Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Headless Happy (Birthday) Chicken February 5, 2015

It’s a matter of respect for me. I won’t say how many years ago it happened, but that doesn’t change its level of importance in my life. Which is high.

Today is my forever dad’s birthday. Though that happened at least a year or two before I was around, it’s a day I pause to appreciate each year. It’s a day I couldn’t miss, too, since mom has this thing with birthdays. I’m not sure of the rationale or reasoning behind it, but its very important to her to go above and beyond to celebrate a life. A few years back...

Today was no exception. The stars aligned and (somehow) everything got done. I wouldn’t have guessed it this morning either. Between her work and all things birthday, she was running around like a headless chicken. There was cleaning and cooking and laundry and grocery shopping to be done. And there was a surprise visit with Carter to dad’s work, and later a surprise lunch date with Carter.

And everything fell into place. Work got finished. The cleaning and cooking and laundry and grocery shopping went smoothly. The surprise work visit and lunch date were a huge success. It was a good day.

I know because we’ve had some bad ones lately that days like today should be celebrated. Not just for the obvious reason that I’m elated that my dad was born all those years ago. But for the refreshing sanity I know my dear forever family feels when things go as well as they did today. It’s invigorating.

It’s also a novel idea that there can indeed be headless chicken running that doesn’t revolve around only unsatisfying chaos. Instead there was a sense of joy about it from beginning to end. Headless and happy can coexist after all.

For me, it’s a matter of respect. I won’t reveal the number behind my forever dad’s wisdom. But today I will live the words of American entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey who suggested “the more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

 

The Truth About NYE December 31, 2014

Fancy dinners and parties and dresses and champagne. All of it is so beyond me if I’m being honest. Yet that’s what so many people will be embracing from all over the world today and tonight as we ring in the new year. There is all kinds of anticipation for this big night of refreshment and renewal and you’d probably think it’s something your resident doggie optimist would stand behind. You’d be wrong.

I actually would venture to say that this New Year’s Eve holiday is probably one of my very least favorite of those my beloved forever family chooses to celebrate. I never mind the leftover goodies from dinner (which they usually opt to make themselves at home). I definitely appreciate the extra hour or two of snuggles that happens as we all countdown to midnight. But ultimately I feel a bit like the day itself is entirely overrated.

That all changed a year ago. Dear baby Carter was born exactly a year ago today, on New Year’s Eve. I still don’t understand why I couldn’t have been there at the hospital to meet him right away, but that’s okay. I honestly had no idea the joy he would bring into our home. Into our lives.When You Wish

Beyond that, I realized as I reflected back on this year that is 2014, that he’s taught me some things about life. Perhaps most important on this eve of the new year is what he helped me figure out about this holiday. It happened every morning he woke up since the very first day he was here in our home. Rebirth. Renewal. Not every day was a good one, but that is exactly what tomorrow is for. A fresh start. A new beginning.

I think that’s what bothers me so much about this holiday. It’s not one day a year we should be celebrating life. It’s every day. Every day we wake is a blessing that should never go unnoticed. Even the challenging ones and the ones that make us wish we could go to sleep just so it can be tomorrow. Because tomorrow is indeed another day. New Year’s Day in our case. Here’s to a year filled with new beginnings.

 

A Winter One-derland December 20, 2014

It was all a little bit confusing to me. I vividly remember everything about last year at this time. I remember the holiday preparations and the family gatherings and all things Christmas. I remember all of it. And all of it happened before dear baby Carter came home.

But alas, today – a few days before Christmas, mind you – we celebrated that day that was (almost) a year ago. That fateful day when life in my forever home would never be the same again in the best kind of way. It was a couple days after New Year’s Eve (when Carter was born) that he came home the first time. And although literally speaking that day happened almost a year ago it does indeed feel like yesterday. Double trouble

So when celebrations unfolded today it was a little confusing at first. It made all that nervous excitement in recent days make a lot more sense. It brought to light what all that fuss was about in the kitchen yesterday and into the night last night. My forever home had become a “Winter One-derland” right before my eyes. And I loved every bit of it.

It isn’t often this particular group of friends and family get together. I’m sure it will happen a bit more frequently now that Carter is in the family portrait, but prior to that it didn’t happen much. Mom’s family and dad’s family came together today and I was just so overwhelmed to see it all happen. I love my people, so I adore their people by proxy.

Few things in life are as emotionally satisfying as being surrounded by so many loved ones in your home. Joy. From the ground up, it lived in the visitors today as all kinds of silliness unfolded before my eyes. There was no lack in things to see, but I think the incident with the smash cake was my favorite.

Mom went through all kinds of trouble to craft an absolutely beautiful work of art of a cake with the specific purpose of being torn apart by Carter. At first it seemed a bit wasteful to me, but I can’t say I minded the waste that made its way to the floor. Nor did I mind the various other treats and nibbles I gathered throughout the day. Or the extra pets and love.

I may have started the day a bit confused. The way I see it, we are celebrating the passing of time almost two weeks early. But as the day went on and all of the excitement that led up to it came to fruition, I was reminded of something. It doesn’t matter when the birthday celebration happens. Because every day is a day to celebrate.

To see the action of the day:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.593327026977&type=1&l=1c1252ca14

 

Sky Full of Stars July 23, 2014

When we’re little, we can’t wait for it. It’s like something we have our own internal countdown for, just waiting until that special day arrives. Then it does and we wish it hadn’t. Birthdays. From the ground up, I’ve come to wonder about them, mostly because I’ve always thought I would know when that day came. That day, when I knew beyond a doubt that I was completely and utterly grown up. That day, when I felt on my game. That day, when I felt wise.

Well I don’t know about you, but I haven’t yet recognized such a day. At the tender age of six people years old (which is equivalent to about 42 doggie years old), I say with complete honesty that I can’t say I’ve ever actually felt like a grown up. Not in the traditional sense of the term anyway. But today, as I paused to watch my forever family for a bit, I realized maybe it isn’t about that.Think with the Heart

I sat by, as I always do, while mom and dad had dinner together. More recently, dear baby Carter has joined them for dinner as he eats various concoctions of what my people call “solids,” which (at least in my opinion) greatly resemble soups of various homemade flavors. His options thus far include mango, sweet potato, broccoli, avocado and (as of tonight) banana. And it’s all very exciting both for him, as well as my beloved forever mom and dad.

Today as I watched what is my reality unfold I realized I am, in fact, living my dream. I can’t say I knew what it would look like when I was a puppy. I know I was like anyone else, looking forward to being a grown up more than anything else. I couldn’t wait for the outside world to see me differently. To see me as a grown up.

Today I realized none of that really matters as much as remembering your inner child. Sure, it’s fun to think about what it might be like one day when you’re all grown up. That one day when you have everything figured out. That one day when you feel wise. But I realized today being grown up has absolutely nothing to do with that one day. It has everything to do with the days that follow. It has everything to do with how you move forward, how you make a difference. How you live.

So today I recommit my life to one of wisdom. I recommit myself to seeing a sky full of stars whenever it’s in front of me. I recommit myself to live. From the ground up, that’s about as simple as it gets.

 

 

On Leather Belts and Baseball Bats July 17, 2014

It’s time to come clean about something. I have this thing with baseball bats. Mom and dad noticed it for the first time last year when dad started playing in a weekly softball league through our local recreation department. He would practice his swings and I would bark. It probably doesn’t sound like much, but for a dog who (literally) only barks at other animals when I see them on the television, this is a big deal. He would swing and I would bark. Coy Wiley

While my bark is certainly larger than my bite, I will be honest. I have my reasons. The man with the leather belt that causes me to run in fear at the sight of leather to this day (even though I know my dad would never hurt me) also liked to play baseball. He had a collection of bats, and one time when he was really (really) drunken, he whacked me with one of them. Or maybe two. I’ve tried very hard to push this out of my mind, but that’s the thing about cause and effect. Sometimes the cause has an effect whether we like it or not.

For me, that means I (to this day) fear leather belts and baseball bats. I know it’s funny, since I know in my heart no one in my current life would ever even consider the possibility of hurting me like that. But sadly that doesn’t erase the past. I see him, the man with the leather belt, with the baseball bat and I cringe inside. It doesn’t matter who might be swinging the bat, I simply can’t stand it.

So tonight when mom took dear baby Carter to dad’s softball game, I was relieved to be left behind. That never happens, mind you. I always (and I mean always) want to go wherever my people are going. Not tonight. Tonight I was happy to stay put, alone with my thoughts and reflections. It’s not such a bad thing to do from time to time, regardless of the reason.

For me, it was a reminder that everyone needs some time to reflect every now and then. Joy. From the ground up, it happens when life brings reality to moments, good or bad. In my case, I’ve learned from the unfortunate events of the past to embrace the exciting possibilities of the future. I’m no fortune teller, but I know there is fun in store.

 

From Now On February 24, 2014

It’s the same thing every night. Eat, bathe, cuddle, sleep. I don’t know about baby Carter, but its a routine with which I could get pretty comfortable. My role in all of it is pretty minimal. I usually oversee the bathing process and lay patiently on the rug I know is just for me in Carter’s room while mom rocks the baby to sleep. Soothing sounds fill the room and I frequently drift off to dreamland myself, albeit temporarily.

Tonight was different. Tonight I put my paw down. I’ve had enough of this cuddling business not involving me so I quit laying idly by. Instead I hopped myself right onto the tiny portion of lap mom has to spare on the rocking chair and laid myself down. I stopped watching and started living (or, more accurately, cuddling) in that moment. And it was grand. Is it cuddle time yet?

Baby CarterI was quite comfortable drifting into dreamland there in our cuddle bubble. What happened next took me by surprise given the intense feelings of joy I felt just a few moments prior. It was Carter’s 12th birthday (in people years, not dog years) and he was blowing out the candles on the cake. I waited patiently to see myself, pestering my way into the mix to get a lick of frosting as I tend to do. But I never came. I wasn’t there to see Carter turn 12.

The image jolted me right out of dreamland and back to reality. And (for once) I’m so glad it did. Because there I was, cuddling with my forever mom and my little person. Joy. From the ground up, it overwhelmed my little doggie heart in those precious moments together.

Because my dream tonight contained within it a wake up call. There is a chance I will still be around to get that lick of frosting after all. But it’s more likely I won’t.

Eat, bathe, cuddle, sleep. It’s the same thing every night and promises to be that way for the foreseeable future. Some might see it as monotonous, but (as is typical to us canines) I find routines soothing. They bring order to a world that can seem chaotic at times. In those moments, those precious moments, the world is exactly as it should be. I think I will be sneaking my way into cuddle time more often from now on.

 

A Dog’s Year In Review January 13, 2014

I think we all had a feeling. And it wasn’t even the kind of feeling that we really just wanted it to be over and behind us. It was the kind of feeling where we just knew we were ready for the next chapter. So it was really no surprise to me when Carter Joseph Schmidt entered the world almost three weeks early. Looking Forward

Tomorrow marks his two-week birthday (still a couple days short of the January 16 due date) of December 31. It also marks the two-week observation of New Year’s Resolutions for people all over the world who aspire to make 2014 the best year ever. For some, these resolutions – eating better, exercising more, finally kicking that bad habit – are in full swing. For others, they’ve already been forgotten.

That’s why I don’t particularly care for the theory behind resolutions. So last year I resolved not to make resolutions. Instead, I set goals for myself to live in the spirit of Christmas every day, love actively and live life forward. Because in reality you can’t really put Christmas away when you live a life of joy. From the ground up, it makes its way into everything you do. Everything you are. So I committed to living life forward by sharing everything I am with the world, hoping to touch a few hearts in the process.

Little did I know the impact a little terrier mutt like me could have on the world with something as simple as my perspective on the everyday happenings in my world. My musings have hardly gone “viral,” and yet I am touched daily by the kind words of readers who I have come to see as a whole other kind of family in my life.

Family has taken on a whole new meaning to me this past year. I’ve always been a people watcher, but as I have observed my little family more closely this year, I have learned so much about people. And relationships. And love. From the moment I knew mom was pregnant to the first time I met Carter, family means something bigger now.

I would say 2013 was a success. Not just because I  (for the most part) met my (somewhat challenging at times) goals. But because doing so helped me get to know myself a little better. And getting to know oneself is always the first crucial step in being able to truly help others in the most selfless of ways.

My feelings about when Carter was due to arrive were right. Maybe my feelings about 2014 will be too. And I am ready for the next chapter. Because if its anywhere as good as the last one, I know it with all of my little doggie heart. I have a lot to look forward to.

Happy trails in 2014, ya’ll.

 

 

A Moment of Magic October 31, 2013

I don’t believe in magic. Not in the traditional sense at least. The whole now you see me, now you don’t idea? What fun is that anyway? But I will never forget the day I discovered a different kind of magic.

To the rest of the world it was Halloween. To me, it was Jo’s eighth birthday. That’s all that mattered. I had been living with her and the man with the leather belt for a few months, and had seen my fair share of things I still wish I hadn’t. But this was a day to remember for all the right reasons.My Kind of Magic

This was the one time I ever witnessed Jo and the man with the leather belt happy at the same time. I was surprised he remembered the day at all, since he was usually pretty forgetful about basic things like having anything besides frozen pizza and beer in the fridge. But alas, he surprised us both. After dinner (he actually cooked something), he got out a pink cupcake with a single candle on it and sang happy birthday to her. I sat by her side, proud and humbled to share in such a special moment. Then he gave her a present. It wasn’t wrapped (it was still in the Toys ‘R Us bag) but that was beside the point.

It was magic. Literally. He gave her a 100-peice magic set. “I had one when I was about your age, so I thought maybe you’d like it,” he told her. She loved it. They spent the next few hours experimenting and doing something I’d never seen them to before. They laughed together.

That was the real magic. Magic is in moments like these. Moments brought to life by a power within us to believe. “Magic flows through us,” Sarah Ban Breathnach writes in Simple Abundance, “mystery infuses every encounter of every day…You have no idea of the countless lives you touch in the course of a lifetime.”

My life was touched that day by something special. I may not believe in the hocus pocus kind of magic, but that day I became a believer in a whole other kind of magic entirely. I became a believer that the power is within us to live this magic in our daily lives. To find and embrace moments of pure joy is a magic all its own.

 

Life is Love July 13, 2013

It wasn’t wrapped up in ribbons and bows. It didn’t cost any money to make. It all began very simply. Twenty-eight years ago today, one of my favorite gifts was presented to the world. Today my forever mom celebrates her 28th birthday, so today I celebrate her.

It’s not complicated. I know some people think it is, but I beg to differ. Whether we think of our own lives or the lives of those characters who make a difference in our lives, life as we know it is the best gift we could possibly be given. I realized it tonight as I basked in the glow of a very happy forever mom and dad feasting on something (that smelled ridiculously delicious) in the backyard. This is an infrequent event as the bugs often intrude on the enjoyment of such things, but tonight even the bugs cooperated. The bad ones stayed away and the good ones stayed close. Fireflies danced around them as they ate, and I was overcome with awe of the life in that moment.

It brought to mind the words of Indian philosopher Sai Baba who encouraged those he came into contact with to live life to the fullest in as many ways as possible. “Life is a song – sing it,” he once said. “Life is a game – play it. Life is a challenge – meet it. Life is a dream – realize it. Life is a sacrifice – offer it. Life is love – enjoy it.”Love You Mom

Life offers so many different choices, all beginning with our decision to live it to the fullest. It’s no secret I’m a believer in the contagion that is joy, so it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that gifts that keep on giving are my favorite. And I’m not talking jelly-of-the-month club gifts (though I would probably be open to a chew toy of the month club). I’m talking about the things we are grateful for each day. Gifts from within. Gifts from above.

These are my favorite gifts that keep on giving. So today as I reflect on the gift of life, I am grateful for the gift of my forever mom. It all started very simply twenty-eight years ago today. She may not have come into the world wrapped in pretty ribbons and bows, but she made up for that later in life. And some of the best things in life are free. To me her life is love, and I’m going to enjoy it as long as possible. I love you mom. Happy birthday.

 

Sweet Sixteen: A Day to Remember January 21, 2013

I find inspiration in the oddest things.

Today is frigidly cold in Wisconsin, and I found myself seeking thoughtfulness in my (albeit brief) time outside. Nothing came to me.

Today was Inauguration Day, so I was sure I’d find something to say about politics. Yet I’ve got nothing political to say.

But like the man for whom today was named Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

So I find today’s source of inspiration interesting based on my journey with Simple Abundance, which challenges that today, I should “be willing to believe that a companion Sprit is leading (me) every step of the way, and knows the next step.”

Today I challenge myself to be a dreamer, a version of me traveling through time with a companion sixteen-year-old self who ironically knows what is coming.

When you were 16, what did you think your life would look like? Does it look like that? Is that a good thing?

Since one people year is seven dog years, it is not that difficult for me to think back to my “sixteenth” birthday. I’m not a wise 20-something in people years, but I believe I have the right to reflect reasonably upon the beliefs I had on by sweet sixteen.

My adoptive parents have this birthday tradition I enjoy involving a single-scoop vanilla ice cream cone for my special day. Oddly enough, I was lucky enough to get another un-birthday cone about two months following what would have been my fourteenth birthday…my sweet sixteen. I was fortunate to spend the special day with my forever people about a year after being in my forever home. It was a pretty special day for me because I spent it with my favorite people on a boat in what I would presume to be one of their most happy of places.My Sweet Sixteen

Reflecting on that day and every day since then is the best gift I could have ever been afforded. I realize now that life was (and continues to be) everything I could ask for, even if I’m not allowed on the boat anymore. (I’ll take responsibility for that).

Today is the one month anniversary of the beginning of this blog, so I find some value in reflecting on my first steps I took in belief that I could make a difference in the lives of others.

Today I hit a landmark 100 likes on my blog. This would mean enough to me if all I wanted to do was write, but (to me) this is a pretty big deal. It means I am meeting one of my most special goals in life to spread my joy to others, which most definitely brings me more joy than keeping it all to myself.

Today a companion spirit nominated my blog for the Leibster award, which absolutely made my day. I have more research to do on what this means for me, but I honestly can’t believe what an honor it is after a mere 30 days in the blogging world.

Today I became socially network thanks to Facebook and Twitter, which means I (hopefully) have a bigger scope of influence on my readers.

Today I connected. I made a difference in the world in my very own unique kind of way.

Today is a day to remember.