Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

It’s A Win-Win January 5, 2014

It’s not about winning. That was mom’s opinion of a failed attempt by the Green Bay Packers to continue their journey to Superbowl 48. Today our beloved Packers fell to the San Francisco 49ers 23-20 in a playoff battle to remember. My Little Team

It was Carter’s first Packer game, and (while he didn’t stay awake for any of it) that brought with it a new kind of excitement. Packer Sundays are filled with traditions in the Schmidt home, and this Sunday was no different. Except it was. My people prepared the usual delicious smelling food, dressed up in their Packer Sunday best, and cheered on the beloved team.

And it was an exciting game, filled ups and downs. Packed with moments of joy and moments of frustration. So when the clock ticked down to nothing and the loss was imminent, mom’s words brought to the situation into perspective for me.

This game, or any game for that matter, is much like life in that way. Filled with ups and downs. Moments of joy and moments of frustration. All of this is experienced as part of a team, which is sometimes greater than the sum of it’s parts. I was reminded in that moment how blessed I am to be part of this particular team. I know we aren’t going to win every battle. But that’s okay, because I wouldn’t trade any of them for the world. They are happiness to me.

“Winning isn’t everything,” Packer coaching legend Vince Lombardi suggested, “it’s the only thing.” And in most other ways, I agree with him. But he was wrong about this. It’s not about winning. It’s about enjoying the game.

 

Foutain of Youth October 23, 2013

You’re tired. You’re sick. Or you just plain don’t feel like doing something. It happens all the time. So how do you stay motivated? I know everyone has their own strategy, but they all have the same underlying foundation. Big girl panties.

From what I understand, the people phrase about putting on big girl panties can apply to both men and women. And it used to confuse me. Until today. Today I saw the value in finding that inner source of energy and embracing it in a time when you least feel like doing so.

It's Free!While I am happy to report my aunt Morgan has moved back to the area from the home of my favorite football team (the Green Bay Packers), exhaustion is the first word that comes to mind tonight. I felt it just being around my forever family and I didn’t lift a paw. Moving is a lot of work (at least from what I can tell). And it’s not usually fun. But it can be. And it was for my forever family (and dad’s friend Chris) tonight.

I watched it all unfold from my comfortable perch on the living room couch, all the while observing the most interesting dynamic. Everyone was tired – no one felt like unloading boxes, moving couches, or assembling bed frames – but the group collectively put on their big girl panties got the job done. And the best part? There they were, this group of adults, laughing like children while they worked.

I found this incredibly ironic since most adults I know fondly recall the time when nap time was a real thing, money grew on trees and there wasn’t a care in the world. At the time, they couldn’t grow up fast enough. Now they wish to reverse the clock and get some of these ultimate simplicities back.

Well, I’ve got a secret. They can. And so can you. Because I figured something out about joy today. Sure it’s free, but that doesn’t mean everyone knows where to shop. The fountain of youth is inside you in all things that bring you joy. You just need to know where to find it. And once you do, it will make the whole big girl panty routine a lot easier.

 

It’s That Time Again August 9, 2013

Hot dogs. You’d think as a dog I would love them. You’d think as a lover of all things people food and meat related it would be one of my most favorite things. You’d be wrong.

I was reminded of it today while I kept mom company at the grill. I was in a very happy place and lost myself in the moment as I deeply inhaled the fabulous smell of people food cooking on the grill. She was grilling steak, chicken, corn and potatoes, but she wasn’t the only one grilling in our neighborhood. Somewhere nearby I smelled them. Hot dogs.

That’s when it happened. I closed my eyes and I saw him. The man with the leather belt. I flashed back to his idea of an ideal Friday night in. I’ll never forget how he would completely ignore his daughter Jo (my person at the time, and one of my most favorite little people ever). He would make a whole package of hot dogs for dinner and eat the majority of them while drinking a six-pack of beer and watching baseball on the television in the living room. I would keep poor Jo company, since he wanted nothing to do with her during his manly time.

I’ve never cared much for baseball. I’ve been known to bark at the television when people swing the bats (which is unusual for my typically silent self). I’ve even barked at dad when he practices with his bat in the backyard. I don’t like baseball bats, and I don’t like baseball. And I have my reasons.

But I kind of love American football. More specifically, I love Green Bay Packers football. Not particularly because I like watching it on the television, but because of everything it involves in my forever family. That’s why mom was grilling all of that delicious food (which you’ll note did not include hot dogs). She was going overboard, as dad says she always does, to prepare for a big night of Packer football. (Which I noted was incredibly unusual since it’s a Friday night rather than a Sunday. But I’m not complaining).

The thing I love most about it is it wasn’t that big a night to be fussing about. It is the first pre-season game. My man Aaron Rodgers only played for one drive for crying out loud. But it didn’t matter. We all got gussied up in our Packer jerseys, I got a couple samples of mom’s steak, and we watched the game together as a family. Go Pack Go!

I think that’s why I love football so much. It brings the people I love together (plus I get yummy treats). There’s so much joy in our home during those three hours. And, in case you’re curious, we lost. 17-0. It was kind of brutal. But that didn’t scare the joy away.

 

Those Three Words May 11, 2013

I never really know what to expect when I spend time with the little people in my life. One minute I’m the pickle in the middle in a game involving one of my favorite stuffed hedgehogs. The next minute I’m being propped up across from an iPad being faux-interviewed about my life. Everything is an adventure in their minds. Everything seems new and exciting. I find inspiration in the surprises at every corner, and today was no exception.Pickle in the Middle

“I love you Wiley,” Abigail said, as she gave me a random and surprisingly lung-crushing hug amidst our game of pickle in the middle this afternoon. Like many of the best of love’s most precious moments, it caught me off guard. Like the North Face jackets and Coach purses of the world, the “l-word” has lost some of its impact due to overuse. 

But that doesn’t keep my little doggie mind from going crazy when I think about some of the things I love. Peanut butter. My forever people. The driver’s seat in any car. Popsicles. Long walks on sunny afternoons. My friends in the blogosphere. Aaron Rodgers. The little people in my life. My forever home. This is only a mere sample of my laundry list of people, places and things that come to mind when my heart starts to race as a side effects of thinking about the l-word.

While I am sure that no two people share the exact same list, I can also venture to say that diversity is the common thread any two lists would share. So how is it we feel these different kinds of feelings and file them all under the l-word in our personal dictionary of life?

I think it’s to do with some other l-words we all know all too well. Longing. Loss. Lies. These are some of the realities of the world in which we live. These words (and the emotional havoc they bring) are some things everyone has in common. No one’s life is perfect. If it wasn’t this it would be something else.Abby and I

But in love there is victory. Relief. Truth. Life experience brings love full circle by allowing us to appreciate the good things, no matter how silly. Perhaps it is because the loss and lies that made up much of my puppyhood made me long to feel life-changing love. One of my biggest fears was that I would never find it. The l-word. Or worse, I wouldn’t feel it again after the hurt I’d experienced.

But as American industrialist Henry Ford once said, “one of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.”

I am so blessed, not only to have found so many things to love in life, but to find it coming from so many different people, places, and things. I never really know what to expect when I spend time with the little people in my life. But I find inspiration in their creativity and sense of adventure. And I live for surprises like my moment with Abigail today. They might be said too much, but those three words have yet to lose their meaning to me.

 

A Dog’s Tale May 6, 2013

I hold my breath when Aaron Rodgers throws a football down the field because I want to be sure someone catches it. I bark at the bass that Babe Winkelman and Bill Dance reel in on the moving picture window in the living room. I physically recoil when my dad takes off his leather belt or swings a baseball bat. Oh, and some of you already know this, but I have a habit of rolling myself all over clothes (clean or dirty) left anywhere within my reach.

Comedic or otherwise, there you have it. These are some of the private (but honest) truths of my life. I think a lot of people think us canines must be the best secret keepers because of the stories we are entrusted with, but I’ve got another honest truth to share with you. Dogs don’t really keep secrets. We wear our emotions on our tail. You can see it in our eyes. That’s the thing about unconditional love – it speaks a universal language directly from our hearts to yours.

That’s one of a few reasons why the cThis Face Doesn't Lieonfusion my parents have had about the main bathroom in my forever home is completely baffling to me. When they brought me here, the walls were blue. Now they are white. It sounds simple enough, but this is not a change that came easily.

Some turn to television for entertainment, but I need not look further than my forever family. The bathroom “conversation” happened about a year ago but I remember it like it was yesterday. Mom and dad were talking about making changes around the house, and mom mentioned changing the color of the walls in the main bathroom. Dad questioned this, as it was their joint decision to choose the light blue color that used to adorn the walls. Mom insisted that perhaps they made the decision in haste and indeed a lighter color might be a better fit in the small room. Dad agreed. And that’s when the reality happened.

They both admitted they had hated the color of the walls for two years (two years!) and had been withholding the truth from one another in protection of the other’s feelings. I couldn’t believe my little doggie ears. Not only did they agree a change was needed, but they admitted to essentially lying to each other (for two years!) about allegedly liking this mutual decision.

It is a baffling and foreign concept to me, as a dog’s tale (er, I mean tail) never lies. While the majority of people might assume us canines to be the best secret keepers, I can’t say that’s accurate. I shared my “secrets” with the world tonight, and I didn’t stop there. I shared the “secrets” of my people too. Let’s face it, they probably won’t be too happy with me when they see I’ve mentioned my habit of rolling around in their clothes again. (I would challenge that isn’t much of a secret because they inevitably take a piece of me with them via the fur trail I leave on the clothes, but I digress.)

“To one who waits, all things reveal themselves,” English poet Coventry Patmore tells us, “so long as you have the courage not to deny in the darkness what you have seen in the light.”

It wasn’t an easy journey, but the bathroom walls that were blue are now white, the color of purity. The color of a fresh start. Truth be told, I can’t say I notice that much a difference.

But what do I know? I hold my breath when Aaron Rodgers throws a football because I believe that will help Donald Driver catch it and score a touchdown. The behavior is part of who I am and I refuse to hide myself from reality. I understand it as part of my authenticity, part of what makes me who I am. Dogs don’t really keep secrets. You can see it in our eyes, and even more so in our tails. Besides, experience has taught me these so-called secrets have a way of surfacing on their own when you least expect it. Take it from me and my truthful tail.

 

‘Tis the season to be a Packer fan December 23, 2012

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:16 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I have a confession to make. I am in love with Aaron Rodgers. He is my hero. Shhh, don’t tell my dad.

Not only does Rodgers throw one heck of a ball on that moving picture window in the living room, but more times than not he makes my parents so happy. Sundays are fun days in the Schmidt household…usually involving visitors and yummy smells in the kitchen that result from the ridiculous amount of food mom makes in preparation for game day.

165710_515270537807_4039697_nWe all dress up in our favorite Packer fan garb and cheer on the team as best we know how. For me, this means I get a lot of extra practice giving high fives to whomever requests them, usually after they finish screaming and jumping up and down. That was one of the first tricks I learned when my parents took me in, so I have a lot of happy memories of my mom and dad (and their various pals) teaching me to “shake,” and “give paw.” Its all the same to me (especially when there are treats involved), but high fives on game day are definitely my favorite. Go Pack Go!!!

Now if only I could figure out how to catch those balls Rodgers is throwing…