Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

As The Sun Rises September 17, 2014

Sometimes it’s incredibly subtle. Other times it hits me in the face. Literally. I speak, of course, of dear baby Carter and all the things that change with him on a daily basis. I frequently hear mom repeat the same response when people ask her how he’s doing. There is something new every day, she says. Treasure Seeker

Recently much of the change has been physical. He’s moving. A lot. He’s crawling all over the place and getting into all kinds of things he shouldn’t. Mom says she doesn’t think it will be long before he’s walking. And he is strong. You wouldn’t guess it from looking at his 20-pound frame, but take it from me – there is a whole lot of gusto in those tiny little guns of his.

But something happened tonight that struck me. It might have been a fluke. Like one of those things you can convince yourself of even if it might not actually have been the case. But I have a pretty keen sense of hearing and tonight I think Carter said the two most important first words he could ever say. Both have been making regular appearances in his daily babble fest of syllables right along with baabaabaa. Today there was something different though, like he was saying things on purpose.

“Mamamama,” he said when mom left the room to warm up his bedtime bottle. And, less then 15 minutes later, “dada” came out of his mouth as dad gave him his nightly bath.

As I said, it is possible this is all wishful thinking and just happened by coincidence. Because sometimes it is incredibly subtle. I’m pretty sure mom wouldn’t have even thought anything of it had dad not pointed it out. And then at bath time, well, it seems as though everything pieced together just as it should in that moment.

I know I’ve had my qualms about having a strong, mobile, babbler of a little person in my forever home. But he’s managed to do something pretty spectacular to my way of thinking. Change is not a favorite thing of mine, but he has changed how I perceive the unknown. As he grows, he changes each day. And as he changes, I realize he has changed me. I still love routine, but there is something about knowing tomorrow will bring something new again brings even more joy to each new day. As the sun rises, there will be change. And that’s a fabulous thing.

 

A God Thing August 6, 2013

Mom calls it a God thing. When something unusual happens that seems to right a wrong turn in life.

I’ve had several that I can think of, but one stands out in my mind as one of my life’s most powerful turning points. It happened the day of my great escape from the house with three other dogs and two cats. The house I’d hoped to be a forever home ended up feeling more like a dungeon. And I wanted out.

The doggie door had been tempting me for weeks. And I knew I could clear that four-foot fence if I really put my mind to it. Nothing was going to stop me from achieving my ultimate goal. Freedom. Freedom from a house ruled by people who didn’t really care for animals.  Freedom to find my own food on the streets instead of scavenge for scraps when there wasn’t enough dog food to go around. Freedom from feeling unloved.

There’s something better out there for me, I thought, and I’m going to find it! So one mid-summer day while the people were away at that place called work, I left it all behind. I cleared the fence, and tore down the first few blocks before I let myself slow down. No turning back. I remember breathing in the fresh lake breeze coming off the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline and feeling like I had the world at my paws.Picture Perfect

That’s when it happened. I stumbled across a crumpled up piece of paper on the sidewalk and stopped to sniff it. It smelled like peanut butter (which is one of my most favorite things) and strawberries. It was a drawing of a house with three stick people I recognized vaguely as a mom, a dad, and a little girl (most likely the artist who smelled like peanut butter). What caught my eye (and pulled at my heart) was the little brown stick doggie she was holding. It appeared to be a puppy of some sort (it’s hard to decipher breeds in stick drawings). And everyone was smiling.

That’s when I knew I had to turn back. I knew I would be loved again like Jo loved me before the man with the leather belt deserted me on the side of the road. I had faith. But I wasn’t going to find that kind of love on my own. I wasn’t going to find it on the streets of Port Washington, Wisconsin.

So I made my way, slowly but surely, back to the house of unrest. And (at the time I thought) my whole plan backfired because “my little escapade” as the people called it was “the last straw.” They returned me to the humane society that same day, never to return.

I didn’t know it until later, but that crumpled piece of paper changed my life forever. I may have stayed the course if I hadn’t smelled the delicious peanut butter-y goodness. I would have kept going if not for the image pulling at my heart strings. And if I had I may have never met my forever parents. The people who make up my picture perfect life.

Mom calls it a God thing. I call it faith coming to life. We all have moments with our own versions of the crumpled up piece of paper. Moments that point the way. Moments that change our life forever. We just have to keep our eyes, hearts (and noses) peeled so we don’t pass them by.

 

Daily Prompt: Apply Yourself Turning Fiasco into Fortune January 19, 2013

“No true fiasco ever began as a quest for mere adequacy. A motto of the British Special Air Force is: ‘Those who risk, win.’ A single green vine shoot is able to grow through cement. The Pacific Northwestern salmon beats itself bloody on it’s quest to travel hundreds of miles upstream against the current, with a single purpose, sex of course, but also… life.” This philosophical (yet comedic) end to the movie “Elizabethtown” is the foundation for my reflection today.

I don’t know if its the gritty storyline following the passing of the lead character’s father, or the fabulous score that weaves the story together, but the offbeat comedy is one of my favorite people movies. The story begins with epic failure, loss and sense of personal defeat, yet somehow (in spite of it all), the emotional journey of Drew Baylor ends in joy. Life, amidst constant challenge. He re-wrote the ending to his life story.

That’s a pretty powerful concept if you ask me. “What if you learn to stop the dramas and started to trust the flow of life and the goodness of Spirit,” Breathnach challenges in Simple Abundance. “Isn’t it possible that you could write new chapters in your life with happy endings?

I wasn’t always a believer in happy endings. The first two years of my life were filled with challenges to my spirit. It would have been easy to give up. It was much harder to try. To believe. To live. So I did as today’s daily prompt suggests: I applied myself.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/daily-prompt-apply-yourself/

Describe your last attempt to learn something that did not come easily to you.

I made one of the toughest decisions that ended up changing my life forever. I decided to see the best in all things. It wasn’t easy at first. It was especially challenging when I was adopted by a family I immediately loved wholeheartedly, just to be ignored amidst the household of three other dogs, and ultimately returned to the humane society. As an instinctive lover of people, I will admit their rejection sent me into some pretty dark days. But I refused to write myself into a tragedy.

I hardly think it is a coincidence that a mere two weeks later I met my mom and dad and a week after that they took me to my forever home.

I’ve lived fiasco, but that was not the end to my story. Joy is my victory and my fortune.