever forget. It’s almost as if it snapped me from habit…

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The Special Times December 25, 2014

Christmas breakfast with quiche and a tray of chocolate treats. Time with family that includes at least one silly dancing moment to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” Cozy movie time by candlelight with hot chocolate and lots of comfy blankets watching “The Polar Express” on Christmas night. There are certain things about the holiday that is Christmas that it wouldn’t seem the same without.

Tradition. From the ground up, I’ve observed it is something pretty important to my dear forever mom. When it came to embracing old traditions, today was no different. Each of the aforementioned things were a very important part of our admittedly busy holiday. It was a truly action-packed day from start to end, and these familiar things tied everything together in a way only tradition can do.

But something was different this year. Very different. This year there was a little person in our midst. A little person who has never before been party to these traditions. A little one who has never before experienced Christmas. And, perhaps most notably, a little person who probably didn’t care too much whether or not quiche and chocolate treats were in the picture this morning.

That is precisely whey I was a bit surprised to find some new traditions in the mix. In reality, I know dear baby Carter probably won’t remember anything about today. So to him it certainly didn’t matter that he was wearing what mom fondly referred to as his special Christmas pajamas. Or that he got his very own piece of Christmas morning quiche. Or that Santa made his first-ever visit to our house to deliver special goodies from the North Pole.

Today was painted with all kinds of new traditions that embraced the addition of Carter to the family fold this year. It was all a joy to witness, and I can’t wait to see it all again next year.Let Your Heart Be Light

But amid all the new, it was surprisingly refreshing to me when something familiar filled my doggie heart with Christmas joy. It happened on the way from one family Christmas party to another as I assumed my position as co-pilot in the front passenger seat of the car. Mom has taken to riding with Carter in the back seat lately, leaving me to her usual spot in the front. And though I miss pushing my way onto her lap in that same spot, it is pretty nice having that prominent and important spot to myself.

I was reveling in that feeling when it happened. Dad put his arm over and pet me as he drove, just as I remember him doing for each of the four Christmases I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of this family. In that moment and the moments that followed, the holiday was complete for me.

There are certain things this time of year that Christmas wouldn’t be the same without. For some, it’s in the memories of years past dancing around like ninnies to “All I Want for Christmas is You.” For others, it’s a certain dish or dishes that simply have to be a part of the day. For me, it’s what all of these things really are. Joy. From the ground up, that’s what Christmas means to me.

To see the special moment: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=593626052727&l=8269833515318459806


A Second Spring

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:09 pm

“Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.” Albert Camus

Wiley's Wisdom

We see clearly but not in every color. We hear a pin drop from one hundred feet away. We can taste the difference between health food and people bacon. The more than 200 million receptor follicles in our noses can smell diseases. But (at least in my opinion) we canines are cut off at the proverbial knees if you take away our ability to feel. And today I feel blessed.

It happened suddenly on my twilight walk around the neighborhood with mom tonight. I had one of those overwhelming senses of peace. Happiness. Joy, from the ground up. And I have all of my senses to thank. That, and the true beauty that is fall in my tiny piece of the world.

The trees have begun turning all sorts of varying shades of gorgeous. Sure, I can’t see it nearly as vividly as my people, but I can tell something magical is…

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Peace on Earth December 24, 2014

It is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. It is not the absence of war, (but rather) a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice. It begins with a smile.

Peace. From the ground up, minds filled with a lot more wisdom than mind have a few things to say about it. Like civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. And Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza. And Catholic visionary Mother Theresa.20141224_170645

Like joy, I know peace takes many forms. It looks different to everyone depending on his or her life experiences and overall perspective on the world around them. It’s Christmas Eve around here, and though we don’t have any snow (an incredibly unusual occurrence in Wisconsin this time of year) on the ground, celebrations are in high gear.

But I can’t help but think about what happens in a couple days. After all the ribbons and bows are torn from their presents. After the holly jolly music has fled the airwaves. After the turkeys and hams and other holiday goodies are all long gone. Trees and decorations get put away, and a big empty hole can stand in its place.

It all brings to mind the words of Buddha, who suggested “peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”

I hear it in the stillness of snowflakes falling around me in my backyard paradise. I feel it in my heart when my forever family is together and happy. I see it in smiles and laughter. I find peace all around me, and I know it is because it starts in my heart.

This may seem to many like a time of year for embracing all things worldly, but to me it’s just as important to remember where it all starts. The reason for the season. The love and joy and peace and all things holly and jolly. The life this season is capable of breathing into our souls is like no other.

Like the thinkers who are wiser than me suggested, it is how we arrive at a goal. It is a state of mind that can present itself in something as simple as a smile. And, as Mahatma Gandhi said, it “is its own reward.”

So from my little family to yours, I wish you a very Merry (and peaceful) Christmas.


Our Own Light

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:13 pm

These are things we should never take for granted.

Wiley's Wisdom

The light turns on at the flip of a switch. The food in the fridge tonight will most likely be the same food in the fridge in the morning. My toys will not come alive and run away while I sleep. These are all pieces of life that seem obvious. Given. Understood. Yet under the right (or wrong) conditions, it could all change in a moment.

Life has taught me a very important lesson about this: don’t take a single thing for granted because you never know when electricity will fail, the food will spoil and the toys will wreak havoc on the world. All right, so the last one seems pretty impossible, but so does what is happening in our beloved United States of America tonight.Standing For What's Right

United we are not, at least right now. As I type, the possibility of a government shutdown looms on the minds of Americans…

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A Simple Kindness December 23, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:04 pm

It’s going to sound pretty vain. In truth, I didn’t even process it until hours later when my forever mom filled dad in on the events of the day as she tends to do over dinner. There was certainly a lot to share. It was a surprisingly eventful day. And not necessarily in the best kind of way.

Carter had one of those rare days when nothing made him happy. Not being held or being put down or walking or playing or eating or teething or sleeping. He cracked a few smiles at me, but that’s about it.

Mom did something she’s never done in the history of the holiday season. She braved the crowds in an attempt to pick up some last-minute Christmas gifts. That was a disaster all its own, as most of her shopping excursions have been this season. Between rude people at the stores and car accidents all over the roads and striking out on three different gift options for someone very special to us, she was definitely reminded why she never (ever) waits until this late to shop for Christmas.

And I had to make my annual pilgrimage to that place called the veterinarian’s office. I have nothing against Dr. Morrison – she’s a very nice, caring and gentle lady. It’s what she does that I don’t particularly enjoy. The prodding and poking and the needles. Oy, the needles. Today she said something about me needing dental work, which makes me cringe to think about. Not only because it sounds incredibly unpleasant, but also because it again points to the inevitable truth that is the process of aging. Time for a checkup

All of that aside, the visit to the veterinary office was oddly the highlight of my day at least. I didn’t even realize why until I heard mom spill the details to dad.

I think it was honestly the first time since Carter was born almost a whole year ago where the two of us were in public together and I got all the attention. Sure, Dr. Morrison acknowledged him, but it wasn’t about that. It was about me. Seven different people took pause and said I was cute, which I’ve taken to understand is the doggie equivalent of handsome. And I know it sounds vain, but I’m not going to lie. It was pretty nice.

I’m sure there are others out there like me. Those who don’t necessarily feel neglected, with lives filled with love, who just need to hear it from time to time. Everyone needs to hear it from time to time. That they are special, they are unique, for whatever reason.

It’s a simple kindness that today I will pause to appreciate, albeit a bit vain. Because the way I see it, the thoughts of transcendentalist thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson ring true yet again for anyone who’s ever gotten a much-needed boost through the beauty of words. “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late,” he said.

Even on a day like today, especially on a day like today, kindness is necessary, no matter how small (or vain) it may sound.



Diamond In The Rough

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:22 pm

Have you ever found a treasure in an unusual place?

Wiley's Wisdom

Garbage stinks.

Today the garbage in my forever home smells like a combination of pizza crusts, discarded stale bread, and onions. And I love it. I often gaze at it longingly, just dying to attack. To knock it over and feast on all the fabulously delicious samples inside. Sometimes I even get close enough to make my (albeit naughty) feasting fantasy come true. But I’ve never actually gone through with my malicious plan. Partially because I will admit I do eat a pretty well-balanced diet of dog food, treats, rawhides and people-approved people food throughout the day. Mostly because I don’t want to get scolded.

Recylce ThisSo you can imagine my confusion when my mom returns from a store called Goodwill every now and then with a variety of second-hand items. I can’t say she ever needs any of it (just as I don’t need more food), but I get the impression there’s…

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To Be Young Again December 22, 2014

American businessman, humanitarian and poet Samuel Ullman once wrote “Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is a matter of the will, quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.”

I’ve come to believe this as truth in the six and a half people years I’ve been around. That youth is indeed a state of mind, something a person (or dog, in my case) is capable of choosing to embrace, regardless of the number of years they’ve walked the Earth. Still, there are times I admit to feeling old. Wiley and Joey

It happens sometimes when I spend time with dear aunt Morgan’s dog, Joey. He’s five years my junior, and you don’t have to be a dog person to see the difference in our personalities. I’ve mellowed over time, coming to enjoy my time to rest, reflect and enjoy a general sense of peace. Joey on the other hand is full of spirit all the time. He never stops. Moving, jumping, playing, spinning. He’s a bundle of energy.

I haven’t met him yet, but I’m sure the newest doggie member of my extended forever family is the exact same way. I’m happy to report that the family that recently lost 15-year-old Mocha to the Rainbow Bridge has adopted a new German Shorthair Pointer named Jackson.


The parents were here at dear baby Carter’s Winter One-derland birthday party on Saturday, and when they got home arranged to have the new family dog wrapped up in its fancy new crate in what has become his forever home. He is only a few weeks old, and I am so incredibly happy for him to have found such a loving family so early in his life. Moreover, I’m overjoyed for the family to have found a special new doggie soul to fill the emptiness they felt after losing Mocha. And, after 15 very special years with the family, I know Mocha would feel the same way.

Because that’s the thing about getting older. Sure, there are days when I feel old. But I believe you can decide to be young at heart in spite of the inevitable creaks and cracks that accompany the aging process. You can dream about tomorrow in connection to yesterday. You can feel renewed in each day. Best of all, you can live the wisdom you’ve acquired.


Worth The Wait

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:02 pm

What do your images of the future hold?

Wiley's Wisdom

I’m definitely with mom on this one. Pregnancy math sucks. Leave it to people to make something so simple into something so complicated.

The way I understand it, science dictates the pregnancy actually starts two weeks prior to conception and runs for forty weeks. So you get a two-week head start but (this is where I get confused) because of it you’re actually pregnant for 10 months instead of the nine months with which every woman is familiar? That seems cruel enough on its own.My Lamp Is Lit

Add to it the way us canines process time and it makes sense to me why dogs only carry puppies for a little more than two months. But (as I understand this is something I most definitely cannot control) I begrudgingly digress.

Instead I focus on the real problem at hand. I simply cannot wait a moment longer to meet my little person. I have…

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